Wednesday, November 18, 2009

EVE Dominion and Wormholes

Just thought I would capture my thoughts on the recent update to the information CCP is publishing on Dominion and Null-Sec colonization, from a wormholer's perspective.
NOTE: All of what follows is a personal perspective and should in no way be considered fact or any kind of instruction as what YOU, the casual reader, should do. In stating such, I hope to quell the influx of rants that would otherwise cascade into my blog comments admin ;-P
With the capabilities provided regarding spawn rates of high-quality mining and profession sites, Dominion brings me back to a major reason why I initially got very interested in Apocrypha and W-space, which is to say that I wanted to (begin to) gain experience in a NullSec environment. I had done my proverbial time on HighSec missioning, grew my skills, and became adept at plexing in LowSec for those high-ISK yield C-Type modules. The latter gave me experience in the use of Local, DScan, Probing, Safespots, etc. After that, I really began thinking about NullSec and my desire to get out there.

There was only one key issue there - most NullSec corps/alliances are not looking to bring on Non-PvP Plexers and Mission Runners! They want straight-up PvP and to some extent straight-up Industrialists. They are not really interested in "Please charge me 5% Tax rate to allow me to Rat/Mine/Plex in your territory" pilots.

Why? I was never really sure why this model was not interesting to NullSec corps, that is until I understood that they have all the riches they need from a select group of Moons, and as such do not have ANY need for little minions generating fractional ISK to support their capital ship costs.

However, with the purported changes coming in Dominion regarding Moon-Goo yields (huge drops in ISK Yield), and with the model identified by Dominion regarding "use it or lose it" system upgrades, the opportunity for small corps to "Rent Out" NullSec systems now becomes feasible and potentially highly lucrative for the major NullSec stakeholders. As long as these major NullSec Corps and Alliances continue to provide territorial defense, a new sources of good income can be tapped in the form of "NullSec Colonists".

For example, given the options of:
  • A - Commit major ISK to a colonization of a (growingly rare) Class 3 W-space system with consistent neighboring spawns
  • B - Commit major ISK to a colonization of a systematically developed and upgraded NullSec system
I would be excited to give Option B a try. The risks are different of course, but for those of us actively looking to slowly join the ranks of large fleet battles or even regional skirmishes to defend our (and our neighbor's) colonies, I think Dominion carries a huge opportunity. I don't want or need CONCORD protection - I actually enjoyed Low-Sec. The problem with Low-Sec is that it is not really colonize-able, short of a Providence-like uber-corporation controlling the area.

As a matter of fact, Dominion itself feels more like a Providence model, albeit with systematically controllable elements to upgrade your local grounds, rather than constantly roaming ala Mongolian style.

I am actually seeing Dominion as a possible next step towards NullSec, Defensive skirmish PvP, and eventually Fleet PvP.

(edit) I also wanted to point out Letrange's post, which I read after publishing my post and thought was well crafted.

Fly Safe!


  1. In my experience, nullsec alliances (aside from CVA) absolutely despise colonists. At least in the north and the southeast, the relationship between colonists and spaceholding alliances is more like the relationship between a shopkeeper and a mobster than between a renter and a landlord. The colonists will quickly find out that the protection money barely buys protection from the spaceholding alliance, let alone their enemies. Unless the spaceholding alliance is extraordinarily charitable, the colonists will be harassed by both the alliance's enemies and friends.

    That contempt will not vanish with Dominion. For a group of players who pride themselves on their independence, the new fees issued by Dominion will feel like a punishment, like a bribe that they're forced to pay. And if paying that bribe means that they either pack up or accept colonists in their midst, I doubt that the contempt will dissipate. What will happen when a group of soft targets is introduced among angry PvPers who are unable to exact their vengeance against CCP? I can guess. With so much chaos, someone will do something stupid. And when they do, things will turn nasty.

    Of course, things are not all gloom and doom. A few of the new Providences will probably survive. If that's enough for CCP, great.

  2. Shirrath - Wow, that is certainly a gloomy perspective, but glad you posted it, as it may very well be the future of Null-Sec. Time will tell, I suppose, as all CCP releases since I have been aboard have come with good and bad changes, the latter typically work themselves out. Interesting times...

  3. I really don't have enough nul-sec experience to really judge what will happent at this point.

    It is interesting to see just how divided CCP and a number of players (not all) are on this part of the Dominion expansion. The most vocal has been the Goonies but you do wonder how much of that is a deliberate propoganda campaign to protect their own interests and how much of it is valid.

    However, it has not just been the Goonies who have spoken up - other notable alliance members have also been vocal and critical of the upcoming changes.

    The most recent dev post I think has helped clarify many of the more contentious issues - but what probably concerns me the most and others is the fundamental change and I think concept that underlies the new change: you are moving nul-sec away from a passive income source to a "active income source". Where alliances will have to rely more on players to provide them with their income rather than passive sources that players can fight over.

