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Ramblings: Reimaging High Sec

[TL;DR: Sugar ponders the concept of High Sec]

I started working on this idea during Fanfest when CCP Soundwave said, during his presentation, that he wanted to support people who wanted to live in high sec because that is the game that they wanted to play as much as any other area. I wrote for a bit and shoved it aside because it was to controversial feeling to me. But, today, after I read that the spawned containers from the new exploration mechanics will carry over the normal Crimewatch system, I decided to finish up the thought some.

It was the post that helped spur me to debate Ripping off the Rails to allow Low Sec a greater definition as well. If the previous progression bar of high sec to low sec to null sec and/or wormholes is to vanish then the acceptance of high sec as something other then a newbie area has to start if all areas of the game are to 
become a functionally, integrated environment.

Eve is very much a little world. It becomes more and more so as it ages. Thousands of people live together inside of the game. We form societies  associations, friendships, groups, hangouts, games, and business. You can join random fleets (RVBGanked or the Bombers Bar) or take classes Eve Uni/Agony Unleashed) or go to war. Or you can get a job (Red FrogPushX) and go forth and make money or attempt to create your ideal job or reality. I find it interesting that people consider high security space to be a training zone or a tutorial zone or a newbie zone. I have been reading arguments and discussions over making players leave high security space and experience other parts of the games. Arguments focused on ways, both stick and carrot, to get people to leave the starter zones. These are endless debates. They go on and on, back and forth on forums, on blogs, and I believe on pod casts and in chat rooms. People have to leave high sec. They must be lured or beaten into low sec, null sec, wormhole space, anywhere but high sec. Yet, I have always been puzzled by why people are so adamant that high sec is not a viable place to play and live out your Eve existence. It obviously is.

I do not think that Eve, as it currently functions - a richly detailed world with thousands of options and possibilities - would function as the game that we enjoy without high sec being so full of people. My thoughts say that it could not function the way it currently does because it currently functions upon the fact that the game is non-linear. 

High sec is not safe. To many people spend too much time making sure that does not happen. It can be safe in the way that civilized, policed areas are. You can fall victim of random violence. You may exacerbate your chances of being a victim of that violence by filling your freighter with 20 billion in loot or you can try to keep that number around a billion and make the chances of you being a target less. High sec is like living in a very nice city such as New York or LA. A place where people flock to go and live in tremendous numbers and find themselves the victims of random violence. Yet, they continue to stay for all of the other things and because of this society functions. One can say that they feel high sec is 'to' safe but that does not mean that it is safe. 

(Even as I write I watch the boys ganking miners in high sec over and over again as they announce themselves in local and people still pay no attention to the warnings handed tot hem on the platter of local chatter. And still they do not understand why or where the violence comes from.)

If high sec was a true newbie zone, we’d all be automatically moved out of it. We would not advance inside of it. We would be stuck in the gifts the tutorial gave us until we left it. But you can reject the tutorial and run off into the street to get hit by a car immediately because you didn't know to look both ways before crossing the street and no one told you to check because no one was there to hold your hand.

t just seems that Eve is too economically focused to not have a large, stable population of working, law abiding citizens.  People who work and consume. People who turn into targets. The mentality of those who live in the presumed safety of decent society is vastly different from the mentality of those who live in a more survival based existence. And as titillating as all war and all battle all the time would be, the game does not function in that manner. 

People would be reduced to a very hand to mouth existence because the plush consumer would  be removed from the food chain. The new player would focus only on survival and soon be pushed out into the vast unknown. The vast unknown would have greater rewards but it would have a vastly multiplied risk. A risk great enough to consume the current reward.

As Eve stands right now it is not worth the time of people who live in high sec, without the desire to enter the consumptive process of lower and no security space, to go to that space. Even with the greater reward it is not worth the multiplied risk. The risk increases in a sudden drop off and the consumption process is so fierce that more people would be consumed then would thrive. The worth of stuff is going to be different for every person. You need stuff. You consume stuff. Stuff is not infinite. But someone has to consume it. Right now people argue about the power of moon goo and the ISK of vast alliances. But that will change. Next it will be the worries about ice materials and the sudden strain of those suit clad new co-workers being gang members who have had their tattoos removed. No matter what it is someone will always be unhappy. That is okay as well. Some people will always be risk averse in some manner. On the flip side, some people are almost success averse and flaunt their low wallet numbers the same way someone flaunts their high. The consumption and acquiescent of stuff is endless for all sides. Not all groups will consume the same amounts in the same way. It is the nature of the beast.

