Thursday, October 7, 2010

Blog Banter 21: Low Sec and you

The UI told me it would take 5 seconds to target the small craft that had just undocked, not knowing what awaited the newly licensed capsuleer.

“That's not nearly fast enough,” I yelled at the computer. In such a small craft as a frigate/newb ship, the recent undockee could easily warp to a gate and jump out of system before my Battlecruiser class Hurricane could lock it up. However, whether it was due to lag or player error, the frigate just continued to soar away from the undock area lazily. By that time the innocent young character had been locked and scrammed. In a Hurricane, or most Battlecruiser class ships really, it takes but a few volleys to take out a frig. I chose to savour the moment, my first-but not nearly my last-solo kill in low-sec. I waited a moment, the dual webs and the scram humming over the speakers; interspersed with the sound of sentry gun fire gleaming off my ship. My armour was down to about 75% now so I decided to align to a safe and begin the destruction of the little ship in my grasp, a Velator I believe. Aura so nicely informed me, as well as a little pop up notification, that my security status had been lowered. Heh, that wasn't nearly low enough. Surprisingly I got the pod and my Security status fell another fair chunk as the capsuleer was sent home and their frozen corpse was left outside the station. Now at this point I was becoming annoyed with the sentry guns, who were still pelting me for quite a bit and had succeeded in getting me to about 30% armour. I warped off, and proceeded to 'belt-hop' looking for more action, as my GCC ticked down.

I write to you now because a question has been posed, by numerous people, as to what lowsec is good for, and how can we make it better.

I have had my fair share of time within Eve. I've been a missioner, in an Alliance that was allied with Kenny, shot my fair share of Minny militiamen(been blown up by them too, run NPC protection for my industrialt's old corps' Mining ops, and done more missioning.

With missioning, the initial rush when you enter an area and your overview fills with red, begins to die off after you run "Ruin their morale" Level 3 a half dozen times and the closest level 4 is 12 or more jumps away, you start getting bored with life. Though, when I was using my friend's account I almost cost him an Abaddon on a Level 4, damn the little frigs that warp disrupt you >.<.

Null sec alliances are fun, organised(somewhat) and can-in some instances-kick a lot of ass. But during my time in GBC I had no useful skills and even less as far as PvP ships go. I went on corp roams that usually resulted in little to no action or major gank-dom. The major action my corp saw was some of us got to fight for 49-U. There was also the time that the incoming enemy ships warped to the same planet we had randomly chosen only moments before. That was a quick fight and 95% of the fleet was popped. Though we were able to disable the cyno that had been lit, I believe. The downside to nullsec is that it is either too cluttered, or too damn empty. Plus I'm pretty sure that I have membership to half a dozen forums now.

Faction warfare. Interesting, sometimes fun, but for the most part, annoying as hell. My corp stationed in lowsec a little ways from Amarr solar system. Little did we know that, for the most part, lowsec faction warfare consists of meals either running away never to be seen or heard from again, or being blobbed by groups twice our size. Got sick of that real fast.

With the mining, I made, well, my alt made a lot of ISK and I started gathering ships of various types to mission or mine in. But then we got griefed by some members of...either the Minmatar or Amarr militia, and the corp moved way far away. At this point I had to stop playing anyway because I was starting college. I came back 9 months later to mission and be super carebeary again, and made a fair amount passively running missions in my Drake. Again, that got boring kind of quick.

And so, this past summer, I fought alongside a group that know what they're doing and actually like it. This group is Hellfleet. After joining them, I found that I still lacked in the area of good pvp ships, and what larger ships I had were not fit to their best ability. I had fun and killed a lot. I died a few times, yes, but mostly to sentry fire in smaller ships. However, during my time there, I noticed a few things.

Lowsec, unless it is a well known/travelled, prosperous area, is typically dead silent. (No duh, it's space, of course there's no noise) You shhh, y'hear? A number of the kills I got in on were newer characters, mostly alts, who shouldn't have been venturing to low sec yet. Our home system had a number of belts, some nice mission agents, and a ship graveyard. The first kill I got with my Sentinel was on a Coercer in the Graveyard. The player was maybe a month old at best. Another time we caught a Domi running a mission, and another time a Megathron mining in a belt. I caught a few guys, even tried a ransom on one, who were ratting the NPCs. But you don't get nearly enough by ratting, and running the Gravesite or a mission has more risk than reward. What can be done to make it so that pirates like myself can get plenty of targets-and maybe make ISK somehow-but at the same time, pull in others but keep them safe, or create the illusion of being safe. Basically, how do we fix lowsec.

