Feudal Eve #1: An Introduction

Why Are You Writing This?

For a long time I’ve mulled over ideas of how System Security status, resource distribution and related mechanics don’t really make sense to me. CCP’s rules, while clear, seem to strongly favor certain areas over others in their outcomes. The above graph encapsulates my personal perception in graphic format. As I said on Twitter today, Lowsec needs more carrot, and Sov null needs more “null”.

The seeds of these thoughts go back to Mynxee’s efforts to improve lowsec (sadly, Mynxee’s blog appears to have disappeared) as well as things like Rixx Javix’s Gooder Eve series. I took a first stab at the subject matter in Stand By To Repel Boarders, my response to CK’s Blog Banter #21 in September 2010. In the end, I’ve decided to finally write the whole thing down, sparked by today’s Twitter debate about how bad the GCC mechanic is. That has already spawned several blog posts:

  • Rixx Javix kicks it off with GCC Reform Now. I agree with him strongly on this matter, by the way.
  • Rixx follows up several days later with Criminal Intentions – a semi-in-character justification that his -10 pirate is not really a criminal. This kicks off the real debate. In the next few hours:
  • Garheade tweets numerous points suggesting that even highsec is not safe enough, and GCC and ratting are not punishment enough.
  • I post the risk/reward graph above on Twitter.
  • Logan Fyreite posts his rebuttal to Rixx’s article.
  • Marc Scaurus posts his well-considered opinions on the matter.
  • I post this introduction to my broader thoughts.
  • Thansoli adds his take.

So despite all that buildup … I’ll address GCC later. TL;DR of that is that Rixx is in fact a criminal and GCC is horribly broken. But I’m a holistic kind of guy, so I’ll start from the big picture. We’ll get to GCC specifics in the Lowsec discussion.

Eve Today

High security space isn’t very exciting, but it’s very safe compared to the others. Not entirely safe mind you, but much more than the other options. Sovereign nullsec is extremely rewarding, and in many places nearly as safe as highsec for corps that have sovereignty in that area, but with less rule mechanics than highsec. These two places are unsurprisingly the home to most Eve players for these reasons – safety and/or income and power in numbers.

Wormholes are a middle ground where small groups can find sizable profits and decent safety (for the wise) for medium risk, but at significant inconvenience.

The rest – Lowsec and NPC Nullsec – is a wasteland. Risk to Reward ratio is a sad shadow of the others.

So… What is “Feudal Eve”?

Instead, if I ran CCP, I would throw this four- or five-tiered system out for one that is admittedly more complicated, but in my mind also more fair and that would incent broader use of the entire cluster as well as increased competition and conflict to keep the engine of Eve’s economy moving.

The basic precept of this idea is that Eve is not “Empire vs. Nullsec” – the popular and CCP-promoted view of things. For a long time I thought about it as Rixx Javix suggests – like Lowsec is the wild west, complete with frontier towns and sheriffs. That, I think, is a good model for how things could be in lowsec. But it doesn’t work as well to describe a paradigm for the whole of Eve.

But the more thought I give it, I am convinced that a better analogy to be applied in order to bring a leveling factor to the game is feudal europe or city-state Greece.

At the heart, you have the major empires – “known civilization”. Rome. Greece. Persia. Egypt. Or France, Spain, England, Austria if you prefer. Or Athens, Corinth, etc. You get the picture. This is Eve Highsec.

Between them and around them lies land that they call theirs, but is in fact more the province of the local warlord, duke, earl, or count. The law – if it exists at all – is local, not national. This is Eve Lowsec. Sometimes, wars raged among the lands of these fiefdoms. This is Eve Facwar Lowsec.

Across the sea, over the mountains, or across the desert in feudal times were distant and strange civilizations – empires in their own right, but with unrecognizable customs, rules and laws – but just as secure, stable and massive as the known imperial powers. This is Eve Nullsec – we pretend like null dwellers are roving herds of marauders, when in fact they are closer to the Chin Dynasty. Sometimes, massive wars broke out between distant empires as well – as they do across sovereign nullsec.