People form cities. They form towns, councils, markets. People create security forces well defined or not. People want to go about their lives with some security. And some people do not. They either leave society and go off to live in the mountains (wormholes) off into the vast tracks of ranches and farms (null sec) or out into the edge of town to cross to the wrong side of the tracks (low sec). Some never want to leave the bright lights of the city and they stay (gankers) and live in the stark shadows cast by the city lights.

High Sec is not going to go away. It has a place in the game. That place may shift and flux but it will not vanish. There is no end game. There is no funnel. The sandbox is a sandbox for each player. If the sandbox is to be respected on one side it has to be respected on the other. But that same sandbox can be used. It can be pushed to push and force the situation. People will always have beliefs and goals and the game has given us many of the tools to attempt to pursue them. However, failure is also an option. It is one of those things that drives us to plan.


  1. Even outside of high sec, some people set up and run fair and honest markets. ;-)

    This is an insightful post. You should poke CSM to read it. I'd only add that starting newbies off in the area where most people are reasonably honest gives them a much better chance of finding a good corp, or at least one that doesn't immediately alienate them.

  2. Most of the complaints I've heard around hisec center around the economics of it. The money is in hisec. Even with all the ganking, and I gank with New Order, your chances of being ganked are remote. So you can run L4 missions, incursions, mine, and do manufacturing with almost no risk. This creates enough imbalance in the other areas that a lot (most, many?) null and lowsec players have alts in hisec to generate income for their pewpew lifestyle. Instead of making money where they live, they make it in hisec because the isk is risk free.

    I've read on your blog (which is a daily read for me) about your group's mining ops. Do you do those in lowsec where you live? No. You go to hisec. Why? Because there is little economic incentive to do it in low versus the almost risk free nature of hisec. If the ore in lowsec were way more valuable, or the belts in hisec fewer and smaller, you'd mine in lowsec because of the economic incentive.

    Having the making of the best isk in the least risky part of New Eden is bad because it upsets the food chain. All the "good guys" leave the area and all that is left are pirates shooting each other. If the deer leave, the coyotes starve.

    It seems like there are two ways to go. Nerf hisec which is what a lot of people have been calling for or buff low/null which is what it seems CCP is trying to do with Odyssey's resource rebalancing. I'm baffled by their decision to put the Tags4Sec in belts and by making grav sites anomalies. Since that will only serve to stifle any mining in Eve except hisec. So maybe I'm wrong about CCP.

    tl;dr A low or null player shouldn't have to create a hisec alt just to make isk.

    1. So essentially you're asking for low-risk income sources in low and null-sec; turning low and null-sec into hi-sec of a different color.

      Because that's the only way a low or null player would be able to avoid having to create a hi-sec alt to efficiently make ISK.

    2. Oh, and having the deer leave the area because of the coyotes - that is exactly how a food-chain is supposed to work. If the predator is stupid enough to overhunt its prey, the predator /deserves/ to starve.

    3. as I've joined a non sov holding null sec corp I've seen that pretty much all our corpies are making their ISK to fund the PvP in null sec and we're frequently seeing miners, explorers, PI runners etc in null sec. We don't have gate camps, we don't have intelligence networks, we just check local, and dock up and reship to take on any interlopers that might come in to the system we base out of. The more I experience null sec, the less the high sec nerfer arguments hold water with me.

      More and more to cries of high sec imbalance and trying to drive people in high sec into low / null just feels like wolves asking for low effort sheep to farm. There are plenty of sheep out there in null sec, you might have get past or avoid other wolves to get to them but hey, this isn't a "theme park socialist welfare line" game. Get out there and hunt, if that's not to your liking there are plenty of shooting gallery games out there that you can play instead.

    4. No, I'm asking for low/null income sources that are worth the risk of being there.

      The deer left because the grass is just as good in the sanctuary as it is in the wild.

      Or to get the metaphor content as high as possible and tie it into Sugar's post... people used to leave the cities in th U.S. to go west and seek their fortune. In Eve there is no reason to do that. Everyone in hisec can strike it rich with little risk.

  3. I see one issue with the post. some of the people who choose to remain in high sec aren't gankers. they are industrialists (of all colors) they rat, they mission, they become the ones that teach the classes.

    I have a bigger issue with the info in Lenda Shinhwa's comment. What exact imbalance are we talking about? its not hard to make isk in highsec I have less than 5mil sp and i do fine with it in various forms. the $ isn't great and means I wont be moving into a battleship, or orca for some time, but yep i can make isk. The friends i have in nully alliances? they live in nulsec. they have a couple highsec alts (mostly to buy stuff and play with friends like me, not to make isk) I have seen their isk making in nully It rocks. I might even get back down there at some point and live the nulsec industrialist lifestyle.

