Welcome to the twenty-fifth installment of the EVE Blog Banter , the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux . The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week or so to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!
This month's topic comes to us from @Tetraetc - " Tetra's EVE Blog " - who asks: " Have Alliances and the sovereignty system limited the amount of PVP and RP potential in Null sec? Imagine a Null Sec where anyone could build outposts wherever. Would the reduction of the alliance game mechanic, and the removal of the sovereignty game mechanics (or the modifcation of it from Alliance level to Corp level for that matter) force more PVP into Null sec, or would giant power blocs like the NC still form themselves?"
I don't feel like an expert on this topic, to be honest. But having just spent six months in nullsec, it's of interest nonetheless, so here are my thoughts.
Alliances - good
Nullsec without alliances.. not going to happen. Whether the game mechanics support it or not, there will always be groups of pilots 'with an understanding', there will be blue/red lists on forums. You can't remove that from New Eden, whether you like it or not.
Alliances in itself aren't a problem, really. I have found it very useful to be in Saints amongst Sinners alliance; our corp couldn't have entered nullsec without their help. Alliances are a great way of introducing pilots to nullsec and maintain some sort of stability in a certain area of space.
Large alliances - not so good..
It's this 'certain area of space' that is becoming a problem in my opinion. The large power blocs (consisting of a multitude of alliances and corps) with powerful (super)cap fleets are often able to project power across large parts of the cluster, by utilizing cynos and jump bridges. They can be on your doorstep, kill your POS for lolz, if they so desire - and unless you have an equally powerful cap fleet, there's not much you can do but keep systems cynojammed 24x7, which is a nuisance in itself. Even without supercaps, the large power blocs have accumulated so much wealth they can keep throwing stealth bombers and conventional fleets at you, without bleeding dry anytime soon.
No viable nullsec sov for smaller entities
In other words, a smaller corp or alliance can't really claim sov somewhere, and build it's POSes or stations, unless they are aligned with a large power bloc, either as pet, renter or ally. If they tried going it alone, they would probably not survive for long, unless perhaps, the space they claim is strategically utterly unimportant or worthless from an economical point of view. But even then someone will try to collect rent, because 'region x belongs to them'.
This is where the large empty swathes of nullsec Helicity mentions, come into play. These mostly deserted systems could easily support a number of smaller alliances (read: thousands of pilots) but as long as all nullsec space is divided between the large power blocs, there's not much chance of that happening. Nullsec won't be better occupied or developed as long as these large dominating blocs exist.
Break the bloc
Alliances aren't the issue in nullsec, the power blocs (basically anything the size of IT in 2010 or with 'coalition' in it's name) are. Their very existence keeps nullsec in a stranglehold, driving smaller alliances and corps either out of nullsec or in a perpetual state of pet/renter, which isn't doing anyone any good.
And now that IT alliance is (pretty much) history, you'd have to wonder what the future of nullsec is - a handful of (non-CCP!) alliance leaders get to determine what's happpening there... ? This can not be the intention of CCP, and unless something dramatic happens, I wouldn't be surprised to see some Icelandic intervention sooner or later. For nullsec to become alive again, the large blocs must fall.
Goons, unpredictable as ever..?
On the bright side.. after Goonswarm defeated BoB a few years ago, they lost their purpose, their goal. They became complacent and stagnant, and very nearly died; their current leadership has learned some valuable lessons then. Therefore, I can't see Goonswarm fall back to just maintaining the status quo, divide space with a few other guys and act as a landlord to renters. It's just not in their best long term interest. I would suspect them to pull off some sort of stunt in the near future - if nothing else of interest happens. Think an invasion, a standings reset.. remember, you read it here first ;-)
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