The harder we can make logistics, the better for the game viewed as an abstract system. It would be much better for the game if we got rid of freighters, but we have to balance what is good for the game at a higher systemic level with making the player's lives a living hell. Forcing people to do convoys with lots of industrials would, from a higher level systemic view, be awesome. But for the individual players, it would suck balls.
[CCP has] gone [too far] in the direction of making players lives easy – we've got jump freighters and jump bridges and all this [stuff] – and I think there is an agreement here [at CCP] that we want to pull back from that. We would like to pull back as far as we can get away with. But how far can we go?” The underlying point is the need to get a balance between avoiding frustration and getting desirable macro-scale outcomes.
--CCP Greyscale - CSM Minutes, December 2010
Desirable macro-scale outcomes.
It's one of the things that CCP holds fairly tight to the vest. Greyscale spends a lot of time talking in terms of what is good for "the game at an abstract level", or "a higher level systemic view". "Desirable macro scale outcomes" sounds quite impressive. What it actually means, however, is "Play the game we think you should play, not the game you want to play."
If you sort through Greyscale's comments in the CSM minutes, you get hints of what he thinks an "awesome" nullsec would look like.
Alliances would be very small from a geographic standpoint. Dominion has made a good start on the alliance reduction program in its first year and I think we'll see further reductions in the second year. The fall of some larger territorial alliances such as Atlas, IT Alliance and Against All Authorities has resulted in a redistribution of their former space, largely into smaller parcels. The Initiative attempted to recreate -A-'s expansive empire and failed primarily because it was more space than they could control. The Drone Russian Federation has quietly scooped up large swaths of territory lost by those alliances. Given their current PvP population, I'd say they're occupying more space than they can hold should they be attacked on multiple fronts.
What the optimal size of an alliance is remains to be seen. There's a lot of experimentation going on, however CCP seems too impatient to let that play out. Likely because of the rise of the coalition.
No matter how small alliances get, as long as they can band together effectively to protect their collective interests, Greyscale and company are going to be unhappy. They appear to favor small, pocket kingdoms incessantly fighting over scarce resources to moderate-sized alliances collaborating in a manner that supports industry, trade and a common defense.
Greyscale wants logistics to be hard. Really hard. So in addition to small kingdoms at constant war with each other, his desirable macro scale outcomes involve making trade in nullsec a cost and labor intensive activity, fraught with risk.
Now. Petty kingdoms at constant war. Populations clustered around strategic strong points.Scarce resources. Transport and trade as high cost, high risk activities. High barriers to cooperative action.
Sounds like Europe around 400 - 500 CE. In effect, CCP Greyscale's nullsec wonderland is a highly dysfunctional, post-apocalyptic society that has suffered a major economic collapse. Cool to read about. Not a fun place to live unless you're the local strong man pissing all over the peasants. And even then....
As Dr. Eyjólfur might be able to explain to his game designer, robust economies require institutions that keep the means of production and transportation secure. CCP did not provide those institutions to nullsec, so the players have evolved them over time. Despite the insecure nature of nullsec, a player can move with relative safety within the boundaries of space with which his alliance has a non-aggression pact. Dangers are there, but the coalition works together to minimize them. This makes some nullsec coalitions a good place to do business. In fact an ongoing concern with lowsec is the tendency of non-PvP players to leap over lowsec, where space is nominally less dangerous but harder to control, directly to nullsec.
Take away the ability of nullsec players to provide those institutions and the producers and traders will leave nullsec for places where they can ply their trades. This is what happens when businesses can no longer operate in safety. Some brave souls will remain as high risk can result in high profits, however the local economies will become largely non-functional.
It would certainly be awesome from a systemic level if Iceland had to go back to importing goods from off-shore using Viking era Knarr ships. Especially if we forced them to sail through various choke points heavily populated by pirates. Mind, it would totally "suck balls" for people living in Iceland. But then, they chose to live out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
If someone in the EU suggested that scenario were a desirable macro-scale outcome, I'm sure a few folk in Reykjavik might object.