Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Is Combat Mining In Our Future?

I've now read CCP Fozzie's dev blog on phase 2 of the great sov revamp and I thought I'd have nothing to add to the discussion. After all, I don't play the null sec sov game and still prefer low sec when I'm not scanning down exits in Thera. But then something caught my eye: the Industrial Index.

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.


  1. It's not hard to understand. Live in your systems, be active in your systems. If you go capture a system, then be ready to live in it or lose it. No more empty systems owned by 1 power bloc. Finally nullsec is going to be to live in.

  2. But what happens when someone comes in take your system? It's the capture mechanics that I'm interested in.

  3. As you live in your systems and you move your index' you will gain defense points, this will make it easier for you to capture nodes. So when your mining index goes up you get defense points, when your military goes up you get defense points. They should add a pvp index so that as you successfully defend your space it gets harder to take.

  4. But what happens for the attacking player? Does the attacker need to bring in his own miners to increase the Industry Index to make counter attacks more difficult, or does he benefit from the Industry Index that the defender created? I don't think the dev blog clearly addressed this.

  5. Seems pretty clear to me that the owners of the system benefit from increased indices and only the owners can raise the indices. The attackers can't reduce the indices, other than by preventing the defenders from operating in the system. So one way to invade would be to disrupt ratting and mining operations so that the particular index degrades, at which point the defender doesn't get bonuses. Of course, if an attacker has sufficient force, they can say screw the bonuses and attack anyway :)

  6. But what if the attacker takes the station and the defender retains the iHub? The dev blog states that the Industry & Military Index bonuses apply to all structures in the system. That is the part I think needs to be clarified.

  7. The attacking player can do nothing to affect the defensive bonuses. The "occupancy" bit of the sov changes is that if the existing owners rat (military bonus), mine (industrial bonus) or simply own the system by having an ihub for a period of time (strategic bonus) there is a multiplier that affects the time it takes the attackers to reinforce structures or capture command nodes (first time only for stations). The reinforcement/capturing is all done with Entosis Links.

  8. I do not read it that mining has to be done during the attack on sov, but rather should it have been happening prior - then it is a calculated factor for the defence values.

    It is an interesting sift in the "farms and fields" metric which elements of null have touted as fait accompli. It also moves it away from what I felt was cynical ideology where industrials are Eve's patsy existing solely as a target. Into something vital to null-secs future. Realistically I do see the Lords of Null turn over a new leaf of philanthropy to mining (harvesting).

    Already within the threadnought are various noises against mining being a contributing factor. So far no one important has taken the stage. And would assume that this would have previously passed the gauntlet of the CSM.

  9. Did not read all of the details closely, since Fozzie says they are still up for discussion/change. However, here's what I think I got from the devblog:

    The defense bonuses are locked in, when the attack begins, and remain fixed until the conflict is resolved. Ie. mining, ratting, etc. *during* the conflict does nothing to improve the defense bonuses. So, no combat mining.

    If the system flips, then the bonuses probably reset to the default value. The successful attacker will need to grind up those defense bonuses by actually living in the system - ie. mining, ratting, etc. If the defender wins, I assume that the defense bonus remains as it was at the start of the conflict. I also assume that if the attacker does not actively occupy the system, the defense bonus will reduce, over time.

    The point of the change seems to be that systems which are actively occupied by the owning alliance will have higher defense bonus; unoccupied systems will have lower defense bonus. Renters, allies, etc., who do not actually belong to the alliance, will not contribute to the defense bonus.

    This is meant to encourage the alliance to live in the space that they conquer... or have a higher risk of easily losing it.

    Overall, I think CCP's goal is to force alliances to contract in size and let go of all of the currently empty null sec systems, so that more players are encouraged to setup new alliances in null sec. This would also seem to be in line with the attempted nerf to power projection due to the addition of jump fatigue.

  10. As the devblog states, "[t]he Infrastructure Hub will continue to enable system indices". So I would think that unless you own the IHub, you won't have the benefit of any system indices. This is an incentive for people to own both structures.

  11. Let's throw in another monkey wrench. There are a time limited number of resources to gather, both rats and minerals. What an attacking force could do is siege the asteroid fields in a system, wiping them clear of rats and asteroids, prior to an assault on a system. This would degrade the most valuable indices and allow them to take the system faster one the attack is initiated.