Tuesday, 26 January 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Hmph. Right.

I'm going to take a little break here and talk about something that's become kind of a big deal with me recently. I say 'kind of' because it's not something I would ordinarily do in Eve had I not a very good reason for it.

Now, let us postulate that you live in a very strange part of the world, and that you've been a street thug for years. You've never been caught, and your activites of stealing, murdering and shaking down hapless passers-by for coin have made you a wealthy, wealthy man (or woman, if you prefer; I tend to use 'man' as a catchall). People know you. It's pretty obvious to anyone what you do. Except that now you want to operate in a different part of your city where the police are tougher, and the rules are more stringent. In order to even get into that part of they city, you need to atone for your sins, as it were, and make up for your years of thievery in the eyes of the authorities.

Now, tell me: which of the following methods seems least realistic?
A) Bribing a contact to hack the system and clean up your record
B) Bribing the authorities to clear your record
C) Doing crappy unpaid piecework for someone important in order to get their 'word of honour' that you've cleaned up your act
D) Going out into the lawless regions and playing vigilante for a few weeks

After a week or two of very lazy sec-grinding -- yeah, lazy, I'm at -8.5 because it is SO dull and SO boring that there are days where I just cannot be arsed undocking -- I've realised that the CONCORD standings system makes very little sense. You spend years as an outlaw, and then go to a place where there are no sec-drops and kill NPCs for a couple weeks and come up smelling like roses. It's dull work, yes, but there ought to be more to it. The cost needs to be higher.

Case in point: I'm back up over a billion ISK in Shae's wallet. I'm being paid grandly for this. Now, I get that it's from pirate bounties, but if CONCORD's DED is in control of that, could they not simply deny payment to those with outlaw status? It's not like the outlaws could go waltzing into their highsec offices to beat the money out of the officers there, after all. Have you tried to get into Yulai as an outlaw? Well, sure, you can get in; getting out with your ship intact is a different matter entirely. You can't just dock up, either, because the stations won't let you in. Tough cookies.

It boggles the mind that CONCORD will not penalise you for other players killed in nullsec, yet will grant a full standings boost for every NPC you pop. Lawless means lawless: there shouldn't be any security changes down there. End of story.

But that means that you'd need an alternate way of boosting your standings, doesn't it? Hmm. Not many people are thrilled at the idea of ratting in lowsec. Knowing lowsec the way I do, neither am I. I have actually ratted there (shhhhhh, on an alt; I was introducing a friend to lowsec) but the lesser rewards mean it'd take much longer to raise standings out of the gutter.

Maybe the DED should have agents in nullsec, offering gruelling mission arcs. Only available to outlaws, situations CONCORD either doesn't have the strength to deal with or doesn't want to be seen getting involved in. Minimal pay, if any at all, but massive standings bonuses and the opportunity to pick up a piece or two of faction gear, similar to the Empire arcs. By the time you finish an arc, your standings are back up to -4, leaving you to figure out the rest yourself.

Sound good? It would certainly relieve the monotony of ratting sec up, add a bit more to Eve's massive background... and the risk would still be there, because you never know when the next branch will send you into a hot system. Give it the Sleeper AI so the difficulty scales with the type of ship -- or ships, if there's a group of you -- you bring in, and you're sorted.

Ah, but who am I to suggest such things? I'm one of the ones the current system is designed to punish for my predations on the community, after all.

*Returns to popping red crosses*