Sunday, December 29, 2013

Plexing and Low-Sec

I've noticed that the topic of FW plexes has cropped up again over the last couple weeks --the usual rage over farming, mostly.

I admit, that sometimes I look at the current status of the warzone, and I feel like there is an invisible hand controlling sovereignty and warzone control that has nothing to do with my alliance, or the pvp efforts of the militias in general.  Furthermore, I have some serious suspicions, after carefully watching the market on many LP store items, in correlation to LP donations for warzone control, and plex farming, that the fluctuations between militia control is not as random as it looks, nor part of some 'natural' cycle. That it is, in fact, all very much a planned, coordinated effort by a group that wishes to remain anonymous. A group that has only one interest--maximum profit.

Perhaps that's a theory only worthy of those wearing tin foil hats, but there you have it.

Some of the ideas that have been put forward to hinder plex farming have either seemed ludicrous to me, or decidedly dangerous.

First, is the idea that limiting what someone can fit, or forcing them to fit something, will help anything. I don't like it when people run from a fight any more than anyone else. But I also know that forcing people to leave off certain mods, or put on certain mods, isn't going to suddenly get me more pvp! And I would rather CCP focused on introducing new, good game play, rather than playing wack-a-mole with plex farming fits.

Though, I do have to say that watching supposedly battle-hardened 'pvpers' who claim to desire the 'challenges' of solo pvp, melt into a frenzious pool of blithering rage over the fact they can't catch a mostly-unfit tech 1 frigate, does make me giggle a little. Oh the irony --and hypocrisy.

The second idea I see a lot is to simply roll the timer back when these farmers run away. I may have even condoned this idea at one point, until I really thought about what that would mean to solo and small gang pvp.

For example, I've seen in situations where a small group is trying to defend their home again a large group, they will run the plexes as much as they can until they get forced out. They are buying themselves some time, playing on the fact that the opposing militia may have to reship, amongst other strategies.

If the timer were to simply roll back, it would essentially give larger, more organized militias a huge advantage. I think that many people would simply give up. There's no ninjaing plexes against the odds. What's the point of trying if you will only get forced out at the end through brute force and lose all the ground you worked toward achieving, in a matter of seconds?

It would also mean that neutrals could directly affect sovereignty, by 'messing' with militias--romping around and forcing small militia groups out of plexes to lose the time they've built up on them. Don't get me wrong, I think that introducing some way for neutrals to participate in FW, without joining militia, an interesting idea --though I'm not sure about it happening quite this way.

It seems like, whenever we talk about plexing mechanics in context of 'fixing farming' we always talk about it from the perspective of stopping some sort of 'bad' gameplay--regardless of whether this really increases good gameplay or not.

What if, instead of thinking of ways to hinder plex farmers, we thought of ways to encourage pvp? Ultimately, the main 'risk' to plex farmers are the pvpers. If we increase combat inside these sites, it will be significantly harder for people to run them in defenseless ships.

What if we offered a different sort of carrot--not of the ISK related sort?

Any combat inside a FW plex will NOT result in a suspect timer, or a security status loss.

This seems like a small thing, but believe me --it would be huge. For the first time there would be a place people could go to simply pvp in low-sec without worrying about the consequences of 'going flashy.'  They don't have to join militia, or wardec anyone, or etc.

People who have long avoided combat in low-sec simply because they don't want to ruin their sec would have a place to go where they wouldn't have to worry about it. Furthermore, militia would not get penalized for shooting neutrals inside the plexes.

The warzone is just that --a warzone. And these plexes are the root of sovereignty that makes up the foundation of the war mechanics in FW. So, why penalize someone for engaging in combat, in what is ultimately supposed to be a battlefield?

Instead of hindering the plex farmers, why not enable and encourage more pvpers? And make Faction War plexes the most dangerous places to be.


  1. Why would a PVPer want to be in FW then? Only farmers and RPers will stay in FW. :P

  2. Oh, I really like your idea of "Any combat inside a FW plex will NOT result in a suspect timer, or a security status loss."
    So I wanted to fly with them in frigates into FW LowSec nearby Hek to train for PvP .

    Yeah, only that it is really hard to get some targets who aren't running, ruining our SecStatus or are flying in T2/Navy/Pirate Ships.*sigh*
    Our hardcore carebears are really afraid of loosing their SecStatus and their shiny navyBS because of some Killrights (we lost already some Rattlesnakes because of this :-P ). But I really don't think that flying into WH with T3 and no PvP experience will be such a good idea xD

  3. Back when the Serpentis Druglab DED 1/10s were broken (gate key was NOT required),
    Hunters used to leave the final Overseer's Personal Effects.
    Their prey would steal them and often much of the loot. The game was on!
    This was under the old crime rules.

