If you have an EVE account whose subscription has lapsed, you might have gotten a message like this sent to the e-mail address associated with your account:
Incredibly, CCP is begging former players to come back to the game, tempting them with the promise of nerfed wardecs and a safer highsec! Apparently this is part of their strategy to meet their "business goals" for Pearl Abyss.
As we know, the ploy won't work. There is no evidence that wardecs cause players to unsubscribe their accounts. Indeed, the only study that CCP has ever made public that actually examined subscription retention (as opposed to corp activity) showed that players who get ganked are less likely to quit.
Regardless of CCP's apparent desperation, those of us who run highsec are faced with the question of what to do with all of the PvP-hating bot-aspirant carebears. CCP has specifically encouraged carebears to go to highsec. Others will find their way to highsec on their own. Either way, they're our mess to deal with.
I'd like to discuss how this question intersects with two concepts, both of which should be very familiar to our readers: Paywalls and unlockable content.
Everyone who plays EVE has encountered paywalls. Alpha accounts (and the old two-week trial accounts) have limited access to certain features of the game. Certain skills can only be trained by Omega accounts, for example. Strictly speaking, then, those aspects of EVE have been placed behind a paywall. Gotta pay to play.
In a broad sense, it's accurate to say that highsec is behind a paywall, too. It costs 10 million isk to get access to it. You need a permit from the New Order to enjoy all that highsec has to offer. Unlike CCP, we don't prevent you from undocking in certain ships without paying. However, if you fail to purchase a permit, your ship will surely die.
Unlockable content is also an accepted part of EVE life. As with many other video games these days, not everything is accessible to you at the very beginning of your journey. Even if you're willing to open your wallet and pay extra for the privilege, you might not get access until you've unlocked it. Typically, content can be unlocked by completing a mission of some kind.
If you want to unlock highsec, you first need to complete a mission for an Agent.
No, not that kind of agent. This kind of Agent:
Find an Agent (for best results, one who hasn't been permabanned), and send them your 10 million isk.
Over the years, people have (falsely) accused our noble Agents of griefing, bullying, harassment, torture--you name it. On what basis? Because they enable EVE players to unlock highsec content by completing a mission for them.
If CCP truly wants a bunch of people to flock to highsec, they should add a special Agent Mission to the tutorial: "Buy a mining permit from an Agent of the New Order of Highsec." That would help everyone.
"But James 315," moans the rebel. "New players don't have the isk to complete your 'Agent Mission'. Not even if it only costs 10 million isk!"
It's a good thing they have access to lowsec, nullsec, and wormhole space, then.
"But James 315," snaps the bot-aspirant carebear. "How is a new player supposed to make money in a hostile environment like lowsec?"
Maybe by using one of these little fellas? It's no coincidence that Ventures are given out when you complete a tutorial mission. They're designed for ninja-mining in unsafe areas like lowsec asteroid belts.
"But James 315," scoffs the Anti-Ganker. "Ventures aren't for mining in lowsec. Everyone knows that they were made for AFK mining in highsec."
Oh? Let's read the Venture description and see who's got it right:
I await your apology, miner. And your 10 million isk. Highsec beckons!