Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Downward Spiral of Low Sec

For a few weeks now I have been reading, studying and researching Low Sec. I've never really lived there as I feel that living in a WH is a bit more hardcore, but I have no fear of the place and its never stopped me from doing whatever it was I needed done at the time. As such, I've spent a lot of time trying to put to words my thoughts and feelings about Low Sec. I've read many blogs, forum posts and thoughtful, well written discussion; and as such I've decided to put to words my findings.

And before you completely discount my opinions as “Well you don't even live there, how could you know?” It could be that I'm exactly what the Improve Low Sec initiative needs. An unbiased, intelligent, researched look into exactly whats going wrong, and perhaps insight as how to reverse this self destructive pattern.

As a disclaimer, its a wall of text. Please refrain from saying something stupid in response until you read the entire article (not that you, my regular, intelligent reader would ever do such a thing). As always, I welcome constructive comments to help facilitate the discussion, even if you don't agree with what I'm saying.

I will attempt to explain Low Sec. I will explain how it got into its current state, and how current events and calls for fixes are simply not going to work. I will also reveal the true reason for Low Sec's demise, and who is responsible for fixing it. Read on, and think carefully about it. I think the answer may surprise you.

First of all, what is low sec? I'm going to define it first in order to have a more complete understanding of how low sec got into its current situation. Low sec is the strange middle ground between two major places in Eve, Hi Sec and Null sec. Like Hi Sec, Low sec it has gate guns and security status, but no CONCORD like null sec. With the exception of a security status change, you can do whatever you like in Low Sec just like Null sec but you can't have sovereignty. Basically, if Hi Sec and Null Sec were to get it on and have a child, the result would be Low Sec... and awkward child who is slow, ugly and backward.

If High Sec is the highest security, and Null Sec is no security; Low sec would be that spot in the middle that is more dangerous then High Sec but not nearly as frightening as Null Sec. In reality, this isn't exactly how this plays out, but that is the original intention. CCP seems to intend High Sec to solo operators, Low sec to groups and corporations, and Null sec to big Alliances.

The general opinion is that Low Sec is broken and CCP won't do anything to fix it because walking in stations is what the people really want.

So how did Low Sec get this way? Actually its a combination of a lot of things. First, the pirates. Now its easy and chic to blame them for the current state, but if they were not around, Low Sec would be a completely different place. Think about it. A pirate in High Sec loses a ship in a suicide gank or becomes a can flipper. That is not any way to live. A pirate in Null Sec is called Null Sec Alliance. And they don't even have to be flashy, they can go back into High Sec and get to do the same stuff. That leaves Low Sec. The only place they can be an asshole and get flashy red in the process.

Think about the current state of Low Sec. Now imagine if with a wave of your hand you can make all the pirates disappear, and no one can go back to that life ever again. Low Sec suddenly becomes a different place, doesn't it? Miners flood in to get ore. Missioners run missions and make even more isk then in High Sec. Exploration is more rampant. Industrialists flood the area to make more goods and services. Low sec suddenly becomes a very profitable place to live.

Perception is the next reason why Low Sec got to its current state. The current perception that Low Sec is full of pirates and people shouldn't go there is so pervasive that nothing short of a full scale revamp is going to be able to change it. Perception is everything. Someone who lives in Low Sec can talk ad nausem about how overblown the perception is, but until the general perception changes, people are not going to go there. You can make enough money in High Sec to live comfortably. Want more? Move to Null Sec. Null sec offers more isk at less risk then Low Sec, as you are protected by the Null Sec alliances. Want more? Move to a wormhole. When compared to Low Sec, Null Sec's rep is downright tame. And until that perception changes, Low Sec will continue to be terrible. But why is Null Sec's rep so much better? Its because of the direct actions of the players, just like Low Sec.

Interestingly enough, the Pirates are directly the cause for this perception, although it is not entirely their fault. Random roams by people who jaunt into Low Sec looking for a kill or gank are just as responsible. Every new person that ventures into Low Sec for the first time and dies just reinforces the perception. I'm sure at one time Low Sec had lots of people in it. But more and more people flocked there to be pirates or to go on random roams and the death toll started mounting. The people who prey on others started getting really good and the people dying started warning others. The result? A downward spiral that ends in Low Sec being in the terrible state it is today.

So what is wrong with Low Sec? Post after forum post after post from all walks of the Eve community lament on how terrible and broken it is. People suggest fix after fix after fix after.... well you get the idea. They complain that because the fixes aren't implemented, Low Sec continues to exist in its sucky, sorry ass state. I see a different truth. Low Sec is in its current state because of the players. And its up to those same players to fix it. But what about the post after posts of fixes? Surely there is a bandaid in all of that noise. CCP just need to implement it and Low Sec will be fixed.


One of my favorite fix myths is the myth of unique items. This one runs rampant through Idea Scale  and on the forums in various posts that mention it. This is what will save Low Sec. Right?