    Wonder if some free or cheap LP deployable available from the faction store (including highsec, otherwise lockouts).
    Make these modules NOT transferable to cans, ships, station, anything; only 1 per ship and goes straight to your ship when you buy it. Faction Control Unit?

  4. or a Plex spawn that has to be carried back to your station, and prevents cloaking or worse.

  5. "If the timer were to simply roll back, it would essentially give larger, more organized militias a huge advantage."

    And why shouldn't larger, more organized groups have an advantage? Rolling the timer back (a fast countdown rather than a straight up reset might be best) would force you to hold the field if you wanted to capture the plex. If you don't have the numbers, organization, or determination to hold the field, and you lose the fight, there's no reason that you should be able to capture the plex.

    "It would also mean that neutrals could directly affect sovereignty, by 'messing' with militias--romping around and forcing small militia groups out of plexes to lose the time they've built up on them."

    That's the philosophy that's at the core of Eve - anyone can mess with anyone else. You might argue that a neutral roaming gang would have too much power too disrupt a lone plexer. But why should a plexer expect to be able to protect himself alone against a larger group? Certainly the LP payouts from plex capturing don't lend incentive to plex as a group. And that has always been a big flaw in the system as I see it. But either make plex payouts group-oriented (somewhat like incursions), or better, give FW pilots LP rewards for killing any non-ally ship inside a plex (neutrals included) just like they currently get for killing enemy militia.

    1. "And why shouldn't larger, more organized groups have an advantage? "

      Straw man fallacy. No one is saying that larger, more organized groups should be at a disadvantage here. If the game designers make choices so that everyone joins the winning side, then there will be zero fights and zero conflict, and EVE will end. This obvious fact requires the designers to attempt to keep some balance in the game; one aspect of this balance is to rein in the advantage given to larger, more organized groups to a certain level so that they don't quickly and easily wipe their enemies from the board. Since EVE offers so many venues for conflict, this balance can be tuned differently in different venues. This tuning should take into account other factors, such as other rewards conveniently available to those in that venue, as well as ease of joining and/or switching sides in this conflict. Because it is so easy to switch between sides in FW, or have multiple lower SP pilots in different FW factions, it is clearly more important in that venue to consider how balance works, or you'll simply have people jumping back and forth between factions willy-nilly to maximize profit...a negative consequence which is actually happening, and which was mentioned in this very piece; which means that the answer to your question was conveniently found in the very article which your question was a response to. Did you read the piece?

    2. Or more precisely, that the answer to the corrected version of your question with the straw man excised from it is found in the piece. The answer to your original question is that it is a straw man fallacy.

    3. You already have to hold the field to gain the plex. Rolling back the timer doesn’t introduce this in any way.
      Currently, you have to run a timer down for the base time of the plex, plus whatever amount of time a hostile has added to it. Meaning, that there are direct consequences for ‘allowing’ a hostile to maintain the field for any amount of time –you have to ‘undo’ what they did.

      Doing a rollback would remove this consequence. By your same argument, why shouldn’t the new aggressor be forced to hold the field for the full time, including the time they allowed their enemies to hold it? Rolling back the timer doesn’t give an advantage to someone willing to hold the plex –it gives an advantage to someone who can momentarily take the field…whether they can hold it long or not.

      As far as larger groups having an advantage over smaller groups –Fundamentally, I believe that larger, more organized groups should have a natural advantage. However, rolling back the timer isn’t really about larger groups having an advantage vs not having one –they currently, already have an advantage under the current mechanics. It’s more a matter of how MUCH of an advantage you give them. If you give larger groups such a high advantage to the point where small groups don’t bother trying—don’t try to grow, or organize, or etc.—then you’ve essentially killed the conflict. And we really like conflict in Faction War. =)

  6. "And why shouldn't larger, more organized groups have an advantage? Rolling the timer back (a fast countdown rather than a straight up reset might be best) would force you to hold the field if you wanted to capture the plex."

    They already do have an advantage. The criticism of timer rollbacks, which I'm not sure I agree with, is essentially that they amplify small differences in capability and encourages dog-piling tactics (and otherwise weight things enormously in favor of whoever has the most people). Regardless of that, you don't want to change a system from one where smaller and larger groups can meaningfully interact to one where they can't.

