I got thinking. Very dangerous I know. We're currently going through a slow period for both blogging and EVE content in the media. A bit annoying if you like reading about EVE but the truth is we're in the pre-patch doldrums pretty hardcore at the moment. Even if, as a pilot/corp/alliance planing on continuing with wormhole space regardless of what happens in 0.0 space come December first, there is not much directly that will affect me and mine one can't help but be affected by the hopes and expectations of the rest of EVE.
Lets see what we know, bit ticket items first:
- Sov changes
- Super cap changes
- Planets look revamp
- Faction and Pirate ship re-balance
- Fleet finder
- New mail client
- Moondoggie (in game browser based on chromium)
- Projectiles adjustments
This is the big one everyone is holding their breath over. What we know for sure so far is that they are doing away with POS being the space holding mechanism. What we know about the new mechanism is that there are going to be 3 major features to system sovereignty. There are claim markers - these can be anchored anywhere. I figure right in front of an offensive death star will be the common spot. Why offensive you ask? Simple because you want to shoot the people coming to kill your claim marker. Even if you're offline your POS won't be (it will work better with POS gunners obviously). This in itself will just about guarantee that dreads and carriers will be involved in any serious attempt to take system sovereignty away from someone else. Sure you can disrupt their claim and slam their system down to it's base values but actively removing them will involve cap fleets. Plan accordingly.
The second major feature will be the system hub. Still no clue where this will be located and defenses it will have etc... But the idea is by working on this item you can improve what spawns in your system and therefore what you can extract from it. This will also include things that will enable you to anchor modules like cyno jammers at POSs in the system. So the system hub will be something of high importance for any system which is intended to be exploited. Of course we still don't know the level of concentration that will be possible and the costs yet. We'll have to see how this develops.
The third major feature will be claim disruptor modules. Apparently these need to be anchored at all gates in a system in order to make a flag vulnerable to being attacked. We'll have to see how these work in conjunction with the flags to control sovereignty in a system. The initial thought is that it will make defense of hub systems easier than dead-end ones. We'll have to see how it all works out.
The Titans are loosing their existing "kill all the small fry" weapons and getting a "Exterminate that one ship NOW" button. Motherships are becoming Supercarriers and gaining fighterbombers - an anti-capital ship type of fighter drone. Look, we've already established that claim markers will probably be established at deathstar POSes (I'm pretty sure they would be less well defended at other locations). A bunch of POS gunners at such a POS would probably make mincemeat of any sub-capital fleet that attacked, so any serious attempt to dislodge a sov-holder will involve dreads. Which means that counter dread defensive fleets will be called for. This is where we'll see supercaps involved. I suspect that we'll see supercaps involved whenever a cap vs cap fight develops.
The impact of it all
This is the big question. Have a conversation with any high sec resident with 0.0 aspirations and they are pinning their hopes on this expansion providing them with the opportunity to head to 0.0. The fact is that most current large alliances may have industrial stumps but the truth is that they are 90% PvP due to the need to blob in 0.0 warfare.
The theory here is that sovereignty will equate to income for the alliances. The current reality is that moon mining equates to income for alliances.
I fail to see how this will translate unless they make moon mining part of that sovereingty. The truth is even with the changes to the relative value of moon minerals, moon mining will still account for 90% of a 0.0 alliances income. Throughout all these changes I have failed to spot any part where there are any changes to moon mining and it's mechanics per see. The truth is that moon goo in the aggregate will be just as valuable as before. The value will be better distributed amongst the moon minerals but the value itself does not look like it will change significantly. This means that an alliance will still control as much territory as it can in order to provide lines of communication between it's critical moons. Basic sovereignty does not look like it will be too expensive. So I think we'll see plenty of large alliances do the land grab thing again. The smaller entities will simply get squashed by roaming steamrollers keeping the space lanes clean between the moon systems of major entities. They won't care about developing those areas but they will care about what they will see as encroachment on their moon mineral webs.
The supercap and POS invulnerability changes should make things interesting however. All supercap yards will be permanently vulnerable. Roaming battleship gangs no longer face instant decimation at the hands of a Titan. I think we're going to see more roaming gangs. I also suspect that due to this we're going to see a resurgence of Minmatar ships on the PvP front as 0.0 becomes a game of raid and counter raid.
This is where the people wanting in on 0.0 action are going to be running into brick walls. They are going to go in thinking "I'll just go grab this quiet system over there and no one will notice". The big alliances are then going to go: "sure but pay us this much per month or we come visiting". At which point - probably a month or two down the road, we will see a new exodus back to high sec. It should however provide for a chaotic action-filled month or two mind you.
Who knows, I may be wrong but I suspect that we won't see much population difference at the end of a couple of months. We'll have to see. In the meanwhile I'll be in wormhole space.