Tuesday, April 17, 2012

PvP and EVE Part 2: LoSec

LoSec has been the source of a lot of heated discussion over the years. Is it broken? Working as intended? Can you "fix it"? I could go on and on, and as a long time resident of LoSec who has managed to keep my sec status above -2.0 I think I can speak a bit on this topic. But that's for the end of the post. If you missed PvP and EVE Part 1: Hisec, check it out first. With that in mind, let's start looking at PvP in LoSec.

Ship Combat
LoSec has been sold as the "pirate haven" in EVE. You can engage anyone here, on gates, on stations, belts, missions, anywhere. But that engagement comes at a price, everywhere. Hostile action reduces your security status, and podding your opponent reduces it even further. But beyond that, ship combat in LoSec is fairly wide open. A few things to keep in mind is that Titan Doomsdays, Bombs, and Interdiction spheres (bubbles in general) don't work. This (along with the pervasive security status hit of combat) are the big differentiations between LoSec ship combat and NullSec ship combat. In addition, the existence of sentry guns at stargates and stations means frigate combat must occur away from these public areas. Battlecruisers (and even cruisers) can tank the gate or station guns for a while in LoSec, but
frigates and destroyers will pop quickly to the nearly perfect tracking and signature radius of these guns.

Market Combat
The markets in LoSec are poorly represented. Sure, some residents run missions, and some may even sell their loot on the open market, but in general the market in LoSec is weak. With less than 10% of all pilots in EVE residing in LoSec, and easy access to HiSec markets and trade hubs, there isn't a lot of profit in the LoSec market. Not to mention the fact that eventually someone will manage to destroy your hauler on the way in or out of a station or system, means that the market in LoSec really needs to be a self-sustaining one to be viable, and with the low population it just isn't. Most items are priced closer to NullSec than HiSec, and are "emergent" purchases rather than planned ones. There was a move a while ago to change this in Intaki - but I haven't heard how successful that was. If you know, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Resource Combat
LoSec should be the haven for the majority of planetary interaction. With increased returns and the ability to install player-owned customs offices (pocos) there should be significant competition for resources here, but this doesn't seem to be developing as well as it could. Most corps that are installing (or killing) pocos are doing so fairly unopposed, although some fights are happening over pocos, a flight through a losec area of space will still contain more Interbus customs offices than pocos.

Issues with LoSec PvP
I think the biggest issue with LoSec PvP is perception. PvP happens a lot in losec, and recent reports by CCP Diagoras support the fact that ship combat in LoSec is alive and well. However, the volume of actual players in LoSec suggest a much higher concentration of combat than experience (living in LoSec)

There's a proposal on the official EVE forums about this, and it's not bad.

(addendum 4/17/2012:17:00EST)
My biggest complaint with most LoSec proposals is that they are focused almost exclusively on Faction War or Piracy. Both of those are valid activities, but LoSec industry is just as valid, if even more difficult to work with. Reactions, R&D, even mining in LoSec should have some validity, with an appropriate risk:reward balance.


  1. I suspect most Losec proposals look at FW and Piracy because they are looking for a Losec niche... in other words, why do this in losec rather than Empire or Null space? I think most people tend to approach the issue by first assessing that Lo needs a reason to exist.

    Because frankly Nullsec really is at least two different classes of space that are not considered as much, NPC and Sovereign. Obviously Sovreign space has its own unique rules and issues, so in my mind at least, what really is the "point" of Losec vs. NPC Null vs the obvious Bubbles & Bombs? Do the Bubbles & Bombs + the Sec Status "ruleset" of Losec alone make it really appealing? I think that is where the issue lies.

    While Losec Industry is a valid lifestyle choice, why can't those also potentially be included under the FW umbrella or something else entirely? Again, apart from Bubbles & Bombs is Industry in Losec significantly different from NPC Null?

    1. One of the coolest things about EVE is the sandbox nature of the game. Of "areas" in EVE (Hi, Lo, NPCNull and SovNull) LoSec is the one with the poorest structure to build a sandcastle in. Faction War "happens" in LoSec because that's where the complexes were put by CCP. It also happens in HiSec since it is an ongoing wardec between the Empire Factions. Piracy could be a LoSec lifestyle, but there are a lot of odd game mechanics around it.

      Other than FW, LoSec has little structure to play within, and telling someone that to play in LoSec means you have to play in FW doesn't provide gameplay in about half of LoSec systems. I'd write up a bit more about LoSec overall (I did some brainstorming back during CSM 5 on an idea sharing site with then CSM-chair Mynxee and others), but I get a lot of push-back because people want to pigeonhole losec into those two narrow areas, and they don't apply globally in LoSec.

    2. I would agree that you shouldn't pigeonhole it, but since it is sort of the unique feature that happens to be mostly in Losec, it is certainly a part of the equation. I assume that CCP placed it in Losec on purpose, with the idea that those were the contested border areas where the Empires would be squabbling over. Places like Kashmir in India/Pakistan.

      Really to me it depends on what your "big picture" goal is. And here the "roleplay" aspect of EVE applies (or should). If you are in Hisec, then you are playing in the controlled, civilized space belonging to an Empire (plus a few odd areas ceded to groups like CONCORD). If you are out in Sov Null you have left the trappings of Empire to carve out your own empire. Presumably NPC Null means you are a squatter in the backyard of another entity that has done the NPC equivalent of Null Sov, and for game story purposes that cannot be challenged by players... So it is the Sov space of not a legit Empire, but a Megacorporation or Pirate entity, Rogue Drones, etc. Throw in Wormhole Space as the oddball Null between NPC and Sov.

      That leaves Losec. So what IS Losec? It is (storywise) effectively the Suburbs and DMZs of the Empires, nominally controlled, prone to flash conflicts between the Empires, and still watched by, but not patrolled by, CONCORD.

      That identity is what makes it the location for FW. So the question is, do you build on that story hook and concept? If you do then things like Militias, FW, shady business practices, etc. are the kinds of things that make sense for Losec, and you figure out how to translate that into game systems. Or alternatively you just say screw that and focus solely on a game system that isn't tied to connected to the EVE narrative. I favor the former personally, but I see merits to both. I can envision an expanded FW type system where an Indy Corp can participate without having to be in a Militia, for example.

    3. The problem, as with anything else, is the more you try and force it, the more you infringe on the sandbox or generate unintended consequences.

      For example, how can you get Trade Hubs to operate in Losec when Hisec is so close by and more advantageous for security reasons, etc. If you offer an incentive too mild, no one will care. If the incentive is too good, everyone will relocate or complain.

      From a story perspective, the Black Market seems ideal... Lower taxes or transaction costs? Maybe, but that doesn't seem to be sufficient to get people to bring juicy haulers and the like to an area where they will be popped with nigh impunity.

  2. I am sure it has been suggested before, but what about adding the 4 Pirate Factions to FW? If you sign up with say, Serpentis, you are a War Target to Gallente Militia and vice versa? Although I suppose that may be over-complicating it.

    I guess a lot of these ideas are sort of looking to place an official stamp on an otherwise purely sandbox idea. What is a losec Pirate? A label you either apply to yourself or others apply to you. The question is does the "roleplay" portion of Eve really matter? I suppose it does to those who advance these kinds of ideas.