Just throwing out some ideas purely for the purpose of discussion. Apologies in advance for a TL:DR post but do bear with me.
As I understand it, there are three primary groups involved in the PvP vs No-PvP discussion.
“Care Bear” miners, and I am using this term in a respectful manner, are basically players who do not want to be involved in the PvP aspects of the game but would rather be left in peace to mine rocks while socializing. They have a legitimate argument and honestly, PvP should not be forced on people who truly have no interest in this type of activity.
CODE and company , basically players who want to pursue the more nefarious aspects of game play, including “role playing” criminal elements and making sport of exploding mining ships. Seriously, I personally do not have an issue with this type of game play even though I would not particularly want to indulge in this sort of play. But that said, given the nature of the EvE universe and its history, these types of activities are perfectly valid, even if it is an unwanted imposition on other people’s play rights.
Pirates and haulers, are a special case. The game needs both and I have not seen much in terms of posts complaining about the practice of piracy in the EvE Universe. As I understand it, pirates have been around ever since the game started and all serious hauling corporations have contingencies to deal with the issue; so no one is seriously complaining about the practice.
It is my contention, within this article, that “open space” or “public space” within the EvE hi-sec systems should fundamentally remain unchanged. You cannot logically have zones which are completely safe zones. In effect the game already has these in the form of stations, but there should be no safe passage guarantee once you un-dock. It doesn’t make sense nor do I believe that it will be healthy for the game in the long term.
So here is my proposal in a nutshell:
Within 1.0 systems only, there can be gated dead space mining areas - once a mining ship enters these spaces they will be free (for the most part) to mine unmolested. However…
There is only one of these areas per 1.0 system with limited mining resources in the sense that behind the gated areas they are only a limited number of asteroids; but generous enough to make each session a profitable proposition.
Further, within this dead space are a series of rooms. The first room contains liberal amounts of the most common ores, the next room contains some of the slightly more exotic ores, the next room contains even more desirable ores, and the last room would contain limited amounts of the types of ores that can usually be found only in low sec areas. Perhaps even ice and gas resources.
BUT… no one should ever get a free pass at anything in EvE; each level of room should contain rats of the corresponding types usually found in the sectors where these ores are found and these should spawn more frequently and be at least slightly stronger than the same type found in open space. Strong enough to take out AFK farmers if not addressed. At the highest level, this zone should require an organized mining fleet to enter and may require combat ships escorts.
There is a price of entry into this mining dead space; either in the form of a payment using ISK or actual PLEX. This payment grants one token per ship per payment and the token last for one session only. The session can be for one calendar day and expires at server reset, whichever comes first. If you don’t carry the token in your ship’s hold you cannot enter. Further, if you are carrying a token in your hold, you cannot be targeted by any player ship with the possible exception of logi vessels within the same fleet.
An alternate method (and probably more sensible) is that the tokens can only be purchased by corporations with discounts for starter corporations - ie. those that do not own a structure.
Now, it should be apparent that space and resources are limited within these mining safe spaces; and that is perfectly fine. We do not want to see a thousand ships head into one of these spots; so the entry tokens should be expensive and issued in limited quantities; but they do guarantee a gank free mining experience and a chance at rare ores.
So not everyone can get in or can afford to get in; this is fine, people really do need to learn to play the game; but for the dedicated care bear, here is your spot in miner’s paradise.
But the system is still not without risks from aggressive actions on the part of other human players. First of all you have to get there; secondly, there are no stations within this dead space. You need to get organized to get the most out of these spaces. You will also have to compete with other miners for resources; this is a good thing.
Plus, there is nothing stopping CODE from entering and demanding their dues as even though they cannot shoot you, they will probably find more creative ways to make a miner’s life more interesting. A sort of “painless” PvP; but at least you won’t get ganked or exploded and in many ways this type of “nursery space” is a good training ground for more difficult content in “real space”. Plus there are plenty of mechanics to coerce cooperative game play.
This type of system will also quickly sort out the “men” from the “boys”; real miners, excel at reaping great profits in real space with real threats because they have learned to play the game. For everyone else, they can farm for ores in one of these “Care Bear Nurseries”.
Oh, BTW, being in a dead space type area, CONCORD does not intervene…