Serpentine’s recent blog post referenced another High Sec related EO Forum post:
The Original forum Post is here:
It had some interesting points, and seems to have garnered some positive feedback. To my mind however it was yet another Hi Sec conversation that misses the mark. The author Malacanis said himself that he could not comprehend the mindset of a Carebear, or how you could integrate them into the way he thinks EVE should be played. Therein lies the problem with the majority of these types of conversations – they focus on promoting a certain style of game play, without fair appreciation or understanding of how other’s play the game.
So here is my very humble opinion on Hi Sec:
Malacanis’ post suggested the original purpose for Hi Sec was to act as a staging area for new players, who would then move into Low Sec, and finally into Null Sec. Hi Sec is far bigger than that now. It has a huge economy, with trade, transportation, manufacturing, and lower grade resource gathering that span from small solo endeavors to vast industrial efforts. There are complex mixes of people living there, with a plethora of different types of interactions. It is the partially tame city, where the frontier based players can come with their rarer resources for trade, rest, respite, escape, or a change of scenery. I do not think Hi Sec can still be thought of as just a Newbie training area – and to do so when proffering up ideas on how to change it would be very dangerous.
Who lives there?
Just about every player in the game, at some point or another, lives in Hi Sec. When people discuss it however they tend to be focusing on those who live there exclusively. Malaconis covered some of the obvious groups, which I will repeat here:
. New Players
. Casual Players without the time to invest in living outside of Hi Sec
. Independent Players not inclined to the group play required outside of Hi Sec
. Commercial Players who can meet all their industrious goals in Hi Sec
. Carebears, in this case defined as risk adverse
That is not an uncommon sort of breakdown. It does however miss a couple key categories of people who can also be focused only on Hi-Sec:
. Hunters and scavengers, who use game mechanics to kill and rob other Hi Sec players
. Scammers, who attempt to gain from immoral actions
. Griefers, focused on negatively impacting the game experience of others
There are also plenty of people who may leave Empire, but do spend extended periods there, such as:
. Refugees, regrouping after being forced out of their Low / Null Sec homes
. Holiday Makers, simply taking a break from the rigors of life outside of Empire
. Farmers, replenishing ISK and ship stocks because they haven’t been able to do so in their Low / Null Sec homes
In fact – there are hundreds of categories and styles of player in Empire, from the hard core PVPer, to Role-player, to the frightened. It is a complicated mix which is far from just being a utopia safe haven for Carebears.
One thing people seem to gloss over is that Hi Sec is critically important for EVE and CCP. This is more than just from the mammoth economy it provides. As far as you can tell from the statistics available, there are a sizeable number of active players who never leave Hi Sec. Force game changes onto them that they really dislike, and you could easily and dramatically lower subscriptions. (Far more I would suggest, than Incarna did.)
What’s wrong with it?
If I was to summarise the most common complaints about Hi Sec, I think they come down to five categories:
. There is not enough content available
A brand new player can find literally years of content in Hi Sec that they can research, skill up for, experience and master. I would like to see more content –dynamic missions, improvements to mining, new industry options and so on – but to my mind the content itself isn’t a critical issue.
. It is too dangerous
There were some aggression exploits that I did not like, which Crucible now provides fair warning against, and insurance is no longer paid out if you are killed by Concord. Those changes make Hi Sec somewhat safer (or importantly, fairer). I do not however think it needs to be made entirely safe. I think it is good that you can be suicide ganked, or have war declared on you, or fall for a market or contract scam. It adds an element of risk to the game which helps define EVE as different.
. It is not dangerous enough
On the opposite side of the spectrum – should it be even more dangerous? I am not a fan of shield Dec’s, so in that one particular area I wouldn’t mind seeing things changed. However generally I think the balance is ok. You are never fully safe, and it is still possible to have far reaching impacts from events like the Goonswam Gallente Ice Interdiction or Hulkageddon.
. You can earn too much ISK
At the moment I would assume the best ISK to be earnt in Hi Sec would be from Trading and Incursions. Your average Hi Sec miner, manufacturer, PI, explorer and mission runner would probably be earning 20M ISK or less per hour of effort. I know people would quickly exclaim that if you are only earning that much ISK, that you “are not doing it right”. However after playing this game for many years, the income people claim is possible rarely ever matches the reality. Of course you can earn more ISK if you have 80M SP in PVE and a 20 Bil mission ship – and you would hope so. But the average player can’t. Yes you can earn 50M an hour mining in Empire – but when you divide that income across your max boosted Orca and fleet of Hulks, it is less than 20M per active account. You can certainly zerg certain missions, or really profit from supplying certain niche items, but the average player doesn’t. So that 20 odd Mil an hour equates to 10 hours to buy and fit a HAC, or 20 hours to do the same for a T3 cruiser, or 60 hours to undock in a fitted carrier. Should it take even longer? I don’t think so.
. Not enough Hi Sec Pilots are making the move to Low and Null Sec
My first thought when I hear this is why do you want people to move out of Hi Sec? The most common reason seems to be because they think that is the way the game should be played, or they have the hope that a higher population outside of Hi Sec equates to more PVP. The reality is there is often no compelling reason to make the move. Low and Null Sec simply do not cater for all EVE play styles.
What needs to be done?
In my view nothing in particular needs to be done to Hi Sec. It is a dynamic, vibrant, well-populated area which keeps large numbers of people happily in the game. Sure it can be improved – but I don’t think there is anything critically wrong with it.
It often seems to me that “solutions” for Hi Sec lean towards nerfing it, and forcing players to change their play style. Not only do I think that approach is doomed to fail, I think it runs the very real risk of damaging EVE.
Instead I lean towards options which increase the diversity and freedom within the game. Hi Sec is relatively healthy. If you want people to move out of it, give them compelling options and play styles which suit them – all carrot, no stick.
Part 2 later