On March 1st, themittani.com released an article titled “Highsec Rising: The Dangers of a SaveZone in EVE“, written by James 315. Give it a read, please. James argues that a too safe high-sec hurts EVE (a opinion I fully agree with), that is already too safe (which is arguable from my point of view, but without doubt has a grain of truth) and that CCP will make high-sec even safer in the near future (seriously?). Before I deconstruct his article, I should make clear, that I primarily play in high-sec, so don't take my word without doubt, I am somewhat biased.
Let's start then, shall we?
I'll skip the first three paragraphs of the article and start with the fourth, as James starts his argumentation there. There he calls Ripard Teg, the player behind the Jester's Trek blog,a member of a so-called “pro-carebear” force. Yes, the same Ripard Teg from Rote Kapelle, which were/are trying to “purge” their home region of Syndicate from too “carebeary” alliances. James argues that Ripard, have “expressed a desire to nerf suicide ganking much further.” He cites a recent interview from Crossing Zebras with Ripard as the source of his claim. If you currently listen to the interview, jump to about 15:30, where the discussion about suicide ganking begins. Literally the first question to Ripard is, if he is “in favor of moving towards consensual PvP in highsec”. His answer is as follows:
“No. It's not have EVE is supposed to run. EVE is by it's very nature a dark, gritty game, I think it should continue to be a dark, gritty game, and there should be an avenue for non-consensual PvP in high sec.” And he isn't talking about “nerfing suicide ganking much further”, as James argues, he is making a point, that the specific case of T1 industrials being ganked is still in favor of the ganker. In my oppinion, this is a valid point. James however tries to invoke “Malcanis' Law”:
Whenever a mechanics change is proposed on behalf of 'new players', that change is always to the overwhelming advantage of richer, older players.
No. If there is a class of ship that becomes increasingly superfluous as the number of SP rises, it is T1 industrials. You can literally build an Orca that aligns just as fast as an industrial after a gatejump while still retaining it's large cargo bay and high eHP. Or you could fly a cloaky, unscannable Blockade Runner. Or a freighter if you need to transport large volumes of stuff. But there is absolutely no reason to ever again use a T1 industrial in highsec after you can fly one of these ships.
James then claims that CSM7 representative Trebor Daehdoow advocated at the CSM December meetings to remove non-consensual wardecs. Except that he didn't.
Trebor: There is the important word you just said – mutual conflict. Just as you can have a mutual engagement between two players, you should be able to have a mutual engagement between twogroups. But the current system, it’s a cursed mechanic, because most of the people who get involved want absolutely nothing to do with it.[...]Trebor: But as you said, 78% of wars are a bunch of people who basically want to grief a corp, a lot of times industrial corps, or corps that may be PvP corps, but they're not PvP corps in high-sec. They just use highsec for their logistics. Okay, so they get wardecced, and what happens. It just interrupts their regular game play, it’s a griefing mechanic.[...]Alek pointed out that the conversation should be about giving players more reasons to undock to begin with. Two step suggested that a collateral-based reward system for wars might give smaller groups an incentive to fight back.Trebor: Realistically, in the context of the game, that shit just does not happen. 90% of the time, the corp that gets wardecced just turtles up because they have absolutely no choice. They're outgunned and outmatched. Look at the wardec system, with all of the exceptions, and the rules for adding allies, and timers, and all that crap. What does that remind you of? What system that everybody agreed was awful did you just rip out of the game and radically simplify?Tallest : What if instead of declaring war on you, they just didn’t tell you and started suicide ganking you.Trebor: At least then they lose their ships. In the case of a suicide gank, they lose their ships and they lose sec-status. There is a cost to them. If they declare war on you, and except for the ISK cost, they don't lose their ships and they don't lose their sec-status. There's no risk.
Sounds more like pointing out the truths of wardeccing than a “campaign” against non-consensual wars.
James continues to ramble about wardec, speculating that CCP will “rebalance” wardecs by making highsec safer. He even admits that he is mostly guessing things. This is not even argumentation, it is purely speculation, and certainly not appropriate of an opinion piece of someone who wants to be elected into CSM8.
