Shallow Thoughts from Deep Highsec


So What’s a Care Bear anyway?

Convenient epithet aside, when it comes to Eve where ship on ship PvP can descend on you at any moment, the term “care bear” is in serious need of definitional honing. To be useful, the term “care bear” shouldn’t refer to the activity one undertakes but rather the expectation that one can pursue that activity absolutely carefree. That is to say, indifferent and oblivious to the environment around them and most especially indifferent and oblivious to the presence of other players. In this sense (and again I think it’s the most useful definition to apply to the term), many Eve players may not be particularly belligerent (they’re not picking fights) but they’re far from carefree and therefore not care bears.

Accordingly, if a player argues for absolutely safe zones: Care bear.

However, if a player embraces that there will always be some risk involved: Not care bear.

Additional elaboration: Working to reduce risk is not “carebearing”. Rather, it’s centering risk as an important element of game play and undertaking ways to manage it.

Sadly, while I don’t suspect such definitional honing will catch on (flinging fuzzy epithet is such easy fun), I find I can’t refrain. In the end we are what we are, no?

Abusing Risk

getting away from such ISK-based thinking is precisely what spaceship tiericide was all about

Unless there’s a gaggle of untapped players itching to be dirt poor peasant capsuleers (I’m aware of no such group), every Eve career, wherever you undertake it, should provide a reasonably posh space life. We’re bloody Empyreans after all.

The whole idea of balancing areas primarily around risk vs ISK reward is terribly confused from the get-go. On the consumption side, getting away from such ISK-based thinking is precisely what spaceship tiericide was all about. It used to be that a Rifter was sorta like a Slasher only better and more expensive. CCP abandoned such an approach long ago. These days Slashers are good at some things while Rifters are good at other things and the game is better for it. We shouldn’t approach different areas of space with pre-tiercide thinking just like we no longer approach ship design with pre-tiercide thinking. Lowsec isn’t sorta like highsec only a little riskier and a little more lucrative. Nullsec isn’t sorta like lowsec only a little riskier and a little more lucrative and wormholes aren’t sorta like nullsec with yet another step up the riskier and more lucrative tier ladder. No, just like modern Slashers and Rifters, each area of space provides unique types of game play best undertaken in that space.

Wormholes are comparatively blind and brutal places with exclusive Tech 3 resources.

Nullsec alone provides intricate sovereignty play where you and yours can publically plant a flag. CCP now connects nullsec PvEing to sov.

Lowsec is wonderful hybrid mixture with a touch of law and order around gates and stations but no similar law and order away from those islands of civilization. Lowsec is the only place for robust militia work.

Highsec is all about navigating top to bottom law and order. Be a law abiding citizen and wherever you roam in highsec the space police have your back. Mind your PDQs, refrain from loot piñataing and you can nearly always up and step away from the screen, making highsec a great place for casual play. At the same time, if criminality appeals, highsec can also be a place for glued-to-the-screen, must-pay-close-attention action, but keep in mind that this is still wrapped up with navigating the law.

Arguing that highsec needs an ISK nerf or an ISK buff or much of anything ISK-related to achieve proper balance is thoroughly pre-tiericide. We’ve really got to step away from such thinking. If you’re in nullsec for the ISK rather than the joys of sov you’re sort of missing out on the unique pleasures nullsec can provide.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why so many players peer enviously at other players’ space yards and their supposed greener grass. If you want to do what’s over there, go over there. Alternately, if you like where you’re at, chuckle smugly at the neighbor pointing at your well-manicured lawn whining that you cultivating such fine grass diminishes their gardening enjoyment because their envy’s not your problem, it’s their problem.


Work Matters

Of course it’s more complicated than just unique play for unique areas. For example, in the Crius expansion (you remember Crius, yes?) manufacturing was tweaked to create a robust risk/reward (actually work-risk/reward) dynamic via congestion-driven “system cost index” premiums. If you manufacture in conveniently located highsec locations you bump into a whole lot of other manufacturers doing just the same, driving up the system cost index. Given enough congestion, ballooning expenses drive such places into infeasibility, leaving manufacturers a few options: 1) Tolerate it because safe convenience ain’t cheap, 2) Locate a quiet highsec area multiple (often 10+) jumps away, 3) Be willing to hike up the risk and manufacture in (or through) more dangerous areas.

