Death of a Thousand Cuts
Over at Letrange’s Eve Blog Letrange has been giving a great commentary on some of the more detailed ‘nut and bolts’ of Planetary Interaction (PI) from an industrial perspective. Quite rightly he has pointed out that all star base and sovereignty structures from POS’s to tower guns will be manufactured substantially from PI materials.
Letrange of course is coming at this subject predominantly as an industrialist, and whilst he recognises the implications of this facet of PI (i.e to build a POS you’ll need “Planet Goo”) I don’t think he has quite gone far enough. You see if you just take a few more steps down this path there is the obvious conclusion:
“To build sov structures you will need ‘Planet Goo’, there fore to gain sov I need to control planets”
Which then leads on to the more subtle implication:
If you disrupt the supply of ‘Planet Goo’ you can starve an alliance of Sov structures and erase its physical presence on the battlefield.
Now Im sure many of you reading this will think that little will change – isn’t Planet Goo not just the same as any other resource that will be farmed in High Sec and jumped out to Null Sec? Well not quite. We know that the more players ‘sharing’ the resources of a planet the less they will be able to draw from it. This means that High Sec planets, and to an extent Low Sec planets, will be fairly inefficient to operate and run. Null Sec Alliances therefore will be best served by acquiring there own ‘Planet Goo’ locally from planets in their own areas of influence.
These operations of course have the potential to be interdicted and disrupted through small gang warfare. Admittedly that will not be a straight forward affair – after all blockade runners are tricky ships to catch and will be the most common vessel used to collect Planet Goo and ship it to the requisite manufacturing centres (either Stations or POS’s). But they can, and will be caught and destroyed.
This quite possibly could herald a significant shift in tactical choices available to an invading force. Currently removing an opponents POS or destroying a sentry gun or two is of no real significance. The materials to replace these are readily available from the stable high sec NPC market. But they wont be in future. Wars across the surface of EVE will radically shift the base price of the materials being used to manufacture sov structures as demand for them increases. Wars will also hinder and hamper the efforts of Null Sec dwellers in those regions to harvest and collect Planet Goo, causing a slight be crucial slump in supply.
What are the strategic ramifications of this? Well its entirely plausible that many Null Sec Alliances could die a ‘slow death of a thousand cuts’ if they are prevented from easily scooping up their own Planet Goo to replace structures lost after larger battles.
That’s a radical shift from the current style of warfare which predominantly relies upon smashing an defenders structures with overwhelming force for the ‘quick win’ and a battle of attrition.
Of course as Letrange points out most, if not all, of the major players will be stock piling vast reserves of sov infrastructure and material, so dont expect an overnight shift but in the longer term (perhaps and most enticingly around the time when DUST514 arrives) we can expect these reserves to be under pressure if not entirely depleted.
The first wars of PI and DUST514 are a way of yet, but when they arrive we can expect them to be amongst the most savage and most brutal EVE has ever seen.