  7. "If the timer were to simply roll back, it would essentially give larger, more organized militias a huge advantage. I think that many people would simply give up. There's no ninjaing plexes against the odds. What's the point of trying if you will only get forced out at the end through brute force and lose all the ground you worked toward achieving, in a matter of seconds?"

    CCP said FW is gonna be like "Sov Lite", right? Well, there you go: biggest horde with best toys wins it all. Witness blue donut in :real Sov: right now.

    Having a FW alt with which I not only farm LP but give GFs to those who try to pop me, I still feel that timer rollbacks are a decent measure -- yes, it will mean more people getting larger groups together to push people out of plexes ... but honestly, show me a mechanic that doesn't scale very nicely, n+1 style. Even the new ships, mechanics, etc, that CCP explicitly stated are to "encourage solo/small gang roams and buff guerrilla-style tactics" .... STILL scale nicely with fleet size.

    tl;dr: "But changing this mechanic will benefit larger groups..." = the Willy Wonka meme, "Oh, so you mean like everything ELSE in EVE?"

  8. With these, the fundamental problem remains, which is farming significant amount of ISK in a stabbed, mostly unfit T1 frig piloted by a 3 days old alt. Neuts still can't catch them, and even if they could, who cares about a 2M frig loss. Even better: who cares about a 2M frig kill?

    The solution is a plexing module that costs about 50M and can drop like all modules. That would make people care to catch these nasty farmers.

    1. People who think that stabbed, low-SP players in cheap ships are the problem, are ignorant of the facts.

    2. Gevlon: you can't farm LP/ISK unless you actually occupy the complex for the entire duration of the timer.

      If you get chased out, you don't get to complete the timer.

      Thus the "solution" to the "problem" is to chase the super-stabbed cheap alts out of the complex. Which is exactly what the solo PvP are complaining about: they're looking for fights, and while they are solving the "super stabbed cheap alt farming ISK" problem they are complaining that they're not getting "good fights."

      If you're looking for "good fights" you should be finding ways to bring the good fights to you: such as, for example, running FW complexes in super-tanked tackle ships as bait.

      Adding a 50M module that is required for running complexes will not stop plexers from running away when danger is looming. Requiring ships to have no WCS fitted will simply mean plexers will run as soon as anyone appears on D-scan. Please think these things through before you propose new "solutions."

  9. Well written article for the most part. I will say that I do love the idea of no suspect tag/criminal timer in a plex, would make for interesting play. But I don't think it would solve the Stabbed-Plexer problem, not on its own at least. You may giggle at the rage from Solo PvPers but all the rage is founded in fact.

    Its not that we CAN'T catch the plexers, its that to actually catch the plexer it requires sacrificing, at the bare minimum, a mid slot for an extra scram. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how important, especially on a frig or dessie, the importance of a mid slot. Me and a lot of other solo pvpers just don't see the point of severely limiting the options of a ship by fitting a second scram instead of fitting a web/tracking disrupter/target painter/ tank mod/ cap booster etc.

    I'll assume maybe that most of the rage your hearing is from people who are in similar position and refuse to fit their ships in such a way, and then warp in expecting to find a fight(because the farmer didn't warp off because hes not watching d-scan), didn't cloak up before I locked him(because hes not even paying attention enough to see me land on grid), and then when I move in to fight, scram and then OH...he warped off.... You must have experienced this and know how frustrating it is.

    Sure you can have a two scram fit on back up, but how do you KNOW its a farmer in the plex? Sure you can make inferences based on how old they are and what corps they are in but even then its not 100% accurate. One of my last times taking a 2 scram fit out was against an Atron in general militia and was a month old. I had an Algos fit with the double scram and I took it out. I warped in overheated my scrams and double scrammed him. He then scrammed ME and orbited me at 10k with an afterburner and a TD, he picked off all my drones and finally made his way to me. Don't get me wrong I got him to about half armor before I went down, but I'm fairly sure I could have caught him if I had fit a web instead of a double scram. If you think its frustrating to watch someone warp off after you have them pointed/scrammed, imagine how annoying it is to lose a ship because your unable to fit something for PvP like you should 'cause you have to deal with stabbed farmers. That example doesn't ALWAYS happen, I've been able to fight fairly well in double scram fits, but it really limits your options.

    Do you think neuts/pies are going to go through the same thing when they don't even have a fiscal benefit for it? I seriously doubt well see neuts roaming around in double scram fits looking for 2 mil stabbed fits to fight.

