Sunday, November 15, 2009

Piracy Shouldn't Be So Easy

I've been running level 3 missions for the last several days, and I'm just loving the fit I'm using, even though I've still got a bit more than six days before I can install those Tech 2 Armor Hardeners.

One interesting difference I've noticed about the missions I'm doing now and the ones I was doing just before I left the game two years ago is that many level 3 agents now offer missions that take you into low-sec. On the one hand, I think it's a great idea for CCP to do more to encourage players to enter low and no sec areas, but on the other hand, it's also a great benefit to pirates who just sit at the gates in well-traveled low-sec systems like Egghelende and pick off noobs as they enter or leave.

As a player who's well-experienced in dealing with pirates (though not as much in actually winning those battles), I always check my star map to see how many recent ship kills there are in a low-sec system the agent wants to send me to before I accept a mission. If I find it too much of a risk (last time I was offered a mission going to Egghelende I checked and found that 15 ships had been destroyed there in the last hour), I just decline or delay the mission.

The problem is that it seems that the pirates really don't care, they're just always sitting there because they know that a significant number of noobs will not know to check the star map before entering a low-sec system. Even if experienced pilots like me who know better just avoid the system until we know (or at least have good reason to believe based on the evidence) that the pirates have left the system, there are more than enough players who will jump in anyway, either because they don't check the map first or because they may foolishly believe their uber-fit ship can take them on.

While I've always believed that if you let your ego overshadow your common sense in this game it's going to end up costing you bigtime in the long run, I also believe that piracy, while permitted within the game, shouldn't be this easy.

From a common sense perspective, it makes sense to me that CONCORD should be just as aggressive toward those flagged as criminals in low-sec as they are in high-sec. In real world terms, the way it is now makes about as much sense as the police showing up to deal with crime in affluent areas but ignoring crimes committed in poorer areas of the same jurisdiction. We have, of course, seen the real-world results of such policing and they are the same as in EvE: When the police are not a significant presence in those areas the crime rate goes up, as criminals come out of hiding and become more aggressive.

Please note that this is not an argument against piracy in EvE. I used to feel that way, but I've come to accept piracy as a valid part of the game. My problem here is that CONCORD does not confront and deal with piracy in a way that makes any sense for a truly competent police force, certainly not one charged with protecting as large a jurisdiction as empire space in EvE.

In my opinion, low-sec piracy should carry significantly more risk for pirates than it actually does. While I accept piracy as part of the game, I don't accept that the risk involved should be as one-sided as it currently is. A realistic police force would check those low-sec gates and systems regularly and confront those who appear to be in the area to commit crimes. A real police force would not simply ignore areas where muggers are known to wait for victims, and neither should CONCORD.

My suggestion here would be for CCP to institute a mechanic where a CONCORD fleet would appear in these systems at irregular intervals to engage and eliminate any criminally-flagged ships that happen to be there. My reasoning on this is that by making these appearances random pirates would be taking a real risk by simply hanging out near low-sec gates and waiting to pick off ships just to pad their kill-boards. There would still be a very real risk to players entering these systems because CONCORD would still not be a constant presence, but the fact that they might show up at any given time would help to discourage long-term pirate gate-camping and at least allow the possibility that missions and other reasons to travel into low-sec would be less likely to be discarded out of hand because a player doesn't want to risk her 70 million ISK mission-running battlecruiser in a low-sec system to gain a million ISK reward payout.

CCP has said that they want to encourage more players to get into low-sec and 0.0. That's something I strongly agree with, but I think if there's to be a hope of that actually happening, there has to be a lot more effort made by CCP in making low-sec and 0.0 more accessible to newer and less potent players. As it is now, the game discourages those interests because players know that pirates run wild and completely unchecked outside of high-sec. On the other side of the coin, pirates know that they have nothing to fear from CONCORD unless they attempt to go into high-sec and so that encourages more piracy because it's so lucrative and relatively low-risk. As long as the pirates field a fleet that is effective against most of the ships which venture into low-sec, it will continue to be a faucet of low-risk profits that will prove attractive to more and more players, and thus encourage more low-sec piracy.

In my opinion, if CCP does nothing to address this there will eventually come a point where almost no one wants to risk venturing outside of high-sec anymore because the risk is so great. New players and those who'd like to explore low-sec and 0.0 will find those areas of the game effectively inaccessible because every access to those areas is camped by pirates. That's when players will become disillusioned and bored with the game, and leave for greener pastures. At that point, EvE will become a game where low-sec and 0.0 are only really accessible to those able to travel with large enough fleets to discourage pirate attacks, those who are already members of large corps or those who have a lot of in-game friends who are willing to escort them.

