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A High Sec Manifesto

Author
The Initiative.
#1 Posted: 2011.10.25 21:41
Introduction:

Now at the moment, CCPs attention is on 0.0 - and rightly so. I 100% believe that this is the area of the game that most needs immediate attention for any number of good reasons. However, once the work on 0.0 is well underway (I don't say "complete" because such a process is never completed) I also believe that there is a strong argument to be made for rethinking the basis on which hi-sec is structured.

The original conception of hi-sec was that it was a safe-ish starting area for new players to find their feet in, get an idea for how the game worked and find a group to join before they headed out to the "real game" in lo-sec and null. I personally followed this path, and I think it's still valid and I would unhesitatingly recommend it to new players today.

However the idea that hi-sec is only a starting area, and can be balanced and structered as such, is glaringly wrong. And in fact it has been wrong since at least 2005. Or when level 4 combat missions were introduced to hi-sec. Or when Jita first topped 300 in local. Take your pick, but the "Just a starter area" paradigm has been dead for at least 5 or 6 years, and it's time we accepted that and looked at why, and how the conditions in hi-sec should be adapated to this evident, incontrovertible truth.

The reasons people give for playing in hi-sec are varied, but many of them are valid and I think they should be considered and taken into account.

(1) The easiest: Genuine new players. Even the most bloodthirsty pirate will surely concede that new players in a game as complex as EVE will mostly need a relatively safe area to learn the interface, practice basic gameplay concepts, talk to other new players and experienced ones who have made it their profession to help and advise and genreally learn to undock without immediately self-destructing.

(2) "Casual" players. This actually covers a wide variety of playstyles and motivations. Many EVE players have busy lives and they need, above all else, convenience in their game play. People like these depend on well-stocked trade hubs where they can buy and fully fit a ship in one place, gameplay elements that can be fully experienced in under an hour and objectives that can be completed without requiring time-consuming multiplayer co-ordination. They're not necessarily inherently risk averse (although many are), it's just that they can't afford to spend very long chasing that risk and picking their fights. The co-ordination, time and effort it takes to replace and refit a ship is a major disincentive for them to move to lo-sec or null.

(3) "Independent" players. These are the people you see saying that they don't want to go to Nullsec because they don't want to be the "slave" of some "fat cat alliance leader". Now to someone like me, in an alliance composed of and led by people I consider my friends, this objection seems nonsensical, but many people have had less satisfactory experiences. So be it; de gustibus non est disputandum and all that.

(4) "Commercial" players. These guys are often highly skilled, highly experienced players, who make vast amounts of ISK in invention, research, industry. They operate in empire because the facilities are vastly superior to lo-sec and null (free concord protection, trade hubs, superior stations, many, many more stations, asset safety etc etc). They're not necessarily ideologically comitted to being in hi-sec, it's just a vastly more profitable area to operate.

(5) "Carebears". These are players - often with significant assets and skills - who simply won't accept the risk of losing a ship to PvP at any price, regardless of other considerations. Economic, gameplay and game balance considerations are not of interest to them; the idea that other players can destroy their ship is revolting to them.


So given that only a small fraction of hi-sec players are the kind of player that hi-sec was designed for, what needs to change and for whom?

Well for genuinely new players, not that much. Actual new players are acceptably well catered for IMO. Personally, I'd be in favour of reforming the 1.0 systems to be one per faction, with one station per starting NPC corp within that faction in each system, much stronger protective rules, but with the major change being that once you leave a 1.0, you can't come back in. But I'm not sure that this is an urgent requirement.

For the carebears, I honestly have no ideas. The psychology of being emotionally invested in your ship to such an extent that you won't accept losing it for any reason is so foreign to what I believe EVE is about that I can't think of a good way to integrate that lifestyle into a fully connected, single shard PvP game with a player driven economy. Let's just hope that there aren't really as many of these guys as we fear, and that most of the people in hi-sec aren't quite so risk averse as we're led to believe.

