Many of you will have heard that CCP Greyscale took to the podium during Eve Fanfest to announce the first in a series of changes to nullsec. In essence the change is an alteration of ratting yields in improved systems, hands-down the easiest and most common way of making the ISKies down in nullsec. Nullsec systems will be divided up into five bands based on their current truesec values. The least valuable systems in the first and second bands will get no high end ratting sites (Haven and Sanctums) at all. Middling systems in the third and fourth level bands will get the current max of four high end sites. The remaining band containing the best classes of system will have up to six high end sites.
Call the first and second band Shallow Nullsec, the third and forth bands Middle Nullsec, and the last band Deep Nullsec.
The original system improvement scheme, which gave all systems the same maximum possible high-end sites, was designed to get more folk out into nullsec. However CCP Greyscale believes that by making the low value parts of nullsec as valuable as the high value parts of nullsec, they've dampened the hunger for PvP in nullsec. He also thinks that by re-introducing Shallow Nullsec - parts of nullsec that he thinks nobody will want when the ratting yields go down- he's creating fertile ground for small new alliances just entering nullsec.
The reaction of nullsec residents to this change has not, generally, been positive.
OK, to be honest it's been viscerally negative. Ripard Teg's blog entry, while more thoughtful than many, is pretty representative of the overall tone. The others range from annoyed to frothing at the mouth. I predict increased attendance at next years Fan Fest as nullsec players from around the world line up to whisper unpleasant truths into Greyscale's ear.
For myself I need to sit down and have a think over this one. It's a change with a lot of twists in its tail, not all of them necessarily bad. I doubt we'll see the ones CCP's hoping for, but that's business as usual. The most interesting change will be the sudden drop-off in the amount of money pouring into the New Eden economy; a tightening of the money supply that will cascade in a lot of unexpected directions. Economic upheavals tend to result in a lot of unanticipated macro level outcomes.
Ironically, none of these will make more space available for small start-up nullsec alliances. Likely the opposite. I expect a thinning out of the population in Shallow Nullsec regions, but the occupants won't be starter alliances unless they're under the protection of more powerful nullsec patrons. Even without Havens and Sanctums, all sovereign systems have value as there are things you can make and do there that you can't anywhere else in New Eden. The doctrine of "nobody else wants it" is dead as long as that's true.
The Long Break is Over
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