To me, that would be the very worst possible outcome for this game. Wormholes are an inventive way of circumventing this reality for some, but for new, solo, or inadequately-equipped players they're really of little or no value in terms of circumventing piracy.

CCP needs to address this problem, and they need to do it now, before it gets worse than it already is. EvE is a game that has a lot of correlations to real life in terms of how things happen and the results. It's time CCP injected a little of that realism into the way CONCORD does its job and in the risks criminals take in committing crimes.

Unless CCP is comfortable with the idea of low-sec and 0.0 becoming the virtually exclusive domain of the most wealthy and powerful corps and pirates, it's high time they do what they have to in order to open up these areas to the rest of the player base. No doubt much bitching and moaning will ensue, but it's really the only way to ensure that EvE will be able to not only gain but also hold on to new players over the long term. Regardless of whether you're a pirate, a noob victim, or anything in-between, encouraging more new and middle-range players to participate in and stay with EvE should be a goal every player can get behind. It's good for the game, it's good for CCP, and it's good for the players.

To my way of thinking, it's just a no-brainer. First and foremost on every agenda, CCP's, the players, anyone who cares about this game, is to do everything possible to keep EvE fresh, interesting, and welcoming to everyone, especially to new players who wish to join us. Hopefully, this, if nothing else, is something we can all agree on.


Alexia Morgan said...

It's real simple. Piracy is 'easy' only because most people are not organised enough to create fleets to push the pirates away. Piracy is easy because so many people ignore what they COULD be doing to prevent it.

It's not the fault of the game or of the pirates. They're doing what the game allows them to do. The game also allows people to form fleets and fight the pirates.

You want the game changed because people are too lazy to play it how it CAN be played?

Sheesh. Seriously.... sheesh!

Joe said...

Wow, I never reply to blogs but this one has me upset. Low-Sec is suppose to be about piracy and killing the innocent. If you do not like that then maybe you should go play World of Warcraft... CCP designed low-sec to be about pirates and death to anyone and everyone... Go back to Jita and run your missions but leave us Pirates alone...

Bekka Jae said...

Alexia, I fully agree that noobs should take the time to learn the game better before they try potentially dangerous things. I certainly learned that lesson the hard way myself (repeatedly). At the same time, however, I don't think that low-sec and no-sec should be equally free of CONCORD. How do you get more players into low-sec if no one can travel through those areas without a fleet escort?

I also agree that there should be more of a player-driven effort to combat pirates, but I think it's unrealistic to expect noobs to be able to do that and there should be at least something that prevents pirates from effectively locking down these systems in perpetuity.

Joe, in a word, bullshit. Low-sec is not about piracy and killing the innocent. Piracy is about piracy and killing the innocent, no matter where it happens.

You'll note that nowhere did I indicate that I think 0.0 should be changed in this regard in any way. To me, that's truly the frontier and that's where piracy and free-ranging criminality belong.

My point is that if the goal is to get more players into low-sec and 0.0 (and thus increase the overall number of available piracy/PvP targets in these areas) it's not going to happen unless players feel they can at least reasonably hope to get a foothold there before they're blown out of space.

Otherwise, I think it's only a matter of time before empire space becomes the territory of carebears and mission-runners while those out in low-sec and 0.0 sit out there with their thumbs up their butts just shooting at each other over and over and wondering why few if any new players (read: targets) bother to venture into those areas anymore.

Is that the kind of game you really want? One where there's little if any real challenge, you just blow up ship after ship that can't possibly compete against you?

Personally, I'd like the game to make you earn it, whether you're a pirate or not.

It's not unreasonable, in my opinion, to say that you can commit a crime, but just like in RL there's a chance you're going to get caught by the cops, especially if you keep committing the same crime in the same place over an extended period of time.

Oh yeah and another thing: I've never played WoW nor would I. It's not my game, EvE is. Y'know it's really sad how you use that same tired troll attack. If you're going to insult me, at least try to do it creatively, huh?

Alexia Morgan said...

Having been a low-sec pirate myself in a past life, I can speak from experience. While it's fun to attack and intimidate the new or non-pvp players, the real challenge comes from finding pilots in low-sec who offer a real fight. If it really was just a turkey-shoot all the time, it gets boring fast, and that's not what any of the pirates are looking for.

The real excitement and enjoyment comes from real fights, where you could actually lose your ship. It happens a lot in low-sec, more than you might think. But most of those fights are with other pirates, or highly skilled anti-pirates.

What would add to the pirate's pleasure is seeing their victims learn from their experiences, build up their skills and their ships, and engage the pirates with skill. The pirates want a fight. That's all they're looking for. Along the way they'll take whatever loot they can find from the 'victims'.

