Thursday, 13 August 2015

Aegis Sovereignty 1.0

As of 14th July, the new sovereignty system dubbed Aegis Sovereignty (formerly Fozziesov) has been out in null.  We've all had a decent chance to take a look and see how it works, and it's pretty clear that on a whole it's failed to achieve what it set out to do.  From the feedback people have been giving, the vast majority are finding it quite boring to play with, and many are choosing to opt out as much as they can.  That's not to say the entire concept of the system is broken, but there's some serious work that needs to be done to get it working right, and that needs to be sooner than later.

The #1 goal of Aegis Sovereignty is
"As much as possible, ensure that the process of fighting over a star system is enjoyable and fascinating for all the players involved"
This is where the system has mostly fallen down.  Fighting over control of a system is now done using an entosis link.  This is essentially a mining laser that get fired at structures.  It's a dull enough mechanic that most people will choose not to do it wherever possible.  This means that especially with the bigger groups, very little is happening in the way of fighting over space.  It's much more entertaining to simply hold the space you have and go out on roams as they always have and effectively ignore as much of the new mechanic as they can.  This reduces conflict and increase stagnation, pretty much the opposite of what we need the sov system to do.

That leads on to the next problem, which I'm still shaking my head as to why it's a problem since it was pointed out as a flaw in the system long before release.  That's the concept of a trollceptor.  This is an interceptor fitted for speed with an entosis link It's designed to fly into systems and contest sov then run away when opposition arrives.  With their natural bubble immunity they are nearly impossible to catch while travelling, and with their speed they can run from most players when engaged.  If they do get caught, which is quite unlikely, the ships are cheap enough to replace instantly and shrug off the loss.

Now that's not to say they can't be stopped from taking sov, a ship showing up with sensor dampeners can stop them from contesting a structure, but since the people using them don't want to take the sov, they just want to waste the time of the defender, then causing a ship to fly out to them is a win.  If nobody shows up, they create a timer which again requires a response or ultimately costs the defender their sov.  In effect it guarantees a positive outcome.

I think we're a long way off from a complete solution.  It's going to take a long time for them to get the system balanced right so it encourages conflict and is entertaining to those taking part.  But there are certainly ways to resolve some of the problems with the current system.  I propose the following changes to the current system to make it far more likely to generate conflict.

  1. Entosis links should be limited to ships that are cruiser sized or above.
    • This prevents most near-unstoppable ships from flying around contesting sov with no interest in actually taking it, which remove a lot of the time waste parts which make it so undesirable to take part.  T3s would still be able to fly through, but then that's the benefit of having a far more expensive ship.
  2. When an entosis module is active, if the ship using it moves out of range of its target, the module should burn out.
    • This is like when you overheat too much and burn out the module.  It's still there but need to be repaired at a station, and the cost of doing so should be about half the cost of the module.  This makes it far less appealing to attack sov when you know full well that you'll have to run away, and means that doing so is limited as you need to keep going for repairs.
    • It should be noted this would also happen to defenders, so they too would need to repair if they tried to disengage early.
  3. With a high defence index, multiple entosis links (not too many, 3-4 at the most) should be required to start the process of contesting sov.
    • This give an additional benefit to working up a defence index by providing more passive defence and requiring more commitment from the attackers.  Note that this should only be to start (or restart) the attack.  To sustain the attack only one would be required, and once it's reinforced, it would remain as in the current system.
  4. A system that is reinforced but then not followed up by capturing the command nodes should reset within 48 hours.
    • This is to prevent systems remaining reinforced for long periods of time.  If the attackers don't actually want to take it, there's no reason the defenders shouldn't keep it until someone does take it.  If they aren't using it, one cruiser would be enough to take it anyway.
The idea behind all of these is to encourage attackers to commit to attacks without forcing them to need megafleets like in the old system.  I feel Aegis has gone too far the other way and now too little commitment is required.  It feels like they've looked at the system from the point of view of an individual, when it has to be remembered this is an alliance level mechanic, not something one player should be able to accomplish alone.

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