Tuesday, January 14, 2014

PerPlexing PVP

I was planning to do a post going into more details regarding timer roll back and etc., however I think that the one thing that I want people to really get out of any discussion along those lines is that providing consequences to stabbed farmers running away is not going to encourage PVP, and may not really discourage farming either.

I’d love to see some ideas and suggestions that create more conflict drivers in FW, particularly inside plexes –conflict drivers that introduce interesting gameplay with perhaps the side effect of discouraging the not so great gameplay. As opposed to simply ‘punishing’ or ‘restricting’ the ‘bad’ people.

A couple things of noteworthiness regarding plexing:

First, there’s a lot of space to cover.

I’ve often said that farmers can only farm if pvpers let them. If they’re stabbed, and they run away—they’re not running the plex, therefore they’re no longer farming. The response often is that it’s ludicrous to think that pvpers should keep up some sort of vigil across the entirety of the warzone—playing a constant game of wack-a-mole with plex farmers.

Especially in the Gal/Cal warzone, it’s a lot of systems, and a lot of plexes to cover!

Rolling back timers and etc., isn’t really going to fix this. The whole idea depends upon pvpers chasing stabbed farmers out of plexes, so the argument that pvpers shouldn’t have to spread across the warzone to chase around stabbed farmers in and of itself kind of nullifies the argument for having the timers roll back….which would require that very gameplay.

Now, a different focus that could prove interesting, is somehow making the warzone feel smaller by funneling people into key areas. There are a lot of ways, both big and small, that this could be done.
Just one example would be to change the very way that plexes spawn in the warzone, so as to create more of a ‘front line’ feel. What if, you could only contest systems that are directly connected to a system you already own?

 For example, let’s say the Amarr own the majority of the warzone, but the Minmatar own a key area where many Minnie alliances live—the Huola, Kourmonen, Auga, Kamela pipe. In order to take back the warzone, the Minmatar would have to start contesting and plexing systems attached to Huola, Kourmonen, Auga, Kamela…as opposed to spreading out all over the back woods of Metropolis to flip the ‘easy’ systems. Plexes wouldn’t even spawn out there.

You may have one front line, or perhaps a couple highly contested ‘pockets’ in the warzone. And in the unlikely and rare occurrence where a militia takes over every system, the front line would focus on the edges of high-sec. where the faction still holds control.

There would be no more warzone-wide ‘farming’ at all, but rather focused efforts in key places where plexing is even available.

Secondly, plexing in and of itself is kinda boring.

One thing I have often heard of pvpers, is that they quickly become ‘burned out’ when going on any sort of plexing initiative. But…what if pvpers were drawn to plexes for more than just watching the timer count down?

I mentioned a few posts ago about making plexes a sort of ‘anything goes’ battlezone. No security status losses for aggression, and etc. I think the idea of becoming locked out of highsec due to sec loss really turns a lot of people off from low-sec in general, and even Faction War. (We have to shoot a lot of neutrals in our plexes, so it’s very common for FW pilots to go ‘pirate.’)

In other words, instead of punishing the farmers, remove restrictions and turn-offs that are discouraging pvp inside plexes in any way.

And finally, is the matter of warzone economics.

Right now, the most lucrative LP making activity in Faction War is mission running. This is hands down, indisputable. At tier 4, Minmatar missions pay out around 60-80K LP and often take no more than 5 minutes to complete in a stealth bomber. At tier 5, a lvl 4 mission can payout upwards of 100K+ LP. This is why a lot of militia PVPers will mission binge during high warzone control as their primary source of income, as opposed to relying upon the LP they may get doing the odd plex, or through pvp.

Furthermore, because of the highly expensive nature of keeping I-Hubs upgraded, militias will rarely upgrade unless they are doing a fullscale warzone push.

The changes I’d propose are simple. First, I’d disconnect missions from warzone control, and simply pay base payouts regardless of warzone control. Missions have nothing to do with Warzone Control, or sovereignty.

Secondly, ONLY in conjunction with the changes I mentioned above, I’d redistribute some of those ISK payouts by somewhat increasing ALL plex payouts so that plexing becomes more of a viable way for pvpers to make a constant income stream, as opposed to mission binging.  Mind you, there will be far less plexes and no more farming off in the far reaches of space.
I guess they’ll just have to fight over them. ;)

Thirdly, I’d change the algorithm for upgrading warzone control/system upgrades, so that it is more viable for militias to hold middle warzone control tiers. In a healthy warzone, I’d like it to be common for one militia to maintain WZC3, while the other has 2, or etc. Right now, it seems that only the militia doing the warzone push even bothers upgrading.

With all of these changes, I think you’d see a much healthier warzone:
  • There’d be less mass plexing, and more concentrated plexing.
  • There’d be even more reasons for pvpers to be inside plexes –both for pvp reasons and economic reasons, making plexing extremely dangerous for someone unprepared to defend themself.
  • There’d be less burn-out and more strategy in taking the warzone, or parts of the warzone. Taking certain systems over others may have more meaning and strategic value depending on their location.
  • The bulk of the LP payouts will focus around the conflict, as opposed to farming missions that don’t really create any conflict.
  • Players would have the ability to create defendable locations by creating sovereignty buffers around their home—making living and defending one’s home in the warzone more of a reality.
  • The ‘snowball effect’ of farmers cycling the warzone back and forth every couple months will significantly slow down, without creating an atmosphere of stagnation.

Anyway. Just a thought or two. =)


  1. timer resets is all what is needed. fighting is inefficient with current mechanics if all you are after is LP. Make running inefficient. problem solved.

    But CCP is scared like a little kid at Halloween to touch plexing mechanics. Otherwise they have the same problem as they had after they slightly nerfed incursion payouts.

