The Cycle of Fear

Freighter Gank Storyhead

Warning: This post is highly generalized, stereotyped and a bit tongue in cheek. Humor me and provide some of your own stories in the comments rather than taking it personally. 🙂

The more people I talk to and the more time I spend in corps that live in different types of space, the more I come to see an amusing balance within EVE Online – namely that rock-paper-scissors theory applies to space as well as ships, specifically when you look at it through the eyes of a new emigrant to a new space, whether it be a newbie born into the game from the tutorials or an old pirate trying wormhole life for the first time.

Now, of course any time you’ve lived long enough in one place that “fear” transmutes to simple caution, or leads to an army of compensating out of corp alts, but during your first few months in a new type of space, the messages that you get from your mentors generally cautions you against one thing or another, and I have found it interesting how it lays out.

Cycle of Fear

Highsec Fears Lowsec

Sample System Of Fear: Rancer, Sinq Laison

When you get that first “are you sure” popup on a lowsec gate as a newbie (or even a long-term highsec-only player), it is your official notice that the game design will now actively conspire to get you exploded. There is a real logic in this fear – the simple fact is that on average, lowsec is the most dangerous space in EVE. Nullsec throws the biggest kills per day spikes, but those systems will often never again see another big fight, while faction war and pirate systems show high-average kills every single day. When we were all newbies, most of us were conditioned by this message, as well as any first corp focused on teaching, mining or missioning (obviously RvB and wardec corps are a bit different), that to jump into lowsec was certain death in a non-combat ship or without a fleet at your back.

Good teaching corps talk early on about the danger of transiting from Hek to Jita, and the many tales of horror of people taking the shortcut. Rancer is the home of notorious pirate alliance The United, who sit on the Rancer/Crielere gate with smartbombing battleships all day exploding anyone foolish enough to try running the gauntlet unscouted. Other systems like Amamake are similarly warned against.

In the end, of course, most highsec players get brave enough to try other routes, and find they are relatively quiet if you make smart choices. They also find that bookmarks are an easy enough way to avoid running into a smartbomb camp. Those who go for PVP also eventually find that The United don’t like a straight-up fight, and a bigger blob will make them POS up very quickly, leaving the gate untended.

Lowsec Fears Nullsec

Sample System of Fear: B-VIP9, Great Wildlands

When you’re a corp that primarily lives in lowsec, you work hard to master its mechanics. The mechanics of lowsec are of course painful, and as your personal standings with CONCORD drop, your mastery of the space grows. But in the back of their heads, many lowsec pilots are secretly more thankful than anything that they don’t have to deal with the bubbles, bombs, blobs and supercaps that so define nullsec. Lowsec is (generally) about smaller ships and smaller gangs.

B-VIP9 is not the most notorious null gateway, but those that have truly fearsome reputations like PF-346 in Syndicate or HED-GP in Catch are “cliff drops” from highsec, snaring the unaware from the top of the cycle. In a funny way, places like B-VIP9 or its sister gateway 7Q-8Z2 are actually scarier places for the over -2.0 lowsec pilot, because you had to travel farther, through more hostile space, to get there in the first place.

In the end, forced experience finally puts this one to rest, as your character slowly sinks in sec status and you despair of ever seeing the bright lights of highsec again. To make matters worse, if you ever want to see sec status rise, you need to take many trips to nullsec to go ratting. Living in lowsec, you eventually must develop a symbiotic relationship with nullsec if you ever want to get back out. The ultimate cure for this fear is a cloaky nullified ratting T3 strategic cruiser and some practice in bubble escapes.

Nullsec Fears Wormholes

Sample System Of Fear: Your favorite home ratting system. The Killer is Inside the House

Surely some will debate this, so let me remind you – this is about the newer pilot to the space, not a veteran of the endless wars of Syndicate or Stain. While I have not been part of one of these corps myself, many of my corpmates have and report that “wormhole fear” is an accurate portrayal. Specifically, this is more likely to apply to the newer ratters and industry “nullbear” types in sovereign nullsec space, quietly plying their trade little differently than the carebears they mock in highsec. In their great swaths of quiet, protected and long-sovereign space, they fear nothing and lack for little. Their providers and masters thus have to warn and remind them of the wolves outside the door just waiting to leap in and gank their shiny faction-issue ratting ship. Therefore, they are told, “If you see a neutral, dock. Don’t be stupid. Just dock.”

This fear again has its root in truth and is in fact good advice. In wormholes, we truly do see sov null as a nice place to get some soft targets as we drop in behind their lines. Getting a faction battleship in a sanctum or haven and dropping a herd of T3s on it is a great snack. As a bonus, you can finish the site for ISK! As people who live and die by the cloak, wormholers also trigger the infamous “AFK cloaker” reflex from many nullsec residents.

