I didn’t really intend to write a ‘part two’ of my previous post but I quickly realized that in discussing various arguments people make for and against stabbed farming, I left out a rather important one.
That is, the argument regarding risk vs reward.
It is fairly common for people to say (or imply in some way) that stabbed farming is a risk vs reward issue, and that the ability to fit WCSs on a ship creates scenarios where people can farm ISK with little risk involved. (Some even claim that the ‘fix’ to all of this is to remove stabbed farmers’ LP rewards.)
The problem with this argument is that in order to receive a reward for plexing you must complete the plex. And Warp Core Stabilizers, in the context of stabbed farming, allow you to more easily leave the plex, if you want.
It’s a bit illogical to say that something that lets you leave your objective –and your reward! –is somehow making the achievement of that objective and reward less risky. In fact, the exact opposite is true.
Putting yourself at a disadvantage so that you cannot defend yourself or your plex is more risky to obtaining the rewards of a plex, than coming ready to stand your ground.
The primary risk of Faction War plexing comes from other players. Regardless of how you fit your ship or fly your ship, you are at very, very little risk from the NPCs that spawn within these plexes. Therefore, if no other player enters your system and comes to your plex to fight you, you are at little risk of losing the plex in general. (Unless you’re very, very bad.)
In the scenario where you have a stabbed plex farming running away from a pvper, the stabbed farmer makes ISK in the end because the pvper leaves, and the farmer is free to return to his plex and complete it.
Therefore, it could be argued that a problem with ‘risk’ in Faction War Plexing is NOT that stabbed farmers are unwilling to fight, but rather that pvpers are unwilling to plex.
Many have even suggested game mechanics that would produce some sort of punishment or consequence for running away, to ‘balance’ things. The most popular suggestion being a timer rollback.
There are multiple problems with this approach.
Firstly, when you punish ‘stabbed farmers’ you have to punish everyone. This means that people running away for what people would call ‘legitimate’ reasons would also be punished.
Secondly, the way timers work in Faction War are similar to a tug of war. Therefore, ‘punishing’ a plexer by counting the timer backwards also REWARDS the opposing militia, by removing the time they would typically have to spend to counter the hostile’s actions.
However, my primary response to the ‘timer rollback’ idea is to point out that CCP has already implemented a fully functional system that slowly rolls back the timer. If a member of the opposing militia overtakes the plex from a stabbed farmer, his presence will then begin to count the timer back toward his side. =)
If this opposing militia member does not wish to take the plex for himself, then that’s his problem. The same goes for neutrals who not only don’t want to plex, but also haven’t chosen to be involved in Faction War to begin with.