Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lucky Thirteen?

Hans Jagerblitzen recently blogged his top thirteen ‘fixes’ for the Winter release. I will be sharing some thoughts on each of them:

An end to "market spiking" by reverting LP store prices to pre-inferno levels across all factions, and instead scaling the actual payouts based on the current tier of Warzone Control.

This is an interesting concept, as it would encourage more consistent WZ control, as opposed to spikes. What would make it further interesting if maintaining control was based more on activity VS LP dumping. Right now, although you need a minimum number of systems, you simply need to dump LP into I-HUBs to raise your level –what if the Warzone Control tiers were based on contestation levels instead, and encouraged plexing and warzone activity as opposed to LP dumps at all?

Also, it means that payouts earned by either side would be essentially worth the same amount –the winners would just have the opportunity to make more of it.

Adjusting the aforementioned payout multipliers so that the losing faction still has a minimum viable income.

Perhaps I’ll be considered coldhearted for this, but I’m against catering to losers in any way. This is EVE, not Hello Kitty Online, and when someone starts talking about giving losers an income I get nervous that the EVE I’ve known and loved for five years is slowly getting lost somehow.

If you want more fun fighting, then FW needs to be split open and exposed to the rest of EVE. Major Factions winning and losing need to have more impact on the general public, as opposed to a close system that people can conveniently ignore. Even people within the militia can ignore it by moving outside the warzone and taking a completely hands off approach to sovereignty.

Softening the blow of losing is most certainly not going to motivate people to try to win. It’s just going to make people even more comfortable in ignoring the sovereignty and warzone control aspects of FW.

I want FW to have all the brutality and darkness of EVE, and not turn into some sort of weak caricature of what once was.

NPC content overhaul inside the complexes.

I hope that in looking at the specific changes to plexing, CCP and the CSM will take a hard look on the realities and consequences behind some of these fixes, and won’t just change things to appease people’s ideological sensibilities as opposed to creating more engaging gameplay for the rest of the population.

I’m firmly against any mechanic that forces the killing of rats either explicitly or overtly for sovereignty. I realize that my own reasons might be ideological –in that I believe it’s game breaking to force content in that way within a sandbox environment –I also believe that doing so will not create more engaging gameplay.

Speed tanking is a legitimate strategy. And, I believe that the problem lies not in the difficulty of the plexes but in the risk.

Some people equate these two things, and I think it’s a mistake to do so. Increasing the risk –making it easier for your enemy to find you, catch you, etc is far different then making the plex harder by somehow changing the NPC responses.

Making the plexes riskier will increase engaging pvp gameplay, whereas making plexes harder will simply discourage people (particularly pvpers) from plexing altogether.

Slight reboot to the complex "flavors" - we need a complex that is Tech 1 frigates and rookie ships only, (no pirate ships or dessies).  We also need to increase the spawn rate of unrestricted compounds slightly, to shake up the variety in fleet types. 

Prior to Inferno, probably 99.9% of pvp happened outside of plexes. When Inferno was first implemented this changed, with the bulk of pvp happening inside plexes. However, I’ve quickly seen this changing in the last month or two –with more and more pvp happening on regular gates and stations.

The bottom line is people are bored. You fight with a thrasher in a miner, or a rupture/SFI in a medium, etc. Plex fighting has gotten stale and predictable.

Hans seems to want to fix this by introducing more plex sizes, but I think the underlying problem is the contrived size restrictions of the plexes themselves.

Plex sizing and restrictions is a part of FW people passionately hold onto, thinking that it somehow prevents blobs, or keeps FW from becoming like nullsec. However, there is nothing to really support these fears. As I stated earlier, prior to Inferno we fought in a variety of small gang situations all the time outside of plexes. Quite honestly, some of those spontaneous and mixed small gang fights were more fun than the typical minor plex thrasher standoffs you see nowadays.

At the risk of being crucified, I think they should remove the restrictions (gates) altogether and just make all plexes generic. Let FW pilots truly fight each other with any ship of the game –let them choose. I want to see randomly mixed gangs, with a variety of roles that we used to see before Inferno, and that we see now outside of plexes.

More visibility for when complexes are entered and taken – having systems on the mini-map flash to indicate a currently occupied complex.

I had a long conversation about this with both Hans, Rina (CEO of Fweddit) and Pinky Feldman. Interestingly, I think I have to agree with some of the concerns Pinky raised about how this would somewhat make things ‘easier’ perhaps in not such a good way.

Intel gathering is not a right, or a privilege. It’s a part of the strategy of pvp in EVE in general. This is why intel channels have been created, and why players argue over proper methods for sharing intel. This is why someone with poor intel is at a disadvantage.

