Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wandering the wilderness

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.


  1. "There's this whole other layer of EVE players sitting underneath the null-sec residents that find null politics and actions irrelevant... even comical."

    I think the fact that you place them 'underneath' is telling.

    As for all the rest of the post, I agree: nullsec guys like to say how much their destruction of ships (or production of moon goo) drives the EVE economy, but then you look at Dotlan and see that in any given 24 hour period, Empire space kills 3 to 4 times as many ships as null... http://evemaps.dotlan.net/stats

    Sure, a lot of em are tech1 ships, but we're talking about economy, not bragging rights -- My manufacturing buddy will never go broke making an endless supply of Merlins or Hurricanes, and that's the only economy he cares about.

  2. I chose the word "underneath" deliberately. This will become clearer when I sit down to write the high-sec vs null-sec "who's relying on who" post, but one of the cruxes of that issue is that null-sec residents are pissed that they have to rely so much on high-sec mining and manufacturing.

    In that way, high-sec residents are very much "underneath" null-sec. They're the foundation that null-sec is resting on.

  3. I saw your post yesterday about the oxytopes and I too was not phased. I also think that raising the price of T2 ships will have little impact to high sec. There are very few activities in empire space that require a T2 ship and if the price gets too high we can just find something else to do until the market adjusts back down. Once the demand goes away the price will have to decrease.

    I think the biggest problem right now is the difference in how Eve is perceived by the people that live in null and those that live in empire. The difference is fundamental and goes beyond ship balancing or moon distribution.

    I'd like to see the population numbers if Eve had two servers, the current version and a separate universe where everyone is immune to PVP unless they deliberately change a setting to flag themselves for PVP. I'm fairly certain one server would be populated and the other would struggle to have a few thousand players.

    The devs don't seem to realize the game would have more subscribers, more fighting, and retain more players if they provided some safety for the bulk of the population which doesn't want to worry about being engaged in PVP at any time.

  4. A few months is not "the long haul" in hisec care bear time frames.

    ROI on Cybernetics 5/+5 implants? About 2 years. ROI on researching ME from 10 to 11? About a year. ROI on fitting billion-ISK modules to your mission farming ship? A couple of years. Things that happen in a month or two are day trading opportunities.

    As for null sec being "dependent" on hisec? It wouldn't be so bad if null sec denizens actually supported industrial efforts instead of mocking them and using "null sec industry" as bait to lure fat killmaill stuffers into EC-P8R.

    By griefing industrialists like that, null sec denizens are hurting themselves. This is not even taking into account the disdain shown for miners or manufacturers in null sec. You're not carrying a gun, therefore you are target for ridicule.

  5. @Ruar

    And what would happen to the economy once everyone had bought their ships?

    EVE is a sandbox; dealwitit.

  6. @Ruar re Subscriber numbers: I believe the devs know this better than some PvP players I listened to.

    @Anonymous replying to Ruar: Hi-Sec'ers lose ships as well, so the economy could still exist and function. Prizes of course would be radically different from what they are today.

    @Mara Rinn: ++

  7. What would happen?

    Again (and again, and again) I point out that those highsec bear systems kill four times that ships that nullsec does on any given day of the week, in any week, in any month. EVE's economy would tool along just fine, even without the couple thousand guys who aren't housetrained well enough to crap in the sandbox.

    What would happen is that the minority nullsec players would find out how very, very minority they actually are.

    (Personally? I don't care either way. I don't live in known space.)

  8. @Doyce

    Its quite clear (sometimes too clear) to anyone who has spent time in null that the its nullsec where most of the energy spent in game goes. That's where you find every poopsocking neckbeard, bored russian tycoon, shift worker and every other player with too much time on their hands and their fifteen alts playing.

    The sheer amount of effort that has been orchestrated in setting up out of game API-integrated jabbers, mumbles, forums, killboards, authentication systems linking them all are testament to how much effort null players are (perhaps foolishly) willing to expel.

    I find it very hard to believe that a)once the alts are sorted out, they are actually a minority; and that b) if they were to leave the game en masse that it would continue with the same spark. There is just no other group in game that contributes the same life/energy to the game.

    Its flat out wrong when you assume that all of xyz ships being blown up in highsec are in fact 'highsec'ers.' Null is dependent on highsec, and its characters permeate both swaths of space. The same is (generally) not true for highsec citizens.


    There are tons of industrialists in null. There are people to fuel towers and run reaction chains, people compressing and importing minerals, manufacturers, importers/exporters etc. The industrialists they don't have are the ones who are so thin-skinned they feel slighted by even the most arbitrary of insults; taking their balls and going home because people in nullsec are 'mean.'