Okay, I'll play. Name your item. Hell, name ten items. Then tell me why I shouldn't be able to make/produce/find any one of those in Null Sec. Any story line response. Anything. If the only thing you come up with is “cause we need it to get players to low sec” that is the wrong answer. Eve is a sandbox. NOTHING should be restricted as such. If I want to get a special kind of gas, I should be able to find it in a wormhole. An asteroid that I can't find in high sec? I better be able to find it in Null Sec, which is supposed to be even less safe then Low Sec. An item that drops off a rat NPC better have a chance to drop in Null sec where I take on giant complexes of those guys. What, because it's Null sec they suddenly don't use that item anymore?

CCP is actually trying this fix though. With the implementation of the Sansha invasions, CCP for the first time is actually restricting a serious blueprint to Low Sec only action. And if you have been following my blog, I've already explained how that is going to fail.

What about CCP's previous attempt at getting players to get into Low Sec?

You must be referring to the broken system that is Faction Warfare. Please tell me you are kidding. Faction Warfare, the answer to PVP! If running PVE type complexes is what you call PVP, sure. If hanging out at a button til someone shows up then running away is your idea a good fight, go right ahead. If getting blobbed is your idea of fun, have at it. Cause FW has been broken since day 1, and CCP hasn't cared about it since implementation. Wait a minute, that sounds familiar, where have I heard that story before?

The blobs, the running, the tears, the shipping up or down, the endless dancing around and no one fighting.... hell lets throw on “unable to join a faction warfare corp or fleet” for months or until you “prove” yourself because each side is paranoid about spies... Yeah, Faction Warfare is a real winner.

Another one of my favorites is the Pirates getting sovereignty mechanics or somehow making Low Sec more “pirate” or “criminal” centric. I usually always guess that the guys suggesting this idea are pirates. Because no one but a pirate would think this is a good idea. Hey I know, what Low Sec needs is more powerful Pirates! They can own their system and shoot anyone inside it for free! They should get benefits for being flashy red, like no GCC so gate guns can't target them. Yeah! Endless gate camp ganks with interceptors! Wooohooo! Hey, we should be able to “pay off” or “bribe” docking masters so when that guy tries to leave station he can't just warp off or re-dock which just denies us the kill. Oooo oooo I know! A pirate only cloak that removes my name from local! F-yeah!

I thought the idea of this “Make Low Sec Matter” bullshit is to figure out ways to get more people into Low Sec, not give the guys responsible for making it a proverbial wasteland more power. Ideas like these are kinda the opposite way to go, dontchathink?

Alright, so we need a way to deal with the pirates. I know! A better bounty system! The current bounty system is pretty terrible. If you put a bounty on a pirates head the only thing you are doing is giving the pirate a tip for raping you. “Thank you sir, for using lube this time when you gangbanged me 17 to 1. Here, have a tip for your efforts.”

That is how the pirates see it. Setting a bounty on a pirate is just giving them free money.

A better bounty hunting system is an idea that could actually work to swing Low Sec back into balance. Unfortunately, there is no way to implement such a system so that it cannot be abused. Currently the system is intended to work as such. First, the pirate ganks someone. The gankee gets mad enough to level a bounty on their head for some old fashioned “frontier justice”. A bounty hunter comes along, engages the dastardly fellow, blows up his ship and pod and claims the reward.

Sadly, it doesn't work that way.

Have you ever tried to capture a pod in low sec? If the pilot is paying any attention at all, its nigh impossible to catch one. Why? Low Sec doesn't allow bubbles. And the only way you get the bounty in the current system is killing the pod.

What really happens is the pirate waits til the bounty is huge or they really need money. They get in a implant-less jump clone and shuttle and log onto their power of 2 alt. The power of two alt gets a crappy rookie ship and gun (unless its been trained for better, crappy rookie ship and gun will work just fine). Both ships warp off someplace private. Power of 2 alt jettisons something crappy, Pirate with bounty steals from can, turns flashy to alt (obviously skip this step if pirate is already flashy). Power of 2 alt kills main's ship and pod. Alt gets bounty, alt transfers bounty to main. Main updates clone. Main goes and buys more ships. If they don't have an alt, any pirate buddy can do the same thing, usually the bounty is split between the two.

There has been much discussion over what the best way to revamp this system is. Unfortunately, in each “fix” there is a very clear cut way that a pirate can abuse the system and still collect the bounty on himself. This is because there is nothing that prevents the pirate's alt from becoming said bounty hunter.

Lana Torrin's idea is solid but there is nothing that prevents the pirate from having a bounty hunting alt to collect the bounty on himself and all his buddies (for a split of the profits of course). When I think of bounty hunters I think of Boba Fett, tough, single predators who take their prey by themselves. No one person is going to be able to take out the guy with the bounty AND his gang. Because of this, the pirate bounty alt is going to have plenty of business and all the time in the world to get the contract and job done.

