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Monday, September 3, 2012

Use Carrots not Sticks CCP Yb

The Nosy Gamer kicked off this long U.S. holiday weekend with High Sec Station Nerf Coming. That certainly got mine and several other blogger's attention. The source of this proclamation was this question of CCP Ytterbium on the forums and his answer (emphasis mine,)
A: Indeed we do. This topic brought quite an internal discussion, and while this most likely won't be part of a Factional Warfare iteration, we do want to have a look at reducing high-security stations effectiveness to make other areas of space more interesting. Some examples could be reducing refining rates, increasing ISK payment to install jobs. Nothing is set in stone as this is not planned for the immediate future however. Another good idea we noticed here was to tie high-security tax with the war performance of its related Factional Warfare Militia. So if, by example, the Caldari Militia are losing the war in Factional Warfare, all taxes in Caldari State high-security space could go up to support the war effort.
Needless to say, there are many, many upset high-sec carebears right about now. I'm one of them, except I don't live in high-sec any more. However, I do visit and I still have to sell my wares in high-sec stations. These possibilities that CCP Yyyerbium mentions,  and they are only possibilities at this point, poke a stick at every one. I'm going to address each of the things CCP Yb mentioned after his bombshell statement and then provide an alternate way of promoting low-sec. One that doesn't piss in the face of everyone doing business in high-sec, and BTW that is everyone.

The first thing he mentions is reducing refining rates in high-sec stations. For the love of all that's good in mining, this makes no sense. All the best equipment and the best workers are in high-sec. Of course it should have the best refining capability. It's peaceful space where civilians love to work and refine ore. Besides, reducing station effectiveness is only going to hurt the little guy. By little guy I mean the noob who struggles to make that first 100 million ISK. By reducing high-sec effectiveness, you are just making the game harder for that player. As a result, drop rates will go up. No one wants that. Let's not make the cliff any steeper, okay CCP code name atomic number 70? There are better ways to encourage more experienced players to the edges.

The second item is to increase ISK payment for install jobs. To be honest, this isn't a bad idea in general. They did this with PI and it hurt, but it didn't kill PI. PI in high-sec is still profitable. It's just not possible for a two month old character to generate a quarter billion ISK in profit for less than 30 minutes work a day any more. Two months is about the amount of time it takes to train Command Center Upgrades and Interplanetary Consolidation to level 5. Any character can then setup a P3 or P4 production system and make a quarter billion ISK a month easy under the old taxing system. Now it is much harder to generate that sort of revenue.

But back to install jobs. Has anyone tried doing a copy job in high-sec lately? It takes a damn month just to get started. Same goes for researching BPOs. Anything that would get those guys out of high-sec stations and into their own research POS would be a good thing. However, just increasing the fee probably won't do it - but more on that below.

The next thing mentioned was linking high-sec tax rates to Factional Warfare effort. Isn't this just a little bit like making all high-sec into a Factional Warfare zone? And what about us that live outside high-sec? Should those that live in wormholes and null-sec be penalized because one faction sucks? Sure, I could warp to the side that doesn't suck, but why should I have to use my valuable playing time warping long routes because of Factional Warfare incompetence?

Also, claiming that a new tax rate is to support the war effort breaks lore. The Caldari Empire and the Gallente Federation are not at war. Increasing tax levels to support an illegal militia action is an act of war, and CONCORD be damned, there will be hell to pay! Get my point? Tread carefully when getting the Empires involved. Until an actual state of war exists between the Empires, something I've discussed before, there should be nothing done in Empire to support the militias.

Now, since no one likes a person that points out problems but never offers solutions, here are a few better ideas (IMO of course, CCP Penultimate Lanthanide and you may freely disagree.)

1. Instead of penalizing high-sec refine rates increase the refine rates in low-sec. Do this for both stations and POS arrays. Let POS arrays match high-sec stations and I say let low-sec stations do better. You can't let them be better than 100% success, but you can eliminate any taxes or fees for using them. And make these benefits available to anyone who comes to the station. What you need is a Gold Rush, not a Prohibition. If you allow low-seccers to strike gold, there will be a rush by high-seccers to get in on the action. Use carrots, not sticks.

2. Make manufacturing cheap, cheap, cheap in low-sec. Who doesn't believe that U.S. companies like to manufacture things in Asia because the cost of doing business is low? The costs of doing business in the U.S. are high wages and high safety standards. There is a plethora of laws that ensure worker safety in the U.S. and prevents things like sweat shops and child labor. Couple that with higher wages and it's damn expensive to manufacture things in the U.S. The same would be true where empire standards are rigorously enforced. But things are expensive enough for the most part and any increase is just going to preclude new players that can't afford it and don't have the skills to survive in low-sec. Fortunately, enforcement in the outer systems is not so rigorous. Make industry dirt cheap out there and you will have every high-sec Fortune 100 company knocking on its gates. Hell, give them some bribe ISK if you have to! But reduce rates in low-sec, not increase them in high-sec.

