A bit of controversy was stirred up earlier this week when Agent loyalanon posted a friendly public service announcement that all freighter pilots need to purchase mining permits to ensure their safe passage through my territory.
Some questioned whether this was in the Code, or whether it was an expansion of the Code, or whether the "mining permit" should be called something else. A few heretics rejected the idea of a mining permit entirely, while others dismissed the idea of a non-mining ship needing a permit to mine.
It's times like these that remind us that highsec isn't perfect yet. Considering how many freighters and jump freighters have been slaughtered by loyalanon's gank fleets in recent months, you'd think people would've taken our Agent's PSA more seriously. But the freighters--some of which contain all of the pilot's possessions in EVE--keep dying. Out of mercy, I have decided to address this topic personally. The scope of the carnage is too great to ignore.
As we all know from reading and re-reading the Code (and perhaps from hearing others read it during Bonus Rounds), all highsec miners need permits. True, freighters don't mine. So why do freighters need a mining permit if they want to travel through highsec without being ganked? Because the Code contains other provisions, including some provisions that the carebears aren't so keen on citing and picking apart. For example:
"Bot-aspirant behavior is not permitted."
Obviously, flying an expensive ship in highsec while on autopilot is bot-aspirant behavior. Even if you're at your keyboard, flying an expensive ship without a proper escort is bot-aspirancy; it assumes that highsec is a place where you're free from danger. For this reason, solo freighters are inherently problematic. Such a ship should at least have a scout, logistic support, and perhaps some webbing ships to get it to warp more quickly.
The typical freighter pilot travels alone. There are only two reasons why a freighter would ever do this in highsec:
(1) The assumption highsec is 100% safe.
(2) Confidence the New Order will grant safe passage.
Viewing this logically, the Gallant option would only apply to someone who has previously earned the New Order's good graces through the purchase of a mining permit and strict adherence to the Code. Not everyone who buys a mining permit actually mines. Some people buy permits just to show their support for the New Order. Sending an Agent your money and pledging your loyalty to me in your bio--these are good ways to say, "Thank you for what you've done for highsec." If someone sent me an EVEmail that said, "I fly a billion isk ship through your territory on a daily basis, so here's a billion isk for shares," that would make a lot of sense to me.
That's not all, though. Freighter pilots owe a special debt to the New Order.
Way back in October 2012, writing for TheMittani.com, I warned of the dangers of carebears who demand nerfs to freighter ganking. Carebears with visions of 100% safe theme parks have a knee-jerk reaction to any kind of ganking. They see something blow up and they immediately come up with ways that it should be made more difficult. They take for granted that highsec PvP is a problem to be solved.
And so the carebears begged and begged and begged CCP to nerf freighter ganking, even though miner ganking had been massively nerfed just a few months earlier. Each time, the carebears say they only want "one more nerf", but it's always followed by another demand. CCP, no doubt embarrassed by my article on potential nerfs to freighter ganking (which they were probably already thinking about), held off for a time. In the latest expansion, CCP finally implemented their nerf to freighter ganking. They boosted the EHP of the freighters (while lowering their still-gigantic cargo capacity), and they gave the ships lowslots with the potential of massively boosting their EHP still further.
Then the carebears committed two extraordinary crimes. First, they began using the lowslots to anti-tank their freighters, making them even more vulnerable to ganks than before. Second, the same week CCP rolled out the nerf, they immediately began begging CCP for more nerfs to freighter ganking!
We saw some of their tears and nerf-begging in a prior Kills of the Week entry, since the Kronos expansion was released during the first Burn Aufay event. This lengthy thread provides additional examples. Thus, CCP gave the carebears what they wanted, and rather than thanking CCP and tanking up their freighters, they used Kronos as an excuse to indulge in a bacchanalia of bot-aspirancy.
Freighter pilots, I have been patient with you. For many months after the New Order began ganking, we didn't touch the freighters. We held back because we wanted to give you as many opportunities as possible to turn from your ways and avoid losing your expensive ships. We wanted you to have every chance to read the Code and follow it, to save yourselves the anguish. Also, we didn't have enough firepower to kill you yet.
Instead of turning toward the Code, freighter pilots betrayed everyone in highsec through their actions. Truth be told, I've grown weary of the entitled attitudes of the freighter pilots. They go from point A to point B and act like it's no big deal. This is my highsec now. When they arrive safely at their destination, they should be over the moon that they didn't get ganked. I know many will say, "But not all freighter pilots wanted CCP to nerf ganking", or "not all freighter pilots autopilot AFK", or "not all freighters are being anti-tanked".
Perhaps. However, as a group, freighter pilots have enjoyed the fruits of institutional carebearism. This makes them guilty of collective bot-aspirancy. I have considered banning freighters from highsec. I still might. However, today, to balance the scales, all I require is that freighter pilots pay reparations. Freighter pilots say that they aren't all bot-aspirants. If so, we still need some means of identifying the good ones. They need to make a gesture. They need to buy mining permits.
Just so there is no confusion, every freighter and jump freighter found in highsec without a mining permit is subject to immediate termination. Yes, even if the freighter is empty. Yes, even if it's not anti-tanked. Yes, even if the pilot is at his keyboard. Get a permit. Violators will be punished at the discretion of our Agents.
As always, it is the responsibility of the permit owner to ensure that he or she presents the permit to our Agents and provides any information needed to establish the validity of the permit. They are available for purchase at a price of 10 million isk per year.
Two final points. First, owning a mining permit does not exempt you from obeying the rest of the Code. If you buy a permit and engage in bot-aspirancy, your permit will be revoked, which may occur simultaneously with the destruction of your ship. Second, Agents of the New Order are your friends, but they are also your superiors. Be polite, do what they tell you, and for goodness' sake, don't give them any guff.