Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Planetary Control: Colonies and Capitals.

Planetary Control: Colonies and Capitals.

This proposal was created with the following goals:
  • Alliance “sprawl” is curbed: No holding territory/assets on the other side of the galaxy.
  • Alliances must live in, and defend their own territory.
  • Newer alliances have a better chance to gain a foothold in 0.0
  • As a result, more alliances and more pilots will call 0.0 home.
  • Fights will be smaller, more localized and more frequent.

  • Territory expansion and control is more realistic.
  • Industry and PVP in all sizes has a role in holding territory.
  • Conflict is encouraged and roaming gangs can find rewards even when their enemies do not want to come out and fight.

A quick overview

Sovereignty will be determined by planetary colonies. The growth and influence of these colonies will be determined by how well their governing alliances take care of them.

Outposts will act as small colonies or seed colonies for the planets they orbit. New colonies can be started either by building an outpost or a, cheaper but less well defended, orbital elevator.

Under this mechanic, the only true sovereign systems would be those with colonies. Each colony radiates an “area of influence” that encompasses nearby systems with the size of that area being relative to the size of the colony and its distance from the alliance capital.

Though the recently announced Dust 514 looks to conflict with this proposal, I don't think it has to. More about that on the bottom of this post.

It works like this

Colonies and Area of Influence

Each colony radiates an “Area of Influence.” The AoE is the area within which the colony can provide materials and labor that will allow the alliance to run industrial installations. Currently the only industrial installations Eve has are POS modules such as moon miners and construction arrays.

The AoE weakens further from the colony affecting the performance of not just modules but POS towers as well. Out in the sticks, workers slack off, build time increases, mining output decreases and even tower CPU/Grid is hurt. In and near the colony system, things go much smoother with bonuses to output possible.

The AoE each colony generates depends on the size of the colony and the colony’s distance from the capital; too far away and the colony will revolt and have no AoE at all. This captial AoE that controls the span of the entire nation is determined not only by the population of the capital but of the alliance nation as a whole.


Module output, POS grid and CPU maximums are a multiple of the base x AoE strength in the system. The same is true for logistics modules like moon miners. AoE strength can be as high as 1.5 or as low as .1

Overlapping AoE from a non alliance or coalition colony subtracts from the AoE strength in the system. Perhaps (AoE -.2 x non ally AoE)

Colony AoE is a multiple of the colony size and capital AoE in the system. Both capital and colony AoE support a set number of systems and diminish with distance.

Getting underway

To expand a colony, there must first be an orbital elevator or outpost (which now comes with an elevator) in place.

Each alliance must designate a capital colony. Not only are capitals special in that they become the center of their alliance’s territory they also grow faster than other colonies. This growth bonus makes it easier for newer alliances to gain a foothold in 0.0 Large alliances could split up to get more capitals but each part would still have to defend its own space.

Expanding colonies

Keeping a colony healthy and growing is primarily a matter of alliance activity in the system and the alliance’s performance. Not only will players need to be active either mining ratting or plexing, they will need to protect NPC craft that are going about their own private business

The Colonists

Friendly NPCs will be blue cross spawns similar to regular red NPCs. They may be miners, haulers and escorts or hunters in combat ships. Each kind will occasionally find
Find itself in trouble; haulers and miners come under attack from red NPCs and hunters find complexes that are too much for them to handle. In all cases, they will broadcast a warpable distress beacon. Also, it goes without saying that enemy players can attack them too.

Elite NPCs

Elites, whether in space or in complexes are far stronger than even faction spawns. They exist to test the capabilities of the alliance, not just one ratter. Destroying them quickly or failing to do so will have a greater effect on colony growth than typical ratting and mining. Elite spawns are more common around lightly populated colony systems.


Both carebears and PVPers have their roles in this mechanic. Carebears nurture the colony and promote growth. PVPers can attack enemy colonists and stunt the growth of enemy colonies.


Alliance pilots determine the size of the colonies by earning points for the colony through their activity within the system. Only alliance pilots can earn points for their colonies.

Colonies have point goals that scale with their size. If the points generated for the colony fall short of the goal, the colony shrinks. If they exceed the goal, the colony grows. Total points are tallied at downtime.

Colony size determines not only AoE but the grid and CPU of the outpost.

Ship Activity in a system that is within the AoE of a colony generates points (tallied every 15 mins or so) for that colony. If the system is within the AoE of multiple allied colonies, the closest colony gets the points.

For this first implementation, ship activity is defined as modules actively working on asteroids or NPC pirates.

Points based on the amount of ore gathered and value of NPCs destroyed is another option.

Friendly NPCs award extra points when rescued from peril but result in lost points if they are destroyed.

If attacking players are not quick enough, NPCs will head home just like any player carebear would.

Elite NPCs spawn periodically and are worth an amount of points dependant on the size of the spawn and how quickly the spawn is dealt with. If they are not dealt with in a timely manor, the points will go negative.

Elite NPC complexes will spawn and are worth more points. Regular complexes are also worth points but do not have a timer.

Having an operating industrial POS (active miners, refineries etc..) in or around a colony system adds points as well. These points do not stack for additional POSs and modules in the same system. Non allied POSs in the area will subtract a small number of points.

Benefits of bigger colonies

The first and most obvious benefit is a larger AoE around a colony. A larger AoE means more moons in range and more systems where POSs can be set up for building, researching and refining. In addition, the total population of an alliance nation increases the capital’s special AoE, allowing colonies to be effective further from the capital.


