Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fixing Dominion Part One: Use it or Lose it

Well, here comes a big post that will bring about nothing but make me feel a bit better. Dominion, the nullsec sovereignty expansion, was never completed, and is broken. It seems like most folks I talk to in various forums agree with that. CCP isn't paying focused attention to nullsec right now (which is fine, there are a lot of underlying issues that have to be fixed first), but I'm going to write this up anyway. The ideas here are a casserole of various ideas from places like kugutsumen.com, the EVE-O forums, and postings in various blogs over the years. So let's start with the big picture, and drill down into the various details afterwards.

Show me the money

Peacetime activity in nullsec usually involves jump cloning to hisec for mission or incursion running for a lot of players. This creates a vast wasteland of unoccupied and uninteresting systems throughout nullsec, because it's just not worth it to risk your ships for a marginally larger reward (Titan ratters and botters not included). Nullsec needs to be significantly more profitable than HiSec to the individual pilot to balance out the risk:reward equation and develop an vibrant, active population. If I participate in a PvE activity in nullsec for an hour, I should make significantly more ISK that I would make blitzing missions or running Incursions in HiSec during that same hour. In addition, PvE activities should scale (in sovereign systems) to support more and more players simultaneously earning ISK. Each site spawned by an Industry or Military Upgrade should provide the potential for significantly greater ISK income than equivalent activities in HiSec.

Nullsec needs methods to condense more players in fewer places. Condensing players provides more opportunity for interaction (positive and negative). If the players of a small (500-man) alliance are spread out across 20 systems, it's not working. Or, if the players of a 2,000 man alliance are spread out across 60 systems, it's still not working. So the goal should be a construct where a single system can support virtually any number of players simultaneously.

Finally, Nullsec needs a more dynamic combat and sovereignty system, where use is more valuable than just ownership, and combat is not centered around a series of static timers system by system.

Part One: Home, Sweet Home

Use it or Lose it (Activity Index)

Basically, the number of sites (anomalies/complexes/gravimetrics/magnetometrics) that are completed raise the activity index of the specific ihub upgrade as well as increase the number of sites that are spawned by that upgrade. This would support players clustering in a single system by dynamically increasing the available content based on use. For anomalies, complexes, and magnetometric sites, a new (random) site will spawn if all the current sites are occupied. This provides an mechanism for players to group together in a system, since there is no hard limit on ISK making opportunities. In addition, the ISK value of rats should be increased in nullsec by about 20% across the board (or nerf the ISK value of missions in hisec by 20% across the board). By creating obvious targets (grouping players together) the risk level goes up significantly. That risk increase should be accompanied by an equivalent reward increase, otherwise this is pointless. If you can make more running L4 missions or incursions in HiSec than complexes or anomalies in nullsec, the risk:reward balance is broken.

Activity Indices would rise (and decay) based on site completion. Each iHub upgrade has a unique activity index, which would contribute to the system activity index. The sovereignty index of a system is tied to the activity index, rather than a clock. If a system is used, the activity index will rise, and the system index will rise. If a system is unused, both will decline. Sovereignty upgrades tied to a certain index level would go offline if the system dropped below the minimum level required.

The System Index is the current sovereignty index. System Indices are calculated based on the Activity Index multiplied by the influence modifier (below). All System Indices within a nullsec empire are averaged together to create an empire-wide Sovereignty Index. In each constellation, a Constellation Index is based on the number of occupied systems in the constellation and the System Index for each system - if an empire has 4 of 7 systems in a particular constellation, the Constellation Index is (SI 1:4)/7

Sphere of Influence

The rate of change of an activity monitor would also be affected by a range modifier. Space empires need capitals - centers of activity, and the further from the capital the less control an emperor has. This is calculated into the rate of change for the activity monitors. The further from the declared capital of an empire, the slower activity index changes. This mechanic discourages sprawling space empires. The calculation would also be affected by neighboring systems (or constellations). The activity monitor of the system next door (and then scaled up the constellation next door) provides a small boost against the range modifier.

Within the capital constellation, the influence modifier (SIM) would be 100%. Each constellation further reduces that influence modifier by 1%. Each unmodified constellation that exists between the capital and a sovereign constellation, increases that reduction by an additional 1%. If the capital constellation were to fall, the influence modifier is immediately lowered by 50%. Installing and owning POCOs can increase the influence modifier by 0.2% per planetary installation, not to exceed 100% overall. If a player corporation that is not part of the sovereign alliance has POCOs in a sovereign system, each POSCO reduces the influence modified by 0.5% per planet.

In addition, corporate (and alliance) taxes suffer from graft or corruption in systems with a lower sphere of influence. The constellation index is used when calculating the percentage of lost revenue from any ISK sources. For example, ratting in the capital constellation would provide 100% of the tax rate (10% as an example), but ratting in a constellation with a 75% influence would only provide 7.5% tax, with the other 2.5% "lost" to corruption.

Sovereignty Index

The Empire Sovereignty Index is calculated based on the number of sovereign systems divided by the average the sovereignty level of all constellations in an empire. The Empire Sovereignty Index is used to adjust the default decay rate of the individual iHub indices.

These indices establish the baseline of the nullsec empire. The final sovereignty index of the empire affects the rate of decay for the activity index. An empire with a high sovereignty index has a slower rate of decay than an empire with a low sovereignty index. The rate of decay affects how fast or slow System Indexes rise and fall.

The use of each system impacts the sovereignty index of that system, as well as the overall sovereignty value of the empire. Large, sprawling empires of empty systems aren't as effective as connected, clustered systems, and empires that are constantly invading other territories are at risk of their home losing value the longer they are away.

Part Two: Farms and Fields
Part Three: Total Domination
Part Four: Details and Errata

No comments:

Post a Comment