Monday, February 4, 2013

A CSM View Of Low Sec

I listened to the Council of Stellar Management town hall meeting broadcast on Eve Radio yesterday (download available) but for me the most interesting thing I heard from the CSM was on the Lost In Conversation episode released on Wednesday.  On the podcast Jade had as guests CSM 7 members Alekseyev Karrde, Trebor Daehdoow, Hans Jagerblitzen and Two Step.  The question that grabbed my attention was one about low sec.  I thought the question and answers were interesting enough that I transcribed the segment. (1)

Jade - Is there a point to low sec?  Should it be abolished?  I mean, is there really a point to it?  Is it broken or just kind of a wasteland for dirty stinky pirates and the faction warfare guys to play around in?  Just an open question for everybody...

Trebor - I don’t know why do have such a big problem with a perfectly good wasteland.

Alekseyev - I think there’s definitely a point to low sec.  It’s a good incubation area for groups to go in there.  It doesn’t provide the safety of high sec but you can’t be bubble-camped into a station 24/7 by say a Goonswarm.  There’s that middle ground where you want to develop your alliance a little but you want to start taking resources. You want to get more into a more constant PvP zone without having to constantly find new people to wardec.  You just go out to low sec; there’s faction warfare, there’s pirates, there’s developing low sec alliances that are going in for the moons and stuff.  And I think that at this point it’s really getting more people into that ecosystem and giving things, I think, to do out there so pirates have people to hunt and faction warfare people have people to protect.

Two Step - The other thing that I personally think about low sec is that I don’t know if low sec is the right place for it but I think Eve does kind of lack a place for people who are a little bit worried about PvP to start kind of getting eased into it.  And low sec can kind of work as that except that in some ways it’s more dangerous than high sec.  So I don’t know if the right thing to do is to take the existing low sec which some people like and want to stay mostly the same and change it.  But it would be really good if there was a place that was a little bit safer or that at least offered the appearance of a little more safety for people who are kind of hesitant to get into the PvP aspect of Eve.

Hans - There’s a slipperiness to the rules of low sec that make it unique from either high sec or zero-zero and like Greg [Alek] said in zero-zero you have bubbles.  You’ve got bombs.  You’ve got Titan doomsdays. You’ve got all kinds of really forceful measures that don’t make the sort of PvP as liquid as you find in low sec in the terms of the way people can peel off, reform and regroup and maneuver around each other.  And its a lot of two large fleets clashing and one getting wiped out.  And I think that form of PvP and the ability to just roam and be free and not have to live under sovereignty -- unless those of us in faction warfare we’ve chosen to live under a sovereignty system now.  We take on certain restrictions on where we can dock and what services we can use, but that’s at least a decision we make.  And in high sec you’ve got things like CONCORD that really shackle up people from engaging in free-form PvP.  So I think low sec is always going to have that unique place in between that doesn’t offer the restrictions that the spaces on either side of it have.  And there is always going to be a certain type of player that is going to thrive there.

I think what it is missing is some sort of thematic soul.  I think it is sort of the natural resting place for the underworld of the Eve universe and yet there is so little of that type of gameplay that’s fostered there.  Things like drug manufacturing and drug trade and black markets, things like slavery even.  I can see that being explored in a game mechanic.  There’s all kinds of things you can do in this wasteland that I think aren’t done because there isn’t [sic] a lack of unique thematic identity to low sec.  I think that is something that may emerge in the coming year; certainly with the new approach that CCP Seagull is taking that there is certainly a huge possibility there.
My first thought when hearing the question was "is getting rid of low sec even an idea running around?"  But then I listened to the answers and heard a lot of what makes low sec attractive to me, although the lack of bots compared to both high and null sec also helps.

First, Trebor's off-hand statement of "what's wrong with a wasteland?"  My thought is why shouldn't CCP have an area that isn't all that popular?  For many, low sec is like walking through a graveyard late at night hoping a zombie doesn't reach up out of the ground and grab your leg.  Scary!  If New Eden is going to have a home for Mad Max, why not low sec?

Next is both Alek's and Two Step's thoughts on the need for a transition zone are good, although I don't think that low sec needs the danger lessened.  I also like that Eve has four distinct areas that have different flavors of combat.  For a game that advertises itself as a sandbox, the idea of taking away a play style goes counter to the appeal of the game.

Hans' views on giving low sec a theme is good as long as the theme doesn't try to overturn what the players living there have established.  Low sec is known as a lawless place so why shouldn't CCP build on that theme?  I'm not exactly sure what CCP should do, but I'm sure many others will come up with ideas.

With the CSM 8 campaign season due to kick off in a few weeks one question I'm looking forward to hearing is what the candidates think about low sec.  I didn't really have the issue on my mind before but if a podcaster thinks the question of whether low sec should continue to exist is a valid one to ask to the current CSM then perhaps I shouldn't overlook the question either.

(1) - The segment ran from 33:48 to 37:58 on the copy of the podcast I downloaded.  The transcript is not a verbatim transcript as I did edit out some fragments when a speaker doubled back and started over.


