CSM 7 is on more Eve Online player minds than ever before.  This I think is a good thing, and I am particularly impressed by how much of a push there is by the Faction Warfare and Low-sec groups.  To me, this is a good thing.  As I have mentioned in the past, while currently Null-sec is the apple of CCP’s eye, I really think that if low-sec was done well, it could easily surpass and redefine Eve Online and even its playerbase.  I kind of wish that what I am going to discuss becomes a blog banter, because I would love to see how each blogger feels about the issues on hand.

I am going to list what I think the three biggest issues should be this year, as well as some things that I think would be bonuses for success.
Priority One: Null-sec Soverignty Issues 

Right now, Null-sec still has problems.  The Sov system needs a massive re-work, something that allows options for both large invasions and defense forces, resource control, better distribution of assets, as well as giving smaller groups better options by removing the problems and challenges brought about by Supercaps.  While I still think that low-sec is eventually where the focus of Eve Online should be, right now it isn’t there and null-sec is the breadwinner and still needs a lot of work.  The big issues that still are on the table:

  • Supercap Proliferation – Supercapitals are still being produced in such large numbers that no new alliance can get a serious foothold into null-sec without a fleet of these.  Ideally, in my mind, Titans and Supercarriers should either a.) Take on a much more logistical role and scale back their combat abilities even more, or b.) Require that these Supercapital ships need more than one pilot to operate successfully.  Both of these would not necessarily reduce their need/use, but it would reduce their ability to dominate the battlefield exclusively.
  • Soverignty Control – Soverignty Mechanics suck.  In many ways, even the old way had better options.  To be honest, I have no idea where to begin on this.  Ihubs, POSes, Stations, the whole thing needs to start from scratch, hopefully finding ways to make sov confrontation to work beyond the “n+1” model.
  • Wealth Distribution – Tech Moons, Taxation, Supercapital Fleets – Time and time again we keep hearing about how the grunts on the ground, the typical null-sec player who doesn’t have multiple bot alts making him isk while he’s sleeping, often struggles to make enough isk to keep his PVP habit going.  On the flipside, the leaders of many of these organizations, as well as industrial corporations, often siphoning ships, materials, isk, with no easy way of fairly distributing resources.. or even just documenting what resources the alliance is maintaining.  Perhaps a system needs to be determined where players get more of the isk generated from sov, and can reduce their efforts in their own personal isk operations, but are required to spend more time maintaining that sov through various activities, unrelated to invasion and invasion defense.

Priority Two: Low-Sec and Faction Warfare Complete Redesign

While Low-sec and Faction Warfare are two different entities, they do tend to deal with each other more than most and both have the same problem: Purpose.  There isn’t much of a reason to be in low-sec for industrialists and mission runners.. the very fuel of pirates.  The problem stems from a conflux of issues, concerns, and doubts.. along with a number of tears.  Faction Warfare on the other hand is supposed to be an aspect of Eve where people can pick up quick PVP fights in smaller gangs.  Not sure where I read it but the amount of actual PVP’ers in Faction Warfare range around 9% to 15%, a failed mechanic if there ever was one.  Most FW players just spend their time running plexes and making isk.  Not really anything like it was meant to be.

A big, upcoming problem for low-sec and faction warfare is that there is a fundamental difference in how to do that.  Many null-sec leaders, especially those running for CSM, would like to see low-sec to be a “null-sec lite”, in which low-sec carries some of the benefits and some of the heartache of sov control, so as to prepare ones for the supposedly better benefits of null-sec sov control.  However, running counter to these arguments are the low-sec dwellers as well as some in the faction warfare group that say that null-sec can be all about sov control and sov entities, but low-sec should be something different.  One big aspect they hope to achieve appears to be around getting pirate factions set up to work much like the major factions do, which would require ways of improving factions with all the pirate groups, some of which have no way to improve their relations.

Another downside that I see is the disconnect between those that like to pirate and the rest of the known reasonable universe.  This group is a very vocal group that seems to think that the more freedom you give them to slaughter industrials and miners, the more industrialists and miners will want to line up in nice neat rows to be slaughtered.  Often their proposals are pretty short-sighted to say the least. 

Things that are also considered on this list:

  • Bounty Hunting Changes – As everyone knows, Bounty Hunting is a staple of the Sci-Fi world, ever since Boba Fett came on the scene.  However, the Bounty Hunting mechanic in Eve Online is.. for lack of a better term.. awful.  Do whatever it takes to make Bounty Hunting a career choice.
  • Crimewatch – This needs to be radically different, and fortunately, lots of CSM candidates are actually wanting to fix this, so that is good.
  • Wardec Changes – With CCP basically saying that a major exploit is no longer an exploit to escape wardecs, the ability to wardec is no longer viable.  On the other side of the table, the case can be made that wardecs are too easy of a tool for griefers to use.

Priority Three: Mining and Bots

Of all the activities in Eve Online, mining is by far the least interactive.  You point your mining laser and shot a rock until its gone.  The rock doesn’t move, you pretty much get all the material so long as you have enough space for it, and it goes on endlessly and repetatively.  True, some people like the monotonous activity because its a way of making isk while you do things around the house.. like make sure the kids don’t catch themselves on fire or something.  Nothing wrong with that.. but.. the mechanic is so old, so easily exploited by bots, that it just needs a complete redo.

There are already some great ideas out there, like having the asteroids.. well, move.  As well as having to scan down asteroid belts in every system (shoot, would be kinda cool to have those ice belts move from system to system to system within a region or constellation…), much like finding wormholes or anomalies.. just much easier.  And having to scan down asteroid belts do give a measure of added security.. enough of one that it might embolden more industrial types to take the risk.. particularly if better belts are harder to scan.  But that’s just one thought of many being looked over.