Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The myth of the "highsec carebear"

There is a widespread resistance against the only rational balancing of EVE: nerfing the income in highsec. They claim that such action would drive the "highsec carebears" away, bankrupting CCP. But who says that? Common sense would think these "highsec carebears" do, as people most valiantly defend themselves. Yet I've yet to see a single "I'd quit EVE if I couldn't keep grinding L4s" statement. The whining always happens in third person: they would quit.

But where are they? Have anyone actually seen a "highsec carebear"? Every single EVE blog is written by a PvP-er. Before you'd point to Mabrick, I tell that he lives in WH and even post PvP videos. These magical "highsec carebears" don't have a CSM representative either. Despite they are the majority according to the myth, they failed to send a single member into the CSM during its 7 years.

Have you actually heard saying (seen posting) that EVE PvE is fun? Since a "highsec carebear" plays only for doing PvE, he must have fun doing it. Yet I've never seen a single such post. I've only seen cursing and spitting towards the PvE of EVE. Can these carebears play to suffer?

It doesn't vote, it doesn't blog, it doesn't speak and it does something that no one considers fun. The "highsec carebear", the one who plays EVE only to shoot crosses and rocks does not exist. There are of course newbies and very low playtime players who simply don't know EVE enough or don't have skillpoints or time to do anything else and still under the spell of "woot spaceships". But none of the regular EVE players are "highsec carebears".

The "highsec carebear" is a boogieman created by the PvP-ers, mostly to serve as an ego booster. No one says "I'm a PvP-er" in World of Tanks, since there is no point. Everyone is doing PvP since you can't do anything else. In EVE the "PvP-er" is a necessary adjective next to every player, corp and alliance. It is to be understood as "we might don't have Sov, our killboard is terrible and we fly T1 cruisers and frigs, but we are still better than the highsec carebears." Since there are no such beings, they are actually better than no one.

But if no carebears exist, who farms L4s and in AFK Mackinaws in highsec day and night? No, not the industrialists, they manufacture and trade for much higher income. The ones you'd call highsec carebears are alts of those who bemoan them: the PvP-ers. Almost every "PvP-er" have highsec alt(s) farming for their expenses. This is why they are AFK, this is why they play solo, this is why they don't post, don't elect CSM, don't blog: because they are alts.

The "don't nerf highsec" demands come from "PvP-ers" who fear that without the safety of highsec they couldn't upkeep their fake life of "shooting stuff and don't give a damn" because they couldn't replace ships. They could actually live and gain wealth in the dangerous zones of EVE. But this idea terrifies them because they they suck. After all they kill 1/100 as much as someone who flies a Catalyst, a ship given out for the Gallente newbie missions.

18 comments:

Chris K. said...

I've seen tons of "high-sec bears". My old alliance was practically 90% high sec dwellers and I know because when a few of us moved to low sec, to a cluster of (mostly) blues, instead of coming along for the profits and the occasional thrills, they chose to stay in High.

These were the same people that had 3 accounts at a time running, mining away for PLEXs. If you'd take away their ability to grind with their accounts, they'd (maybe) keep a main pilot and suspend everything else. Or maybe they'd quit altogether.

And no, they weren't newbies. Unless you consider 2-3 year old accounts as new.

Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

Curiously enough, this gets us back to New Order. Or rather, the overarching idea that acquiring raw materials for construction should require active participation from the player.

Let's say i agree with you on 3 statements.
1) Eve mining is not fun.
2) There is no strata of players that plays for the sake of enjoyment they get out of mining, since Eve mining is not fun.
3) Eve mining is done by people who enjoy Eve PvP. They do it out of necessity and obviously choose to AFK it, because it isn't fun.

Notice how the core issue is how Eve mining simply isn't fun.

Now, "nerfing highsec" essentially means that people who mine in highsec will mine less. Any miner will see less output, whether he is AFK or not.

This puts people relying on highsec output in a bind. They need the highsec output to finance their low/null fun. Just because highsec gets nerfed, their needs won't diminish. So they'll either need to reduce their spendings in low/null (thus reducing the amount of fun they are getting), or increase the amount of time they spend mining (thus increasing amount of time they spend on un-fun activity).