Opening this up, opens a huge can of worms, in my opinion, and removes some of the sandboxy, player ‘owned’ content within the game.

We currently already have contestation levels, and can see when a system’s level goes up or down. Do we need further handholding by explicitly informing people of their enemy’s actions within the warzone?

Complex capture timers that can be seen system-wide. 

Visibility of plexes being run down on a system level seems better than putting it on a warzone level. Visibility within the system will increase the risk to the plexes (a good thing) and still force passerby’s to create their own system of sharing this information with friendlies.

So to wrap up the last two points, plex visibility should remain on a system level, whereas contestation levels and upgrade information should remain on the warzone level.

Instituting a rollback of the capture timer when a complex is unoccupied in order to discourage bouncing around to evade PvP. 

Yes, however how about instead of a hard rollback, just making all timers slowly go back to the ‘middle’ when the plex is unoccupied?

We want to encourage pvp, so if someone is forced out of a plex that has 1 minute left on it, they will be encouraged to come back asap to chase the hostile out. Whereas, if the plex simply does a hard, fast rollback, this somewhat discourages them to come back, and will greatly encourage people to simple find an alternative plex elsewhere, since they have to start over anyway.

This will also prevent defensive ‘blitzing’ whereby people will chase out small numbers of plexers in plexes by blobbing them and essentially ‘resetting’ all the plexes. This doesn’t seem like a strategy that should be encouraged either.

An end to LP payouts when systems are taken vulnerable. 

Well, duh.

System contested percentage “buffers” need to be nuked severely.   A *small* contested percentage buffer is needed..

Yes, the buffers that make it unreasonable for a defending militia to feasibly defend their system is ridiculous.

However, I disagree that some buffer should exist. In the past, some good fights were had when a defending militia tried to plex a system while the hostiles were attempting to take down the I-HUB –for in that plex, the defenders could remove the vulnerability and force the attackers to start over.

This should be a valid strategy, and I-HUB bashes shouldn’t come down to who has the most stuff on field. No buffer means that both sides have to be strategic and can’t just brute force it.

LP and hostile spawns for defensive plexing.

In conjunction with making plexes generic and gateless, this could be interesting. This would essentially make all plexes across the board something generic that both militias can fight over, as opposed to ‘farming offensive plexes’ vs. avoiding defensive plexes.

Also, it will remove the mentality of giving up systems for farming purposes and will revitalize people fighting over space because they want to won it.

Batch purchasing in the LP stores. (Or if not technically feasible, the introduction of wholesale offers and multi-run BPC's.)


Better system upgrades:  More industry slots, faster industry speed, lowered POS fuel costs, and the ability to deploy single use, limited-duration cynojammers (with appropriate cooldown) to cover tactical engagements.

Yes. Bus so long as their aren’t exclusive upgrades beneficial only to FW members (somehow) the motivation to own systems for upgrading purposes will not exist. Therefore the motivation to take space for upgrading purposes will not exist.

Why take over a hostile system, when you can simply reap the benefits of your hostiles upgrading it with your neutral alts?

More combat related risk in plexes.

Yes, yes. I’ve already discussed ‘risk’ vs ‘difficulty.’ Increasing combat risk = more fun pew. Increasing difficulty means less pvpers plexing, and more PVE setups.

The accessibility bar should be low –and the risk from getting caught by other players should be high. Removing the gates, and significantly decreasing the distance between the warpin and the button could significantly increase the risk. ;)

Overall, it looks like Hans is working on a lot of the important stuff, though I have my concerns about some of his approach.

Also, I sometimes get the sense that we’re trying to fix the important stuff while we still can –which makes me wonder if CCP is planning to put FW on the backburner again after the Winter Expansion? There is so much in FW that hasn’t been touched. Should we have the mentality of ‘settling’ for the stuff that is desperately needed and not dreaming about or pointing out other possibilities?

What about live events and dynamic ‘war’ material? NPC battles on gates and stations –or some sort of movement with the overall storyline?

We have ‘sovereignty’ instead of ‘occupancy’ now, but except for station lockout what does this mean? There’s so much more that could be done in terms of ownership –what about making the Faction War stations dynamic so that the Sovereign Faction’s NPC  corporation owns it? What if taking any system with a FW station means more agents and perks? We still have a sense that some systems are ‘Amarr’ and some are ‘Minmatar’ no matter who owns it…

What about an overhaul to FW missions? This has been long due. With the new sovereignty system, the entire philosophy behind missions is broken. (IE: the concept of traveling deep into hostile territory…etc.) What about giving more variety in missions instead of making players kill either a structure or a gaggle of industrial ships?

