Thursday, February 03, 2011

Making Matter In Low Sec

I'm halfway through the latest Lost In Conversation podcast where Jade and the guests talk about low sec primarily focusing on the Downward Spiral of Low Sec blog post that Shadai wrote.

At one point in the conversation it is pointed out that null sec is more dangerous than low sec overall due to extra mechanics like bubbles and bombs yet it is more populated than low sec. They talk about the advantages of null sec such as having alliances protecting you and intel channels, etc, but I think they miss the fundamental point that should be made here.

Low sec is less populated because the incentive to claiming and protecting space for carebears is overall not enough to overcome the disincentives from PvPing in low sec. We need some charts!

Incentives to claiming space in null sec:
- outposts that hostiles can't dock at
- cyno jammers
- jump bridges
- PvE improvements 
- group protection
- exclusive access to resources (belts, rats, exploration)

Incentives to claiming space in low sec:
- group protection
- exclusive access to resources (belts, rats, exploration)

Disincentives to claiming space in null sec:
- sov bills

Disincentives to claiming space in low sec:
- keeping anyone but flashy pirates out will kill your sec status and have to deal with sentry guns
- hostiles can dock at the stations freely in that space
- not protection from hot drops
- can't improve the space
- can't add jump bridges
- no bubbles for extra blockading

As long as this disparity exists, people won't bother to claim low sec space on a large scale. Thus the carebears and industrialists to exploit the resources there will be scarce. Thus the pirates will hold sway overall as the main organism in low sec regardless of what rewards you put there.

Also, the perception of low sec being a dangerous place where you die as espoused in the rookie channel? Its accurate. Maybe you don't die the first time, maybe not the second, but it takes a lot of experience before low sec can be traveled safely for the high sec bears.


  1. There are two more things lo-sec and null-sec are good for: POS reactions and capital ship building (both significant sources of income for bears).

    However, of all the disincentives lo-sec has, the sec status penalties are probably the most influental: constantly being in the defensive is just not a tenable situation.

  2. Low sec piracy is a victim of it's own successes. As such I find the pirate whines rather hypocritical. Unless CCP allows some form of EFFECTIVE defenses for carebear ships and/or operations (like they do in 0.0) they would need to increase the rewards to HIGHER than 0.0 levels to entice carebears there in appreciable numbers. Until then, I will continue to be amused by pirate whines, they get better as they age.

  3. I agree with the sec status issue. Ignoring whether a bear would want to get into a PvP engagement, the real challenge comes when you can't offensively defend your system (or constellation) without having to then spend HOURS ratting to maintain full HiSec access (a standard for most bears).

    In nullsec it was shoot first ask questions later, in losec it's get shot and hope the alpha strike wasn't too much, or have a sec hit for defending your home.

  4. Anonymous3:25 pm

    I wonder if an interesting mechanic wouldn't be, if your sec status is below a certain value (IE: We'd assume you are a pirate) you automatically have a bounty put on your head by Concord. Nothing higher than the cost of the clone you have (thus ensuring that pirates can't just blow themselves up, earning ISK) but it would provide a bit more incentive to war against pirates themselves.

    I've been flashy now for years so just treat low-sec as a more dangerous 0.0. I think a lot more people would be tempted to try to catch me if there was some real isk to be earned.

  5. @Adam: That is an interesting idea.

    Two ideas I have in the top of my head are:

    - Allow Moon Harvesting and POS reactions in 0.4 systems, thus drawing more industralists in.
    - Raise the 'outlaw' limit in lo-sec to -2 from -5.

  6. Anonymous5:14 pm

    Oh good point Druur! Moon Mining actually being a viable option in low sec would be an enticement.

  7. Anonymous2:51 pm

    Many of the points that you raise as disadvantages of lowsec are also true of NPC-sov nullsec.

    There really is more of a gradient in space quality than you make it out to be.

  8. @widdr: But the big one, sec status penalty (along with global crim countdown and sentry guns) is the low sec only issue.

  9. Anonymous10:18 am

    @Kirith: Yes, that's why I generally avoid lowsec myself. The sec penalty, not the gateguns. In a hisec griefing corp where most of the members maintain -1.99, I usually have over +4. I do agree that lowsec is a grim place to live, with little traffic and severe penalties compared to the rewards that are there to reap. I don't think it should be made into a great place for alliances to set up as an alternative to taking null sov, but it could probably be made more...friendly?

    @Adam wishes that moon mining were viable... it is, actually, more than you'd probably think, but it's hard.