The topic of sovereignty warfare keeps coming up with many voices sounding off that the current mechanic is flawed and/or outright broken. Not broken in the sense that the mechanic itself doesn’t work as intended, but broken in that there are many things about it that could be better, made more enjoyable, or at least made less unenjoyable. The fact is that sovereignty warfare works just fine, but most alliances are either incapable or unwilling to engage in sov warfare using the appropriate tactics. And that makes it decidedly not fun.

Sovereignty warfare is used for various reasons. In its most distilled form, sovereignty warfare is used to take control of another alliance’s space and stations. However, an attacker may not want the space at all, but will use sovereignty warfare as a tool for drawing out a fight. Pandemic Legion is known for this. Escalate their attacks until you respond then farm your ships or your tears as long as you last. In many cases though, whether part of a concerted effort to take space or just for the elusive “gudfites”, the fights don’t occur or they don’t last very long.

When we talk about wars in Eve these days, even major wars between the super powers, actual fights to defend space are fairly rare. The most recent war in Fountain between the CFC and TEST/N3/PL and whoever else was there sounded pretty good on paper in terms of the capabilities and numbers of players involved. Now I recognize that N3 and PL weren’t there to actually save TEST and that it was mainly just an opportunity to inflict some damage on the CFC or get some fights. But in the end, this was a lost opportunity for major conflict that should have spanned multiple fronts.

In total, and in spite of the military capability available to the CFC, it took over two months and countless man hours of guys flying around in stealth bombers to grind hundreds of millions of hit points, all the while being unopposed by much more than a handful of harassment ships. And how many alliances/coalitions can do it with siege-fleet bombers? As big as the CFC is, getting 150 or 200-man bomber fleets is relatively easy and gets the job done. But how many other groups can put this tactic into play? Not many.

My point is that the good fights don’t always come or they don’t last for long. Yet the structure grind remains, if of course your goal is to take the space. Fountain, single region, two months. Delve now, single region, slower than necessary. All the space the Drone Coalition, those that didn’t literally sell out to the enemy, abandoned in the Drone Regions to PL and N3 when the eventual outcome was clear. Most wars in Eve these days end the same way. Millions upon millions of hit points needs to be ground down with countless timers in between.

Once the defender gives up, the sov grind goes on with all the same mechanics as if the owner of the space were actually trying to defend it. A lot of people say that isn’t right. That the game needs to factor in abandoned space and create a mechanic whereby space can fall faster and with less effort if the defender abandons it. I don’t agree.

First, the grind is there for a purpose and that purpose is to be part of what deters another group from wantonly engaging in burning sov on a whim. Just because another alliance/coalition can, doesn’t mean they should. Of course, if you really want to, then have at it. Just don’t bitch that you have to grind structures unopposed when the defender evacs his stuff and stops defending.

Second, and not just a specious argument, that if you don’t want to do the grind, or don’t want to do it in the appropriate ships, then don’t take the space. If you’re doing it in something less than Dreadnoughts or Super Carriers, the ships truly designed for it, you’re doing it wrong. And if you aren’t using those because you’re concerned (cough, scared) about some group hot dropping you and ruining your day, then it isn’t the sov mechanic that is broken. What is broken is your will to risk the ships that will reduce the pain of the grind. It’s not a mechanic problem, it’s a player problem.

Taking another alliance’s sovereignty or its stations shouldn’t come down to a more powerful entity just coming in, waiving its fist and sov just falling at their feet because the defender can’t stand toe to toe with them. Most aggressors don’t begin a sovereignty war without a high degree of certainty about the outcome, either on their own or by picking up the batphone. As a result, most defenders are typically at a disadvantage or the attacker probably wouldn’t have initiated a fight that includes hitting sovereignty in the first place. Thus, the defender has to make the choice between putting up a losing defense and bleeding their pilots and assets, or to not give those fights and effectively abandon their space. That doesn’t mean the attacker shouldn’t have to go through the motions in order to take possession, despite how boring, time consuming and tedious it may be.

