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This article follows on from my previous piece and goes into more depth in how the changes made by CCP has affected the gameplay of lowsec. Once again the questions were answered by the same people so please refer to the previous part for information regarding to who they are and what they do.

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How do you think lowsec has changed over the years due to the introduction of new game mechanics? Including changes such as the introduction of citadels, jump rangs etc.

Spring HeeledJack:

Again, if I’m being 100% honest, lowsec in its current state is dire and in need of serious change. Recent game mechanics have had a hugely negative impact on lowsec in general and there is no drive for people to actively want to be here. The jump range changes had little effect as the two big players, ourselves and Snuff live close enough for that to not matter. Citadels, in general, have been a terrible addition to the game in general not just lowsec. We are heavily limited to using certain doctrines to remove the effect of void bombs and, if you allow a citadel to online, you are timer tanked and it’s almost impossible to kill them because of the mass strategic advantage that they provide the defending side, in terms of void bombs, anti-capital fitting, etc. The whole mechanic around these new structures and the removal of POSes is going to kill lowsec completely. The only thing worth fighting over in lowsec currently are moons, but with POSes being removed and replaced with citadel-style structures the same issues are going to be present and basically because nobody wants to ever fight in lowsec over anything. Lowsec suffers massively as it is currently in a huge timezone cold war. Snuff control EU TZ and RUS TZ, and all their stuff is obviously timed for then, so they will win every fight in those timezones while we ourselves control US TZ and obviously all our stuff is US TZ timed. Neither side can fight because of the timezone tank and it’s, honestly. killing the game entirely. The upcoming moon changes are going to be dumb as fuck. Nobody in lowsec wants to spend their time mining, and there is ZERO reason for people to move into lowsec to mine rather than null where they are vastly more secure and rewarded more. Every recent update, and every upcoming update, is another nail in the coffin for lowsec and lowsec groups like Shadow and Snuff.

Hy Wanto Destroyer and sharp as:

Lowsec back when I started was like the wild west, barren and empty, you could go 30 jumps and not find a gang and making ISk with one account was very hard. FW changed that. It gave people a place to pick up PVP and way to make ISK in lowsec with a small SP investment. I’m not sure when the “elite” PVP alliances started doing there own thing fighting over money moons. Though I know before the jump changes guys like PL and BL were top of the food chain and anyone with caps on grid for longer than 15mins would get dropped. Now the smaller guys can punch above there limit, if they risk it. Whether lowsec is about to change for good or bad I can’t say. Moons are going away, leaving POCOs as the only true passive income for corps and alliances. POSes were the main focus for any large scale PVP. Citadels and POCOs, as they are now, are very easy to timezone tank.

Dreaded Vengeance:

1v1 @ top belt m8? It’s actually easier to find fights since the introduction of FW, the very old d-scan system used to require a light touch and some skill in itself, but now we have what are effectively combat zones to pick a fight over. It’s more instant action but not necessarily as satisfying as hunting down a target. On a small scale, in FW, areas there’s more conflict, which is good, however, outside of those areas, lowsec seems pretty dead and it’s rare for me to wander far into them.
In my opinion, Citadels have broken FW in a way, taking a home system and locking an enemy out of their assets (well on their mains anyway) was a big thing, now their assets are sitting in half dozen citadels all on the same grid, what’s a militia going to do – grind out 18 timers under the watch of the local pirate alliances? Not going to happen, maybe with the exception of Galmil in their prime. I think the jump range changes were, in general, good for lowsec, allowing smaller groups to expand their capital fleets without living in total fear of the boogymen from null and the large lowsec pirate coalitions, I get to use and kill a lot more now. A 1 mil griffin with a 4mil sp alt pilot should still not render a 2bil pirate BS with a 150mil sp pilot useless, but whatcha gunna do?

Baltrom:

Now this is a really big question, in my opinion, since not only the changes to lowsec itself but a lot of what happens in nullsec affects lowsec.
Citadels are actually cancer. It is a massive pain to take down a fort, let alone a keepstar (once its online :P)
First, concerning lowsec they killed FW in one or the other way as you can just anchor an astra and you can forever stage out of that system, even if you lose it (by FW mechanics). Therefore, flipping systems to headshot enemy staging is kinda gone I guess.
The jump range changes mean you can’t get blobbed by supers from across the other side of the galaxy anymore, which is cool.
But let’s look at everything combined; jump range nerfs, introduction of fatigue and introduction of citadels. (This mostly concerns nullsec in my opinion but as I said I believe that the way nullsec works at the moment greatly affects lowsec).
You can’t really be on the offensive and defensive at the same time unless you live adjacent to your enemy. You can’t “commit” to the fight, the war, because, if you do, you would also leave the little castle you built up defenseless and since all the nullsec alliances like to build their castles it’s a big nono to fully commit.
On top of that, citadels, but mostly keepstars, are the cancer that’s rotting this game from the inside. Who in his right mind is going to invade another alliances space if it’s packed with keepstars that you might have to grind down and maybe even face resistance in doing so?

