Renovating Low Sec

This entry is written ‘out of character’ to discuss EVE development.

Coming soon in the newly titled ‘Crucible’ expansion, there will be a change made to factional warfare.  This is a landmark moment for FW, as it is the first time that CCP have touched it in years.  I could be wrong but I suspect the last changes were implemented in early 2008.

Unfortunately as yet I have no idea what this change actually is, and it probably won’t be in the Crucible 1.0 release.  I refer, to this post.

A CSM requested change to FW?  A small change that could shake up FW?  Who knows.  The only thing I’ve seen CCP comment on is possibly removing faction navy NPC’s from high sec, and I don’t think it’s that.

I want to see FW get some serious love.  In fact, I want to see CCP start treating low sec as a key area for development efforts in the near future.  As it is CCP largely seem to target content at null sec/sov warfare or develop largely PvE orientated content.  I want to see CCP do for low sec what they recently put together for null sec; a long term development roadmap.

In my eyes, low sec should be catering primarily (but not exclusively) to two very identifiable play sytles; the lawful Militia man and the downright Piratical.

Factional warfare has long been an annoyance to me.  I like PVP, and I like roleplay.  FW should therefore be the apex of my EVE experience, right?  Sadly not.  From a fanfest roundtable pre-deployment in 2006 to the present day, FW has always fallen tragically short for me.  It was implemented in an unsatisfying state with different intended goals to what I’d hoped and since launch has been effectively abandoned in CCP’s design schedules.

FW does have its audience, but I don’t think that there is anyone who thinks it could not be improved greatly.  Which is a shame, as it could be a flagship feature for CCP.  For me FW’s core failing is a simple one, EVE is a game about consequences and FW has none at all.  It doesn’t matter if you are enlisted in a militia or not, it makes no difference to anyone who about who is actually ‘winning’.

My hope is that CCP are bringing some form of consequence to who controls the territory of FW.  In my most optimistic moments, I dare hope that CCP might have found the balls to make those consequences affect players who are not enlisted in FW.

There was a post I saw made by CCP Soundwave who commented that thought it was “kind of sad that FW is walled up in low sec”; and that he was considering removing the faction navy npc’s so that the PVP flows out into high sec as well.  I think he was half right.

I think that it is sad that FW is its own tiny sandbox isolated by game mechanics that only affects players enlisted in a militia.  I think it is sad that the rest of EVE doesn’t even notice that FW exists most of the time or have any reason to care when a system changes hands.

As for allowing the PVP to have free run of all empire, I’m not convinced.  It adds none of that much needed consequence and only penalises players from enlisting in the first place, as there will be nowhere left for them to go run a few quiet missions or undock from a busy trade hub without getting ganked.  I think it will just lead to an even greater use of neutral alt cops and spread out the PVP over a much wider area.   There’s no focus to it, just more noobs feeling griefed at the end of the day.

If FW does need more space to go PVP over, why not just convert more of low sec into FW zones?  Or for that matter create new low sec regions like Black Rise.  I have never really understood why only some of low sec should be an FW area anyway, unless it is to funnel players together to fight.  And if that is true, why then go ahead and open up high sec?

So, more consequences to FW please.  Give the players a tangible sense of achievement and FW should get alot more interesting.

Thar Be Pirates too!

To my mind the other half of low sec is piracy.  It is one of the oldest EVE professions and one that CCP have long muttered about supporting but then never did.  I really think they should start.

For one thing, if you ever wanted to work for one of the pirate factions (other than Thukker Tribe) then you have to go to into NPC null sec regions to find an agent, some of which are not so easy to get into let alone run missions in.  Why not bring agents in space into low sec to hand out missions for the pirate factions?  Maybe even place them in exploration sites that move about (staying one step ahead of the law..).

There have many cool suggestions for things CCP could do with low sec and piracy over the years, and I’d like to see some of them becoming reality.  I wonder if a cool way to do that might be to approach piracy as a ‘flip side’ to factional warfare, rather than working for the empires you act as an agent of the pirate factions.

What if by completing missions and gaining standings with say that Arch Angels, you could begin to gain access and favours in low sec?  ‘Outlaw stargates’ to connect areas of low sec together is an idea I always liked, something that allows outlaw capsuleers to move around the map a bit more.

A more outlandish idea might be for piratical players to be able to purchase a ‘letter of marque’ buying them temporary immunity to a given faction’s NPC’s.  Quite possibly overpowered, but I can see pirates liking the ability to jump into missions/belts/incursions(?) and attack the players without having to worry about NPC aggro.  A ‘letter of marque’ of sorts, from Sansha Kuvakei to you.

And why not give pirates the ability to attempt to neutralise sovereignty  and/or CONCORD protection of low sec systems?  While the militias attempt to flip control of systems over to their faction, it might be interesting to let pirates play for anarchy and pushing CONCORD out of the system for as long as they can hold it, shutting down sentry guns and maybe even negating sec loss until CONCORD presence can be restored.

It is about time that CCP decided what their vision for low sec is, and its past time that it started getting some serious loving.  Low sec could be one of the most immersive and interesting areas of the game, rather than the thin strip of wasteland it has always felt like.

Well, that was a long one, so thanks for reading this far! 😉

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