Tehg Rhind writes a good thread about a potential solution. Scroll up and read his first two posts for his take on why Low Sec is terrible. In the one I linked he talks about his idea for a bounty system. He suggests a system in which the pirates are unable to collect their own bounty. However he doesn't have a solution for the Pirate simply creating an alt to be a bounty hunter. He can hunt himself and all his friends, they can all make it easy and profits can be split. He can create the most successful, corrupt bounty hunter in the entire galaxy. Not exactly what I envision for Boba Fett.

So what's the answer? There isn't one. At first I thought letting the players put out contracts on actual people would be the answer but there is no way to stop pirate alts from abusing that one either. Simply put, there is no system that can be contrived that cannot be taken advantage of in some way by a clever, resourceful player. The only thing that can be accomplished is making increasingly harder for pirates to get the free money, but in the end the downward spiral will prevail.

The myth of increasing rewards comes up a lot. People seem to think that by increasing the rewards in Low Sec (like all high quality level 4 missions, higher bounties, better ore, etc etc etc) is the best way to get people to move to Low Sec. This thinking is also misguided.

Playing devil's advocate, I will tell you that it MAY get more people into Low Sec. However, it will just serve to kick start the downward spiral. More people go to low sec for the increased rewards, more pirates flock to take out the targets, pirates get more and more effective, soon it becomes even more risky then it ever did before, and everyone leaves again. Low Sec goes back to the sucky, sorry ass state it was in before. Pirates leave, carebears flock, repeat the cycle until you get sick and throw up.

Besides, its not like Low Sec is less profitable. Its profit margin is right where one would expect it to be. Slightly more then High Sec, slightly less then Null Sec. Increasing it means you have to increase the rewards in Null sec too. Again, why would doing sites in systems that are supposedly Null Sec be worth less then something with “greater” security?

Low Sec is intended for groups right? Well lets increase rewards for missions when there is more then one person doing said mission. You better be increasing it across the board for all missions in all sectors of space then. Otherwise it just makes no sense that when your on that side of the tracks you get more for a mission then on the other side. That's like applying for a job with a friend. If you go to the safe side of town for that job you both get X amount of pay each. However, if you go to the slightly shadier side of town with your buddy to do the same job, you and your buddy suddenly get X+Y amount of pay each. That's fine, but if you are using that logic you and your buddy better be getting X+Y+Z when you do that same job in the part of town that has no security at all.

Wait, I thought people make more money in High Sec. How is it that Low Sec supposedly makes more money? Its because in High Sec people can run missions unmolested. Nothing stops the grind. In Low Sec, if you have to cloak up because 5 pirates jump in and try to gank you or you have leave because they won't, it really effects your isk per hour. Its simply the ability to run more missions without interruptions even if they are lower paying which adds up to more isk in the end.

Alright, criminal industry in the answer! We need to make crime a feature here. Lets move drugs out here to low sec. Can only make 'em in low sec. Lets make super drugs that can only be taken in low sec.

Why, why why?

You are telling me the most illegal of substances can't be made in lawless space? That idea doesn't even make sense. And super drugs that can only be taken in low sec? That's like running a crack house and telling people who buy your product that they can only smoke that shit in the house.

Besides, in order to start this criminal enterprise you need industrialists. What, you think pirates are gonna make that stuff? Please. And here we go down the spiral again. More industrialists. More pirates. More death. Less industrialists. Low Sec back to status quo.

CCP has to be careful with what they decide to do with Low Sec. If you make it too profitable, like dropping high end moons in Low Sec or increasing missions and NPC bounties to more then what you get in Null, you're just opening the door for Null Sec to come in and take it. As it is, Null Sec alliances are going to be the only ones getting that Sansha's blueprint for a while. You think it's gonna stop there?

Its time to shift the focus back where it belongs. All of us as players are directly responsible in one way or another for the terrible state Low Sec finds itself in. There is no magic code fix that CCP can implement that will suddenly make Low Sec better. It is the players who have put Low Sec into its current state, and its therefore up to the players to figure out a way to fix it.

Now, as I said before, there is not a magic code to “fix” Low Sec, but lets be perfectly honest when I say CCP didn't exactly help with Faction Warfare. And I do think that there are some things CCP should do in order to help facilitate a player fix. However, they are minor implements and not sweeping “you can only do/get/say this shit here” fixes.

Ideally, the only way to fix it is to remove the problem. Remember the thought exercise at the beginning where I asked you to imagine Low Sec with no pirates? Get the Pirates to turn on themselves. This is a bit of a problem as currently there is no reason to. After all, pirates are not looking for a good fight. They are looking for a straight gank, don't let any of them tell you otherwise. It only makes sense as a military objective is considered a success if your goal is completed with a minimum amount of collateral damage and loss of life. So its not like I can blame them.

So how do you get the problem to turn on itself. Short answer? You don't. CCP needs to implement something that forces them to fight each other rather then picking on carebears and miners who really can't defend themselves. Rico Minali has a decent solution however even his goes a bit far. He actually hits on it but quickly moves away from the point with the standard “make it more profitable/stuff you can only use in low sec” talk that will only attract Null Sec Alliances to set up Low Sec outposts. He also misses the point that by making a big “expansion” to improve the criminal/pirate way of life just reinforces the perception that Low Sec is dangerous.