There are those who refuse to be a victim. They will organise fleets to roam low-sec, looking for pirates to hunt. They will organise fleets and scouts to protect transport convoys. They will organise fleets to actually take 'ownership' of low-sec systems to make it their home. They'll organise themselves to mine the resources, manufacture items for the market, and to protect their assets from pirates, as well as other corps or alliances.

They wouldn't be able to do this if CONCORD was there to prevent them from protecting their assets, because they would be punished for defending themselves by attacking pirates.

If CONCORD were to occasionally roam low-sec, it would simply encourage 'suicide ganking' on a larger scale. If the pirates knew their actions might incur CONCORD retaliations, then they would simply continue but with cheaper ships fitted for extreme damage, so that their targets would be killed before CONCORD could prevent it.

Low-sec is where people can play the game of pirate / anti-pirate. It's there explicitly for them! High-sec is where people can play with some element of protection from harm. Null-sec (0.0 space) is where people can play with high-level alliance operations, huge fleet actions involving hundreds of players at a time, with great regions of space being owned by alliances fighting and defending them.

There really is an area of space for all people. You seem to think it's reasonable to take that away and discourage people from playing their game in their area. You want your area extended so that you can play your game wherever you want, even though there's an area explicitly created for you.

Do you really think that's reasonable?

Joe said...

I only play in low-sec, I am happy the way it is... I am just saying that if you want to run missions stay in high-sec if you want to have SOV and large fleet battles stay in 0.0, and if you want to be a pirate then low-sec is home to you. (it is my home too, Don't Go Changing Low Sec because Empire players want to "run missions" there... You make your money off of missions/mining/trading... I make my money from killing those who dare entire my low-sec system... To each their own, if they don't like go back to empire.

Bekka Jae said...

I think you're both missing a key point here. You can argue all day that low-sec should be freely open to pirates, but the reality is that if the status quo is maintained fewer and fewer players will risk going there.

What you seem to be advocating is that EvE essentially separate into three different games, one for high-sec, one for low-sec, and one for 0.0. Personally, I think when you destroy the ability of newer players to get into these areas, you limit new players to just a portion of the game and increase the chances that they will quickly become bored with it and move on.

To my way of thinking, even if you have a case that low-sec should be CONCORD-free (and I still don't agree), you're arguing for EvE to become a stagnant and limited experience for any player who isn't a pirate or a member of an elite corp. Frankly, I don't see how that helps anyone, new players, those of us who are already playing and want to see more of New Eden, or CCP's bottom line and therefore EvE's continued success.

It's not just about what goes on in-game, it's also about ensuring that EvE is welcoming to noobs and those looking for a new challenge.

Piracy may be fun for those who practice it, but how long do you think most new players will stick around if/when they discover that only the most powerful and elite players can even consider exploring much less actually moving outside of high-sec?

I'm sorry but I don't think your in-game principles, valid or not, are worth risking EvE becoming limited to high-sec for 3/4 of the player base. The rest of us count too, including those who don't yet know enough or haven't yet played enough to effectively defend against or beat pirates.

Also, Alexia, while your experience may be different than mine, I've found pirates to generally be a cowardly lot, eagerly taking on ships they vastly overpower to score yet another kill mail, but scurrying like rats when faced with a truly competitive force.

I saw it all the time with E-Uni. We were war-decced almost weekly by pirate corps who would just hang out in the area and pick off noobs flying solo or in small groups in our corp. Yet, when we'd gather a fighting force and be ready and waiting for a real fight, then all of a sudden they'd disappear for a while, until they war-decced us yet again. These pirates didn't want a real fight, they just wanted easy, low-risk kills, which is why they kept war-deccing a noob corp in the first place.

In my experience, it's just griefing by another name. Legitimized griefing perhaps, but griefing all the same, done for the same reasons and and by players with the same kinds of shitty attitudes toward their fellow players.

Anonymous said...

You can argue all day that low-sec should be freely open to pirates, but the reality is that if the status quo is maintained fewer and fewer players will risk going there

Leaving aside the fact that I don't agree with that statement, if indeed that is a problem, then the solution is to make the reward for going there higher, not to lower the risk. The point of differentiation between high and low sec is the risk, and removing the risk diminishes the complexity of the game.

What you need to do, is make people want to go there /in spite/ of the risk

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to ad my 0.2isk.

I lived in solitude region for a while, which is an island of high-sec surrounded by low and null sec systems. The corporation that I was in banded together with other corporations and alliances and set up an intel channel for the region.

Whenever a person doing missions or mining in lowsec saw a known pirate in the system they'd holler on the intel channel and get safe. Those in the coalition who wanted some pew would go and see if they could track down the pirate. After about a month or two the pirate population dropped and the coalition expanded, setting up industrial posses all over lowsec without any hassle. The only significant issues came when the 0.0 alliances came roaming for fun, and that was rare.

