Wednesday, 16 October 2013

BB #50 Goons Inc welcome you to High Sec (tm, pat pending)

Matt Westhorpe tactfully pointed out an omission in my previous BB# 50 post. There I was wracking my brains for something about the Rubicon expansion that would "cast a die" that would throw the fate of the universe into a new direction and I rather missed the elephant in the room.

What changes forever on November 19th?

High sec becomes conquerable for the first time ever.

Sure it's only POCOs and you have to manage the wardec mechanics and so on. But if this is the direction CCP are taking Eve it's a fundamental fundamental upheaval in the game universe.

So what if CCP intend over the next 5 years to privatise EVERYTHING in high sec? POCOs, Concord, faction police, research slots, market fees?

It's what Maggie would have wanted.

It's possible although almost certainly it will be within much sharper parameters than more dangerous space. We won't, I think, see any dead-zoning (the practice of assigning a captured station to a 2 man dummy alliance that locks access then never logs on so that none of the assets in the station can be retrieved by spies or remote market trading).

Let's have a look at how individual elements in high sec might work as private concerns.

First, I don't think all elements will necessarily be conquerable. It would make a lot more sense if player politicing, similar to what we see in the CSM elections is used. Equally auctions might be used to privatise elements of the high sec infrastructure.

So if the manufacturing slots of the Caldari Steel corporation are privatised then the most logical method might be to auction them, station by station to the highest bidder. The winner of the auction then acquires the right to set fees and collect income. As it is high sec we may well see some limit, so griefing players can't buy up all the material research slots and set them to a billion isk per hour.

For religious and political organisations elections make more sense. The CSM has developed some expertise at CCP on election management, there's a certain elegance to feeding that know-how back into the game. One day we may see a Wright transferable vote to decide whether Mynnna or Chribba should be God-Emperor of the Amarr!

Policing is an interesting one. For years the perceived wisdom in MMO design was that player policing doesn't work. It was tried enthusiastically in Ultima Online but the "reds" always held an initiative advantage: waiting all day in case someone commits a crime is boring. However with Crimewatch Eve got closer to a properly effective punishment system - bounties and kill rights really do make life more dangerous for people who attract them. It's not a huge stretch to imagine an extension to Crimewatch that flags suspects for police attention, player police.

Now what about the quiet, introspective, high sec player who just wants to do his own thing without being disturbed. Frankly he's shit outta luck. CCP Soundwave was very clear at Fanfest that players should be able to dick with other players, that we are all content for each other even if we don't want to be. That's quite extreme to my mind especially since the demographics of Eve, once you get past the loud shouty drunk people who dominate Fanfest and Evemeet actually has a high proportion of quiet introspective insulated players who simply have no idea about CSMs or Goons or any of this other Eve hardcore jargon and are essentially playing solo.

So if we do go down the path of opening up high sec to the vicissitudes of the space-powerful then expect it to be done over a long time and with kid gloves. But is it possible that Eve could be gently nudged that way step by step over a 5 year period?



  1. "Concord, faction police, research slots, market fees?"

    Don't really think it will happen(to much potential for abuse).

    1. Eve is designed to permit abuse. It wouldn't be a dark sinister game without danger. The devs are constantly tinkering with the level of insidious threat that other people can pose (for instance, taking out can-flipping, adding Tornados).

      Arguably "abuse" is what keeps Eve interesting. That's not really my stance but I do think it's the stance of a very loud minority in the community.

      Also there's a political dimension. People who want to dick with other people (goons, pirates) have historically been very well represented by the CSM. As the CSM looms larger in the development process we may see it pulling the development towards the type of unforgiving and cruel game that most CSM reps and their constituents want.

  2. Some great ideas. Privatize highsec. I don't think they will ever privatize all of it, in particular Concord. Exactly because CCP does want there to be a safe-ish corner of the sandbox for the newbs and other timid people who prefer highsec. CCP is very concerned about the desires of this player bloc. But they can certainly privatize vast swaths of it, improving the game.

  3. Vegas 2012, Soundwave made mention of eventually having player policing as part of his presentation on Retribution. I Was There. ;-)
    Vegas 2013: Soundwave no longer works for CCP. Coincidence? Who knows, but his ideas were prob a lil too extreme for their tastes, prompting him to find employment elsewhere.

    1. Too much conspiracy theory :)

      Think sometimes people just move on.