Look at the four sectors of space and measure their success. High Sec is successful for a player who wants to do whatever it is he does unmolested by non-consensual PVP. Null Sec is successful for players who want to carve out their own place in the world of Eve. Its their space, they fight, live and die for control of it. Carebears and miners can run ops in the middle of alliance territory in relative safety, or at least more safely then in Low Sec. Wormhole space is successful because, like Null Sec, you can carve out your own space and make it your own. You can also take out others trying to do the exact same thing. And for the most part you can run your ops unmolested by others. Low Sec doesn't have any of these unique flavors other then “if you want to be a pirate and be flashy” this is where you go. And as such, Low Sec is in its current state.

What needs to happen is Low Sec needs some kind of identifier that is not detrimental to the other sectors. It needs some way for pirates to identify some section of space as “theirs” without making them more powerful then they already are. They need to be forced to turn on each other in turf wars that will leave them too busy to bother the less defensive people. Even this I feel isn't enough, as you need motivated players to take it upon themselves. You need other changes, like allowing things like bubbles in Low Sec and Sec Status hits for only killing pods. Just targeting and shooting at a ship should not be a sec status hit. This would allow for people to be more offensive without worrying about getting back into high sec. In this way, corps that move into low sec to take the riches that are already there get tools and weapons to protect themselves from the very wolves trying to kill them.

I have a dream. I have a dream of a Low Sec that is like Null Sec where players and corporations can own systems. That would allow a sense of ownership, much like Null Sec and Wormhole Space. I have a dream of CONCORD having roving patrols and posts in Low Sec, who can and will CONCORD people who break the “law” in that system. I have a dream where CONCORD's roving patrols actively seek to destroy pirates who are flashy red in system. Those that decide to become an outlaw should be randomly ganked by CONCORD so that there is a definitive drawback to negative sec status. I have a dream where gate guns and stations are safe havens for the persecuted, unlike Null Sec where there is no where safe. Perhaps like POS guns, gate and station guns should be small, medium and large to stop or discourage Gate/Station Camps that choke the influx of people into Low Sec. I have a dream of industrialists and indy ships that can pass through Low Sec, unmolested by gate camps. These people are the backbones of the economy, and allowing them safe passage in and through Low Sec would harken a new age of business peace and prosperity as well as bring more people to the sector.

And I also know that none of this will come to pass.

The pirate take of freedom is nothing but an illusion that continues to choke the life from Low Sec to this very day. They want freedom but no consequences for their actions. They want targets to shoot yet they offer nothing in return.

Even though their share of the blame is larger then perhaps others, its not the pirates who are the lone people responsible for this mess. Everyone who gets killed and passes along the perception. Everyone who goes on an “innocent” roam that ganks several people. Everyone who hears the perception and follows it. We are all responsible.

We didn't land on Low Sec. Low Sec landed on us.

I say to ask not what Low Sec and CCP can do for you. Ask what you can do for Low Sec. More specifically, what are YOU doing to improve Low Sec? If you are the pirate that says “Well I'm shooting the people coming in and ransoming them for all they are worth” you're not exactly improving the situation are you?

Welcome to the spiral. Next stop, ground floor.


  1. Reading your comments on the failings of the bounty system an idea occured to me. No idea if this has been proposed before or not but here goes.

    Keep the bounty on pirates head but pay out only a percentage on ship destruction rather than pod, up to say 10 mil per ship popped. In this way there is no benefit to blowing yourself up because you're out a ship and only get a small return. There is then a benefit to actively hunting outlaws.

    The percentage paid could perhaps be related to ship value so that if the pirate wants to claim the bounty by blowing up their own noob ships they would need to die an awful lot.

  2. A cogent analysis of low-sec. You're right; if the Eve population cannot control the pirate population (being flashy red is more of an annoyance than a disability) then NPCs (Concord, faction police) have to step up.

  3. Good thoughts well written.

    Most of the denizens of lowsec are pirates in thought and deed if not in name. Most of the making lowsec matter suggestions try to strike a balance between making piracy easier and more profitable (Lure in more fat carebears! Make them easier to catch!) without making it easy and profitable for the scary guys in nullsec horn in on the pirates' sweet deal.

    The Post-Dominion nullsec sov rules have made indy corporations a much desired asset in nullsec. Nullsec alliances are actively recruiting them to come out to nullsec and work in the relative security of alliance space.

    Now, PvP corporations who want to go to nullsec have to build a kill record to qualify for membership - and that usually means time in lowsec. Indy corporations in empire, on the other hand, routinely leapfrog over lowsec and rent nullsec space or join a nullsec alliance.

    Why would they not? It's safer. The rewards are greater. Sure, there are risks, but they're much more manageable than in lowsec.

    Nullsec alliances are courting Carebears (many of whom develop a decided taste for PvP once they're in Nullsec at which point they become Nullsec Bears) because the Sov rule changes meant that holding nullsec space suddenly required money. Lots and lots of money.