What about truly making PVP give the best payouts vs missioning and other PVE? In the original Inferno dev blog this was talked about as being intended, and it’s horribly broken. Is CCP simply giving up on it because of exploitation concerns? Can’t they come up with something?

What about the thing that everyone asked for in the years leading up to Inferno that still hasn’t been implemented in Faction War? Meaning. We still don’t matter. We still pvp for the heck of it, and who wins or loses has no bearing on anything except to line our pockets.

When will they start looking at making the Great War between the four primary Factions of EVE matter to the rest of the community, in a bigger way then just providing everyone with another ISK grinding machine?

Related Posts:
CynoJammers in Faction War
Cheaper by the Dozen
A Backwards, Yet Lucrative Strategy
Guide: Plexing in Faction War


  1. The slow rollback is what I was referring to - I don't want an instant reset, just timers to tick back to "the middle" at their normal speed, so that progress isn't maintained without a pilot being present.

    I'll correct my original post for clarity. Thanks for spotting this!

  2. Re: Visibility of plexers.

    Susan, you want more risk from plexing, without more difficulty (from the rats), and yet you're pushing against one of the most obvious and most BELIEVABLE ways in which we can make plexing more risky -- the simple expediency of a faction rat informing their faction they're under attack.

    I'm out in the middle of nowhere and I one shot a faction rat, my rep with that faction goes down.

    But if there's a plex being captures and there are FORTY faction rats inside, they don't send up an SOS? Doesn't make any bloody sense.

    1. It doesn't matter if the entire warzone knows I am in a plex running the button, as long as I stand zero chance of getting caught by virtue of being able to warp away freely when someone appears inside, well out of point range even with boosters and faction gear. Plexes are the hardest place in the warzone to catch someone, which makes no sense at all. Letting everyone know I'm there makes it more annoying for me, but it doesn't really add any risk.

    2. What about making the plexes warp-scrambled? I mean, you can't warp if you are in a certain range off the button (2 x cap range?).

    3. that might work, but I'd just bump up my d-scan range more and get heading out of the scram range earlier, directly away from the beacon. It'd still be hard as hell to catch me.

      I think the only way to give plexes more risk is to move the button in closer to where you drop out of warp. So, say a minor plex's button is about 25k from the entrance, someone orbiting at max range (10km for a minor) would come to approximately 15k of the gate periodically, and be a max of about 35km away. It would be a lot easier to get a point on someone, assuming they're not being diligent with d-scan.

      -different annonymous

  3. Yeah, I'd like to see FW matter more to their respective empires.

    Just spitballing here, but maybe have it give a 20% bonus to all agents LP offers for the side that's doing good, and a 20% increase for the side that's doing bad (on a scale, so that if the warzone is deadlocked it sits at about normal for both sides).

    That way people that are running high sec missions in the losing side's empire would have some motivation to join up with the losing side to get their lp stores back to normal. And the people on the winning side that are only there for the money would have an incentive to move back to highsec, thus (hopefully) balancing things out.

  4. I think removing gate to Plexes and removing size restrictions would be a huge pitty. I've recently re-joined FW after 3 years in 0.0 and I find absolutelly refreshing seeing different sized gangs for different plexes.

    Yes you see a predominance of Thrashers and SFI's but that is simply because in comparison to 0.0 militia is somewhat poorly organised especially when it comes to countering tactics. I think that we are already seeing some interesting counter-tactics from guys like Agony that exploits Thrasher/SFI's inherent disadvantages.

    If you look at 0.0 gangs you will see at least as much if not more uniformity with fleet compositions than in FW (Drake gangs and Abbadons only).

  5. A roleplaying solution that would make a lot more people care about faction warfare.

    If a faction is losing, they need to raise money! They do this by raising taxes. They literally add a war tax onto all station trading done in their stations. This money is then used to upgrade the ships guarding their buttons.

    1. RE: FW has consequences

      Bigger step perhaps, but on top of your war-tax: Have all characters either declare a citizenship or no citizenship (for nullsecers). Noncitizens are taxed higher than citizens by station trading, mfg jobs, etc. Changing citizenship is possible, but costly/time-consuming (perhaps tied to faction standing).

      If you are citizen=Caldari then you get incentivized to see Caldari FW win. You want to see improvements in Caldari space, etc.

      If you hate all highsec, great, go non-citizen for all and get incentivized to build a more viable economic system out in null.

  6. As of right now the 2 ideas that would make plexing a pvp mechanic (counter rollback and notifications) are getting tabled by ccp.

    However the proposal that will allow the minmatar to continue to farm systems after they own them (lp for defensive plexing) is going to be implented.

    Way to keep ccp focused on the priorities hans. Lets call this expansion "Inferno the minmatar militia edition."