The current sov system in EVE Online needs changes. For the defenders, it is burdensome, time-consuming, and boring.
There is a window of vulnerability every day, for at least 3 hours. It is often set to occur during the alliance primetime. During this window, sov owners get to play whack-a-mole with 20-million-ISK ships. Many times, the arrival of defenders results in the offending ship burning away at 4km/s. The vast majority of ‘attacks’ have no intention of actually attacking. Defenders must still respond to every attack, though. This requires ships that can move from system to system fast enough to respond. Often, they will need to respond to as many as a dozen different systems at almost the same time. These attacks can come from as few as a lone ship on each timer to two or more fleets of heavy combat ships. So a defender needs to have not only those quick-response ships, but also a heavier combat force. These defensive forces need to be available every day. Is it impossible to do? No. Should it be the driving force behind EVE Online’s sovereignty system? Hell no.
There is no risk to the attacker in this sov system. Thus there is no driving of fights. Sov owners get to spend their prime time defending their space for three hours. That’s assuming every system is ADM 6. This neuters any attempt to do anything else, for example, go to a timer in lowsec. Alliances with pilots in multiple timezones can assign one timezone to slave duty. Pilots in other locations get to engage in more fun activities.
But enough complaining. Let us talk solutions and ideas.
Changes to Vulnerability Windows.
CCP should reduce the vulnerability windows to three per week. The defenders can choose the days like they choose the window. Some alliances might prefer weekend timers, while others might prefer Monday/Wednesday/Friday. This gives sovereignty owners a chance to actually do things in their primetime.
Changes to Entosis
Limit entosis links to battlecruisers or larger ships. Many people have made this suggestion. So far, CCP seems to have ignored them.
Remove entosis links completely. Have players reinforce and capture nodes through damage, with an upper DPS limit. The limit should be something that would make a solo dread be useful, but not a group of them. This would bring the sov system in-line with the planned systems for Citadels.
Changes to Natural Regen
Currently, the sov system forces the defenders to do everything. 2 hour natural regen forces the defenders to entosis all the nodes in a timely fashion. As a result, we currently see attackers not even bothering to actually touch the nodes. Instead, they just harass the defenders by killing hackers. If the defender trusts the natural regeneration, the attacker can change tactics. 2 hours gives them more than enough time to deploy their own hackers. A 30 minute natural regen will force the attackers to commit their own entosis, or lose the timer.
A scaling natural regen based on capture progress. For example, this regen could start at 30 minutes with a 60/40 split. Each 5% change in progress would add or subtract two minutes for each 5% change. So if the defenders hack the nodes to a 80/20 split, new node spawns now complete in 22 minutes instead of 30. If attackers have the split at 30/70, new node spawns would have passive timers of 42 minutes.
When an attacker captures a node, the passive regeneration on all nodes should reset.
Radiating ADM gains
There are some systems in this game that are just terrible to grind ADMs in. The have long warps, low sec status, and few belts. A radiating ADM system would let ADM gains affect nearby systems owned by the same alliance. The degree of influence is based on light-year distance. This would only affect systems with a lower ADM.
The system would take the burden off smaller alliances, and alliances that are taking new sov. At the same time, it provides a benefit to larger alliances that wish to upgrade garbage systems.
Maybe these are just the musings of a bitter veteran. I want to enjoy EVE, and I know that people are unhappy with the current state of Sov. Maybe these suggestions will spark ideas in other players or developers. They may find a way to improve on what the majority of EVE sees as “well it’s better than Dominion, sometimes.”
(Editor’s Note: As an opinion piece, these suggestions are those of the author alone. These suggestions are possible future improvements to the sov system, not confirmed upcoming changes.)