I understand that there are plenty of players that experience the current ongoing conflicts in EVE as real war with big brawls, and what not, but are they really? World War Bee was the last big thing and to be honest it was a joke.
So, now we see some lowsec alliances involved in some “minor” wars, some other groups just crabbing/mining away, like mad, cause of the dank scheckels they earn and some other nullsec blocs swinging their big dicks around lowsec cause they don’t have anything better to do.

Degnar Oskold:

Citadels have really hurt FW gameplay in lowsec in particular, but also to a lesser extent all of territorial control PVP in lowsec. It is impossible to control territory (directly through FW, or power projection if you are a pirate group) when even an online Astrahus, let alone a Fort, needs the type of overwhelming force rarely available in lowsec to attack – made worse by the fact that Citadels, unlike POSes, can be timezone tanked.

Any of the lowsec factions, aligned with Shadow Cartel, has effective immunity from any USTZ lowsec opposition for its USTZ timers, and any entity aligned with Snuffbox has effective immunity from EUTZ lowsec opposition for its EUTZ timers. This means that Caldari and Gallente FW players cannot effectively eject each other from systems, even after taking control of them. Similarly, even Snuffbox or Shadow Cartel can no longer easily prevent each other from having bases of operation in their areas of influence.

Jump range and fatigue changes were a massive quality of life improvement for lowsec. Before those, even a battleship fleet, let alone a capital fleet, could not be used without a fleet of supers jumping in from across the universe. Jump changes allowed lowsec entities of all sizes to freely use Capital ships and created a vast increase in the number of capital ships killing things and being killed in lowsec.

Tikktokk:

There’s been a lot of good and bad changes to lowsec over the years. The removal of static DEDs, the rebalance of faction warfare and introduction of besieged covert research facilities are the main PVE changes since I started, with the former killing a playstyle and ecosystem based around it and the latter two creating new playstyles and ecosystems. The introduction of jump fatigue allowed for smaller and more frequent capital fights without the worry of an inevitable escalation by the big players, which is appreciated by the many small to medium sized entities around lowsec. Citadels are such a huge topic with plenty of pros and cons, so it’s hard to know where to start. A lot of lowsec players have augmented their brains with expensive implant sets, which used to be a big commitment before the citadel clone centers, with no cooldown, took most of the risk and planning out of implants. Citadels have removed most of the consequence from faction warfare by effectively negating the station lockout, annoying a lot of faction warfare players. The biggest change has yet to come, though. Moon mining has been the main conflict driver for medium to large lowsec entities as far back as I can remember. With the incoming removal of passive moon mining, and likely moon empires, I’m curious what will trigger the big fights and wars currently generated by moons.

Mystical Might:

Jump changes have certainly helped lowsec to some degree. It was no longer a 5 minute in-and-out with fears that groups would leapfrog their superfleet across the map at a moments notice. There was more counterplay, even within a region, revolving around selecting the right place to fight, keeping eyes on capital movements, etc.

Harkon Thorson:

I have seen a few changes in the last few years. Some have improved the game (like getting rid of cloaked farmers) and some were less good for lowsec PVP and FW in particular. I like the concept of citadels and industrial complexes as player made places, but the implementation isn’t as I wish it would be. Setting it up is way too easy and getting them down in comparison way to hard. That’s a general issue but for FW it’s worse due to the fact that the militia not owning a system normally cannot dock in the stations and therefore the defender had the advantage of faster reships and better supply. Now with citadels, especially freeports, that you would have to fight over with a third party that’s no longer the case. Yes there were POSes before but compare the efforts of getting down one of those to a citadel.

Safoi:

Listing the changes I can remember in no particular order:
The addition of the Tactical Destroyers really shook things up. The Svipul was king of the war zone for a good long time. They really opened up some cool fleet compositions back when we were largely flying T1 cruisers. Their use has trailed off a bit in recent months.

The addition of Citadels largely removed the value of station systems in the warzone, because now every system can effectively be a station system. The ability to stage ships easily in any system changed the way we fight for control of the warzone.

