So what gives? Why do we in lowsec FW Sov enjoy the activity so much while our cousins in null sec get to it with a grumbling resignation of "Let's get this over with"? Is there anything we could learn from FW and apply to null? I'll take a look at some key differences, and see if there's not something to glean from them.
1: Your Supers Can't Help You Here
This is one of the most obvious differences. In a lowsec Sov push, caps are the next thing to useless. You *could* drop them somewhere in system and conventionally warp them into a large complex, but that will get you only 1 out of every 4 complexes. If you can get the system to vulnerable 5 dreads can knock out the iHub in a single cycle, but all it takes is a couple guys in frigates to defensively cap a plex or two for it to go invulnerable again. Your fleet can't even lock the iHub at this point, and your system capture is on hold until you can gain plex superiority again... with your subcaps.
I've been on both the giving and receiving end of the iHub going invul before the system can be taken. It's frustrating as hell for an attacker, but the defenders are usually skittering around having a laugh because they just gave their fleet a bit of extra time to mount a proper defense. In these situations, if the system already got this high to begin with, it's likely to fall at some point anyway, but not today. If an attacker is using caps, they will usually evac them before someone with more caps shows up, but even then, a 40 or 50 man mixed subcap fleet is more than enough to take the iHub in 10-15 minutes.
While a huge limitation to the power of supers in FW is one of the biggest draws we have, for feasibility in null, I'm not sure there's much to carry over here. While many people are quick to bemoan the proliferation and power of Supercaps, I don't see a forced push away from them as going over too well, especially with the people that rely on them so much. If there was some part of the null sov grind that required subcaps it might make people who don't enjoy flying caps and supers feel a little more useful, but artificially limiting fights in null seems a little against the grain, so that brings us to...
2: 1000 Paper Cuts, The Benefit of Many Smaller Timers
To take a system in FW, at least one that's actively defended, the attacking force needs an around the clock presence. Plex timers run anywhere from 10-20 minutes. A capture will either add 20 Victory Points to the contested pool, or take 20 out of it. In a non-dust modified system, it takes 3,000 VP to make the iHub vulnerable, and that iHub has no RF timer; you put it to structure, you win.
|Good indicator that someone's house is on fire in FW.|
While the FW way of doing things seems to play back into that whole bit about forcing people to fly smaller ships, there IS something that might translate here. As it stands in null, you drop fleet, RF structure, take note of the timer, and then leave with plans to come back in a day or 2 to push it to the 2nd timer, and then hopefully a couple days after that to finally destroy it. If you're lucky you'll get a fight, and it won't result in an atrocious amount of TiDi. If you're unlucky, you'll be reading a book or shooting the shit on comms while trying to remember to hit F1 every couple of minutes between reloads.
What I can say definitively, is that highly contested running battles that last for days on end are some of the most exciting times for a FW pilot. Even the solo and small gang guys that despise fleets have a good time flying around catching stragglers that can't keep up with their FC.
Of course I haven't addressed the issue of iHubs and outposts, but a system like this would allow for there not to be 2 long RF timers between grinding those structures 3 times.
3: YOUR Space is MY Income Source
In this sense, losing the system next door to a fortress system is both good and bad. While it does offer the enemy a staging area to assault a fortress system more easily, it also provides a fertile farming ground if that enemy isn't on top of their game defending that staging area. when these assaults happen, often major fighting will occur in both systems in a tug of war to see who can oust who first. The fighting in 2013 between the Gallente in Nennamaila and the Caldari next door in Enaluri was legendary, with fleets attacking and defending both systems for nearly a week non stop until the Caldari were finally pushed out, and forced to evacuate the area.
Looking at what are probably the 3 most major differences between FW and Null sov grinding, it might be a little easier to see why FW pilots tend to enjoy the grind more than their null cousins. Unfortunately, what null really needs is a complete overhaul, and I'm not sure there's much that can be taken from FW's successes to translate. I do see some merit in the 1000 Paper Cuts approach over the current meta (amassing as much supercapital damage as possible, RF, Timer, RF, Timer, Capture, with almost no focus on smaller operations or need for subcap support) but such change would have to accompany other mechanics, and would be a major undertaking on CCPs part.
I think many people will disagree on specifics at this point, but one thing I think I see almost everyone out in null saying these days is that the current system isn't all that good or fun, and something needs to change. The rest is all just details.