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My name is Hallan Turrek. This is my blog.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Low Sec: I Wanna Talk to You

He said I'm going to buy this place and see it go
Stand here beside my baby watch the orange glow
Some'll laugh and some just sit and cry
But you just sit down there and you wonder why
So I'm going to buy a gun and start a war
If you can tell me something worth fighting for
And I'm going to buy this place, that's what I said
Blame it upon a rush of blood to the head
Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head

I can feel that little creeping fear in the back of my spine. The thing that makes you rise off the edge of your chair and immediately you know, even though it's over, that was a good fight. That's the fun of an unsure ending. It's been a while. More on that later.

'Fore I get started on the blog banter, and before you get bored with this mighty long post: Mynxee's doing some things with some people in some place at some time. I honestly have no idea what's going on, but it pertains to low-sec, and Mynxee is involved. That usually means you should listen. You should listen, I sometimes just hum the national anthem or something.

Now the blogfather CrazyKinux has sent me a mail with the next blog banter. I'm not against the banter concept. I like community building events... I just have a problem with being expected to link other people's blogs, good or not. The ones I read are on the far right, those are the blogs I know for a fact are good. There are other good ones I do not read, either for lack of time or my not knowing about them. I'm still going to answer the blog banters, but my jumping through hoops has ended.

That said, lets jump through another hoop!

If you're completely fresh to blogging, let me sum it up quickly: A blog banter is where a bunch of bloggers answer a simple question. CrazyKinux runs ours.

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?

The truth about pirates is that they operate under terrible and restrictive rules that CCP has created to discourage PvP in Empire Space, including low-sec.

So what do you do about a part of the playerbase that has chosen a difficult lifestyle? It's nearly impossible to do anything without having to take account of about 5 different rules at a time. The penalty for the playstyle is being completely cut off from another playstyle. Living by your own rules in reality means living by more rules than anyone else when it comes to simple ship to ship combat.

What do you do when a part of the playerbase willingly takes on these penalties and tries to have fun with them? Ignore them. In essence it's the only logical solution to someone who's strapped for resources for development.

You've chosen the lifestyle that is the most difficult in EVE and you did so willingly. You're the least likely person to leave the game. You are the least likely then, to get anything you actually want.

High Sec is the refuge of the people who take the easy way out. Imagine how many carebears would stop playing if they had to do level 4 missions in lowsec. Yes, as a solution to low secs problems, that would be a big deal. More people, more killing, more fun.

Carebears wouldn't play anymore though. Large swaths of Eve players would simple pack their shit and go home. So is it easier to give low sec what they want, if they're already willing to put up with shit as it is, or keep the status quo on that point? If you're CCP, what would you decide?

That decision is easy, and we all know what CCP's going to do. So lets just say this now: Any change to low sec that penalizes high sec will probably not happen. I'd go even further and say that any changes to low sec that make high sec significantly less good in comparison are pretty unlikely to happen.

So I guess to answer the first question: Of course CCP is treating low-sec differently than the rest of EVE. It would be irresponsible from a business standpoint to treat low sec equally.

Next up, can I make a living as a pirate? I think myself and numerous others will tell you wholeheartedly, yes you can. It's a simple life that profits, but a good one. Use cheap ships and cheap fits. Have some fun. Any number of pirate bloggers out there can explain just how much money they've made over time, and I know that when I pirated I had a blast and made money. Not much mind you, certainly not enough for a plex in a month, but the income was not negative.

Lastly, the question of "What can be changed, or is everything find as it is,". Yes things can be changed. Things that don't require even that much thought. Stuff that doesn't require intense coding like having rats work for you or some bullshit like that.
  1. Shorten GCC to 5 minutes instead of 15.
  2. Gate guns don't shoot at you unless you fire at someone in front of them. Warping in and out clears their Aggro.
  3. Gate guns should have tracking that isn't perfect.
  4. Gate guns should have a range of 100k instead of 150k.
  5. Make low sec mining more profitable than high sec mining. For the love of god. Carebears already think this is the case. So no harm no foul in making the logical both true and logical.
  6. Add yet more combat agents in low sec, with higher quality.
  7. Cap the quality of agents in high sec at 5.
  8. Allow an annual amnesty like the neural remap: once a year you can clear your sec status completely.
  9. Delays in local chat should reflect the security status of the system. .4 being 15 secs, with an additional 15 seconds after that for each .1 to null-sec, which would have W-Space like local. If that's too complicated, make it all like w-space.
  10. Create new pirate gates that can only be activated if you personally have a certain standing with the controlling pirate corp. This allows shortcuts and smuggler routes in low sec. This is my favorite idea I just came up with.
It's so good in fact that I'll just stop listing there. Man it's easy for me to impress myself.

