Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Blog Banter #56: Last refuge

Blog Banter 56

With Kornos and the upcoming industry changes following 6 weeks behind it, things are set for a vast upheaval in the coming months. Before he packed his bags and left Mord Fiddle asked some interesting questions:

The common wisdom in EVE Online is that, beyond the odd high-value moon or Faction Warfare scam, there's little in low sec or NPC null sec to the attract ongoing attention of the big-dogs of null sec, with their large fleets and super cap doctrines. It's assumed that NPC space simply isn't worth the bother of controlling even if one could control it.
Is this about to change?
The shift in industrial inefficiencies from high sec to NPC low sec/null sec has begun, adding value to NPC space outside of high sec. In the recent B0TLRD accords CFC claimed two NPC null sec regions, Venal and Syndicate, as part of the CFC sphere of influence.
What is the future of low sec and NPC null sec as the economic center of gravity shifts from high sec toward null sec?

Also, you can take this banter as a chance to discuss the ramifications of the style of play in low sec and NPC null sec if it does happen that major industry shifts there.


It's hard for me to write about low-sec.

Null-sec is relatively easy, as it generally comes down to politics and resource management. Hi-sec as well, since it's static and is the eternal anvil New Eden's industry hammers on. Wormholes have enough mysteries to keep the most prolific poets happy.

But Low-sec defies purpose and easy definition. And it is the only place for a capsuleer such as me.

First, lets discuss the wealth of Low-sec, or at least the income available there:
  • Unique belt rats (Tags/New Mordu's Legion)
  • Exploration sites
  • Randomly placed high end ores (new)
  • Faction warfare loyalty store
The one common theme for all these income sources is lack of stability, and predictability. Even the militia pilot bent on farming loyalty points will find themselves hunted down by pirates and opposing militia forces. Valuable belt rats rarely appear in the same place twice. Exploration sites are, well, random by nature.

This hints to low-sec's true purpose, whether by design or happy accident. Let me explain.

Every other sector of space has one common theme: stability.

Regardless of their outward personas, every action in null, high and even wormholes is towards this goal. They all have a deep desire to make their space more safe, more stable, and more predictable. Wormholers may claim otherwise, but in the next breath they will discuss the best way to collapse a wormhole. Warp bubbles, CONCORD, and intelligence channels all serve the same purpose: make my space safer, and more predictable.

Most attempts to stabilize low-sec have failed. The Empires themselves send their militias and navies to lay claim to this lawless part of space, and have become locked in an eternal struggle with only mercenaries and pirates profiting from it.

Most low-sec residents rebel against authority. It is in this space, almost exclusively, where you will find the independent fighter. The ones who dare to fly solo, without 15-ship 'micro-gangs', as they do in Null-sec. There is no certainty when you fly alone. Every encounter is different, as everyone with a ship is likely to test you.

Low-sec is a place where you never know what you're going to get. The next jump could bring fortune or death, or both. It is the unknown, and nothing you can build will alter that. There is adventure to be had, even with something as monotonous as mining.

It is not for people who expect to see steady growth of income. It is not for people looking to raise flags. It is not somewhere you can develop for farming. Null-sec entities cannot put up their walls, plow their ratting fields and hoist their standards.

To answer that question: Null-sec alliances can't use low-sec because it is NOT about economics. It never has been.

It is for people who value experience over income. For whom the white hot thrill of discovery is more important than the comfort of the every day. For whom curiosity is a compulsion that can't be ignored.

The pilot that barrels his Rifter into a dog-fight, for the one-in-a-million chance he may succeed. The miner who toys with pirates and dances in their scanners to claim her ores. The smuggler, sneaking wares past gate camps and opportunist hunters, in nothing more than an industrial ship. These are the residents of low-sec.

So what will happen to low-sec with the upcoming changes? Not much. The industrial changes do little to alleviate the chaotic nature of low-sec. The kind of capsuleer that makes his way here will still be the same; the adventurous and bold.

It is the last refuge of adventure.

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