Force Choke


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?

No thanks.


  1. Agreed. I do industry, stocking a lowsec market with stuff I build two jumps away. The intervening system became a Trig minor victory. I found out how to get my standings so neither side would shoot me (answer: fire one shot at an Edencom ship) to both sides, did so and wished everyone involved good luck, happy that they were happy.

    Then CCP changed the rules of engagement so that now Edencom would shoot me on sight. I can't safely fly through the Trig minor victory system because at any random time there might be a huge Edencom fleet on the gate when I jump through.

    I shut down my factory and am waiting for this to blow over and go away. I REALLY hope CCP don't create any more PvE content that you are forced to engage with.

  2. You do see the irony here? Complaining about non consensual pve is the mirror of a carebear complaining about non consensual pvp. Oh, I could probably give some sun tzu quote about terrain being a weapon but it is a part of eve, if you want to be a good pve player? You need some understanding of pvp. Perhaps the reverse is also true.


    1. I do see it, I just don't feel the irony is enough to make me change what I want to do. But I didn't say I didn't like non-consenual PvP; I'm fine with that, because I can at least try to do something about it myself: I don't fly with neutrals/reds in system, use insta bookmarks etc. And PvP is someone else's way of enjoying Eve, and if they can catch me, that's fine. I don't think the computer is enjoying bottling me up.

      I've done plenty of PvP in the past, plenty of time in FW and fleet fights, but I'm fat 'n' happy doing industry keeping my market stocked. I don't have much time to log in to the game, with family duties, so being able to jump in my Viator and move stock from the factory to market, and list it, was my way of enjoying the game about 1 hour a day. This PvE content is a big friction point for me, one I can't avoid myself, not without getting another player to give me eyes on the gate.

      CCP have bet that forcing PvE on pipeline systems is a way to increase players' fun, and I hope they are right! But I'm one datapoint that says "No" and I'm voting with my Viator to stay docked up for the few weeks till this finishes.

      I'm still doing PI on other toons and running indy jobs for my alliance in other stations.

      BTW I love your work, Mike, you've done amazing things for the game and the players! You too Rixx!

    2. I just realized, Mike, you were probably addressing Rixx, not me :)

    3. Yup, sorry I should be more exacting in what I say and how. But why change years of habit?


    4. Mike just likes to tease me every so often. And yes, of course, I do appreciate the irony. But as the other Brian (even though he doesn't use the proper "y") said, it isn't so much the Invasion, or the bottlenecks, or the activity as it is the insta-blapping. Which, to be fair, I am also mostly against when it comes to PvP as well. Just yesterday I paid out isk to a young player who landed on us during a fight and I blapped his T1 frigate without thinking. I like people to have options, viable escape plans, clever game play, expertise - and these types of forced gameplay take those choices away. Not add to them.

      On a wider note, I am still concerned what the impact is on activity.


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