Tag Archives: High Sec

The Fall of Niarja and the Shape of High Sec

Surprise!  Niarja became low security space last night!

Things have changed here

I had not been paying much attention to the Triglavian invasion event.  New Eden is a big enough sandbox that I can play in my own area and not care about what was going on in high sec.  Delve is many gates from the nearest high sec system.  Also, the war.

And then Niarja became the next Triglavian target and everybody lost their minds.

Niarja is a 0.5 high sec system known primarily for two things; being a prime spot for suicide gankers and being on the direct trade route when traveling between Caldari and Amarr space in general and the trade hubs of Jita and Amarr specifically.

When the Triglavians take a system, the security status of that system drops by 0.1.  That change would drop Niarja to 0.4, making it low sec and turning it from a place to suicide gank to a place to simply gank people passing through as CONCORD responses would no longer occur.

Meanwhile, the “safe” route from Jita to Amarr would go from 10 gates to 46.  I am not sure how much trade is specifically between those two points and how much of the traffic is from Jita to points beyond Amarr, but either way Niarja looked to become another low sec danger spot on the shortest route between regions.

The forces of chaos, in which I include CCP, seemed quite eager to see Niarja fall.  Others seemed quite angry at the prospect.  At least one group was sending out mail messages in game warning people that they had better not get caught supporting the Triglavians.

Signed, a friend

I am sure that was just some fun role play.

And this was all a high sec affair… until it wasn’t

Early yesterday Legacy Coalition declared that they were going to protect high sec by siding with EDENCOM to make sure the Triglavians didn’t take the system.  Dunk Dinkle of Brave posted a truncated image from what looks to be a Discord message that said:

THE COALITION DIRECTIVE IS TO SECURE NIARJA

Addendum: The Discord message in full:

Brave ping on Niarja

[This message is apparently what set the Imperium in motion, the opportunity to harm the people attacking us.]

At some later point Vily posted elsewhere that the coalition had just decided to fight the Triglavians because the Imperium had sided with them.  World War Bee was coming to high sec.

To my knowledge, up until then, there had been no official effort by the Imperium to influence the events in Niarja either way.  Word later came out that incursion squad had gone there on the down low to push things in favor of the Triglavians.  But once Vily reacted it became an official Imperium operation.  Pings went out to get people to pile on for the Trigs. [TEST never did show up for the event despite Vily’s post.]

Once I saw that was going on, I logged in a high sec alt just to see what I could see.  The gate to Niarja was suitably adorned with the Triglavian logo.

A new sheriff is in town

Inside the system, the battle was tilted towards the Triglavian side.

77% in favor of the Triglavians

Ashterothi, who was providing status updates on Twitter, reported that the Trigs had been as high as 85% at one point, but EDENCOM had slowly worked that down into the 70s.

The fighting is done by blowing up NPCs that spawn at sites in the system.  If you want the Triglavians to win, you go to the EDENCOM sites and shoot the spawns, and if you support EDENCOM you warp to the emerging conduit sites and shoot the Trigs.

Some sites from the probe scanner window

I was not on as an Imperium character so couldn’t join their fleet, but I spotted them and watched them take down a couple of the EDENCOM sites.  (I also saw a Brave group shooting up an EDENCOM site, and I am not sure what was going on there.)

It was already late for me and I wasn’t going to be able to join in so I docked up at one of the Raitarus in the system.  The Triglavians seemed to be edging up every so slightly as time went along, but it was going to take some time.

When I work up this morning however, I logged in to check and found I was in a low sec system.

The Triglavian sky is strange

The Mittani was smugging about having cut the high sec travel route as it apparently impacts Legacy and their own ability to resupply.

Meanwhile, the battle for the system carried on and the Triglavian side hit the final luminality.

EDECOM gives up at this point

Niarja is effectively a null sec or wormhole space system now in terms of security status.  That doesn’t make much difference to haulers, as low sec status was going to keep them away in any case.

In the short term I will be interested to see what this does to trade.  Does making Jita 30+ jumps further away make Amarr more valuable?  Does it grow as a trade hub out of Jita’s shadow?  Or was its proximity to Jita what made it the second trade hub?  Does Jita shrink?  Does this help Hek, Rens, and Dodixie, the lesser trade hubs?  What happens to the market?  What happens to shipping charges?  There is a lot there to unpack.

For the longer term I am back to wondering what CCP’s end game plan is for the Triglavian invasion.  It was a happy fun PvE event for quite a while, but now with more and more high sec systems falling to the Trigs (The Agency says 16 systems are now in final luminality) what is going to happen?  Will the Trigs remain and their systems be changed for good?  Will they reach some accord with the empires and become the fifth Beatle empire?  If there is a fifth empire will Max Singularity and the Sixth Empire demand some high sec space of their own?

