I know there are players out there that enjoy running missions, running sites, and generally shooting NPC spaceships for ISK, rewards, and other benefits like standings. I also know that many players have to do this in order to make money to play Eve or to buy things inside of Eve. I know that. I support that. It is all part of the great and powerful sandbox that powers this game. Great. I also appreciate that CCP has invested a lot of time and effort into making those NPCs better. And that emergent NPC based gameplay is good for Eve, Abyssal sites, Triglavians, Drifters, whatever. This is also good. Great. Fine.
There is a line however. Eve is a player driven universe. No matter how smart NPCs might become, they cannot become the drivers of New Eden. Players need to remain the primary force that drives our game. NPCs exist to create a vital, living, active, and interesting universe. And while they are doing that, I am 100% for it.
Now that we have all the primer stuff and background out of the way, let's talk about how Low Sec is dying.
A few weeks back I jumped into a system and was instantly killed, not by another player, but by NPC gate guns. Blap. Dead. Ship gone. Goodbye Dramiel. A couple days later and I was fighting on a gate when I jumped thru to the other side to avoid gate guns, and boom. Another instant blap. Goodbye Kestrel. These systems are under Trig invasion and a whole lot of weird NPC stuff is going on in there that I don't understand or care to know about. Computers are shooting other computers and some people are helping one side or the other. When I complained about this on Discord I was told how easy it was to seek out one side or the other and gain standings to avoid being killed by the God Guns. I am not going to do that.
From a personal perspective I play Eve to fight other people. Not NPCs. Sometimes I'll shoot a "rat" on a gate, or in a belt if they are being annoying. Or rarely we'll decide to finish a room if we kill the person who was running it before we got there. But generally speaking nope. PvP stands for Player Versus Player. That is my game play.
From a broader perspective that game play is being challenged in significant ways. These invasion systems, unlike previous Sansha invasion systems of the past, are effectively chokeholds on movement. And this is not a theory, it is a fact based observation based on daily activity numbers that we have experienced over the past few months. Few people are as sensitive to the numbers as Pirates, numbers are our lifeblood. And we've seen a dramatic decrease across the board in Black Rise, Placid, and surrounding regions. An area well known as one of the most active PvP areas in the entire game. We are being force choked by NPCs.
Low Sec traffic comes from two main sources - Null and High Sec. When those entrances are under Trig invasion traffic comes to a standstill. To make matters even worse, various pipeline systems being under Trig invasion cause those pipelines to dry up. It is that combination of events that causes traffic to effectively disappear, or cluster, and stop moving.
One would naturally assume that such invasion systems would draw people in to engage in that content. But frankly we haven't seen it. Mostly these systems are empty inside of Low Sec at least. That may or may not be true in HS or NS.
I'm not against any of this. I am against being forced to engage and I am against being punished for choosing an engagement play style that favors player versus player content.
I'm very concerned about this direction.
No NPC should be empowered to instantly kill you without recourse. What next? Smart-bombing NPCs that explode pods on gates?