The grind of taking sovereignty will be there whether the defender puts up a fight, delays the attack by ninja-killing SBUs, or CCP comes up with some silly feature like fueling an infrastructure hub to show an intent to defend. I’m also pretty sure that the sov grind won’t become more enjoyable for you just because you have a couple of fights along the way. And it sure won’t be more enjoyable if stalling tactics are used, but no real fights occur. Once the adrenalin rush of the initial fights are over, the FC’s take some glory, and leadership pats itself on the back, the troops will still need to get out there and grind the sov. How you choose to do that is up to you, but don’t complain that it’s broken and isn’t fun. Fun is a relative term. I can assure you that grinding someone else’s sov after the enemy has capitulated is more fun than being on the losing side.

Finally, I have heard that by changing the way in which sovereignty is taken might make some of the large power blocs more vulnerable to attack. I don’t believe that to be true. More importantly, any change you make to sov warfare that makes it easier to attack a super power will undoubtedly just make things worse on smaller entities.

In the end, the only argument I have heard for changing the sovereignty mechanic that makes any legitimate sense comes from Elise Randolph. He would likely expound on it further, but it basically boils down to this: sometimes the game just needs to change to keep it interesting. Of course, this isn’t a reason based on this element of the current system being right or wrong. It’s just that sometimes we need change for the sake of change to spice things up a bit. Maybe.

– Dirk MacGirk


  1. Adam Brainard

    Someone needs to proof read these articles before they get posted

    September 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm Reply
    1. spell checker

      specious definition for those who don’t think its a word.

      1. apparently good or right though lacking real merit; superficially pleasing or plausible: specious arguments.
      2. pleasing to the eye but deceptive.
      3. Obsolete. pleasing to the eye; fair.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm Reply
  2. The Observer

    Even though I disagree with you, you make some compelling points. Thing is, you forget the nature of Eve. People will do things not because they make sense or are the most profitable, but because they can. CFC CAN use cloakless and bombless stealth bombers to grind out millions upon millions of HP. Others? Not so much. The reason (and I think this is the part you’re missing) that people are crying about sov being broken is because most alliances that want to get sov by themselves are relatively small(~1000 members?). In order to take any abandoned space that no one will miss, they have to grind out structures for weeks for a few systems just to have them taken away in a matter of 2-3 days by the much larger alliances that can afford to get 350 man fleets of nothing but non-stealth, non-bombing stealth bombers.

    tl;dr Sov isn’t broken if you have over 9000 members in your alliance.

    September 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm Reply
    1. the counter observer who knows

      dude, as a cfc member who is grinding delve i’ll tell u a secret. not even a 1/10 of the members of the cfc(much less goons) are down here grinding it. how do i know? because in the ftn war, we could do 2 fleets (full, with enough left over for a 3rd fleet, bomber fleet) on 2 separate tz’s without planning ahead. note we had 150 average per fleet the entire time we ground down delve in each tz that had timers comin out in.

      September 9, 2013 at 10:21 pm Reply
      1. Dirk MacGirk

        As someone who is also currently in the CFC, I can tell you that it doesn’t matter if you are CFC or the small alliance with 50 pilots in Oracles, everyone complains about the sov grind. PL bitches they have to even be bothered if you aren’t willing to give fights to defend. That’s why you have all hear people clamoring for sov to fall easier if it goes undefended. And I made the point that doing it with bombless bombers ain’t much fun even for the CFC so it suck to grind with bombers for anyone else I’m sure.

        I’ve done it with the CFC, I’ve done it with a 1000-man alliance and I’ve ground down entire systems alone of with a couple mates in the dead of night with 2 supers and a couple carriers. None of it is fun. But I’m not sure it’s about fun. Taking sov is a big deal. Burning heavy infrastructure is a big deal. Or at least it should be. Otherwise it cheapens what is means. Sov shouldn’t fall easily.