Now I’ll be honest, being a long term safety-conscious manufacturer, post Crius I initially tried the first option but found the convenience premium unendurable, so I switched to obscure safety only to discover the long commute even more agonizing, leading me to finally consider lowsec where, after a little searching, I located a light congestion location but three jumps from my preferred trade hub. So these days I run like hell for the first couple of jumps and reap the risk taking low congestion benefits. Sometimes I even have to crash gatecamps which adds a little sparkle.

what said people are really motivated by is posturing

What annoys me about folks reducing the conversation to only risk/reward is suspicion that what said people are really motivated by is posturing, “I’m super elite because I wander *dangerous* lowsec/nullsec/WH – reward me as my super elite status deserves.” If I were to partake in such posturing I’d raise a holy shit storm about manufacturers working the long commute for congestion fees comparable to what I’m paying in my stunningly convenient lowsec location because they’re not taking *big risk*, instead they’re just working their ass off. But I raise no shit storms. If they’re willing to work their asses off compared to someone like me who instead prefers to take on a little risk for convenience, I’m in no position to whine, “No, no, no! I’m super leet! You don’t get to reap posh rewards for your hard work because working hard isn’t super leet like my approach.”

Pubbie Menace

As chance would have it, I was reading Andrew Groen’s Empires Of Eve as World War Bee raged. It was an interesting experience to read the established narrative of Eve’s past while simultaneously reflecting on another big narrative being generated in our present.

“Pubbie” as I understand it is (or was) a Goonswarm pejorative flung at Eve players not members of Goon’s alliance. Unchosen members of the unwashed public and most especially unchosen members of unwashed empire space.

World War Bee was funded unconventionally with casino profits picking up much of the tab and The Imperium (Goonswarm’s current incarnation) are most displeased. Imperium Goons primary complaint with Casinos appears to be that they “generate unassailable income via out of game means” and while I dispute the accuracy of the words “generate” and “out of game”, since all ISK is both created and transferred only in game, it does capture a bewildering difficulty they faced. The casino ISK that seeded WWB was cultivated from people residing in locations Goons were hard pressed to strike at – empire capsuleers, both high and low, wormhole capsuleers as well as non-Imperium nullsec capsuleers (because surely with the sole exception of SpaceMonkey’s Alliance, Imperium capsuleers wouldn’t leisure against their leadership’s best interests). In other words, the pubbies, and most especially the unwashed empire pubbies. Imperium Goons just got brought low by the power of weaponized pubbies. Seems odd narrative to pursue. Go figure.

Don’t be Pedantic

We both know there are numerous exceptions to everything here said. Nullsec is riddled with NPC space, you can mine well-nigh anywhere, even wormholes, and pubbies themselves weren’t weaponized, just their ISK, but we’re talking foundational themes and big narratives. Veritable shallow thoughts from deep highsec.


Origins of So What’s a CareBear Anyway can be found here.
Origins of Abusing Risk and Work Matters can be found deep in the comment stream here.

Tags: business, DireNecessity, industry, pubbies, risk vs reward, World War Bee

About the author


A soloish long-term casual player since 2009, sporting a troubling history of preying on the good people of highsec, these days DireNecessity enjoys the gentle pleasures like manufacturing, grandbabies and formal dining.

  • Pingback: Shallow Thoughts from Deep Highsec | CasualEve()

  • Easy Esky

    Before any discussion of Risk vs Reward – there needs to be Investment. This leads to asymmetric warfare, usually because one party has no investment (they don’t shot miners having a rival interest in industry); a long established narrative within Eve is that conflict does not need to be balanced. Something which Goons have contributed significantly – and now on the receiving end they now wish to cry foul.