This shit is simple. A bunch of little things that together could make low-sec a heck of a lot of fun.

That said, lets get back to the fun I had a bit earlier tonight. After reading this blog banter question, I knew I had to go out and experience some low sec, before I went ranting about it.

So I hopped onto my alt Bonn Mott, and flew down to my low sec base, picked up my Rifter and decided to take a look at Eifer. It didn't take long at all for the Jokers Wild to find a thrasher in a belt on scan. A quick look up and I confirmed his age as 2 years. More than enough to skill up a thrasher to kill my Rifter alt, but I decided to give it a go anyway. I warped down on top of him, and locked him up. His autocannons stripped away huge parts of my shield, but I wasn't too worried. My armor would be the real test. He on the other hand was shield boosting his ass off.

I pulled into a tight orbit and waited. Soon enough my shields were gone and he got his teeth into my armor. I was still doing pretty good, eventually beating his shield boosting and I started to nibble on his armor a bit too. Eventually my armor was completely stripped away. Then he stopped shooting. I could've taken this opportunity to run, it was obvious this guy wasn't just some random newb, and could fly his ship. I decided that meant the kill would be even sweeter, and kept firing. Finally taking out the last of his armor.

As I burned into his structure, he started to fire again, and it hurt. My armor rep wasn't able to do much to help... so I just fired and hoped. I got him to 30% structure before I died. Another volley might've done it. Two would have.

It was disappointing, but I told him good fight and moved on. Nothing ventured nothing gained, right?

A conversation later, and I found out he'd run out of ammo mid fight, and had to reload. It almost killed him, and if this alt had overheating, it would have. Next time.


  1. 5-minute GCC -- or even 10 -- would be such a nice change. It's crazy that you have to idle for a quarter hour to wait them out; some of us are lucky to get an hour or hour and a half at a time to play. 15-minute GCC really cuts into that severely.

    Based on my conversations with folks who run missions in high sec, I am unconvinced moving L4s to Low Sec would draw them in. Not with the ease and speed they can be scanned out in their missions, among other factors. As for mining in low sec...until people learn how to put together a mining op that includes combat pilots for defense, that's another group I don't see being lured to Low Sec for only slightly more rewards but much higher risk. The high sec mindset just isn't geared that way, it seems. They kind of ARE missing the point of EVE, unfortunately. Goal, collaboration, fun attempt at achievement.

    Thanks for the link, btw!

    Your fight with that Thrasher just goes to show, it's worth being bold, pilot! And even if you lose, so what? Fun fight anyway.

  2. I may not be a pirate, but I still think everyone is right to want a shorter GCC. It's a bit ridiculous. I really like your last idea, kinda makes me want to make my alt a baddie just for that xP

  3. Smuggler gates are awesome.

    Delaying local is not. Sure, it would make ganking carebears a little easier (but not much, they would just have to spam directional even more, what is not very fun) but it will lower the number of said carebears in Lowsec even more.

    I believe everyone wants more not-pirates in Lowsec and that means the mechanics have to be favourable for them, allowing them to make an income while beeing able to avoid getting killed. That would bring more Carebears, who then would fuck up more often thus still giving more opportunities to gank them.

    And i know most highsec-lvl-4-bears would not come to lowsec just because they could make a little bit more at a much higher risk, even if they knew they could avoid that risk by skillfull playing. But there are many that would. There are so much more people in high than in low, if only a very small percentage would get lured into lowsec, that might easily double or trible the numbers there.

  4. I'm with De'Vadder: increase the survival chance for us carebears in lo-sec (no survival guarantee, though, that'd be boring), and you'd see more of us. And while Eve is a game of cooperation, carebears usually just don't have the numbers.

