Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rambling: Rip Out the Rails

[TL:DR: Sugar muses on the out dated defines of low security space.]

Last year I wrote a post called In Defense of Low Sec where I floated out my idea that Low Sec couldn’t be fixed and improved until it was defined better. I didn’t have any defines for it I just had a concept that trying to fix it in the middle instead of at the start would not do anything but create another random wave of imbalance. And imbalance is worse than a lack of improvement to me.
Of late, as I’ve now spent the past year and a half (with plans to stay where I am) in low sec I’ve been able to experience other people’s trials and tribulations, successes and failures in low sec space. I’ve watched various issues pop up again and again and I too have lamented at what seems to be the neglect of low sec space.
However, reading up on the threads about the new hacking game and the changes to the loot tables for Odyssey I had something click a bit. Right now, it seems that CCP has listened to our screams of protest over the wads of trash they were giving out for loot and improved the drop rates. I will go and test it tomorrow, when I am off of work. This is not about the loot rates, another post will cover that. It is about the places where people were finding the loot.
The reports for the largest gains were of course, in null sec. The gains were large enough that people were expecting them to be nerfed quickly.  The gains reported in low sec were good but not as good at the ones in null sec.
My mind put together the pieces I already know and I went, “Oh. That may be a problem.”
The worry that the loot drops in null sec are too good come from the fact that many, many areas of null sec can be farmed by its inhabitants. It is a perk of possessing Sov Null space. However, like anything a perk such as that can easily be focused on in such as a way as to throw things into imbalance.
The assumption is that the loot drops in low sec will not be as good as the loot drops in null sec because it is low sec and not null sec.
And I realized, that a lot of the reason Low Sec is not properly defined is because Eve is sitting on the decaying rails of a theme park concept.
Eve is a Sandbox! We scream it from the Heavens. We hit CCP across the head with it. We parade ourselves across the internet chanting this concept. However, when Eve was first developed its structure, like the structure of so many things was based upon other concepts and expanded beyond that. For a long, long time the progression of High Sec to Low Sec to Null Sec made sense. Wormholes were added and they became the 4th space and the most dangerous space when it came to pre-created game play.
Eve does not exist upon its bounds of created content. The health of its Sandbox is its lack of linear content for the bulk of the player base. The players have created a world where a new player can go anywhere and be anywhere with anyone at any point. The game play mechanics have often supported it with roles for small ships that are valuable at low skill levels. If the concept has evolved to one where potential profit is wrapped around the risks taken then the archaic rails rotting underneath the massive sandbox that has developed above it need to be dug out and removed.
Low Sec is not an in between state of null sec and high sec. It was developed as such but it has not evolved as such. It is an independent area of the game based off its mechanics. It has perminant residents. Residents who do not want to ‘move on’ to null security space nor ‘stay curled up’ in high security space.
Wars are waged, ships are destroyed, the kills  per ship related numbers are high. While one can say ‘they shouldn’t expect to live on the land’ I will pick up their discarded ‘sandbox’ theme. Wormhole residents were not expected to evolve into a complex, highly skilled society. I doubt null sec was expected to become a big ring of mutual agreements and diplomacy.  Jita is also the center of the game. These things happened and grew organically and often adjustments were made, such as Jita’s system population cap.
I have spent a lot of time pondering income in low sec.  I’ve pointed out that we have resources that we cannot access. Things like high value moons. When Odyssey hits and the new moons are added I do not think the valuable moons will be owned by low sec residents for very long. I expected the null sec powers to sweep in and take anything static of value as they currently do. I have no problem with this. It is also the nature of the sandbox. I may not like it but I do not find it to be wrong or bad.
But, if our static resources are good enough to be taken by those who control vast swaths of space with their powers, powers that they need to finance, our space seems to be good enough to live in and be used. That is where my thoughts wandered when people praised null sec drop rates.
Why is low sec reined in by being better than high sec and not as good as null sec when the inherent danger of acquisition of non-static goods (missions, exploration, belt ratting) is as high or higher?
I’m not asking for officer drops. I’m not even asking for improved faction spawns. The fact that low sec is empire space, if mostly lawless and unpatrolled has meaning in the area of things such as that. I can easily accept lore for why it doesn’t happen. I’ve pointed out before that I think mission payouts and LP payouts need to be tweaked. I also, think that the drop tables need to be looked at as more than ‘middle ground between high sec and null sec’ with the exploration tables.
I also think low sec should have more than two types of DED site. I feel that we should have the low end sites as high sec does and we should also have two or three of the higher end sites. There seems to be no reason for 6/10 and 7/10s to not spawn in low security space.  I can understand, via lore, that higher end sites are out away from the edges of Empire but not the most basic of middle ground.
The cliff from high sec to low sec is a canyon, not a step for a player. The ability to regain what is lost needs to exist in the space where the loss is made. As long as missions and sites continue to be ‘not worth it for the risk’ the area will continue to hover in a confused, in between state.
 Low Sec needs to be freed from the cracking, decayed rails that once structured its basic concept. Even the ghetto has jobs.