Both consequences mean the game gets worse.

So, the actual result of New Order campaigns against AFK mining is that the game got worse for a lot of people :/.

The solution here is not to nerf highsec, but to make mining more interesting.

Gevlon said...

@Maxim: making mining fun doesn't solve the original problem, that it's way too easy to get rich in highsec. While mining should be made fun, its profitability in highsec must be decreased.

Kinis Deren said...

I'm inclined to agree with you on your well thought through analysis of the hi sec demographic.

Imho, I very much doubt that nerfing hi sec incomes will actually achieve what you hope to intend. Witness the removal of L5 missions and the POCO PI taxes - did those changes have an impact on player distribution via sec? I doubt it - I suspect PvE characters adapted to run L4's and PI commodity prices inflated respectfully.

Let's assume the hi sec income nerf was based upon bounty payments and mission rewards across the board (L1-L4). If implemented, might we see prices for salvage and LP purchased items increase as a consequence and thus negate the original intention?

[Disclaimer: It must be at least 6 months since I last ran a mission]

Anonymous said...

i have quite a few highsec carebears in my corp. they only mine, and they are only interested in mining.

okok, once a month they form up 4 people to run a level 4 mission.

yes highsec carebears do exist.

and they build a large part of my industrial backbone.

Premier said...

I'm a highsec carebear. I don't really say much because I'm quite happy running my little Corp of friends and doing the occasional agent mission. Everyone I know also plays almost exclusively Highsec.

PvP makes much more entertaining reading for a blog. No one cares about how we make Fuel Blocks and talk about movies while ratting and if I wrote one no one would bother to read it.

You're not going to force me to try out the PVP. I've done it, I enjoyed it sometimes and hated it others. It's full of bad losers and poor winners and really that's no fun. The few people who took losing a ship or blowing up mine with a sense of "This is a game and it's all for fun" were very small and while I really enjoyed those moments for the most part people acted like complete dicks.

I don't enjoy doing it and while I don't begrudge the people that do I'm quite happy to play without it. I've gone half a year without losing a ship, been shot at a few times but I know how to build a decent Tank and avoid getting caught in a bind so I'm doing just fine.

There's nothing for me in 0 space or Lowsec that I want to get involved in. I've no interest in the massive corperation dick waving of 0 sec, I don't really want to spar with pirates when the vast majority of them go out of the way to make it unfun for the loser.

Highsec is casual play and so it's not surprising we're not as involved with the community to the level of the CS's. Frankly we don't need to be! I enjoy my Highsec play and while Lowsec and 0 Sec have serious problems that don't make them much fun for the PvP'ers I'm not among that group so I don't really care. The game I enjoy works just fine!

It's a community problem for me. The people in Low Sec and 0 Sec are people I do not want to play with. Luckily I don't have too.



mordis mydaddy said...

Let me be a first for you. At this point in my EVE life, I am a highsec carebear. I mine ice in Mackinaws and run LVL4 missions exclusively. Like when LVL5 were removed from highsec, remove LVL4 and I would run LVL3. If you nerf mining, I make a bigger mining fleet...up until the nerfs were so big that I couldn't pay the PLEX to support those additional accounts. I don't have to scream that PvE is fun and no one has to think it is, yet it is how I choose to play for WHATEVER my reasons...much the same way I can't understand why anyone would whittle or blog or watch golf for fun.

For me though, nerfing highsec wouldn't force me somewhere else. If they did something to fix AFK play--the AFK cloakers issue--I would be in null. As I said before, I accept the lower income of highsec ice mining because I can be assured of logging in and being able to play versus logging in to find an AFK cloaker sitting in our null system for days at a time.

DSJ said...

There are a substantial number of pilots in highsec who are there primarily because when they log-on and play (as shown my Mordis's comment) L4's and mining are always available to do. No one can take away your L4 or your mining belt --- there is always content for you.

