Category Archives: Faction Warfare

Doffing the Fancy Hat

So if I’m coming back to EvE I’m doing EvE-lite.  I do not have the time or inclination to run a corp or take any sort of leadership role in any alliance or even corporation.  I want to PvP but I don’t want to spend forever waiting.  I want to jump into a community and have things ready for me.  Right now FW is waving a big flag even if Caldari (my normal faction) is a hot mess but right now I don’t mind winning or losing, I mind wasting three hours of my life when I’m newly married, busy at work and generally very limited on my gaming time.

So I’m looking at all kinds of nasty frigates and AFs and Ewar frigates.  I’ve got an app in for a corp and we will see where I go once the Fancy Hat is gone.

Harry the King

Partial transcript from the final meeting before the Caldari Tier V push (roughly, with apologies to Mjolnir Gost, Mord Fiddle, and Billy the Bard)

  • Mjolnir Gost:  O that we now had here
    But one ten thousand of those men in Jita
    That do no pvp to-day!
  • Corelin:  What’s he that wishes so?
    My lord Mjolnir? No, my dread leader:
    If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
    To do our militia loss; and if to live,
    The fewer men, the greater share of LP loot.
    God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
    By Chribba, I am not covetous for gold,
    Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
    It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
    Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
    But if it be a sin to covet LP loot,
    I am the most offending soul alive.
    No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from Jita:
    God’s peace! I would not lose so great an LP loot share
    As one man more, methinks, would share from me
    For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
    Rather proclaim it, Mjolnir, through my host,
    That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
    Let him depart; we’ll kick him from alliance
    And jeer and grief him out of militia:
    We would not share our LP loot with he
    That fears his fellowship to die with us.

More paraphrasing.  Interpretationally.  But I think I get the point across.  LP dumps require a lot of people working together.  The downside of this is a lot of people are out there spending LP all at once so the markets tend to look like a scenic landscape.  Namely a cliff.  I know, I know, it’s crocodile tears, I stand to make well over 9500 isk / LP and if the markets rebound a bit over the next few days it will be more than 10000.  Either way I’ll be quite happy.

There is a problem however.  One of the items I was looking at was trading at 201/191k isk the morning of the dump.  Last I checked it was at 130/110k.  While either one represents a simply MASSIVE amount of isk for me, especially considering the effort involved, it’s rather disheartening.  The boom and bust of FW LP store items can be astounding, and it all ties in to the factors in FW that have already been discussed to death.  There’s no incentive to D-plex.  Holding higher tiers in  systems, especially non-station systems is so hard relative to the reward involved that it’s a joke.  Rebuilding warzone control from 1 to 5 can be done in minutes if you control enough systems.  Having possession of systems is more important than their upgrade status by far, and really the ideal state of possession is “held by the opposing faction but so deep in “VULNERABLE” that they could d-plex it for a week and not bring it up.  All it takes is a bunker bust and the thing flops the next downtime.

This is why, when someone asked how to quit militia in militia chat I just told him and waved him out the door.  I don’t want him here, farming LP and glutting up the market.  I don’t want him sharing in the profits, be it LP or Honor.  I don’t want him running around potentially busting up opsec and spilling the beans on our plans.  I want my isk even if it means being the most offending man alive.  That’s not really a good thing.  There’s plenty of new folks wanting to get into faction warfare, but the sense among the vets is “If you are young you are a spai”  or “oh great another button orbiting noob bringing an abomination to fleets.”  Neither of these are good things of course, but not being willing to help new players breaks down part of the fabric of EvE; and I didn’t mention the real reason these guys never get a chance.

The real chance is:

God’s peace! I would not lose so great an LP loot share
As one man more, methinks, would share from me

Fly dangerous.  Watch out for the fucking Incursion rats popping frigates in low.

I’m using it every time I can

Dark Men in Smokey Rooms

So Caldari Militia hit Tier 5 tonight.  BOY are my fingers tired from spamming the LP store, but more on that from others.  For possibly the first time in my EvE career I’ve participated in something like a Cartel.  There’s two distinct hierarchies in the militia.  There’s a PvP hierarchy, responsible for going out and shooting things, then there’s the LP Cartel.  The two have a lot of overlap.  The best PvPers have their fingers in all the pies.

Warzone control is not a measure of PvP dominance.  It is rather like a goal which one side wants to achieve that in many ways serves the need of the other for a time.  Opposition isn’t fierce, but there’s ways to profitably mess it up.  This makes the organisation of such events often rather fractious.  Too many and the market gets demolished, too few and people on the fringe of both communities drop out.  The arguments get nasty, and the drama approaches null-sec levels of whining.  I snuck a camera in to the last chat with the Caldari CEOs and here’s the clearest picture I got:

So you thought you’d bust a few bunkers on the side Fredo?  Maybe the Family wouldn’t notice?

Tier 5 control requires a lot of systems under your control.  Those systems have to be upgraded and that takes 75 systems at level 5 and 7 more at level 4 according to what i’m looking at right now.  That’s pretty close to the minimum although I’m not sure how else you could combine levels, I’m not that into the maths.  I will tell you that 75 systems at level 5 takes 7.5 million LP minimum.  Fully buffered it’s 12.75.  Million.  LP.  Those LP don’t come from nowhere, and people won’t spend that much in the first place for their discount unless they have a lot more than that to spend.

