Thursday, April 20, 2017

Warzone Dynamics

In response to my last post where I said "[w]ithout intervention, Faction Warfare is going to wither and die" commenter Easy Esky asked:

How specifically is it dying? Has there been a noticeable decrease in the number of players in FW systems? Is there a way to overview LP volumes to see it reduced? Just looking at the number of ships killed in FW zones, is it smaller? I ask these questions, because if you can demonstrate actual decline then it will get traction with CCP.
Wasn't there a massive resurgence by the Caldari which saw them win against odds to take Gallante down? Events like this do not speak of a declining play style. 
I readily admit that I have no interest in wading through the records from ZKillboard or some other database and finding the statistics. I blog for fun of writing and have no time in my busy life to dedicate to that kind of project.

But I can tell you my impressions from being active in the warzone over the past multiple years, as well as talking to other players.

Yes, there was a massive resurgence by the Caldari militia that was fueled by new Alpha pilots from the Ascension release, and it saw them push Gallente down to tier 1 and took some long held systems like Vlillier and Nennamailia.

And yes, Federation Uprising had a tough campaign more recently against Black Shark Cult in the south of the warzone.

But the overall activity in the warzone outside of those conflicts has been quieter in my impression, and since the conclusion of those campaigns the opposing militia has seemed more subdued than ever.

Let's take a 5 second look at Black Rise kills for the past two years and a bit:

As you can see, Black Rise's heyday was late 2015, started to lose steam in 2016 until the Ascension release which powered the big spike on the right, but as 2017 wears on and the Alpha wave peters out we see declining numbers (and yes, the drop off on the end of the graph is the incomplete for April).

Now, one can look at that graph and say "March is usually slow as spring gets people out" but I counter with this: concurrent players is averaging higher due to Alphas but Feb and Mar for Black Rise were amoung the low points for the past two years. The rising tide of alphas is leaving the main battleground of Faction Warfare behind.

If I were a real journalist, or even am amateur one which I am not, I would sit down and spend a few days running over Zkillboard stats and player logins and what not, trying to prove that Faction Warfare is stagnating. I don't have the time. But I hope someone at CCP is taking the time to check on the health of this gameplay and see if it needs a shot in the arm.

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