Those of you who read my blog regularly will have noticed that I sort of fell silent just as null-sec started vibrating with ramifications of the jump changes. I live in null-sec… I should be talking about this, right?
Only… I’m not sure how I feel about this. Or, rather, I’m not sure which side of me is going to win out in the long-run. I’m deeply conflicted about the effects these changes will have on null-sec.
The practical side of me recognizes the problem that an apex supercap force (yes, I am using that term, and yes, I do think it’s valid) has on all levels of PvP. The mere existence of that threat changes the game in very negative ways. And ultimately, I do believe supercaps need to have a valuable, but limited, purpose. Cutting the jump range on them is a perfectly valid method of accomplishing that.
But that raises its own issue. Groups like NC. and PL rely on that supercap strength to hold their space. When you nerf that force – effectively locking it in place for a long while – you expose them to the problems of blobbing. And no one wants blobbing to become an apex force again. I imagine discussions in the CSM about the issue of supercap proliferation and coaltions went something along the lines of, “CFC CSM: Nerf supercaps!” “N3/PL CSM: Nerf blobs!” So CCP naturally decided, “Nerf everything!”
After all, that’s what we’re looking at here. When the original changes came down, there’s a reason the CFC freaked out: making jump bridges cause jump fatigue renders the CFC’s blob capability less effective. And when CCP modified it to allow jump freighters more range, there’s a reason N3 & PL freaked out: it allows subcaps to be moved more effectively, giving the CFC a bit of an advantage again. I get that now… I didn’t understand that first.
Likewise, I myself have called for null-sec to be able to sustain more industry. Ideally, the goal is to give industrial corps and mining corps a reason to join the established null-sec groups – or create new groups of their own. In many ways, I’m getting what I wanted. That makes me happy, even as a null-sec resident.
Likewise, as a small-gang enthusiast, I appreciate any effort to reduce the size of fights. In Phoebe, this will absolutely happen. Bloc battles wn’t be as common anymore, and I imagine a lot of fights will break out across the map. That sounds fun.
But my interest is in making null-sec a vibrant place to live and play, and a part of me is a little sad about these changes. I want the map to be interconnected, but interconnected in a meaningful way that engages folks. Some people have said these changes are going to make the universe seem bigger, but I disagree. Sure, the map may be bigger now, but things are going to feel a lot smaller.
It’s very likely I’m going to be fighting the same people over and over again now. Looking at the current map, being in Tenal means I’ll never interact with anyone from the southeast. That’s a lot of gameworld that won’t really matter to me anymore. That represents an effective loss for me personally.
People have said, “CCP plans more changes… just wait.” This sounds a lot like Coming SoonTM, and we all know how well that works. These changes don’t even hint at legitimate, game-fixing changes to null-sec. Without such changes to improve the ways we live in, maintain, and exploit null-sec, these changes are doomed to utter failure. I’d rather not make massive changes to isolate large groups of the map until we had even an idea of how reinvented null-sec would function. It all just makes me nervous.
I’m not concerned about myself or my corp… Repercussus will be perfectly fine regardless of what happens. There will be plenty of PvP to go around, and we’ll be happy with that. But I can see null-sec being rendered “not worth the hassle” in an effort to break up the coalitions and mobile forces. And that makes me sad.
I want all four areas of the game to vary only by where they fall on the risk/reward scale, not in the types of activities it’s “worth it” to engage in within that area of space. I believe in a null-sec that can more profitably sustain industry, mining, production, ratting, and PvP than low-sec, which can do it all more profitably than high-sec. I want WH space to be even more wild than null, but still be able to do everything.
But we don’t really have the whole picture yet. CCP is going to put out two more rounds of changes that are supposedly going to change the face of null-sec. It looks like CCP’s goal is to make null-sec require more varieties of activity to function or creating more dependencies. But dependencies alone don’t revitalize null-sec, since players can simply decide it’s not worth the hassle. Players – no, people of all kinds – run cost-value analyses to determine how they want to spend their time. CCP has to be very careful that they don’t move that calculation over too many players’ tipping points.
So I’m hesitant. Making things harder is one half of the equation. Provided it’s balanced by the other half – making it more profitable – then these changes could be great. But I don’t see a middle ground where the null experience stays the same. Either it’s going to improve immeasurably (if CCP puts out meaningful null-sec changes) or it’s going to collapse as players decide the extra hassle isn’t worth it.
Null-sec has to change, and these changes are certainly going to do that. I hope CCP does their due diligence with the next two rounds of changes. Because if they do, it’ll be a brave new world with lots of uphevel and excitement.