We are able to manage the tactical considerations for the jump range changes.

Command destroyers added some exciting options to an area with limited AoE options. Their ability to forcibly reposition ships allows the command destroyer pilot to have a large impact on any fleet or gang fight. Using it to catch kitey ships, move your own fleet around or reposition critical pieces of the opposing fleet are just a few of the options out there. Having a link on board is icing on the cake.

The links changes have been one of the biggest changes to lowsec PVP. It used to be that in order to stand a proper chance in solo PVP in lowsec you needed to have a character being an off grid booster. This came at nearly no risk to the booster, and provided huge boosts to their fleet. Now that off grid boosting has been removed, it feels like solo PVP is more accessible for anyone to try. It has also brought Command Ships into our usual fleets which was a rarity before.

The T3 Cruiser changes are not something we’ve had a chance to explore the full effect of yet.

Gian Bal:

Some aspects have changed drastically with the introduction of new stuff whereas some aspects have remained pretty much the same. Citadels were a massive game changer primarily in Faction Warfare because it allows the faction attacking a system they don’t own to have a foothold in system, with plenty of ships to PVP with. I’ve found that this makes it a hell of a lot easier to attack and capture systems but a hell of a lot harder to defend against, because an organised force can easily anchor an astrahus in the middle of a cluster of complexes and have ships on hand so they can go into a fight, lose a few ships and have them docked, reshipped and back in the fight within 2 minutes as opposed to warping across the system to a station.

The jump range changes I have found to, primarily, just make logistics a pain in the ass, but in turn helping smaller alliances get to grips with capitals. I, personally, haven’t been in many lowsec super blob cap fleets but I actively use carriers as suitcases and other carriers/HAW dreads for solo/small gang PVP. As the jump range is incredibly reduced it allows for people operating capitals for solo (such as myself) or small group use to have more freedom, because if you plan ahead somewhat and know who in the area will want to drop on you and their jump ranges etc. then you can fairly easily avoid getting dropped on as easily which encourages them to use capitals more. However, before the jump range nerfs you could comfortably light a cyno anywhere in your region and be able to jump directly to it 99% of the time.

Rocket X:

Like much of EVE lowsec is ultimately a Game of Batphones, and you’re much more likely to see capitals involved in that sort of fight, simply because the geography of lowsec means it is more accessible for the limited mobility afforded by Jump Fatigue since Phoebe. My own alliance has hunted capitals and super-capitals for years, making lowsec the ideal place for us to base.

Sadly, in terms of hunting capitals and super-capitals, the citadel expansion has essentially devolved much of our activities to camping, rather than actually hunting. Essentially, what we’ve been forced to do is shape the map by strategically killing enemy citadels, leaving gaps in their jump-chain. As pilots reach the gap, they tend to make mistakes which we’ve had to capitalise on in order to maintain our level of kills.

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Clearly, there are a few areas which have been regularly mentioned above regarding their affects on lowsec and how it operates as a whole. The jump range changes are apparently a great bonus as it allows the groups operating in lowsec to be more active in their use in capitals as there is less risk of a large hostile force dropping supercapitals on your fleet. With the configuration of lowsec space, and how the map is set up, there are key points that are essentially unavoidable due to the new changes in distance. This allows groups to position themselves in strategic locations to assist in their playstyle, such as hunting supercapitals or planning an attack on another entities faction warfare systems.

Following on from this the citadels appear to be a large hindrance to the playstyle going on in lowsec. Especially, for the pilots of faction warfare who no longer have any reason to try and capture the system from the opposing faction. Instead of having the stations to solely base out of, a citadel can now be deployed relatively easily to provide the same services and benefits the station would give. As an addition to this, they are also very easy to tank to your certain timezone, basically removing any opportunity that the enemy has in removing them.

The planned changes to POSs will apparently be a final nail in the coffin for lowsec as it removes the final reason for combat to take place in this area of space. With the structures following a similar style of defense as a citadel it is something else which could be heavily manipulated by those controlling them. However, one thing that is uncertain is whether or not any miners will come to the space to retrieve the minerals from said structures as without them this would be pointless. As mentioned by Spring HeeledJack, it will be a lot safer environment to mine in as part of a nullsec group as the majority of systems are empty and it is easier to spot when a hostile group is coming to catch you

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How do you think it could be improved by CCP?