    What keeps me from there atm? being slightly risk averse. I want a clean clone before i jump and that personally means grinding a faction up (which isn't as hard as some would have you believe) and not knowing what i want to fly when i get down there. There are 2 related sayings that apply to why low and nully have issues with line member isk: first "don't s*%& where you eat/sleep" and second "don't s*&( in your food". What happens to isk in low and null sec:? its destroyed by other players doing the same things you want to be doing to them. low seems to be the poorest because there is the most s%$%%ing where you live/eat/get your "food" without protections. Nully fares better because there is the blue doughnut (to the extent it exists) that at least partially protects the income sources.

    tl;dr : The culture of Low and Nully lead to the losses. The culture of highsec (helped by concorddoken etc) makes it profitable. Fix your culture or work harder for your resources. it isn't a highsec problem.

    1. I may not have been clear enough, Tego, that the populace of the cities were all of those things. I pointed out the other people because they are not the 'law abiding citizen' of the city who lives and works and produces. Sorry about that being a bit unclear.

  4. @gallego: How many people are in your corp? Popular highsec mission hubs have many hundreds of people running L4's. You're saying there are plenty of sheep in nullsec, using your corp as an example, but #1 your corp doesn't sound like they're actually sheep. #2 "plenty of sheep" meaning "1% as many sheep as are in highsec" is not the meaning of "plenty of sheep" that these highsec nerfers use--and I think if you really thought about it, you might change your mind about using it yourself.

    @druur: "Because that's the only way a low or null player would be able to avoid having to create a hi-sec alt to efficiently make ISK."

    No, highsec ISK-making could *(and should) be nerfed, a possibility which was mentioned earlier but which you seem to have ignored.

    1. We're sheep when we rat, mine, PI, etc. but then we reship into wolves when others come into system. When I say plenty, I mean that multiple times when I log in to play I see isk farmers come in and around our systems, definitely enough to create fun little hunts between the times we go out as a corp looking for other wolves.

      Could we get the same isk/hour rewards in high sec or maybe more? probably, but ratting and pirate faction LP rewards are pretty lucrative. The biggest reason we isk farm in null is that that's where we play. Why go back and forth to high sec or have an alt in highsec when we can make plenty isk working where we PvP and leverage the alts we have where we play?

      What are you looking for in nerfing high sec? Sounds like you're looking for sheep that don't ever reship into wolves without the burden of having to work around concord. Sticking to breaking boards that never punch back. Why are you so intent on forcing people who don't want to PvP into these situations when there's plenty of people who would love to PvP with you out here in null?

      Please come and buff null sec with your presence, you'd make it even more fun.

    2. I have ignored it because nerfing hi-sec would only reduce the amount of ISK put into circulation, but would not change people having hi-sec alts for the _boring_ ISK _grind_, because that's where they get shot at less even if they don't pay attention.

      All the risk in lo-sec is player made. Which in turn means that players could tilt the reward/(risk*effort) balance in favor of lo-sec all on their own. CCP buffing lo-sec incoming would certainly help, but the sandbox is cutting both ways here.

  5. I have always loved my analogy...

    "Hisec will always be Paris or New York or London… Bright Lights, Broadway, Banks, Cops, Crowds and Wall Street… Quafe N Hookers Baby!!!

    Null will always be vast, cold, lonely deserts populated by treacherous and vile hordes, gathering together around scattered oases, tribes of thieves and assassins held together by their shared ebil natures...

    Lo will forever be… the slums of New Eden, a no-man’s land roamed by loners and small gangs of petty thugs, errant highwaymen and poor pirates who find neither home nor peace in the ‘Cities of Light’ or the ‘Deserts of Darkness’…

    That pretty much sums it up for me... we need all three parts for the balance and tension we have now.

    [You may have noticed that I left out Anoikis (IE W-space, IE wormholes…), that was on purpose. We who choose to live on the other side of the sky are just-fine-thank-you-very-much. We have need only of Empires markets and the great bags of ISK they freely give for our rare and richly valued wares, so we can fill our wallets with ISK and our POS bellies with the finest ships and food and luxuries…]

    The closest workable analog for Anoikis in the Pirates v Society theme is something akin to the Hawaiian islands, only with not so much cannibalism (mebbe?)... Hawaii was seen as strange and dangerous to both pirates and proles and had their own unique culture and tribal ways...

    Anoikis stands alone. It is THE only space EvE that WE have made our own.

  6. Well said. The game is an ecosystem, and if it works at all it works to the degree that the parts are integrated. As a lowsec denizen, I feel less safe in highsec than I do in low and I'm not even flashy red. Just the number of people in local makes me nervous.

    What I've never understood is how those who want carebears pushed out of highsec expect low/null to support that kind of population. Lowsec certainly couldn't handle it - good luck undocking, let alone getting through a gate, when each system has 30+ in local.


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