    CCP already has a track record of limiting easily noob farmable Income. Why are DED complexes limited to certain ship sizes? Because being able to enter into a 1/10 with a dessie/cruiser would be an extremely easy method to earn a ridiculous amount of ISK in a short span of time with very little risk. My point would be that increasing PvP in plexes would not adversely effect farmers all that much. Sure some would be caught/alpha'd off the field more then usual, but its doubtful enough people would try to make no crim penalties in a plex the only solution.

    Being unable to fit stabs in a plex WOULD immediately effect the farming population and 'hopefully' reduce it by quite a lot. Suddenly when you actually have to PAY ATTENTION to everyone of your 8 multi-boxed farming alts instead of having a get out of jail free card by stab, the constant deaths/buying/reshipping would get repetitive enough that a lot would drop it for less stressful/safe forms of income.

    1. ~Continued:

      With the rollbacks I agree with you wholeheartedly, INSTANT rollbacks would be a very bad thing, sitting in a plex and watching the last seconds tick away and then have all that work instantly erased would be a horrible Idea. However, TIMED rollbacks would be a far better solution. Remember the god of the farmers is pretty much ISK/hour give them penalties for having to warp out and it becomes a lot more work for them to profit. And it wouldn't STOP outnumbered players from being able to ninja plexes it would INCREASE it. "Ok they left lets go leave the novice alone and cap the medium while the novice rolls back. WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY SNUCK BACK IN AND ARE RECAPPING IT?!?!?' Of course I'm exaggerating for effect but you get the idea. Timer rollbacks would effect us all equally, except for the farmers who would lose a lot of ISK/hour, which most true FW's aren't interested in.

      I also argue that getting rid of the farmers would be a HUGE incentive for PvP. Whats probably the biggest reason for people Quitting/Moving out of FW? PLEX BURNOUT! How much LESS would we have to plex when we are not beset upon by a horde of farming ults multi-boxed by some vodka-drunk русский null-seccer whos probably gonna use the money for RMT anyway? Suddenly plexing would actually mean a lot more because your gains(or the enemies) or not instantly reset by impossible to counter farmers.

      Note- All Rage is directed at farmers and not Susan Black, hopefully anyone who replies to this post will argue calmly with facts to either agree or disagree with this post.

    2. Why is there so much emphasis on trying to capture FW plex farmers? Once you've driven them out of the plex, you've achieved the purpose of stopping them cheaply farming LP.

      If you're looking for "good fights" why are you chasing FW plex farmers? Why are you complaining when a 2M ISK frigate being flown by a <900k SP alt escapes you?

    3. I'm complaining because when I am out looking for Good Fights half the time its just plex farmers. When I AM looking for plex farmers its because their in my home system or nearby in a station system I know is in use by Caldari.

      Sure I can chase him off, and generally once they leave they stay gone, but their are more. Their are ALWAYS more. I don't know if you've ever defended a FW System before but you must know it usually is a 24 hour job. The man power and hours needed simply to fend off the constant farming is ridiculous. And thats just a single system were talking about somewhere in the area of 100 systems per warzone.

      I don't go out looking for GF from farmers. I go out because if I don't then the farmers will farm uncontested. If they do that it makes it THAT much easier for the opposing militia to take my system and lock me out of my home station. I should be out fighting THOSE guys all the time, not having to fend off cloaky, stabbed incursus's all day just so the other Miltia cant come in plex 10% and then hit the bunker.

      For those of us who actually have to LIVE in the WZ, it exudes a tremendous pressure on us. Imagine if, tommorow, CCP announced that Null-Sec Sovereignty would be decided by how much AFK Ratters(The ones that warp to a POS as soon as anyone enters system) are able to rat. Can you Imagine the sheer RAGE that would ensue? Make the 'Summer of Rage' look like a bad forum complaint post. Thats what FW people have to deal with. But FFS Ratters can't CLOAK while their ratting. And I'm sure as hell they don't fit stabs!(My assumptions on Null Sex player behavior may be inaccurate) .

      FW Plex Farmers significantly effect the warzone in a negative way. People who could be out fighting or looking for fights(What FW was INTENDED) for now have to deal with hordes of farmers that they can't even force to reship when the actually CATCH them because their all stabbed.

      If someone is trying to take my system away from me, whether or not thats their intention, then they should have to pay the consequences. ESPECIALLY if they can't even bother to watch d-scan or have the EVE window up to see someone land on grid.