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.