3. And do all this for all low-sec, not just Factional Warfare systems. Give stations 10 times the number of manufacturing, copy and research slots. Make them practically free. Make the cost of doing business so low that greedy industrialists can't resist. Do this, and they will come.

So, rather than make high-sec an industrial barren wasteland, make low-sec into the next Yukon Territory. Rather than lay the whip into high-sec industrialist who have done nothing wrong, lead them to greener pastures with a nice juicy tax exemption. Emulate what RL cities, states and countries do when competing for that next Facebook data center or that next Apple factory. Stop thinking negatively and start enticing people to move.

Fly Careful

EDIT 16:19 EVE Time --> FYI, I am not making fun of CCP Ytterbium's name. I actually adore the name. It is a rare earth metal from a peculiar area of the periodic table. Besides, the name just rolls off the tongue and is fun to say out loud. All the other references I use for the name are from the periodic table. He chose the name so I figure he'll like the references. If he doesn't, I apologize in advance for my poor taste.


  1. Yes use a carrot not a stick, entice newbies in then show them the wonders of low/null sec with an increase risk/reward.

  2. It wont matter. High sec bears will remain high sec bears for as long as their stuff stays the same. Even if CCP reduces the amount of refining or whatever they want in high sec stations, the majority of bears in high sec will just reprice their goods to compensate for higher costs. I dont see enough industrialists moving to lowsec with the boosted bonuses over nerfed high sec to make a difference tbh.

    You can lead a horse to water, but cant force him to drink. Same goes for high sec bears....Nothing you do will force them into the scary land of low sec space.

    1. Oh fer (enter your favorite diety's name here) sake Korvus... you paint ALL players in hisec with far too wide and general a brush, and you are wrong. There will be those who will seek thier fortunes even with the increased risk and there will be those who don't... That is JUST like saying ALL nullsec players are griefers and gankers and pirates.

      It has been proven over and over again and again, the carrot far outweighs the stick when it comes to greed... If nothing else I would LOVE CCP to try it just so I could say 'told you so'... "Greed, for want of a better word.. in EVE, is GOOD."

    2. lol Actually Tur, he's right, and so are you _sorta_. It's actually the lowsec population that's 100% griefers, gankers, and pirates (yes, including FW people, a lot of whom are flashy red as well), and nullsec is a strange dichotomy of carebears (who use intel, watch local, and realize that they're actually safer deep in blue-null, and making metric fuck-tons more ISKies than their hisec counterparts) and "super-uber-l33t-pr0-PvPers".

      But yeah. Otherwise, Korvus' brush paints true, and your own Wagner Power-Painter only requires the above-provided minor adjustment, and you guys are BOTH absolutely correct. ;-)

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    4. [first post deleted because I kant spel...] =]

      (1) I missed the above first time 'round', please take my comment below a little tongue-in-cheek... (on re-reading it I am not sure it 'reads' as intended)...
      (b) What I do NOT understand, what I really want to understand is...

      Why is the fact that a large number of EVE players prefer to spend their game time in hisec an issue? Why is it such a point of contention?? Why???

      Who effing CARES what others do? I live in W-space, negsec, NEGATIVE SECURITY space... and I could not care less what other players do, where they live, how they spend their game time. And my interactions with other players are almost always in NCPvP or at least attempted NCPvP.

      Due to W-space's total disconnect with Empire and CONCORD, anyone coming into our hole are almost always looking for kills, ganks and NCPvP, even the ones using us as just a 'waypoint' from upper class holes to Empire are ready willing and able to PvP w/o hesitation... I know we are.

      Due to us having a static lowsec, we are FORCED to venture into/through lowsec EVERYTIME we want or need to do anything with the Empire markets... and the people who inhabit those systems are very often actively seeking and hunting wormholers knowing we may have cargos of Sleeper Loot & Salvage and W-space PI & mining products...

      And yet... I seriously could absolutely not care less what other players do, where they live, how they spend their game time. So why is it SOOOOO damn important to so many?

      I ask 'cause the ONLY reason that makes any sense at all to me... is so you can shoot them. And that is forcing others to play by a single gameplay style and not allowing them to play their own way in a 'sandbox'.

