Thursday, February 9, 2012

The CSM, Low-Sec, and Faction War

After writing this I went and read this. Needless to say, I should read the forums more often.

That is all.

*End Edit*

I hate the CSM.

I'm a pirate in low-sec, who does not like commitments, does not like politics, does not like to spend hours grinding anything. I hate huge fleets. I hate shooting POSes and other inanimate objects.

And now they want me to weed through TL:DR forum posts to make informed decision (or not) about a CSM member because apparently the CSM does matter, does have a say, and will affect my game play.

It's not about nullsec vs low-sec. It's not about faction war vs supercapitals. What it ultimately comes down to is serious game play vs casual game play. The fact remains that the people who enjoy politics and long-term commitments and big projects gravitate toward null-sec. People who prefer casual gameplay where they can log on without some dude breathing CTAs down their neck gravitate toward low-sec where it's not about sov wars anymore.

This is why the CSM is usually null-sec big block people, or whatever the heck they call it. Because *those* people like that sort of thing, and most 'low-sec people' do not. We are rarely represented because just running for the CSM goes against the style of play we enjoy, and pushes us to become something that we are not--policy pushing, drama llamas who have more fun 'organizing' then actually blowing things up.

Maybe, that's all about to change.

The Casual Gamer

Many people say 'EVE is a sandbox' and sometimes I think that they are insinuating that EVE isn't supposed to be casual gamer friendly. What they don't see is that the casual gaming aspects of EVE are already in place--they just need to be tweaked a little to be truly effective. If EVE had more casual gaming aspects, I'd guarantee a lot more people would be interested in playing the game...or continuing to play the game. All of a sudden they could do something in EVE that's not a total time sink.

What kind of tweaking?

As a casual game player in EVE, I think about:


I don't have a lot of time, patience, and my attention span is not very big. So when I GCC and you force me to sit for 15 minutes before I can move on without getting shot at by the gates, it is somewhat problematic for me and a big turn-off. Usually, I get sidetracked while I'm waiting and end up playing another game that doesn't require me to sit around twiddling my thumbs for a timer.

I don't have time to create a big fleet that can deal with bubbles and large null-sec alliance camps in null-sec. Therefore, I must pvp in low-sec by myself or with a small-gang I rustle up. Therefore I go GCC. Therefore, you force me into a certain 'zone' as a certain type of player and then punish me for it. Fail.

Energy and Motivation

I hate grinding for 'stats' and I frequently change my mind. So, the whole sec status system is a cunundrum as a game mechanic for more casual players.  If I choose to become a null-sec pilot, I do not have to grind at something to get back to empire. If I choose to become a high-sec mercenary, I do not need to grind something to go to null-sec instead. But if I'm a low-sec pvper, I must grind away if I change my mind to go somewhere else. Huge fail.

A HUGE distinction should be created between general 'piracy' of a role-playing sense in low-sec, and hard core piracy such as jet can thievery and suicide ganking in high-sec. I'm not sure if you'd call it different things or just try to separate the game mechanics a little but the two ideas are not really the same. In general, people who are flashy are generally not 'evil' people who steal and suicide to kill others. They just happen to want to pvp in low-sec and the current game mechanics makes them look flashy.

Sec-status loss should be for the 'evil' pirates. Not the casual low-sec pvpers. Casual gamers should not be punished for being casual gamers, or become 'stuck' in a certain part of the game universe because they want to game casually. 

People complain about how 'dangerous' low-sec is for what you get. There should definately be something that draws more people to low-sec. I once heard an idea from I believe one of the CSM candidates that said it makes more sense to be able to gain sec status on only rats in low-sec instead of nullsec rats. Storylinewise, since null-sec is a big open space under no one's particular authority, why should you get rewarded for killing pirates there?

Also, instead of giving a sec status hit and a long GCC, what if the GCC was negligible, (and you only got GCC at all for engaging on a station or gate) and the gates and stations hit HARD on ANYONE engaging around them? This, and the additional perk of true pirates only being able to rat in low-sec for sec status, would force PVP away from the gates and stations and into the belts, plexes, planets, sun, etc. It would encourage low-sec pvp and appease those whiners who think it's two dangerous to travel through.

And, what about...

