Utopia: Highsec

 
This week’s column is the first in a series where I dare to imagine my perfect EVE. An EVE worked on by an infinite amount of developers. Today I look at high sec and how with an infinite amount of man hours, it could become more alive, with added potential for residents to become involved with one another.

War has come

I have previously written about high sec warfare, the combatants, their casus belli and my own ideas on how to change it up. While I am to an extent happy with high sec warfare as it stands now, I do feel that war should no longer be a sideshow for those travelling through or living in high sec. Much like in the real world which EVE strives to mirror, conflicts happening in an area should massively decrease the ability of high sec residents to go about their day to day business safely. Travel Conflict happening in a given region should come with an escalating system of Concord imposed warnings about movement through the affected area. Initially this would simply be a warning that there is a war zone on your route, with reminders to ensure pilots do not get involved, or even loiter in the area.
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Prolonged or escalated conflict should heighten the possibility of Concord shutting down the gates to a system to all but the combatants and their allies. All other traffic would be diverted, effectively introducing a no fly zone until the fight is over. For a most people this would cause minimum interruption to their travel as, after all, the majority of wars in high sec are tiny, insignificant affairs. But when large entities such as RvB, EUNI or the high sec merc voltron go to war with one another, the wars should alter the lives of those around them. An interesting side effect of this could be that it causes Jita-Gates-On-Sunday-Syndrome, gathering many vulnerable targets in one place and resulting in a gankers paradise. Missions There are a couple of options when it comes to how warfare and missions could interact. The longer a war goes on and the more that war centres on a system, mission agents would send less and less players there to complete missions. They would do this by citing an inability to guarantee a pilots safety. Starting with lower level missions, such an event would ramp up until even level 4 mission agents are going “lol nope”. Alternatively, a much riskier set of missions would be introduced with pilots facing off against smaller numbers of enemies, similar to the burner missions introduced in this weeks Hyperion release. Provided some feasible narrative, pilots undertaking said missions would be flagged ‘suspect’, essentially for violating a Concord ban on operations in the war zone. Such missions will have considerably higher rewards to offset the risks involved. Industry Thanks to the industrial changes brought about in Crius, most notably the addition of Teams for industry, it becomes quite easy to envision how an ongoing conflict will warp and twist the industry landscape of the system or constellation it is in. Such things as:
  • Increased costs for teams, after all only the foolhardy would want to work in or close to a war zone.
  • Only teams with a focus on ships and modules being widely utilised in the war would be available in that constellation.

Peacetime

Obviously there is more to making high sec come alive than by simply making sanctioned warfare have more of an effect on the landscape. Indeed, each of the options I look at below can change up high sec if taken to the extremes, assuming an infinite number of developer hours. All without the need for two tribes to go to war. Travel We’ve all been there, rush hour traffic jams, terrible holiday traffic and the like. So why not turn the “traffic control” message from jumping to a system under heavy TiDi into an actual feature. The more traffic on a gate, the slower it gets processed by the operators. Gates to systems with heavy numbers of NPC kills could offer preference to combat vessels. Gates to industry systems would give priority to industrials. Everyone else still gets through, they are just not prioritised.
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With an unlimited amount of developer time, the old school super highways could make a return of sorts. However, rather than being fixed, they would appear dynamically. For example if the current pipe between Jita and Amarr was massively congested, then a bypass ignoring some of route could open up, say Amarr>Kaaputenen>Jita. Pilots would not necessarily find out about this without interacting with other players. Even then, the new route may not last long enough for many pilots to take advantage. Missions Open missions, group missions, public missions – these are all ideas that have come up in the past with the express aim of allowing players to PvE with others, without the need for being in a fleet, or having standings set, or even sharing the mission. A viable reason to offer such missions is making them the “endgame” of missioning. Over time, as a constellation has missions completed in it, the pool of missions taking place there would shrink until no more solo missions were available. The public mission to secure the constellation and finally push out all the enemy factions would then appear in the journals of all pilots who completed a mission there over the past three to seven days (changing based on popularity of the area). These missions would have multiple parts that require completion over a period of days by groups of pilots (fleeted or not). Once complete, rewards would be paid out, and the local agents would begin to offer regular missions again, ramping up from levels one to four. W50V2M9 How would this sort of change make the world feel more alive? Imagine groups of mission runners hammering agents until they run out of missions. Then for several days after they would be running the ‘endgame’ missions to clear the area of hostile NPCs, all the while fighting off loot thieves, gankers, locals who are annoyed at the sudden lack of regular missions, and so on. Even industrialists could get in on the action, buying loot, selling needed materials to the mission runners, especially replacement ships. Industry Currently, thanks to Crius, industry has the ability to affect how players interact on a stronger basis than many features have ever done. With player collaborations on which teams to bring to a given system being a key aspect. However, given how recent Crius is, it is difficult to offer up my own ideas on how industry could change up the high sec landscape until the industry revamp has some mileage on it. One thing that could work is tying industry to missions as CCP SoniClover discussed with CSM 8 at the Winter Summit:

“Possible example mechanic from SoniClover: imagine if manufacturing costs are influenced by how many “bad guys” are taken out by mission runners.”

If you take this idea and build on it, you have a system similar to that I talked about earlier, were the more violent a system the less teams would want to work there, or at least require considerably higher bids. Obviously the reverse would be true as well.   The above is all purely theoretical, and it should also be noted that all the options presented would not work in todays EVE given the current technical limitations. Nor would the silent majority allow these to interfere in the execution of their easy, safe lives. Still it makes for an interesting thought exercise. Now, who else imagined an infinite number of Fozzies?  
Tags: highsec, mangala

About the author

Mangala Solaris

Mangala Solaris has been playing EVE since 2006. In his time in EVE, he have been a missioner, a miner, a scammer, a trader & even a null bear, however over the past 4 years or so Mangala has been heavily involved in Red Versus Blue, and more recently has become one the key figures in the NPSI communities of EVE. Somehow in addition to all of this, he finds time to represent the players as a member of CSM 9.


  • OK

    “This week’s column is the first in a series…”

    OK

  • Anon

    Sorry, any one of these changes will quickly alienate another group of individuals that the game desperately needs. Why not move toward MORE sandbox and balance and less ‘l22t PvP’. All destruction, all the time makes for a poor game .. .work within the sandbox and let people play the way they want to. Push elite alliances to provide targets instead of feeding off new players.

  • Bill Bones

    So your idea to improve hisec is to make impossible to log in, do your stuff and log out unbothered by even more PvP, some stupid war or whatever space dragons…

  • Endovior

    Interesting ideas, but you’re coming at it from the wrong angle, I think. When looking to make change, don’t look to take away things from people, look to add them, instead. Don’t punish people because there’s a thing going on, offer rewards for picking a side. Start by having agents in warzones offer war missions to both sides, which will encourage them to be in space and active in the war zone, and give benefits relevant to ‘control’ of the war zone. If the war is hot enough, maybe offer war missions to neutrals in the area, with the opportunity to pick a side to ‘support’ in this way… at the risk of becoming a valid PvP target for the opposing side. If the rewards are good enough, people will get involved on their own.