    Additionally the “one more nerf” mantra; is a lopsided narrative. From side of Industry:

    – Reduced yield for Procurers, Retrievers, Skiffs and Macks by 25%
    – Reduced returns from scrapmetal processing
    – Reduced returns from refining
    – increased taxes on Industry jobs (incl. within your own POS).
    – increased taxes on PI
    – increased sales tax
    – forced scale back of ME / PE on BPO to 10% and 20%
    – increased minerals Megacyte and Zydrine requirements in manufacturing (HS nerf)

    (and I could go on). From where I sit, industrialists – socalled Carebears, have lot more HTFU and adapt – particularly in the light of every thread-naught generated by pirates when their play-style is impacted. (dare I mention DCU?)

    • DireNecessity

      “Investment” seems a hard working word there Esky. Invested wealth. Invested time. Emotional investment. I’ve twisted myself into contorted space pretzel many a time navigating the many implications that word brings to mind. As to the whine Olympics, no group seems to have a lock on that though many vociferously compete. If there’s anything we diverse Eve players share, it’s good whine.

      • Easy Esky

        I have certainly overloaded a single word. I apologize. I intended that it have a cross array of means. Perhaps I could have narrowed to a particular circumstance or scenario to illustrate context. (but not right now).

    • z

      Was there really a forced “scale back” of me/ te? Iircthe old system let you get asymptotically closer to 10% saved materials and 20% saved time. If so, the new system still reaches the same result. Sure, you cant inch closer to “perfect me” by small steps any longer, but end result is the same.

      • Easy Esky

        Previously ME had no limit, but there was a time scale of practicality. For some items reaching out to 14 or 16 percent ME did provide more benefit. CCP took all existing BPO above the 10% and scaled them back to this level. There was no compensation for either the cost or time investment. I understand why it was done – to provide a level playing field in Industry. But I still count it as a nerf.

    • jasperwillem

      The list is waayyyy to short. So yes, why people in ‘leet pvp get attention from DEVs; while industrials can post in forums, get a positive reactions and then are shelved… no idea. Maybe CCP / CSM should find if Industrial people are leaving EVE too in masses? Just wondering.

      • Bozo

        The reality is that there are way more people willing to build stuff than there are people willing to put their ships at risk. There are huge stockpiles everywhere, and production is regularly three times as much as destruction, even during a major war (source: CCP Quant’s slides).

        Clearly, industrialists have it good enough, because so many people still try it.

    • Bozo

      Refining was buffed, not nerfed. You get more minerals out of your ore now than you used to, it’s only the percentage that’s lower, but what matters is the end result.

  • Provi Miner

    how you define a term hmm…. for me a care bear hits the check marks. If there is a call for fleet and they suddenly log off. If there is CTA and they don’t log in (every single time), if instead of docking and reshipping and go out and fighting they huddle in dock, and the last most important. When sov is threatened they evac, or if sov is taken they cut a deal with winners while never firing a shot in defense. That’s a carebear. I know a lot indy folks that when asked they fleet up, when cta’s are announced they join, its not something they do cause the like it, they do it cause they value the need of the alliance over their own desire to watch Netflix and mine.

  • Black Pedro

    While your definition of carebear is fine, your dismissal of “Risk vs. Reward” is off the mark. I don’t think anyone would quibble that each area of space should have a different flavour that enables different types of play and is not just a linear “upgrade” from the previous one, but it is still true that since New Eden is a single, interconnect universe things need to be in balance. While it’s true that tiericide gave each ship a different role, that requires differing strengths and weakness between the ships as no one would fly the Rifter if the Slasher could do everything better just as no one is going take the increased risk of flying a T2 version of a ship at several fold the cost, if the T1 version is as good or even better than the T2 version. Similarly no one is going to set up and defend large nullsec empires if similar rewards can be earned solo, and in near complete safety in highsec.