    People have drawn this line in the sand between nullsec and highsec players; but in reality the people in nullsec do everything the highsec players do they just pvp as well. I too have tons of spreadsheets and a market alt in Jita with which I've made tens of billions. I've done pretty much everything expect for T3 because I found wormholes a little boring.

    Nullsec and its 'denizens' just play too much of an integral role in this game for it to be feasible without them.

    There is no sandbox without destruction, nor creation.

  9. Responding more to the comments than the post by Jester.

    If all of the PVPers and their fancy moon reaction chains vanished from the game tomorrow night, you know what the practical change for me and my buddies would be?


    Atually, there wouldn't be any utterly pathetic gate camps into low sec, I could actually go out there and -play- a bit and have -fun- a bit and maybe come out and mine some of my own Zydrine for the first time in about 80 months. Wouldn't that be a thing? So if all the egos and assholes and big spenders suddenly piffed out of existence taking the stench of their sweaty t-shirts and beer soaked pleather office chairs along with them, what is that result again?

    The game would actually get bigger for me and my options would increase, I'd be able to have more fun than I already do, and believe me, I have fun.

    See, I only came back to eve maybe three months ago. First thing I did was crack my freighter out and get back to business as usual, you know what? I discovered that moving high sec stuff from high-sec to high-sec I could make about 300~ million a week. As far as I'm concerned that's decent money for one guy, one frieghter, no alts, no bots and no jita pennying.

    I don't need you, PVPer, you need me. You know what my Providence's hull been filled with? Billions in T2 ship components, ammunition, pvp hulls, t2 autocannons all the things you need to fight with, things I've brought from all over Domain and Forge and their surrounding regions to you, for a decent price. Best part: I go through the Amarr-Niarja-Jita route a couple of times a day, there are dozens of frieghters along that route doing just what I am doing.

    How many frieghters have you seen out in A5-HOL3 today?

    Hey douchebags heading out from Agil, those ships you're flying in? I put half of them there and there are more on the way, don't you worry.

    It's astonishing to me and more than a little offensive that anyone from beyond 0.4 thinks they have -any- large contribution to Eve's high-sec economy other than the endless consumption of the garbage we build for you so you can fling fragrant handfuls at eachother every day to make yourself feel cool.

    If you leave, the high-sec carebears all get richer, if you stay, we all get richer, if you freak out, we all get richer, if you set up a legion of goons to gank us day and night, we'll find a way to get richer.


    The last emotion for this post: Hilarity.

    The idea propogated by null-skulls (Jester's right, we've never even bothered to find a word for nil-sec or low-sec or null-sec dregs) that the citizens of high-sec are in any way inferior in character to low-sec dicks is about as hilarious as half-naked naked Santa Claus fucking a watermelon in drag. You know why there's always high-sec guys to mission gank, can flip and suicide bomb whenever you get bored of being shitty to people? We never give up.

    You get the shit shot out of you in your sov system, you run away, run run run all the way back to our high-sec to grief our shit and talk about how awesome you are while you pull yourself back together in our mission systems, buying the cheap goods we make in our station slots made with BPOs we had to spend hundreds of millions on just to secure a research slot and on top of that you arrogant son of a bitch you profit from the hard work of all those guys sitting in belts chatting to their buddies for four or five hours a night mining fucking omber because they can't go past 0.5 where the "real Eve players" are.

    You get your ships together, call in an alliance Jump Frieghter, leave a final fuck you to whichever industrial corps you've war-decced to pass the time and then slither back out into the great black nothingness with your wallet full and a lubed up over-inflated sense of self worth sitting in the bitch seat.

    Without us, you are nothing. Without you, we stand only to gain.

  10. Amen to #2 dude. "I don't hate you, but I don't want to hang out with you," describes about half the people I meet in eve.

  11. Right on the money, Jester.

    Personally, I love reading about all of the null-sec "drama", but, in my 3-1/2 years of high-sec carebearing, not much of what goes on in null-sec has had any long-lasting effect on high-sec game play (except for entertainment value - null-sec whining is epic).

  12. RE: SK The real horror story in "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" was that, while writing the book, Tom Gordon was actually the closer for the Red Sox. Nothing was scarier than watching him come out in a close game. Even SK couldn't top that.

    Oh EvE stuff! I think it will affect lowsec residents a lot more than hisec. Lowsec folks do go through ships rather faster and also display more of a propensity for flying lots of T2 as well. Of course no one seems to care much about lowsec anyway... but people who are in lowsec but don't have that stable of finances will probably be the real losers in this.

