What to do about Low-Sec

I read a few other EVE related blogs, and have seen the blog-banter going around, I was going to comment on individual blogs but found I would be saying the same thing in multiple places so thought its better to say something once here and use a trackback instead. So here goes.

The subject of this blog banter is whether low sec is okay as it is, or whether CCP should make changes, and if so what changes should it make.  The sandbox nature of EVE lets players choose how they want to play, and one of the things that is taken into account is the balance between risk and reward. This is broken in low-sec. The risk is never worth the reward. The ores in low-sec aren’t worth the danger of mining them efficiently. The missions in low-sec aren’t worth the extra ISK they pay when there is a good chance that you’ll lose your expensive PVE ship. The anomalies suffer from the same problem as the missions. Those that pirate choose to do so in cheaply fit T1 ships, which minimises their monetary risk. So how do we change this balance to encourage more people to travel into low-sec?

The standard approach, one that seems to be favoured by the pirate bloggers, is to increase the rewards in low-sec. Moving all high-quality level 4 agents to low-sec, changing the way local appears to be more like W-space, creating new NPC corps that only exist in low-sec and give out better LP rewards, and many other similar suggestions. I’m sorry but these aren’t going to work.

In any sustainable ecosystem a balance is struck between predator and prey. In low-sec the predators have been so successful that the prey have become scarce. What most people propose is to lure more prey in by offering better bait. This is the wrong approach, it just leads to imbalance with the rest of EVE, and escalation. What is needed instead is to make it harder for the predator.

Here are my ideas on how to redress the risk/reward balance in low-sec:

  1. Reduce docking rights for pilots with negative security status. Or at least prevent docking whilst a GCC is in place. Don’t reduce GCC, if anything keep bumping it up for repeated offences.
  2. Allow CONCORD intervention at gates and stations. Though perhaps only in those systems bordering high-sec. Give a longer delay before CONCORD shows up, but increase the risk to campers on those border systems.
  3. Change insurance terms such that being killed by CONCORD, or whilst being under a GCC, doesn’t result in a payout. This would probably have little difference, but it might have some, and the aim is to have a package that improves things.
  4. Make loot collected from gankings hot so that it can’t be traded on the normal market. The only way to trade it would be via contract, in which case it would stay hot, or in a pirate NPC station which would fence it. Perhaps extend the fencing to some NPC corps operating in 0.1/0.2 systems.
  5. Open season on pirates in high-sec. If you’ve got a negative sec status, then shooting you in high sec should be seen as a service rather than something to be punished.

The idea behind these is to increase the risks to the pirate, with the intention that it reduces the number of pirates, and make them choose their targets more carefully, rather than indiscriminately killing everything that hops into system.

As a finishing side-note. EVE in hi-sec can be a solo, or micro-corp, endeavour. Outside hi-sec its not. In general people operate in larger corporations and are able to call on support. This is something that I don’t think that any change or low-sec can address without neutering it completely.

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