  1. From my perspective (a high sec resident) that likes to partake in fleet roams into low, I like the free form PvP that can take place. One minute we might be nomnom'ing on some unfortunate flashy solo pilot, the next fight might be a multi sided pew pew fest complete with hot drops and counter hot drops or a complete whelping. Diversity is the key to the success of low sec and anything that rewards a healthy mix of residents should be encouraged.

    I strongly believe that low sec is the natural home of solo to large gang PvP and Dotlan figures would seem to support that assertion. Thus, CSM8 would be wise to tread carefully with regard to any proposed changes to low sec, especially in light of very successful FW and Crimewatch 2.0 roll outs.

  2. The main problem with LS is the lack of game play other than Hunter and Prey. Either you are actively hunting other people in a PVP fit ship, or you are doing something else in a PVE/Hauler ship.

    This kind of game play kills any social aspect of the place. Let's say I'm going to LS to mine like you do, first advices from everyone: "Find an empty system", "keep and eye on Local", "If somebody show up, safe up". That is not the kind of game play that I like in a MMO. I would like to play with other people.

    Lets say I meet you in a system, I wish we could have a conversation that would lead us to mine together and build up a relationship from there, but what would happen today is that you would never trust me as I could blow up your ship at anytime. And quite right as the only game play is Hunter and pray. Why would you expect anything different?

    1. There is more to it. People make friends, develop industry associations, people pay for protection, etc.

      It cannot not have Hunter and Prey. Everyone is always Prey at any moment. But because Prey wishes to be smart it will always be cautious.

      Many, many, many of us have industrial activities going on. But we are also Hunters.

    2. Sorry Sugar, but you didn't get my point.

      I point to your own blog:

      That is how you get into LS in THC2, you meet all the relevant people in HS, than move to LS. I also notice a lack of any interaction with people from other corps in your post, as you are quite a prolific writer I can only presume that it was not relevant in the beginning of your LS career.

      Let's paint a different scenario for your beginning, you were alone in LS, no corp, doing the same things, salvaging, doing small solo PVP and suddenly you see yourself in the same system as THC2. Would you interaction be more than a hunter and prey game? After being blown up by THC2, would you have come back to HS for good or keep trying LS?

      I agree that people establish in these places make friends, industry, etc. My point is, if you are not, the entry barrier to LS is terms of social activities is quite high as the hunter and prey game makes it hard to interact in more ways than exchanging shots. Mind though, that I'm no saying that there is no way, just that is really hard if you don't know people before going there.

    3. Aye. I also talk to everyone all of the time in local and have met lots of people that way. I also pointed out that I was worried about embarrassing my corp for being new and didn't interact with other pirate groups for that reason. :)

      At the same time, you can note other posts in which I work with newbies, invite them into chats, answer questions and in general try to help people enter the waters of low sec and I'm not the only one that does such things.

      So :P

  3. There have been always talks about low-sec, mostly by low-sec players that wanted some boost to it.

    But never so much noise about low-sec was made. And it begs to question, why? Why so much discussion about it lately? Why everyone now talks about changing low-sec? Even worst, they dont talk about little changes to help us, low-sec citizens, they talk about some complete redesign of low-sec gameplay to match their playstyle and their idea of fun!

    My believes is that the discussion happens because null sec stagnated! Nothing happens there. So... now they turn to low-sec for content. And they also dont like this very harsh style of life, (yes, it can be more hard then 0.0. No true system control, no endless list of blues and that means less safe logistics and less rating). and so null sec citizens started promoting a discussion about low-sec!

    And the funniest part is that they think they are the right ones to throw suggestions for improvements! (The ones who just broke their own playground). Also that they keep using the excuse that low-sec needs to be more high-sec friendly so it can attract high-sec players easily when in reality what they want is low-sec to be more safe for null-sec players!!!

    This might seem non-sense but.... look at some of the changes proposed... Look at who asks for them... There is a couple of low-sec players in the discussion but mostly, it comes from other entities like supposed high-sec players that probably are just null-sec alts!

    And the continues propose to make low-sec better for high-sec alliances to form up, gain size and move to null is a complete lie! With the current state of null, no one can get there unless it joins one coalition. And if so, you dont need to grow in low-sec. What they want is low-sec to get more good moons with the excuse that smaller alliances need them to grow but we, that live in low-sec, all know who is gonna take the moons. The null-sec entities. Even the R16 moons are almost all taken by them!

    Do we really need the changes? As Sugar says and keeps saying, low-sec is more then pirating. Its the place for small communities. For small corps to have a playground where PvP happens. A place where different corporations/alliances work together in fighting a bigger gang and 5 mins later they shooting each other since they have no interest in holding hands and make a smaller blue doughnut.

    Low-sec does not need changes it needs tweaks.
    For example, the one introduced in Retribution with gate guns ignoring you after you warp away!

    If its now a tweak, just forget it and leave it alone!