Life in a Wormhole: Compare and Contrast #eveonline

I’m back from our first vacation of the summer, reflecting on how much nicer 95 degrees is when you don’t have to deal with humidity, and getting caught up on my to-dos with both Ty and Bre, who are in different locations at the moment — something I’m not entirely happy about.

Y’see, for a long time, Bre and Ty were active in the same areas of High security space, and it worked out pretty well — Bre was always going to be a frigate specialist, but when she got into covert ops frigates (and, from there, to training stuff for stealth bombers), she actually got pretty good at heavy missiles, so I took a short detour with her to get her into Drake-class battlecruisers, and started bringing her along on Ty’s missions for added firepower, which worked out quite well.

However, for various reasons, I decided I wanted to spend a little time learning more about about PvP in EVE, so I signed up Bre for OUCH (Open University of Celestial Hardship), studies which took her away from Highsec and into Nullsec space in the Curse region. My focus was split between Highsec (where Ty and CB and Gor remained) and nullsec (where Bre was learning how to kill big expensive ships with cheap little ships), but honestly that was fine, because if I really needed Bre to hop back to highsec, she could do that via a clonejump — I just kept a few mission-running ships around for her to fly, and left all the PvP stuff for her out in Curse. Like I said: fine.

I enjoyed my time in Curse with Bre, and when my time with OUCH was done, I decided to try to search out a good corporation for her in that region, so she could stay. I found one and, after a little preliminary getting-to-know-you, made a BIG effort to move a LOT of Bre’s gear out to Curse — DEEP into Curse; gear that had, until this point, remained in cold storage back in highsec.

Again, fine.

But then, not very long after I did this, Ty got the information about the wormhole that we now call home. During that first weekend, it was all hands on deck, and I clonejumped Bre out of Curse so that she could fly lookout in CovOps ships and provide some Electronic Warfare support if we got jumped while getting the tower up.

Bre hung out and helped immensely in those first few weeks, but once things got settled (and she started getting grumbly evemails about how New People In The Corporation Weren’t Actually Out Doing Stuff with The Corporation), she parked her Buzzard and headed back to Curse. I mean, it might be nice to have everyone in the same place again, but I’d already committed a lot of time and faux-money to move her there; I didn’t really fancy doing the same thing less than three weeks later to move her back out, and didn’t like the idea of explaining that desire to her corpmates, either. Given all that, Bre decided to stick it out and started the long, slow process of raising her personal standings with the Corporations that controlled the region of nullsec in which she was now a resident.

And that was how, after returning from vacation, I found myself making comparisons to the various ‘zones’ in EVE, and evaluating their pros and cons.

I was going to write these comparisons out in a great detail, but luckily a picture has already supplanted my several thousand words.

Hi Sec, where I’d started, isn’t quite a danger-free as the picture implies, but there are strong deterrents in place the preclude you being jumped by a roving band of PC pirates for no reason. With that said, there are two main problems with the area: (1) you *can* be jumped if the pirates decide they have a good enough reason to do so (if the potential gain makes up for the loss of their ship to security forces), and (2) there are a number of loopholes in the way that security enforced, the end result being that the primary PvP going on there is actually just greifing — guys stealing all the loot from your mission because, while you can shoot him if you like, all that will do is give all of that guy’s buddies legal permission to shoot YOU — an escalation that ALWAYS favors the guys who are more prepared for it (the pirate players). Nine times out of ten, High Sec is a PvE experience, but the tenth time will ruin your day if you aren’t ready for it.

Lowsec is like all the worst parts of nullsec and highsec, blended and served up in a chipped spittoon. In EVE, greater risk is supposed to equate to greater reward, but while LowSec has greater risk (players can attack you at will and the local law enforcement is too sparse to do anything but scold them if you happen to be near a station dock), the increase in potential reward is too meager to make it worth it. (Vast asteroid belts go unmined in LowSec because there’s really no good way to protect your crew in that kind of area without some major manpower, and running missions is an invitation to everyone else in the system to please come blow up your ship.) Lowsec is the realm of bargain basement pirates, resting up from a long day of griefing new highsec players and mugging anyone who tries to take a shortcut through “their” system. They’re the petty criminals who don’t have the organization, connections, or nerve to move to nullsec where everyone is ready for violence; guys who pick on new, unprepared players because that’s what they think is fun.

I don’t like lowsec very much.

Much of Nullsec is (allegedly) lawless space that can be taken over and held in sovereignty by player-owned corporations. (There’s also NPC-held Nullsec, which almost the same thing, except the local power is an NPC, you don’t have to deal with politics as much and there are mission agents around.) In theory, this means that any player group can carve out their own chunk of New Eden and make it their own; in practice, what it really means is that nullsec has been carved into massive blocs that rival the size of the NPC Empires in highsec, who then rent out their less-desirable systems, corporate-feudal-style, to smaller corps. Players say that Nullsec is safer than Highsec, and that can actually be true if you’re deep enough in your alliance’s sovereign territory and on good enough terms with the current landlord — you might have to bug out of your mining operation because an enemy raiding gang is headed into your system, but you won’t have to deal with griefers playing with Highsec security loopholes.

And then there’s wormholes.

Gone are sovereignty politics and alliance negotiations; what agreements you make are personal, direct, and largely temporary, simply because you’ll probably never see the other guy again, once your connection to their system collapses. Your hand is always near your gun, because any activity can turn violent, but at the same time you are beholden to no one but your immediate friends and family — your corpmates. Sink or swim, you’re doing exactly what you want, exactly how you want to do it. It’s (perhaps) a bit like Mad Max, and you stay mobile and dangerous in your favorite armored hotrod, or it’s Thunderdome, and you hope like hell the next batch of raiders can’t breach the walls of your barricaded town.

CB says its like living on an island: you get access to all the riches, and if anyone else lands, you know right away that you probably need to shoot them to protect your stuff. There’s no nonsense to it, if you get shot, it’s probably because you weren’t paying attention.

I tend to think of it more like the mythical Old West; which means there’s at least a small chance to be civilized with people (sometimes), but more often than not you just shoot the guy riding up to your camp, assume the local tribes will scalp you, and keep a damn close eye on any strangers in town.

More importantly (to me), no one’s your boss; there are no rings to kiss, no security loopholes that keep some guy untouchable, and no excuse to ever let your guard down.

I like it.

Now, I like living in Nullsec, too… or at least I used to.

The problem is, as Bre slogs through a couple evenings of standings grinding in Angel Cartel nullsec, trying to get to the point where she can get more profitable activities going, all I can think is:

“I’d rather be in the wormhole.”

I just don’t see a way to make that happen without stranding all my stuff.