Reading through the defensive bonuses section of the dev blog, I saw that both ratting and mining will provide bonuses that will increase the capture times for an enemy trying to seize an iHub, TCU, or station. The standing defense forces can rat in a system to raise the Military Index, but the Industrial Index is modified by the amount mined. Does this mean that mining fleets will need to accompany invasion fleets into the war zone? Depends on how CCP Fozzie's mechanics work once the details are launched. As a general overview, he presented the following:
"Just like in the current Sovereignty system, the Military Index is obtained by killing NPCs in the system and the Industrial Index is obtained by mining in the system. The Strategic Index, which is currently tied to the lifetime of the TCU structure, will be tied to the lifetime of the IHub instead.
"The bonus provided by the Military and Industrial indices are 150% stronger than those provided by equivalent levels of the Strategic Index. This is intentionally designed to provide a larger incentive for active occupancy than for simple duration of system control.
"This defensive bonus will apply to all Sovereignty structures that have a current owner and are in a star system with any indices above 0, as well as Command Nodes for those structures (no matter what system the Command Nodes are physically located).
"The basic mechanics of the Entosis Link remain the same (no benefit beyond the first module, two opposing modules pause all capture) but when anyone other than the owner of the base structure is making capture progress that progress will be slower."Does each alliance in a system have its own system index and own defensive bonus? Or does all activity from any source contribute to an overall system index and defensive bonus. If the latter, what does that do to the defenders incentive to keep living in the system once the attacker seizes one of the three sovereignty structures. By continuing to rat and mine in the system, the task of retaking a structure from an aggressor becomes much harder, as the attacker receives the bonuses generated by the defender's activities. Should activity by the defender really benefit the attacker in a conflict?
I know that a lot of players do not want to form up for a ratting or mining fleet in order to help protect a system. Perhaps such a mechanic even makes sense in role play terms. After all, what owner of a mining barge in his right mind is going to intentionally fly into harm's way? If a battle is in progress, creating mechanics that discourages carebear activities makes sense.
Then again, if each alliance involved has its own indexes, that could open up some interesting strategic possibilities. Pilots from both sides could attempt to rat in order to not only replace their losses but help in the war effort as well. Locally mined ore could get turned into locally produced ammunition if someone sets up a POS or a station is available. Plus, as people keep telling me, more ships in space means more opportunities for conflict.
As I stated at the beginning of the post, I don't play the null sec sov game. But I'm interested in which way CCP goes in relation to system indexes and defensive bonuses. Perhaps combat mining will become a new profession in EVE.