This week during Eve Vegas, CCP expressed their long-held displeasure with local as an intel tool, but that they weren’t ready to launch a comprehensive change to the mechanics.
At the core of the problem is a need to communicate with people in the same system that doesn’t also announce the presence of new pilots entering that system. Some players simply advocate wormhole local, in which players don’t show up until they speak, but CCP has been resistant to this in the past for all areas of space, and I tend to think this would take something special away from wormhole space.
At the same time, CCP expressed a general dissatisfaction with the ease of null ratting isk generation and the speed of level 5 mission blitzing. In both cases, a new pilot entering local is a cause for concern, albeit much more so for null ratting. I don’t think the payouts are the problem as much as the early warning detection local provides; when you feel incredibly safe, it’s very easy to earn isk in null, perhaps too easy.
So, let’s kill two birds with one stone: Regional Local.
Regional local would work this way: rather than the local channel we all know and love, in null-sec, “local” would actually be the regional channel (which already exists in game). Players can communicate in this channel, and while new players will enter and leave as they travel through the region, individual system intel won’t be provided by the game.
This system would have a number of big advantages. First, it’d provide a means of communicating with an entire region, something never utilized now. Market visibility is already limited to regions, and accepting public contracts requires you to be in that region; it seems fair to make the basic chat channel regional as well. It’d certain create some emergent “Help me!” gameplay happen, as a pilot cries out in local across several systems to draw attention from unallied players in a last, desperate gasp for help. That’s just a recipe for fun.
But it’ll also allow two big areas of communication that will help the game. For regions split among multiple groups, seeing the activity in a region will help make space feel a little bit more connected, and make you feel a little more familiar with the pilots around you. That gives plenty of opportunity for tension and rubbing people the wrong way, too. Right now, most of our enemies are just Dotlan or killboard statistics; let’s add some real flavor to them.
During trench warfare, armies would shout across no man’s land to each other all the time; it became a real problem a times, and once even resulted in both sides getting together to celebrate Christmas without orders from their superiors. Except for immediately before fleet battles in the same system, that doesn’t happen in Eve, only on Reddit. I’d love to see the long-term effects of two sides contesting a region constantly chattering and smacktalking with each other in regional. I think it’d make for a powerful propaganda and morale-sapping tool in an alliance’s arsenal.
Could you imagine, for instance, being in the same region as Test? The sperging in regional alone would be enough to drive a war. You want content drivers? This would be a content driver. It’d even give a reason to go after the alliances basing out of NPC-null to harass sov holders; purge them to shut them the hell up!
Most importantly, though, regional local would preserve the important communication tool Eve needs while rendering it far less useful as an intel tool. That’d be a great benefit to the game, I think, making ratting that much harder and requiring more attention, while giving a boost to roaming fleets. You’d still see them coming, but you wouldn’t know exactly where or when they’ll strike.
An elegant, simple solution is often the best.