Boundless Speculation

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Dust Related, EVE Related

One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is what exact state we can expect Dust to be in when the official release is announced. My assumption here is that this launch will probably coincide with the launch of the summer expansion. At least, that seems to be the word around the rumor mill.

But what will Dust look like when we’re “official?” I know that we can’t expect the full functionality of all the goodies that have been dangled in front of us as possibilities, so what can we reasonably expect?

My biggest hope is that they’re able to get Dust working with Sov warfare. Right now, if you ask any null dweller what their major gripe is about the game, you’re probably going to hear something about how Sov is broken. It’s stagnated ever since the release of the Dominion expansion (coincidentally, the expansion that I began srsly playing EVE). I remember when I first started being very excited about the new tools we’d have to build our space empires with. Even as a noob, it was this idea that first caused me to venture into a nullsec alliance (at the tender age of two weeks). I haven’t lived in high sec since.

And yet, for the past three years I’ve come to be quite familiar with what is known as the “structure grind.” It sucks, and no one wants to do it. Heck, the argument has been made that this broken functionality is what caused the next, Third Great War, to not happen (whether you believe that, or just see it as a convenient excuse is another issue entirely…).

I feel that Dust gives us another option. Multiple options, really. The issue is that it would ultimately require Dust to be heavily integrated into the new mechanics, and I’m not sure how willing the player base, let alone CCP themselves, would be willing to risk tying in such an important game mechanic to a platform that has yet to prove itself.

Oh! How I wish I could convince you!

Prepare for a bit of blasphemy.

So, the second null corp I ever got into was originally in Cascade Imminent when they were based out of Querious. I had been in the corp for about a week when Cascade went all to hell, and my corp decided to jump ship. We ended up being picked up by FA *gasp* and that’s where I spent my time in the CFC (lasted about two months before I left EVE again for about another year).

Now, as Dredditors, we’ve all got our opinions about FA, and I’m sure about FA’s head Zagdul in particular. I never interacted much with the dude myself, and as a basic grunt I never had any real problems with how he ran his alliance. One thing I will praise him on, however, is that I think he had some great ideas on how to fix Sov in null, and I’m fairly certain he had planned on Dust being a big part of that.

I’m probably going to butcher the details of the idea, but I think the main points are pretty solid. Basically, he had the idea that Sov should be based on planetary control. Get rid of all the SBUs and whatnot, and make the planets themselves be the measure over how much control you have over your territory. I mean, it makes sense to me, seeing as how pretty much all the important stuff happens near planets anyway, right?

So, let’s say your system has 10 planets in it, and an invading force wants to wrestle system control from your hands. They jump into system and start doing whatever is necessary to start securing planets (I would imagine you’d warp to the planet, and put down some SBU type device). When this starts happening, we begin to get notifications the same way as when an SBU or something similar is under attack. This would be a good reason to have a Dust company of mercs under your payroll, allowing them to spawn on the planets that are under siege, and if the enemy fleet didn’t bring their own mercs to secure planetary soil, then the guards under your employ would be faced with a relatively challenging AI opponent, but nothing a serious group couldn’t handle. This incentives the attacking team to bring their own invasion force as well.

I think this process should be a fairly quick one (ten minutes or so per planet? Or however long the hired guards can hold off the invasion force), and be able to be accomplished with a small fleet. So, let’s say this invasion force is able to take over 4 planets in your system before a defense force can be mustered. Now they own 40% of the system, which isn’t enough to flip Sov (which would need 50%), but it is enough to attract a fair amount of attention. Now we’ve got our Sov defense fleet in system, and being the giant blob of jibbering masses that it is, easily expels the invasion fleet, leaving their army of hired mercs stranded on the planets below.

Now begins the reclamation process. The Dust mercs can choose to continue spawning in districts they control (I mean, they’d have stations with clones down on those planets, right?), attempting to retain the foothold they fought so desperately to achieve, or they can give up their invasion and return to spawning in the system they normally call home. I suppose it depends on how much they’re getting paid.

I think by focusing the Sov mechanics on planets, as opposed to random structures we put up in systems, will also help to give us a sense of attachment to our home systems. I have no idea how many planets are in K-6. All I know is that I’ve got 5 planets I’m doing PI on in one of the next systems over. But if a system like this was implemented, suddenly those planets I have no idea about start to become important. I mean, technically, these are the planets that we recruit the crews of our ships from, right? They should be important to us.

Now, yes I know, Dust cannot be fought on all the planets right now, which does put a bit of a damper on this idea. However, I don’t see why the mechanic can’t be put in place, and the beginnings of it implemented with the summer expansion. Dust battles would still only be fought over temperate planets to start with, meaning the other planets couldn’t be defended by them until we get some other planetary maps.

Yes, this would make taking Sov “easier” in the sense that you could do it faster, which I think is fine. I believe that a change like this would most certainly shrink the borders of the already bloated alliances and coalitions, and the target rich environment would bring new opportunities to smaller alliances looking to gain a foothold in null.

I do see an issue with the time zone thing. If it doesn’t take as long to take over a system, then a large Aussie alliance could wake up every morning to see that once again, they’re going to have to reclaim space.

But isn’t that what Sov is all about? Hasn’t it been said so often that we’re all tired of hearing about it? Don’t take Sov unless you can hold it. Most giant alliances have people in every time zone just for this exact reason. I can’t see this ever really changing. It’s just the nature of reality that we can’t spend every waking moment in New Eden (which is probably a good thing).

Anyway, this is what I’m hoping we’ll see once we go all “official release” and whatnot. A slight fix to Sov, while making Dust even more relevant.

I’m probably way off base from what’s actually planned, but I’ve always thought this idea that Sov should be focused around the planets themselves was a good one, and I hope it’s something CCP is considering.

Happy Hunting, everyone!


  1. Frost_Cub says:

    As a DUSTBunny, I really like the idea of having more involved fleet support.

    Orbital bombardments are cool (Or sucky if you happen to be near the center of the strike.) In the end, though, they don’t seem to change my gameplay much.

    I want to be worried when an enemy fleet is overhead. Maybe it means the enemy gets more clones. Maybe it means strafing runs from fighters/drones. Maybe it just means I have to worry about Slaver Hounds and Exotic Dancers raining from the goddamned sky. I want to fight an uphill battle when the enemy has space-superiority. And I want my enemy to quiver when my fleet enters orbit, because fuck ’em, that Moros is about to ruin their day.

    • I totally get what you mean about wanting to fear the idea of a fleet overhead. I figure, since right now the only orbitals we’ve seen are from small guns, though there’s bound to be more interesting stuff down the pipe.

      I think the idea of drone strafing runs or something is awesome! Imagine a carrier overhead being able to launch like 20 AI controlled, Dropship-sized drones that left the hull of the carrier, and then went down onto the district where the fight is going on, causing these things to spawn in the match being played for that district. Knowing even just a carrier was overhead would have a significant effect on morale, on both sides of the match.

      Maybe these kinds of things are something that can really be played with when it comes to capital sized weaponry and its effect on Dust battles. I mean, what should we expect an Avatars OB should look like?! It would also give capital warfare a new reason to start happening again, I think. At least it would give a reason to form a fleet around a single dreadnaught, or carrier. It’s pretty exciting thinking about all the possible ways of raining death from above.

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