Spring HeeledJack:

I think CCP should really really consider the vulnerability cycles of citadels, and reduce the week long timer, to make it actually possible for the attackers to get a favourable timer. I think the moon changes are dumb as fuck and removing the last actual thing we in lowsec can fight over. I think void bombs, and bombs in general, from citadels should be removed. Perhaps a return to the old style stations you could snipe mods off of to remove elements of the citadel, such as the bomb launcher, etc. The Moon changes are fucking dumb as fuck, nobody here wants to mine and nobody is drawn here to mine. Generally, if you are a lowsec alliance you are a heavily PVP focused alliance, more so than those in nullsec even, and this divergence from CCP to force us to become industrial is yet another reason why lowsec warfare and lowsec alliances are dying.

Hy Wanto Destroyer and sharp as:

Citadels have killed content. The first thing is that it’s so easy to get around, to move supers (if you’re not stupid) so it killed a large chunk of super hunting. Citadels themselves are such a chore to reinforce and void bombs (and now damage bombs) are rather strong and make fighting on citadels very hard on attackers. This, overall, encourages blobbing which means you cant min/max doctrines as well as you could before because everyone’s in arty machs so it ends up being an alpha match.

Clearing useless citadels that won’t generate a fight takes 30 mins per timer over 7 days it’s just not great content for line members. I think a stront like timer for citadels would go some way to help meaning someone would need to fly to the citadel being hit to timezone tank it.

A lot of people have gotten turned off by the new moon changes too, purely because of citadels and how it wont be passive as lowsec income has always been moon based. We would love to see a resource or commodity that could be controlled at alliance level in lowsec that generates a income and gives an alliance like ours something to fight over. Maybe docking rights to level 5 hubs, etc. Just making lowsec more lucrative than it will end up being. The grim reality is if the new moon platforms will be similar to citadels people won’t fight on them. Therefore people probably won’t mine in lowsec because you’re super vulnerable for example we live 1 mid from NC supers and titans. After all, FW space is super busy, smaller corps would have a hard time mining with the traffic as it is.

Dreaded Vengeance:

Hostile militia shouldn’t be able to dock in a citadel parked in an enemy owned system. Bring the life back into FW, give it more meaning and the warzones will flourish as will everyone else around it.
Citadel deployment should be capped by constellation and on a points system by structure size so placement is a strategic concern and a conflict generator for those that can attack and defend such structures. Link the deployment of the new moon structs to a control index and we will fight each other over that stuff.
When the moon distribution occurs, nullsec blocks should take a penalty for controlling a lowsec moon.
Using down time to tank your shitty 1bil Astrahus that you can’t even form a fleet to defend shouldn’t be a thing.
Idiots in Garmurs and Worms should suffer a penalty for having no balls and trying to fight FW noobs in novice plexes, maybe their baby photos shared in return for a KM or something – I dunno.

Baltrom:

Give some cool stuff to lowsec that, in my opinion, has been due for a longtime. In general, I think lowsec needs a bit of love. CCP is trying real hard to introduce some “cool” pve stuff. Sure, give some to lowsec. let there be FW anomalies where militia NPC fleets fight each other over a strategic objective, and if your militia joins in, and makes your side win, you get dank LP or whatever. Make FW warzones thrive again.
Let lowsec groups build supercarriers and titans in the new engineering complexes.
However, as much as lowsec needs some love, nullsec needs some work as well.
Give nullsec groups a reason to attack. With the new moon changes for example, let moon minerals deplete, same for anomalies, your shooting NPC pirates, they can’t field endless amounts of ships. Let them deplete as well so you have to go out there and grab somebody else’s space or at least force some sort of downtime on the perma PVE grind to get people itchy to do something else like shoot each other.
At the end of the day, I don’t know what to do to improve lowsec or nullsec because citadels are cancer and keepstars are retarded.

Degnar Oskold:

CCP needs to give up on Citadel vulnerability windows. Citadels should be instead be fittable with decent AI defences and get powerful defensive bonuses when manned, for example void bombs only being usable when actively controlled. Only the final timer should be influenced by owners but should be strontium controlled like POSs.
Also, FW citadels should have all services turned off (including fitting, tethering, insurance, service bays and repairs) if the faction owning it does not control the system. They should still be able to defend themselves and be defended as normal. Neutral citadels should not allow members of the non-controlling FW faction to dock in them.

Tikktokk:

Besides level five missions, DEDs, besieged sites and faction warfare (and only in certain lowsec regions), lowsec is treated as a stepping stone between highsec and nullsec. The risks are immeasurably higher than highsec and the rewards significantly worse than nullsec, leaving most lowsec activities not listed above untouched by anyone but the stupidly brave or clueless. To thrive, lowsec needs its own niche, which all lowsec activities such as mining and PVE should be rebalanced around.

