Low-security space is for people who care
Welcome to the twenty-first installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by none other than me, CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!
This month topic comes to us from @ZoneGhost who a few month ago asked “Is Low Sec the forgotten part of EVE Online?” Is it? I’d like us to explore this even further. Is Low Sec being treated differently by CCP Games than Null Sec (Zero-Zero) or Empire space is? Can one successfully make a living in these unsecured systems where neither Alliance nor Concord roam to enforce their laws? What’s needed? Or is everything fine as it is?
Low-security space works just fine as it is. It does. You can’t really argue with that. Pilots fly there. Pilots fight there. Pilots make money there. What’s different about low-security space is population density. There are fewer pilots there. And that is okay. Sometimes I even like it that way.
If you’ve ever read my blog before, you probably wonder what I’ve done with the original writer. Did I wait outside his door with fifty of my closest friends and hack him to bits when he came out? Did I hold him for ransom at gunpoint and then shoot him when he paid me? Did I stalk him at his place of work and ambush him while he was in a meeting with his co-workers? No; you’ve been playing too much EVE — these are things that happen in low-security space, not in real life.
But what gives? Why am I saying that low-security space works fine as it is when half of my posts have been about how to make it better? Because it does work. Clearly, though, there are a lot of things I would change to make it more fun — at least more fun the way I play EVE — but it actually works as-is.
There are basically three types of pilots in EVE: those who want to make money, those who want to blow up other players’ stuff and those who want to make their mark. Sure, this is a gross oversimplification. For example, I fall into two categories; I want to make money and I want to blow up other players’ stuff. And not even necessarily at the same time the way real pirates do — though that would be nice.
Sure, there are all kinds of other motivations that form a backdrop for these three activities such as role-playing, making people cry, making people happy, working as a team and just having plain old fun. But, I still stand by the three types. All three types of space are used to blow up other players’ ships. High-security space is for people who only want to make money (okay, there is a dark side which allows people to shoot others to create fear; but that leads to anger, and anger to hate and hate to suffering, we know how this ends already). Null-security space is for people who want to make their mark and NPC null-security space is for people who just want to shoot each other. Low-security space is for people who want to either make money or blow ships up and care about the backdrop for those goals.
Pilots in low-security space actively want to be a criminal, blockade runner, vigilante or raider of lost treasures. They want to cause trouble. They want an element of danger in their game without dedicating their lives to an alliance holding sovereignty in null-security space. My goal is to enhance these aspects of low-security space.
So what do people who like to blow up other players in low-security space want? More targets. This is pretty much all you need to say. They don’t care about making money. Likely they don’t even make money with their main character. In fact, making money is often an after thought or simply a necessary evil so they can continue to blow up other players’ ships (especially if they are bad at it).
For the most part, low-security pvp pilots want innocent targets. They revel in the thrill of the hunt as they stalk their prey. They glory in a shower of shrapnel as their target explodes (you don’t really think the blood makes it into space do you?). So the question for them should be, “How do we lure more innocent or inexperienced targets into low-security space?”.
The answer is entwined with the answer to what people who like to make money want to do. These pilots want to make money with no or little risk. It doesn’t seem likely they would ever want to come to low-security space because the risk is inherently greater without CONCORD running around and providing near-divine retribution. This is because EVE has indoctrinated players to believe they need a large, slow, expensive ship to make money. And said large, slow, expensive ship will not last very long in low-security space. So how could we resolve the problem of bigger risks for not much bigger gain?
Change low-security pve. Exploration is fine because there’s already some thought to this, but missions in low-security space are a joke. Either you can do them with no problem because you’re experienced in low-security space and you know what to watch for (or have made your ship unscannable) or you are brand new to low-security space and you’re dead before you even warp to the acceleration gate. Either way, the risk of losing your ship, the need to pay more attention and the potential to fail your mission if it is compromised add up to the risk often not being worth the minor increase in reward.
A secondary dissuading factor is that there is absolutely no law enforcement in low-security space. Gate guns don’t even count because it is trivial to set up a fleet to tank them indefinitely. They only serve two purposes (one good and one bad): to allow small ships to somewhat safely travel through low-security space and to prevent new players who can only fly small ships from engaging in gate piracy. So what do we do about this lack of law enforcement (or more accurately, lack of divine retribution)?
Make criminality a choice such that engaging in sustained criminal activities marks the pilot. Leave no way to ditch the mark until the pilot has atoned for all wrong-doings (willingly or unwillingly). Fix and add to the bounty system. Take actions to make criminality less of a burden by reducing global criminal countdown times and allowing free travel in high-security space.
Some of what I suggest would bring more pilots into low-security space; they would be flying ships that they could afford to lose while still making isk. This solution gives criminals what they want in the form of more innocent victims, and it gives risk-averse pilots what they in the form of a way to make money despite losing ships. These suggestions benefit both sides of the equation.
And, the rest of my suggestions center around what happens once we have more criminals and more victims; clearly the answer to that situation is more vigilantes — an archetype for which there really are not a lot of game mechanics.
So, while I’m happy, if sometimes lonely, in my low-security space now, a sprinkling of new features would make me happier.
1. This is really the important part; the backdrop for how you conduct yourself in space.
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