Personally, I couldn't tell you specifics. I wasn't down there nearly long enough to give the BEST opinion on the subject, but after reading blogs of corpmates, of former corp members cough Mynxee cough and of other pirates. I think I can give at least AN opinion on the subject.

What can be done? Well, here's what I believe:

GCC and Sentries: We need to fix GCC in some way, shape, or form. It's too long, and far too limiting from a pirate perspective. Once you are rewarded (or punished, depending on your point of view) with GCC, you must either have a God-like tank to be able to continue to hold out for extended periods of time. Or you need to have enough EHP to last another 30 seconds or a minute without engaging some one in order to dock and fix your shit.

Now, what if a Corp or Alliance chose a lowsec station as their Headquarters, and bought offices in said station. Perhaps a benefit of paying for the use of the station could be that members of that Corp or Alliance would be afforded special perks. Such perks could be lowered GCC times and little to no Sentry gun interference. Outside of that stations view, at another station or asteroid belt, your GCC might stay the normal 15 minutes and sentries would still shoot at you; but around that station you call home, engagement would have lessened repercussions. Though your security status might still go down like normal. But what pirate doesn't strive for -10?

Eve Online: Corruption was proposed years back and has features that would work perfectly for a more intricate version of the above. Basically Corruption has the idea of being able to pay off Concord in some way to nullify engagement repercussions. It goes even further with an option of having a teeter-totter system. Teeter-totter in that depending on numbers, bribes, or some way, the engagement would have different effects. If the system were more positive, then pirates would have more problems after engaging some one. If the system were more negative, then carebears could be in more danger.

ISK: Due to the fact that the majority of lowsec inhabitants have security statuses lower than -3, they are fairly restricted in the amount that they can do in Empire, if they can even get in. Of course, a number of them have alts that make the ISK that allows them to continue their PvP habit. But couldn't there be a way for lowsec itself to have some sort of economy? I can't say a lot on this subject since I've never really been into Eve's economics. However, I would say that implementing something limited to lowsec only, that can boost the economy and perhaps help generate ISK for lowsec-ers.

Carebears: How do we pull in more prey-I mean, players-from their “safe zones”. Well, it should be shiny and valuable. Minerals/ore that is typically found in null sec, and have it in random belts? Probable belts? Or probable belts that require a specific key entry acceleration gate-could be done similarly for missions(?)-in order to protect the miners somewhat. To be honest I don't think I can say much as far as this goes. My carebear experience is limited to Empire space mining and missioning. The biggest threats I've faced in that respect are rats and a lack of tank, can flippers, or the ever fun disco-Battleship. Most people would hire protection in this situation, but what if you could hire NPC pirates for protection? Have a bunch of powerful Gurristas Battleships flying around you. Or pay off what Concord might be around to spawn Sentries that follow you around? Plenty of options I can't think of at the moment, others will have their own ideas.

Overall safety/General rules: Basic rule of Eve, no matter where you are, don't fly what you can't afford to lose. If you go to lowsec, be prepared for the worst, hope for the best. If you go there expecting to make ISK, also expect that you could lose more than you make. Lowsec is not a matter of how LONG you've played, but of how WELL you've played. Three years experience means nothing if you can't counter a month old player attacking in a Cruiser or Frigate. If you mine or mission, be aligned to a safe spot, planet or gate. If you pirate, always have safe spots, and I would go so far to suggest playing a little conservatively. If your target is your size or bigger, you may have to use surprise to gain an advantage.

To sum up, there are things that COULD be done to lowsec, but there is a possibility to make a living in lowsec how it is. Stealing from Dane Cook, lowsec is like the friend everyone hates.

If you're a carebear, it's dangerous, but possible to thrive. If you're a pirate, it's harder, but with a little help it is also possible to thrive.

That's all I've got. Fly safe -or don't- and kill lots.


Will Turner: You cheated.
Jack Sparrow: Pirate.