To resolve some puzzled questions I’ve had sent my way, when I speak of removing local, I mean removing the intelligence it provides as well. I’m still in favor of a solution to separate local from intel such as the one put forward by Rhavas back in January.
Marlona Sky is a fellow writer over at themittani.com, and one of his longstanding pet issues is the removal of local. He wrote a little April Fool’s article about it today, and as is always the case when the topic comes up, comments are split (rather rancorously, of course) against and in favor of the idea.
Of course, my opinion is that anyone who thinks it’s a good idea either only roams nullsec looking for kills and PvP, but makes their money elsewhere, or just hasn’t really thought it through… possibly both. I fall into the former category, and while I’d love to pad my killboard with blinded ratters, it ultimately would be a poor change. One of the other factors I always try to think about when musing over ideas is “would this duplicate gameplay found elsewhere?” In this case, the answer is yes – wormholes have no local intel, a fact that people just love to point to as evidence that it would all be okay, things would work out just fine. But, if you answer “yes” to that question, you’d best stop and think, so let’s do that.
Wormholes are a unique environment that drives a unique metagame. The nature of sleeper sites means that you’re running them in groups, in ships that are closer to PvP fit than not. Combine those two factors and you’re more able to defend yourself if attacked. And, those very same sites are very rewarding, yielding several hundred million isk per hour per pilot. Furthermore, the nature of wormholes themselves restrict “casual” roams, and someone able to get at you at any given time might not be able to tomorrow. The impression I frequently get from wormhole dwellers is that, sure, individual groups of roamers might be more dangerous if they let their guard down, but the nature of things means that they may go days without a hostile visit.
Contrast that to nullsec. PvE in nullsec is generally a solo activity, and while it can be done in groups, the ships are usually dedicated PvE setups that fare poorly against PvP fit attackers. Anomalies aren’t anywhere near as rewarding as wormholes, too, and while being able to do it alone is an advantage, there’s no option to group up to make more money. And unlike the ever-shifting wormhole connections, someone, everyone always knows exactly how to get to you, and can get to you any time they want.
So, nuke local and you’re amplifying the risk, with no offset to reward, and in fact the measures players would inevitably take to decrease risk (rat in groups with PvP fits) would only decrease the reward – a double whammy. I’m sure life would continue, but it sure wouldn’t help people want to go to null, nor stay there. Maybe some day in the future, Nullsec will look very different, and the mechanics would allow for a complete absence of local. But maybe they won’t. In fact, I hope they won’t. Wormholes have their own character, their own flavor, and so does nullsec, and I’d prefer it stay that way. I’m not out here to play “Wormholes Writ Large”.