    Wormholes work as you say because the unique and extremely lucrative rewards offset the increased risk (at least for now – we’ll see if Citadels and the other structures are too safe and make it impossible to evict an entrenched group). Nullsec lacks this carrot. You can’t have a vibrant high-risk, sovereignty-based sector of space when anyone basing out of invulnerable lowsec or highsec can attack you without fear of reprisal to them or their uninterruputable income sources unless you give players a very good reason to make themselves such a target and spend the time and effort to organize, take and defend that space. Bragging rights and epeen will only take you so far before players decide they have had enough of playing the defender and just return to grinding highsec incursions while watching Netflix for just as much ISK/h they were getting in null and then enter nullsec only when they want to shoot something thus removing themselves as content, and reinforcing the decline of nullsec by making it harder and harder to find targets.

    Risk vs. reward matters. We are all the content in this game for each other so never leaving highsec where you remove yourself as content to the majority of other players needs to be disincentivized, and/or taking risks and leaving highsec needs to be incentivized depending on what side of the coin you are looking at. At least CCP has finally gotten around to correcting the absurd situation of invulnerable highsec POSes that industrialists would use without risk because of the 24h warm-up period to the war. Perhaps, CCPs strategy to fix the broken risk vs. reward balance of the game will be to make highsec less safe by forcing players into attackable structures (at least if they want to remain economically competitive) rather than directly rewarding the holding of sovereignty with resources or ISK. Well whatever they do, times are a-changin’ and something needs to be done to encourage players to offer themselves up as content to the other guy (either by forcing them or with carrots) or activity will continue to decline, and nullsec will continue on the trajectory to becoming an empty backwater only used by roaming groups looking for random, and ultimately meaningless, PvP, rather than the headline-catching jewel of emergent game play everyone, including CCP, wants it to be.

    • DireNecessity

      We gamers, being gamers, tend to keep score. That said, especially in a game like Eve, we don’t keep score all the time nor keep score the same way. Fetishes are strange things and I always get a kick out of people talking past each other because they not only don’t realize, but can’t conceive that others don’t fetishize the same things.

      Eve is very much a game of contradictions – delightful contradictions – and I revel in how your final sentence dances in the midst of them. “. . . something needs to be done to encourage players to offer themselves up as content to the other guy . . .” makes clear that each is in the same space for different reasons. One very possibly for mad tics, the other very possibly collecting sparkly kill mails. The mad ticcer could quite legitimately argue his hunter would make more ISK running highsec incursions rather than preying on him while the hunter could quite legitimately respond that he’s not their to accumulate ISK, he’s their to collect tears. Interestingly, neither of them are optimizing risk v ISK reward because if that’s all that mattered to them both would have been cooperatively plinking Sansha.

      Risk vs. reward most certainly matters (no one lives a posh space life in dangerous area if being their can’t pay well) but it’s far less central than many proclaim.

      • Black Pedro

        Of course risk vs. reward isn’t the be-all and end-all of driving player behaviour – people often play to maximize their fun per hour, not always their ISK per hour. No matter how badly paying you made nullsec, there would always adrenaline junkies or epeen wavers visiting or even living there for their own reasons. But that doesn’t mean than removing/diluting the reward incentive through easy highsec rewards isn’t asphyxiating content and activity in the game by encourage people to live safely in highsec and only venture out engage in consensual PvP on their terms.

        There are players that will never leave highsec under any circumstances, and there are players who are wealthy, in-game or out, and aren’t influenced by ISK considerations at all and play just for the fight. However in the middle there are large number of players who are influenced by where the resources are (as this sandbox game is designed to work). Take exploration, one of the few professions that has a good risk vs. reward balance across the spaces. Most explorers quickly find themselves spending most of their time learning to live outside of highsec (and sometimes being shot outside of highsec) as that is where the reward is.

        Exploration, and the game itself would suffer if CCP decided to allow the more lucrative sites to spawn in highsec, both by flooding the market with exploration loot and depriving the spaces outside of highsec with targets and activity. More generally, a too-safe/too-lucrative highsec has the same deleterious effect on the game, by keeping players who would venture outside of highsec if there was profit there, instead staying safely under the content-killing skirt of CONCORD.