  2. perhaps what we need is a smaller war zone. If there are half as many system (or, like 5 each!) then there's more confilct because ppatroling the warzone looking for targets wont take so long and there would be fewer backwater systems to farm with nonone every showing up

  3. ooo I really like your front line contesting idea too, or within onejump of a system your side owns. That way it cant be locked to just one system but it isn't the whole zone at a time, either.

    1. I really like the "front line" idea.
      I also like the idea of unlinking the FW missions from the tier multiplier.
      I also like the idea of adjusting the LP payouts to be more for plex and less for missions, but only if the front line idea is implemented.

      I'd like to see an active timer reset. Timers don't reset by themselves. I have to reset them. I warp into a plex and find a timer that has been run down by my enemy, if I orbit the button for 30 seconds (a short time, 30 seconds is long enough that it is a choice I make, but it's not too long. It's something a PvP fleet might do), anyway if I orbit the button for 30 seconds the timer resets to zero.

      Once the timer has reset, I can continue orbiting like normal to run down the timer in my direction.

    2. Replying to myself, but whatever.

      I still don't like the timer to reset by itself. When I chase a farmer out, I want him to know that I'm now undoing his hard work. If he wants his precious LP he needs to come and fight for it.

      If a timer has been run down by my enemy, then I have to orbit the button to get it back up again. Just like we have right now. However, the timer counts back up at 10x the speed it currently does.

  4. Excellent Ideas! All of them! The only thing that I would say is that these changes are all revamps of the Warzone which CCP is unlikely to do. Keeping stabs out of Plexes and putting in Timer Tickbacks(Although I am starting to consider this less of an option) are small easily programmable things that CCP can put in without having to completely revamp the system.

  5. Only problem with bullets 3 and 5 is that to implement them would require players of disparate corps and alliances to "work together", which, as we all know is both extremely difficult to do well (and those that do, live in sov-null), and "forcing" players into a certain playstyle, which invokes the Sandbox Law: "You can do whatever you want, however you want...as long as it's what I want you to do, and in the way I want you to do it."

  6. You are thinking through the eyes of gangs. I am a solo FW warrior and having different point of view on your suggestions. If you consolidate war zones, than it will be crowded...

  7. #1 Front lines. I really don't like this idea. It really limits you and I see a feature like this being used to really hold the losing side down. In other words, if this feature was implemented it could prevent the losing side from swinging things back in their favor.

    #2. I'm -10, so I don't really care either way. I honestly don't think this will change all that much because 99% of the PVPers in FW lowsec are negative security status anyway. With the new "Tags 4 sec" feature, it really is no longer a big deal getting your sec status up should you decide to leave FW. People just need to jump into lowsec and embrace the negative security status. It's really about joining with a good group of players who have a good logistics wing. I think about 10-15% of our pilots have a JF alt. Maybe this makes me forget about how hard it was without at a Jita-lowsec jump on a daily basis.

    #3 As far as missions goes, I'm all for disconnecting them from warzone control. My other pet peeve about missions is the MASSIVE imbalance between the factions. You probably don't care since you are in one of the easy-mode factions. Caldari and Minmatar have easy-mode missions that can be run in a stealth bomber. Gallente and Amarr have hard-mode missions with missile spam. Gallente can also be jammed to death. I'm not sure about Amarr, but Gallente need an Ishtar or T3 to effectively run a mission. When we joined Minmatar for a bit a few years ago, we laughed so hard how you could passive shield tank missions in an armor stealth bomber. It was insane. I honestly think CCP should increase the difficulty of Caldari/Minmatar missions to be similar to Gallente/Amarr though, rather than the other way around.

    #4 As far as changing the algorithm for determining WZ control, I don't think its really that big of a deal. I guess I don't care either way.

  8. The problem I see with the front line mechanic as proposed is that it will turn FW into Blob war. The solo and small gang pvp a lot of people join FW for will no longer be viable as the only means to capture a plex will be to bring more pilots than your enemy can. Reducing the LP payout for systems not connected to your faction territory or only giving Tier 1 payout for non-connected systems regardless of warzone tier would be a better option for implementing the front line mechanic in my opinion. Giving tier 1 payouts for non-connected systems would make sense from a war zone context as well. Only other question I have for the front line mechanic is that if I have two or more pockets of systems (at least one of which is completely isolated from the rest of my factions space) would you count the isolated pocket of systems as front line territory or would you require a connection to your empire's high sec space?

  9. Front line thing just doesnt work, militia with more ppl at given tz starts winning. Most ppl join to winning side for feeling that they are actually good. and fighting just ends..just like it was few years ago.

  10. 1. In Eve you need to make money to PLEX your account, or to buy ships and mods. FW farming is one of the effective ways of doing this. I don't know about you, but when I am out making ISK, I may not want to be interrupted by some horny PvPer. I'll PvP later, when I'm done working.
    2. All Hail the Farmer Alt! The farmers do work for us. I don't want to sit in plexes all day, do you? I think we should be grateful that there are players for whom this is a worthwhile activity. I appreciate FW getting to T4, because then I can make easy isk to fund my bad habits. More power to them for getting us there.
    3. The people who want to PvP don't need any additional "Conflict Drivers." They are already out looking for a fight. What you are looking for, I think, is more ways of having "sneaky PvP" with non-consensual PvPers. There is no such thing as not-so-great gameplay in Eve. You play your way; they play theirs.

    One of the articles on your site talks about low sec ninja salvaging. This is definitely a non-pvp profession, and I can tell you from trying it, it's an exciting one. This PvP avoidance activity is promoted on your site, but farming is not?

    I am all in favor of CCP creating new gameplay mechanics, and especially new PvP types, like the new mobile structures.

    Messing with old gameplay mechanics should be done in an experimental, and incremental fashion. Tiny hinges swing big doors.