Examples of Strategic Situations
A Station-less System with Greater Importance
Imagine the Martoh scenario again, except this time every system is under Gallente control except Kehjari. If CalMil wanted to take Eha, which is closely guarded by GalMil, they will likely have to first capture the surrounding systems or the siege of Eha is a tall order. If you look at Martoh, it is very much a bottleneck for any progress towards taking Eha. Defending a system like Maroh, with its many gates suddenly becomes far more important even though it doesn’t have a station.
Running the Pipe
The area depicted in the image above may not be a hotbed of activity in the real lowsec but it serves as a good example. If the Caldari wanted to march on Aunsou and capture it because it was a key GalMil system (speaking theoretically), they would want to take Gare to help push the influence in their favor. To do this, they really need to capture the entire Barleguet-Aunsou pipe. Supposing that the Caldari captured Barleguet, the task to capture Aulbres would actually only require the normal amount of LP because the pipe only has two adjacent systems. One owned by CalMil (Barleguet), one by GalMil (Garea) and thus both parties split the Influence 50/50. This mechanic continues until the end of the pipe so it effectively takes Influence out of the equation but it does encourage the aggressor to methodically capture systems rather than squirrel around and only fight in a few scattered theaters.
In this scenario let’s suppose that the Gallente are trying to capture this part of lowsec which is very close to the heart of Caldari highsec. Commons sense would dictate that these sorts of systems would likely cause more of a stir among the Joe Does of the Caldari empire since they’re so close to their key systems. In this case, a system like Uedama can suddenly become very important. Even if one or two corporations in this region are left to defend against a Gallente push, the fact that a border system like Uedama has 4 of the 5 adjacent systems permanently counting towards CalMil gives them a great advantage. The best the Gallente could hope to do in taking Uedama would be to require 130% of the regular LP needed to make a system vulnerable. Aside from making sense from a “you fight harder the closer you are to home” standpoint, it also adds the drama to the situation or even a sense of escalation.
In the current system, factions can capture systems a mere handful of jumps from their enemy’s informal capitals and it is no different than capturing a system in the middle of lowsec. The Influence system adds difficulty, and there for significance and accomplishment, to striking close to an enemy’s home.
Even the fact that I need to break out a DotLan map to explain these examples excites me. The level of strategic thought that a system like Influence requires is much higher than with the current FW system capture mechanics. Theorycrafting and strategic discussion in alliance could bring entertaining content for armchair generals before the first pilot even undocks.
I realize that many people are perfectly happy with being able to deploy any and everywhere and steal someone’s prize system, and that’s fine. The Influence system leaves the door open for that, it’s just more difficult to do. EVE is already a very thought-intensive game, why wouldn’t something as important as capturing systems also require planning and thought beyond which station to base your corp out of?
If careful planning and patience are the hallmarks of EVE mechanics, the Influence system adds another layer of thought to an already intellectually stimulating game and creates more meaning behind plexing system A or B. Even the quiet backwater systems of lowsec can have their day in the sun when the enemy comes storming through the region.