[Continued from part 1 on Dominion]
Sovereignty mechanics is serious bizness, possibly the single largest can of worms of nullsec, and a matter better handled carefully by EVE designers, as the very attraction and credibility of EVE as a sandbox model hinge on whether playing the 0.0 end game is worth a damn.
Ever since someone came up with the brilliant idea to use POSes as sovereignty flagpoles 5 years ago, CCP's ears have been ringing about how this thing was getting increasingly, eye-gougingly painful and — what's worse — boring and unfun to play. It is fair to assume assume CCP took those concerns at heart and have been working relentlessly to ensure that, by its next iteration sovereignty contests resolution would be playable, tactically stimulating and, above all, engrossing and fnu.
Certainly the time it took them to come up with an answer was an indicator of CCP's intent to get it right this time, and to not make things worse by upsetting further the already precarious sanity of those players who had been submitted to years of alarm-clock ops, buggy POS mechanics and their assorted exploits, nightmares-inducing tower-spam wars, and paid $15 a month to 'play' Slideshow Online blobfests.
Judging from what SiSi and other sources of information can teach us about the current state of things, one can only imagine how seriously CCP went about the arduous process of bringing us Dominion on time for Iceland's Sovereignty Day (the wit ! these guys pack fists full of awesome).
Midbörg, Reykjavik — late August 2009.
— Wow, I can't believe it was that easy to do away with the POS thing… we should have done that years ago.
— You tell me ? OK, what's next on the list ?
— Hmm, everybody's whining about the sovereignty systems being too static and that a few mega-blocks are hoarding all the map for themselves, doing nothing with most of it.
— Yeah but they need the space to feed their blobs.
— Right, let's give'em powerups to get more food in less space, that way we'll make room for more alliances.
— Hmm, sounds nifty, but what stops them from just hoarding unused space anyway ?
— I know, let's tax them up the wazoo for every system they claim !
— Wow brilliant, mate ! That'll show'em. Let's remove constellation sovereignty and capital immunity, too, that will make for more action !
— Cool beans ! Outposts too. Who said outposts couldn't be shot while sovereignty is active…
— Er… we did. Wasn't station ping-pong the coolest thing, though ?
— Not really. We need some kind of delaying feature to avoid that in the future.
— Me ! me ! me ! *waves hand frantically* …we could have a safety mechanism that renders the outpost invulnerable for a while after it's taken serious damage, and then you wait, like, 12h or so before you can finish it of. …this way the defenders have time to regroup and meet the assailants for an Epic fight to the end !
— Two words: awe-some !
— This last bit reminds me of something… whatever, it's cool.
— Won't that be a problem for new and small alliances… I mean, between the taxes, no capital immunity, paying for all the outposts and upgrades, it will be almost impossible to reach critical mass before being steamrolled by any big alliance that needs to stretch its legs, no ?
— Yeah, I see what you mean…
— What if… bear with me guys — if we allowed big alliances to host small ones… like, *rent* systems, so they can do their stuff and be protected, and pay the big alliance for that ?
— That'd work. In fact, it's cool, it's a win-win scenario, and with your stupid nerfing of r64s, my guys can use the extra income if we are to build all those SuperCarriers.
— That name sucks, btw.
— lolcat !
— …no, really, I think the rental thing is the way to go. It's EVE, see: might makes right and darwin and shit ! I mean… if they can't make it on their own, they deserve to be pets !
— Good point. Pets it is then.
— Are we on fire or what ? I knew we'd be done with this thing by the end of happy hour.
That's just me guessing — it could have been worse.