  13. The "line in the sand" isn't about activities, it's about risk and differing levels of comfort.

    I know Empirians that go out and PVP in low and null. Then those people come back to high sec once they are done fighting. They enjoy the risk of losing their PVP ships but don't like the idea of constantly worrying about a fight every time they undock.

    Alot of people that play MMO's are not interested in PVP. Look at the number of PVP servers for popular games compared to the number of PVE servers if you want proof. Eve has a higher capita of PVP players but the bulk of the population resides in Empire space (4th qtr 2010 QEN). The presence of so many people in high sec would indicate most players are willing to engage in PVP but on their terms and not at the whim of someone else.

    Null sec is PVP at someone else's whim. I might be able to log on for a few hours tonite and I want to spend that time having fun, not tied down to a gate that may or may not see any action. Maybe I want to do some exploration without having to worry about getting probed down and hunted. So the choice is either stay in high sec and play in the sandbox the way I wan to play, or go to null and have my actions dictated by someone else.

    What does null sec really offer that's so awesome? More challenging NPC encounters from higher lvl anoms and sites. Yeah I'd like to check those out and have some fun multiboxing the encounters, but not while having to risk PVP action when I'm not in the mood. Null also offers higher payouts for activities but the hassle of living in null isn't worth the reward.

    Hassles such as paying rent or getting evicted. Paying rent and getting evicted anyway. Paying rent and being expected to support someone else's goals. Working towards a personal goal only to have someone come in and destroy all progress. Just getting stuff in and out of null can be a pain, and incidents like the recent destruction of an indy crew don't help generate interest in trying out null.

    There doesn't have to be a line in the sand. A few changes to make playing in null less risky to those that want less risk and the bulk of the population would move. Null sec players keep redrawing the line every time they look down on people that prefer the safety of high sec. A little bit of compromise could go a long way to increasing the population of null and increasing the amount of PVP conducted.

  14. @Proletariat: If I could upvote you, I would.

    @Ruar: What you're describing is wormhole space (or damn close). Join usss...

  15. Our alliance spent a solid week mining nothing but Oxytopes (and by association LO/HW), and got filthy rich off the profits of the Oxytope prices being way overblown.

    The space we have, combined with the blues we have, means there is absolutely no reason for us to need anything in hi-sec. All of the mining, all of the manufacturing, everything our alliance/coalition needs, we take care of in our own systems. It's not that difficult, and we do it competitively, it's not like we are killing our own bottom line in order to make some of the things we make or do some of the things we do.

    I've been around the entirety of 0.0 now, seen the space that everyone has. There is no contest in which regions are most profitable/selfsustainable.

    You want to know why the Russians settled down into the Drone Regions? They figured it out.

    The entire swath of the map that is the Drone Regions is, far and away, the most self-sustaining set of regions in EVE. There is no shortage of minerals (despite claims and clamorings for Mex/Mega). There is no shortage of ICE. We have plenty of fat industrialists that are happy to just sit in their sites chewing away at the rocks all day. We have plenty of pvp happy toons that run the drone sites for a couple of hours to make their 200M isk to buy that nice fancy Vagabond or Abaddon from the Industrialist.

    And you know what else we all have? SuperCarriers. Titans. Shit you cannot fly in Hi-Sec unless you are chosen to roleplay as a Sansha Mothership (really??? a Hel? way to go ccp...)

    It is ridiculously easy to build supercarriers and titans, we don't have to import anything at all. We have everything we need right here in the neighborhood. Why do you think there was such a proliferation? Because the Russians knew, this was the place to be to build the ships that would win EVE. Not in the Moon Goo rich regions (while you can make more pure isk off the soon to be nerfed Moon Goo, you cannot get the nice healthy spread of resources out of Deklein, that you can get out of the Drone Regions)

    I don't care who you are, the thrill of flying a 20B isk ship is amazing. And I'm sure the thrill of flying a 60B isk ship is even better. I could not have picked a better place to live to experience the entirety of the game than the Drone Regions.

  16. "Oh EvE stuff! I think it will affect lowsec residents a lot more than hisec. Lowsec folks do go through ships rather faster and also display more of a propensity for flying lots of T2 as well. Of course no one seems to care much about lowsec anyway... but people who are in lowsec but don't have that stable of finances will probably be the real losers in this."

    Exactly this. I live on low sec (faction warfare) and go through as may as 5 t2 ships a week. Even though I only fly the t2 frigates, which are between 10m and 25m each this puts quite a dent in the wallet. Raising the t2 prices is gonna make me :sadface:.