        September 9, 2013 at 11:36 pm Reply
  3. 2.4

    Posting in a “Didn’t win fast enough CFC Article.”

    Make Nullsec easier for us to takeover! We have to be more verbal until we get someone to replace CCP Soundwave!

    September 9, 2013 at 9:05 pm Reply
    1. Nub Pubbie

      Did you read the article? It’s arguing against making SOV grinding easier. The Voice of Reason is saying if you want to take space, you have to either work for it or risk high value ships to speed it up.

      September 10, 2013 at 2:23 am Reply
  4. gfdg

    yeah its so easy to structure grid when 10 alliances are shooting at it

    September 9, 2013 at 9:17 pm Reply
  5. EandA

    Hey I see you have an asshole and an opinion just like me!

    September 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm Reply
  6. ghost notebow

    come on kids, think about what you are saying. are you telling me a <1000 person alliance should be able to form a smaller fleet than a large coalition and still have equal opportunity to win sov in a system? nothing in the real or gaming world works that way. what you guys are complaining is an element that CCP can never fix and that is that groups of people will always seek to form larger groups off people for safety and an advantage in combat.

    September 9, 2013 at 9:44 pm Reply
  7. Former Null-Grunt

    Eve is a sandbox game, sandbox games need options. There needs to be some way to flip sov other than the current grind, instead of changing the entire sov system to something else, put in more options for people wanting to take over space.

    Attrition in the form of the amount of towers in system, PVE activity (ratting/mining), PVP, and economy. This attrition will reduce HP and Timers of the Sov Structures potentially to the point where the sov flips. So a small alliance can flip sov simply by living in abandoned null-sec.

    Having multiple ways to flip sov is a good thing, of course the structure grind should be the most efficient, but it shouldn’t be the only way.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm Reply
    1. Dirty Rotten Sneaky Bastard

      There is another way… you can buy it like LAWN did.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:54 am Reply
    2. Just Checkin'

      You can actually try to convince the current owner to transfer their sov to you…

      September 10, 2013 at 10:01 am Reply
  8. td746

    This is a problem and its simply solved:

    Sov structures are more vulnerable than supercaps. They have almost no weapons and there’s zero risk when not protected by a fleet.

    In the real world…Stations and Ihubs and whatever else is out there…wouldnt just be Dickstarred…theyd have Capital guns and lots of them, theyd have small guns and lots of them, you’d have 500 gunners sitting in station assraping your supercaps. theyd be chewing through every class of ship in your fleet everytime you stepped on the grid.

    And they should be. Also: it’d take enormous amounts of isk to supply that sort of defensive firepower. (and again it should)

    Go down that route and this conversation evaporates.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm Reply
    1. CBJL

      That actually sounds like a good idea. We have the starbase defense operators, why not put that role into a bit more depth.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:12 am Reply
    2. I just do not know

      I am in favour of this

      September 10, 2013 at 10:02 am Reply
    3. dude

      Damn… a good idea for once.

      September 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm Reply
    4. M1k3y_Koontz

      There isn’t a military base on Earth, I’d wager the universe, that doesnt have some form of defenses.

      Give structures weapons! +1

      September 11, 2013 at 11:54 am Reply
  9. Sno


    September 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm Reply
  10. Titus Veridius




    September 9, 2013 at 11:52 pm Reply
    1. Dennis the Dreamer


      September 10, 2013 at 3:31 am Reply
  11. Turelus

    Actually a really good read and makes sense.

    September 10, 2013 at 12:29 am Reply
  12. abc123

    SPOT ON!

    September 10, 2013 at 5:02 am Reply
  13. JIeoH Mocc

    At first it seems as a valid point, and then again … A rather hypocritical piece.

    Your assumptions are wrong. You say that anyone initiating a sov war – has the advantage and is likely to win. That’s just a typical pubbie point of view, one who has accustomed to the big blue donut, and hasn’t been an underdog for a while.