Faction War

Most people think that Faction War should be a place for casual-gamers, and should be the 'brother' of low-sec pvp. They may not outright say it like that, but if you read through it all, that's what they think.

The truth is, Faction War is a refugee camp right now for small-gang, casual gamer 'pirates' who can't be bothered with the above issues. People can't be bothered with being stuck in low-sec, so they looked for the biggest, freest wardec they could find. If the above issues were fixed with low-sec, then people looking for a free low-sec wardec wouldn't have as much reason to Faction War it up, and Faction War could go back into the hands of the people it was meant for.

Faction War is NOT the equivalent of low-sec pvp. It's role-playing. It's armies and goals and plans and leaders and yes, CTAs. It can and should be a mini null-sec atmosphere--for rhetoric spouting role players who actually care about the story behind the game mechanic and want to plan huge strategies against each other.

Why is this such a problem right now? Why are Faction War pilots all up in arms about CCP viewing it this way? Because they're not freaking Faction War Pilots. They are low-sec casual gamer wannabees who found a little clever way around the broken low-sec system. Talk to them someday. Do they care about being Amarr or Minmatar? Do they know what the story is behind the Minmatar except sly, sarcastic remarks about breaking away from slavery?

Once you fix low-sec, low-sec pvpers will have their own thing and will have less of a claim on Faction War. Then CCP can move Faction War in the direction they are already talking about. They could include battles in high-sec--then it would make sense to do so. A sort of cross-empire pvp role-playing game mechanic. Then people who want to role-play, and do small-gang, organized CTA stuff can do so in peace.

Yeah, it would probably be a hard break for many pilots, but eventually, someone is going to need to draw a line as to what Faction War is supposed to be, and deal with the fact that low-sec pvpers have taken it over because their own stuff is broken.

Someday, someone is going to have to figure out that some of the issues brought up by Faction War pilots and others are actually issues stemming from a greater problem--low-sec in general. Once it's fixed, I think there will be a cascading effect for the better. Perhaps a painful effect for a while, but I think if the small-gang pvpers are given some good lovin and action they will forgive the fact that Faction War was pulled out from beneath them.


  1. You were doing well until: "'s two dangerous..."

    Casual nitpicking aside, I do agree with what you're saying. Add in Jack Dant's proposals ( and low-sec could be truly awesome again.

  2. I think you have two separate topics here, that are related, and I don't think the CSM is one of them.

    "LoSec is broken" and "Faction War isn't LoSec".

    By the way, I think you have some interesting ideas, but perhaps try fleshing out one (or the other) whichever is the one you have the most interest in. CCP is listening to players, not just the CSM (although that's probably a fast-track), so a single, clear statement/issue/argument may be better than a rambling stroll through a few different topics.

  3. I guess my mind sees too many interconnections with different game mechanics, so it's hard to suggest one thing without looking at how it effects everything else.

    I agree that the CSM could probably have been for another day, but I am concerned that some CSM will push changes that will end up being a band-aid on a head cold--without looking at the bigger picture of what people are looking for...things that go beyond "I want my supercapital to dock or not" and include things like "I want to sit down for 30 minutes and be able to enjoy EVE..."

  4. RAWR! Death to the waiting mechanic! Power to the casual player!

    These are concepts I can get behind, well said. I never thought about the FW/casual PvP relationship like that, but it makes a lot of sense.

    I'm fond of the storyline aspects of EVE, but also sometimes just want some excitement without any hassle. You are right on the money about having low-sec and FW as two separate ways of providing this.

  5. Very insightful, Susan. Thank you for challenging me to think even deeper on the subject.

    I agree completely that the focus recently has zeroed in on Faction Warfare as a haven for small gang, consensual PvP, and lost track of other potential things it COULD be. And yes, once the core "Jack Dant" type issues you mention in your post are fixed, CCP can than go back to "big picture" story-related stuff to Faction Warfare. Role play was, and COULD be a big part of it, but the reality is that it hasn't been.

    This is why I'll continue to stump for changes regarding fixes to the core mechanics, because while it sounds good on paper, if RP motivations were enough to keep FW vibrant, we wouldn't be in this mess to begin with. There still needs to be some motivational factors for plexing, beyong bragging rights over name-only occupancy of a given system.

