Life in 0.0

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This page is based on a lecture given by Automa, CEO of EDROP, on 05/02/2011. EDROP is currently running a mentoring program for Uni pilots here

Contents

Nullsec overview

Nullsec is very large, and generally very empty. There are different kinds of nullsec space:

  • Wormhole space (W-Space), which has 0.0 security but is not generally referred to as nullsec space. This has no jumpgates and no immediately-updating local chat.
  • NPC nullsec, which is claimed by NPC factions and cannot be owned by players. There are only a few regions of NPC nullsec, and several of them (Great Wildlands, Curse, Syndicate and Outer Ring) can be accessed by Uni members as they do not require travel through player-owned nullsec. These areas are generally a PvP free-for-all with no political ramifications.
  • Sov nullsec, where players can claim sovereignty. Uni members are not allowed in sov nullsec without the express permission of a Director, due to neutrality rules.

Nullsec is considered by many to be "endgame" PvP, although it is not the preferred destination for many players.

For more details, see System Security.

Differences in Nullsec

Nullsec has a few major mechanisms that make it different to most other space:

  • There is no CONCORD, and no security status implications for PvP. Nullsec is often thought of as the "Wild West" of EVE, where military laws dominate. The main restrictions are the rules and regulations of the corp/alliance/coalition that you are a member of.
  • There are a few items that only work in 0.0 space, such as bombs, bubbles and some supercapital features.

Sovereignty mechanics

Sovereignty is the claiming of nullsec systems by player alliances. Sov can be captured and recaptured by various players.

Capturing Sovereignty

Initially, the sovereignty structures and stations are invulnerable to enemy attack. In order to start the sov capture process, Sovereignty Blockade Units (SBUs) are deployed by the attackers to take away this invulnerability. These have to be anchored and onlined near to more than half of the system's stargates. They take 3 hours to online and must be defended in this period.

After the SBUs have been onlined, the stations and infrastructure hubs (I-Hubs) are vulnerable. These must be attacked - infrastructure hubs will be destroyed but outposts will be captured when their structure hitpoints reach 0 (The corporation to get the "killing blow" on the outpost will take ownership of it and will need to be repair it to prevent recapture).

Once the stations and I-hubs have been captured or destroyed, the Territorial Control Unit (TCU) is vulnerable. Once this has been destroyed, the attackers finally need to anchor and online their own TCU in order to claim the system. A TCU takes 8 hours to online.

In total, it usually takes two or three days for sovereignty to switch hands.

Infrastructure Hubs and Upgrades

Infrastructure hubs are anchorable objects in space that provide upgrades for system, such as improvements to belt and rat quality, wormhole spawns or complex quality. Each upgrade must be purchased and installed separately, and have several levels. Some examples include:

  • Advanced Logistics Networks -- Allows the use of Jump Bridges.
Jump Bridges allow travel between multiple systems without the use of stargates. Each major alliance has a network of Jump Bridges that are essential to easy travel.
  • Quantum Flux Generator 3 -- Increases the chance of wormholes spawning in the system. This is more effective than the Quantum Flux Generator 1 or 2 and less effective than the QFG 4, for example.
This is not commonly used, as the mechanics are not known exactly (it may just pull in wormholes from surrounding systems) and it can give potential attackers a way into the system.
  • Entrapment Array 1 -- Increases the quality and quantity of complexes in the system. This is a major ISK-making module, especially at the higher levels.

These provide a much bigger modifier to system quality than truesec rating.

Development Indices

The quality of a system is also affected by three Development Indices: Strategic, Military and Industrial, which range from 1 to 5. These indices are prerequistes for some of the infrastructure upgrades. The Strategic Index depends on how long the system has been owned since the last sovereignty change, and the Military and Industrial indices depend on the amount of NPCs killed and ore mined respectively. Both the Military and Industrial indices will decay over time, so continued activity is required to maintain these indices. While the Strategic Index is reset when a system's sovereignty changes, the Military and Industrial indices do not.

Nullsec Politics

There are a small number of main powerblocs within nullsec, referred to as "coalitions". Coalitions do not exist as an EVE game mechanic but rather as a group of alliances which have friendly standings towards each other. There is a map of the current Coalition influence areas that is usually kept up-to-date.

Pets

"Pets", also known as renter alliances, are groups who pay another alliance in order to live in their space and use their facilities. Many different types of renter agreements exist, possibly involving taxes, straight fees or PvP requirements. Most renter alliances have also a policy on building Supercarriers or Titans. Those can range from forbidding you to build them to a Right of first refusal.

Living in nullsec

Living in nullsec is generally more profitable than equivalent time spent in highsec or lowsec, with level 5 missions and 6/10-10/10 complexes available without the threat of roaming lowsec gangs. Many of the more profitable sites require fully upgraded space, and many sites require a coordinated group of high-skilled pilots, but once this has been achieved then it becomes significantly more profitable than highsec.

Someone who turned up "on day 1 in a drake" could probably earn about 10-15m an hour without too much trouble, and could team up with friends to get better money by attacking harder sites. The hardest sites generally require faction battleships or T3s along with very good skills.

One of the hardest sites, called "The Maze", requires several skilled pilots and dedicated logistics support, but can also pay out extremely handsomely - on the order of several billion if lucky. The pilots will need to be able to tank 1000-1200 dps while also being keep in motion in order to tank some citadel torpedoes which deal 180,000 EM damage each. (These missiles mainly exist to exclude capital ships from taking part, but are still significant.)

