Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Few Ideas for Plexes

It's been only a few weeks since Kronos went live, and already there is quite a lot of discussion regarding the effects of the plex changes.  I've seen a lot of different opinions, ideas, and thoughts thrown out there --ranging from people who think that everything is currently peachy, to Mynnna suggesting we replace the NPCs with hacking mini-games. (*shudder*)

After being in militia for more than three years, I've come to realize that there will probably never be that one magical fix that will make everything better in plexing. CCP 'tweaking' plexing over the years resembles the proverbial plugging of the leak in the dam, only to have three more leaks pop up elsewhere.

However, I think it would be interesting to address plexing from a new angle. I think it would be fun to make plexes more interesting--To introduce more bottlenecks--and to introduce new choices to militia.

Sometimes I think we focus so much on stopping farming, that we cheat ourselves out of ideas to make the gameplay better.

Risk vs. Reward

My first proposal is dealing with risk vs. reward. We've always discussed risk and reward in terms of difficulty and Loyalty Point payouts. However, there is something else that militia are 'paid' when they run a plex --Victory Points. And these Victory Points are what determine contestation, and ultimately sovereignty.

Right now, every plex is equal. You get the same Victory Points whether you run a novice in a barely fit Rifter, or a unrestricted Large in a Battleship.

This seems a little unbalanced to me, so I'm proposing first that we redistribute Victory Points to better match risk.

Currently, all plexes issue around 8 VP. Instead, how about

Novices - 4
Smalls - 7
Mediums - 9
Larges - 12

You will notice that this still averages to 8 per plex, for the four regularly spawning plexes, meaning that the redistribution wouldn't significantly impact how long/short it takes to take a system overall.


My second proposal is with regards to plex content. Right now, all plexes are essentially the same --with different sizes merely being different levels of difficulty with regards to time, strength/dps of NPCs, ship sizes allowed, and etc.

Now, I pretty much think that mini-games are a terrible idea, but I believe Mynnna's main point in suggesting that was to illustrate an idea outside of tweaking NPCs. And this got me thinking one step further.

Why does every plex have to be the same?

Currently, in addition to different sizes we have three plex types . In addition to the Compounds, which regularly spawn and are the 'backbone' of plexing in Faction War, we also have some randomly spawning plexes named the Installation and the Facility.

I propose that we recycle the Installation and Facility to introduce a new twist to plexing. They would still be plexes, and they would still give LP payouts and count toward sovereignty, but they'd be a bit different then they are now.

The Installation

The Installation would be the NPC cesspool, and a perfect challenge for anyone who enjoys PVE.
When entering these plexes, you are met with two opposing groups of NPCs. There would be a sort of 'mock' Faction War battle going on that you would be taking part in. (The NPCs would not actually be shooting each other, though they may taunt each other in local and the friendly 'Commander' might solicit your help in local.)

Now, these plexes are somewhat rare. They are also highly lucrative, both in terms of LP and Victory Points. But...there's a catch.

First, there is no visible timer. Rather, you are dealt 'waves' of reinforcements and a final 'boss' NPC. Once this 'boss' is killed the Plex is completed and the LP is paid out to those on grid, same as in other plexes. These waves of NPCs spawn on an invisible timer and only when the previous wave is completely killed, so to some extent, CCP can maintain a minimum amount of time it takes to run the plex.

Secondly, while these will be extremely lucrative, they'd also be extremely hard. The gates would still be restricted by size, and it will be close to impossible (if not outright impossible) for a solo pilot to run these on their own. (For example, it would be nearly impossible to run a Novice Installation with a solo frigate.)

The Facility

On the flip side, we the Facility, which would be fun in a completely different way. It would still be a timed plex, but there would be no NPCs whatsoever. Instead, in order to start the timer you'd have to kill...
wait for it....
a facility! (Cute, right?)

These would be passively tanked structures, and you'd have to kill one or more before the timer would begin counting down. They would not respawn, and no NPCs would ever spawn.

Now, there's also a catch to these.

First, these plexes will have shorter timers, and will give very bad payouts both in terms of VP and LP. It would be a nice side income for pvpers, who may also be getting LP for any kills they get inside, but it wouldn't be particularly worthwhile to farm per say.

Secondly, in addition to the facilities, there is a structure inside with a large radius, that gives anyone who comes near it an instant suspect timer. And, needless to say, you land in range of it as soon as you enter the plex.

So, in a nutshell we'd have

Installations which would introduce group PVE into Faction War, and could be really fun for new players and newer FW groups. (And perhaps fun for older groups too!) These would be difficult 'battles' that would give some interesting meaning and content to plexing in the context of  a Factional war. And give Faction War pilots some fun things to do together besides pvp.

Facilities would not be very lucrative, but would be shorter timed sites, with open suspect timers involved. They would be perfect for solo pilots with short attention spans, who have an annoyance with NPCs involving themselves in pvp affairs. They would be perfect places to hang out, and to hunt.

Compounds would mostly be as they are now, except with tiered Victory Point payouts. More difficult and risky plexes will yield more rewards when it comes to taking and defending space.

Anyway, just a couple of ideas.


  1. question with the Installation change, how would two groups compete for this? would the payout go only to those who are the apposing faction to the boss NPC that was killed? It sounds like it could be interesting, though annoying for PVP'ers, you come across a group of people PVE'ing the site, and while you start killing them they manage to still kill that final boss. It would become a race in some ways: Which side can kill the boss first? and players would have to choose which to go after, trying to stop the other side or trying to be faster than the other side.... This isn't a critique of the idea, just a pondering of the affect. because it means /Choices/

  2. If you were to change it into waves wouldn't it just be another incursion in lowsec just without sansha?

  3. All PVE should be removed from FW imo if you are sitting on a button u should be worried about an enemy defense fleet not do i have enough stabs to warp away if someone trys to pvp me while i have to kill these NPC. King of the hill Timer so the plex is winner take all then inform the defending militia that the plex is under attack. Then reduce the number of plex and increase their value slightly. Also allow pirates to join a pirate faction and attack anyone in FW for pirate LP. Hell get rid of FW missions and increase the rewards for plex and killing even more. Make the timer move faster if there are more ships on the field up to a max maybe? NPC and minigames are not the fix for a system that should be rooted in pvp IMO,

  4. ^ the idea of pirate factions in FW gaining pirate LP is actually a good idea.

    1. Let players know when and where plex timers are are being (on a map or some other way) so they can defend them themselves. We shouldn't rely on npcs or a hacking mini-game. We should rely on pvp.

      This combined with timerollbacks and fw is fixed. You can even get rid of the npcs altogether.

      CCP said they would do both of these back about a year ago. I wonder if they are still working on it.