Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Tyranny Rises Again

When I was in high school we were given a book - The Tyranny of Distance - to read. The context was the implications and impacts of Australia being on the other side of the world to Old Blighty. Ironically enough, here I am, living in Perth, and experiencing it first-hand in the modern world.

Extra-ironically enough, we see it being reintroduced in EVE with the Long Distance Jump Changes dev blog.

The problem, or shall we say one of the many problems, with nullsec as it stands now is the great blue donut of the GSF and CFC and, well, everyone out there. This is EVE's Pax Americana - an artificial peace brought about by the infinite force projection of annihilatory force across the whole globe and the threat of imposition of it by the single sole power (although, of course, China and Russia provide a reasonable counterpoint IRL).

Nevertheless, discounting the dissimilarities and realpolitik, in EVE, you have a reasonable analogue to ICBM's in the form of PL, CFC and N3 (+/- BL and Shadow) super and dread blobs which can, with proper intel and boredom and Jabber pings, assemble irresistible force more or less at a moment's notice. Cue B-R5RB, Asakai, etcetera, which everyone holds aloft as the pinnacle of achievement of the MMO, and discounts the number of times super capitals gank stuff or small entities get crushed instantly by larger ones, or the stratification and stagnation of nullsec or, as pointed out by CCP, the fact no one really commits small capital fleets because of the bogeyman of PL, Goons, etcetera.

These negatives are clearly a price paid for the rare mega-fight. CCP has decided to begin making the elite pay a greater price to hold their Empire together. Arguably, there will be some additional smaller entities feeling they can take a greater risk and nibbling around the edges, but let us not forget that even thought Tyranny of Distance described the effects of being at the literal end of the world at the end of the British Empire, the Australians didn't rebel because it took 6 months to get a letter back to mam. The Empire held together, and Australia held truck with the values of Empire despite the isolation and the laughable scarcity of British protection.

The same will become true in nullsec. I wouldn't expect any of this realistically addresses the Blue Donut, as long as diplomacy and commonality of purpose is maintained within the CFC, blah blah. Sure, you may be further out and logistics may be difficult (cue wormholes, lets be honest) and force projection may be nerfed, allowing raiders to come in RF a few TCU's or smash and grab, but it's not hard to track down an aggressor entity and for the big blob of 80 supers and Titans to go pay them a visit and give them overwhelming retribution. Yes, more fights, but no real change to the status quo.

It's like if Russia raided Sydney during the Crimean War; a surprise fleet and a small army of Tartars could have landed in the colony, taken the city, and the far-off annihilaatory force of the British Fleet could have done nothing about it. The British would have sent a fleet from Cape Town and an army and taken the colony back. A terrible nuisance, chaps, but nothing a bit of biffo won't fix. Then a voyage up the globe to Vladivostok and bloody the nose of the borscht eaters! Empire control maintained.

In fact, the jump cooldowns and timers which cannot be washed by clone jumping are more penurious to smaller entities (1-10? caps) than the larger ones.

The first recourse will  be mathematics. Staging bases and staging systems will be changed as soon as Dotlan updates or creates a travel time calculator to factor in the cooldown and jump fatigue timers. This will rapidly cause the major entities (like, they've probably already got it sussed) to reposition assets in the key regions and constellations to address the tactical and strategic opportunities they want to exploit. Maybe there's a tradeoff for PL between camping Osoggur gate like fuckheads 23.75/7 and being available to teabag the whole of Venal like a bogeyman for a week. Can't do both with one toon, have to choose. A Good Thing, I'd argue.

Secondly, as highlighted, jump clowns and ship caches will be a thing. This holds true only for capitals, not supers and titans, as you can't dock those bad boys and can't really deal with them besides having sitting alts. Which is of course an option; have a Super toon in system A, a sitter alt in System A and a super in System A, and then a super and sitter toon in system B. Jump clown from A to B, job done. The effect of this may be another great surge in supercap building to provide the hulls for the alts, but it is a little inefficient in the sense that you are taking a main between two ships, and require 3 toons.

Lets be brutally honest here - no matter how CCP blocks off the workarounds for any individual toon to transit from the drone-fucking slave camps of Perrigen to deep Stain for a gank inside of 3 minutes, there is one workaround that CCP cannot block off, and that is having two fully fledged super pilots and two supers. In fact, some people basically already have this anyway.

The idea of moving capitals through gates (and was that a hint of highsec caps on the horizon?) is both hilarious and ridiculous. The thing about cap fleets is their ability to lurk (possibly cloaked next to their depot) a region or several constellations away from the likely battle, ready to hot drop in. The very idea of super-slowboating a cap through lowsec, to be pointed on a gate by a daredevil with an execquror, is just...well, someone will do it, but it's kind of defeating the purpose of capital ships  as we know it.

True, the Tyranny of Distance will  have an effect, but not on the elites. The small raider/harassing groups will have a set of options opened up for them for guerilla warfare which is ultimately pointless in the sov game (timers, dude, and being tracked back home and assfucked hardcore and dry), and be given many and varied ways to trap themselves for super ganks by the big boys (timed out on POS or station), but to break the Blue Donut will require a whole other set of changes.


  1. Well if you live in NPC null you have less to fear with regards to retaliation after you deploy for a week of sov holder harassment.

  2. True. NPC nullsec exists as a small remnant habitat for nullsec experiences which don't involve gobbling cock, paying to gobble cock, or being a giant cock. It is a place where, in theory, noobs and small corps can go to do PVE nullsec style, without sov. It's a place where, in theory, smaller PVP entities can base out of to experience the tactical options of unrestricted PVP, without having to engage in the Sov dynamic. This of course includes raiding sov nullsec or, in theory, basing in NPC null prior to an assault to gain a piece of Sov.

    NPC null works like Hawaii did for the US in WW2 or Malta did for the British in the Med - an unskinable aircraft carrier. It's no surprirse that PL regularly stages for fights in Blood space (Esoteria, Delve) from NPC Delve. Aside from a strategic couple of systems, and excluding BOT space, PL has very little sov, as it's not in their business model, which is;
    - have nothing for the enemy to attack, thereby freeing you up to
    - just sit on Jabber playing DOTA, LOL, World of Tanks, and wait for a login opportunity to gank (aka the Fishing Fleet)
    - con hordes of numpties into joining Snigg and make the scrubs "deploy" like a legion of cannon fodder in their sub caps and whatever else, to do the boring work if boring work needs doing

    It's not a bad business model. Pity it's going to really take it in the arse.


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