For the (relatively) experienced, high skillpoint players who have their own good reasons to be in hi-sec, I think there is a lot that could be done. At the moment, gameplay in hi-sec is pretty much homogenous, and cripplingly limited by the concept that it's supposed to be a starter area. Once we cast aside the "hi-sec is only for new players" limitation, huge vistas of opportunity open up for high-risk reward gameplay that's suitable for experienced players who still want the easy-access, convenient lifestyle of hi-sec. There is no good reason for hi-sec gameplay to only be safe, boring, and low-level. High-sec incursions are an excellent step in the right direction, but they don't go far enough, and they don't have the "convenience" or "PvP" factor that I'd like to see added to hi-sec.

So what should we have instead?
Here is my CSM9 endorsement list - vote for diversity of expertise : Ali Aras  Mangala Solaris  Mike Azariah  Steve Ronuken
James Arget  Xander Phoena  Sugar Kyle  corbexx  mynnna  progodlegend  Psychotic Monk  Jayne Fillion
The Initiative.
#2 Posted: 2011.10.25 21:42
First of all I believe that system security level within hi-sec should mean much more than it does now. At the moment there is very little real difference between being in a 0.5 and a 1.0. A few seconds difference in CONCORD response, a few percent more or less agent rewards. There need to be qualitive differences as well as quantative ones. However there should also be more quantative ones as well, not just to mission running but also for activities like industry, refining and research.

There should be access to activities in 0.5 sec systems that aren't available in higher sec systems (more on this later), but there should also be risks in 0.5s that don't apply in higher secs. For example, some activities that are "CONCORDable" in a 0.9 might merit nothing more than a faction police response in a 0.5 (eg: shooting a can, attacking a POS).

As an example of quantative differences, suppose that all industrial, research and refining had a sec-based modifer applied after all other bonuses had been taken into account. Say -1% per sec level. This would mean for instance that refining ore in a 0.9 would have a maximum possible efficiency of 91%, but in a 0.5 you could get 95%. Likewise ship/module building production and material efficiency would be similarly reduced, so there would be an incentive to conduct these activities in lower sec systems where one can build faster and more efficiently at the cost of higher risk. (Alert students will note that this would also make quiet lo-sec systems more attractive for some industrial activities).

Secondly, I very strongly believe that the whole bounty-hunting and war-dec system urgently, desperately needs reforming. These have the potential to generate so many good gameplay opportunity and they've been utterly neglected. They are both literally a joke.

ISK-PvP players need to be able to efficiently and effectively leverage their specialisation to counter Combat-PvP players. Transferrable killrights tied to bounty contracts, with payouts based on hull and destroyed module value are the most obvious solution, with plenty of scope to make exploitation reasonably difficult.

The wardec system needs to be rethought from scratch. Seriously, throw everything about it into the bin except the cool red stars on overview; I like those. There needs to be a genuine investment risked by the deccing party; there need to be incentives to fight rather than just bail for the decced party.

Thirdly there need to be opportunities for high-risk, high reward gameplay within hi-sec. As I mentioned before, Incursions are a step in the right direction here, as they greatly reward skillful co-op play. But there should also be opportunities for the guy who only has an hour to play in which he can take a risk for a big win. One idea that occurred to me was: reintroduce level 5 missions to hi-sec, but make the mission deadspaces themselves lo-sec areas. This preserves the concept of level 5s only being available to those willing to risk PvP, but makes them easily accessible. We could also introduce 4/10 and 5/10 plexes which are nullsec within the deadspace. This would give the casual players a chance to experience the high-end PvE available, and also enjoy a little bit of thrilling danger. This is just an off-the-cuff idea and will obviously need tweaking, but the basic principle is there: once we cast off the shackle of "no PvP in hi-sec", then we can add all sorts of options for players who like the hi-sec lifestyle without needing to imbalance the game. We can safely nerf the income of the "safe" styles while providing a whole spectrum of risk-reward accessible at will to give the experienced, skillfull players the chance to earn far better rewards.
Here is my CSM9 endorsement list - vote for diversity of expertise : Ali Aras  Mangala Solaris  Mike Azariah  Steve Ronuken
James Arget  Xander Phoena  Sugar Kyle  corbexx  mynnna  progodlegend  Psychotic Monk  Jayne Fillion
Goonswarm Federation
#3 Posted: 2011.10.25 21:50
Malcanis for CSM7

