Syndicate is the Wild West of the EVE universe with more lasers and fewer cowboy hats. Technically a region under NPC sovereignty, Syndicate space is contested by multiple factions, just like it has been more or less throughout EVE history. With NPC stations, numerous chokepoints, and abundant resources, the Syndicate region is highly desirable if you can't take a conquerable 0.0 region. Watch out for hostiles, wave to allies, and slaughter those neutrals.
Hitchhiker's Guide to Syndicate
Syndicate used to be the main base of operations for GoonSwarm. It is NPC space, meaning you can't be truly kicked out of it, and is some of the best NPC space in the game, due to the very low trusec (for NPC space), and the fact that the rats are Serpentis, which are currently significantly underpowered.
Former GoonSwarm Space: The best systems in Syndicate, possessing the lowest trusec and only a few jumps away from the 10/10 complex in UTKS. The other great advantage of this space is that it exists as a long, linear pipe before branching out into the systems GoonSwarm used to call home. This means that we got warning of any incoming hostiles, as well as being able to meet them head-on when our defense fleet assembled.
S-U, ZV, CY, 98Q, 2G, U4: When someone refers to the Backsystems, these are what they mean. With the only entrance to them being 6-U, it is extremely easy to keep any significant number of hostiles out, and as such, these systems were usually very secure and safe (for 0.0). All of them have crokite and multi-battleship spawns. And U4 possesses multiple Level 4 Quality 20 agents, which can be referred to as the "Infinite ISK mint"
Y9G: For most of our time in Syndicate, this system was the place of greatest resistance, being the home base of Black Reign Syndicate. It has ten belts with Crokite, two gates to lowsec Empire in the Solitude region, and was next door to the 10/10 complex that used to be in UTKS. The station itself is still somewhat dangerous to dock in, due to its downward-undocking configuration that makes it very difficult to escape a camp. This system was also the target of Operation Revolver, the last major offensive of Goonswarm's Syndicate days and the war which saw BRS driven from our area of Syndicate once and for all.
UTKS: Once the home of Syndicate's 10/10 deadspace complex, this place was usually silent except just after downtime and 12 hours after downtime, as these were the times when the complex respawned along with several hundred million in loot. Said complex was a primary source of BRS's revenue for a long time.
3FA Space: This area of space was occupied by the Third Front Alliance for a very long time; they were living in this region before Goonfleet existed and in fact were the targets of our first advances into Syndicate from Empire space. They lived here throughout our time in Syndicate until their executor corp left the alliance in October 2006 and the rest of the alliance collapsed and were driven out by Anarchy Empire. The space has mediocre truesec and lacks any high-end ores; one reason 3FA held it as long as they did was that no one else really wanted it. It does have several mid-level Intaki Space Police agents which were useful for our mission-runners who chose to run ISP missions rather than Expert Distribution, as our area of Syndicate was lacking in mid-level ISP agents.
6-C & MHC: The main Empire gateway systems for lower Syndicate. 6-C leads to Reblier in Verge Vendor and MHC leads to Harroule in Placid. Both are within a jump or two of high-sec and fairly close to their regional market hubs. (Although Y9G was also an Empire gateway and was closer to Goonswarm space, the constant presence of BRS and lack of a decent market in the aptly-named Solitude region made it useless as a trade route.) Both 6-C and MHC were (and probably still are) frequently camped by various hostile gangs.
Poitot: Pipe system, mission-running hub, and infamous piece of Goonfleet catchphrase history. If you don't know why this system is special, you should ask about it on Teamspeak.
FD- and PF-: PF- is the northern Syndicate gateway to Empire, and is linked directly to Orvolle, a high-sec market hub in Placid. Because of this, and because it lacks a station and has only two gates (to Orvolle and to FD-), it is a very popular camping spot, and it's fairly unusual to find the Orvolle gate entirely unoccupied by gankers. FD- also sees a great deal of traffic, as it is the system linking both ends of Syndicate to each other and to Orvolle via PF-.
Upper Syndicate: The area of Syndicate past FD- is largely a wasteland of poor-truesec systems; the best one is LSC4-P, which is a paltry -0.31, and there are only a few lower than -0.20 in the entire area. As far as Goonswarm history is concerned, the area was only notable as the pipe to Outer Ring, a piss-poor NPC region which we invaded for a brief time, and Cloud Ring, where our battle for XZH against D2 took place.
Map c. 2006
Here is a map of Lower Syndicate, complete with the former Goonistan/Goonville/Goontopia that is S-U and her surrounding OSS systems.
There are also maps for all the regions, they can be found here: