Eve, as we are often told, is a sandbox experience. The point of the game is what you make of it. It is equally valid to be a carebear, pirate, null-sec warrior or market trader. Most players are adamant that their way of playing is the right way, and so is the other guy’s. But is this true? Given the current game mechanics, I would argue that there are right and wrong ways to play Eve, because some styles of play are inherently more robust.
If you thought I was talking about piracy, you win one internet!
Big Disclaimer: Although what I am about to propose is easy to take as anti-pirate, I am not saying that current pirates are bad or wrong, just that the system heavily favors those who define fun as blowing up non-combat ships.
Let’s illustrate this point with a topical example, courtesy of everyone’s favorite group, the GSF. For those unaware, the current Ice Interdiction is based on at least two pilots flying in tandem in a given system, a ganker and what we’ll call a tanker. The tanker flies an Orca with pre-fit Brutixes (Bruti?) ready and waiting. This pilot has to have above -5.0 sec status, and preferably is not hostile with the local Empire Faction either. The other pilot, usually a goon, can have any sec status he wants, and just has to fly around not getting CONCORDOKKENED if that applies.
The setup for the actual gank consists of getting both pilots into a system, and usually moving the Orca to a safespot or series of safespots, off-grid from anything else in system. This will be important! Once in place, they find a ship to kill, the ganker hops in a Brutix and warps to the ship, pops it, then CONCORD shows up and there are two big explosions and two pods racing away as fast as possible. The Orca pilot follows and loots the wrecks.
This pirate play-style is much more favored by the current system that the victim’s, and I think I can prove why. This is especially true in 1v1 and small scale situations.
Mining is a very visible, very slow, and (in order to increase the reward in regards to time) a very optimized activity. Fitting is limited, and offense is not really an option. Evasion is limited to docking up once a potential hostile enters the system, if you are aware of this (not all gankers have a sec status that appears on the local list). Most mining sites are warpable without any effort required to locate the destination (exploration sites are an exception).
In an actual encounter, there is almost no way most industrial or mining ships can align and warp or target and jam faster that a BC can lock and fire, or target and scram I say almost no way, because any situation in which one would actually want to use an industrial/mining ship precludes a fitting that would have a chance at escaping a PvP fit BC. I am ignoring Tech II industrials.
Further, the system is stacked to help the pirate. If he is using safes, he will be almost impossible to find, especially if he is below -5, in which case he will be warping around the system every 6 – 10 seconds AND drawing CONCORD out of places where anyone lawful might actually be. In a pod or shuttle to maximize align times. Good luck scanning that down and catching it. I know this is technically possible, but in practice, have your friend go out in his pod and warp around a system and try to scram him.
Finally, the pirate loses far less, even if caught, than the industrialist. If the pirate is already below -5.0, then any sec status loss is purely academic. Currently the value of his loss is very little, probably in the neighborhood of 1m ISK. This will change soon, but the value of a lost BC is in the tens of millions. The loss of a mining or industrial ship is likely in the hundreds of millions.
Systematically, piracy of the Interdiction nature is favored by the mechanics of the game over industrial pursuits. I won’t say that this is right or wrong, but if all play styles are supposed to be equally valid, it seems odd to give such an advantage to one style over another. If I were a miner, I would maybe look at more secure methods of generating income, or other fictional places to spend my spare time.
If you have thoughts about this, please let me know if the comments!