Stephen King is probably my favorite popular writer, though I have a changeable relationship with him.(1) When he's on his game, though, I don't think anyone writing today can come up with more memorable scenes and phrases. There's a great phrase that he used in -- I'm pretty sure -- The Stand. And I'm not going to quote it exactly. But a character points out that the Bible has several points where important figures wander the wilderness "for forty days and nights." The character then amusingly adds that "forty days and nights" is "a Jewish expression meaning 'nobody really knows exactly how long he was gone, but it was a while.'"
And that's where I am right now: still wandering the wilderness, for forty days and nights. ;-) It's a time in my EVE career that will probably soon be coming to an end, but it's been very educational while I've been doing it.
Regular readers will know that I've been spending the bulk of this time running incursions. Incursion fleets are an interesting mix of high-sec bears, null-sec alts, and former null residents like myself who are slumming it while we wait to see "what comes next" in EVE. Still, most incursion runners are of the first sort of EVE player. And as I've said a couple of times, the actual running of incursions is usually fairly routine, which leaves a lot of time for chatting about EVE- and non-EVE-related topics. In this way, I'm still able to participate in the social aspect of EVE despite not having been in a corp or alliance for several months. And happily, I've run into very few truly annoying people in incursions fleets... almost none, really.(2) Either truly annoying people aren't invited back to fleets by FCs, or they've learned not to speak to prevent this happening. ;-)
I've only been in one high-sec only corp, and that was only for a very short period of time four years ago. All of my corps have either been null residents, or training-for-null corps. As a result, until this year -- starting with my CSM run in January and especially since I started wandering the wilderness -- I hadn't spent a lot of time talking with dedicated high-sec EVE players.
Doing so has been a bit of a revelation.
I've already written about the Goon version of Hulkageddon currently happening in Gallente space. Now, Pandemic Legion has announced that they're going to severely restrict their output of technetium, a vital component of T2 production. PL seems to be in this for the long haul, and seem to content to wait several months if needed for this action to have an impact on T2 prices across New Eden.
Null-sec residents in general and null-sec residents on CSM6 in particular have been ticked off for quite some time about what they see as a production imbalance between high-sec and null-sec, but that's probably a topic for a full post sometime. For now, you can take out of this that PL wants to make high-sec residents realize that null is providing a lot of the toys that high-sec residents are playing with.
Except for one minor detail: they're not.
While playing around in incursions yesterday, during slack time while we were chatting, I brought up the GSF oxytope thing in the fleet convo. To my surprise, three different players in the fleet (including the FC), all of whom had been playing EVE for years, didn't know or care what Oxygen Isotopes were or what they were any good for. After I and another former null-sec resident explained it, they still didn't care.
The high-sec bears all enjoyed the story, of course. But that's all it was to them: a story. Something happening in a far-off foreign land that they will never visit. It was about as relevant to them as politics in Sri Lanka. One guy summed it up: "So, it's a bunch of null-sec guys scamming a bunch of other null-sec guys for something only null-sec guys need." Other than the very occasional Gallente/Shadow tower in high-sec, I had to admit that he had a point. Silos are useless in high-sec, so you just don't see a lot of Gallente or Shadow towers there.(3)
There's this whole other layer of EVE players sitting underneath the null-sec residents that find null politics and actions irrelevant... even comical. A lot of null residents call them "pubbies". But the pubbies, for their part, don't even bother thinking about the null residents enough to come up with an insulting nickname for them.
When viewed from this perspective, even the actions taken by PL aren't going to have the impact they think they're going to have. Low- and null-sec residents might need dozens of T2 ships per year, but high-sec residents don't. You just don't see all that many T2 ships in high-sec. Your average high-sec resident flies T1 battle-cruisers and battleships, then upgrades to a faction battleship or pirate battleship, or goes straight for a T3. At best, you see a few logis and command ships. Sure, T2 fittings will also eventually affected, but say the price of T2-fitting a ship doubles. High-sec residents don't track prices of T2 mods. They'll just buy them, and go on with their lives. It's not like they're going to buy very many T2 modules in any case. They just don't buy lose ships at the rate that null-sec residents do.
So again, the PL action is "a bunch of null-sec guys scamming a bunch of other null-sec guys."
Anyway, just a little Monday philosophy. Wandering the wilderness has given me an interesting perspective on EVE, that's for sure.
(1) Long tangent. I love SK's writing when he just puts his foot down on the gas and drives. Nobody can draw you into a story faster when he does this. But when he tries to do meta, or worse, tries to delve into Baby Boomer "culture", he's almost unreadable. To use a baseball analogy (something I know he'd appreciate), SK is a great fastball and curveball pitcher, but his change-up and his screwball both stink. This makes Under The Dome, Cell, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon my favorite recent SK books, and books six and seven of The Gunslinger series my least favorite recent SK books.
(2) I'd still like to have plain old numeric standings back, though. I need a standing in EVE for "I don't hate you, but I don't want to hang out with you." -1.0 or so.
(3) Each type of POS gets a racial bonus, just like ships. Gallente and Gallente pirate POSs get a bonus to the size of a structure called a Silo, which stores the materials harvested from moons in low- and null-sec. Silos are useless in high-sec. I own a small Gallente tower myself, but the only thing I use it for is putting up a temporary safe spot in low/null-sec or WH systems if I want to handle something in the system and need a safe place to stash an alt for a couple of hours while I do it.