Monday, 26 September 2011

Nulling it over (Change suggestions)

  A recent comment from a new reader (up to three now) got me to thinking about how to make null sec more appealing to small alliances.  Let me state up front that I have no experience in null sec although I'm interested in taking up residence one day.  My opinion is from the segment of the population which CCP wants to get moved into null.  You may not like the idea of changing null to be more appealing to bears with teeth, but perhaps the idea of having a chunk of high space dwellers (80% of the population) move into null to take up the fight is appealing.

  That said I'll briefly break down the problems I see with null sec and the influences which have prompted me to stay away from the promised land.
1. Paying rent:  I want to be a homeowner and if I'm going to spend money on a place to stay I want that money to be an investment and not just a monthly expenditure that hopefully keeps the landlord on friendly terms so I don't get evicted when his mistress has a midlife crisis and needs a place to recover from her plastic surgery.
2.  Bringing a pen-knife to a gunfight: My hangar full of super awesome BCs and T2 cruisers won't last very long against cap and supercap blobs.  Even my uber cool BS squadron is of little to no value when going up against the top of the null sec food chain.
3.  Getting lost in the shuffle:  I really enjoy the people in my alliance and I like the small town atmosphere of our chat channels.  I don't want to join a thousand member strong group and become one more cricket chirping in the background.
4.  Fire in the disco:  Sudden and rapid seizure of all assets due to overwhelming force with little to no time with which to flee the area.

  Those are the main things that put a negative spin on null sec for me.  Today I thought of a few possible solutions and wanted to share.  These new structures could only be implemented in a designated home system and when an alliance grows large enough to occupy multiple systems they lose the ability to designate a home system.

1. Capital/SuperCap ship inhibitors.  This isn't the same thing as a cyno jammer.  Instead this is an indestructible structure that prevents all capital or larger combat ships from entering a system.   Additionally this could be tailored to just supercaps and allow the use of capitals.

2.  Population density isolator.  A structure that limits the total number of players in a system.  Numbers allowed are based on sovereign alliance total membership.  So an alliance with 50 members is allowed to have 75 total friendly (dark or light blue) in system while neutrals and below are limited to 50.  The owning alliance can adjust the allowed numbers up or down as they grow or decrease, but there will be a maximum allowed based on membership.

  I think those two changes would be enough to make null sec appeal to small alliances and see a large number of systems become occupied almost overnight.  Larger groups can still take territory using siege tactics and attrition to wear down the defenders.  Defenders would have a home fleet advantage with slightly higher population.  Some jump lines would have to be adjusted to remove possible bottlenecks and there might need to be the ability to jump around a fully occupied system.  As an alliance expands, whether in population or technology, they would have to reduce the safeguards and thus expose themselves to more dangerous situations.


  1. Some feedback:

    The Deklein coalition is what you refer to as "bears with teeth". Actually, so is the DRF. That part of it is working out well. Those bears don't necessarily pay rent, or if they do, not necessarily in ISK. the DRF renters pay rent in supercapitals while the Deklein Coalition has no renters at all (all members required to participate in CTAs if possible).

    Current Sov warfare tactics give the evac time you were looking for. Taking a system is usually a minimum of 5 days work.

    You could implement a supercap inhibitor, but that negative drawbacks. First, it limits the lawlessness of null sec, and secondly, it severely hampers any defense. Repairing stations and IHUBs is tedious even with fleets of capitals. It would be impossible with just sub-capitals. Third, this would limit systems where supers and titan could be constructed.

    Population Density has an issue as well. Many of the route through null-sec are pipes, ie one ingate and one outgate. Moving a fleet through that would not work out. When fleets are not moving through systems however, the average system has a population of about or under 20. Only trade hubs and staging systems have higher densities, usually under 100. The density issue also restricts fleet movements via titan bridging, as it's common for fleets of 200+ to wait on a titan to be bridged to another location. In the DRF's case, you can extend that number as high as 800, and in the Deklein Coalition's case, as high as 700.

    So, in summary, some of what you'd like is there already, and some of what you want conflicts so strongly with what exists that it could well be impossible to implement.

  2. I think it's more about what CCP wants then what I desire. I'm perfectly content to play the game and not live in null, but that seems to be something CCP is against. They had a blog a while back about where they want null to go and part of that was making life easier on small alliances. That alone would require a significant adjustment to current mechanics in nullsec completely altering the systems involved.

    As for IHUBs and station repair. I would guess that if capitals are restricted then there would be no need for an IHUB and any station would be the NPC type. The small alliance system would be more about having a staging area to participate in null activity and less about building the system up under current standards.

    As for the bears with teeth comment. I was referring to the breed of bear that lives in high sec with limited foray's into low and little to do with null. Someone who likes the safety of empire but enjoys going on a roam when they feel like a little danger. Low and null don't appeal to this type of bear because there is always a sense of danger and the underlying anxiety is a turn off rather than a turn on. If the term is used in other ways I wasn't aware. I've seen it in a blog used similar to how I referenced and I thought it was a common term.

    Lastly, for population density I agree with you that it would have to be adjusted to avoid restricting travel. I'd guess the small systems would probably be setup similar to the nakugard cluster with one neutral entrance system and then a fan of systems branched off of it that are connected in a spoke pattern to each other.

    Thank you for the reply though, I still have a lot to learn about null and enjoy gaining new understanding of what it's like.