    For example (and this is just off the top of my head) - make the gate guns _more_ deadly, taking the system's sec status into account. Right now they are a joke.

  5. Druur Monakh said ... “increase the survival chance for us carebears in lo-sec, and you'd see more of us.”
    My response to this banter took the stance that lowsec is what lowsec is, and that there’s no particular merit in pushing for such change.
    Now if you were to want to change things so more ppl spent more time in lowsec space it’s simple … as Druur suggests you simply tweak the risk v. reward balance for the ppl you want to entice in.
    For example, looking at the reasons I have recently travelled to / thru lowsec space …
    1. To get from hisec to nullsec / w-space, or vice versa. The reward here is being able to get to where I want to do stuff. The risk is of getting killed, usually highest at the interface systems between hisec and lowsec and / or lowsec and nullsec. Of course, travelling back to hisec from null I breathe a sigh of relief when I hit lowsec, realising that no bastard is gonna catch me with a drag bubble, and start jumping gate-to-gate again.
    Curiously I’ve not been killed in this situation (yet).
    2. To practice something in different circumstances … such as PI with higher-than-hisec resource flows. The reward here is to get experience with something that may not wish to try elsewhere. The risk is of getting killed while you’re doing it.
    I have been killed in this situation, most recently when I wanted to checkout higher-throughput PI before moving our PI to w-space. Forgot to cloak my little hauler while sitting at a ‘safe’ spot to wait out an attack by the local pirate clan.
    3. Access to particularly desirable mission agents. The reward is improved mission rewards, for whatever reason appeals to you. The risk is of getting killed while you’re doing it.
    I do this a fair bit, usually by ferrying a ship into lowsec and spending a few days working an agent there. I have been killed and podded in this situation … at the hisec-lowsec interface system while moving into low.
    4. To complete missions from hisec agents (especially courier missions from R&D agents). The reward is the rewards of that mission. The risk is of getting killed while you’re doing it.
    This I do on a virtually daily basis, and I am surprised at the lack of pirates when I do so. I have never been killed in this situation, or even seriously threatened. Given the probability of a lvl4 R&D agent offering a lowsec courier (1/4 – 1/5 it seems) I’d have thought that camping those systems would provide a good stream of pirate-fodder.
    5. To take delivery of bargain purchases. The reward is a desirable item at a bargain price. The risk is of getting killed while you’re doing it … and of losing the item if you’re killed on the way out.
    I like bargains and have made some rather challenging purchases to obtain them. Got a couple of deaths to evidence my desire to get a faction item cheap or a bundle of something … not-fond memories of learning just how voluminous 500k of sulphuric acid is, and dying trying to get some of it out for resale. I have been killed, several times, by this one.
    I don’t understand why this ‘bargain bait’ ploy isn’t used more often. Put a domination gyro up for 30M and you’ll have me sniffing round right away … even if the contract title stated “gank-bait, purchase at your own risk”.
    6. To cut a bundle of jumps off a travel route. The reward is a shorter trip. The risk is of getting killed while you’re doing it, and losing any stuff you’re carrying.
    I regularly short-cut through lowsec when engaged in Jita – Rens commerce. Sometimes I find myself wondering whether it’s actually less safe than that awful pirate-infested pipe through Deltole – Colelie.
    From the above you will see, at least in my case, there are a half dozen rewards / benefits you could tweak or one universal risk you could tweak to make me more likely to want to spend more time in lowsec space. Either make those six things more rewarding to me, or make it less likely for me to be killed.

    Of course, it being less likely for me to be killed is precisely **not** what the pirating lobby groups want to happen in lowsec :-)

  6. I love the idea of a smuggler gate network. These already exist in many missions, but are sadly never useable.

    Perhaps they could have certain characteristics that would benefit the user, like ignoring GCCs, enabling the criminal to flee the system if required.

    Maybe they could also connect to high-sec deadspace pockets with black market trade outposts which are undetectable to the authorities. Weapons fire would still attract their attention, but it would give pirates and smugglers a window of opportunity in hi-sec.

    Ideascale it Hallan.