The Broken Frontier: A Discussion on Low-Sec

Or, “I’ve Got Friends in Low-Sec Places”

I should preface this with what is perhaps a somewhat damning revelation as it pertains to this post: I am not a low-sec dweller. There are plenty of high-profile low-sec-ers out there who consistently show that they are more than capable of talking about the trials and tribulations of being where they are, but I thought a discussion on the state of lowly low-sec from a NON low-sec-ers perspective might make for some interesting discussion.

Also, in the interest of discussion, and because I’m pretty curious to see what those of you who DO actually reside there think, consider this a sort of spitballing of an idea; an internet-spaceship conversation starter for your next boring date or stagnated business meeting.


Earlier today, I found myself talking to mi amigo, Bladewise (a.k.a. “Baby Nipples” – see link) on mumble, and with nothing much going on, we started to hatch an ill-conceived and poorly thought-out plan to sneak our way down into someone’s nullsec backyard with cloaky recons/stealth bombers and mess with as many PvE ratters as we could find. While this scheming did not actually result in us going Butch-and-Sundance-style into null, it did get us talking about the traveling it would take to get there from our little high-sec haunt, and more specifically, that stretch of no-mans-land waste of space in-between: low-sec.

With all due respect to my friends and distant ninja-cousins, the pirates of New Eden, such as Rixx, Arrhidaeus, Kane, and Mynxee, lets face it; low-sec is lame, and as it currently stands, is generally looked upon as the bastard, redheaded stepchild of Eve. But I think there’s hope.

Pirates, I read your blogs as gleefully as the next guy, and I love your stories of bold 3-vs-1 duals, hero-tackles, dastardly ransoms, and murder and villainy on the high seas of low-sec. I’m typically all but ready at the evati gate ready to dive in rifter-first to battle the universe, except that in actuality, nothing happens, because ultimately, its more a lonesome lazy-river float than a high-adrenaline high-seas adventure.

And I feel your pain – low-sec is supposed to be where its at! It’s allegedly where all the action happens, where PvP thrives, and honorable murder-lust reins supreme, so what happened?

Arrhidaeus, Rixx, Kane, Helicity

On this, Bladewise and I agreed: low-sec was sounding about hopping as a jr. highschool semi-formal dance, and like jr. high, we wanted no part in it. So what could you change to make low-sec likable?

As I see it, right now low-sec exists for two things: 1.) silly people exploring, ratting (ignorant of the FACT that for this sort of risk/reward ratio, they’re honestly better off doing it in either highsec OR null), and generally poking their head where it doesn’t belong and 2.) well-writ pirates with high-profile blogs to prey upon these silly people and then write about it (amen to that brothers).

So for someone who’s not either a.) silly, or b.) a smart savvy pirate, whats the point? Why would someone like me care to take the time to dive into low?

Low-sec is supposed to be this “wild west” permanent cowboy-state, where a Jim Jarmusch-esque soundtrack plays on repeat, tumbleweeds blow through dusty belts, and an old bartender who looks suspiciously like that “Spectre” character we all used to know serves flammable grain alcohol out of a boot. There are gun fights daily, men are made of and killed by the steel at their hip, and hot chesty widows bravely, well, look hot as their men are laid out for the buzzards.

But the way Bladewise and I saw it (again, as two guys who spend about 99% of our time in high-sec), the inherent problem with low-sec is that its all or nothing. Yes, this lends itself to that whole “hot chesty grieving widow cowboy” scenario I just lifted from a John Wayne movie, but in actual implementation in Eve, it sucks. If you want to embrace low-sec as the balls-out, brawling PvP-thunderdome it sort of is, you have to be prepared to then spend the next three weeks grinding through belt-rats to be able to even make it back out again once the dust of your little rampage settles. To be blunt, PvPing in low-sec means you’re going to lose sec status, and thats a deterrent to a LOT of people.

Well hey there Pilgrim, got a belt-chaining guide handy?

As much as I like to shoot at people, I like being able to kick it in high-sec; hey, its where they prey is for what I do so its where I hunt . So for a guy like me, low-sec just doesn’t make sense. In my case, that threat of security status drop is an obstacle that prevents me from even wanting to go, and again, this is from a guy who LIKES to shoot at people.

So, this is where Baby Nips and myself started thinking (never a good thing). Now, we thought, what if you REMOVED that obstacle? What if PvPing in low-sec did NOTHING to your sec status? Or specifically, shooting at someone and popping their ship wouldn’t result in a sec loss, but podding them would. A scenario like this would let the -10 bad-asses stay hip and keep their street cred as murderous villains, and lets the casual PvP “tourists” like myself and Bladewise pop in, have our fun, get our asses handed to us by Flashfresh, and go home with no harm, no foul. Everyone’s happy, and we’d probably be back again in a few days to lose some more ships.