    "The idea propogated by null-skulls (Jester's right, we've never even bothered to find a word for nil-sec or low-sec or null-sec dregs) that the citizens of high-sec are in any way inferior in character to low-sec dicks"

    @Proletariat, I'm not sure where your hatred of low sec players come from. I live there and have done for the last 6 months, and I have not seen more than 3 gate camps. Nor have I seen any low seccers mocking the very few high sec dwellers that come to visit. In fact, most low seccers will be delighted you've turned up. The idea that low sec is a horrible place has left it more than a little dead, because most people are terrified that jumping into anything below 0.5 will get you instantly killed.

  17. And I will downvote the prole. You prove why the communist ideal of the proletariat revolution won't work. Especially in EvE. Why do you think the PvPers need those ships? Because other pvpers blew them up. You wonder who built the ships you sold? PvPers like ME who understand that everything in this game is PvP.


    When you bought ships in one market hub or another you were part of Market PvP. When you hauled it out you influenced markets in one or another region. Moving stuff to one nullsec jumping off point or another aided pilots in one of those alliances or another, facilitating THEIR pvp. You think 300 million a week for a guy in a freighter is impressive. For you, your little market game is the end. For me my market games, my manufacturing, my plexing, my moneymaking is a means TO an end. You can rage about your powerlessness without them, but they take charge and use that power. You hate gatecamps? Find some friends and bust them up. You hate nullsecers? Go out there and shatter an empire. You want to chest beat about your 1 man against the world crusade? It's an MMO.

    EvE. Everybody vs. Everybody.

    Ruar - The button to turn PvP on is the little hazard arrow in the bottom left marked "Undock"

  18. Wormholes. The *new* end-game of Eve-Online.

    Rarely have I ever been attracted to 0.0. I know a few people out there who swear by it. More power to 'em. I can't see the attraction. Once you get in a corp of 75+ people, how many more can you get to know?

  19. @ madhaberdashers

    Proof of concept: Ego.

    Wouldn't it have saved you a lot of typing time just to say: "You are insignificant compared to me, what you do is insignificant compared to me and your ideas are pathetic."

    That's what you wanted to say, isn't it? Economy of language is one of the things I was taught as essential and thus most thoroughly when in English class.

    I never, for a moment, pretended that the Eve Online economy was some kind of lovely player-less environment where only hugs and profits occur. If it comes across that way allow me to most sincerely apologize and prostrate myself before you, oh mighty lord and any who view these comments.

    Why should my friends and I waste time and effort trying to break a gate-camp when that's exactly what the low-lifes on the other side want us to do? Why should I have to play their game when I do not desire to do so and the game I want to play? Shouldn't they want me out there, playing my game, so that sometimes our games might intersect? No they want what they want right now, immediately and only their way! Such children!

    Also, I know who built the ships I trade in, and it's not you. The only people I know from null-sec who build anything are building capitals and up, or milking moon goo, they don't trade in silly little things like Rooks and Deimos (hah!), that is the few brave carebears willing to find a pocket 0.4 and try to defend it are at work. I heard somewhere that NC was building most of it's own ships while DRF was buying them from high-sec, gee, which of those two alliances is still around?

    In summary I am much happier to let the dregs of null-sec rot in boredom while they salt their own earth with their tactics and their politics until only the most reticent and bitter husks, railing fruitlessly against anything and everything that might result in positive change because it should so much as annoy them are the only ones left.

    A strong analogy came to me while I was skinning some vegetables for thanksgiving, in my little bit of green out back many vegetables grow, one man, one little bit of land, much productivity.

    You and your ivory tower compatriots sit atop your pillars overlooking vast stretches of the richest countryside in the "world", but, there are only your two hands to till your vast soil, and my two hands to till mine. Yet both fields bear much, and are limited by their size.

    Think of all we could accomplish if the thousands of men like me in high-sec could be brought out to your great fields, think of the productivity that could take place, it would be like nothing you can imagine. It is the reason I am so furious with the elitist, snobbish and petulant attitude that null-sec people seem to love elucidating upon despite it's negativity, it breeds exclusivity and entitlement and cuts 85% of the game off from what could be a really fun experience.

    Sadly, the men from the A5-HOL3 gate camp ruin any chance we have of bridging this gap, and your attitude isn't helping.

    Such children!

    You have failed to address my primary point; if you do in fact build something of use to me in high-sec, and you went away, we would replace you, so, what, if anything, do you actually offer as far as a unique and important service to us that we cannot do with half the bitching?

    p.s. Kalatiri, I could never be mad at you. I do not "hate" anyone, I am just disappointed that so much fun is hoarded by so few who seem to have the least ability to enjoy it. <3


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