Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chapter Ten Delta

The Derelicts of Derelik

ISK Balance: 11,424,895.93

This is a poor title for this chapter because - aside from the painfully obvious wordplay - there are no derelicts involved. That is, unless you count Derelik itself or its residents, which wouldn't be very nice.

The first thing I learned as I shuffled through the narrow band of those awkward "in-between" systems we call low security is that those that frequent it aren't very responsive to direct questions. Just throwing my standard opening question of "does anyone here consider themselves a permanent resident of low security?" into local gets maybe one reply out of every potential fifty, and even then it's often nothing more than "no."

As I tested out various procedures for my personal inquisition on those I en route to Derelik, I learned that most people in that particular strip of systems skirting the path from Caldari to Minmatar considered low security unprofitable and not suitable for permanent residence. The most talkative of those interviewed was JoeSomebody, whose amiability pleased me - as his negative security status suggested he would know what he was talking about. He claimed to live in Syndicate, and was in Molden Heath only to raise his security status. Despite his negative rating in this regard, he said he wouldn't live in low security, as it was to him just another battlefield in which to hunt his enemies.

Disappointed with this evaluation but appreciative for his forthrightness, I forged onwards to the less secure fringes of Derelik - taking a detour to stalk a Raven who happened to be headed in roughly the same direction.

As I traveled, I thought extensively on the subject of residence in low security. Surely, many of those that frequented low security were just border guards for the pipes into their choice bits of 0.0 - I had frequently pulled border guard duty myself in my alliance days. They were probably not a good source of opinion on what it was like to live in low security. Then there were the new characters who had just wandered in for a look - they might be good for a first impression but not much else. I figured then I was seeking either full-time pirates or anti-pirates. So it went, Icarus and I wandering and wondering down to Derelik.

As I proceeded through jumps and thought processes, I began to formulate a hypothesis. If low security really was that unprofitable, perhaps those that chose to live there were focused more on player interaction than high or no security players. A pirate needed other players to make money, while anti-pirates needed both pirates to fight and defenseless victims to protect. In high security a good enough player could hardly ask for more than a few peons to do his bidding, and in no security more people just means greater increments of security (and attention). Moreso than anywhere else, I began to think, low security needed people. And yet, there were so few people.

From this, I began to think about anti-pirates and pirates and all the dichotomies they give rise to. If they comprised the true residence of low security, what did conflict between them mean? Were pirates a chaotic power, and anti-pirates one of order? Was it that easy to separate, or were the two generalized factions closer than it initially appeared? Most of all, what was the theory behind both pirates and anti-pirates, and how did that translate into practice?

When I unwittingly stumbled upon an area of Derelik secured by anti-pirates, I found none of my questions answered. Nevertheless, I discovered basis for the beginnings of a coherent, driving opinion of low security.

The avatar who deigned to talk to me, Ral Khek of the Kingpins, was fascinating for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, he instantaneously became my link to the interior workings of this anti-pirate area. Secondly, he and his corporation were interested in joining my former alliance, the Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate. They mined me for information and opinions concerning IAC, and after a lengthy prelude of caveats and general "IMHO"ing, I attempted to leave them with the impression IAC was an alliance with a few large flaws and one thousand-seven-hundred-ninety-five small strengths. It made me question my own opinion of IAC despite my tendency not to think much at all about my time there; the greatest of these questions is how adamantly I believe IAC is truly greater - or even equal - to the sum of its parts, and to what extent other alliances are the same. After all, with all the faults with leadership and trust so many alliances seem to encounter, is it possible that the pod pilots are greater as individuals than when they attempt to cooperate "because they should?"

I'll step away from this quandary for the moment and get back to Derelik. Ral Khek educated me about the structure and operation of this low security nook, and his opinions concerning life in low security. He said felt safe with the likes of INTERDICTION watching his back, but he could never let himself forget he was in low security. Also, rather than finding pirate incursions a nuisance, he welcomed them as a fun diversion from everyday EVE-life. Ral was also quick to state he was making more in low security than he ever did in high security - a sharp counterpoint to JoeSomebody's earlier claim. Clearly, a cohesive anti-pirate force allowed those willing to accept their protection to turn a fair profit. Perhaps it could even be likened to a more profitable high security, with an approximate level of security, better mining and better missions. Of course, the intelligence and discipline of the individual pilots either makes or breaks that scenario.

This brought up an interesting question in my mind; is securing a portion of low security - even a single system - to a degree comparable to high security antithetical to the ideology of low security, or is a legitimate effort by simple virtue of player accomplishment?

Clearly, I'll need more travel to even begin to approach a foundation to base answers upon.

No comments: