Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Null-sec: Gold and blood

This post is in response to a blog post made by CSM Sugar Kyle.

Go have a read. And whilst there, bookmark her blog. She's one of the best writers out there, and has a near unmatched passion for New Eden.

The gist of the post is in itself a response to a Twitter conversation about a lack of motivation to take the space owned by the big Null-sec power blocs. She mentions that mechanics are one of the problems. It is a larger, and more complex issue than my feeble experience can cope with... but I do know why I wouldn't storm Null-sec, and she's largely right.

There's not much point in toppling the power blocs in the first place.

If you want to live there, joining the existing groups is easier than taking space from them.

If you don't want to live there, why bother with the structure grind?

And even if you do take it, you've basically locked yourself into a life of constant defense against interlopers. Any trips to other parts of the cluster have to be short, so you can always be on hand to defend your space.

Much worse than that, you're obliged to keep *everyone* out of your space, just in case they do want to attack.

Null-sec is a place where you have to fight hard to get there, fight hard to keep it, and once there, you're basically stuck with the people that helped you get it, wandering around space, rolling in cash, and asking the inevitable question: What now?

To give you an analogy: The Gold Mine

You get a group of friends together to attack a gold mine. It's long, and painful, since there's only one entrance in. You lose a lot of friends along the way, but eventually you get a foothold into a rich seam of gold.

You use that gold to buy bigger weapons, but the further you go into the tunnels, the more concentrated the enemy, and the harder it is to get your guns down the tunnels. In turn, you get more gold, but you start losing more and more friends, replacing them with greedy people only interested in either money or blood. 

If you're stubborn enough, you get the whole gold mine, and all the riches are yours. But now some other people are looking at your wealth, and they'd like a piece of it. You know, from experience, that even just a foothold in the mine makes it easier for those people to buy better weapons, and take more from you.

So you barricade the door, and kill anyone that even takes a sniff. You drill secret tunnels to take your gold to market, using false identities and disguises, since you're terrified of people in the market, so terrified that they'll steal your gold. 

You spend all your time underground, terrified of the world outside your mine. The sun becomes a distant memory.

But getting the mine was an achievement right? Something you and your friends did together right?

But when you look behind you, to see who's in the mine with you, you see very few of your friends. Instead, the majority of your bunk mates are covered in blood, hungry for more. They jealously guard their own shares of gold. Much worse, they expect you to pay them to help defend the gold mine. 

Too late, you realise you've locked yourself in a dark hole, with only digging through more rock in your future. Locked yourself in a hole with murderous mercenaries. People on the other side of the barricade just as jealous, with just as bloody intentions.

Isolation grows.

Soon, despite a steady trickle of fresh recruits to man the barricades, a rot sets in. All the warriors turned miner become caked in dust. Their wealth grows, and grows, but with only ever more expensive weaponry to buy, restlessness increases.

Your followers grow scornful of the weak and poor people out of the mine. Those pathetic sunwalkers could never hope to take the mine they so obviously covet. But still, the barricades are held strong, and held stronger every day by the ever expanding arsenal.

It may take a few years. It may take a few days. But eventually, you'll realize the truth of the mine, and whatever dreams you had of building cities and monuments were actually never the true purpose of the gold mine.

Yes you built a barricade. Yes, the gods handed you ever better tools to make weapons with. You have vast tunnels pouring wealth unimaginable into your wallets, and beautiful engines of destruction dancing to your whim.

But all of this is underground, out of sight. Too dangerous to let the rest of the world see. Better to keep it safe in the dark. Maybe invite some of the sunwalkers to mine for a while, so they become as black-lunged and swollen with gold like the rest of us. Good fodder for the other tunnel dwellers.

Because that's all the gold mine is. That's all you can find there.

Gold... and blood.

Sounds fun right?

CSM Sugar Kyle is right. The mechanics of Null need to change. But competitive mechanics are not what Null needs. Rather Null needs a reason to let the barricades down, and allow both it's own people to get some sun, and allow people to come in and see what wonders they have built.

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