“Dr Eyjo is particularly worried about the drop in PvP activity as this is the driving force behind EVE’s economy, it would seem that new players are not moving into the sovereignty PvP of 0.0 but would rather play the more PvE focussed Wormhole game. This may be due to 0.0 having become rife with supercapital blobs with victory determined by the size of the fleet brought to a battle rather than any kind of strategic or tactical consideration”
“The 0.0 game of EVE is seen by many as what make EVE what it is, and since Dominion it has become increasingly homogenized. Victory is determined by sheer weight of numbers rather than tactical and strategic brilliance. Dominion was supposed to place limits on the amount of space an alliance and provide opportunities for smaller corporations and alliances to gain a foothold on the frontiers. Neither of these have been the case. Dominion failed”.
“It was suggested that there could be more encouragement towards the use of smaller more tactical fleets by the introduction of smaller targets. These objectives could not necessarily affect the sovereignty status of a system but would impact the sovereignty holders in other ways such as resource theft or infrastructure damage. The current mechanic only allows for the destruction of station services and these have so many hitpoints that it is not feasible to go after them with anything less than a blob. It was agreed by both the CSM and CCP that shooting at near invulnerable structures is incredibly boring, and more should be done to bring more excitement to the 0.0 game“. Excerpts from ‘IamKeithNeilson’ Dec 2010 CSM Summit observations.
I’m not going to make any apology for so blatantly pulling these quotes from Mandrill’s excellent review of the December 2010 summit. What I do find interesting, no wait…alarming, is that these factors identified by the CSM and CCP are so astoundingly obvious. There has long been the argument, most often expressed on the EVE Online forums that greater numbers and size should win. This argument operates from the basis that those able to co-operate and co-ordinate the most raw numbers have succeeded at some fundamental level of waging warfare.
This argument is false.
Firstly, if we examine just the concept of ‘co-ordination and co-operation should = win’ we must assume that this is difficult or requires the application of significant skill. This might be the case in certain circumstances but we shouldn’t forget that EVE, as an MMO (with the focus on the term Massively) is designed to enable and support co-operation. The tools that an internet based game provides all of the key elements to enable co-operation and co-ordination. Communication is instant, information abundant. In military parlance this act of co-operative play is called C2 standing for “command and control”. C3 (the next stage) is Command, Control and Communication. The sheer power of networked systems will mean that the final ‘C’ for C4 (command, control, communication, computers) should come as no surprise.
Military forces around the world have invested billions in trying to replicate the forth C – computing – in real world conflicts and yet within EVE this is a given. The power of ‘computing’ or networked operations is so great because is amplifies and hastens the previous qualities commanding, controlling and communicating.
Secondly the argument assumes that larger numbers should win purely on the basis of numeracy. If I place my 1000 pygmies against your one elephant I should win, simply through weight of numbers. For a considerable period of time in military history this thinking was the norm. At its most basic level this concept was termed attrition warfare- the act of simply wearing down an opponent through numbers. This attitude lasted up until the First World War, when the roughly evenly matched protagonists realised that something new was required to break a stalemate; either a new technology or a new way of thinking tactically.
Manoeuvre warfare is the modern term (although you can point to many examples through history of this conceptual approach being applied). The most famous example of manoeuvre warfare is the use of deception and the Trojan Horse. Applying such tactics in EVE however is astonishingly difficult not least because the very environment supports C3 / C4 so well. The basic premise of Manoeuvre warfare is that a small number of combatants can have an effect on the enemy that is disproportionate to that teams size. Special forces are excellent examples.
But when we look at the ‘special forces’ in EVE we find them woefully inadequate. Where small teams should have the advantage of stealth and agility – the ability to strike fast and hard before melting away we actually see the very opposite. It is the super capitals that can strike over massive ranges (and hence have tactical agility) or large fleets moving through jump bridges avoiding systems (a attribute of stealth). Why use a Black Ops Battleship to cyno in a few Stealth Bombers to hit a target (which they can’t really kill or harm quickly such as a POS) when you might as easily use a capital ship?
The mechanics of holding sovereignty are also extremely problematic. If you were to draw an analogy the raw Hit Points of Sovereignty structures, POS’s and Outposts are not really so dissimilar to the walls of Troy. Goonswarms infiltration and destruction of Band of Brothers by design, or by luck, was essentially a replay of the Trojan Horse effect. The disbanding of BoBs Alliance from within circumvented the need to slog through a war of attrition against those Hit Point walls. Admittedly making those “walls” more expensive to maintain is one small step but the consequences of this have actually created a disinclination to fight and an incentive to bot.
Tweaking the values of Sov structures or super capitals is not, in my view, any sort of solution. CCP need to provide incentives for Alliances to spread their forces thinner. To defend and protect weaker targets from small gangs. There needs to be alternatives to holding sovereignty or wresting it away than through pure wall building and wall bashing. Capital and super capitals should be steam rollers – crushing the slow moving under their path but lacking in agility and the power to project force nearly instantaneously across vast swathes of space.
This way of thinking won’t be popular with everyone, least of all the status quo whom rely upon the current mechanisms but if bold steps aren’t taken soon then warfare in EVE will becoming a stale and uninteresting stalemate that is ultimately to no ones benefit.