      Which mean you don't want to play in a true sandbox, you want everyone to play a spaceship version of Halo... (PS, my fav is called Descent) =]

  3. Excellent. Nerfing hi sec is only going to make new players stay there longer in order to build up what they consider a decent stash of expendable cash they can use to venture into low sec, if they ever do. Nerfing hi sec will just slow the rate of people going to low. It would have for me and I'm slowly edging my way in there. Nerf hi sec and there will be less fights. Noobs will be even more ultra conservative. The only way to nerf hi sec to get people into low would be to nerf it to the ground, thus preventing noobs from even getting a foot on the first rung of the ladder.

    Increasing low sec output as you say ( I am amused and appalled by seeming to support the idea of sweat shops ) would be great. I've already gone there to reduce the wait for research from 30 days to 15 or so. I'd have been chancing my first BPO ever if I thought I could get it done on the day.

    They should have a look at the yield on low sec ores maybe. I like the Yukon/ Gold Rush parallel. Maybe some random spawns of higher yield ores will tempt more people down. Not enough to equate to a hi sec mineral yield nerf, but enough to tempt the greedy and the gamblers. I'd be there! In some way low sec needs a buff.

    I think it comes down to fights. It is the risk vs reward of the industrialist/trader vs the pirate. There currently isn't much point to risking low sec. Nerfing hi sec seems like the answer, but that is just a surface deep analysis. It is bullying people out. Appeal to avarice and they will be in there in droves by choice, and start organising to do so. You'd invent an entire new reason for mass operations in low sec and so an entire new vector for combat situations. Everybody wins, you'd get happy industrialists getting a thrill and happy pirates experiencing PVP against player convoys.

    DISCLAIMER: I am a total Noob. This is personal experience only, but the personal experience of a hi sec noob which should count for something.

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  5. On point 1: You can't boost lowsec refine rates you'd risk being able to create minerals by reproccesing items you previously build for more minerals then you put in.
    On point 2&3; Their alts will come no doubt, the indies themselves, I am not convinced.

  6. Ruining hisec will simply make people quit.

    "Great idea! lets ruin hisec so all those dirty evil carebears will go to lowsec calling 'here we are! stamp on our faces please' yeah!!"

    They'll simply cancel their accounts and head for the exit. That'll do enough damage to CCPs income to bring EVE down.

  7. The problem is that highsec is now extremely profitable due to zero security costs (as Concord works for free).

    I mean my income is 10-20% of the income of the LARGEST SOV HOLDER ALLIANCE! This is wrong.

    CCP can do two things: nerf highsec to force more and more people out or nerf Concord. Which would hit the newbie harder?

    1. I'm not so sure your income should be wrong. If one of the best entrepreneurs in the world isn't richer than a country then where would all the Bond villains come from?

      Interesting idea about Concord. Make uber conservative newbies via income nerfs (and piss off all the current hi sec guys like me) or nerf CONCORD a bit, make the place a little more exciting, maybe lose a few newbies to how difficult the game is but actually start training the rest up. The old hands should be able to handle a nerf that wouldn't exclude brand new players. Depends what kind of nerf. Have anything in mind?

      I'd still like to see the buff to lowsec instead, even if it is really a stealth nerf to the hisec economy overall then at least we'll have a little more time to adapt.

  8. I agree with the OP, carebear won't go to lowsec because you nerf highsec, but some other people may move to lowsec if they see better opportunities.

    I did the same as space noob long ago ; looking for research slot on low sec.
    when you have access to a speedy / cloaky ship, even a carebear consider the risk are low enough to try this.
    I had research and datacore agents on low sec

    low should offer less cost, so people can take more risk here, and afford being killed as they can take more profit producing here.

    null should offer less time, so alliances who need lots of stuff quickly for the war can do it easily, without going to jita.

  9. I agree completely. This is exactly why I've also resisted the players continually suggest removing faction ships from high-sec mission LP stores, just to strengthen the economic incentive to war participation. There is never a need to nerf one area of space when its just as easy to buff another.

    Thankfully though, this is something that has only been mentioned in passing. It's nothing CCP has been seriously discussing behind the scenes, they've been open with me about everything that's on the plate for winter so far and next to nothing has been said about nerfing high sec.

    Everyone can certainly continue to make their opinion clear, but I just wanted people to understand that at this time there are no concrete plans to nerf high sec, this isn't something that is "going to happen" it's another one of those "what if" musings that has yet to see any real traction.