My point is, Low sec is supposed to be a toned-down version of nullsec. CCP wants players to band together, not just single corporations but many corporations through many timezones, all giving eachother intel and providing escorts for mining operations and transport ships. I think Solitude region is unique in this because the players are forced to fly through lowsec to get to their home base from the rest of empire, whereas in other regions there is no incentive to leave highsec.

You don't have to get massive fleets together to try to beat off the pirates that then just disappear, just start an intel channel and you'll know they pirates are coming a few systems before they get to you.

Popkorn said...

You can call us "Cowards" but that is such a blanket statement I do not even know how to respond. So let me get this straight, you go to lets say Russia, you meet a gay person and come home, you tell everyone that people in Russia are homosexual, then you go to Italy and you meet a asshole, you go home and tell everyone that people in Italy are assholes, then you go to low-sec and you meet a coward, you go home to empire and tell everyone that all people in low-sec are cowards??? I can say the same thing about Empire or 0.0 but it wouldnt have any more truth than your statements. Concord already has punishment for those operating in Low-Sec, we get security standings loss, gate guns fire on us (I have lost a few ships to those gate guns...) and we can no longer entire empire until we work for weeks to lower our sec status again. I think we are already punished enough thank you. But I guess what would us cowards know about the Eve Universe since we just sit in low-sec and kill n00bs all day...

Kozmic said...

First of all, good to see you post again - I remember reading your blog when I started EVE, a year and a half ago. Welcome back!

Now, to your post. You raise several interesting issues; as a player who has run missions (and been ganked in Egghelende), did a tour of low-sec piracy (including Egghelende :)) and is now in 0.0, I think I can provide a relevant POV.

The main problem (that you only addressed in passing) is the giving of missions from high-sec to low-sec. There are only a few agents notorious for that - the Fed Navy in Jel being one of those. I suggest you move to Aunia - there is a great L3 and a good L4 agent there, so you will be set for some time. Yes, such missions are noob bait and yes, you will probably get ganked - especially in a hot system like Egghelende (I never made it past the gate camp in my shiny new Exequoror). This is the only real problem that should be addressed (although the agents do warn you and there is a warning on jumping to low-sec).

Now, to low sec and piracy. Yes, low sec is very dangerous. Too dangerous for the rewards it gives the player. The targets I found (in belts or anomalies - I was in a Rifter, which can't tank gate guns) were mostly of two types - hapless noobs or experienced pirates, with almost nothing in between. In fact, low sec is much more dangerous than 0.0, where you have friendly intel and corp/alliance mates ready to respond.

Regarding the shift to 0.0 and the danger of low-sec in the way - there are often high-sec to 0.0 connections (check HED-GP or Dital). Additionaly, low-sec pipes to 0.0 are often policed by the 0.0 space holding alliances, so the argument is moot.

It's an illusion to think that the whole of EVE should conform to the needs of the high-sec mission runner. If you want to run missions in relative safety, there is the Empire. Simply decline the missions leading to low-sec or, if you must, do them in a smaller ship which can escape faster (and which costs less). Small ships are also perfectly safe in low-sec gate camps, as the ships camping them must be big (to tank gate guns) and they usually cannot lock to small ships in time. I have made hundreds of low-sec jumps in a frig and often jumped into gate camps - only a few of them even tried locking me. An Ishkur can run most L3 missions without problems.

Low sec and 0.0 is very very dangerous for a solo pilot - and so it should be. This is gang territory - you need a corporation or alliance to help you. The same goes for wormhole space - it's possible to do C1s solo, but for higher levels, you need partners (up to 15+ remote repping battleships for the high ones). Instead of whishing for change, find a good corporation and face the challenges with them :)

Bekka Jae said...

Belamar, I disagree. Unless players feel that they can at least survive long enough to make it out to low-sec and 0.0 safely, who's going to risk going there, especially when they'd be risking a lot of ISK just making the trip? My guess is that most players are like me and will simply avoid those systems because the risk is far greater than the value of the reward offered.

Evemonkey, it would be great if what you suggest actually happened, but I think it's unrealistic. What I think is realistic is that many players who come to believe that they'll never see 0.0 because they'd be instantaneously blown out of space just making the trip will become bored with EvE and move on.

Popkorn, read what I wrote again. I used phrases like "In my experience...". I did not overgeneralize my comments, it's you who are doing that here.

What I wrote is, in fact, my personal experience with pirates and I made a point of defining it as exactly that, not a blanket indictment of all pirates as you seem to think.

EvE is a big game, and even empire space is pretty huge overall. I have no doubt whatsoever that other players have had different experiences with pirates (as I acknowledged to Alexia). I can't speak to those experiences, though, I can only speak to my own.

Kosmic, thanks for the kind words and thanks for coming back. It's great to be back.