    When StainWagon started to harass HBC sov, we couldn’t take a single POS, not to mention a system/station. No one had illusions that the coalition can field a cap/supercap fleet and win a skirmish against HBC/PL+NC. So according to you, we did it wrong, eh? Problem is, that it was the only way to do it, under the known threats at the time.

    What you basically claim, is that under the current sov mechanics, and the ability of a few ingame entitites to project their (cap/supercap) power across the galaxy –
    You can either beat the enemy cap/supercap fleet and get sov in the “right way”, or stay the fuck out of sov. Thus “denying” any aspiring little group a way to get in the game without doing it the “wrong way” eh? I guess everybody should join the blue donut then.

    So thanks for the insight, i guess.

    September 10, 2013 at 7:50 am Reply
    1. I just do not know

      I am not against the current system, however the issue is that it makes it too hard for a smaller entity to try and take it back after being kicked out, all the attacker has to do is put a IHUB in and add their own SBU’s and its just too difficult. The change I would make is have the IHUB EHP scale with the use of the system.

      September 10, 2013 at 8:17 am Reply
    2. b33r

      “That’s just a typical pubbie point of view, one who has accustomed to
      the big blue donut, and hasn’t been an underdog for a while.”

      Reality is that we were in PNG and got stomped by the big blue donut. we know all about being underdog.

      September 10, 2013 at 8:51 am Reply
    3. Just Checkin'

      Actually its three options. The two you mention plus one more which is “shut your trap and keep shooting”(Which is effective if the group is focused and disciplined).

      September 10, 2013 at 9:43 am Reply
    4. Dirk MacGirk

      Taking sov should be hard. Holding sov is somewhat of a different issue in that if a more powerful entity wants it and you can’t stop them, well, no matter the mechanic in place you’re screwed. No mechanic will change the fact that if a fleet of 1,500 shows up at your doorstep, your days are numbered. No small group will stand against it for long. And any change made to help the small will be equally applied to the large.

      September 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm Reply
      1. JIeoH Mocc

        Taking sov is hard, and I never said it should be easy. And it was hard, when we did it “the wrong way”. Note that I didn’t say anything about any changes that should/or should not be applied to the current sov mechanics. Right now, everybody tries to play the cards they have – you’re not special.
        I only say that your piece is hypocritical and flawed with double standards, and your the last paragraph of your post above confirms exactly that.
        Sitting in this donut of yours, and telling everybody else who can’t operationally do it the right way – that they’re doing it wrong – is shit.

        September 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm Reply
        1. Dirk MacGirk

          Holy shit bro, what part aren’t you getting? We’re all doing it wrong, but it isnt because the sov mechanic is flawed. It is because most of us are so risk averse that we wont use the proper tools to do it right. But because our choice makes it harder and more time consuming than it need be, more and more voices join the chorus to change the mechanic. Im saying: the mechanic isnt the problem, the problem is us. Even those of us in the donut. It isn’t a personal critique of you or small groups or to say look how cool we are that we can take entire regions with bombers. Knowwhatimsayin?

          September 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm Reply
          1. JIeoH Mocc

            I sense that you’re not getting my point, maybe it’s the language barrier…

            Not all of us are”doing it wrong”. Some do it right, eh? For instance N3 and PL (?) took what, a week to grind a shitload of systems when their renters dropped sov? HBC took a ridiculously little amount of time to grind the entire south – probably done it right eh? And you know why? Because they are risk averse. They knew that NO ONE could threaten their supers , because everyone that could – was in that donut. Funny eh? So the problem is not “even those of you in the donut”, I’d say the problem is mainly those of you in the donut, being truly risk averse – thus able to field supers at will. Now i don’t blame any of you for being shit, someone has to, it’s clear to me. But the current sov mechanic in addition to TiDi enabled overpowered force projection abilities motivates you to be shit, and that’s a major flaw.