In LS, null, and WH space the content is available under conditions not in the players control. You can have cloaking campers, the pvp fleets you want to fight my blueball, and the best grav sites are dependent on the mining done by those in the days before you.

Some people are always going to prefer predicable, easy, always accessible content to content that is less so.

The average player wants to log on, do something they enjoy on their schedule (not someone else's), and profit. The inherent weakness in the PvP game has always been the requirement that players create their own content --- and the game stagnates if they are unsuccessful at it.

What you are arguing for is to force people out of the content CCP creates and into content that they create on their own. You provide no examination that the players (or alts if you insist on not seeing unique players) are going to be motivated to do something they have selected themselves not to do just because you changed a reward ratio.

Is it so hard to understand that Eve is not just a closed world with all competition in game? If you nerf all PvE (and that is what HS is -- 90% of all the PvE in the game occurs in HS) those people involved in it may reach the point where they go to another game that supports what they want rather than Eve.

Every MMO has to have a critical mass of players that keep the game active --- in all the other "carebear" MMO's you see server merges and such when they don't have it. Eve doesn't have that option. With a single server radical action on CCP's part will never happen in the way you (or James315) envision. There is a vast foundation of players in the missions and belts of HS that make every trade you've had in this game successful. Once they are gone so is most of EVE.

Anonymous said...

Since you wanted to hear it, here goes:

"I'd quit EVE if I couldn't keep grinding L4s" in hisec.

I am a carebear. I live in hisec. I am also a CEO of a 30 man corp which is 90% carebear only. We log in, chat about things, and either mine, do exploration sites or L4 missions. This is how we like to play.

Out of the 50 players there are 3 who sometimes go to 0.0, the remaining 47 never does. They are not allowed to get involved in PvP (corp rules) so these 3 sometimes go down only to check anomalies, or do PI in 0.

Most people log in a few times a week, do enough missions/explo sites/mining to get their plex, and chat about stuff in the corp channel while doing so. If they'd need to put more effort into plexing, they'd just quit like myself and play something else.

Also, none of them ever writes blogs, posts on the forum or tries to turn EVE upside down. So you don't see them voicing their opinion anywhere, because they are casual players and they don't care that much. They don't even know what a CSM is. When we talked about that once, the channel agreed that getting involved in CSM things and votings is for no lifers only.

I and my corp like hisec more or less as it is. I don't want to play in low or null, as the few times I went there I only saw butthurt pvp-ers who were talking trash in local when I escaped their bubble again and they couldn't shoot at an unarmed player. What great fun must that be...

Also, there are many other excellent games out there. If our fun is ruined, then I will just uninstall EVE, and play something else. Most of my corp will do the same, leaving a few others who will try to cheat the system and still stay in highsec and make a profit some other way.

Carebears are no myth. If you were a social person Gevlon, you would meet them in hisec every minute, as they constitute the majority of empire population.

Hivemind said...

"Have anyone actually seen a "highsec carebear""

Yes. I've even been one myself - I used to spend a lot of time running L4 missions, enjoying the explosions, the regular influx of ISK, loot and salvage and seeing how far I could push my battleships pulling several groups or spawning several waves together. I had no interest in PvP or in moving on to other gameplay. During that time I went through a few corps of players like myself; it was good for company and advice on systems to mission in, fittings to use etc. There was (and is) no shortage of corporations made up of these players forming little insular communities. None of the players I met during that time either talked about or gave the impression of being alts of nullsec players and most of them seemed to reinvest a lot of the ISK they earned in upgrading their ships - faction battleships or marauders, faction/deadspace modules etc.

"Despite they are the majority according to the myth, they failed to send a single member into the CSM during its 7 years."

Because they're not interested in the metagame or the long-term development of EVE. They're not usually part of the external EVE community of forum-goers, bloggers and their readers, EN24/TMC readers etc, they have no links to the political metagame (most have no idea what the CSM even is, let alone who's on it) and they have no motivation to change that because they're enjoying what they're doing now.

"Have you actually heard saying (seen posting) that EVE PvE is fun?"