Interestingly, you and I seem to think much alike in certain ways. As a veteran mission-runner who has spent a lot of time in Gallente space, I have a large list of agents in that area and so I'm able to be pretty choosy about where I do missions and who I do them for.

Because I have that advantage and because I'm experienced enough to know when to decline a mission (or fly a piece 'o crap ship I don't care if I lose like a shuttle instead of my mission-runner) because of an unreasonable level of risk, I'm able to avoid the kind of stupid mistakes I used to make in this regard when I was still learning the game.

The problem is that not all new players are going to be willing to take the time to become uber enough or experienced enough before they get fed up and quit the game.

Think about it this way: Imagine you are a brand-new player. You spend some time building up your toon and then you venture into low-sec and are immediately set upon by pirates and your ship is destroyed. You spend more time recovering and then the same thing happens the next time, and the next time, and the next time.

(continued next post)

Bekka Jae said...

Eventually, you will say to yourself essentially one of two things:

A) I've got to find new ways to defend myself and accomplish my goals. I need to work harder to succeed.


B) Fuck this. I can't get anywhere in this game. It's obviously geared toward players who are already powerful, and there's no way I can see to get to where everyone tells me the real action is in this game. What's the point? Getting my ass kicked every time I try to do something interesting just isn't any fun. Hopefully, Star Trek Online will be more noob-friendly than this game. In the meantime, I'll just save my money.

Now, which do you think is the more likely reaction? I think it is worth remembering that STO goes live in February and that many players who feel constrained in EvE will jump at the chance to try a space-based game where they feel they have a real chance to succeed. Add to that the legendary status of the Star Trek franchise in general, and you've got a game that may well prove to do more to empty New Eden of pilots than any other single factor.

That's the point that I think is being missed here. It's not just about what's best for players who are already playing and have no plans to leave the game, it's also about what's best for EvE's continued success and survival as a commercial enterprise.

In my opinion, effectively limiting newer players to the safest areas of the game works against that goal because it discourages exploration, a key element of what makes this game interesting and attractive.

While the status quo may keep the purists happy, it's detrimental to the continued success of the game overall, and in the end, I don't see how that helps anyone at all.

Calderus Rex said...

Go live as a pirate for a while - it is not 'easy'. Or, at least most forms of piracy are not easy. And it DEFINITELY is not lucrative.

CONCORD does exist in low sec, its called gate guns and they matter. Gate guns force pirates to be in big, overpowering ships, b/c they are the only ones that can handle the gate gun fire. Not complaining, just saying the argument that CONCORD isn't there is false.

I've been a mission runner, a FW pvper, lived in 0.0 in alliances, and now live in low sec as an ebil piwate 'preying on noobs'. Frankly, I much prefer to shoot people who shoot back - way more rush from real PVP than ganks - but I'm not just going to sit there and watch you run a mission drake through a low sec gate and not take the opportunity to shoot you too.

There are so many ways to enter low sec and survive - most created by CCP to explicitly encourage more travel into low sec - that if you can't do it, this is a you problem, not a CCP problem. Go investigate, go learn, stop whining b/c you want to run your level 3 missions wherever you want to and anyone who interferes should be instantly destroyed by CONCORD.

I do agree that the rewards are hardly worth the risk for a mission runner. Stop runnning missions. But your suggestion is poorly thought out - go live in low sec. Go live in 0.0. Join a corp that knows what its doing. Join Faction War. Join a pirate corp. Do something besides beg and whine for CCP to protect you. You will learn so much more than you will just running missions and enjoy the game infinitely more - trust me, I was exactly you when I first started, and I'm so happy I stopped running missions and learned about the other 98% of Eve.

Kozmic said...

>I don't see how that helps anyone at all.

Because having and end game ensures that new users come, at all.

WOW has great and safe PVE content. But once you reach 80, there is little to do except raiding. EVE is an inherently unsafe place, and all new players know that. That is why they come. Making EVE safer means killing the essence of EVE.

Bekka Jae said...

But what if I don't want to be a pirate, Calderus? What if all I want to do is get my big expensive battlecruiser (or whatever) through low-sec so I can reach 0.0 or I just want to be able to complete an important mission?

It's easy to say go live in low-sec, but how long do you think a solo player would last out there? Yeah sure, maybe if you hid out in one of the backwater low-sec systems that almost no one bothers with (yet), but if you want to go anywhere in low-sec that's actually near anything important, you're taking a major risk unless you've got a decent escort fleet with you.

New players could, I suppose, attempt to join a low-sec or 0.0-based player corp, but how many are really going to be able to join such a corp unless they already know someone in that corp personally? How many of these corps are going to accept any player they're not 100% sure of?