Mystical Might:

A majority of the improvements would have to be community based. CCP could implement some “safeguards” for the creation of smaller groups, but I don’t see that being in the spirit of EVE, nor do I see them being effective. What those “safeguards” would be, I don’t know. Some have suggested a PVE rework to encourage the movement of individuals into lowsec, and, thus, an increase in targets for residents. That might go some way toward making lowsec feel a little more alive in the more desolate regions, but I don’t think it’ll really “help” lowsec.

That said, I’m not entirely sure what the problems with lowsec are. Objectives may indeed be an issue, but the community is the bitchboi type. I could see any new source of content and conflict being resolved due to diplomacy in the long run.

In terms of other areas of lowsec, like Faction Warfare, a revamp is probably necessary. As it stands, it’s a source of ISK for people across the game. That’s not to say everyone is doing faction warfare missions, but the easy access to FW makes for easy access to ISK. When a PVP-centric area of the game is seeing its meager PVE content farmed, there’s probably an issue there.

Again, however, I can offer no real solution. Removing level 4s entirely, or nerfing the payouts and LP stores might discourage individuals from getting involved in faction warfare at all. There’s no easy fix with the current system; it might just warrent an entirely new system altogether.

Harkon Thorson:

To improve lowsec pvp in general all we need are more pilots. Thus making lowsec more interesting or rewarding might be a good way to get more groups involved.
As for improving FW there are a lot of ideas around but I don´t want to go into too much detail. I think the whole system needs an overhaul.

Safoi:

It’s been said before, and it’ll be said again: Faction Warfare needs some love from CCP. Whatever they do end up changing, I hope they keep the ability to somewhat control your engagement profile as mentioned above.
Assault Frigates are mostly overshadowed by other ships, I’d like to see a way for them to be brought out from that shadow. On the topic of ship changes, the navy caracal, and navy drake, could use some love as well.
With Citadels in Faction Warfare space, station systems and system control have lost most of their meaning because everyone can dock in almost any system regardless of control. Some kind of change will be needed to give system control meaning beyond just raising our tier level.

Gian Bal:

I’m gonna be honest here. I don’t really have anything that comes to mind right now, I’m happy with its current state and don’t really feel a massive need for anything to be done at the moment.

Rocket X:

I’d like to see AoE titan weaponry usable in lowsec. Currently, the capital meta highly favours dreadnought class ships above most others. In nullsec, dropping large numbers of capitals to a single cyno is poor practice because of the chance you’ll have a few titans dropped on you and Boson’d (Bosonic Field Generator, an AoE 30km cone that does 800,000 damage to everything within the radius. With ~3-4 of these you could essentially murder an infinite amount of dreads if executed correctly – and of course they’d also get hit by the 30,000 capacitor AoE neut whenever the BFG is fired).

Sadly, this is not a thing in Lowsec because the game mechanics don’t allow AoE weaponry to be used (other than smartbombs) outside of nullsec. For me this is ultimately a cap on what is possible, and inhibits the true meta of capital combat. It is for this reason that my own group predominantly uses dreadnoughts – the main counter which results in someone hazing dreads can’t be used against us. It sounds cheap and/or risk averse, but sometimes that can just be smart decision making based on the game’s current meta. I’m not optimistic that this will change; but somehow even after 13 years of EVE I still have hopes!

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This question got a large variety of responses considering the focus on the previous question. Whilst there is a few who think that a change to the current configuration of citadels is needed, there are other areas which apparently need work. However, it appears that an initial thought is that citadels should follow the same mechanics to stations in faction warfare systems. Meaning that depending on the sovereign holder, the opposing faction would be unable to dock in them or use their services even if it was a neutral freeport. Alongside this, the use and strength of void bombs, in particular, appear to be another sore point which the ability to disable hostile services/defenses could solve. Finally, the most sort after change is the removal of the current vulnerability window as it prevents any meaningful offensive against them being taken.

In addition to this, a rework in the current options of PVE available in lowsec could do with an upgrade, or change. Whereas, the current planned moon changes will alter the passive income from the larger groups adding some lowsec based niche gameplay could have it’s advantages. At present, the accessibility of PVE missions in faction warfare ensures that they’re constantly farmed and taken full advantage of.

One thing for certain is that some changes are needed according to the spectrum of players surveyed which would have an affect on the pilots currently based in lowsec, as well as any looking to move there in the future. Check back for the final part for the conclusion and final comments related to lowsec and it’s inhabitants soon.

 

Secondary images credit: Razorien

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