On January the 18th, an interesting post was put up over at EVE Lost and Found, which you can read here.
After reading and analyzing this post, which is quite well written and argued, I feel the need to publish a bit of a reply.
After conducting a study, the author argues that null-sec is far safer for PVE than high-sec.
The methodology of the analysis undertaken is well done; although, as the author admits, the brevity of the sample taken means it is vulnerable.
That is not an issue for me, however. I believe, as a long-term null-sec resident, that a wider analysis would yield a similar result.
Indeed, on the surface, the result is correct, and I would not argue this at all. I would agree, indeed all of my corp-mates would agree, that null-sec is safer than high-sec for PVE.
The author’s conclusion that null-sec is therefore broken, however, is faulty.
He/she failed to ask the question: Why is it safer?
Consider this quote from the post:
“Let me put my cards up front and put my argument in as simple terms as I can. I have no real opinion about risk and reward in high sec. The conclusion I favor is this: PVE in null security space should be more dangerous. In fact…
PVE in null security space is broken.“
In my opinion, where the author fails to draw a correct conclusion is in the reasoning.
When one is aiming to extract a reasonable conclusion from some fairly convincing statistics, one must always ask, “Why?”. This is correct scientific process in action.
So let’s ask the question here, why is null-sec safer?
Incredibly, Gevlon Goblin’s comment on this post is, in my opinion, correct (even if it’s typically judgmental and aggressive):
“There is an alternative: people in HS are generally dumber. You won’t see anyone ratting in nullsec with 30+ reds in local. You see idiots keep ratting/mining with 30+ flashy gankers in local linking kills and praising James 315.”
Gevlon has come close to what I believe to be the main reason null-sec is far safer than high-sec, although I doubt that one should be throwing accusations of idiocy around so liberally when one is mostly famous for being an idiot.
Anyway, the reason null-sec is safer than high-sec is simple; people in null-sec have no choice but to play the game as it was intended. That is, intelligently, with a fair understanding of the risks, and as an MMO.
Successful null-sec ratters and miners go to great lengths to ensure their relative safety through sacrifices that many new to null-sec are initially repelled by. I have outlined these lengths below, and I believe that, upon reflection on these steps, outsiders may want to adjust their argument that null-sec is broken.
I cannot speak for the other systems, but our home system is, unsurprisingly, listed in the post’s chart. Our system is as far North as you can go, out of hot-drop range of even a BLOPS gang, without at least one mid-point in blue space. As for getting a titan in place, yeah, forget it.
This comes at a cost, though.
For a start, the market is both limited and considerably dearer than high-sec. One cannot simply jump into a hauler with a shopping list and a cold drink.
You have to get stuff shipped, which comes with a (now hefty) price tag and a wait time.
The reason the good systems are remote is simple, if you live too close to NPC null-sec, your system WILL be camped by a hot-drop cyno alt.
Gankers bitch and moan about intel channels all the time, as is to be expected from people who want easy to kill targets handed to them on a plate.
However, while high-sec PVE pilots earn ISK unconcerned by who is in local (if they’ve got any sense and are in a quiet system and in an NPC corp), wise null-sec pilots are constrained by the presence of a gang anywhere near their system.
We don’t rat AFK 23/7, as some would have you believe.
The best corps (like ours) have a volunteer with an alt in a nearby pipe system watching the in-gate; let’s see a high-sec pilot who is willing to sacrifice one client to do that.
3. Home Defense.
Unless your leadership are imbeciles who insist on docking for any neutral presence, home defense is a necessity.
Gankers would have you believe they love the “Gudfites” that renters put up, but they are patently lying.
They are there to gank shinies that have no point fitted, and they cry like babies in local when their three-man fleet lands in a bubble and is sent home via pod express. We laugh as they moan about “Pubbie renter blobbers” and “unfair fights”, because they never came to us with a fair fight in mind, now did they?
4. Minimum Requirements.
Some seem to suffer under the illusion that anyone can live in null-sec from the get-go, which is simply not the truth If you are going to PVE here. You will need all the support skills trained up, as well as the ability to fly something with a decent tank and good DPS.
5. Fealty and a Thick Skin.
There is a mentality in null-sec; that renters are “Pubbie Scum” and PVPers are the “Real” players. This is, naturally, a result of teenagers pretending to be adults, but it is of no concern to anyone I know here.
However, if you don’t like basement dwelling nose-pickers looking down said digit infested orifices at you, then you must join a PVP corp.
If you do, then toleration of being yelled at by Doritos swallowing kiddies is a solid requirement.
None of the above points is of any interest or concern to someone running level fours in high-sec.
There is another point to consider: The author of the aforementioned post has targeted the very worst systems in which to PVE in high-sec.
Gevlon’s point comes into play here, as there are hundreds of high-sec level four agent systems where you will be able to merrily earn ISK, loot and LP’s in complete peace. CCP leveled the quality of all agents ages ago, meaning all mission systems in high-sec are equal; whereas good systems in null-sec are rare, expensive and hard to get.
I know about high-sec mission running, because I have done it, many times. I have friends up there now, who would laugh if I suggested there was some risk involved in high-sec PVE.
High-sec gankers are, by their very nature, lazy. They hang out where the most kills are, so Gevlon’s “idiots” and the gankers are all happily ensconced together, hence the alarming amount of shiny losses in the demographic sample taken.
In contrast, one multi-account miner I know has mined right through every ganking event for the last five years, and he has never lost a ship.
The main point I am trying to get to is this:
The good ratting systems in null-sec have been secured and are kept secured through the combined efforts of a large group of people doing the right things with the game mechanics as they stand. Is this not playing the game as it was intended?
By the same token, isn’t it true that the large amount of people getting killed in those high-sec systems are at high risk because they are doing the polar opposite?
I cannot agree with the authors conclusion that null-sec is broken. The Ishtar is broken, no doubt about that, which I have written about in the past and CCP has still failed to address.
The direction CCP is heading with the prospect of activity based sovereignty should see more PVE in null-sec, not less.
If they increase risk or nerf bounties in null-sec yet again, all they will achieve is a continuation of Space Desert Online.
I think high-sec is broken, very broken. There is no risk versus reward in high-sec. If you do your research and fly smart, there is no risk in high-sec at all.
The same cannot be argued for null-sec, not at all. True, you can fly smart and minimize the risk, but in doing so you cannot PVE constantly.
The argument I hear from high-sec is that their PVE should be less risky and ours more risky.
MY argument is that you can’t make risk-free any more free from risk than it already is, can you?
Their argument is, in reality, that high-sec should be idiot proof.
Good luck with that one.