Mord Post on Eve-Tribune: http://www.eve-tribune.com/index.php?no=6_4&page=3

The Assembly Hall on Jumpbridges:  http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1448938

The CSM Meeting Minutes on Jumpbridges:  http://cdn1.eveonline.com/community/csm/CSM_CCP_Meetings-part-3_15-17_12_2010.pdf

Lately the poor, small Jumpbridge has become a major player in the effort to make 0.0 more accessible to smaller alliances.  The reason for this is obvious: the Jumpbridge greatly improves ship movement within a territory.  An effective Jumpbridge network can allow a sizeable fleet to cross several Regions in a matter of minutes rather than hours as well as open the way for quick and easy access to High-sec imports and deliveries.

However, that is what some say is the very problem.  Large groups like the Northern Coaltion (*note: m3 is part of Fideras Constans, a member of the NC) can, with relative ease, transverse fleets from all over its borders for defense.  With such a strong travel backbone, defending territory is relatively easy and does not give the opportunity for smaller alliances to get a foothold.  This, combined with the power of Supercarriers and the ease of using Cynosoral Fields, makes it near impossible for anyone to hold space without large numbers and supercapitals.

Before we go deeper into this discussion, let’s take a look at how a Jumpbridge works and all its particulars:

  • Jump Bridges must operate in pairs, with one necessary at each end of the portal.
  • A Jump Bridge has a maximum range of 5 lightyears.
  • A Jump Bridge must be established on a POS and cannot be any closer than 15km away.  Access is usually provided by passcode.
  • A Jump Bridge consumes Liquid Ozone with each jump, the base usage being 500 Liquid Ozone (or “LO”).  This however, is augemented.  The believed calculation is:”  (500 Liquid Ozone * Jump Distance in Light years) * (ship’s mass / 1,000,000,000).  A typical carrier uses roughly 2000 LO when using a jump bridge, for example.
  • A Jump Bridge can hold 25,000 units of LO in its storage.
  • A Jump Bridge can only be installed in a system with a Soverignty of 3 or higher.
  • A Jump Bridge costs 300 million isk per month to operate, not including fuel costs.

The argument for removing Jump Bridges from the game goes something like this:  Without Jump Bridges, it would be impossible to control large swaths of 0.0 territory because it would be too time consuming to reach those locations.  An Alliance or Coalition would have to, in order to effectively and efficently defend it, reduce the size of the territory to a smaller, perhaps much smaller size to do so.

That argument has merit and is likely true.  However, there is a potential problem.  While the argument is most certainly correct, it does not take into account WHERE those alliances/coalitions will establish themselves.  The obvious answer is on high-sec and low-sec pipelines into 0.0.  By causing such pipelines to be more valuable, alliances will seek to control those inroads exclusively.  Having control of those points allows the alliance to have better logistics and more control over the 0.0 space behind that pipe.  Smaller alliances will have not only a much harder time getting ships into the area, but also a much harder time maintaining a presence there as well.  It also won’t reduce two other major problems that help accentuate this problem:  mining bots and Tech moon control.

Cynosoral Fields

Another aspect of this issue is Cynosoral Fields.  While I suspect most Eve players know this in detail, I’ll go through and explain it again just for good measure.  A Cynosoral field is a portal, operated from a ship, that can be established in low-sec or 0.0 space (Provided that the 0.0 space does not have a Cynosoral Field Jammer). It allows capital ships to jump long distances.  If you add a Titan to the fleet, it can bridge sub-caps through a Cynosoral field as well.  The LO cost is based only on the skill of the pilot establishing the Cyno, and there is no limit on the fleet size that can be sent through and it can last up to ten minutes (though destroying the Cyno ship itself will cause the Cyno field to collapse).  A Cyno field module can be mounted on any ship, and can be set off anywhere in system provided that the pilot of the Cyno ship has enough fuel.

The clincher with the Supercapital problem relating to Cynosoral fields is that with Supercarriers and Titans have no size limit to what can be sent through.  This means that a single T1 frigate can theoretically bridge into a single system, 250 Super Carriers using only 250 units of Liquid Ozone, and whatever fuel is necessary for the jump per capital ship.  And while the Cyno certainly can be detected on the overview, a well trained crew can easily make the jump within 30seconds of the cyno being lit and the system can be innundated with capital ships, without hardly any recourse.  The term is commonly referred to as being “hotdropped” and at this time, it tends to be the hammer larger alliances use on smaller alliances. 

Supercarriers themselves

During our tour with CVA, NCdot and Ev0ke used this tactic often, even attacking ratting ships with a fleets of captials.  At the Sub-Cap level, CVA could have at least given NCdot or Ev0ke a fight.. but with the ease and accessability of Supercapitals, any victory gained could be easily turned around in a moment.  Even if CVA had a numerical advantage, even a shiptype/class advantage..  it often wasn’t worth fighting because a single supercarrier added so much more firepower to the field.  And while fighters and fighter-bombers could be destroyed.. they could not be destroyed easily and could be quickly replaced or rotated out of combat in the field.  This from a ship that is less expensive than a Titan, but is more useful and more effective at placing damage on targets.. and requires less skill to achieve (Racial Carrier 3, bare minimum, to be exact).  Yet, while the cost of one of these ships is very prohibitive for smaller alliances (Several billion for just one Supercarrier chassis), they are relatively easy to achieve for alliances who control Tech moons or swarms of mining bots.

Conclusion

So really, the central issue is how do you stop the powers of larger alliances and coalitions from completely denying 0.0 space to smaller alliances, while still allowing both large and small alliances to prosper whereever in 0.0 they might be as well as enhancing 0.0 PVP activity, ideally believed to be centered around smaller gangs and fleets?

My next article will take a look at some suggestions found on the Assembly Hall, as well as a suggestion of my own to help keep 0.0 from being deadspace.

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