Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have heard about the pirate faction Sotiyos introduced to New Eden on May 9. Currently, two pirate factions have their own Sotiyo engineering complexes. These promise a number of riches, including faction and officer modules of their particular faction. There is also a chance of obtaining some of the new faction capital BPCs.
Taking Them Down
To successfully fight these sites, you’ll require a fleet of at least 130 players. This will consist of T2 Logistics and T1 Cruisers, as well as a couple of meat-shielding battleships. Running the site takes around 170 Minutes for a single timer with these numbers. Anchoring like a turtle behind the Sotiyo, you will face a maximum of 600 NPC sub-capital ships ranging from frigates to battleships. Defeating them doesn’t require anything fancy; just orbit the FC and stay behind the Sotiyo. This position helps to keep NPC faction dreadnoughts out of range, making them a non-issue. The more T1 cruisers you bring, the faster the site will go. This is not very exciting or interactive gameplay.
But the Goons killed one with three titans!
I’d like to say for the record that was extremely dumb. Faction Sotiyos have the ability to spawn as many tackle frigates as they like. They can and have tackled titans, even coming close to killing one, proving there is such a thing as dumb luck within EVE.
Risk VS Reward—is it unbalanced?
These large sites have the potential to yield low-volume, massively high-value rewards which are down to the players to share. The theoretical worst result from a Sotiyo is a FAX or dreadnought BPC, along with a poor officer module. At best, this is worth a total of 50 billion ISK. Assuming 130 players taking almost 3 hours to take down the shields, and again for the structure (Sotiyos lack an armour timer), participants are looking at an average hourly earning of 64 million ISK. This is an insignificant reward for an evening of mind-numbing PvE.
I found this out the hard way through my personal experience in the Imperium. The potential range of rewards meant that, assuming a 50/50 split with the coalition and more favourable loot drops, we were looking at 85 to 920 million ISK per person in a 300-man fleet. Once you factor in locating the sites and forming up a fleet, the process takes even longer. The expected reward could also drop severely if these sites are farmed more heavily, leading to the market being flooded with faction capital blueprints.
Crafting That Perfect Fight
During Fanfest 2017’s Phenomenal PvE section where CCP Burger explained what Team Phenomenon goal was. “We wanted PvE to be more involved right at the centre with the PvP something that was valid that players wanted to do, is exciting, not another kill 5 rats again and again.” With current methods, the faction Sotiyos have fallen into that repeatable model. Broadcast for reps if you start taking damage. Make sure your guns keep firing. Repeat for a predicable amount of time.
There are more invasive methods of taking on these faction Sotiyos which require a more valuable fleet on field. This, in turn, may bring those big fights that Team Phenomenon dreamed of when they spoke about faction Sotiyos. I share their vision, and faction Sotiyos could provide a perfect conflict driver. However, the rewards just aren’t there to justify dedicating an attacking force that doesn’t consist of 100+ cheap Mallers and a logistics wing, meat-shielded by Sothrasil’s over-blinged deadspace Machariel. The drive to take over two hours to set up and fight a single timer just isn’t there.
The line members only get something out of these battles if the coalition/alliance allows it to be so. The Imperium has some of the best PvE theorycrafters out there, an incredible reserve of manpower, and the ability to make sure rewards are fairly distributed. If they can’t come up with a reasonable way to farm these that respects line members’ time, what can the rest of New Eden do? Zkillboard can track faction Sotiyo kills for us so we can see how often they are dying.
A Better Way Forward?
CCP Larrikin’s vision of PvEvP can become a reality, but only if the price is right. This could be accomplished through existing systems, such as daily opportunities. Bonus ISK or LP may entice people to do some daily damage, though this still relies on alliances and coalitions to reward non-DPS pilots, like logistics. Whatever form faction Sotiyos take in the future, the rewards simply aren’t there now, and haven’t led to thousands or even hundreds of players fighting over these prizes.
The concept doesn’t need to be scrapped. We just need there to be a reason for someone to take the first step in bringing these mega-sites down, and the rest will follow.