  1. technically all of low sec has access to 6/10's although ccp in there infinite wisdom has kinda screwed over minmatar and serpentis space as there 6/10's are way awful then the rest of the races of "6/10's". As for 3/10's sansha have them in low sec and no one else from what I've seen. Basically if you want the full range of 3 through 6/10's sansha's space is really the only place to go every other low sec space is limited either to 4 though 5/10's or 4 through 6/10's

    1. For some reason Google sent both comments to the spam folder. I pulled out one. I figured they said the same thing so I did not pull them both out. Sorry about that.

  2. your comments are spot on. i judge the value of anything i do in eve on the basis 'will this pay for a plex?' the conclusion the exploration sites were still lacking was arrived at using that guideline. the payout has to be worth the effort. for a corp to move to and live in a low sec system it has to be able to meet its financial needs from that environment. a pvp corp needs isk to replace blown up ships. will ratting cover those expenses? will mining gas or mins cover those expenses? low sec has to be profitable to the corp thats living in it. maybe they do not have sov bills, but they do have to survive. why should the members be forced to have alts in hi sec to feed their pvp habits? the answer is they shouldn't. low sec should supply everything a corp needs to survive in it. self sufficiency is a reasonable goal/objective/expectation of any corp in low sec. atm low sec isn't quite there. ccp keeps nerfing the income you gain from low sec. whether it is the bounties on ships or the slow respawn rate of roid fields or the lousy payouts of anomalies ccp just seems to gut low sec and as a result corps wont move there as a result.

    1. You haven't mentioned the biggest reason for poor income in lowsec: other players. Mission rewards are higher in LP (it's not commensurate with the increased "risk" but it is an increase over highsec), there's not penalty on rat bounty, higher quality ore, level V missions (some of which are soloable, or at the very minimum dual boxed), somewhat better opportunity in exploration, and better ice in the few systems that have ice belts. But none of that matters when the only thing stopping you from getting those income sources is whether or not you're pointed and/or in optimal+falloff of another quite possibly hostile ship.

    2. I, at least, feel I cover that in terms of Risk. The other players are the greatest Risk in low sec. That is why the current rewards, which are not much of a step up are not great. Level 5 missions require several people or capital ships. Level 5s are not a small step up from level 4s and people do run them and lose their stuff doing them all of the time.

      Low Sec has a very high rate of loss which is fine but my general point, at least, is that because of that constant rate of loss its residents need to be able to live sustainability off of the land.

      All of the stuff is a bit better, sure, but not much better. It doesn't dent what is needed to do those missions in terms of both ships, fits, and man power.

  3. I agree, lowsec rewards are not much of a step up in light of the risk involved. Levels 5s however, are very lucrative (90k LP+50m or so in tags/bounties/loot) for 10-30m work.

    I've been doing L4+5s for over two years in lowsec and have not been successfully probed down once

    The point is, you're either very safe or in imminent danger of getting blown up. Exactly how safe you are depends on how well you're paying attention.

    Though the irony in "why aren't there more miners in lowsec?" Posed by the self same group of people that would likely not hesitate in attempting to blow up said miner is amusing.

    Speaking of which, I know of two "mini-coalitions" in lowsec that have essentially turned a couple systems into Amamake for anyone not on their blue list...and reap the rewards of heavily mining the belts and running missions.

    Once again the threat of other players is incredibly variable. Humans being the lazy creatures we are, upon getting taunted in local for the third time for failing to scan down an alert mission boat, are more likely to give up trying than to double down on their efforts.

    It's still not an excuse not to be dscan paranoid.

    1. There's very few miners in lowsec because most miners consider paying as little attention as possible to the screen to be an accomplishment.

      In hisec that works fine because of the slim chance of being ganked, in lowsec it means certain death.