Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Is EVE's Dominion expansion a good thing for small alliances?

My corp has been part of an alliance almost from day one. We have been in a "pet" alliance, in a low sec towards to its null sec space alliance, in a  have fun chill out alliance. All have been below 200-300 members at their peak. I would consider these small alliances, but with the new sov system's requirements they shouldn't be called alliances at all. They would rather be mega corps, if they want to be part of the new sov system.

Our current alliance is around 650 members. By a crude estimate of 20% of members been alts or inactive, that leaves around 500 active ones. This number of members would constitute a small to medium alliance  with the previous sov mechanism capable to hold a small part of null sec. But it seems we are still too small to do so with the new proposed system.

The costs upkeep dev blog has been anticipated for a long time now. And it finally hits the web, here. And then the downfall begins. Calculating the costs it leads to a bill of 900 millions per 30 days, just to hold the sov of the system. The cost is just for the sov related bills and the hub that will allow for future upgrades in order to make your system capable of supporting more pilots in it. The cost of the upgrades is not part of the above bill. Neither the cost of the necessary STOP, and FLAG structures to gain the sov at the beginning. And their costs are not small either. They say that they will be at the region of 50-500mils. The lowest end is sure small. But the upper end is surely not, for a small alliance.

"But wait ..." , I hear you cry out loud. "Can't a 500 members alliance produce close to 1 billion of income per month?" Well surely it can, but that can't be done through the upgrades and the ratting/mining of the system. And that to happen it requires on average a 10 times more income to be collectively produced by its members. You see more alliances/corps have a 10% tax. So only one tenth of the produced through ratting income is coming into the alliance's coffers. The rest ends to the members' wallets. And not wrongly if you ask me, but surely it doesn't help the cause of holding sov in a null sec system. And if you have to use moon mining and industrial POS then the costs of the upkeep of each system goes up without a reward big enough to make it a sane decision to even try to get a system.

Get the tax up and you kind of drive your pilots out of the alliance. Then they either return to NPC space or they team up to bigger alliances. All good and nice. Since they couldn't handle 0.0 space they shouldn't be out there. But those were exactly the base goals of the new expansion and the new sov system. To get people to leave NPC space and head to true null sec space, and to give the smaller alliances the space to operate there, by making the hold of underused space expensive for the bigger boys.

The space will be abandoned by the bigger alliances for sure. The costs and the returns won't make a reason for them to keep huge areas of systems that none utilizes. But the smaller alliances won't come to claim and fill this space. The cost and the reward won't make it better than lvl4 missioning in empire space or NPC owned null sec space.

Update: Looks like the posted upkeep costs created an "uproar" at the EVE pilots community. Thus after pages of comments - not always so polite - on EVE forums, the devs have stated that they will reconsider the costs. The diretion is to lower them, and at the moment the cost for just mainting sov in a system looks like it will be lowered from 900mils per month to just 180mils per month. This is a huge reduction and will really make the new expansion true to its goals. But untill the actual code hits TQ, we shouldn't get anything for granted. Not yet at least ...  

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