Of course, much like the highsec carebear, the nullbear eventually learns defensive techniques to avoid getting ganked, and the braver and wiser corps venture into wormholes themselves, creating invasion pathways to their enemies and setting up additional sources of income for their alliance in the shallower reaches of wormhole space.

Wormholes Fear Highsec

Sample System of Fear: Niarja, Domain

In a wormhole, your entire livelihood, everything you do, every Sleeper you kill and every planet you exploit is utterly meaningless from a profit perspective unless you get the goods out to highsec and sold at a market. To make matters worse, you never know when you’ll get out, or where you’ll come out, and almost all payouts are pegged to Jita prices. This means that at some point, you or some key person from your corp needs to take the goods to market – and preferably to Jita. Add to this that after some time without Local, wormholers get seriously paranoid in a system full of people in Local – one of the great ironies of losing Local is that your brain’s defense mechanism is to automatically categorize anyone in Local as an enemy – obvious a problem anywhere along a route to Jita.

So what every wormhole denizen fears most is the ganking of their loot hauler en route to Jita. Wormholes come out more often than not near Amarr, and Niarja is the one deep, dark, utterly gankable 0.5 security system on the route.

Only proper care in routing and packing along with the occasional acceptance of using a different trade hub can resolve this concern.

Axes of Misunderstanding – Crossing the Wheel

Going “across the wheel” of the cycle is where you also find the greatest level of misunderstanding, based on my observations. Of course, all of them are wrong at some level. High and Null always seem jealous of each others’ resources (Axis of Envy), where wormholers and lowsec dwellers just seem to think the other are strange for the restrictions they live with (Axis of WTF).

  • Highsec dweller thinks of nullsec: Why do they get all the advantages? They have all the best ores and then see fit to come and suicide gank us while not facing the risks themselves – after all, their alliance provides them all their ships for free! They’re all blue to each other anyhow. It’s not fair that they get these advantages with no real challenge to their space.
  • Nullsec dweller thinks of highsec: The people there need to play the game, and come out of the “training zone” of highsec. Also, why on earth do we not have all of the highsec components here in our home constellation? It’s not fair that we have to be dependent on highsec and we don’t have good sources of personal spending money.
  • Wormhole dweller thinks of lowsec: What the hell do you mean I can’t go into highsec any more now that I podded those 5 guys? You POD ALL THE THINGS. WTF CONCORDOKKEN when I jump?!? I have to get this stuff to market! This space sucks let’s go shoot each other or gank some nullbears.
  • Lowsec dweller thinks of wormholes: Seriously? Locked away in their inaccessible cocoons with nothing to do but run sites? Sounds like a boring pain in the ass. I got into lowsec to shoot stuff in the face, not farm.


They are of course stereotypes and broad generalizations. But it’s funny how many things I see in blogs or on Twitter or in game that correspond to these stereotypes – that is, after all, the definition of a stereotype. Thoughts and examples welcomed.

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29 Responses to The Cycle of Fear

  1. There is much win in this post

  2. Sugar Kyle says:

    I am a cloak nullified ratting bubble hating pirate ratting through bvip ❤

    • Rhavas says:

      Congratulations, you graduate! Now you must move and get scared again. Sorry!

    • Jon Marburg says:

      Hey Sugar, funny seeing you here also. Having lived in lowsec most of my eve career, can say I’ve never been “afraid” of 0.0. For a lowsec pirate, true 0.0 is nothing but nullbears and fleet fights you will never see and NPC 0.0 is just like lowsec except bubbles. If you do the same protective measures you regularly do in lowsec, you really should never have issues in 0.0.

  3. Cyclades Windu says:

    There’s too many people in here……!

  4. Azalean says:

    broad generalizations or not, dead on.

  5. It’s funny, as a lowsec/former nullsec resident I’m much more afraid flying my blockade runner or orca through hisec than I am jumping it into low. Even before I was flashy, hisec has always felt weird – I keep landing on a gate covered in neutrals and going into escape mode.

    Honestly, I also envy w-space for the sense of adventure. Then again if I lived in w-space I think I’d envy lowsec for the ease of getting fights.

    • Sargeros says:

      Exactly that. I live in wormholes, but I love lowsec life more than null life (actually, I often take a break from WH to go and blow ships in lowsec), even though I do PvP in wormholes (I spend more time probing and PvPing than farming, to the point I have problems buying ships for our wormhole fleets). Lowsec offers me frig and cruisers solo PvP, while wormholes offers more serious fleet PvP.

