All right, so you have claimed your solar system with a Territory Control Unit, and begun developing it with an Infrastructure Hub. What next? This guide covers the various sovereignty upgrades that are available, and some of the finances involved. This is the second in a series of Ten Ton Hammer articles dealing with sovereignty. For the first part of this series, check here.
Upgrading Infrastructure Hubs
As your "IHUB" sits comfortably in space at a planet and you are periodically paying upkeep fees to CONCORD, it will accumulate or lose development. The strategic level of development progresses for as long as you have sovereignty in that system without interruptions, as from a successful attack on that system from other players, or a failure to pay upkeep. Military development improves as people in that system kill NPCs. Finally, the industry level improves as asteroids are mined and hacking or archeology exploration sites are run.
Depending on what levels your system has been developed to, you will be able to install various upgrades. Notable, strategic upgrades will significantly increase your upkeep fees. Any corporation considering strategic upgrades should undertake a careful cost-benefit analysis before installation. Available upgrades are discussed below.
Installing upgrades is how you customize your solar system.
Moving freighters into null-security space is not an easy task, and is best resolved for unusual times, like shortly before the server goes down for the night. Depending on how far out you go, it may make sense to reprocess the freighter into construction parts and use them to make a capital ship, or even to reprocess those parts into raw minerals.
Once you are in your system, deliver the upgrade to the IHUB in space, right click on the IHUB to access the hub management, drag your upgrade onto the menu, and confirm that you are sure you want to install it. Voila! Strategic upgrades take place immediately, while the others require until downtime to take effect.
Each level of strategic development corresponds to an alliance having uninterrupted control of that system. The level of development and the available options gained with that level are:
- 1: 7 days. Supercapital construction facilities.
- 2: 21 days. Cynosural navigation.
- 3: 35 days. Advanced logistics network, cynosural suppression.
- 4: 65 days. No new options.
- 5: 100 days. No new options.
Supercapital Construction Facilities: Your POS in that system can now use Capital Ship Assembly Arrays and Capital Ship Maintenance Arrays. The former are the only location that titans and supercarriers can be manufactured at. Building supercapital ships is one of the most lucrative big-time production/business projects, but it also paints a giant target mark on your system. Lots of corporations out there would love to blow up a half-built titan or supercarrier, even though they would not get any of the materials involved. On the other hand, if you sell even one titan or supercarrier, the profit will probably take care of a year of upkeep.
Cynosural Navigation: Your POS in that system can now use Cynosural Generator Arrays. These maintain an open cynosural field all of the time. Any character in your alliance flying a ship with a jump drive can jump to these, if they are within range. These "cynos" are normally opened manually with ships, which necessarily involves having an extra character at the destination. In short, it is a pain in the butt to open cynos normally. Most capital ships cannot use normal gates, and instead rely on these cynos to move around. This upgrade is handy if your alliance has a lot of capital traffic, and does not cost too much. Still, most capital pilots have an extra account or enough friends that paying 2mil ISK a day for a non-essential service is excessive. It adds up! In short, this is probably only worthwhile for larger alliances.
Advanced Logistics Network: This is the big one. Once you have this upgrade installed, your alliance can use up to two Jump Bridges at POS in your system. Jump bridges are private gates that can only be used by members of the corporation that sets them up, or if they know the password, by alliance members and allies with good standings. Jump bridges can only connect to other jump bridges controlled by your alliance, in systems up to five light years away. The bridges require liquid ozone for fuel each time a ship jumps through it, with higher consumption for larger ships. The larger alliances in EVE Online have pretty comprehensive networks of bridges, sometimes crossing half a dozen regions. Unfortunately, being able to have bridges costs an extra 10mil per day, for that system. This is an impractical price for smaller alliances, especially since you will need at least two systems with this upgrade, in order to connect them to each other. These should be used sparingly, and only when their expensive is truly justified.
Cynosural Suppression: Allows the installation of a Cynosural System Jammer at one of your alliance POS in your system. The "cyno jammer" renders normal cynosural fields impossible to generate, making capital ship movement into that system nearly impossible. Any attackers that wish to use capitals will need to destroy the cyno jammer device before proceeding. Unfortunately, these cost an extra 20mil per day, and inhibit the movement of friendly capital ships as well as that of your enemies. Thus, this is usually only turned on to batten down the hatches when an invasion is underway or there is reason to think that an attack is immanent.
Strategic Upkeep Costs
Each strategic upgrade increases the cost of your upkeep. While the upkeep fees are normally billed every two weeks, I find it more helpful for accounting to use the daily costs.
- No Upgrades: 6mil per day.
- Supercapital Construction Facilities: +1mil per day.
- Cynosural Navigation: +2mil per day.
- Advanced Logistics Network: +10mil per day.
- Cynosural Suppression: +20mil per day.
Military Development Upgrades
Military upgrades do not increase the cost of your upkeep, but they will become inactive if the military development index of your system drops too low. When installing either upgrade, you must install each level before proceeding to the next. E.g., if you wanted to install a Pirate Detection Array 3, you would first need to install the level 2 and 1 versions. The two upgrades currently available are:
Pirate Detection Array: Each level of these adds another two constant cosmic anomaly encounters to that system, that will be replaced as soon as it is completed. This is the number one reason to have sovereignty, because the quality of the anomalies is not dependent on the "true-sec" security status of that system. This means that once a system is upgraded, the anomalies are as good as those found in any null-sec system. Running these anomalies generally makes almost the same ISK per hour as a fully "pruned" system that has all battleship NPCs in the asteroids, but scales up well with additional participants and can be run even faster by carriers. Under ideal circumstances, anomalies can easily exceed the ISK earned per hour by level four mission runners or NPC hunters working with nearly ideal conditions.
The military upgrades have proven more popular than industry upgrades.
Entrapment Array: These are similar to Quantum Flux Generators, in that they improve your random chance of getting a DED complex (the most valuable exploration sites), but the exact amount is not known. Indeed, many players insist that these are bugged. It seems likely that these do not "create" DED complexes, but rather that the complexes that already exist in that region or constellation are more likely to spawn in upgraded systems. If that is the case, then the sites would still end up outside of the upgraded system quite a bit, and multiple upgraded systems would compete with each other. Again, your mileage may vary.
Industry Development Upgrades
Industry upgrades are the last kind of upgrade, and arguably a bit lacking as compared to military upgrades. It is very difficult to increase the industry development level, and certainly not worth increasing it to level five -- with the effort required for a level five, one could maintain two level four systems. Still, a few levels might help.
Ore Prospecting Array: Each level of this adds a "hidden" asteroid belt that may be discovered in the same manner as cosmic anomalies. Furthermore, the belt will respawn when completely mined out. These belts include a great deal of low-end minerals. This is something that runs contrary to many players' sensibilities, because most players would rather mine arkanor, bistot, or crokite, and leave it at that. And indeed, that is likely the best way to pursue mining, if all one is doing is mining. But if one is running an industrial corporation in the midst of null-sec space, particularly of the sort that manufactures mineral-intensive supercapital ships, it might be sensible to mine absolutely everything. The effort needed to import minerals might well exceed the that of mining asteroids with a lower raw ISK value. These may also see use if there is a weekend of mining operations, as some corporations occasionally have.
Survey Network: Finally, this increases the chance of Radar and Magnetometric exploration sites spawning in your system. These sites are where the hacking and archaeology skills primarily find use. It is thought that, like Entrapment Arrays, they do not create new sites, but rather offer increased odds of any respawning site appearing in your system. Again, as with any random system in EVE Online, many players insist that these upgrades are bugged, when really they are just unlucky. Still, it's probably better than extra mining belts.