        For stuff to happen in this game (and possibly Butterfly-effect as the trailer promised us years ago) players have to be vulnerable to each other. Whether you choose to shoot other players, or spend your time gathering resources or building things doesn’t really matter, but the possibility of interaction has to be there for this game to be at all interesting to play long-term. Some players do not want to accept risk and there should be a place for them (with an appropriately reduced reward), but those that are willing to take the risk and offer themselves up as content should be encourage to do so with greater rewards as we all benefit from a more active and interactive game.

        Everyone wins when risk and reward is properly balanced with either dank loot, or dank killmails as a result – the content flows! If all the reward can be had from behind NPC-enforced safety, no one has to venture out and everyone is just left staring silently, watching everyone else get rich behind invulnerable walls, and the only conflict left is of the meaningless, consensual variety where both sides purposely come out to fight. To some people that is Eve, or what Eve should be, but that was not the original design intention of the game which was suppose to be a full-time, PvP sandbox game where the players were allowed the freedom to create emergent order through interacting, often violently and non-consensually, with each other.

        So yes, risk vs. reward isn’t the only thing that motivates players in this game, but it is far more central to the health of a vibrant sandbox game than even CCP seems to realize and their game is suffering for it.

    • Rob Kaichin

      You always make me laugh, Pedro, because you always write towards the same point: “Incursions are bad”. I’m curious, when was the last time you a) ran an Incursions for a significant length of time, b) lived in nullsec, c) lived in lowsec and d) actually engaged in the mass fleet PvP that you think defines nullsec?

      It’s just that I believe you’d be pleasantly surprised at the current state of the game, if you were to go out and experience it.


      This isk/risk is important for wh’s, because that is what attracts people doing pve.
      And without the people doing pve, there is nothing to hunt for the people doing pvp.
      And currently null is stall way bether then wh’s to get isk, with a lot less risk.
      Even got quite worse since the last pve nerf in wh’s.

    • Easy Esky

      “You can’t have a vibrant high-risk, sovereignty-based sector of space when anyone basing out of invulnerable lowsec or highsec can attack you without fear of reprisal to them or their uninterruputable income sources”

      “At least CCP has finally gotten around to correcting the absurd situation of invulnerable highsec POSes that industrialists would use without risk because of the 24h warm-up period to the war.”

      I am sorry that I am rather late to this party. But here goes. Do you even realise that these are two opposites? I will start by saying that I do have some minor sympathy for the Goons after their lost of the North. Their argument that they are unable to interdict a casino does have limited merit. Theory crafting – if there was no casino, the groups such as PL would have their own income sources (or space/sov) which could be counter-attacked. This point by the Goons fits into your own reference of “uninterruputable income sources”. But a casual counter-point; my corp was war-decced by a merc group. This merc group provided no explanation; now becase I do not know the source of their funds, then “uninterruputable income sources” applies. This has been legit game mechanics in Eve for a very long time. Both at the macro and the micro level. Shall I point out that CODE receives donations, thus attacking CODE directly does not interupt their income sources? It is common to use suicide gank ALT character, whilst the main income earning character is safe from reprisal. Again “uninterruputable income sources”.

      Looking at your second quote. I believe you would be referring to the forth coming Industrial Arrays – which will a) require a corp and thus be open to war-dec b) follow the functionalty of the citadel by having the seven un-anchor. We arrive at “uninterruputable income sources”. Similar to the posit that PL does not have soveignty to be counter-attacked, high-sec aggressors do not have a structure they need to defend.

      “New Eden is a single, interconnect universe things need to be in balance” – does not gel with you dividing “uninterruputable income sources” as a no to outside of high-sec, but give it a pass within high-sec.

      We are all the content in this game for each other yet; something needs to be done to encourage players to offer themselves up as content to the other guy. One of these is not like the other. Which you have made clear in the past that you believe Industrialists are patsy of content generation, it is there to be farmed.

