Friday, September 14, 2012

How To Buff Lowsec

(Edited 9/17, see addendum)

For fuck's sake...

The Problem

There are a ton of people on the EVE-O forums complaining (and I agree) that there isn't enough incentive to move to lowsec, and even CCP is looking into this (sort of), and some of the ideas that have been floated seem to involve nerfing hisec, especially regarding manufacturing, to try and "push" manufacturing to lowsec. Ripard Teg wrote an amazing blog breaking down how this will have little effect on prices, since taxes (even raised) play such a small role in the manufacturing of ships, the hisec producers will just suck up the tax and pass the measly increase off to the customers anyway.

Another CCP idea from this spring's CSM minutes mentioned that all lowsec should be Faction Warfare space, and "agents of chaos" (pirate corps) can come through and remove any Faction Warfare infrastructure in a system to return the systems to their current "normal" state. While this is kind of interesting, it hardly adds to the experience of the pirates, since they don't want to shoot structures, and now they pretty much are required to just to return the system to its "normal" state. This is not really a buff and does not add an incentive for people looking to own/operate in a lowsec system.

Now, a lot of other people believe lowsec should behave like miniature sovereignty, acting as a mini-nullsec. As a lowsec player, I would like to have the ability to alter my system to benefit my Alliance, but do not want to deal with structure grinding, timezone warfare, blob-fests, supercap hot drops, sov bills, etc. I might be overstepping my bounds here, but I'm sure no other lowsec entities want to deal with this. So, the system has to benefit the people living there, but since we are "lazy," it should be based on activity, and should be more fluid than any other sovereignty system.

Indices

My idea would change control to be entirely based on activity, with only a touch of structure placing/removing. The drawback would be, if you don't use/live in your space, you will lose it!

The core of the idea are three indices:
  • Piracy (PVP) - Warlord
  • Exploration / Enforcement (PVE) - Protectorate
  • Extraction / Production (Industry) - Cartel

Calculation

Each will be calculated in real time to an ISK value (with modifiers to balance the share of one over the other. Since PVP losses are higher than NPC kill values, the PVE value might have a 4x multiplier applied to its base value, for instance.)
  • PVP will calculate all ISK destroyed (ships, pods, player owned structures) by one group (corporation/alliance).
  • PVE will do the same, but for value of NPC's (belt/complex/missions), and the value of items dropped in Archaeology/Hack/Salvage sites.
  • Industry will calculate the value of raw resources harvested in system from belts/gas clouds/grav sites/moons and add in the amount refined/manufactured in POS's within the system.
Now, these values will be calculated in real time, and should be visible in a breakdown within the system's sovereignty. Depending on which is the highest, the "type" of control over the system would be visible. If the occupying force kills everything that moves, their alliance would be the Warlords over the system. If they mine the belts and planets dry of all their resources, they would be a Cartel. If they keep the belts free of all NPC activity, and clean up any hack sites, the systems would become a Protectorate of the alliance.

Each Sunday, the influence would be applied, and whichever corp/alliance has the highest "score" in any of the three indices is granted control over the system automatically. Now, this entity will be able to install upgrades into the I-Hub (see below) that match all the indices in which they are the highest in. Since they are in control of the system, they are clearly the highest in at least 1 index, but if they lost out in the race in one or both of the other two, they will not be permitted to install upgrades that affect those indices. If they do have all 3 indices as the highest, they can install any of the 3 types of upgrades, up to the limit of how many I-Hub upgrades can be placed in total. They can all be of one type.

Upgrades

Every system will have a single Infrastructure Hub erected in it, which is able to be destroyed, but does not play a part in the actual ownership of the system. It is a neutral entity, into which the controlling corp/alliance can install upgrades once they are given control over the system. It will reinforce if attacked, the same as null/FW I-Hubs, but if it is destroyed, it will not change control over the system (but it will apply the cost of the structure to the attacking corp's Warlord index for the day), instead it will simply remove the bonuses applied from it, and it must be replaced by a controlling corp/alliance before more bonuses can be applied again. When control flips, the structure "consumes" all installed upgrades and the access to the structure is assigned to the new Warlord/Protector/Cartel in control of the system. They must install fresh upgrades themselves.

To tie in benefits for long-time holders, the upgrades will scale with time, increasing in value/power the longer a controlling corp holds a system. However, as soon as they lose the system, they lose those benefits and must start their counters over. The ideas behind these bonuses are general buffs to behaviors in lowsec.



In addition to these, there should be a form of "Incursion" influence over the systems, depending on the "size" of the empire. These bonuses would behave similar to the Incursion damage/tank, but at most a 10% swing (with 10 systems), as an incentive to claim adjacent systems. If a "chain" of systems is disrupted, however, the bonuses will only apply from the two sectors. So, a line of 11 systems has a 10% bonus to the owners (damage and/or resistances), loses its center system, so it breaks into 2 strings with 5% bonus. Controlling chains of connected solar systems is a mechanic overlooked in the current nullsec sov system, so its possible to grab every-other system with no drawback to the overall Sov owner. This would behave more strategically, and create choke-points for defenders.

Addendum

From Iron Straw:

Another problem with lowsec is the lack of drive to go there. Currently this concept outlines a good system to keep them there, or at least make those that live there have a more rewarding experience.

So, a thought would be to make specifically Level 4 missions evolve a bit from their current state. While a lot of the existing content would remain the same, there should be additions:

  • More multi-part missions
  • Some of these parts should fork, and have optional pieces, like the last room in Angel Extrav.
  • These forks should head to lowsec, and should be more difficult to run alone (approx 1/2 an Incursion Vanguard)
  • They should be rewarding, like 10M payout, on top of bounties
  •  Alternatively, there could be rewards from current missions that include bookmarks to hack sites in lowsec that contain unique drops (deadspace scrams/webs, other E-War) that make someone want to go there, and then live there, to avoid getting killed in the future, or kill missioners that DO go there.

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