After the events of the last year in terms of corporate betrayals, I think most of these corps just aren't going to accept anyone they aren't totally certain they can trust (that Butterfly Effect CCP trailer is utter bullshit, IMHO. If it were more realistic, the savior would have been blown out of space by the victim's corpmates the moment they arrived on the scene, just to be on the safe side).

The likely end result, therefore, is that these areas of the game will be effectively inaccessible to new players, and therefore so will the possibility of exploration outside of high-sec.

Kozmic, the problem is that you may indeed get them to come, but you also have to get them to stay.

No one is in EvE because they have to be, they're paying for the privilege to be there. Therefore, if a player doesn't feel they're having fun because they keep getting their butt kicked and they don't see a way to make progress toward the aspects of the game they want to explore, why would they stay? What then is there to keep them engaged and interested over the long-term?

EvE has a lot competition for those MMO gamer dollars and more coming all the time. I strongly believe that if STO lives up to even a tenth of the hype I've seen it'll be a direct and significant competitor to many players who are currently in EvE and don't feel they're getting what they want out of the game as it is now.

My expectation is that just the Star Trek name will quickly make STO the WoW of space-based MMO's because many who are not currently MMO gamers will sign up just because they're Trekkers and want to experience a new iteration of that universe.

I think there needs to be good and compelling reasons to get such players to stay with EvE over the long haul. One of the most basic of these is being able to believe that progress and exploration are possible, more than is currently offered solely in empire space.

That's not going to happen if players feel that there's no way for them to reach these other areas of the game, and players who feel that way for long enough will start looking elsewhere, especially once there's an attractive alternative out there.

Alexia Morgan said...

The way you paint your pictures seems to suggest that Eve is a wasteland, that people have deserted the game because of low-sec, or they're about to. The problem with your argument is that Eve Online has been going for about 6 years now, and is not only still going strong, but getting stronger. It's not some 'flash in the pan' game that has just started. This is what the game is about. This is what it's always been about. This is what it always will be about.

Like countless numbers of people that have come before you, this game might simply not be your cup of tea. But don't you think you should just leave, instead of wanting CCP to change it to suit you, when you're probably going to leave it anyway?

The learning curve of Eve is hard. That's its' attraction. If you can't break the game, it will break you. A lot of people enjoy the challenge. A lot of people end up as shattered heaps at the bottom of the cliff, crying.

Has it broken you? Or can you break it instead?

All your readers will already have an idea of what the truth is. Will you stand up to the challenge and prove them wrong? Or is this your 'last hurrah' as you fade into the night, to become just another shattered corpse at the bottom of the Eve cliff?

Kozmic said...

>It's easy to say go live in low-sec, but how long do you think a solo player would last out there?

I lasted a few months in a Rifter and even turned a profit (thanks, low sec Hulk miners): (then I got bored and moved to 0.0)

Now, if you mean "last while missioning", that's another thing. But, really, low-space is not meant for main stream missioning. As you said, it takes a gang. And 0.0 takes an even bigger gang :) See the progression?

Now, Alexia is being a bit hard, but remember the CCP motto - HTFU :)

Bekka Jae said...

Alexia, I'm not the kind of player I'm talking about, nor are you, Joe, Belamar, or anyone else who's joined this discussion. We're here for the long haul. We're part of the hardcore faithful.

The players I'm talking about are mainly noobs and those who feel unable to progress in this game. I have enough contacts and (I hope) credibility that when I'm ready to look outward I'll have avenues through which to do so.

The players I'm talking about don't have that level of experience or personal network. They're going to have to get by on what they have accessible to them.

Those are the players who I believe are most likely to become frustrated and leave the game. In addition, as we all know, if that happens enough word will get out through the gaming media that EvE isn't noob-friendly and that only the longest-term hardcore players can even get close to the coolest parts of the game.

EvE will not break me. It didn't two years ago, and it won't now. The one thing that prevented me from playing all that time was the ultimate trump card for most MMO gamers: Real-life responsibilities.

I'm not worried about most of us, I'm worried about what happens when EvE gets a rep as too hard on new players, and STO opens offering those who are more on the fence about EvE than we are another alternative.

And yes, I think this is different than before. EvE has been the clear leader in sci-fi MMO's up to this point, but Star Trek is always the 800 lb. gorilla in the room when it comes to sci-fi in any format and there's no reason to believe that the same won't be true in this case. Lets also not forget that there's a new Star Wars MMO coming out shortly as well.

Again, I think this has to be seen in a big picture context, beyond that which happens in-game. It also has to be about making EvE as attractive as possible to new players and about keeping those players as long-term subscribers once they sign up.

I've read too many recent stories of MMO's closing their doors or desperately trying to hang on as player interest fades because of things exactly like this, where players feel bored and/or frustrated in a game and start leaving in droves. I don't want EvE to become one of them.