    Nullsec alliances have a huge incentive to bring in and provide reasonably safe space for Carebears. Lowsec players, as a rule, merely want to kill Carebears (and each other). Right now there's no incentive for a lowsec alliance to create a reasonably safe space to invite Inty types to do business. Until there is, lowsec will remain a backwater.

  4. I think the whole concept of a bounty system is broken, and CCP should just get rid of it. I also think that Lowsec itself and the mechanics that allow piracy shouldn't be changed. What should be changed are the tools available to the anti-pirate. As things stand now, you have to become a pirate to kill a pirate in low sec, and even then it is an extremely hard thing to do.

    Instead, I would like to see a suite of CONCORD issued tools that will allow null sec tactics to be used in low sec based on sec status. For example, I would love to have an interdictor bubble that will only scramble a pilot with a negative security standing. Such an item would be useless in null sec, and should not be useable in high sec, but would allow a single corporation to successfully defend against pirates while living in low sec space.

  5. You can feel free to stay out of "broken" low sec. The less competition I have around my level 5 mission agent, the better. :)

  6. Add a reward for killing criminals; a reward you that isn't nearly impossible to achieve. Completely rethink what bounties mean. Make criminality a real choice as opposed to letting criminals perform a money-making activity to alleviate security status problems they have. Make it a little less difficult to survive by using game mechanics to encourage pvp fits in low-security space. Do all of these things and low-security space will start to benefit.

  7. I've taken the liberty to reply on my own blog since I ended with a wall of text myself.

  8. Hi.

    Try experiencing lowsec first before wall-o-texting.


  9. I must be one of the few that thinks low-sec is just 'fine' as it is. Not great or brilliant by any stretch of the imagination but you make it attractive to all and sundry and you'll do one thing - It will increase blob warfare as everybody will be there after a bite of the pie.

    To me low-sec is like the ghetto of eve. Punks with ski masks ganging up on someone and threatening to stick em if he doesn't give up his chain and the $5 in his wallet. Pimped out "economy" class space ships flying around because nice rides get left on a stack of bricks with nothing left but the stale air freshener you were supposed to change 5 months ago. Seedy people hanging outside the stations wearing aviators, smoking a cigarette, eyeing people up until they see someone weak enough they can take his pocket change to get themselves a cup of coffee. You all get the idea.

    Then, there's the rest of EVE. They know low sec exists. They certainly have opinions on it and about the people that choose to call it their home. They spot the low sec gates on their overview while surfing the calm relaxing currents of high sec in their luxury billion isk Sundays best. Or pass nearby on patrol scanning down the latest sites in 0.0 turf. They even give advice to newer players about low sec based on their assumptions of what it's like. This can be both hilarious and really annoying to players who actually live or know life in low sec.

    So yeah, leave low-sec alone.


  10. Great post man! I think EVE is an innovative social experiment. I don't see why CCP would want to tamper with the outcome of that experiment by trying to "fix" low sec. And I don't think they should. Let's see what the players do with it, for good or ill. It should be interesting. Has been so far! As for those calling the loudest for fixes in low sec, their personal agendas seem pretty clear.

  11. One thing that sticks out to me is where you speak about waving your hand, all pirates disappear, and can never go back to that life. Pirates become pirates and flashy red doing what they do. Ridding them from low sec and not allowing piracy makes low sec high sec. People also go to low sec to fight. For the thrill of PvP. You do grasp PvP, don't you?

  12. For me Eve IS low-sec. Never lived anywhere else. Please don't be moving my furniture around.

  13. Interesting, so turning low sec into high sec will fix low sec...

    If you want to "fix lowsec" there are a few more realistic options.

    1) Remove sec status gain from all NPCs in 0.0, if CONCORD doesn't care what's going on there they realy shouldn't care if a belt rat explodes.

    2) Remove sec status gain from NPCs high sec, I mean duh, if the NPCs are so dangerous that concord are willing to give a sec status gain from it they should deal with them themselfs.

    3) Remove sec status gain from mission NPCs in lowsec. Boost sec gain from belt rats. This way people living in 0.0 can't go on a suicide spree in highsec and then just rat it up back home for a few hours. It would make sense if you do a crime, you will only be able to fix it in a nasty place (low sec). After all, prisons aren't a holiday resort (0.0 or highsec missions)

    You need more incentives, add cruiser sized officers in lowsec that is dropping shiny meta 10-14 medium sized modules. I mean you really want to pimp out that Tengu don't you?

    Now to make lowsec more interesting in general, add pirate gates linking all the lowsec pockets together. The only people that will be able to activate them should either have to be outlaws or have GCC.

  14. I like Johan's suggestions, but make the pirate gates cost isk to operate every time you move through them. gotta pay that upkeep.


    Could not stop typing.

  15. No need for special upkeep, pirates pay just as much tax as anyone else in EVE.

    Another option would be to have pirate gates open for everyone but with guns that will shoot anyone not outlaw/GCC.

