Just a quickie ….
Not so long ago I would have generally agreed with the sentiment that sov null was just one big Blue Donut. Of course, the actual picture was a little more complicated than that simple analogy. But, with a combination of extensive blue lists, non-invasion pacts (NIPs) and non-aggresion pacts (NAPS) it did appear that sov null alliances and coalitions were generally content with their lot. More importantly, no one seemed to want to rock the boat. Yes, there had been the odd sabre rattle, but for the most part, conflicts were localized and completely one sided or were NIPped (see what I did there?) in the bud by a combination of meta gaming and lack of support from supposed allies.
All that changed at the beginning of June with the Odyssey expansion and the changes to R64′s. Even The Mittani was reduced to introducing the Fountain War without any role playing diatribe. For once, he was honest and simply said it was all about maintaining the level of semi-passive ISK income from moon goo needed to fund ship replacement programs and other coalition projects.
The Blue Donut was certainly no more. The subsequent Fountain War saw sov null polarize into essentially two camps: on one side we had the CFC coalition + paid friends and on the other, TEST alliance + friends “in-it-to-fight-goons”.
At the start of the Fountain War, I really thought (considering the roughly equal numbers on each side) we were in for a long and protracted dust up. I’m kicking myself now because I forgot the cardinal rule that the CFC will always fall back on: Why fight when you can meta? Don’t get me wrong, I fully accept that meta is an important aspect of the game. I guess what disappoints me is when the meta seemingly becomes the only component of the game. Anyways ….
The CFC were ultimately victorious in Fountain and the fallout from that victory will continue for some time. We’ve already seen TEST evac from Delve to Aridia, we’ve witnessed the collapse of TDC, with former member alliances essentially split between supporting (even just in principal) the CFC or N3. Hell, even the north east hasn’t been immune from the Fountain effect with ROGUE becoming SMA pets!
At this point I’d ask you to take another look at the featured image at the top of this article. The central symbol is the Taijitu, or Diagram of Ultimate Power, with the black and white sections representing yin and yang respectfully. For me, this symbol is a possible representation of sov null in the near future. I’m concerned that the West (CFC) will be happy to suckle on R64s whilst keeping the troops entertained with various hi sec deployments (ice interdiction anybody?). Over in the East (N3+PL), might they be content with renter income, seeking entertainment from hunting goonbears and the occaisional super cap hotdrop on a ratting carrier? Might we see the formation of an uneasy truce, even a phony war (Shadoo’s Delve Thunderdome) prehaps? I’m concerned that meaningful large scale conflict in sov null might be coming to an end.
As a prelude to the Odyssey expansion, CCP Fozzie had written a dev blog explaining some of the detail proposed in the resource shake up. Near the end of the T2 and Moon Mining section he wrote:
Phase Two is not the end of our plans for Tech Two industry and mineral collection. We are not entirely satisfied with the mechanics of moon mining itself and would like to make changes in the future to provide more opportunities for active gameplay that can be disrupted by small groups of pilots. However we are confident that Phase Two will both improve the health of the game as a whole and lay a stronger foundation for the future iterations.
I can only hope CCP Fozzie and the rest of his team will be keeping a close eye on sov null and be bold enough to go forward with further moon goo iterations (depletion & re-seed would be an excellent first step) to further drive large scale conflict in sov null.
I’m also wary of the many calls to improve null sec industry without some level of sustained null conflict. I can’t help but think the attraction to improved null facilities is a ruse to make null more lucrative for potential sov null tenants and therefore boost the potential income for the sitting landlord. Might this be why the CFC have suddenly gone all renter friendly?
So what are your thoughts? Did I bulk buy at the tin foil hat store or do you think large scale conflict in sov null has a rosy future?