I recognize that at this point, “fixing low-sec” is probably right up there with debugging POSs and rebalancing Gallente ships with the dev teams. With the daily CCP shit-storms, they’ve got bigger things to worry about these days; nerfing the shit out of super caps (God I can’t WAIT for those forum tears), trying to get “walking in station” to limp its way into existence, fixing their tattered reputation, and hopefully fixing null-sec (if you haven’t listened to it yet, Mittens nailed it in his recent EVE Radio interview, when he referred to the effects of the sanctums nerf as being akin to removing plankton from the ocean). Just the same, I’d like to hear from different perspectives on this one.

To all you non low-sec folks: would eliminating security penalties for ship-killing in low encourage you to go play there? For current low-sec dwellers: should this result in a higher low-sec transient population, would you view this as a boon to low or an obnoxious waste of time and efforts? Again, I am NOT a low-sec guy, but I’d honestly like to get a discussion going on this, so lets get a comment thread started on this here.




~ by Aiden Mourn on September 9, 2011.

17 Responses to “The Broken Frontier: A Discussion on Low-Sec”

  1. Its definatly something to consider, having been on drunken roams with The bastards, it is alot of fun to be able to go out and shoot andnot hope to be shot first like when ninja-ing. But that sec hurts.

    The question I see is, would it be feasible to have some kind of mechanic where you get a sec penalty when you attack something deemed less damagerous to you then you are to him? Ie. your in a rifter, you shoot an iteron, thats a sec penalty. But then a vexor comes along and you open up on him and you recive no penalty and nor does he as you started the fight.

    Also slight side note: Bladewise does not think, he already knows.

    • I disagree with what you’ve said, but I think there is a kernel of an idea behind your suggestion which is sound. That kernel is, “what if fighting in low-sec didn’t prevent you from going back to high-sec?” If the same negative security status which made you freely engagable in low-security space by do-gooders didn’t prevent you from traveling to high-sec and doing your normal business far more people would care much less about their security status.

      • I think you hit the nail on the head. My suggestion isn’t an absolute, but rather a possible answer to the question. That question is “how do you make going to and shooting around in null-sec not hamper your ability to go back to highsec should you choose to”, and ultimately, I think thats the issue that needs to be addressed.

  2. So I think there is a way to make a new sec status system work within the current lore. Considering that CONCORD are really nothing but corrupt cops (wardecs=bribes) I think the following would work.

    1) Anyone below 0.0 sec status can attack anyone below 0.0 sec status. Cops really aren’t gonna care that criminals are killing each other. The static defenses in losec will still step in to attempt to end disruptions but that’s about all the effort it’s worth. This will allow most people that want to fiddle around in losec to do so without losing access to hisec to do so.

    2) Anyone with a positive sec status can attack anyone below 0.0 sec status. Vigilantes are awesome. Cops don’t have to do anything. Bad guys die. Win/win. Let’s get some doughnuts. Just adding this one alone will give you a lot of weekend warriors coming down to losec when they feel like they’ve got something to prove.

    3) Attacking someone with a positive sec status will automatically result is a sec status loss. Gotta defend the soccer moms. This gives the carebears their idiotic feelings of security while also allowing people to grind their way down to -10. Also makes that -10 a little bit more prestigious as there will be fewer targets to go after. You could even add in another artificial barrier at -5 if you wanted some more granularity in the system. I honestly think that something along these lines would encourage more people to at least come down to play around in losec more often even if they aren’t interested in living there.

    *Controversial 4) Add in bribes to bring up sec status. These cops will look the other way while one corporation slaughters another. They’ll look the other way while you slip through customs. Make is super expensive. Give it a hard limit on how high you can buy up to. Hell even make it temporary if you’re really worried about it, but there needs to be a better way for people to come back out of losec when they’re ready to.

    • @Barruum Rex: I vote #2 all the way! Vigilantes ARE awesome (find me someone who actively dislikes Batman), and introducing something to that regard is sort of an in to fixing the lol-worthy “bounty” system too. #4 has DEFINITELY been brought up before amongst the criminal elements of high-sec space, but to be honest, the prospect of RMT/PLEX abuse of the system is too easy to see happening. I.E. IRL rich players can shoot away, since they can “buy” their way, quite literally actually, back into the good graces of CONCORD; too close to golden ammo in my opinion. Great ideas man.

    • Very well put, It’s kinda what I was thinking. It also helps the bounty hunter profession, it doesnt fix it completely. But it does help push people to go out and hunt dem pirates.

    • Very similar to my thoughts.

  3. Oops, that was supposed to be a general reply (and not directed at the comment), but I failed.

  4. Some people tend to offer game mechanic changes/ideas as they relate to the possibility of whether or not they can actually be coded in to the game. I’m not a code writer/game designer/// I’ll leave that to those who got the education for it.

    Assuming it is the sec status hit that keeps a lot of people out of low sec and the desire was to increase targets, traffic in to low sec, then sure, removing the sec status hit would probably increase it substantially.