  16. I'm not really one to comment on my own post but I feel like I have to in this instance.

    I've appeared to piss off a lot of pirates.

    Its cool, posting something like this I kinda expected it. After all, they seem to be thinking I'm attacking their way of life, and if the situation was reversed I'd probably feel the same way.

    However they for the most part are missing the point of the entire article.

    The TL:DR point of the entire article is everyone seems so bent on "fixing" lowsec that I wanted to know why. Whats so damn broken about it? The CSM is rallying constantly to "fix" it and most of the "fixes" are designed to bring people back into the sector. Why is that? Simply put, the perception that is created by the pirate culture against others has put it that way. I've mentioned some of the most popular "fixes" and explained why they aren't going to work, and why lowsec will return to status quo. The point is to identify the PROBLEM, not solve it. I'm not advocating a pirate free lowsec. I'm not advocating another fix. Merely I'm trying to point out the problem. Only then can we as players come up with an acceptable solution. The shotgun method that is currently being used is clearly not going to work.

    And as such, you can agree or disagree with the article's main point. If you disagree that is completely fine with me, just do it constructively. Thanks ;)

  17. "I have a dream of CONCORD having roving patrols and posts in Low Sec, who can and will CONCORD people who break the “law” in that system. I have a dream where CONCORD's roving patrols actively seek to destroy pirates who are flashy red in system. Those that decide to become an outlaw should be randomly ganked by CONCORD so that there is a definitive drawback to negative sec status."

    That sounds quite a bit like an anti-pirate "fix," so don't try to go back and say you aren't advocating another fix.

    You imply in your comment that you aren't attacking our way of life (as pirates) when in your original post you say things like "The only place they can be an asshole and get flashy red in the process." I'm an asshole just because I choose to ransom and PvP in Low Sec? Damn, that sounds an awful lot like an attack.

  18. By stating that pirates don't shoot other pirates you are revealing that you have done next to no research and that you do not have anything close to an "unbiased" view. Go look at pirate killboards and take a look at just how many other pirates show up on it.

    Your entire viewpoint seems to be predicated on the idea that pirates are "assholes", not really a good point of view to come from when you want to be unbiased. Pirates simply play the game differently and enjoy different things about the game. Also many pirates are also industrialists, whether it be on their main or on an alt. And they engage in that industry in both high-sec and low-sec ( and 0.0 ).

    Additionally, you are proposing a low-sec where you are free to mission and mine without being interrupted, which is contrary to the very idea of lowsec.

  19. Guys, many of you are missing the point of the entire post. Its about the Perception of Lowsec. That asshole part? That's part of the perception. I know, shocker right? Some of your clients might not think your shit doesn't stink. I'm not calling you assholes. I actually have nothing but the utmost respect for (most) pirates. Most of you are well organized, good at what you do, well prepared, well funded and (most importantly) execute well. You are honorable in respecting ransoms. I respect all of those things about you. I never called you an asshole, you are taking it out of context.

    Its all about the Perception. And the perception can be right or wrong. In your case, its probably wrong. But that is what it is. I'm merely trying to pull the curtain back to allow a peek at the wizard.

    Moreover, if you read and understood the entire article, you would realize that I'm not solely blaming you. The blame for the Perception is shouldered by ALL of us who play eve. Just like the the perception that null sec is safer because of the Null sec alliances is because of direct actions of the players.

    I'm not advocating a fix. I'm not on an anti-pirate campaign. I was trying to understand why so much time and effort is spent trying to figure out how to "fix" lowsec. Personally I think lowsec doesn't need to be "fixed". I think its fine. However, the perception is out there and I was just trying to present it without allowing my own personal feelings to cloud what I found.

    The "I have a dream" part? That was me tongue in cheek referring to the civil rights movement. Clearly you missed the reference.

    Its the perception guys.

    I refuse to be dragged into a flame war. I also refuse to listen to some of you insult me, my writing style, or the research and things I've done to prepare for this. So unless it has something to do with the main point (the perception of lowsec) and its even slightly flamey, it gets deleted.

    Thanks for those of you who are giving good constructive comments!

  20. It's posts like these cause the perception of Low Sec to be flawed. You write in a manner that implies your arguments are all fact-based, even though a discussion like this is entirely based on opinion. This leads readers to believe there is a problem with Low Sec (assuming they have no experience there), because of the fact-toned writing style you have.

    Now, I'd have much less of a problem with your post if you came out right away and said "This is my opinion of what Low Sec is like and what the problem is" instead of "I will attempt to explain Low Sec. I will explain how it got into its current state, and how current events and calls for fixes are simply not going to work. I will also reveal the true reason for Low Sec's demise, and who is responsible for fixing it."

    Instead of reinforcing the misguided perception, help us combat it. (Which, despite your beliefs, you are not doing here.)

    Also, don't even try to tell me my perception of Low Sec is wrong. To get a complete understanding of Low Sec and have even a remotely accurate perception, you need to live there first. Not just pass through. Live there. Understand what it takes to move about, bring in supplies, defend or attack, rat, mission, mine, etc.

