If you keep up with the other EVE related blogs you've seen this topic discussed quite a bit lately. The fact that Sov is broken is not a new revelation, it has never worked in the history of the game.
The reason for the sudden interest after years of ignoring it, is because of the most recent symptoms of the problem. Null Sec has stagnated and reached a boring equilibrium.
This boredom has forced the Mega Coalitons to become desperate for action and as a result they have progressively become more and more active in low sec and npc null sec.
An example of this is me engaging a Moa in low sec with my Cyclone only to have PL drop a Nyx, 5 Carriers, Panther, and a Redeemer to gank me. Dropping like that only comes as a result of extreme boredom.
EVE Sov Mechanics have always encouraged the creation of massive Alliances and Coalitions who then slowly consolidate down into fewer and fewer distinct groups.
This way of doing things is a natural result of the mechanics involved with Sov. Unfortunately so is the fact that Sov Null Sec is so stagnant and boring.
Some might respond that Null isn't boring just because there is no Sov War, and from the perspective those not involved in Sov (like me) they are right.
One of the buzzwords that’s been floating around nullsec the past few years is that it’s become stagnant. I wrote a few weeks ago about the public perception of activity in nullsec, and the myth that activity ceases when sovereignty wars aren’t being fought. The article itself is a message to those who continue to shout from the sidelines with their usual rhetoric trying to push a false narrative to anyone that will listen that nothing goes on in nullsec. I also briefly mentioned mentioned one of the principal reasons preventing a hypothetical massive N3/PL vs. CFC sov war is the shitty Dominion sov mechanics.
But that doesn't mean the system isn't broken. Nor does it mean that the game wouldn't be better with a system that made Sov something both attainable and worth having for the 70-80% of EVE not in a Coalition.
Via Dingo's Toolbox
So just what are the problems with the current system?
1. Ownership does not currently equal Occupancy
A Coalition can own 100+ Systems of Null sec and only inhabit less than 10 of them. Imagine this correlating to your favorite sci-fi show or movie. Couldn't a rebel group of Klingons raid a solar system and take control very quickly if that was the story line? Of course the Federation would come retake it, but natural response time makes such a blitzkrieg tactic valid, if only temporarily.
In more conventional terms, what about modern warfare? Isn't it possible for a small group eat away a larger one who does not occupy their holdings with sufficient forces?
Make Sovereignty a Game of King of the Hill. Whomever is the current king of that hill (system) owns that system. In other words Occupancy equals Ownership.
This solves the problem by forcing large coalitions to actually occupy their space, which as a result expands the battlespace forcing large coalitions/alliances to spread their forces thinly across very large areas of control.
The idea is that rather than a Defensive Mechanic of Timers and planned fights with hundreds of people on each side, you have RAPID and UNPREDICTABLE battles where an attacker can take Sov in minutes (say 10-20 minutes of grinding) with no timers, except for maybe an Anchoring Timer of the new Sov Module (10-20 minutes) where the module is vulnerable to being easily destroyed.
My basic idea would be something along the lines of the current Encounter Surveillance System Module. You anchor it, and then as a result you receive some small bonuses to the system like Increased Mining Yield, Rat Bounties, More Sites, etc. This could also have some small added bonus for time held, and even a Constellation Bonus, that gives you a few more percent for owning an entire constellation.
The key to this would be Notifications, both in Local and via EVE Mail. Should it be attacked notifications are sent, and the owners have 10-20 minutes to respond. Should they fail they have to retake it (Become king of the hill).
I imagine the result of this would be nightly coalition fleets going around grinding back systems one by one, but at the same time this would create endless opportunities for battles and because they must occupy the systems they take, they would lose it within a few hours of taking it.
2. It is too easy to move very large amounts of people very quickly... AKA Force Projection
Force Projection is fun. Black Ops drops are fun. And so is dropping capitals into a big fight. But I can't help but think this has gone a little too far. Recently I have noticed that cyno's in small gang fights have become the norm and not a rarity like they were only a few years ago.
In fact, there are quite a few groups that do nothing but roam around in expensive ships (Marauders, Faction BS, etc) with Cyno's and then drop a combination of Blap Dread, Black Ops, Carriers, and if you're lucky Titan Bridge an entire fleet. As a result many people refuse to fight those groups unless ready to escalate themselves.
Nerf Titan Bridges and Jump Bridges. Find some balancing mechanic to limit their use or remove them altogether. Perhaps a new type of Cyno that must be used for Titan Bridges.
How about a "Capital Cynosural Field Module" which must be lit by a Carrier? Or maybe instead just give the cyno a wind up time and noticeable effect? Say the cyno ship needs 30-60 seconds to activate the Cyno?
3. Remove the Incentive for owning space you do not occupy.
Currently it is in the best interest of Coalitions to own large amounts of space, to cyno jam systems with valuable moons, to own all the valuable moons, and pretty much just amass huge portfolios of passive income generating assets.
Nerf Passive Income and make people work the systems/moons for the income. Keep the moon but require it be mined like an asteroid by a real live person.
Make it so income is generated by occupancy and activity, not one big fight every few months/years.
The EVE I've always dreamed of seeing is one where Null Sec is a Wild West of sorts. One where the smallest alliance can carve out a place, and where a slightly larger alliance can crush the smaller alliance to form an empire. A universe that is very dynamic and ever changing, where supremacy is won every night, not just once a year.