July 22, 2015

Nullsec Eve: Dying or needing Rebirth?

We're all used to the "Eve is Dying" meme, whether you're one of the pessimists or you just laugh at the meme.  If you live in Gal/Cal FW zone like me, some nights are quiet but other nights there's far more content can you can handle.  Our null cousins don't seem to have the "too much content" problem though.  If you follow the Player Count on eve-offline there really is no question that the average number of players logged in is dropping.  What's harder is disentangle is the effect of the consistent CCP push against bots and multi-boxers.  I don't think I buy that the player count is the same thing as the opportunity to find content, given those factors, but that is indeed what each player has to judge from their area of the game.  So as we look at the game, what's going on here?


So FozzieSov has rolled out and to my ears sounds like a success.  From following along on the eve media it sounds like the results were pretty unsurprising.  The Imperium (nee CFC) had already contracted and was organized and ready, so people hoping to troll them were beaten off without spawning a full control-node event.  Others who are stretched more widely did not fare as well.  You can follow along with the new pages on DOTLAN to see how such campaigns are going (because DOTLAN is awesome and we should all donate to keep Wollari going).  So there is definitely some content generation going on there.

Content Density

But the content density in null-sec isn't where it is in other areas of the world.  I'm looking at stats from Wednesday morning of 7/22 before work (and it may be much later by the time I finish this blog and post it) but here are the regional stats from Dotlan.
So the most violent nullsec region is Providence.  Click on that link to see what the kills look like across that region.  Let's skip down the Empire column a bit to clear the ganking around Jita - we'll see a list of Gal/Cal FW regions.  Take a look at Black Rise.  Now these are live links, so they'll change by the time you read this.  It may be interesting to look at this a month after the blog goes live in fact.

But what we see is that Providence is a big region that has a couple hotspots, mostly in one constellation (but not from a sov event that shows on the Dotlan list).  By hotspot here we mean more than 50 but less than 100 kills of PC ships.

Black Rise is a big different, having more kills in a smaller region.  There's a FW contest going back and forth in Pavanakka with 379 ship kills, with neighboring systems in the 50-100 range.  There's another big hotspot in Kedama of 190 ship kills, again with nearby systems being about as hot or hotter than the big fight in Provi.  There's even another spot over in Nennamaila with 53 ship kills.

Heck, look at the Gal/Cal FW zone - it's all lit up.  The Amarr/Min FW zone isn't quite as consistently hot, but still better than null (which is also why GorskiCar's FW experiment in that side is very different from Gal/Cal).

Why is FW space so much more fun?

So why is FW space so much more content rich?  Why are these FW guys and gals having so much damn fun while null can't get moving?  I've heard complaints about FozzieSov bringing FW mechanics to null-sec, but what the real goal was I suppose was to bring FW fun to null-sec.

1) In Faction War anyone can just move in.  We've recently had Brave return to lowsec, in the lowsec system of Aunsou in Placid just outside of FW.  We have Snuff (who has moved around a bit recently) and Snigg and other pirates, and that even before the actual faction warfare itself (which I've previously written has more action than the top nullsec alliances).  The idea for FozzieSov is to make this possible, to be able to pull down a constellation for yourself with a "small" group, but the entry bar is certainly higher compared to any 10-man corp deciding to move into a lowsec station.  You can't get evicted from a lowsec station as a pirate, though you can as a FW gang - but you at least theoretically have the backing of others in your faction.  The TMC-driven "null contract" pushed the idea of NPC stations in every region that might make that easier (if they aren't all constantly bubbled), and it seems the concept of Freeholds was suppose to support this, but we'll see if it really happens.

2) In Faction War you can contribute with smaller ships.  You will see FW fleets with T2 logi supporting battleships/battlecruisers/HACs, but the majority of the fighting is more destroyers and frigates.  This again makes the entry bar more accessible.  In null-sec you used to have to have caps and supers, pretty much full stop, in order to grind down those massive HP structures even before you get into fighting neighbors.  In FozzieSov that part is gone, but the cultural feel is still there, and you know the escalation can go all the way up to supers, so if you want to hold space you have to consider that.  At least there is a step up in that smaller ships can mount an Entosis link that will get a fight going (example video).