CCP has never run an event like this in high sec.  In the past high sec followed the rules of TV sitcoms, where things can go crazy for a bit, but at the end of the episode the status quo must be restored.  It will be interesting to see if they want to return to the way things were or have a new long term state of affairs in mind for high sec space.

Other coverage:

CSM13 Summer Summit Minutes and How War Decs are Killing EVE

CCP Larrikin pulls up activity data for players of corporations that have wars declared against them and it shows considerable activity drops in all activities during the war. They also show that the low activity continues after the war ends. Brisc Rubal noted that the numbers here were so stark, it would justify immediately removing war decs as a mechanic and promising a fix after the fact. The CSM in general were surprised at how stark the numbers were and noted it was clear this mechanic was having a significant impact on player recruitment and retention.

CSM13 Summer Summit Minutes, Economy Discussion

I ebb and flow in my interest in the CSM, which in its way reflects CCP’s own wavering commitment to the institution over the years.  And, of course, the topics being discussed and how much information we get affects my interest as well.  Some of the summit minutes have so much redacted that what is left just isn’t worth getting worked up about.

Not the space police, just the non-binding space oversight committee

This time around there were actually a few interesting topics.  The key one for me was war declarations, or war decs.  These have been complained about since I started playing EVE Online back in 2006.

There is a whole section devoted to war decs in the minutes, reflective of there being a dedicated session on the topic.  The minutes from that are somewhat interesting.  That section of the minutes opens with a pretty ominous note:

In the EVE Leadership meeting the CSM was presented with numbers resulting from research
into the state of war declarations in EVE and those numbers quite starkly showed how
asymmetric the situation is, and how war declarations allow a small number of players to
negatively affect a huge number of people, with low risk.

After that, however, the discussion in the minutes goes the way it has always gone.  Everybody knows war decs are a problem but there are always reasons why CCP won’t get rid of them completely.  Along with the all-time greatest hit, “we don’t want high sec space to be completely safe,” there is now the problem of Upwell structures which litter New Eden.  Without high sec war decs you can’t blow those up.

So the discussion flowed through a set of ideas guided by that, with talk of costs and victory conditions and the like.  The session notes end with a mention of how war decs favor the aggressor, how corporations who get war dec’d tend to just stop playing when there is a war going on, and how some organizations like Red Frog avoid the whole thing.

There was no real indication about a future plan for war decs or whether or not CCP would do anything about them in the foreseeable future.  While disappointing, that was hardly unexpected.  CCP hasn’t like the war dec situation forever so far as I can tell but hasn’t done much save tinker with it over the years.

The minutes then move on to the session on the economy where starts off CCP Larrikin by confirming that the current level of NPC bounty payouts is not sustainable and that most of it comes from carrier and super carrier ratting.  No surprise there.

It isn’t until the second page of the economy section, a point by which I am sure some people have already uttered, “yadda yadda yadda” and moved on to the next section, that we come to the paragraph with which I chose to open this post.

I chose that quote for a reason.  It takes away a lot of the ambiguity about war decs.

If you’re paying attention, you will hear people complain about war decs.  It tends to be anecdotal information.  Somebody got war dec’d and it sucked.  But somebody always has a story about how something in the game sucked, so how do you assign a priority to it?

Well, the CSM saw the data, and maybe CCP will share it with the rest of us at some future date, but the reaction seems to be enough.  War decs kill corps and CCP knows it, and likely has known it for some time.  Furthermore it is bad enough that CCP put the following line in the meeting minutes that they themselves edited:

…it was clear this mechanic was having a significant impact on player recruitment and retention.

CCP endorsed that statement by putting it in the minutes.  Remember that.

What is the all time, long term problem for EVE Online?  If you said, “player recruitment and retention” you get a prize.

Which brings me back to the section of the minutes that was specifically about war decs and the decided lack of urgency that comes through on the whole topic.  The discussion reads to me like it is a topic that needs to be fixed eventually, but which they can get to in the fullness of time when they have the ideal solution.  That quote from the economy section makes this seem like much more of a “hair on fire, do something now!” situation.  If it is really that bad, I’m with Brisc; turn the feature off.  We can live without war decs for six months or a year if it stops driving players away.

There are other parts of the minutes worth looking through.  The economy section, as noted, is worth a read.  There was also a whole session about the new player experience that explains, in part, why CCP ditched the epic NPE experience for the current version based in The Agency, something I wrote about last month.

And there was a discussion of the updated customer support policies, marketing and recruiting and community outreach which are likely worth a read.

But for me the primary take away from the 53 pages of minutes is that high sec war decs are bad for the game, CCP knows this (and has likely known this for a long time), and yet they are still dithering about a solution.  I’d be hard pressed to come up with something more important for them to look into given the statement in the minutes.

Addendum: Others covering the minutes