Bekka Jae said...

Koz, I'm not a huge rap fan in general (I'm an aging punk rocker virtually cemented into the 70's and 80's in terms of musical taste), but I love that video. It's hysterical. I'd love to see them do another one.

Alexia Morgan said...

CCP are working on making it easier for new players to get to understand how to play, as well as the risks of venturing into low or non-secure areas.

The way I see it, and I believe this is the way it's supposed to be, is that when you're new you stay in Empire. When you think you've got a bit more skill and you want a 'higher challenge', you venture into low-sec. When you want to move up in the ranks of serious players, you make your way to null-sec.

Each of these areas are designed for different gaming experiences, requiring different areas of skills. What you build up for missioning in Empire may not serve you in low-sec. And what you do in low-sec may not serve you in null-sec.

For example, you can't fly Dreadnoughts, Motherships or Titans in Empire or low-sec. The experiences you have in these ships are entirely in null-sec, nowhere else.

So think of these areas as 'beginner', 'intermediate', and 'advanced'.

You want to extend the beginner's area into the intermediate area...

That's what I - and others - are trying to say to you.

What all of us are worried about is that people like you are trying to turn all areas into 'beginners' areas. I know your argument is just to extend 'beginners protection' into the intermediate area, but there are thousands of others like you who complain about null-sec in similar ways as low-sec.

How do you think the people in the intermediate or advanced areas feel about people wanting to take their areas away from them and turn them into beginners areas?

That's what this is all about.

Bekka Jae said...

No, Alexia, what I want is a more accessible way for beginners to become intermediates and then advanced. I'm not saying make it easy or without risk. I'm saying make it more competitive and balance out that risk more evenly.

Anonymous said...

@Bekka said : "My guess is that most players are like me and will simply avoid those systems because the risk is far greater than the value of the reward offered."

Well yes, but that was exactly my point. The risk does outweigh the reward. The solution is to up the reward though, not diminish the risk

There are ways to survive in low sec. I don't pirate, and I quite often run exploration sites in gateway lowsec systems without having lost a ship to it yet. I will one day, but by keeping on my toes, it's certainly possible. Running a directional scanner regularly looking for combat probes will keep your relatively safe in low sec. Fitting ECCM modules to your ship will make you harder to scan down. Fitting agility modules, or using smaller ships will get you through gatecamps etc. Intel channels will tell you where the active camps are

This sort of thing though comes down to education. As a newish player who has never really done much in low sec, you won't have any of the survival skills (I mean you here, not your character) necesary to get by in low sec. These things come either through trial and error if you do it yourself, or by having tips and tricks passed on from others who have been there.

It's not as hard to get by in low sec as you think, it's just that you don't know the tips and tricks to make it survivable, and given the current low rewards for being there, there is little reason or desire for you to learn them

Remember, EVE is much more than just high sec. For me, the thing I enjoy about the game is that it is so harsh and tough, and it makes you pay for your mistakes. I relish a game that gives me that, and would be truly saddened if that edge was taken away from low sec.

@Bekka said : "You spend more time recovering and then the same thing happens the next time, and the next time, and the next time."

Nearly everyone who has ever played EVE has been that new player and lost a ship in low sec, to can flipping or whatever. Learning that loss can hurt is one of the earliest lessons the game teaches us, and to that end will actually be built in to the new player experience missions/tutes "soon". The problem with your statement is the "next time and the next time". Whatever it was that cost you your ship, it was almost certainly a mistake that can be avoided next time. It's an opporunity to understand that mistake and avoid it. It shouldn't be happening again and again.

@Bekka said : "it's also about what's best for EvE's continued success and survival as a commercial enterprise."

EVE is a niche game that has grown in user numbers constantly from the day it started. The reason for this is that it offers something that very few other games do (death penalties, in game scamming etc). Diminishing those elements will certainly increase numbers in the short term, but those players also tend to be more transient. Currently, EVE may have a high rate of churn in very new players, but I guarantee you it has a higher than normal retention rate for players who choose to stay on. Your suggestion would diminish the duration of the latter, as people who are here for the point of differentiation move on with no guarantee that the former would improve.

@Bekka said : "In my opinion, effectively limiting newer players to the safest areas of the game works against that goal because it discourages exploration"

New players aren't limited to high sec unless they choose to be. There is plenty of exploration to be done in low sec. The real issue here is that new players don't know that. They think it's instant death, and that there is no way to survive. The solution is to show people that's not the case, not to alter the game based on a mistaken assumption

Kozmic said...

@alexia - you can use Dreads in low-sec. Had to move mine from Mateber to Catch when I joined U'K :)

Kozmic said...