3) In Faction War the attitude is different.  FW pilots are just less risk-averse, in part because of points 1 and 2 above, but also just as a culture.  I see people making YouTube videos of roaming null, but it seems often time those people are not null citizens.  I hear a lot of about policies of docking up when the intel channel light up, instead of going for the fight.  I don't hear about the casual, fun fights in null that happen in FW on gates and in plexes.  This is a bigger, deeper thing - unless the people who are the cultural leaders in null really push a change in attitude I don't think there's much CCP can do with FozzieSov.

So it seems like FozzieSov is moving in the right direction to help bring the fun that FW has to nullsec, but there is a big portion of that which has to come from the players.  Without a Cultural Revolution in null, perhaps it's not so much "Eve is Dying" as "Null is Dying (and needs to be reborn)"


  1. If you'd taken these stats a year ago the most violent systems in all of eve were in fact in Catch, in Null Sec. But those weren't about SOV. Mostly you would have been looking at small to medium sized gangs roaming and consistently finding fights in GE-, HED-GP or BUZ-DB. And it came about because at that stage at least the average line pilots of the area were known to still undock and take the fights.

    1. So you'd agree that the cultural area is a big part of it, or is there another aspect that I'm missing perhaps?

    2. Quite a few people actually built up a banter with the 'hostile' fleet leaders. For after a while you get to recognize the regular names and build up a rapport. The inevitable reply was always "because you undock". Nothing fancy or far-fetched. The reason they were willing to travel 46 jumps or even permanently stage out of stain was because when you find someone who is willing to toss their assets at you for the sake of something to do... the word spreads. It may take them a week to move after you. But they would even put up with 6+ days of jump fatigue to follow fights like that around Eve. And that was the strangest phenomenon to watch.

      On the contrary a lot of null sec have learned to as they call it 'weaponise boredom' to keep their wallets intact. Understand the kind of ships these people routinely roll out just to play N+1 would bankrupt a faction warfare alliance in under a week. This form of risk management leads to green kill boards (since they only ambush or hot drop) but it's also a strong disincentive for any gang roaming past their gates. There are either no fights to be had, or lone ganks, or you discover what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a fleet of 600 plus.

      As to activity itself I can attest to Fozziesov requiring you to be formed up on a nightly basis. However right now nobody's making big moves on the shall we call it big 5. Because they either prepared. Or they would rub out alliances in a matter of only a week. But everyone's testing the trollceptor concepts to death on low-index peripheral systems. There's a lot of action, but very few actual confirmed kills. Trollceptors don't hold grid. They just fly around until they find relatively unprotected entosis ships. What you're not seeing from the statistics by their absence are the 150+ size fleets who go about mending the damage. Sweeping away the kiddie litter and linking funny or risky images to each other as they wait for that egg timer to wind down. The T3D's & usual anti-tackle do make a fearful slaughter if they catch up to the trollceptors though... but generally the trollceptors just run unless they are unlucky with lag. That's Null sec right now.

    3. I'm definitely hearing a lot of culture in the responses (this thread and others). So why do people roll out in super-expensive fleets in null rather than what we might in FW? Is it because you'll inevitably get dropped by a massive T3 fleet if you don't? If so, that reinforces Heretic Caldari's point below about not having a way to restrict the size of a fight like FW plexes do.

    4. "What you're not seeing from the statistics by their absence are the 150+ size fleets who go about mending the damage.... The T3D's & usual anti-tackle do make a fearful slaughter if they catch up to the trollceptors though... That's Null sec right now."

      So,you're using 150 players to counter one player's work?

      Where were these players when that guy was entosising the first time?

      Anyway, you don't need 150 guys, you need 5 guys to clear the second stage, and perhaps a 50 man fleet on standby to counter the possibility of a 10 man roaming gang. The key response to Aegis Sov is proactive defense.

      And, honestly you shouldn't be in space you can't hold. Alternatively, try basing out of separate stations.

      Rob K.

    5. I think it's less the need for 150 to counter 1 rather than the 150 needed on standby to counter the possibility of escalation from hot drop o'clocks.

    6. If you don't have an eye on the map as a fleet commander to notice what is going on in adjacent systems, or, you know, scouts, then perhaps you deserve to be hotdropped?

      It seems to me that this is another example of 'bad practise = bad result'. Slow-burn extended formups worked in Dominion, because there were so many delays and timers to concede before sov-loss. Now we're focussing on flash form, high impact fast fleets.