It's fun early on, when the missions are new and a player is exploring their ships’ capabilities. It's fun if you enjoy watching spaceships blow up - EVE on maximum graphical settings still looks fantastic. It's not a bad activity to do socially with other players if you’ve got a group of friends you chat with. It can be fun if you roleplay a bit - rather than just pressing F1 on the red crosses you're an elite mercenary being paid an exorbitant sum by the Caldari Navy to handle problems that they can't deal with, single-handedly taking down entire fleets.

On the other hand, bear in mind these are reasons why some players will find mission running enjoyable; they doesn't change the fact that if you're not interested in any of those reasons above and you're just doing it for the ISK it's a very overt, repetitive grind with unvaried gameplay and little to no challenge. Different people will view the same activity with very different perspectives, but none of the reasons people enjoy missions would go away if the gameplay involved were better.

"Almost every "PvP-er" have highsec alt(s) farming for their expenses."

Consider what you're suggesting here; I believe the last time CCP released stastics they showed 70% of the EVE lived in hisec, so you are saying that on average every player outside of hisec has 2 alts inside. That includes every cyno alt parked in low/null, every cloaky camper alt, every supercap pilot character etc, not just PvP mains. Then bear in mind that not everyone in Nullsec is a PvPer - look at NPCs killed in Malpais, for example. The whole region is being rented out by PL to players who just want to make ISK and they have enough people there after just 1-2 weeks to rack up over 65,000 NPC kills per day. Presumably none of those players have hisec alts.

It's also worth noting that this is just a supposition that you're drawing from the demonstrably incorrect claim that there are no highsec carebears and your equally incorrect claim that nobody outside of hisec earns ISK where they live - Malpais is hardly the only Null region that has lots of NPC kills and checking sovereignty levels shows that mining in Null isn't exactly negligible either. If all the Null players were relying on hisec alts to get their ISK, who's racking up > 60k NPC kills/day in Querious, for example?

Anonymous said...

I got a bit mixed up back there. So its exactly 30 players, and 52 toons in the corp. Out of these, 3 toons go to 0.0 sec occasionally, the rest never.

Just as an example.

Von Keigai said...

I was a highsec carebear for the first 7 months or so of my EVE life. During that time my small corp of friends tried lots of things to make lowsec or wormholes work for us, but didn't find anything as safe and profitable as highsec exploration. So that is what we did. (We mined for less than a week (1 day in my case), and missioned for about 2 months.)

Exploring is better than most highsec PVE in that there is an aspect of competitive PVP in it -- you are racing other explorers to get a prize. Similarly station-trading and other kinds of trading require competing against other traders.

Now I spend half my time carebearing in wspace, and half carebearing in highsec.

My move to wspace was done almost completely as a result of a non-highsec buff -- POCOs. With my own POCOs I can set 0% tax and rake in profit from PI. I am competing against a marginal supply that is created via highsec PI, and highsec PI is subject to stiff taxation. Thus highsec PIers cannot profit at levels where I still make a nice profit.

The way PI works suggests that raising taxes on other things could work to help push people out of highsec. However, the tax bite needs to be considerable. The taxes on highsec PI goods vary from 10% up to about 50%, depending on the good.

Johnicholas Hines said...

There's probably a correlation between casual player and not-blogging.

Compare the Eve blog world with the WoW blog world; there are a LOT more casuals than hardcore WoW players, but there's a minority of casual WoW blogs.

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: I don't question that missioning and mining IN SPACE is fun at the first time, but I mentioned newbies.

@Johnicholas Hines: but WoW casuals do the same things as hardcore just in smaller amount and less progress. "Carebears" play very differently than the average EVE player (claims)

Hivemind said...

@ Gevlon

"I don't question that missioning and mining IN SPACE is fun at the first time, but I mentioned newbies."

You missed my point; "It's fun because it's new" is only one of the reasons I gave for people enjoying EVE's PvE. The others are all independant of each other and can apply long after the newness wears off. I know I was taking satisfaction from my ability to complete missions efficiently long after I'd gotten used to them all - in fact it was that experience that allowed me to complete them efficiently.