Before setting up a colony in its best ratting/mining system, an alliance should take into consideration that the colonists need resources too. The number of NPC barges and haulers roaming around a colony system will be evidence of this.
The largest colonies will raise the sec status of their home system. This means more security but less isk.

Conquest and Defense.

With POSs no longer having direct influence on Sov., all that is left is to shoot the outpost. The catch is that outposts are now fully armed and operational battle stations that can have guns and other nasty stuff anchored around them just like a POS.

An outpost with no planet side colony has the equivalent power of a faction POS but once a colony begins to grow on the other end of an orbital elevator, it feeds more power to the outpost. A mid sized colony gives an outpost the firepower of three faction POSs and a large colony outpost can begin to fit super weapons (One shot a BS). Attacking a large, long established capital outpost would be suicidal for even the largest capital ship fleets.

The only way to assault the larger colonies is indirectly. Kill NPCs in space, destroy logistics, deploy towers and erode the colony. Similarly, most capitals will be unassailable until the other colonies are dealt with.

Once the outposts defenses are down to something a bunch of dreads can handle, it is shot just like it has always been done, only taking the outpost isn’t the end of it. Even with the primary government office (the outpost) taken, colonists, especially happy colonists, will hold out for some time before they will recognize their new overlords. I explain in more depth a bit further down.

Even if the invaders are driven off, loosing control of the outpost erodes colony confidence in their alliance (lost points) and many of them will head for empire as long as the colony is in enemy hands. The outpost will be that much easier to take next time.

If invaders just want to hurt the enemy alliance, they can target the colony itself and rain fire upon the colonists. The drawback is that the colonists will now hate the attacking alliance and capturing the colony intact will be next to impossible should they decide to try.

Slide bar conquest

Reinforced mode is a grind that should go away with POS warfare so for capturing colonies, we have a new mechanic.

When an aggressing alliance shoots and captures the station the colony capture bar would appear.

It would look something like this:

- - - - 3D:4H:12M - - - -

The aggressing alliance is on the left, defending on the right.

If the marker reaches the right, the attackers capture the colony, If it reaches the left, the defenders win.

The length of time is determined by the health/happiness of the colony at the time of its capture.

Upon capture of the station, the marker begins to move to the right. It is not a reinforced timer however and the defenders can shoot and retake the station anytime to move the marker back to the left. Similarly, the attackers can take it again. This would motivate alliances to hold the station as far past or before their prime time as they can and would likely result in some good fights.

An alliance trying to take or hold a colony too far from its capital will move the bar at less than full speed.

An alliance trying to take a colony out of its capital’s range will not be able to move the bar at all. Therefore, it may hold the station but will not be able to effectively operate POS or any logistics installations. The colony will remain loyal to its alliance.

>>> indicates full speed.

To prevent shenanigans

The capturing alliance must take the outpost alone. Another alliance can lock down the system but they must down the outpost and its guns alone or the colonists will not recognize the capture.

Following a capture, employment of all player characters involved is tracked for a time to prevent players from jumping in and out to take stations.

Coalitions: If desired, a coalition mechanic could allow small alliances to team up and take a colony or allow "pets" to use a larger alliance’s AoE.

Roaming alliances: An alliance with no space of its own can drop a POS anywhere as a freelancer deployment. Such deployments can only be used by their owning alliance and cannot support industrial modules.

My original draft included the start of a simple sim mechanic through which alliances could build colony improvements to speed growth and increase the capacity of outpost services. I felt it was best to focus on the core elements for now.

Also such things as putting down colonist revolts and NPC sieges could be future expansions.

Dust 514

Needless to say, I started working on this proposal long before I knew anything of Dust 514 but after seeing the announcement, I don’t think I would change anything – not yet.

Dust looks amazing at first glance. The idea of using a well established player driven world to frame a new MMO is brilliant. Its all great right up to the point the speaker says that Sov in Eve will be determined in Dust.

I should have more information before forming an opinion but this is all we know now and if it is true, then I am already not a fan of Dust. I believe that the space an alliance holds should depend on nothing but the effort of the pilots in that alliance.

I don’t mean to say however, that Dust is without its place in the Eve world. The idea that a band of foot soldiers could gain any meaningful kind of control over a planet when said planet is guarded by hundreds of space craft, each one capable of laying waste to a planet, is silly. On the other hand, the idea that such a force could sneak in and harm something critical is not nearly as far fetched.

Dust paired with a planet based Sov mechanic like the one I have proposed could be incredible. Infiltrate planets to harm industrial output or offline weapons systems. Storm the outpost to reduce capture time. There are great possibilities here.

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea... having NPCs tied to the alliance who holds the space rather than just to pirate factions, making NPCs more interesting an important, something to be fought over and not merely farmed, all sounds great. This would create a form of "un-journaled" nullsec mission; guarding NPC convoys etc, but the reward would be in the slightly faster growth of one's colony, rather than just a bit of isk/LP. This would really make sovereignty feel like something; if you jumped into a system, warped to a belt, and saw "Sylph advanced miner" plugging away at some roids, you would know that the system was sylph-held. Attacking an NPC would actually bring players to help, and have reason and reward beyond a bit of loot. Space would feel more vibrant and alive, which in the wastes of nullsec would be a very good thing...