A lot of my ideas includes changes that are interconnected, so in the beginning I'm going to give a high-level overview of it. Then I will break each piece down to talk about specific details, pros/cons, what each piece 'accomplishes' and etc.
The Big Picture
Instead of removing occupancy, I suggest we change it -- introducing tiered sovereignty mechanics that are unique to faction war. Each system would have 5 'lvls' of occupancy shared between the warring factions. When one faction has lvl 2, the other will have lvl 3, etc., so that the total occupancy equals 5. This also means that when you gain an occupancy lvl, the opposing faction loses one.
Instead of occupancy only being tied to plexing, I propose we make it tied to all activity done within that system, giving players many options for defending and/or taking occupancy in systems. Missions done by agents in that system, pvp, and plexing would all give Victory Point payouts that would affect occupancy.
Your occupancy lvl would directly affect your LP payouts, with missions, plexes, and pvp giving lp payouts. It would be beneficial to take occupancy lvls to increase your income. Also, it would be beneficial to defend, as losing occupancy will make your income in that system decrease.
Once a faction gains an Occupancy lvl 4 (which will be relatively difficult to do) the system goes 'vulnerable' and they can make a final push to take Sovereignty of that system. This would include a structure/timer/etc similar to current null-sec mechanics.
Only FW pilots of the sovereign faction, and the 'sister' facation will have access to the stations in each system. (No neutrals)
In addition to these individual system mechanics, there would also be further overarching mechanics regarding 'the war' as a whole. The more occupancy and sovereignty you take in low-sec will directly affect your 'defenses' in highsec. There is the understanding that as you 'lose' occupancy lvls and sov in general in the low-sec systems, the 'faction police' will be sent to 'the front' to help defend. Therefore, the defenses in highsec will descrease, and in some cases, pvp will 'bleed' over into high-sec.
In addition to these general changes, I would
- Make it so that only lvl 1-3 agents are in stations. LVL 4 agents would be moved into locations in space, similar to CONCORD agents in null-sec, and would be difficult to complete without a small gang.
- Fix the unbalance in ewar and etc. in plexes, making plexes balanced across all races.
- Repping someone from your faction will never give you a standings decrease, even if the person is a pirate. Neutrals repping FW pilots would get a standings hit from the opposing faction.
After the 'fixing' and 'reblancing' I would include the following New Content features:
- LVL 5 Faction War missions that require largish fleets to get through.
- Randomly occurring FW 'encounters' where NPC battles show up on gates and stations, and FW pilots could defend friendly NPCs, and kill enemy NPCs. The staged 'battle' would complete when all NPCs of one side were defeated. These encounters would range in size and scope, from small 'frigate' encounters to larger BS encounters..and could possibly include a good 'drop' of some kind, if a faction 'officer' happened to show up at the end. They would also be extremely dangerous to non FW 'neutrals' who would get shot by both parties.
'Invulnerable' system would be more prone to these 'encounters.'
- Random, wild cool stuff that mostly just relates to FW. (In the same way that dictors, bubbles, cyno jammers, and etc, are only really useful in nullsec)
I could get pretty imaginative here, but it's just a rough idea. An example would be a pos module that an 'offensive' party (ie: the non sov holding party) could put up that 'disrupts' communications in system, making it harder for the defending party to access their lvl 4 agents in space.
Or, perhaps a faction ship/item that gives you bonuses based on your faction standing.
Or perhaps a different kind of jump bridge that can connect highsec Faction 'bases' to low-sec 'bases' where both sovereignty and a high occupancy lvl is held.
In the end, my primary objectives for 'fixing' Faction War are to:
- create overarching mechanics in FW, without discourging pvp, or 'nerfing' any one game style. Expand the 'scope' of the mechanics to create deeper immersion and longer-term goals.
- connect and intertwine mechanics to create a bigger sandbox, rather then disjointed, standalone mechanics where the 'purpose' has been predefined. (ie: plexing for occupancy vs missioning for isk vs pvp for fun)
- focus more on the power-struggle of war, rather then purely on taking space for space's sake.
- balance the risk vs. reward (give benefits for gaining something and negative effects for losing stuff, instead of just negative effects for losing stuff.)
- keeping things relatively simple
You can follow the EVE ONLINE forum thread related to this topic here.