Dominion! A galaxy full of war! Large scale conflicts in every major sector, TCUs and SBUs popping up all across New Eden, fleets and supercapitals exploding and dying in appropriately dramatic ways! It’s a pity that the servers are horrifically unstable and the fundamental code of the sovereignty system is utterly broken. It’s like we can see that we /would/ be having a lot of fun, if things would just stop breaking…
Things began to go wrong pretty quickly after the patch. The war in Geminate between Atlas and the Northern Coalition (leaving out the various hangers-on and ancillary forces) was grinding to a slow stalemate, with the NC successfully defending the Y8R station that had been reinforced once (in the new mechanics, you must siege and win twice to seize a station, so this outpost was only ‘halfway’ at risk), only to have the server crash and have a 20 minute rollback when it finally recovered. At that point the NC fleet had mostly logged off, the Atlas fleet was magically resurrected by the rollback, and Atlas successfully won the first battle for the station. Ok, great, the NC has to come back and win again in 2 days or else the station is lost for good – except that due to a glitch, the station was captured by Atlas on the first timer, skipping the second timer entirely. CCP apologizes, there is some hand-wringing, but the station remains in Atlas hands despite the open acknowledgment of grievous code error.
Meanwhile, in Fountain, things began to go horribly wrong for Pandemic Legion and Sons of Tangra, staring down an invading force of IT Alliance, Sir Molle’s respawn of Band of Brothers. At least initially, these errors had nothing to do with the codebase. SoT didn’t seem to know how to set timers on its stations and iHubs. Worse still, two of its stations were lost when a controlling corporation left the alliance without handing station ownership over to those remaining in the alliance, turning sov neutral and allowing easy capture by the invaders – an object lesson in the dangers of allowing individual corps, rather than shell/holding corps, to own stations. The loss of SoT territory appeared to demoralize PL, but they were still putting up a fight.
Then came the debacle of Y-2, what has become one of the single most destructive and one-sided fights in the history of the game. Y-2 was one of those aforementioned SoT stations which abruptly went neutral due to its owning corporation abandoning the alliance. IT Alliance immediately set up a SBU while in their prime time; it had to be destroyed within twelve hours of the station would be theirs. With a bare few hours left, a combined fleet of Goonswarm and Pandemic Legion used titan bridges to jump into the system, as well as cynoing an impressive capital/supercapital fleet. A battle royale was set to commence, except that the Y-2 cluster began to soil itself and drool like a mental patient after electroshock therapy.
In theory, lag in major fights is hardly unusual; this had been expected by both sides. What was new, a unique ‘feature’ of Dominion, was that the lag impacted only the side jumping into the system, rather than making everyone suffer equally – which is what the pre-Dominion lag had typically done. The forces which had jumped into the system were summarily slaughtered, not even loading their screens before dying, including five Pandemic Legion Titans – a most ignominious fate. Worse still, code glitches persisted for more than a day afterwards. Capital pilots who ‘lost’ their ship found themselves back at home in a station with their capital at 1% structure and insurance payouts from their ‘loss’ in their wallets. Chaos reigned. Petitions to reimburse lost ships were answered haphazardly; some received positive responses from CCP, but it appears that the only coherent response from the GM department is to wave their hands and act like Y-2 never happened.
Most of the trouble here is that the Game Master department in CCP doesn’t have the tools to rectify the situations that are cropping up in Dominion. As we discovered from the leaked GM conversations which were published by an intrepid player some months ago, the reason (pre-Dominion) why sovereignty glitches (involving ‘ghost towers’ and the like) were never resolved is that the GM department literally has no method to adjust sovereignty. Clearly that remains the case, as even in the face of a monumental screwup like Y8R the GMs could do nothing. If the playerbase must suffer through the consequences of an unstable, glitched sovereignty system, the GMs should at least be empowered (at the senior level) to remedy these failures.
Shortly after this disaster, Pandemic Legion abandoned Fountain and became the modern sovless ‘Iceberg Alliance’, paying no sov bills and making its income through vast moon holdings. Newer players may complain about Time Dilation, unaware of how much more fair it makes Eve; if there hadn’t been a node death in Y-2 due to CCP’s code (Pre-Veritas/Masterplan) being terrible, PL and GS might have fought off IT Alliance, Goonswarm’s sov welp might not have mattered, and the map would be very different today.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by The Mittani.