    I do wonder if this model will work. It is almost like forced labor in order to be a part of an alliance, rather than participation in order to fight over passive income sources. Will Eve players go for this model and enjoy it? I really don't know.

  4. Again, I am admittedly not experienced in NullSec, but I have always held that huge, unpopulated tracts of NullSec do not make sense.

    Although many NullSec dwellers have commented that vast tracts of NullSec are unpopulated for a reason (that they have no real value), the Dominion system upgrade approach really makes any system potentially profitable.

    I just cannot see how this is a bad thing, but again, I have a limited perspective on this.

    Also, it was made clear that all systems with sovereignty will come "pre-populated" with the TCU, but the corp/alliance will have a week to deploy the Infrastructure Hub and related upgrades to maintain their jump bridges and cyno jammers. That could make for some serious logistics issues and some juicy convoys of transports carrying all of the necessary modules in from HighSec markets.

    Give me a small corp in the extreme backwaters of NullSec, far-far away from Empire space, and I can build out a profitable colony, transporting goods/ships/salvage/etc. via wormhole paths to Empire space...

    Interesting times.

  5. I also have very little experience with nullsec, but as a general rule for eve, I find change is good, weather it be good change or bad change, it keeps things from getting stale. I say if you want to make a go at nullsec, go for it, weather its a success or a blatint falure its somthing diferent, and therefore something fun...

  6. Although many NullSec dwellers have commented that vast tracts of NullSec are unpopulated for a reason (that they have no real value), the Dominion system upgrade approach really makes any system potentially profitable.
    No system is absolutely worthless. The deciding factor is the opportunity cost: What potential benefits are you missing because you chose to do something else instead. In other words, if there's anything else that provides more benefit for less effort, people will do that instead. While there are individual exceptions, alliance leaderships at least try to be rational and maximize their own benefit. All those wrecked capital fleets and bitter rivalries in nullsec were a result of the simple fact that until now, R64 moons were so overwhelmingly profitable that almost any cost was worth it. While I do agree with the equalizing of R64 moons to not make them exclude every other activity, the trouble is that the figures that CCP initially put out were dramatically reducing the viability of all of nullsec, making the relative opportunity cost much higher. Logistics, politics and security are costs that are unique to nullsec, and thus profitability of nullsec needs to be able to offset those. Hence the panic when the initial number-crunching revealed that nullsec would be slightly less profitable than L4 missionrunning. If CCP had gone through with those numbers, then the opportunity cost would have been pushed beyond the point of profitability. And that in turn would have triggered an exodus of profit-minded players away from nullsec, not opening it up as it was intended.

    Currently, we're in a cycle of tweaks, numbercrunching and tweaks. I have no doubt about CCP being able to iron out an acceptable compromise for now, and they have touted the flexibility of the new system from the game designers' point of view. Indeed, even if the initial Dominion implementation would prove to be off the mark, the infrastructure would be in place to finetune the viability of nullsec in ways New Eden has never seen before.

  7. Well stated Shirrath - I suppose my angle on all of this assumes that based on the final outcome of the R64 yield changes and the new costs, that there would be a true need to augment the respective corp/alliance active and passive ISK yields with taxed colonists.

    If these NullSec corps can retain their current level of monthly income by moon goo + upgrading specific systems, then there will be no need for additional revenue sources, just like it is currently. To me, that would be a Dominion failure.

  8. Shirrath's comments on the views and actions of the landlord towards the pet corps/alliances in its region are unfortunately, spot on. Most likely, this will continue to be the case, but it doesn't have to be. It all depends on the carebears.

    I made a half way joking post a while back entitled "Dominion: Rise of the Carebear". People need to really think about the alliance income. In the past, pvp alliances didn't care about their pets because they really didnt have to. The income from the moons made them self sufficient. Pet fees were just icing on the cake.

    If even after the moon mineral rebalance, pvp alliances are still able to be self sufficient, nothing will change, and carebears will still be 3rd rate citizens. IIIIFFFF, they are actually dependant upon the tax revenue of their pets, they will need to fill thier space with carebears to finance their wars.

    This is where you will see a difference between a smart carebear corp, and a spineless one. The pvp alliances are going to try and cram down a huge tax on thier pets. If I was running a carebear corp, I'd say, no thanks on that huge tax, I'm putting my corp up for auction to the alliance offering the lowest tax rate. ANNND, I'd want to see a ship replacement program for my carebears if their pvp defense was crap and they were non-stop allowing reds to get in and disrupt the care bear activities :) Granted, I know this last piece is a stretch, but I would definately be looking for a good alliance with low taxes. Why bother to move out to null sec for more income than empire if the pvp alliance just taxes it away so that they can have cap ship fights for free?

    Anonymous Merc.