    1. In that case, Mr. Jagerblitzen, would you please point out NAFTA, CAFTA... Maybe what New Eden needs is a LSFTA.

      Seriously, please point out that INCENTIVES might do better at making people WANT to go other places in EVE, DISINCENTIVES just might however, make people want to go play other GAMES than EVE.

    2. Tur--if I offered you ten million bucks, cash, RIGHT F'ing NAO!!! goddamnit!!! to move to Somalia tomorrow, any part of Somalia, your choice... would you do it? No? Why not? Because all you hear, see, and read about that place is piracy, kidnappings, murder, and everybody on the street with an AK-47 slung on their back, right?
      Is that the truth? _Probably_ not. But it's "the truth" as generally accepted by the rest of the world, just as 500 years ago the world was flat and you could sail right off the end into the gaping maw of a "here be there Dragons".
      Psychologically, it's _exactly_ the same thing, and the same reason that hisec bears will stay in hisec and always be hisec. :-)

    3. Uh Hong...
      (1) you ain't got 10M real dollars, so meh... and
      (b)... do YOU live there? No? Really? But you live in lowsec right?

      And, no, not "everyone" in Somalia has an AK-47... only the people with ALL the FOOD do (it's why they have all the food you see...). The vast majority in the cities and towns are living, and dying, based on the decisions made by the people who control the people who have the guns, and that IS a fact.

      But is it "everyone" and every single square foot of the whole country? No, of course not...

      And no, I wouldn't live there for any amount of money, are you an ass? I have children (some probably older than you). But wanting my kids 'safe' IRL make me a bad gamer, right?

      Man do you have blinders on when it comes to people... because, in a GAME, in a VIRTUAL REALITY GAME, in your humble opinion evidently Lowsec = Somalia?

      What you are pissed about is that other people don't wanna play YOUR version of EVE... same ol song and dance. Why does it bother you so much?? Seriously, why?

      Why do you give a fat flying fuk what ANYONE else does in EVE? The ONLY thing I can see, and I have read a LOT of your 'words', is that they are out of your CONCORD free crosshairs. Is it something else? Anything else? Seriously, is it?

      I don't care where you live or how you play of whether you sit in front of you PC nude covered in peanut butter with a very happy dog... while you live in lowsec. But you seem to care very deeply about where others play EVE? Why?

  10. There are hisec carebears that would move to low if there were enough incentives. And they can start something, that in time will evolve into a gravity point, or a hook that can change how high seccers think about low sec. All it needs is time, and enough success stories. It can work.

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  12. Long time reader of your blog, but this is my first time commenting:

    I would agree with Mabrick on point of adding a carrot to low-sec in order to get more hi-sec bears to potentially make the move. I currently live in hi-sec, but have also lived in low-sec in the past, and lost a few ships there as well. Learned many a good lesson by talking with the pilots engaging me as well.

    That said, how do you think EVE would change, if low-sec was expanded to encompass both 0.5 and 0.6 sec systems as well? CONCORD removal from those sec systems isn't too far of a stretch considering how many kills I see registered from gankers there anyway.

    EVE is a PVP-based game in nature, and I came to the game with the understanding that if I undock, I can go boom! Personally, I'm not into PVP, however, that doesn't mean that I can't bite back when needed.

    Just a thought anyway. It would probably need more brainstorming to make it a reality or not...

    1. That's an interesting proposition you have Deras. I'm not convinced it would change anything to just swap those to low-sec. All the current dynamics remain the same. However, it would make many a high-sec POS owner gnash their teeth. If you can locate a vacant moon, those are key POS systems. Now, if CCP enhances POS/Station capabilities, flipping those systems may not be such a bad thing. It would be more carrot than stick. If there is no POS/Station enhancement, it'd look like all stick. CCP would have to be very, very careful how they approached that particular change.

    2. As I understand the POS mechanics, the best you can achieve for refining is 75% with perfect refining skills. Maybe players could achieve the 100% refining mark either by an upgrade to the POS or possibly a new skill that increases the refining yield by 5% per level.

      I cannot imagine that all of the bears in 0.5 and 0.6 would vacate the area, if low-sec were to be expanded. Plus it would give them a good taste of what it is like. I never found it to be difficult to live there. It just requires more attention to local and D-scan. :)

  13. I like this proposed change, highsec was becoming so stale~

    1. How will the change make highsec a better place?

  14. Not that it's at ALL relevant to the mechanics side of this discussion, but FWIW the factions ARE technically at war with each other. The CONCORD Emergency Militia War Powers Act authorizes war between the factions through the capsuleer militias. It's not a total war (it's channeled into low sec), but it is war nonetheless.

    See and

    -Your Friendly Neighborhood Lore Nerd.


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