Finally, there are mysterious and little-known regions from ancient days. Oases in the middle of the Sahara. Tibet. Switzerland. Iceland & Greenland. Atlantis. Places dangerous to reach, but relatively safe once arrived with proper preparation, planning and guidance. This is w-space in Eve.

Over time I hope to work my way through these different areas in regards to how Eve, and particularly security “zones” (i.e. high/low/wormhole/null), which I admittedly know to differing extents, could be changed for the better by viewing it through a “feudal lens”. I admit upfront that I am not a sov null dweller and I expect to make a few erroneous assumptions, which I am sure will get plenty of feedback.

To set this up, my base premise is that risk and reward should be matched. This means that real safety is the measure by which resources are distributed, and by which punishments and patrols are handed out. So, in order of highest security (and lowest resources):

  • Tier 1: Safe
    • Highsec
    • Long-uncontested sovereign nullsec
  • Tier 2: Risky
    • Lowsec
    • Wormholes
    • Occasionally-contested sovereign nullsec
  • Tier 3: Dangerous
    • Faction War Lowsec
    • Proven pirate havens (i.e. Rancer, Amamake, etc.)
    • NPC Nullsec
    • Current- and recently-contested sovereign nullsec
I’ll get into why in future posts.
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9 Responses to Feudal Eve #1: An Introduction

  1. Rixx Javix says:

    Excellent start. This is a great way to approach the issue and I look forward to hearing more about how you suggest they get dealt with.

  2. Baa says:

    I think that you’re making assumptions about NPC nullsec that don’t hold true. Its seems from reading this that you view it as unsafe. In my experience, having just spent six months in Guristas Venal, NPC nullsec was pretty safe. We had the odd roaming gang pass through but, by and large, our ISK making was very efficient (L4 Guristas missions are great!).

    I would remove the distinction between Sov and NPC nullsec from your list above (if you are the incumbent power in NPC nullsec its almost as if you hold Sov anyway). That would fit better with my experience of it.

    • Rhavas says:

      Baa, thanks for some good additional info. I base my thoughts on NPC Null on my own experiences, with Syndicate, Curse and Great Wildlands. Syndicate and Curse are kill zones. When I go in, I expect to come out with either a killmail or a lossmail, usually both. They are what I think of when I separate NPC from Sov. Great Wildlands, on the other hand, seems almost unpopulated – a great swath of systems with no one in it. Maybe it makes sense to combine it all together after all. I also use NPC Null primarily for ratting (sec status increases), PI and PVP, so I readily admit I’m light on clarity around missioning risk/reward knowledge. I’ll give it some thought. I would welcome more feedback on this point from other readers!

  3. paritybit says:

    I don’t think you can make a blanket statement that sovereign null-sec is safe just because it hasn’t been held for a long time. There has to be a better measurement than that; perhaps factor the value of lost ship hulls over a period of time. Crime and violence tends to happen a lot around war whether or not the lines on the map are moving.

    Consider the old CVA-held Providence. I know it’s not a current example, but certainly it’s an example of a group holding power in a region for a long period of time but being unable to keep out roving bands of marauders. I lived there as a neutral for quite some time, and while I did not lose a lot of ships, I knew it wasn’t very safe even though it had been sovereign space of CVA for a very long time.

    Anyway, looking forward to future posts.

    • Rhavas says:

      I had actually been thinking volume of ship kills as an alternative to or augmentation of length of time control held – particularly after reading stories of “ghost sov” where the holders are long gone. Great feedback.

  4. Pingback: NECL Season One | Interstellar Privateer

  5. Miranda Glade says:

    Recently I read some interesting suggestions by glepp on a forum somewhere on why Syndicate and Great Wildlands are so different. If I understood him correctly, I believe the main reason was the stations as well as resource distribution. I look forward to reading more about your interpretations of space.

    As for action consequences, what do you think about the sec status piracy and nullsec ratting cycle?

    • Rhavas says:

      I can believe those differences – Great Wildlands is hugely devoid of stations, which is why I suspect it’s so much more empty.

      The pirate/rat cycle, I think, is a critical item in the Lowsec section. I’ll talk more about it when I write that up, but while I don’t mind the mechanic, I also think it’s largely unneccessary.

      Foreshadowing: Why shoot rats for sec when you can shoot players?

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