As for mining, I've literally been mining on and off for my entire EVE career and I still find satisfaction from strip-mining a belt or turning a vast stack of ore into usable (and sellable) minerals.

""Carebears" play very differently than the average EVE player (claims)"

Not really; again, 70% of the EVE population is in hisec and the majority of those are carebearing themselves and rarely if ever leave. If anything, the carebears are the average EVE player and it's the PvPers in low, null and WH space that are the exceptions.

Tiye Q said...

Even though I hate the term 'carebear' but I would have to say that I am a hi-sec carebear. I have five accounts (which I don't plex, even though I could), and I have no reason to go to null or low-sec (even though I lived in a wh for 18 months).

I did the null sec sov game, and thought it was incredibly lackluster. LowSec is not appealing to me, and I left the wormhole due to extreme boredom.

There's a really good chance that I would quit EVE if CCP nerfed hi-sec any further. This game just doesn't really offer much for me outside of running a few missions and grinding standings (at the moment).

There are some stark realities that you fail to realize about EVE. While EVE is an online, social, game. A vast majority of the null sec and low sec alliances do not share the same mindset as the majority player base. Secondly, the ISK to be made is much better in null, and lowsec by design. However, the majority of the player base chooses to make the reduced ISK of hi-sec because they just don't want to deal with all the logistics of trying to run missions in low, or non-sov null. And you can forget about mining in low or non-sov null unless you're ninja mining...but that's not profitable.

Just because you can't find an EVE online hi-sec player blog, does not mean that these players don't exist. It's quite clear that they exist based on in game population stats. If you don't believe that, next time while you're in-game open up your map browser and view he populated systems in hi-sec vs the populated systems in null, and low.

The reality is that a nerf to hi-sec will spell the beginning of mass unsubs. Just look at what happened to the incursion community after CCP hit them with the nerf bat. The only reason CCP rolled back the changes is because they drew a direct line from incursion changes to community outrage, to loss of subscribers. It's not rocket science. Just follow the money.

And finally, I'd love to pvp in null or low, but I don't do the blobs of null, and the mindset of 'pvp' corps and alliances is not in alignment with my thought process. I couldn't join an alliance named 'I whip my slaves back and forth', or 'Unicorn Rape Train'. That's incredible immature, crass, and just not my cup of tea.



Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

@Gevlon
Suppose mining profitability drops.
Assuming people still maintain same amount of spending in low/null, where are they going to get the money that they are no longer getting from mining?

Anonymous said...

It's quite obvious to me that you are trolling again (in the original sense: (1) in http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/T/troll.html).

You can't really believe what you wrote, else you would be ignoring too many facts (e.g. why would a PvP-er bling his ISK workhorse beyond reason to 15bn instead of buying more ships to blow up?)

I realize that you do that from time to time, but why? Sometimes it was to provoke answers - which I am sure you could have gotten the same if you simply asked nice. But in this case you will mainly get predictable "but I am a carebear" answers (btw, count me in).

Is it simply to keep up controversity to have more visitors (you once mentioned that you time your posts accordingly)? Or what do you hope to get from this style of posting?


Anyhow, I bite: "It doesn't vote, it doesn't blog, it doesn't speak and it does something that no one considers fun. The "highsec carebear", the one who plays EVE only to shoot crosses and rocks does not exist."
1) I do vote, I just didn't see any serious high-sec candidate to vote for last year. So I gave my votes to those who put a lot of work in instead, regardless of their affiliation.
2) What would there be to blog about? (but okay, I wouldn't blog about anything, so maybe I am not qualified to answer that)
3) I just spoke up. I just usually don't mention that I am a carebear, because that's a label others chose for my type of gameplay, not how I define myself. I am non-competive (which also excludes PvP). And if you are able to search your blog comments, you'll find a handful from me mentioning that adjective.
4) While, indeed, the PvE activities are not continuous fun for me, there are enough variants of them that I didn't try all of them yet, after a year of play. So I still have fun exploring the world that is New Eden and chatting with friends in EVE.

So I just falsified 3 of your 4 claims regarding me. That voids your conclusion.

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