      “Bragging rights and epeen will only take you so far before players decide they have had enough of playing the defender”. Well you are able to understand this at least. I will start that your belief behind the Industrial Arrays is short-term thinking. There will be a rush initially, then most industrialists will tire of “playing the defender”. And there will not be anymore. I have already seen this with Player Owned Custom Offices. There are quite a few planets without a POCO. They will not be replaced precisely because someone does not want to be playing the defender. So when Industrialists cease anchoring Arrays and decide to disband corp back to NPC – what are you going to do then? Last time I was on a Ice-Belt it was full of Procurers and Skiffs. If harvesters can accept a 75% level of income, then Manufacturers will also see this light.

      We are all the content in this game, some are more content than others.

    • Bozo

      “Perhaps, CCPs strategy to fix the broken risk vs. reward balance of the game will be to make highsec less safe”

      Highsec is supposed to be safe. Safe is fine. Current levels of safety, i.e. you can get ganked or wardecced but you can dance around those inconvenients by being careful, are fine.

      The problem isn’t with the risk part, it’s that the rewards are almost as good – sometimes even better – than in nullsec.

  • Aderoth Anstian

    This reminds me of the first time I ever heard someone declare that null-sec was “endgame” content.

    • Freelancer117

      lol, I read the end as don’t be pandemic.

  • Kamar Raimo

    “I can’t figure out why so many players peer enviously at other players’ space yards and their supposed greener grass.”

    I also never understood that gripe. One thing where it does merit to compare is when it comes to balance. I very much believe that ever area of space should have its unique benefits drawbacks and playstyles. It becomes an issue if some place has more benefits than drawbacks, but the only such place in my opinion was sov-null up until Aegis. Albeit I never lived in the Imperium, I did spend time inside well-established nullsec territories controlled by powerful groups. In those areas, mining and ratting used to be much more lucrative and much more safe than it was in highsec or lowsec. W-space offered more reward, but definitely also more risk. Many people – myself included – have often called the renter empires Highsec 2.0

    With NC. and PL shedding their renters and The Imperium being smashed, the DRF is the last bastion of that old model, and I hope the time will soon come where risk will also return to those areas.

  • Zaand

    What I took away from this article is that every area of eve should have the exact same benefits regardless of risk or difficulty because “teircide”. Oh, and tack on a fuck goons paragraph for good measure.

    If there is no benefit gained from living in nul sec then why the fuck would anyone want to live there? Because you really love getting ganked while ratting for the same bounties as high sec? The reason people look at their neighbors lawn is because their neighbor has something they either want or need. Better moons to mine, better Tru sec for ratting, closer to trade hubs, or simply more space to live in. In your proposal CCP would just give every new player their own little safe system and everyone would play hello kitty island adventure in space. Disparity drives conflict, conflict drives Eve, not “equal but seperate”.

    • DireNecessity

      Interesting. I thought it had a consistent theme: Humiliation

      I definitely need to work on my titles. “Abusing Humiliation” perhaps?

    • Bozo

      What Zaand wrote.

      I’ve lived in sovnull, I’ve lived in w-space, and I make my ISK from incursions because it’s better than 95% of nullsec ISK sources for less effort. I have seeded markets in sovnull – massive logistical headache. Doing industry in highsec is way easier and scales better, so what industry I’m doing now is in highsec (with some nearby lowsec). Because you get all those stations, you get courrier contracts, you get markets, you can autopilot as long as you do it smart.

      Your tiericide remarks work for PVP, to some extent: highsec pvp is not intrinsically better or worse than the lowsec, nullsec or wormhole variety. It’s a different meta.

      But as far as living in, let alone controlling, space? I’ll spend the bulk of my time where I have to make my ISK (sadly), and that’s got nothing to do with the entirely imagined “joys” of nullsec or w-space. I loved the w-space lifestyle, until CCP nerfed its income to the ground, so I’m not living there anymore until I get independently wealthy (fat chance!).