Thursday, August 02, 2012

Faction War: Broken or Thriving - Part 1

I listened to the great podcast episode from TEN Evening news on faction warfare: TEN EVEning News Roundtable #1: Faction Warfare.

It was great to hear an informed and thorough discussion from all factions about the problems facing the people participating in Faction War (aka FW) right now, and at the same time hear the enthusiasm and satisfaction for how well FW is doing since Inferno. Its an interesting contrast to hear people complain bitterly about the mechanics and how much fun FW is right now.

Allow me to outline the highlights of the problems facing FW right now as I heard them in the podcast (which I listened to over three days so excuse my lapses in memory).

1) There is no incentive for Defensive Plexing - Running plexes in enemy systems gives you Loyalty Points (LPs), contests the enemy system, and gives you standings increase. Running plexes in home systems uncontests the system. Unless you have assets in a station that you must have access to in the near future, its not worth the time and effort to defend plexes in home systems because it takes very little effort for hostiles to just run when you warp in and run some other plex. If you leave, they come back and finish the job.

There was several options thrown out during the roundtable to address this but the one that seems to have the most traction is that plexes automatically count back to zero when you're not on the button. At least if you chase out a hostile plexing in one of your own systems, you don't have to stay around and count down the timer yourself and it gives the hostiles some reason to want to stay and defend their effort.

2) FW Mission Running has no relation to zone control - They run their missions but it gives no benefit to the faction at all, making it divorced from other activities like Plexing or PvP.

3) FW Missions can be run in a PvE Stealth Bomber - Although the missions put pilots in low sec space for each faction, these mission runners are near uncatchable either in transit or in the mission itself, and if you chase them off they suffer no ill effects. The roundtable talked about some sort of "poison pill" so that it makes it worthwhile to chase off these stealth bombers, but I can't remember if any consensus was reached.

4) Balancing issues when one faction dominates - Pilots in a faction with only tier 1 warzone control pay 16 times as much pilots in a faction with tier 5 warzone control due to how the loyalty point store prices in loyalty points are calculated (i.e each tier gets 50% reduction over previous tier). The result is that the pilots in the dominating faction can make ISK a lot easier in faction warfare activities (which pays in LPs) than the dominated faction. Sure, prices will rise for items that are harder to afford and offset the discrepancy some, but since demand for faction items is a limited pool it does not offset the 16 times difference enough. If one side can only afford Punishers and the other side shows up in Fleet Issue Stabbers, it makes fighting back from the imbalance even harder.

There were several ideas thrown around to address this but nothing solid. This issue is further compounded by the next one...

5) Factions only have to "spike" the warzone control to 5 (or 4) and then cash out LPs all at once in order to make the big profits. Since your rate of making LPs is unchanging regardless of your control, a faction with tier 5 warzone control does not need to maintain it to make tier 5 payouts. It simply makes LPs and then spikes the warzone control with a flurry of activity and then cash out the LPs all at once at tier 5 prices. The result of this is that  it takes any immediacy of defending your warzone control away and acts like a damper on the other side who see any gains they have made in terms of warzone control wiped out.

The best suggestion for dealing with this issue was that LP payout for plexing/missions/PvP scales with warzone control and the loyalty point store prices remain constant instead of vice versa.

* * * * *

So yeah, there are some issues with Faction War as it stands now. Tomorrow we'll talk about why I think (and the podcast roundtable largely agrees) that Faction War is thriving.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Big K,

    Glad you enjoyed the 'cast! Was alot of work to put that together.

    We'll be doing 2 more roundtables this month; on the 18th, we'll hold a Mining & Industry yawnfest...I mean roundtable, and then on the 25th we'll do a 'part 2' of this FacWar Roundtable, in which we'll delve into deeper issues in low sec.

    Again, thanks for the plug, and love your analysis!

    TEN EVEning News