And I agree with Belamar - I made 50+ millions in a few days of low-sec exploration with an Ishkur. The sites can be cleared much faster than missions, and there are plenty of quiet low-sec corners (I explored mostly around Gratesier and onward - but then again, it helped that I found quiet low sec corners during my pirating career :D)

Also, the exploration professions will be much easier to get to after Dominion - they are slashng the prereq skills by quite a bit.

XG said...

"The only thing you have to fear from low sec is fear itself." - FDR

Really, you just need to know how to burn past those pirate camps in low sec.

A good assault frig or a bigger ship with a cloak is all you need to run those low sec level 3 missions.

If gate is clear, you're set. If gate is camped, cloak up, align, uncloak and warp.

Practice with a cheap frig at first. Move up to a cheap cruiser and when you get the mechanics down you'll hardly ever get caught.

You now have the tools available to run those low sec missions. Good luck!

Bekka Jae said...

Koz, I too am looking forward to seeing how Dominion will effect this issue as well. Part of the problem perhaps is that it's pretty difficult to get into wormhole exploration right now (not that I've really made any effort in that regard as yet). If wormhole exploration becomes easier to do as a result of Dominion changes it may alter the dynamic a bit by giving a larger class of pilots a possible alternative to dealing with pirates.

Thing is, the pilots who would remain most vulnerable to piracy would be noobs, those least able to defend themselves effectively from pirate attacks. While some pirates are no doubt truly looking for a good fight and so will leave the noobs alone and go after more challenging and lucrative targets, others will go for the easy kill, and there's really no way to know for sure what you're dealing with until you enter the system and see what happens.

Belamar, I know there are ways to survive in low-sec, but my point is that the risk shouldn't be as one-sided as it is.

Here's the problem: Empire space is a big place, but it's finite, with a finite number of access points in and out. The more lucrative and low-risk piracy is seen as by the players as a potential career path, the more will become pirates and begin camping well-traveled star gates. As traffic moves to less-traveled gates to avoid the pirates, those gates will be camped. Eventually there will reach a point where those wishing to avoid pirates will have to either risk entering a system where pirates are likely to be, go so far out of their way to avoid a possible confrontation that the trip isn't practical, or accept that they are effectively barred from some areas of the game unless they are able to use wormholes to get there. To my way of thinking, that's a real problem, one that's going to have to be dealt with sooner or later.

XG, that's some good advice, thanks, but I wasn't talking about myself, I was mainly referring to the noobs who will encounter piracy and the eventual effect that low-risk high-reward piracy is likely to have on the game.

Anonymous said...

@Bekka Jae said "I know there are ways to survive in low-sec, but my point is that the risk shouldn't be as one-sided as it is."

But there is nothing one sided about it. Things favour the defender, as gate guns and station guns shoot the pirates, not the innocent party. What pirates have over travellers normally is weight of numbers. That problem however has nothing to do with low sec, and is rather the nature of the beast. If they bring more guns, they win if they catch you.

So the options are, bring a similar number of guns or use tactics to get you through the camps without shooting.

@Bekka Jae said "Eventually there will reach a point where those wishing to avoid pirates will have to either risk entering a system where pirates are likely to be"

Where pirates are, anti-pirates are. No pirates can run gate camps 24/7 because if they do, they're an easy target for a similar sized group of anti pirates.

And again, even if they are camped, there are intel channels for most regions that help you identify that issue, and even then you can still get through the camp with a properly fit ship

@Bekka Jae said "go so far out of their way to avoid a possible confrontation that the trip isn't practical"

I think you've got to the heart of the matter with this comment. "Avoid confrontation". There is no way to go in to low sec and not be impacted by confrontation. You can fit well and fly past it, you can scout and fly around it, but the potential for confrontation with other players is always there and will shape your actions in low sec. If it didn't shape your actions, then it wouldn't be low sec.

I think what you really should be asking for is more high sec by the sound of it. Altering the nature of low sec is never going to achieve the goals of helping you avoid confrontation without altering it's very definition.

To fly in low sec, you have to accept the possibility of confrontation, and to try and find the balance between achieving your goals and minimising your risk.

You seem to be arguing from the point of "commonly held beliefs about low sec" rather than the "reality of low sec". For example, you mention "low risk, high reward" piracy and that is the exact opposite of how piracy works. Piracy makes less than running level 4 missions in high sec, and has a very real risk of you losing your ship and even your pod and implants. Insurance might cover your tech 1 ship, but it doesn't cover modules, ammo or your tech 2 ships. Anti-pirates will often jump pirates once they've been hanging around long enough, and the only income a pirate can make is from drops from other players. And players don't bring their haulers full of stuff for the market through low sec very often unless they have a good way of getting passed gate camps. And not many people bring faction fit mission/PvP ships in either, leaving the pirate to make money from the combination of t1 and t2 modules that their targets drop.