Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fixing Dominion Part Two: Farms and Fields

This is part two in a series of nullsec changes I wish CCP would implement. Part One: Use it or Lose it focused on how the sovereignty index is a tiered system based on empire size, sprawl, and individual system use. Part Two talks about smaller strategic engagements, while Part Three will cover war.

Part Two: Farms and Fields

I was involved in the original "farms and fields" discussions on a couple years ago, and I may or may not have actually linked that phrase to the woes of combat in nullsec. For those of you who don't understand the idea, there are two primary opposing schools of thought in nullsec - the group that wants to get fights, and the group that wants to hole up and let the nomads fly on by. Both of those are valid positions. The "Farms and Fields" position states that there should be something the invading force can do to disrupt life if left unopposed. You can sit safely in your castle, avoiding the fight, but the bandits will have license to burn your farms and fields to the ground.

Smaller Strategic Targets

First of all, let me be clear. The concept here is to create points of conflict, not to tear down huge space empires. However, an empire that cannot or will not defend itself will suffer if their farms and fields are razed.

Targetable Infrastructure Hub Upgrades

Individual iHub Upgrades can be attacked, and when offlined, the AI index for that system drops by one level for the duration the upgrade is offline. This creates an immediate effect - if your Pirate Detection Array is offlined, you won't get as many anomalies to farm. iHub upgrades have omni resists at 30% + the Empire Sovereignty Index effect (with a maximum of 80%) and a very small signature radius to minimize damage from larger weapons. The HP would be relatively small, so a small gang (20 cruisers) can offline an individual upgrade in about 10 minutes.

Repairing iHub Upgrades

The default offline duration is 4 hours, with an option to repair using a new High Slot module, the "Infrastructure Repair Unit" (IRU). The IRU has small, medium, and large versions. Repair points per cycle are scaled based on module size. In addition, iHub upgrades have a natural repair/recharge cycle that takes 4 hours. 20 large IRUs will repair an offline upgrade in about 10 minutes. If an upgrade is offline when any sovereignty index is calculated, that index is calculated at the original level to prevent downtime shenanigans.

The Codebreaker module can now be used to temporarily offline a single iHub upgrade for 5 minutes, with a 30-minute cooldown between uses.

Player Owned Customs Offices

POCOs are already targetable, reinforceable, and destroyable. This would not be changed.

The Codebreaker module will be able to "crack" the security on a POCO. If there are any commodities in the POCO, a certain percentage of them are liberated by a successful hack (but not the planetary resources below). These commodities are taken randomly from any player who has them stored in the POCO.

Station Services

Station Services can already be attacked individually. There is no change to this behavior.

The Codebreaker module can be used to offline any single station service for 5 minutes, with a 30-minute cooldown between uses.

Introducing small targets of opportunity via the Codebreaker and targetable iHub upgrades provides opportunitites for small gangs or dedicated terrorist groups to harass individual systems or whole constellations, but not significantly impact the empire as a whole.

The Benefits of Ownership

These new methods of being able to harass or terrorize a sovereign alliance are counterbalanced by increasing the returns from existing PvE content in Nullsec, as well as new farms and fields.

Local changes in Nullsec

The Local channel is one of the easiest (hence most valuable) tools for intel in EVE. There are three significant changes to how the Local channel behaves:
1) In all space, the name and portrait of a character does not update in local until the 30 second invulnerability timer expires (even if the character immediately recloaks, this data updates).
2) In NPC Nullsec, names and portraits do not show up in local unless the character is docked in a station. Note: If a character undocks, until the 30 second invulnerability timer expires they will still appear to be in the station.
3) In Sovereign Nullsec, names and portraits do not show up in local unless the character is docked in a station. In addition, if the sovereign alliance has purchased the "Subspace Transmission Tracker Array" members of the sovereign alliance (and associated coalition members listed in the coalition treaty) then local (for them) is treated like Empire Local.

edit - thanks to TGR at The Codebreaker module can be used to temporarily offline The Subspace Transmission Tracker Array for 5 minutes, with a 30-minute cooldown between uses.

Sovereignty Upgrades

Subspace Transmission Tracker Array
The Subspace Transmission Tracker Array is a sovereignty upgrade that is anchored within 300km of a stargate. It requires Sovereignty 4 to online, and updates Local for the Sovereign Alliance and Coalition allies to behave like Empire local.

Internal Affairs Monitoring Upgrade
This iHub upgrade reduces the corruption level in a system by 2% per System Index level (up to 10%).

Racial Professional Outpost Platform
Professional Outpost Upgrades double the specific upgrade features from Advanced Upgrades. These upgrades are designed to bring player outposts closer to the production capacity of empire stations.

Racial Outpost type Mission Platform
An Outpost Mission Platform provides one mission Agent from the Outpost faction. Each outpost can be ugpraded with 3 Mission Platforms (Security, Distribution, Mining). Each level of the upgrade adds an agent of the next level (Basic: L1, Standard: L2, Advanced: L3, Professional: L4). Mission platforms (like other station services) can be attacked and disabled, or hacked and disabled.

Part One: Use it or Lose it
Part Three: Total Domination
Part Four: Details and Errata


  1. I like the idea in general, but I am suspicious of the implementation of "rogue" and "pick-pocket" type abilities as really adding what is needed.

    The whole point of Timers I presume was to make sure that a defending force wouldn't be totally screwed over by attacks while the players are sleeping.

    While I suppose if you build it someone will use it, are those roaming gangs looking for a fight really going to think that having a codebreaker to minimally grief the locals or maybe steal some random PI materials is what they want?

    Along with Use It or Lose It, you don't necessarily want to have too many people in one system, or else you are again left with huge swathes of unoccupied space and a few hubs with hundred of pilots in it, with just as low a chance of a decent small gang fight, no?


    1. The idea behind the "rogue" implementation is low scale griefing. If you don't bother to undock and defend your assets, the roaming gang has options available to them to acquire loot or harass your system, so when they leave you aren't back up and going immediately. Some of the discussions like this have included things like hacking the iHub and getting straight up ISK from the current ratting bounties, which seems hard to implement unless ticks were based on a neutral hour (so in 20 minute intervals the iHub would have "isk" in it from the bounties).

      CCP has regularly claimed they want to get more people into nullsec, and Dominion was supposed to support that, but since systems can't support a large number of pilots (and it doesn't scale dynamically) alliances have to spread out to provide ISK sources for everyone. Clustering doesn't automatically mean you are safe - I've seen folks cry in intel channels when there are blues in local, and they still get popped.