Over the last week or two, some may have noticed various posts on my blog relating to FW mechanics. You can find links to these posts here:
A Backwards Yet Lucrative Strategy
The Math Behind the Backward Strategy
Cheaper by the Dozen
The StrategyWhile I've already talked about the strategy of losing systems on purpose so that you can make ISK taking them back, I would like to clear up a misconception I feel many people are making. This strategy is not some sort of weird idea coming out of the mind of Susan Black. (scary!) This is a real strategy being fully implemented by the Minmatar. In discussing it, I wasn't trying to create some sort of theoretical 'what if we did this' scenario. I was trying to tell you what we are doing.
Since Inferno, many systems have been flipped in the Amarr/Minmatar conflict. However, the Amarr have never been able to break a threshold of 16 systems. For the most part, they fluctuate between 12-15 systems. During one week, the Amarr seemed to be gaining a foothold by taking several systems. At the end of the week, the Minmatar took 3 systems within a 24 hour period.
The ProblemThe problem is that because systems in empire have no intrinsic worth, there is no motivation to defend them in light of the monetary benefits of plexing hostile systems.
A system that ultimately discourages defense, and encourages the loss of systems for monetary purposes ultimately discourages pvp.
In the weeks leading up to Inferno, both militias had a very real motivation for defending the space they had and taking additional space. With the upcoming patch it would become more difficult to take space, therefore it was imperative to take, and keep as much as possible.
The PVP that resulted from those weeks was some of the most intense pvp of my EVE career.
While the enthusiasm continued past Inferno, the fighting never reached that point again. In fact, things have calmed down significantly, and most battles are now your average skirmish, whether on a regular gate or in a plex.
It is my firm belief that this is largely due to the current problem I highlighted above. More and more, defense of systems has become 'token' whereby a defender sends in a small fleet just for the purpose of a lulz fight. There is no intense battle for the system because there is no motivation for the system to be defended, as there was in the weeks leading up to Inferno.
Also, most pvp is in tech 1 destroyers, tech 1 frigates, and tech 1 cruisers. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, I think it is a clear indication of the attitude of militia members in general--there is little motivation to bring out significant ship assets in the current system.
A SolutionThe solution is to tweak the system in order to create mechanics by which it is very worthwhile to maintain sovereignty in systems, and as a result, very undesirable to lose systems. There are variety of ways this could be done and I'm not particularly married to any particular idea.
A Few Ideas:
One idea was to swap the defensive and offensive plexes. Since only contested systems would produce plexes with LP payouts, this would force plexers into conflict systems. Also, it would remove the benefit of taking systems and instead push this benefit into owning systems.
Also, I thought about reducing the size of the warzone in conjunction with this to promote pvp, and fire up the conflict. Right now there is a lot of 'dead space' in the warzone--systems unused and untraveled by FW pilots. Also, a smaller warzone would mean more volatile warzone control, as it would take less systems to reach various tiers.
A second idea would be to think about this a completely different way. One of the things CCP's expressed they were trying to do was to make PVP the most lucrative LP wise, followed by plexing, and then missioning. We all know that this plan failed. Right now, mission running pays out significantly more LP then pvp.
What if mission payouts were based upon system upgrades? This would not only give systems and upgrades worth, but it would make some systems worth more then others --instead of each system being another number toward warzone control. Hostiles could target key missioning systems, etc. for the purpose of running down upgrades.
In conjunction with this, defensive plexing would have equal but opposite LP payouts--half would go into the I-HUB and half would go to the pilots.
In conjunction with that, LP payouts for pvp would be buffed somewhat to raise PVP payouts to compare with mission running to some degree.
I think that this 'package' would greatly reduce the monetary benefit difference between taking a system vs holding on to one. It's not ultimately perfect but would go a long way toward heating up the warzone and making people want to defend and upgrade their systems.
What are some of your ideas?