Eve Online is built upon some serious foundational principles. It is a sandbox. All players operate under the same rule set. There is no Golden Ammo Principle. Time is the great investment. These are just some of the important understandings that the game operates under every single day. There are others of course. And we could, as we build a list, start to get into areas of disagreement and perspective. As we all know by now, this is yet another pillar in the foundation of Eve Online - everyone has an opinion. I would argue that the community around Eve is also a foundational principle. But this is not the topic of today's post.
There are other, more abstract, principles at play. And one of those is the actual topic of today's post. I've written about this before and I'm circling around to it again because I'm starting to worry. The problem continues to linger. And has continued for longer than I thought it would. What I'm talking about is empty ships, without mods, without cargo, just hulls in space - doing work.
A hull, piloted by a player, completely devoid of any mods, cargo, or purpose running a FW Plex in space. Now I know you readers who are not dedicated PvP pilots are probably already losing interest in this post, but please bear with me here. I honestly believe this issue impacts you as well as us pew pew oriented players.
Like I said, this isn't a new issue. It has been going on for a long, long time. And while I remain hopeful that new changes to the FW mechanic will address this core issue - it hasn't been addressed so far. And that is worrisome. And probably not for the reasons you might think. I fully support the concept that every pilot in Eve should be free to play the game in any manner they choose. That is also a foundational principle as far as I'm concerned. But an empty hull should not be able to accomplish anything in this game, other than being moved from one place to another, or sold or gifted to another player.
More importantly however is what the mere presence of these ships does to morale. Let's take that Incursus example I linked above as an example. There were nine other people in local at that time and I was flying my Astero which is worth upwards of 200m into battle. I was risking a lot engaging that ship. I have no way of knowing it is completely empty before I engage it. As always I over-heated my mods, deployed my drones, and went about my deadly business as I always do. Only after the ship exploded did I learn it was empty. For this grave error in judgement I also podded the poor offender. If his ship had been armed I would have normally let his pod go. So I risked my ship, incurred repair charges, and wasted my effort and time on a defenseless ship that was also achieving some goal inside of the game.
Now magnify that issue hundreds, thousands of times. It wears on you. It is so blatantly a problem that the fact that it continues being a problem calls into question the care of our custodians. Why is this allowed to go on? Why has it not been addressed? Especially when the answers to how are so clearly obvious. This is why it becomes so important. If our foundational principles are built on sand, they will not stand.
When people talk about Eve dying, they often point to the big things as the cause. And while I agree that Eve continues to have large scale issues that certainly need addressed, I often think these types of small annoyances are the ones that really eat at us as regular players. This is just one example.
If some player wants to fly empty hulls around in space, good for them. But they should not be able to achieve anything with that empty hull.
That should be a foundational principle.
As Ninouh pointed out on our Discord:
"An empty hull does not buy guns and does not run the economy. They can basically turn profit without the risk originally implied since there isn't anything to lose. They also buy cheapest ships possible and remain AFK.
Passive income with no investment.
It's basically an insult to every other player invested in actually running FW. Let alone pirates hunting them. It's also an insult to industrials trying to run markets. Everything about this is outright wrong and should not be allowed."