(unironically)
~hi~
The Initiative.
#4 Posted: 2011.10.25 21:57
The Mittani wrote:
Malcanis for CSM7

(unironically)



Way too lazy, way too intolerent of Icelandic-American shennanigans.
Here is my CSM9 endorsement list - vote for diversity of expertise : Ali Aras  Mangala Solaris  Mike Azariah  Steve Ronuken
James Arget  Xander Phoena  Sugar Kyle  corbexx  mynnna  progodlegend  Psychotic Monk  Jayne Fillion
#5 Posted: 2011.10.25 22:01
See now this seems highly sensible!
Goonswarm Federation
#6 Posted: 2011.10.25 22:15
I vote for being able to like posts of this type multiple times.
Cyno's lit, bridge is up, but one pilot won't be jumping home.

RIP Vile Rat
Goonswarm Federation
#7 Posted: 2011.10.25 22:17
I'd vote for you with a cyno account, v0v
Twitter: @EVEAndski

TheMittani.com: The premier source for news, commentary and discussion of EVE Online and other games of interest. 
The Initiative.
#8 Posted: 2011.10.25 22:29
Please post suggestions, objections and comments. I think this is a subject worth having a constructive discussion about. People who want the CSM to have a more effective hi-sec focus: giving them good ideas set into a coherent framework is giving them the ammunition to hit that target
Here is my CSM9 endorsement list - vote for diversity of expertise : Ali Aras  Mangala Solaris  Mike Azariah  Steve Ronuken
James Arget  Xander Phoena  Sugar Kyle  corbexx  mynnna  progodlegend  Psychotic Monk  Jayne Fillion
The Initiative.
#9 Posted: 2011.10.25 22:29
Andski wrote:
I'd vote for you with a cyno account, v0v


There could be no higher compliment.
Here is my CSM9 endorsement list - vote for diversity of expertise : Ali Aras  Mangala Solaris  Mike Azariah  Steve Ronuken
James Arget  Xander Phoena  Sugar Kyle  corbexx  mynnna  progodlegend  Psychotic Monk  Jayne Fillion
Goonswarm Federation
#10 Posted: 2011.10.25 22:31
Malcanis wrote:
Andski wrote:
I'd vote for you with a cyno account, v0v


There could be no higher compliment.

I'd vote for you with my spy character in initiativeDOT
The Initiative.
#11 Posted: 2011.10.25 22:33
Skunk Gracklaw wrote:
Malcanis wrote:
Andski wrote:
I'd vote for you with a cyno account, v0v


There could be no higher compliment.

I'd vote for you with my spy character in initiativeDOT


I've always assumed that I'm the only member of initiativeDOT who isn't a spy. The fig-leaf of legitimacy, as it were.
Here is my CSM9 endorsement list - vote for diversity of expertise : Ali Aras  Mangala Solaris  Mike Azariah  Steve Ronuken
James Arget  Xander Phoena  Sugar Kyle  corbexx  mynnna  progodlegend  Psychotic Monk  Jayne Fillion
#12 Posted: 2011.10.25 22:55
I love the idea of blurring the lines between high and low sec. I imagine New Eden as being something like 19th century America, where the further into the frontier you go the more people have to take care of themselves.

Some suggestions:

Wardec mechanics need to be fixed so that wars can't be scraped off by joining and dropping alliances. A war against a corporation should remain against that corporation and EXTENDED to any alliance they join for protection.

Aggression mechanics need to be fixed so that logi and other neutral support cannot simply disappear into a station when threatened. They are part of combat and should be treated as such.

Any known "exploits" for which rules currently exist need to be patched; there have been GM-enforced rules used to patch bugs that are years old.

One of two things needs to happen in high sec:

-No more large POS towers
-Dreadnaughts can enter highsec, but cannot fire unless in siege mode.

As it stands now, even before war exploits were deregulated (except for one...) a large POS was a tedious thing to take down in high sec and requires substantial firepower. if such a massive POS is going to be acceptable in empire space, then dreadnaughts should be as well.

