When I was a new(er) player my first experience with low sec was rather bad. Having run out the economic opportunities of high sec that I could afford I went looking for something better in lowsec, only to find that not only were the economic opportunities only marginally better than highsec (if at all) they also came with an exponentially higher risk of getting ganked which make any gains pretty much moot. While lowsec is generally advertised as being ‘nullsec lite’ in reality it’s much more hostile and lawless while offering none of the benefits.
Since lowsec content is mostly dominated by faction wars it seems like FW would be the primary place to look to improve the situation. Indeed FW has a number of problems which make it, and by extension lowsec, highly unpopular for anyone besides pirates.
The main issues:
-Lowsec lacks any economic incentive for moving there. At best you can farm tags and LP, whereas more ‘normal’ activities like ratting and mining simply are not supported. Additionally the risk of getting ganked by pirates negates any gains that might be had unless your intent is to become a pirate yourself. Thus lowsec remains largely unpopulated.
-The incentives in FW are largely backwards. If you capture a system from the enemy you only serve to remove opportunities to farm tags/LP for your own faction and give them to the enemy. Likewise if you spend LP to ‘upgrade’ your own faction’s systems you only serve to improve the LP/tag farming opportunities for the enemy. Nothing you can do with FW or in lowsec in general actually benefits your faction/corp/alliance in any tangible way, and if you actually play FW as intended you only end up shooting yourself in the foot.
-Because it’s so disconnected from how sov nullsec works it’s not particularly good for players who want to learn how pvp and wars are carried out in nullsec, and is furthermore misleading wrt how the economy in nullsec works.
To rectify this, I propose that FW be made more similar to the way sov nullsec works. By creating an economic incentive to move to lowsec, and by making the incentives of FW follow the intended concept better, I think a lot more people would be inclined to move into lowsec and it could become a viable hub for newbie corporations and a much better place for learning about the more advanced aspects of the game.
Note that the following is merely a rough idea of what could be done, and obviously the details could be changed to make things more interesting:
-First each system gets a vulnerability window during which the FW anoms spawn and the FW minigame can be played for control of the system. The timers should probably be longer than sov structures in nullsec, say perhaps 6-12h per week to allow for more participation. Additionally non-FW anoms should probably cease to spawn during the vulnerability window to reduce clutter in the system (and it’s not like ratting/mining during that time is a good idea anyway).
-For systems owned by your faction, it should be possible to spend LP to upgrade the ihub to increase the spawn rate of economically interesting anoms just like in nullsec. If a system changes hands then the ihub upgrades should be reset to zero so that the system has to be upgraded again by the new owners.
-Likewise it should be possible to spend LP to increase the defense multiplier for systems owned by your faction, making it more difficult (and more rewarding in LP) for the enemy to capture your FW anoms during the vulnerability window.
-Conversely the actual types of FW anoms that spawn should no longer depend on the level of upgrades/LP spent, but might perhaps relate to the degree to which your faction holds the sov.
-Someone else suggested that LP rewards for FW should scale similarly to incursions. I think that would be a good idea to encourage participation, and would be particularly important if the FW minigame only occurred for a limited time window each week in each system.
Finally, there has been some talk of making highsec better but imo that’s a waste of time. Highsec might suck but ultimately that’s because there’s nowhere to go once you’ve burned out the opportunities there (esp. if you can’t afford/don’t have skills for a 100m+ battleship for lvl4 missions) unless you move out to sov null, which is a hefty commitment for a new player to have to make. In fact I think highsec should suck (and it’s fine as is) in order to encourage people to leave as soon as they have the resources to go elsewhere.