    • Rhavas says:

      You’re right on both counts. With only one account I’m happier now living in a wormhole than lowsec purely to have the pain of ratting mostly behind me. But I will say the adrenaline rush is better in lowsec! Luckily most of our old pirate corp is now part of the WH corp so we run lowsec roams regularly!

  6. Bosskee says:

    Surely you joking right? No seriously… I live in WH, nullsec, and lowsec. I will say that I fear none of them but see benefits and drawback of each.
    Nullsec is mostly boring and builds large wallets… until you are invaded and kicked out (a la IRC, the.Federation)
    High Sec is mostly boring and builds large enough wallets… yes mining and missions… more boring than the rest. Now with Hisec wars and mega ganking… seem less boring at least when you are doing them…
    Lowsec Never boring but typically an isk sink hole (minus the FW exploits being used). Typically it gets annoying NOT boring. Run from the hotdropping nullbear (aka PL)
    Lastly, WH are wallet filling, epic fights, but typically extremely borning 90% of the time. I can tell you running sites with 20 dreads… no very exciting at all… Getting drop on while doing it… scary and fun.

    Overall, I will agree that this is a Win post with the exception that WH do not fear HiSec. Most of teh fear is not getting a pipe out to sell good or usually get fights…

  7. Dicklover says:

    As a bitter syndicate vet I can confirm that you are missing a little bubble named syndicate, all the connections to should read scared as hell, and from we’re going to kill you all

  8. Ouo says:

    As a long time lowsec resident and ex wormhole dweller this is so true. Local still bothers me. It makes feel naked in a “shit they can see me!!” sort of way. I’ve been ganked in highsec before(in a mammoth with under 50mil in cargo wtf?) and I’d say playing russian roulette is a better idea than undocking in a trade hub.

    I used to tell people that lowsec is not nearly as scary as they think it is and to not believe all the hype. Then I realized the whole reason I can make billions in lowsec with nearly no opposition is because everyone is terrified of it, hence no competition. Now I scream “Ooga booga pewpew! Piratin’ all day erryday” at anyone wanting to venture into low. 😉

  9. Styledatol says:

    I’d say when it comes to wspace there’s a more base fear, one that all others (high,low,null) experience the first time enter wspace: The lack of local.
    Regardless of where you live in k-space, you relay on your local window to inform you of new arrivals and their history (look up that neutral’s sec status, corp, killboard, etc). In wspace the only thing to indicate presense of others is dscan and activations on holes – the former in most cases isn’t that useful because when you see a hostile ship on scan it’s already too late.
    With that said, having experienced all lifestyles, I prefer wspace most: It provides me isk to lose ships, it provides me with lowsec exits to roam in, it provide me with quiet easily accessible nulls to rat in, it provides me with wspace pvp which is unlike anything else, and most of all it provides me with a sense of adventure (as mentioned before) as you never know where that new WH will lead.

  10. Qaldramas says:

    I love this! As a wormhole dweller, I can confirm that the rules of lowsec seem crazy to me and that I am always asking “So, what’s the suicide gank threshold on a freighter these days?” when doing logistics runs to buy fuel, etc.

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention the “Suddenly 20 Nyxes” factor aka “Blob moar n00bs!”, the dislike that high sec and null residents have of low but especially of null because (stereotypically) if you engage a ship like a well-fit carrier that takes more than a couple minutes to kill and run away from then you *will* get either dropped on with supers or have your exit cut off by a huge blob.

    In keeping with the rest of your article, this is a serious overgeneralization (and if it were always true we wh residents would never get any good ganks in null :P) but I think I can at least safely say that that is how my corp mates and I view null and lowsec.

  11. Mme. Thalys says:

    Beautiful, funny and so right in it’s generalized way

  12. Nathan Powers says:

    I’ve lived in WH space for a few years, and now moved an alt into Stain, with a few mill SP, to fly battleships for Sansha Missions, in T1 fits, for shits and giggles. At first I was so nervous about null in my big fat T1 fit raven. I’ve had one group try to probe me out, but thanks to good old wormhole Paranoia, I still click D-Scan every 3 seconds. With local and D-Scan you know exactly what is happening at all times even when they try to one ping Combat you. Warp to a safe, Cloak. no problem. Then I get the Snake LP rewards, run them through a few WH to Highsec, over a bil in an Anathema, into HS. Freak out when I see anyone on the gates as I’m sure its the end. Anyways…this article was awesome and made me laugh and is so close to the truth in so many ways.

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