            September 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm
          2. Dirk MacGirk

            You are correct. Not everyone does is wrong. Or even does it wrong all the time. But also understand the target audience of the article. It was mainly directed at those who think that the current mechanic is somehow flawed because they hate grinding sov. But yeah, I think we’re generally on the same page.

            September 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm
          3. JIeoH Mocc

            Good, I was getting scared that the more I practice written English the less i am clear. Anyway – I don’t like the current mechanics too. I hated grinding sov (and still do) with a subcap fleet, knowing that in case we field our supers – the best case scenario is that won’t loose any, without achieving the sov grinding goal.
            But i honestly don’t know a fair way to fix it and with the majority of offers out there ranging from plain dumb to discriminating some aspect or another of other peoples game. I just don’t, and i think that left as it is is NOT the worst option, far from it.
            I’d rather see a reasonable fix to the force projection thingy, and haven’t seen a valid proposal yet, nor can i make one. And i fucking thought about it.
            So the even the target audience of “sov winers” is not that uniform.

            September 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm
          4. Baaaaaaa

            They large majority of systems that were dropped by N3 were retaken within 8 hours. That was something like 200 systems across multiple regions.
            The reason it was done so quickly was mainly because the non station systems simply needed a TCU anchoring and the station grinds didnt have to go through the RF timers as the entity that owned the station didnt own the system.
            The remaining 50 or so systems that were ninja’d by others took a little bit longer, around a week or so.

            September 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm
  14. RA dude

    Quite reasonable article, but…

    >I have heard that by changing the way in which sovereignty is taken might make some of the large power blocs more vulnerable to attack.

    Taken and HELD. Quite a few ideas out there were about defense penalties for _holding_ SOV “the wrong way”, not about changes in taking itself. And we also have JB and supercap mobility to consider.

    >any change you make to sov warfare that makes it easier to attack a super power will undoubtedly just make things worse on smaller entities.

    Yep, no doubt about it. There’s just no way to punish big guys for over-extension. Impossible. Don’t even start thinking about it.

    September 10, 2013 at 8:40 am Reply
  15. evMaxi

    There are two features missing.

    First, the already mentioned starbase defense.

    Second, the ability to take over the enemy equipment instead of having to just destroy it. Take over process can be faster that destruction and will provide an incentive for other people to actually help protect a victim of an attack for fear of the attacker getting that much stronger real fast by taking over the victim’s structures.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:07 am Reply
  16. Lucas

    One thing I want to point out. It’s not fear that a dread/supercap fleet would get hotdropped, it’s fact. A fleet that shiny is too good a target to pass up.
    That means that if you want to deploy grinding dreads, you’ve got to have a subcap support fleet on standby for any engagement. Usually, due to the amount of spies in alliances, the support fleet being on standby is enough to deter attackers, but its boring. The support fleet has to sit and do nothing. The capital fleet has to grind structures, and be on the ball in case anything happens. It’s no fun for anyone.

    Now think about a bomber fleet. Any idiot can fly a bomberless bomber, hell, I use a nub alt so I don’t have to move my main. The guys that would now be sitting on a titan twiddling their thumbs are now shooting something (a structure, sure, but still shooting). And while torping the target, you can be as close to AFK as you can without actually being AFK. I usually update market orders, do an anom or two, or gank in high sec while I’m structure bashing. As long as you keep half an eye on the other client, cycle your launchers, and warp to a safe and cloak if you get dropped, you’re fine. I could structure bash all day.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:46 am Reply
  17. anon

    Simple answer. Eliminate spys. Make all toons flag alts through the api consolidated through an unseen ip address check for multiple accounts.

    Put some thought into it so that getting around it would be a complete pain in the a$$.

    No more spy
    = possibility to use supers
    = smaller guy being able to fight
    = no crappy sov drops by whiney [email protected] when they are in trouble
    = much better eve.