Concord should be significantly slower to respond in Incursion systems, creating some real risk for the Vanguard farmers who make 100+ million an hour with no real risk right now.

Nullsec deadspace areas sounds interesting, but I would have my concerns about it being implemented well.
Founding member of the Belligerent Undesirables movement.
The Initiative.
#13 Posted: 2011.10.26 06:48
great post malc, i support
Amarr Empire
#14 Posted: 2011.10.26 07:41
good manifesto. Very well thought through.

Only problem is that no one actually reads good manifestos, too much effort.
For Love. For Peace. For Honor.

For None of the Above.

For Pony!
The Initiative.
#15 Posted: 2011.10.26 07:43
Red Templar wrote:
good manifesto. Very well thought through.

Only problem is that no one actually reads good manifestos, too much effort.


One might think it would be less effort than ploughing through suicide-gank whinethread #273, but I guess maybe not.
Here is my CSM9 endorsement list - vote for diversity of expertise : Ali Aras  Mangala Solaris  Mike Azariah  Steve Ronuken
James Arget  Xander Phoena  Sugar Kyle  corbexx  mynnna  progodlegend  Psychotic Monk  Jayne Fillion
Amarr Empire
#16 Posted: 2011.10.26 07:45
Malcanis wrote:
Red Templar wrote:
good manifesto. Very well thought through.

Only problem is that no one actually reads good manifestos, too much effort.


One might think it would be less effort than ploughing through suicide-gank whinethread #273, but I guess maybe not.

Yes, but that would require people to be reasonable.
For Love. For Peace. For Honor.

For None of the Above.

For Pony!
Choke Point
#17 Posted: 2011.10.26 07:58
Extremlely constructive post Malcanis - +1

All of these points hold real merit. My pet thing at the moment though - If more isk is being introduced in hisec then some kind of inflation mechanic needs to be introduced to ensure that the ships/mods don't become too obtainable and are still a challange for the newer player.

By the way - I hold no grudge at you for kicking me out of RECON because you thought I was a spy...
The Initiative.
#18 Posted: 2011.10.26 08:31  |  Edited by: Malcanis
Adelphie wrote:
Extremlely constructive post Malcanis - +1

All of these points hold real merit. My pet thing at the moment though - If more isk is being introduced in hisec then some kind of inflation mechanic needs to be introduced to ensure that the ships/mods don't become too obtainable and are still a challange for the newer player.

By the way - I hold no grudge at you for kicking me out of RECON because you thought I was a spy...



It's OK for there to be ISK making opportunities in hi-sec so long as there is also proportionate risk. A part of what I want to see is the removal (or at least loosen) the limit on ISK-making in hi-sec by throwing aside the limitation that hi-sec activities should be inherently safe.

Incidentally, in the case of bounty hunting, a working bounty system would provide a genuine way for empire dweelers to earn a living PvPing. It would also provide a far better counter to suicide ganking than crying to CCP for insurance or CONCORD changes.


PS I never had any roles in RECON. I made Aaron promise never to give me any.
Here is my CSM9 endorsement list - vote for diversity of expertise : Ali Aras  Mangala Solaris  Mike Azariah  Steve Ronuken
James Arget  Xander Phoena  Sugar Kyle  corbexx  mynnna  progodlegend  Psychotic Monk  Jayne Fillion
#19 Posted: 2011.10.26 08:53  |  Edited by: Xorv
In a general sense I like most of this, but I think a fundamental change that's needed is that almost all new resources and ISK be generated outside the protection of the all powerful Concord. That's mining, NPC bounties, mods, salvage, drone minerals, mission payouts. High Sec then becomes a place for processing, manufacturing, and trade. With additional training areas for brand new players including the lower level missions and Rats.

Then I think most of your ideas then need to be applied to the rest of space, Low Sec has needed attention for years, Null Sec mostly needs to lose Local, WH space seems to be doing well and would do way better with a High Sec Isk faucet nerf, NPC Null Sec should be NPC back story driven Null Sec instead of player sovereignty driven.