Similarly, level 5 missions can be run in small groups of skilled players: several can be completed in an hour, and with each mission paying out around 80,000 LP, significant ISK can be made from missioning too.


Nullsec asteroid belts also have the best types ("high-end", or ABC/M) of ores, which can be significantly more profitable than hisec ores but require some significant logistics to transport unless they are sold locally.

While living in nullsec can be very profitable, pilots have to balance earning money with spending it. PvP is a constant concern while living in nullsec, whether its fighting off an occasional red pilot entering the system or answering a call to arms in order to defend or take some space. The increased profitability in living in nullsec often translates directly into flying much more expensive ships - unlike most Uni fleets, T1 frigates and cruisers are very rarely piloted as they just don't survive long enough.

Moving to nullsec

There are several ways of moving to a new nullsec home, including liquidating all your assets, changing medclone location to a target nullsec system and podding yourself there. However, this is not generally recommended since it can be hard to get rid of assets efficiently and the same stuff will probably just have to be rebought again, but at a higher price. Prices are generally higher in nullsec, although very popular ships (like the Maelstrom currently) can be significantly cheaper.

Logistics in nullsec

Hauling cargo around Nullsec (and supplying ships and modules to fight with) is generally much harder in nullsec, and the exact logistics chains that are set up in order to cope will vary from alliance to alliance. Generally, assembled big ships (with rigs) can be transported in a carrier's ship maintenance bay, which can take 2 battleships or 4 battlecruisers at a time, as well as a few smaller ships. These will generally move around nullsec using networks of cyno alts. Packaged ships can be carried in jump freighters which jump through systems using cynos as well. Movement around highsec is generally done with freighters, which drop goods off at the lowsec border for carriers and jump freighters to take the rest of the way. An alternative is for freighters to be escorted through losec and nullsec, which requires many more pilots but also allows many more goods to be carried. Ships can also be flown in as a convoy.

In EDROP, pilots either go shopping themselves, and contract the goods to certain people at a staging system, or use a shopping list system, working like personal shoppers. Many alliances will have dedicated manufacturing and logistics networks.

Most of the nullsec market revolves around nullsec stations (more specifically, "outposts"). These are player-built stations that are limited to one per system and give many of the same services as NPC stations. Each station's services can be upgraded, and each racial station has a racial bonus to a certain service.

Market economies do exist in nullsec but station access is generally limited to alliances and their allies. These function in many of the same ways to highsec stations and markets otherwise. Each station generally works as a mini trading hub. One danger with nullsec stations is that it may be captured with people's goods still inside. They will be unable to access their items and jump clones, but will be able to destroy the clones remotely and sell the goods remotely if they have the right remote trading skills. When a station is captured many pilots want to quickly convert their inaccessible goods into ISK; the resulting mass selling is called a "fire sale".

Another important part of nullsec logistics is jump bridge networks. These function as extra warp gates that can connect systems up to 5 light years away. Most major alliances have a comprehensive jump bridge network which makes travelling through the nullsec regions much more convenient.

When pilots want to go to highsec (the frequency of which will depend on the pilot) most will use a jumpclone, or sometimes a shuttle that can easily speed through lowsec.

PvP

PvP is generally much easier to get in nullsec than the average Uni pilot may be used to. There are a few different types of PvP - not unique to nullsec but more defined.

  • Solo PvP is available to anyone who undocks with a web, scram and prop module. There are no security stations, CONCORD or gate guns to worry about, so any pilot can generally get into some fights as long as they do not shoot blues. This is a big mistake, even moreso than in the Uni, and you will generally have to pay financial compensation or be hunted down and made miserable.
  • Small gang PvP is fleets of around 5-20 people (although definitions vary) and are generally similar to Uni fleets, especially the more specialized roams.
  • Fleet battles can involve 100 to 1000 players, with multiple fleets on either side. The individual fleets may be split into armor- or shield-tanked fleets with a separate fleet for capital ships and so on. Lag is a problem in large fleet battles, and system nodes can be "reinforced", which moves them onto priority hardware. This is generally effective up to a point; 500vs500 fleets are currently possible without soul-crushing lag. The current record for people fighting in a system is around 3200; although this had awful lag with ship locking taking up to 20 minutes.
Mixed fleets are commonly formed coalition-wide that are started in one corp but are open to all the corporations in the coalition.

There aren't many changes to general fleet PvP; although fleets tend to be more specialized with more expensive T2 ships taking each role. Logistics and massed battleships are common, with most fleets taking a combined arms approach. Bubbles are another important factor that make good bookmarks and propulsion modules invaluable.

The evaluation of the success of a PvP operation will vary from corporation to corporation, but ISK efficiency is not generally the major factor, giving way to number of ships killed or achieving strategic objectives such as owning the battlefield or claiming a system's sovereignty.

Many coalitions will have a "Call to Arms", or CTA, where pilots are required to join a PvP operation. These are generally only called for major fleets such as sovereignty battles, and coalitions will often have punishments for corporations or individuals who miss a certain number of CTAs.

Getting started

The most common non-specialized (non-T2) ship used in nullsec PvP are battlecruisers. They are useful in both PvP and PvE, with decent tanks and damage (especially the Drake) that allow them to be effective on the battlefield and in PvE situations. T1 frigates and cruisers are generally not used because they do not have enough tank to survive a major fleet battle, although they are occasionally used for cheap fun fleets.

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