    September 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm Reply
    1. some german guy

      but the meta game that makes eve so awesome :(

      No more “The Mittani sends his regards”

      September 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm Reply
    2. spy

      then spies use a different IP for their spy accounts your idea solves nothing

      September 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm Reply
    3. Lucas

      You mean through the EVE API? That would be pretty retarded. Basing it off of IP address would give you so many false alts. I often play at mates houses, and on the move. Shared IP addresses would be an issue, universities and internet cafes for example.
      It would also remove a massive part of what makes EVE great.

      Not to mention the fact that it would by easily bypassed using a proxy for one account.

      Also, how does the removal of spies make the little guy able to fight? Surely the little guy can fight right now by BEING a spy? A solo character could join an alliance then awox at a critical moment. It’s done a lot, and generally does more damage than any other single action.

      September 10, 2013 at 4:01 pm Reply
  18. some german guy

    This is by far the best article about SOV I have ever read on this fuckwit “newspage”

    Please post more.

    It’s got valid points / thesis and arguments to back it up.
    on a non-wall-of-text level.

    No poetic ignorance
    No Gevlon e-peen strokage.


    September 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm Reply
    1. Dirk MacGirk

      Thanks Riverini. I appreciate the plug. And I don’t even get paid for this lol

      Just kidding. I’m assuming your not Rivs.

      September 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm Reply
  19. RedAntKillaz

    I’ve been playing EVE for a couple years and still consider myself a nub. Which is cool. The long leaning curve is part of what makes the universe great. But, having been an active participant in Fountain and other recent nullsec wars, my opinion is that anyone who doesn’t think sov mechanics are broken has a different idea of what a “game” should be than I do.

    The extended hours of utter, complete boredom required by hundreds of players, and the assumption made here that you should be afk or running a second account to have “fun” are absurd. Any competiton, challenge or intellectual stimulation is completely missing for most players for long periods of time. CCP needs to step up and address this or watch EVE eventually be inhabited by only the most RL-challenged.

    September 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm Reply
    1. Dirk MacGirk

      Read the title of the article. And yes, I was in Fountain and I am in Delve. I’m on siege-bomber fleets, even helping to lead a few, every night. I could be in my dreads or my supers but I’m not. In some masochistic way I prefer flying with the grunts.

      Sov grinding is what we have made it for various reasons. Different groups use different tactics, but how we choose to accomplish it is player driven far more than it is driven by CCP.

      September 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm Reply
  20. blah

    @9b2cf2368082bdaa4fac682734a3e729:disqus if you would be doing it with supers it would be done in minutes

    why aren’t you doing it with supers is the question you should be asking,preferably to your coallition leadership.

    sov is fine,if anything it should give more advantages to defenders

    September 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm Reply
  21. alx

    The ultimate solution is simple, but hard to achieve. CCP Need to revam the POS system, Seach in the EVE forums, there are some posts about Flogging the dead horse and making POS “sand castles” in the sandbox. Once this is accomplished, the SOV infrastructure must be fused with the POS, so to keep a soveregnt over an system you have to keep some level of infrastructure there, fuel it, and use it. This would absolutely explore one of the characteristics that make EVE unique!

    But it is better CCP rush on it, becouse there are some otherer producers taking everything that makes EVE a succes and creating their own games
    Iff CCP don’t step forward everything will be lost soon.

    September 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm Reply
    1. Aaron

      except it’s a single player game, but yes. Very pretty.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm Reply
    2. Hate the donut

      If you want to stop the Blue donut or mega blocks, then create a mechanic that allows Coalitions to be recognised and scale up the cost of owning sov the more systems that are owned, or even tax the predominant sov holder in a region. That way there is a real cost to owning half the map and sov decisions will be taken with real consequences. Even the mighty CFC has limited isk resoucres with which to fund these wars following the Moon Goo rebalancing so an ever spiralling sov bill will be a controllign factor on just taking territory you have no real need for.

      September 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm Reply

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