Monday, January 13, 2014

The Baby with the Bath Water

Farming, and Faction War plexing has become a rather popular topic of conversation lately.

One thing you need to understand about farming in FacWar, is that it is, by design, the basis of sovereignty and warzone control. In order to get sovereignty in a system, you have to grind down the contestation by sitting in plexes and watching timers count down.

So, saying that farmers are running the warzone, or that Faction War is broken because of farming is like saying that nullsec is broken because of people putting up TCUs, or that industry is broken because people are mining.

The second thing you have to understand about farming, is that those who are farming billions upon billions of ISK worth of LP are not running plexes necessarily. They are running missions. They are running missions because missions can get you many, many times more LP per hour. Also, when you start reaching the number of systems you need for warzone control 4 and 5, there are a lot fewer systems to plex, and these tend to be the harder, more dangerous systems to plex in. Obviously, it is just a matter of tactical common sense when farming the warzone, to take the ‘easy’ and more out of the way systems first, leaving the harder ones for last –if you take the hard ones at all.

The third thing you have to understand, is that Faction War, for better or worse, was designed with newer players in mind. The low barrier of entry, and the plex restrictions greatly encourage small ship warfare –ships that new players are more likely to be able to fly.

So, not only are many of the things that people complain about in Faction War, things that were purposefully designed the way they are, but many of the things we hate are also the things we love.
  • We hate Faction War because tech 1 fit dudes are farming plexes. We love Faction War because you can get solo and small gang frigate pew.
  • We hate the noobs running plexes, but we love that we have an avenue of pvp and ISK-making for new players.
  • We hate Faction War because of all the farming in the warzone. But, we love it because the nature of the farming doesn’t really encourage a large group simply brute forcing a structure for sov, or etc.
  • We hate that non PVPers are making so much ISK, but the PVPers are making isk to support their PVP via the same means.

The problem I have with so many suggestions and arguments that people make is that they are attempting to get rid of the bad, not really realizing that they’re often throwing the baby out with the bath water. So many can’t see the forest for the trees, and have a sort of tunnel vision regarding the things they find to be ‘broken’—not seeing how the changes that they propose will have further reaching consequences and results, possibly worse than the original thing they were trying to fix.

Furthermore, I’m not at all convinced that most people have even begun to scratch the surface of the underlying design issues. And beyond that, I’m not sure it’s a practical conversation to begin with, as I have little to no confidence that CCP will be iterating on FW at all, even in a small way, for the next few years.


  1. My main problem with it is other than the time involved, there's no commitment to a plex.

    Someone shows up in local? You can warp away and lose nothing but the time you're away from the plex. It doesn't reset. There's no consequence to leaving.

    And you can leave the running to the point where someone arrived in the plex. (Or later, if you're stabbed. And why not be stabbed? There's no downside to it for those ships)

    If it reinforced in some fashion if you left, that would be something.

    Ideal world for me, is if there's an exit gate, which is the only way to leave the plex. you can't just warp out.

    (disclaimer: I do defensive plexing for the Amarr. I've run once (when someone came back in a new ship, after I blew them up the first time). I die a lot :) )

  2. I've been in FW since inception and I'm only happy with the changes. Of course, all my ships and supplied are now locked out for me in Auga. But I've been planetside since last year and probably won't be back in pod until some time in April, so maybe some Minnies will get off their asses and plex back Auga by then.

    All the changes in FW benefit low sec in general and make it filled with pilots. Before the last major changes it was turning into a wasteland. Really, do we want to go back to that? Although some ideas I've heard (like making FW zones change between Empire and Uncontrolled) are interesting. But we really want to keep the ability for people who want low sec pew-pew to be self sustaining.

  3. I will disagree slightly with your point that the vast majority of the farmers do missions, sure their have to be some, but Missions require a little bit of skill time on the alt to be effective, unlike farmers who can be active and farming in the WZ in a matter of hours after activation. I roamed around a bit today for about two hours ish? Three Systems, Innia, Pavanakka, Aivonen. Know how many farmers(as in a month old and in GenMil) I saw chased off during that time? Ten. Thats for THREE systems in a two hour period in a highly populated pipe which is what Farmers DON'T want. I have debated on keeping a list of the Farmers I encounter. Just for documentation, and I think I will and post my findings eventually.

    I have not heard a whole lot of the complaints about T1 ships, my own personal reservations against farming stem more from the fact that people can fit Warp Core Stabs with no consequences. People will run, and I have no problem with that. But if I catch someone they should STAY caught if someone is going to put themselves in a position to make a lot of ISK they should at least pay for the fact that they didn't watch D-Scan, especially in Low-Sec.

    Three good factors in determining what is a good for Faction Warfare in my opinion is 'Does it promote PvP while not forcing it into a particular technology/skill level?' 'Does it decrease the amount of wear and tear that FW members experience while plexing, but does not make flipping a system to easy or to difficult for any one party' and 'Does it NOT give an increased farmability to Faction Warfare greater then the current levels.

    Several Ideas I believe personally have merit are the timer tickbacks not RESETS but TICKBACKS. That would give a consequence to warping out prematurely and it would also lighten the load of plexing quite a bit. And we also wouldn't get any of those 'Run a Large Timer down to 1:00 then leave it' deals anymore.

    Your own Idea about no Criminal Penalties for fights in plexes is another good one, not only for FW but for lowsec people in General. It would increase the amount of fights taken by pretty much everybody in plexes.

    I have my own personal Idea about a structure that would passively win Victory Points in a system, I won't get into the specifics because it would require a few more paragraphs but in short it would be, not as quick as plexing directly, have no monetary gain whatsoever, and be primarily an objective for Large Cruiser and Medium sized BC gangs. It also would not plex 100% of the system but would do it in increments determinate on the number of the structures in the system.

    But of course anything we say here or post on the forums is all academic. We have to actually DO something to make CCP and the CSM at least cast an eye at Faction Warfare. But alas since our brief run on the CSM where we actually got Hans actually got SOMETHING done even if I didn't agree with all his positions.