  21. There is a fix for the bounty system that wasn't answered by your arguments, though its implementation would involve other problems.

  22. I believe responding to a differing perception of low-sec with "Also, don't even try to tell me my perception of Low Sec is wrong." is exactly cause for disregarding your opinion or perception altogether. The fact that we may not reside in or simply only pass through low-sec does not nullify our own perceptions.
    I'm curious, what have you done aside from your response here to combat the ‘erroneous’ perspective the majority of us seem to have?
    I believe (like most of us do) that the balance of low-sec is indeed broken. In-fact these 'pirates' organize and commit crimes in an attempt simply to cause 'tears' or grief to players. While in the big picture they may not be many in numbers, there effect is compounded by one inescapable fact....there is no equal and opposite reaction. There are no alluring incentives for roaming gangs of anti-pirates seeking bounties as the system is broken. There are none seeking to ensure the protection of the traversing innocent capsuleer’s who might otherwise be ransomed or podded by pirates. Right now the incentive exists only to exploit the weak, targets of opportunity.
    The result? Well, as many have said… low-sec is a badlands. What of the pirates whose exploits have resulted in there complete or partial banishment from high-sec? They make forum posts saying “it’s too easy for capsuleer’s to avoid pvp” and “high-sec is to safe” it’s interesting to see they’ve not the insight to see, you’ve simply reaped what you’ve sewn.
    Of course there are exceptions… the resilient few who find a home there, who adapt and evade. To say that it’s unbroken simply because a few have found it adaptable, maybe even appealing…is far from a factual or flawless perspective.

  23. Maybe we should start by defining perception since it seems some of us are using it differently than others. Perception is "the act or faculty of apprehending (understanding) by means of the senses or of the mind." Or "The result or product of perceiving" where perceiving is defined "to recognize, discern, envision, or understand."

    By definition, to perceive Low Sec properly, one must interact with it fully. It takes more than reading the opinions of others or simply passing through to come to a complete understanding of what Low Sec is.

    "There are no alluring incentives for roaming gangs of anti-pirates seeking bounties as the system is broken."

    This is true. That's why the Bounty System needs fixing. I've already said that I agree that the bounty system is one of the problems with Low Sec.

    "There are none seeking to ensure the protection of the traversing innocent capsuleer’s who might otherwise be ransomed or podded by pirates."

    We at the Tuskers offer protection services. Of course it isn't free, but nothing in life is. We want to see traders and the like come in and stimulate our market.

    "Right now the incentive exists only to exploit the weak, targets of opportunity."

    I'd rather attack and ransom someone in a (PvP) battleship than someone in a Velator. The battleship pilot stands to lose more, therefore making him more likely to pay a ransom. The guy in the Velator is the weakest, but he's just as likely to let me blow up his Velator. After all, it's free.

  24. after re-reading above I see you've your own blog on the issue... I'll have a look and better-inform myself a bit before responding


  25. Jager,
    After reading through I have to say... I agree with most everything you've said...I'll respond more appropriately on your blog.

  26. CCP has provided a place for those who provide no value to the game as a whole to gather and lovingly stroke each others' e-peens. Why would you change that? The scum and sociopaths are clearly identified simply by being there. The rest of the population just have to pass thru the ghetto on those occasions they are forced to due to routing necessities to get somewhere useful or (shudder) running the occasional mission that can't be declined and quickly jump back to back to wherever they came from. Changing the dynamic without changing the underlying mechanics and rules of the game that currently 100% favor the criminals and you run the risk of ruining the useful areas instead of them congregating mostly in just the shitty lowsec systems. If anything, more direct hisec to nullsec routes should be created and missions issued in highsec should never be routed into lowsec...the region was left to rot by CCP for a reason IMO...finsh the job.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Did you even read the above blog post or Jagers? I don't know how you've formed your opinions, but they are for the most part erroneous, the low-sec systems are great...mission rewards are better more significant, you may also run 5's...the exploration there is better.

    Balancing the issue with a revamped bounty system would not force them into either null or high-sec... as high-sec's mechanics prevent them from flourishing for the most part, and null-sec empires are much greater in number and a have a great interest in ensuring there space is as secure as possible.

    It seems you've spent little to no time at all contemplating the issue, and are responding emotionally due to some bad experiences.

    You've contributed nothing here. I wonder at your motivation to be heard on the issue...but effectively say nothing at all.

  29. Yes, you're absolutely right Fox, you caught me out. How dare I have an opinion about the state of lowsec and what might be done about it....especially when it's attached to a post about ahh...oh yea, the state lowsec and what could be done about it.

    You are correct however that my opinions of lowsec and those who regularly dwell there are based on personal experiences...which you seem infer ought to completely and totally invalidate said opinions I guess. I get it. I'll go slink away now and shut-up.