    Should the sec status hit be removed? I’m not so sure I’d go that far. Significantly reduce the sec status loss per ship aggressed maybe. Or make ratting the loss back up equally as easy and as quick as it is to lose sec status. Perhaps buy it back up? It doesn’t take long to lose. Someone can go from +1.5 to -2.5 fairly quickly getting their pew pew on.

    In these economic times many people may not be able to keep two or more acct’s going. So having one character that can go pew pew in low sec with and also enter high sec to take out over-zealous faction fit mission running Macherials who fire on defenseless professional lag reducing upstanding ninjas, errr, I mean space clutter removing gentlemen is a great plus as well. (See what I did there?) Or be the killer/hauler all in one character. Doesn’t exactly help CCP with subscription rates but oh well. Neither does jewelry and clothes, obviously.

    For me and the guys I fly with sec status is not a concern. But there is a clear choice to be made. You’re going to live in low sec and say fuck it to the sec status or you’re going to tip toe a very fine line to not ruin yourself for high sec entry with that character. I said good-bye to high sec with Harrigan quite a while ago and I ain’t looking back.

    On the other side, if you remove all sec status penalty you now have a sentry gun aggro only area with no sec penalty to matter making low sec a sentry gun, warp bubble-less area. That may not be a bad idea either. One thing I do not agree with is removing sentry guns. Otherwise frigate blobs would rule. Dramiel fleets would eat everything alive.

    None the less, at the end of the day something has to make low sec living attractive enough to increase the occupants/visitors.

    • Well put sir. Like I said, it’s a choice, but it shouldn’t have to be such a severe one. As I see it, making that choice a little more flexible, with a little give, would make the prospect of going to low-sec a lot more appealing to a LOT more people. Also, seconding that sentry guns should of course stay, because really, fuck dramiels. Find a new FOTM folks, honestly.

  5. No comment, just reading. Some interesting ideas…

  6. Anything that makes lowsec more inviting has got to be a good thing, even if the sec increase from rats could be doubled whilst the sec decrease from combat is lowered would have the same effect.
    Removing Sentry/Station guns is not an option, due to the imbalance it would create.

    Lowsec should be seen as part of the natural progression to 0.0 With corps being able to defend their assetts/operations against neutrals/red corps without instantly being unable to return to highsec.

    Corps/Enities should be looking at this path for growth.
    Highsec -> Lowsec ->NPC 0.0 -> nullsec

  7. I don’t have a definitive suggestion – though I do like Barrum’s #2 a lot! – but I at least wanted to confirm that the sec-status hit (and some of the gcc mechanics) is a major reason for us carebears not to go into lo-sec.

  8. LoSec is also home to a lot of the T2 production industry, and corps/players who have burnt out of nullsec or hisec.

    These people aren’t (a) silly or (b) pirates – at least not always. They may mine, or explore, or rat, because they live in specific systems, with towers to maintain and manage, to get rich on the T2 production market. They may be considered pirates because their sec status is shot after defending “their pocket of losec” at the expense of their security status.

    It’s funny to me how everything is so often seen as black or white. There’s a lot more to losec than even pirates know…

  9. I’ve always had positive sec status, starting when I ran missions and incursions while doing most of my PvP in wormholes. I got up above 4.0, I believe. That all changed after popping 3 (three!) pods recently. Now I’m down to -3.5 and can’t really operate in > .8 systems. This is quite annoying considering most of my stuff is in Dodixie, Amarr, or other systems that I’m now excluded from. I knew pod kills gave a substantial hit, but didn’t realize it was so much. I can go GCC about 30 different times for the same sec hit that one pod kill gave me. So I’ve been looking at the quickest way to get back above -2.0. Ratting is painfully slow. *sigh*

    Anyway, I like many of your ideas. Currently, the only time sec status means anything is when you’re either below -2.0 or below -5.0. Yet it’s placed in such a prominent place on the overview, with the red or yellow bars even obscuring standings information or corp/alliance membership.

    How to fix it? Not by removing sec status loss all together (because low-sec’s really the only way non-suicide-gankers lose sec). But by making it mean something. As has been mentioned before, shoot someone who has negative sec status, and you’re doing the empire a favor, and your own sec should increase. Shoot someone with positive sec status, and your own drops. This allows for a vigilante play style (which I’ve never met anyone who wouldn’t appreciate that in some way or another) as well as giving casual visitors to low-sec worried about sec hits many more targets rather than just hoping to chance upon a flashy red or two.

    I don’t think low-sec is broken though in it’s current iteration. After all, the life of a real high-seas pirate wasn’t all action either. The movies just show it that way.

  10. The sec status adjustment would go along way to help PVP in low sec. I think the best thing to happen to low sec is simply getting people out there. I’ve tried to roam and get into fights there (to hell with sec status) and ended up roaming for an hour literally seeing no one, and giving up. Low sec needs to have higher rewards to risk going out there.

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