    I would just be careful to make statements like "Faction Warfare pilots aren't Faction Warfare pilots." There certainly those like you and I who recognize the need to fix the fundamental mechanics crippling low sec PvP (GCC, sec status, gate guns, etc - which I push for in my platform.) However, Faction Warfare has provided an opportunity for "casual RP-ers" who may not want to write fan fiction and talk in character, but who enjoy fighting for one race or the other for whatever arbitrary reason, and that's fine too.

    I welcome expansions of FW further into high sec *eventually*, as well as more heavy story involvement. I'd LOVE to see some live events encourage more blending of story with the ongoing actions of capsuleers. But all of these "big picture" fixes should NOT come at the expense of fixing core low sec mechanics first, and getting the motivational issues for Faction Warfare fixed as well.

    This is why I've been so concerned with CCP discussing "massive overhauls" because I'm afraid they'll attempt to take the existing broken occupancy mechanics and try to force them to spread out into the game, instead of making the mechanics fun first, and letting it expand naturally again to the point it actually needs the more formalized leadership structures. Simple cart-before-the-horse stuff to consider here, is all.

  6. Imho, one thing that low sec needs is a bit of reality. In reality, if t he police see the crime rate go up, they send more cops.. I think that, if a system begins to get a lot of pvp, the sec status should go up a little. Conversely, quiet systems should see their sec status dropped (0 sum math)

  7. I guess I need to figure out who Jack Dant is....and what exactly it is he wrote. That's like the millionth time someone has mentioned him to me lately.

  8. For your readers who don’t want to dig through forums,The TL:DR for Jack Dant's proposal, (also a core part of my CSM platform), is making neutral aggression in low sec only capable of lowering your sec status to -2.0. You’d have to do “true piracy”, meaning pod kills or high sec attacks without a sanctioned wardec, to go below -2.0. Furthermore, pilots with ANY negative sec status are attackable by others in low sec, without triggering GCC. Attacks in low sec against high sec rating players would still trigger GCC as usual.

    This allows a lot more “weekend warriors” to engage in casual low sec PvP without the deterrent of knowing it will permanently prevent them from operating in high sec again. It also means that, like you pointed out in your blog, the ones who use FW as a means for casual PvP can just do that freely on gates now without needing to use FW as a giant war dec and nothing more. Really good stuff, and supported by an overwhelming amount of us that have lived in low sec and loathe how restrictive security measures are right now in terms of discouraging casual PvP.

  9. Overall, I agree. However, granted, ya don't know me well, but I do try to tie everything back to a "story", an in-game REASON for why things are happening and why they are the way they are. I believe if you make even a sketched-out story backdrop, you can easily create mechanics that work seamlessly and well. If you just "arbitrate" things, as CCP does very frequently, well, you have this big heaping pile of shit mess that is well, most of the game mechanics period.

    "I once heard an idea from I believe one of the CSM candidates that said it makes more sense to be able to gain sec status on only rats in low-sec instead of nullsec rats. Storylinewise, since null-sec is a big open space under no one's particular authority, why should you get rewarded for killing pirates there?"
    Easy "story" answer to that: a capsuleer is a free agent, able to work for whomever they like, however they like. Nullsec represents space not controlled by the empires, however there is NPC-controlled null: Stain, Curse, part of Delve, Venal, and did you know the Serpentis HQ world is actually in Fountain, a SOV-null region?
    Given that the "HQs" of pirate organizations are outside the boundaries of empire space, where they cannot themselves directly go to "take the fight home" to the pirate orgs....makes perfect sense to enlist capsuleers to go do some "Soldier of Fortuning" over there.
    "We'll pay you lots of ISK and give sec status if you go to their own turf and take the fight to them..." sorta thing.

    Again, CCPs execution is terribad, resulting in a free "ISK and sec status faucet" to anyone who either joins a big bad null bloc, or sneaks around in NPC null and manages not to get popped ... and again that results from CCP "arbitrating" mechanics.

    I like your style of thinking with this post precisely BECAUSE, as you said, you start thinking about how "well if we change x, great we fixed x but what does that do to y now, and how do those changes influence b?"

    If CCP thought like you did, we wouldn't be having these posts and comments right now.