  30. I've indeed 'caught you out.' You state your opinions in a manner nullifying any validity they might have. It's not your personal experience that invalidated those opinions, but the manner in which you voice them.

    Until such a time as you are able to convey those opinions in a rational intelligent manner it is indeed better (though not probable) you 'slink away' in silence.

    I'm very willing to consider contributory responses, but yours are just inflammatory and accusatory and have no place here amongst intelligent debate on the issue.

  31. Being a few days late, but finally seeing this article after it was linked on CK's Musing, I decided to stick my nose where it didn't belong with my own blog post.

  32. I have proposed another method of revamping the bounty system... thoughts and oppinions are appreciated in the thread:

  33. If CCP ever ban combat probes in low-sec, a proverbial dam will burst and every mission runner who got burnt by the scanning changes of Apocrypha will flood back in.

    It's that simple.

  34. bounty fix.
    cause the bounty to invalidate the clone insurance pay. I.e. a bounty hunter will not only cause a claim of the bounty on the head of the character, but will also cause the character to loose a percentage of the skillpoints, exponentially scaled with the bounty amount, of the current highest top5 skill. Now eat that. ;) And maybe there should be also something like a max of bounty that can be set on a head over time, f.e. only 1 bounty every x months to alliviate for bounty griefing.

    low sec issue.
    Where is the most fun solo/small gang pvp warfare to be had at this moment ? in npc 0.0 sec.
    So why not copy that success receipt to low sec but better.

    no gate guns, no station guns, no bubbles (blockade runners hauling goods to all of lowsec in relative safety, makes lowsec at the moment interesting for "haulers", we should keep that), removal of security status (pirates should like 0.0 dwellers be able at all times to enter high sec) and the theg rhind ideas about giving lowsec a criminal "backdrop" are also nice.
    The above solution might not solve all of lowsec problems, but it sure will make it a "more fun pvp" place. ;)

  35. also forget to mention for the low sec solution, also abolish the 15 minute gcc timer and no sov rule. ;)

  36. There's a reason that it's so difficult to come to a conclusion about what to do with Low Sec...and that is because it's difficult to define a cohesive gameplay vision that balances comfortably between what defines high sec and what defines null sec that does put pirates, black market, outlaws, etc., potentially at the center of that vision (as is my preference).

    Whatever design happens, it needs to permit players to impact their environment in a persistent way (not just in the moment when they are present), drive conflict, require competition for resources or targets, and offer commensurate benefits. But not in the same way nor for the same reasons as null sec--it needs to be a different flavor. Simple formula, difficult to design--but those are the key ingredients for creating a dynamic environment. And I don't think it can happen simply by tacking on a bunch of unrelated stuff. Interdependencies are important in any design--including, and maybe especially, game design.

    One good starting point might actually be FW, perhaps mix it up with some evolution of Incursions, permit alliance with the pirate factions, etc. I don't really know; I'm not a game designer.

    Didn't particularly care for your reference to pirates as acting like assholes, but I'll assume you were using it casually and not to reflect a personal opinion. Either way, it's pretty subjective. Most pirates I know are just looking to make ISK, they simply do it at the expense of someone else. And in fact, pirates that I have been affliated with will very often take the time to coach victims who haven't been playing long about ship fits and strategies, to help educate them and maybe give them a better chance of survival next time. Pirates are predators, but they are not generally assholes.

  37. P.S. Sorry late to the's been busy.

    -- Mynxee

  38. I really like 2 ideas presented here:

    The 'can only increase sec status by shooting rats in low-sec' idea. (Which will force people into low-sec in a way that makes sense from a logical/gameplay perspective.)


    The 'bounties pay a % of the value of the ship blown up' idea. (Which is the only workable bounty system I can think of (which is at least an improvement on the 'no bounty system is workable' hypothesis of OP.)) Of course, the % would have to be relatively small (30% or less) because of that stupid, illogical, immersion-breaking beast called insurance.

    I like the overall content of the post. OP comes off as arrogant though (as I usually do) so shouldn't be surprised if there is somewhat of a negative backlash.

    I particularly agree that you can't 'improve' low-sec by making pirates more powerful than they already are or by providing ISK-making bonanzas that will attract large 0.0 alliances. Any ideas like that are non-starters. (Though CCP did well to buff low-sec ores when they recently were all significantly less valuable/m^3 than veldspar.)

  39. P.S. I find the indignation about the 'asshole' remark rather amusing. Being an asshole is the main part of a pirate's job description. That any particular pirate might on rare occasions decide to show mercy or some other non-assholish quality is irrelevant.

    Perhaps what bothered them is the fact that while all pirates are assholes, not all assholes are pirates. Like me, for instance. I'd guess that a large majority of EVE players spend a significant amount of their time in-game 'being assholes.' (Whether it's pirating or can-flipping or scamming or ninja looting, or flaming, or making deviant comments in public chat, or setting up in a WH that's above their pay grade (I see assholes like this almost every day) or even (arguably) .01'ing and price-gouging.)

    Besides, if it weren't for assholes we'd all have to wear diapers.