Building an EVE Empire: Part Three
In part three of Building an EVE Empire, EVE Online correspondent Sam Guss takes a look at the importance of sovereignty in ruling 0.0 space.
The third rule of our thought experiment in building a vast Eve empire is the Rule of Sovereignty. As we all found out a couple of weeks back, the loss of sovereignty can literally kill off an Eve empire in a simple stroke. Sovereignty is what gives you a home in 0.0 and should be defended at all costs. When building your empire, you want to ensure that you can keep control of the systems that you are in and expanding into. Part of this mechanic has a very real consequence; you gain sovereignty in such systems. It is important that the members of the empire know that with this sovereignty comes responsibility. The responsibility to protect it is foremost but also utilizing these systems is important as well. Each system should be providing something for the Empire at large, whether as a base of operations, an economic stronghold, or even a chokepoint to defend from. None of the systems that you have sovereignty in should be "empty" systems. There needs to be a basic need fulfilled at each of your sovereign systems, whether it is for mining moon minerals, or perhaps belt ratting, or even perhaps a front line system for future war efforts. An empty system is one that won't be defended as vigorously as one that has something to lose. An "empty" system means there is nothing there worth fighting for. If an empire has too many empty systems, then the members of that empire have no idea how important each system is. By having an importance labeled to every system with sovereignty then the members have a personal stake in the systems they find themselves in the most. It comes down to people protect more vigorously that which they perceive as theirs. This means that if you have systems that are not worth anything to you, rent them out! By being charitable with such systems, you expand your influence and power of your Empire.
For sure, you will want to impose limitations, such as no more than 1 or 2 POS's in the system and everyone in your empire must be marked blue. Notice that while this means they may not be a part of that Empire, in truth they are. For they are under the influence and power of the Empire they rent from. An empires influence is more than just sovereignty though. Economically it needs to be the top if not only producer of goods within those systems. Whenever and wherever you can, you will want 100% of your marketing goods to be made by players within the empire, versus shipping them in from other agencies (with regards to perhaps those things made by NPC corporations). This means you want to aim for 0% importation of goods and services into your sovereign space. Likewise you want to aim for 100% export to actually circle back into members of your Empire versus those outside of it. Especially in terms of weapons, ships, etc that would be considered an asset to other alliances. By controlling the empires economics this way you are ensuring that you have a self sufficient Empire and that you are not providing the enemy with anything they can in turn use against you. It goes without saying that the larger your empire is in terms of systems, the more pilots that are needed. There is no fast and sure numbers to put here, as in how many pilots per system you should aim for. The only thing you need to take into account as your empire grows, is to grow at a steady but moderate pace. In this manner you will know when you have reached a current limitation on how much space you can adequately defend and know when you need to encourage more recruiting or perhaps leasing space to other alliances or corporations. I suggest dealing with corporations only versus alliances, unless it is a small alliance. In this manner you are in a better position to bring them into your Empire and also to limit the influence your leasers have. In other words, use a leased system as a bargaining chip to expand your Empires control and influence.
There are some negatives that come with this rule. The biggest is that once you claim territory you WILL become a target for other alliances and empire builders out there. All of these rules work in tandem to each other, so you shouldn't be claiming sovereignty until you can meet the other rules as well. Once you start claiming space you will be in a state of constant preparation for war. Either because other empires will try to take what is yours, or you will try to take what is theirs. The other negative that comes with this rule is that once you start down this path, to lose is to hurt your empire seriously – even to the point of crippling it. The BoB situation for example. They are still a force, but no longer the major threat it once was. Why? The fall from sovereignty is that high. Next time we will discuss Rule 4: The Rule of the Onion.