The only class of player described by you this doesn't cater to is the player that wants to guzzle at an ISK faucet with the PvP switch off, the so called "carebears", and like you I agree it isn't a legitimate approach to playing in a game like EVE that ought to be catered to in the first place.

So in brief this is what I would do:

* High Sec gets shrunk and becomes a place that only Manufacturers, Traders, and Newbies have any motivation to remain.
- Concorded ships void insurance in High Sec

* Low Sec gets expanded to say 0.5-0.8 Sec, but here is where your graded security levels are applied.
- Security rating not only effect the speed of response but also strength, from existing Concord down to a few navy cruisers to nothing in the lowest security space..
- Standings penalties for attacking a blue player varies considerably based on system security, 0.8 severe, 0.1 very minor.
- Some stations have greatly enhanced defenses making them near safe spots for those basing out of them
- People with really bad standing to NPCs including FW people can't dock at those particular stations and will be shot at.
- Red players will have to base out of stations without enhanced security.
- Make gate camps harder, by having ships jump in a much wider spread.
- Allow warp bubbles in the lower security areas so at least the jump out can be camped
- Move all high level missions and mining here from High Sec
- Change Local intel to a new player involved Adv Scanner system

* NPC Null Sec
- Stations have greatly enhanced defenses making them near safe spots for those basing out of them
- People with really bad standing to NPCs can't dock at those particular stations and will be shot at.
- Any Faction who's low level agents aren't available in High Sec, get some level 1 agents placed in space.
- Belt and Gate Rats won't aggres players with high standings unless attacked first.
- Make gate camps harder, by having ships jump in a much wider spread.
- Change Local intel to a new player involved Adv Scanner system

* Null Sec
- Change Local intel to a new player involved Adv Scanner system
- Make gate camps harder, by having ships jump in a much wider spread.


* WH Space No change.

War Decs and plenty of other stuff need improvement as well but I've typed enough in one post.
#20 Posted: 2011.10.26 09:14
Good ****, dude. Few things I kinda have my gripes with...

Malcanis wrote:
(5) "Carebears". These are players - often with significant assets and skills - who simply won't accept the risk of losing a ship to PvP at any price, regardless of other considerations. Economic, gameplay and game balance considerations are not of interest to them; the idea that other players can destroy their ship is revolting to them.

The reality is: If losing a ship doesn't serve a purpose for the owner, you can't reasonably expect him to expose it to situations where such losses can and will occur "cause it's a pvp game".
Obviously, the majority of players who invested billions in isk and weeks in playtime into their (PvE) rigs will not take the risk of potential pvp encounters if the projected profit isn't absurdly high. And their reasons are perfectly valid. Despite the general consensus on this forum, most players are not dumb. When the deck isn't stacked in their favour, they'll look for alternatives and rightly so. Whatever you change gameplay-wise will change not one iota here. Stripping the alternatives will accomplish nothing except lowering subcount.

For example you have the industrial types, who are all too often labeled "carebear" out of sheer ignorance. They're in it for the isk only, and they'll do whatever it takes to prevent losing ships to pvp encounters. It's not fear, ignorance or some mental disorder, it's industrial players maximizing in their particular profession. They're doing it right.

The "carebear" as you define it here needs not to be worried about. He doesn't exist beyond a few nutcases who aren't relevant either way.

Malcanis wrote:
One idea that occurred to me was: reintroduce level 5 missions to hi-sec, but make the mission deadspaces themselves lo-sec areas. This preserves the concept of level 5s only being available to those willing to risk PvP, but makes them easily accessible. We could also introduce 4/10 and 5/10 plexes which are nullsec within the deadspace. This would give the casual players a chance to experience the high-end PvE available, and also enjoy a little bit of thrilling danger.

This is a great concept. However, it'll remove even more players from the low-/nullsec areas since highsec becomes even more attractive.

Another serious problem is the fact that in areas with high population density you'd be absolutely stupid to fly PvE encounters where you know you'll have a very high chance of dying to PvP fitted raiders. Best case, there would be little to incentive to play these things in highsec for the average player. The pvp-addicted minority might welcome the change, but in the great scheme of things not much would change except less people in lowsec.
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