I haven’t posted anything in a long time but my hiatus is soon to be over. I’ve been keeping up with Eve while I was gone and one of my favorite subjects has come once again to the forefront of conversation; should high sec be truly safe or not.
I’ve posted on this subject before but time changes all things and so to have my thoughts on the subject. Well, I still think high sec should be safe for the game to expand i’s player base, but a lot of the other details have changed.
All games evolve over the years. Some better or some worse. Eve has changed some but the core concepts are still the same since I started playing three years ago. Sure the ships are being adjusted and there have been a few changes here and there, but for all intents and purposes it’s the same game.
During this time the average number of players logged in has remained fairly stagnant. Which indicates that while subscriptions might be up the people actually playing the game is the same. The game essentially isn’t growing and I believe the reason behind this lack of growth is due to the hostile nature of the game casual players can't escape.
The problem with any change is the interweaving of different aspects which have caused the problem. There is no simple “change item A and B for great success” answer. Instead we have to look at several different aspects of both high sec and low sec for a solution. Null also plays a part but not as significantly.
High Sec changes-
PVP requires mutual consent, no more ganking
Industrial capability in NPC stations restricted so that only pilots with 3mil (a guesstimate) can use them.
Reduction of mining belts in all .8-.5 systems and replaced with gravimetric sites instead
POS construction limited to small towers only
POS tied to player faction standing, not corporation
Offline POS destroyed after two weeks of inactivity
Increase number of systems connected to low sec to diffuse number of bottlenecks/ambush areas
Make time limits on consecutive war decs to reduce ability to grief
Low sec changes-
No super caps allowed in low sec
Home system which allows an alliance to claim through ISK payment to one of the four factions
Fees can be used to upgrade gate defenses through additional NPC ships with respawn rates ranging from two – six hours
Medium POS towers can be used in home system space but not large
Percentage of all refining, PI, and bounties go directly to NPC faction
Fees can be used to hire NPC run cyno jammers which have mandatory maintenance cycles the owning alliance can schedule for times when they have manpower to defend
Covert ops cyno and black ops raids would still be allowed
No missions available in home systems
Home systems have to be at least one or two jumps inside low sec, cannot have high sec border
Regular low sec systems operate under current rules regarding POS and tax rates
So what do these changes do for the game? The intent is to create an area for casual players who prefer PVE activities over PVP. The primary method for them to make money will be missions with some extra work required to run grav sites for mining. The low sec home systems should spread out the trade hubs to new markets closer to populated areas of low sec. Industry will be pushed into low/null due to limitations in high sec. Those wishing to continue to manufacture in high can, but it will require more investment in time and resources.
Low sec becomes a stepping stone for null instead of the current sheer drop. The home system concept would extend into null as well providing smaller alliances a base of operations which they can actually defend. Home systems provide a base for groups to hone PVP skills, increased resources for industry, and some advantage to defenders. Those groups wishing to take on more risk can do so in the regular systems and they will get the added benefit of lower/no taxes and access to bigger POS towers.
The idea is to have areas where fights occur and areas to build up resources to eventually move into null. Capitals can be built in a home system but at a limited rate. Once a group gets strong enough they will want to push into neighboring systems to enhance their industrial capability. Alternately the group can decide to move into a null home system once they’ve gotten a taste of PVP. Either way to increase your alliance footprint will require branching into more dangerous areas for better rewards.
High sec becoming safer is dependent upon a reduction in industrial capacity, improvements to low sec to encourage distribution of population, and a gradual movement towards null sec and end game level PVP. Simply making high sec safer won’t help the game, but continuing to leave things as they are will only continue the slow decay of long term players.
The time has come for CCP to make some radical changes, but by doing so they could make the game appealing to millions of gamers instead of just the thousands of slowly bittering veterans.