      Is it any wonder Goons are now focussing on a 'micro-gang' sig?

      Rob K.

  2. I dont agree with your view.
    I personal,y think fozziesov is a failure. We (read: i) in nullsec are not interested in fighting for FW Nodes etc. We want to fight for space to live in, fight for things that mean something and know that if I stay up or alarmclock for this fight, it will help the alliance/corp/me in the long run.
    Currently, there is no value in fighting for Sov and trying to protect it. Its too skewed to the attackers advantage, and too little benefit for defenders.
    And the whole nodes stuff is just silly.

    1. Wow Anon, a failure after what a week?
      * Fight for space to live in: check! not changed by FozzieSov
      * Fights for things that mean soemthing. check! not changed by FozzieSov
      * Is I alarm clock it will help my group. check! not changed by FozzieSov

      So since none of those are different, what I'm hearing is that you'd rather go semi-afk and shoot the arbitrary game markers that control sov for hours than be active and circle an arbitrary game marker with the much more real chance that a fight will come to you...

    2. Your anon commenter is pretty funny. Complaining about stuff he now has in the thinking he had it before. I live in 0.0 from time to time and always was the prime reaction to small gangs: they are too few to threaten our structures, just dock up and wait until they gone. I am very glad that this finally comes to an end. Back in 2013 I already complained that there is no real reason to respond to attackers as long as it is not a full blown invasion. (old and locked: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=2544126#post2544126)

      With the new Aegis Sov the small Gang can threaten your space. And YOU as a member of the alliance “mean something” to your alliance if you ship up and drive of the intruders every single time they try to threaten your space. The importance of each individual is now greater than ever before. If your guys log in at the ping to defend you have an advantage. Alarmclocking to defend or attack command nodes in a whole constellation will make it even more valuable as the alliance will need multiple fleets able to hold the grid for entosi.

  3. You forgot one very important difference between null and FW. We have a direct reason to go out in space and fight, we have plexes all around us asking us to undock and stay in space and rewarding us for doing so.

    Although we do have some problems with that system (people can afk-farm in those plexes in unfitted shop while ratting at least ask for some commitment in ISKs and efforts), at least that one encourage the creation of PvP encounters.
    That and you have Sov system with direct advantages to those capturing systems, as the more systems you get, the easier it is to reach a new tier and the more stations you have to help stage future invasions.

    Pretty much we are surrounded by incentives.
    Now the Amarr-Minmatar warzone shows that the system is not perfect, it can be gamed into a farming occupation and there is very few incentives for fighting back against overwhelming force.

    1. Good point. You know, I've often wondered if there could be some Alliance LP to reward being part of the capture team, but I haven't thought of where it would go from there so I haven't made a post about it. I guess the thought has always been that the players decide what happens in null, so if it matters to the Alliances to hold the space then they should surround their people with incentives to keep it. I don't have too much of an opinion on the value of the null-space itself since I haven't lived there, and perhaps I'm misguided by all the talk people had of 100M/hr+ Afktar ratting.

  4. From my time in null I found the reason not to take fights to be primarily a sov null culture thing. Many, many corps and alliances got their undies in a twist over "stupid" losses, so that discouraged "non-sanctioned/non-organized" fights. As important, perhaps even more so, is the geography. In FW, there are the plexes and mission beacons to fight over and they're there pretty much all the time, with hard-coded escalation limits. In null, unless you were structure bashing or camping, it was awfully hard to pin someone down to fight. It's just not fun roaming for hours looking for fights when local announces your arrival.

    Plus, I think there's also a bit of a knee-jerk reaction against "FW in null". I flew in Calmil for a bit after I left null and I had a blast. It's just a matter of adjusting one's mentality.

    Finally, it was my observation/experience that a great deal more of those in null really want lots of unimpeded PVE income spiced up by the occasional PVP. FW has its farmers, too, but it's a lot safer/easier to be a FW LP farmer in a plex than it is to be a null PVE ratter when hostiles are in system.

    1. I agree that the plex size restrictions probably help a lot. You can still have a 20-man Harpy fleet rain down on your lone Algos in a plex, but that's different than having a T3 wing suddenly appearing while the same Algos is trying to Entosis a node.