Feudal Eve #2: The Lay of the Land

Standing disclaimer: I’m quite aware that this proposal is a little “out there”. I would be shocked if CCP ever adopted it wholesale, though I have hope that maybe they’ll find interesting tidbits, especially when I get to details of how. The point is to provide a “what if” exercise that pulls you out of your standard way of thinking about Eve and stimulates discussion. Comments welcomed (the comments on the first post have already moved the needle on some of my ideas – join in)!

Previous Feudal Eve posts can be seen here.

Conceptual drawing of the transition of security zones in a journey between distant empires. Click to Enlarge.

In the days when empires were separated by huge spaces of uncontrolled land (Here Be Dragons), what generally happened was that any traveller from one to the other would transition their way through different spaces with differing levels of security. In the streets of their walled capital city, they may well be safe from all but the occasional pickpocket or mugger (read: Highsec Ganker).

As they move out from the central court, into seedier areas of the walled city or outside the walls into the towns clustered around, chances were that they might run into something a little rougher. A gang of thieves who ran their little quarter of the outskirts. A gang of vigilantes (read: Lowsec Anti-Pirates) who might strike first and ask questions later.

Leaving the towns behind, our intrepid travellers would set forth into the countryside. While nominally “the Emperor’s land”, the reality is that there are few patrols, and fewer who care for those on the road unless they are official imperial caravans or shipments, or the soldiers and nobles of the local warlords or the Imperial court, all of whom travel under guard. Small groups of brigands (read: Lowsec Pirates) roam these lands, evading the law until the local lord has finally had enough and rousts them out.

And then they come to a final wall, where the soliders upon it give them a stern look, and wish them well, but say they will not come to their rescue. Our intrepid travellers venture out into the unknown, where hordes of barbarians or rapacious armies may roam unchecked (read: Ruling gangs of NPC nullsec, large pirate corps or faction warriors), slaughtering all in their path. If they are lucky or the “main road” is particularly well-patrolled by the Imperial army, they may well make it to a haven deep in the wilderness, an oasis or a fort where people from many distant lands mingle upon the road. Setting forth again, they risk another road to a far distant empire, breathing a sigh of relief when they finally lay eyes on its distant walls (read: A vast and stable nullsec empire).

Today, you’re either in an NPC empire, pirate heaven, or the barbarian hinterlands. The game does not reflect “real” security. Click to enlarge.

In Eve, however, it doesn’t work like that – as shown above. The vigilantes are indistinguishable from the pirates. The outlying towns and quarters are indistinguishable from the rural empire. And once you pass beyond the imperial walls, vast stable empires are indistinguishable from roving hordes of barbarians pulling their storehouse of gold behind them.

In reality, Eve might look a bit more like this (based on a cursory review of the active ship loss and sovereignty systems on Dotlan over the weekend):

What the security map might look like if we used “realsec”. Click to enlarge.

But what if instead we redid Eve security to truly allow the reflection of reality?

Places under the thumb of constant Imperial scrutiny would be rock-solid secure. Other places of general calm or close Imperial watch would be much like highsec is today. Places of Imperial influence, but not close scrutiny would be similar to today’s lowsec – which with a few tweaks could actually allow for trade hubs that bridge highsec and lowsec. And places of carnage, where the wreckage of ships are strewn about the orbits of the planets, would be the true no-man’s-land that nullsec is advertised to be.

Now, imagine that it is, within reason, a dynamic system. Security levels can change over time. Chribba could build a trade hub surrounded by nullsec that would enjoy the benefits of high security space (and the pirating opportunities nearby). Null empires could achieve serious stability – although to make the game stable it would have to come at a serious cost. Pockets of significant instability would have riches outsized to the space around them.

The terms “highsec”, “lowsec” and “nullsec” begin to lose their meaning when the security rating is flexible. Instead, from here on in the series, I will be using different terms, both to stay away from the current terms and geography and to make it clear when I am referring to the dynamic concept rather than the current Eve space. Instead I will refer to “realsec” terms:

    • Imperial Space: 1.0 (A safe, but impoverished, haven)
    • Secure Space: 0.6 to 0.9 (Much like today’s highsec)
    • Interlink Space: 0.5 (A space where lowsec and highsec mingle)
    • Unsecured Space: 0.1 to 0.4 (A redesigned lowsec)
    • Uncharted Space: 0.0 to -0.5 (The deep and untravelled places of New Eden)
    • No Man’s Land: -0.6 or below (A place where getting your ass shot off is the norm – but where the richest pots are to be found)

Yes, this makes everything crazy difficult and throws the whole game out of whack (see disclaimer above). Or does it instead throw it back into whack? I’ll discuss each of these areas, how they might work, and the role they might play in upcoming posts.

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7 Responses to Feudal Eve #2: The Lay of the Land

  1. Serpentine Logic says:

    The simplistic current diagram is still incorrect. It’s possible to travel between empires via safe* high-sec routes without going through low-sec.

    (*safe does not preclude ambushes in Niarja)

    • Rhavas says:

      Very true. There are some regions that require lowsec travel between, but there are of course some highsec connectors as well. Hard to multiple routes in a bubble diagram though.

  2. Miranda Glade says:

    As a thought exercise I like where this is headed. It sounds like such a universe would offer far more choices of where players could choose to live. I particularly like the idea that in Imperial space your chances of crime are lower, but you suffer a certain and ubiquitous impoverishment (such as tax, reduced resources, etc.). Then there is your Lawless space, where it sounds like the average reward may be the same, but the risks are higher and therefore the peaks and troughs of success and losses will be higher too. These are all great ideas to play with.

    One of my greatest disappointments with Eve is that PVP and other similar destructive activities are a core part of the game, whereas creativity and construction of lasting things is relatively tedious and much harder to realise. I think your new sec space definitions could help to change that.

    • Rhavas says:

      I like the “creativity and construction” angle. TBH, I have struggled a bit with thoughts around highsec, so appreciate you triggering this. Any large capital city will have monuments and centers of learning. Hmm.

  3. I didn’t realize you’d written these back in August. I, of course, like the idea that racial regions are surrounded by lowsec … mirrors my Empire Space Moats idea. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Feudal Eve #3: DynaSec | Interstellar Privateer

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