Blog Banter 21: No Man’s Land

Welcome to the twenty-first installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month’s topic comes to us from @ZoneGhost. He asks, “Is lowsec the forgotten part of Eve Online?” Is it? Is lowsec being treated differently by CCP Games than nullsec or empire space? Can one successfully make a living in these unsecured systems where neither alliances nor Concord roam to enforce their laws? What is needed? Or is everything fine as it is?

It is unquestionable that CCP has neglected lowsec recently. I do not want to rehash this again, as most Eve players and bloggers strongly agree with that statement. I believe that CCP is not intentionally mistreating lowsec – it is simply that their current strategy for adding content to Eve is failing miserably.

Take Planetary Interaction for an example. Theoretically, increasing the amount of resources as system security decreases would make lowsec more desirable than highsec and nullsec more desirable than lowsec. Except that whoever designed such a system never properly took into account risk vs rewards. Maintaining colonies in a 0.5 is infinitely less risky than doing the same in a 0.4. And ironically, friendly nullsec and wormhole space have both greater rewards and lesser risks than lowsec.

Planetary Interaction is just one example. CCP has applied the same broken thinking to nearly everything else – minerals, NPCs, missions, etc. With lowsec at such a disadvantage compared to other areas of space, it is quite obvious why only 8% of all Eve players reside in lowsec.

Earlier, I mentioned briefly that the risk in lowsec is significantly higher than in any other area of space. Highsec has Concord protection, discouraging most PvP of any kind. Nullsec has powerful alliances, which maintain intelligence channels, jump bridges, and constant gatecamps at key entry points. Wormhole space has collapsing entrances, which gives the defenders a significant advantage and deters all but the most dedicated hostiles. But what about lowsec? All it has are sentry guns, which only deters small ships from attacking (unless you are an outlaw).

With such high risks, making a living in lowsec is extremely difficult. And for the select few who do manage to make a living, the stress saps most of the fun from playing Eve. You cannot run missions or complexes without checking the scanner every few seconds for probes. You cannot mine without worrying about getting caught. You cannot manufacture without having to worry if there is a stationcamp outside waiting to pop your industrial. You cannot even PvP without the fear that losing the ship you’re in will consume a month or more’s worth of hard earned income.

Only a few pilots – mainly those who hunt missioners with cloakies and a gank squad – can hope to break even through lowsec alone. Everyone else must make their living from other areas of space. For example, despite having a 97.38% PvP efficiency and stingily T1 fitting my ships, I still cannot live solely off of loot and ransoms and have to mission and trade in highsec for ISK. And the pressure to survive is brutal: every time I warp into a fight, I find myself worrying involuntarily about the cost of replacing my ship instead of how fun the PvP should be. Clearly everything is not fine as it is, unless CCP intended for lowsec to become a hellish no-man’s-land.

What can be done? Lowsec needs its own unique perks. It should not simply be the “area between highsec and nullsec.” This could take the form of unique lowsec-only minerals or modules or implants or ships. Or it could have higher quality agents than in highsec. Or some sort of bounty hunting system. Or a less punitive GCC and reworked sentry guns. Or outlaw-only items. There are literally hundreds of ways that CCP could make lowsec more enjoyable. I just hope that CCP changes their broken content addition strategy and actually gets around to revamping lowsec.

Other Blog Banter articles:

  1. CrazyKinux’s Musing: The Lure of the Wild
  2. Banter 15: Arr, Yer be talkin’ bout me lowsec | TheElitist
  3. Banter 21: Low-sec- Chocolate Heaven
  4. Subs’ suds: Forever a noob in Eve: Low-Sec – the forgotten part of EVE Online
  5. Blog Banter XXI – Lo-sec = Low Priority? | I am Keith Neilson
  6. In the Ghetto | A Mule in EvE
  7. where the frack is my ship?: Blog Banter 21: What’s good for the goose…
  8. Blog Banter #21: Change? | Sarnel Binora’s Blog
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  1. I’ve been thinking about it and the main problem is highsec. Example: DED plexes exist in abundance in high sec, allowing people to farm them with impunity. Why is it that there are more pirate complexes in high sec than in low sec?

    What sort of risk reward ratio is that?

    • Nerfing highsec would definitely be a step forward (e.g. no level 4s in highsec). Although even with that I would still like for lowsec to have unique features.

    • Baa
    • September 30th, 2010

    I think its interesting that most peoples solution to the low-sec issues are to just increase the level of bait. Unless the risk is reduced no-one is going to bring their expensive PVE ship into low-sec regardless of the loot on offer.

    • You might be underestimating how much we’re suggested you increase the bait then.

      At the moment, people can run missions in low-sec in almost complete safety (local and slamming on your dscan almost assure you not being caught if you’re careful while missioning), but choose not to because the benefit is marginal compared to high-sec.

      An increase in the reward large enough to let even the semi-coherent make a profit, and the paranoid dscan slammers rich, would create a huge influx of people in low-sec.

    • Insurance
    • November 2nd, 2010

    I think that the woes which you complain have always been present. the big difference now is the insurance pay – people used to be willing to loose their $$$ ships merely for the fun of PVP, since they would recoup a good percentage of their losses.

    now that losses are so painful (weeks worth of grinding ISK rather than days) people are more apt to the safety of blobs.

    Considering that giving back the high reward insurance system would take result in more hisec gank/newb griefing… i think simply increasing the reward in lowsec would be the key. this way people could at least have a more efficient means of ship replacement.

    • The insurance changes never affected my PvPing as I never insure my ships, but you may be correct about the changes being partly responsible. It would be nice to see some statistics from CCP about that.

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