James then claims that PvE'ers are migrating from low/null/w-space to highsec because risk vs reward in highsec is broken (to which I agree). However, there are ABSOLUTELY no numbers in this paragraphs. None. At. All. He brings some arguments, but even they can easily be deconstructed.
“This isn't something that can be fixed merely by buffing non-highsec PvE; the safety of highsec and the ability to make money AFK makes that impractical. For example, even if lowsec mining were double the value of highsec mining, people would still prefer to mine in highsec since it's easier to spend two hours AFK mining in highsec than to spend an hour mining at the keyboard in lowsec, wary of predators. Highsec's safety also makes it much more accommodating for multi-boxers, skewing the equation further still.”
Ehm. Yeah. Sure. While I agree that any AFK profession should get substantially nerfed, suicide ganking will not be the solution, as it is not specifically targeted against AFK miners, but against anyone who dares to warp into a belt to extract some ore. In my oppinion, a much more viable way would be to buff belt rats. Throwing some cruisers into the mix would without doubt hurt a lot of AFK miners out there, or at least make their effort for AFK mining much higher. And anyone who would fit an deadspace shield booster on his barge … feel free to suicide gank the moron.
Funnily, mynnna of GoonSwarm Federation and probable (to my knowledge he hasn't announced his run yet) CFC candidate for CSM8 has offered a different explanation for this phenomenon. The short version: 0.0 people are lazy. Probably, both explanations are true. However, I find it kind of striking that James singles out highsec mining as a problem, not level 4 missions or incursion. No, mining, which is neither the most rewarding activity in highsec nor does it negatively impact the economy as a whole. And both of which would probably have made a better point than mining. But for what is James 315 (in)famous again? Oh yeah.
But is his claim that highsec is safer for the average miner even true? Take a look at the following eve-kill sites:
It is easily seen, that the vast majority of exhumer losses occurs in highsec, with the exception of the Skiff, which however is of no real use in high sec. While James argues that miners were/are migrating from less secure parts of space towards high sec, I doubt that 0.0 is quite as deserted as would be required for the number of losses to become proportional to the number of active miners. The ingame map at least shows a sizable bunch of systems with industrial upgrades. Unfortunately, empiric data on this subject is incredibly hard to come by. The latest numbers are from October 2012, so yeah. They however show that high sec miners harvest about eight times the volume than their companions in 0.0. Low sec and w-space play, like expected, no role. However, far less than one out of eight killed exhumers died in 0.0. What should this tell us? Maybe 0.0 is too safe?
One a sidenote, James argues that moongoo is a conflict driver in 0.0. So far, prominent 0.0 figures like TheMittani and Elise Randolph have stated that not moongoo, but personal animosity sparks conflicts.
James then concludes this part of his article and starts to philosophize about CCP marketing strategy. He immediately draws a comparison to Incarna (seriouly, we should call this EVE's Godwin's Law or something), where CCP's marketing strategy spectacularly failed. He states that subscriber numbers are on the rise since the developers started to focus on “flying in space again”. Except that they are not. While there are without doubt some genuinely new players, the majority of new subscriptions are alts of already established accounts. Which does not help CCP as much as a broadening of audience (which is why Dust 514 is so darn important).
The last few paragraphs are a explanation why a conversation of EVE into a themepark MMO would be a bad thing. And in this points, I fully agree with James 315. But it shows what this article really is: Carefully crafted propaganda by a player who really wants to get into CSM8. He both starts and ends with a sentiment that is for very justified reasons widely accepted in the EVE playerbase. In between he criticizes two of the favorites for the upcoming election and basically screams “My playstyle needs to be buffed!!!” while ignoring the real problem of the broken risk vs reward in high sec. But since the entire last third of his articles just recites well established and thus barely disputable facts, he ensures that the reader finishes his or her read on a “positive note”. Really one of the oldest tricks in the book. However, do you really want someone like this in the CSM?