It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that the structures we form in EVE are broadly keeping the same. Compare two different Null Sec Alliances, on opposite sides of the universe map and you will struggle to tell them apart at the fundamental level.
Both will build and emplace POS’s, both will hold sov in the same fashion using the same ships to defend them and, quite likely, the same broad alliance internal structures to administer them. There is of course a very good reason for this – we are despite EVE’s sandbox approach, remarkably constrained by its game Laws.
For example if you want to hold sov in Null Sec System A you must place a TCU there. There is no alternative.
This monoclonal, or monochromatic, system is rather unfortunate not least because Alliance A which looks like and is structured very much like is opponent Alliance B is not a particularly interesting conflict to watch. Equally if there is one, and only one, way to hold sovereignty over a system is seems logical to expect there to be one (or at least a very limited number) of ways to capture that sovereignty.
Why is blob warfare endemic? Because it works. Why does it work? Because its the best configuration to deal with the singular method available to hold sov of a system.
In Low Sec space we find the opposite scenario. There are no mechanics that allow players to lay claim over a given system and so instead a constant state of banditry and flux exists. This isn’t to say that Low Sec is more or less dangerous – rather that it is highly unpredictable when contrasted with the relatively stable state of Null Sec systems. Blob warfare is less endemic (generally) in Low Sec, although its successful enough that its use is easily borrowed from Null Sec warfare and applied sporadically to Low Sec.
Factional Warfare is a distinct case in that it operates a ‘contested’ mechanics within a low sec environment for those participating. Essentially then FW operates exclusively and in isolation to the broader mechanics of EVE to a great extent although it can create some interesting interactions when applied along side the Empire War Declaration mechanic.
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with all of this?
Well the point I’m trying to illustrate that we have at least 3 separate and unrelated mechanics to govern PVP and ownership in EVE. In their given areas they have a monochromatic effect as I’ve described above. But what if CCP allowed a variety of approaches?
Consider if you could gain a degree of ownership in Null Sec space, but using the FW mechanic of contested plex sites? Or if you could achieve a degree of sovereignty in Low Sec space using Null Sec mechanics?
If we had different methods of laying claim to a system, ANY system, we may start to see adaptive tactics as a result.
Ultimately what I would like to see is a range of approaches that could be taken to achieving degrees of ‘ownership’. A rather basic example might be as follows:
“Anarchism” – Player ownership of a system defined by the number of ship kills by corp in a given period. May be replaced by “Feudalism” – Player ownership defined by Planetary Beacon Markers (aka FW).
And so on and so forth. Rather like the old ‘Civilisation’ games a corporation or alliance could change its method of ruler-ship and the game mechanic laws that go with it depending upon their need. Build into that process a series of advantages / disadvantages to that style of ruler-ship and an inherent weakness to particular types of combat and you have a engaging and varied (non-monochromatic) element of game play.
To continue the example above the “Anarchist” ‘ideology’ requires a corporation using it to maintain a high frequency of kills over a short time span. Its vulnerable to infrequent game play, or permanent invasion forces (e.g you get camped into a station and so achieve insufficient kills) but its infrastructure light (no heavy TCUs or POSs to fuel) and easy to exploit over wide roaming areas.
Adding a layered approach to warfare across EVE – providing players with a tool box of options is, in my view, the best way forward to addressing the wider problems of Null Sec Blobs, the limits of factional warfare and the cries for an enhanced Low Sec.