Life in Eve: How I Learned to Love Hating “Safe Zones” in New Eden

I didn’t intend to write any more stuff about CCP and the development direction of Eve; it’s not really what I do.

However, I was having a good discussion on Reddit about yesterday’s post (someone put it up there and I dropped in to say hello), and one of the threads of conversation gave me what I think is kind of a cool idea. It started like this. Someone asked:

But don’t you worry that it [restriction on non-consensual PvP] could compromise the unique identity that EVE has built for itself?

I think it’s clear from yesterday’s post that the personal answer I came to in regards to that question is ‘no’. I said:

I love the scams, the free for alls, the Asakai’s, the alliances disbanded from within, the wormhole ambushes, bomber’s bars, freighter ganks on the way to Jita, and the 70-minute logi-assisted lowsec complex brawls. I love it all. But looking at it from CCP’s point of view, I believe they’ve got to be asking hard questions about whether or not they can introduce a few [safe] systems in New Eden… like… hell, I dunno, the 1.0 and 0.9 systems and training systems, or something. That might be all it takes to reduce the number of “tried it, hated it, everyone’s fucking evil on that game” guys who leave four hours into the trial period. If I’m CCP, and I have any faith in the game at all, I have to believe that if I can keep that trial guy around even a little longer, I’ll secure another player.

Except I didn’t say [safe] systems — I said “Mandatory Safeties Green” systems.

Because that’s all it would take, isn’t it? Certain systems where everyone’s safeties get flipped green and locked there until you leave the system. Easy, easy code.

More importantly, it gave me what I think is kind of a cool idea for building a storyline around this. Stay with me.

1. We have pirate rookie ships on the test servers right now.

Pretty cool, no?

2. Based on the existence of pirate rookie ships, we can assume (for a moment) that CCP is seriously considering a way for players to switch their allegiance to a pirate faction.

Y’see,  there’s no way to get rookie ships of a particular faction in the game unless someone in the game is a member of that faction. So it follows that if these rookie ships exist, there’s going to be some way for players to join those factions, sort of faction warfare style.

3. If that happens, imagine a significant number of pilots will do that, and damn the consequences.
I really don't think this is a very difficult thing to imagine, knowing our playerbase.

4. Let’s further assume that being in a pirate faction is more than just vapid window dressing.

If the certain mechanics in the game are slightly different for pirate faction players (such as the stuff Jester suggested a few months ago), you see a sudden and serious upswing in player-on-player violence. I’m thinking specifically of the idea of pirate faction players getting paid bounties by their pirate faction not for killing NPC rats, but for killing empire players — kind of like how faction warfare rewards you with loyalty points when you kill war targets — and paying out especially well against those players with high sec status.

High sec status: that’s important. It means that a veteran carebear who should know how to protect his shit is a far more attractive target than a two-day-old newb in his first catalyst.

5. In response to this upswing in “terrorism” (which, ironically, CCP engineered), CONCORD implements highly intrusive, insulting levels of “security” in certain high-profile areas of New Eden.

CONCORD reveals the ability to remotely lock a pilot’s ship system’s safeties to Green, something they’ve perhaps always been able to do and haven’t had a good excuse to try.

It’s security theatre, and offers no demonstrable levels of increased safety for anyone, but they do it anyway.

As an American who flies frequently, I'm sure I have NO IDEA what that's like.

6. People hate this new restriction, but (at least for the most part), they hate CONCORD for it, not CCP.

This effect can be ensured if CCP drops hints that it’s just a “storyline” restriction — a yoke we will be able to throw off later, if resistance in-game is high enough. In addition to player resistance, you can have some empire factions that rage against it (Gallente, Minmatar), some that seethe quietly (Amarr), and those that openly embrace it as a natural fit (Caldari).

The Amarr: great seethers.

7. The story concludes in summer of 2014 with some kind of in-game event.

In this event, capsuleers band together to say “This is not how New Eden works!” and shuts this CONCORD restriction off.

Seems to me this would:

  1. Be a pretty neat story arc.
  2. Combined with the pirate faction stuff that offers ‘bounties’ for high sec status kills, simultaneously add ‘safe zones’ and make New Eden more violent.
  3. Sort of ‘build the brand’ of Eve – what a great story that would be for the news outlets, when all of New Eden rises up to state, as part of an in-game event: “Nowhere is safe, and we like it that way.” What a neat way to get players to band together: sort of an in-character Summer of Rage, with beneficial effects (press) for the company and the game.
  4. Give CCP a year-long window in which to cushion new players a bit.

I dunno. Seems kind of cool to me. Thoughts?


  1. Only if you can bribe CONCORD to look the other way and set it to whatever you please. Or, if you flip it from the system proscribed level you go immediately suspect and the faction cops pay a visit. That way you can still have brutal non-consensual horrible bad things happen, but there is an immediate consequence for defying ‘The Man’

  2. Hmm what’s that “safe zone” used for? There’re noob systems, last time I checked you cannot can baiting in those systems (plus sister’s mission). That’s it.
    If you cannot unconsensual PvP in those regions, old player will surely abuse the hell out of it. For example, mining bots, or miners that act like bots. For another example if new toon can stay safe in hs, we’ll see tons of new alts scouting in hs. I am not the guy playing hs war dec game but I think they will call it unfair.
    FW was a playground similar to RVB, but when the carrot became too delicious, instead of seeing lively RVB-like community, we saw market manipulator and FW farmers. Did those features really benefit the new player?
    Don’t get me wrong I don’t think that New Oder thing worth anything other than space bully RPing. I think the total mining mechanism doesn’t make any sense. But sadly it’s not likely that CCP would re-vamp it in the near future.

  3. While I’m not opposed to “safe systems” for rookies, EVE has such a terrible playerbase (from the extremely crafty asshat to the extremely sensitive recluse) that the safe zones will be abused if at all possible. I’d recommend something closer to – gulp – an instance. A tutorial zone with mandatory green safeties and a market controlled by NPC buy- and sell orders for Civilian items. There will be no interplayer trade in the tutorial zone. There will only be the barest minimum of skill books available. Once your toon leaves the tutorial zone it is *stripped of all its assets* before entering New Eden proper; new assets are then provided, based on which tutorials the player finished while in the tutorial zone.

    Bottom line: a safe zone is fine as long as it is absolutely impossible to make a profit there. Because if you want a piece of the EVE pie, other players should always be able to ruin your day.

    1. Oh well, if a new player wants to play the trading game, there’ll be nothing stopping him from day 1. Why bother setting up such tutorial zone? The current industry/marketing tutorial is not very good, but there’re lot’s of guides written by players. CCP can simply integrate them into evelopidia and attach those links in-game.
      Traders gonna do their own research to find out a way making a profit (if it’s viable for total rookie). What we can do, is to let them know there’s scammer, suicide-ganker out there. (Hmm maybe put NPC suicide-ganker in the tutorial? LOL)
      From my experience if you wanna do any decent job in industry, mining, trading, you have to do your own research, working on spreadsheets, eve-central data analyzing… It cannot be as straight forward as missioning or ratting. And I doubt it would be the CCP’s responsibility to guide new players into those fields.

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