The Shifting Tides: Dynamic high- and low-sec

Most EVE players have been to the great trade hub of Jita 4-4, and of these some would have seen the memorial outside the undock, and of them, fewer still would’ve bothered to read its description. And of these h- okay this actually doesn’t matter. Why I’m mentioning this at all is because the infoscription (information inscription???) on the structure contained the following:

Jita memorial - picture courtesy of EVE Travel

“This was once a memorial to the winners of a riddle contest sponsored by the late entrepreneur Ruevo Aram. After standing proud for half a decade, it was destroyed in late YC 113 by capsuleers who were staging a mass uprising against an intolerable status quo of intergalactic affairs. Today, the ruins of this once-great work of art stand as a testament to the fact that change is the universe’s only constant.”

Almost everywhere in EVE, the bolded part is true. The cyclical flow of warzone control in FW. The fluctuating market. The contesting of null-sec sov (Not sure about this, some things I’ve read suggest the two big blue donuts aren’t bothering to fight each other in a meaningful way). Ships being destroyed, pods being exploded, structures bashed, ships refitted, clones re-implanted, structures rebuilt. Everything is moving; every day is a new day. On a personal level, every fight I get into is different. Every ship I lose has its own unique story.

But I’m here today more to cast around for something that doesn’t adhere to the riddle memorial’s statement. It’s surprisingly easy. System security level, and missions.

  • System Security. All systems have a set security level. 0.1 – 0.4 is low-sec, and 0.5 – 1.0 is high-sec. For what I’m going to discuss, there’s no need to go into null-sec (<0.1).
  • Missions. Having ground through countless Level 2s, and assisted some friends with 3s and 4s, I can safely say that missioning changes the first few times, then when you start picking up the same missions over and over again, and simply have to glance at EVE-Survival to find every detail you need to successfully complete a mission, the novelty fades quickly. Not to mention missions are a seemingly arbitrary way to gain standings and ISK, with nearly no real ‘oomph’ in terms of the player feeling like they’re contributing to the shifting tides of New Eden. Even in a hostile FW plex, capturing it brings my militia one step closer to taking the system, which pushes up our warzone control. With missions, there is no bigger picture except grinding to the next level, and then maybe having access to locator agents and jump clones.

The theme around New Eden’s lore at the moment involves the slipping grasp of the four empires (Gallente, Amarr, Minmatar and Caldari) on the affairs of the universe, due mainly to the growing influence of us capsuleers. But also there’s the ever-present onslaught from Sansha Kuvakei, and as the empires grow weaker opportunistic pirates on the fringes of empire space close in like vultures, ready to tear apart peace and order as soon as CONCORD lets them.

  • CONCORD. The police force that ensures empire space is relatively safe. Surely at this point we would expect their resources to be spread thin, if not at breaking point. Dealing with unruly capsuleers, repelling constant Sansha incursions and keeping a check on the growth of pirate factions amongst other tasks they must perform, CONCORD should be reflecting the struggle the empires face with their fall from power.

So what if missions had the ability to alter system security, which initially was lowered due to a weakened CONCORD presence?

secstatus
Snapshot of the high-sec ‘fringes’ of Molden Heath.

Here is what part of Molden Heath looks like right now. Now imagine it with Gelfiven now as low-sec. Why? Well, CONCORD is too weak to defend it constantly, and it slackens presence there to still be able to insta-blap gankers in Jita. The constant pressure by pirates on this relatively quiet high-sec system just wasn’t worth defending, so they move back to Teonusude (system nearest the Fittakan label), and hold that point instead.

Now, the high-sec systems in this area is quiet agent-rich, particularly for the Republic Fleet faction. This means plentiful security missions. What happens in these missions? Well, EVE-Survival can tell you that. Many pirates are blapped by shiny missioning ships. And as pirates are routed and destroyed, their strength in that area dwindles, and suddenly they find that their new outposts in Gelfiven are weak enough for small CONCORD fleets to repel them. Suddenly, Gelfiven’s security status is back in the green. How this operates can be similar to how faction warfare systems change hands. Lets say Gelfiven is high-sec, like how it is currently. There is a contestability bar, and this is pushed up by a certain % every hour. Capsuleers running missions in systems within a certain number of jumps (I’d say 4-5), push that back down. If the bar is maximised, the system flips at downtime. Then the opposite is true. Every hour contestability is pushed down by the local pirates’ presence growing stronger, and missioners push it up to bring it back to high-sec.

As added incentive, missions run in Gelfiven now give more rewards, and perhaps even Level V agents can give you missions in that system, even when it’s high-sec.

So it makes sense in the lore, and breaks up the static system securities, and makes missions at the edges of high-sec more compelling. Now there’s just the technical implementation issues. Or as inhabitants of New Eden have come to lovingly term: SOON™.

Clarification: There has been feedback that this is a ‘win’ for  high-sec dwellers. How I envisaged the system is that (and yes I may not have made this obvious), since the empires and by extension CONCORD is weakened, high-sec systems become low-sec, and all low-sec systems remain unchanged. Thus, missioners have to fight to keep their previously safe systems safe, and get a few rewards for doing so. That’s the extent to which they benefit. Basically, constant missioning means nothing changes, but spend a few days without addressing the pirate threat (perhaps contestability could compound on the pirate side) and eventually you lose the system and have to grind it back to high-sec. It gives meaning to the missioning grind, and involves capsuleers a little more in the whole weakening empires story, at any rate more than now, where CCP seem to just be saying that our existence is what is weakening the empires.

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