Dear members of CSM and my fellow capsuleers,
I come to you with the oft-disputed topic of high-sec ganking. For ease of reading, I will acronymize it as HSG for the remainder of this post. I am sure many of you has their own unique opinions on the issue. We all come from different backgrounds, we all interpret our experiences differently, and we all have distinct desires and motivations that drive our opinions and assumptions. As I attempt to peel the lid off this pungent debate, I ask that we take the effort to understand one another.
I had recently returned to the game. A couple days ago I was moving all of my assets through high-security space in my freighter. I had hopes of selling my goods in Jita and restarting my industrial corporation, maybe investing in an engineering complex. Most of my old friends don’t play anymore so I was looking to start fresh. I made sure that Burn Amarr/Burn Jita weren’t currently happening. I fitted out my freighter with reinforced bulk-heads, I thought it would give CONCORD enough time to respond if an attempt was made to gank me. I was gravely mistaken, here is my loss. This is also not my first experience with HSG. I have to give credit to Goonswarm, they are very competent at HSG. I don’t think I will continue to play unless changes are made in the future, the bitterness of these losses is too much.
We all want to improve EVE Online, the real question is who do we want to improve it for? I sincerely believe that unless changes are made to improve the quality of life for high-sec focused and industry players, we will continue to see stagnation and decline in the player-base. This affects everyone who plays. There are hundreds of topics we could get into that speak to this. I want to focus on the HSG of freighters and jump freighters.
I’ll preface my main argument with a couple caveats: I believe EVE needs vibrant PVP activity to drive the game and I believe nothing in EVE should be risk free. I am not against the possibility of HSG, I do believe it needs to be drastically changed.
Low-risk, High-reward of HSG
HSG is far too easy in its current form. The typical GM response to a reimbursement request from a victim of HSG usually goes as such:
“Characters who frequently engage in suicide ganks will eventually be unable to operate effectively in high-security space due to poor security status as local police forces will engage them if they remain undocked for too long.”
This is a total cop-out. We all know that HSG is mostly performed through low investment throw-away alt-characters/accounts and multi-boxers. Even in the cases where this isn’t true, it is incredibly easy to raise your security status enough to get back into 0.5 space with cheap clone soldier tags. The relative time, ISK, and skill-point investment for the average HSG character is astronomically low compared to the greatest victims of HSG. The way that ganks are carried out dances on the edge of exploit.
Little Option for the Average Freighter Pilot
Even if freighter pilots bring a large escort, which is unrealistic for the average player, there is no way to protect a freighter from suicide-ganking. Imagine trying to organize target calling in a defensive fleet against HSG. It would be near-impossible to individually target and kill the HSG ships before they are able to gank the target freighter. Using AOE mods such as ECM bursts and smartbombs against HSG fleets is easy enough to counter, simply mix in a non-aggressor to the HSG fleet causing the defensive fleet to perform a criminal act. Again, HSG is too easy.
CONCORD response to these events is laughable. In my recent loss only four of the thirty-eight ganking catalysts were destroyed before I lost my freighter. I would like to think that in the EVE universe the defacto police agency, which fends off the Triglavian Collective, would be able to handle a group of thugs in tech-1 destroyers.
That leaves most freighter pilots with little option:
- Scour the killboards to see if there is recent HSG activity? There is very little assurance in depending on killboard intel, who’s to say you won’t be the first victim of the day.
- Scout around the area of travel with alts and/or others? Nobody should have to multi-box to play, period. The average player shouldn’t have to depend on other players to travel through high-security space.
- Never leave a region? Stick to 0.8-1.0? This is a terrible option for most industrial players. Take a look at the recent ecomonic report and see how the vast majority of trade is done in Jita. Also, HSG still happens in 0.8-1.0 security space.
- Stay docked up in your freighter, i.e. don’t play
Ideas for Possible Solutions
I have tried to think of a few ways that the freighter pilots plight could be helped against HSG. I don’t think all of these ideas need to be implemented simultaneously either. Again, I don’t want to entirely eliminate HSG, I want to balance it.
Drastically increase the tank of freighters and jump freighters, force HSG players to use higher-investment characters and more expensive ships to be able to HSG (large battleship fleets?). The relative risk-reward needs to be balanced.
Give freighters and jump freighters modules to help defend themselves. I was thinking along the lines of the PANIC module that Rorquals have. Give them a fighting chance to allow CONCORD to help or for them to get help from other players in high-sec, a kind of a call-to-arms. It would be cool to receive a regional message that a freighter pilot in so-and-so system had initiated their PANIC module. There are many interesting possibilities for new modules and ship bonus combinations that could be given to freighter pilots as options.
Make freighters and jump freighters immune to warp jamming, force HSG to use Heavy Inderdiction, this allows for better options for defenders and/or counters as well.
Impove CONCORD’s response to HSG, it needs to be faster and more effective.
Create an item similar to a mobile depot. Something like a “Freight Mobile Vault”, allow a freighter pilot that is about to go down to make a last ditch effort to save their cargo. They could deploy the 'vault" and move their items into it. It would then have a reinforcement period if the HSGs tried to destroy it. Giving the freighter pilot an opportunity to recover some of their loss.
Improve insurance pay-outs for freighters and jump-freighters.
All of these ideas are an attempt to reduce the “victimization” of HSG, and turn it into more of a cat-and-mouse game rather than a totally one-sided encounter.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I really want EVE Online to thrive. I love the design, the lore, the complexity, and how unique this game is. Unfortunately, I believe it is becoming stale partially because of the mentality that PVE and high-sec players are second-class. While EVE should maintain its gritty nature, it shouldn’t be repulsive for those of us who enjoy a more relaxing experience.