To get that many LP you have to farm a LOT of systems and missions.  A LOT.  This means throwing the game, letting the other side gaining dominance in systems.  Letting them bust bunkers  Busting them for them.  You can’t make this stuff up.  There have been bunker busting fleets set up by one faction against themselves to get systems flipped to allow for more farming.

Fancy Hats, as a member of KRAKEN. (because it’s not an EvE alliance without a dot it seems) has me at least sitting in on a lot of these meetings.  I’m an Army vet.  What’s more I’m an artillery guy.  I’m not quite to the level of un-subtle that I’d hit every problem with a 1600dps shieldtanked domi, but I do own one.  I marvel at the planning, not busting bunkers even in strategic station systems, to prevent a momentum swing as plexers flood it and fleets stalk it.  Quickly forming fleets to bust bunkers before rumored enemy LP dumps to prevent them easily reaching the high tiers.  Working to steal marches not only on Gallente fleets, but even to keep the number of factions within Caldari down.  Bringing in certain people, shunning others militia wide.  Influencing the tidal forces of the militia at large to plex certain areas to make the inevitable LP dump more successful, and harassing the enemy to limit their ability to resist our dumps.

I don’t even get a lot of the things that go on, and I’m sure I’ve misinterpreted some of the ones I think I do get.  Faction Warfare may be easy at times, but it clearly isn’t simple.  Not by a long shot.  There’s wheels within wheels and drama cuts away at the trust that is so important even as much as it does in null.  Trust and faith in the leaders is vital in FW.  There are fewer unifying factors, no “We Must Protect This House” no “All for One and One for All.”  Faction Warfare is “What have you done for me lately, and what will you do for me tomorrow?”  When that question is unanswered, when that faith doesn’t exist, when people feel leadership is just dark men in a smokey room, they don’t work together.  They don’t sacrifice a little themselves to get everyone a big benefit.  The irony is the leadership does largely consist of very self-ineterested people who magnanimously take others along for the ride.  The Mittani gets to see HIS minions in Goonswarm/CFC go forth and conquer and prosper.  Whether that’s what drives him or not I imagine it is of immense satisfaction.  Bolsterbomb and the others leading the LP Cartel don’t get that satisfaction.  The hold they have on the Militia at large is far more tenuous.  The Mittani can drive individuals, corps, alliances and even coalitions from his space with ease.  Bolster has to put up with anyone who can take a little smack talk in local.  The Mittani has a machine working to bring glory and credit to his name.  Bolster is lucky to get a thank you for his stunning victories, like today.

And I suspect he’s ok with that.  He enjoys leading the cartel, and he knows the measure of his success.  He has a far more personal and visceral take on the game, and his own personal success is still tied to the contents of his hangar, not his eve-mail box.  People in Low aren’t in null for a reason, either they don’t want to give up an identity that’s incompatible with null, they want to make it on their own, they don’t want to put up with the bullshit, or they just can’t hack it.  Today those dark figures in smokey rooms pulled it off.  They took control of the Caldari – Gallente Warzone with a firm hand and came back to cash in their richly earned monetary rewards and reflect on their dominance of their craft to views like this:

Full Spectrum Dominance. For a Day.

Tomorrow Tier 5 will be gone.  In a week it will be back to 1 on each side.  Plexing will resume and the march towards the next LP dump with it.  Roams will go out, plex farmers and mission runners will resume their craft and the market manipulators will have a field day; and the men in the back rooms will plan for the next run.

I’m using it every time I can

Aftershock

So goons might have taken advantage of faction warfare.  A lot.  A whole lot.  To the extent that it makes you laugh just to hear about it.  The numbers are so far beyond ludicrous that you can’t help but giggle when you see them.

Let’s back up a bit.  When I heard they were paying LP for kills in FW I assumed that it would be some horrible system that practically invited being gamed, then I saw that it was so reductive by nature that I figured no one would be able to game it.  The payout relative to isk was designed to make it so farming LP even with legit kills would just be a joke.  Even soloing faction fitted BS would provide only a decent reward.  Certainly enough to make the pilot killing it happy, but not enough to justify losing your officer fit baby for LP.

Obviously there are people better than me at gaming the system.  By cleverly manipulating the market Goons (and quite probably others) massively inflated the prices of worthless items, causing them to pay out LP rewards in amounts well on the far side of ludicrous.  There’s folks that have made themselves trillions of isk.  That’s a T at the start of that.  That’s a lot.  Speculation has gone from the silly to the ludicrous side on the total amount and frankly it doesn’t matter which is right.  That being said… there’s consequences.  Goons have come into a fortune that is notable even with their current embarrassment of riches, and much of it is likely in the hands of rank and file players, unlike tech which isn’t.

Of course CCP *might* be nuking some wallets of people who went ape-shit on this.  Will be interesting to see just how far this goes.  When I first saw what had happened I assumed rather naively that it would be a few billion per person.  Check out Jester’s Trek for the picture that blew my mind.  At a few billion I think CCP has to laugh it off.  They messed up, people profited and harm was limited.  When the extent (and bragging) started it became clear shit was going to get rather more serious, and it did.

With their rather typical sociopathic nature, goons are saying they did nothing wrong and no-one was harmed.  Well other than people missioning in highsec selling competing items, like implants, faction ships etc.  Or people who stocked up on some of these items thinking their might be a tighter market in the future.  Of course theirs the Amarr who got rather crushed under the treads of the Goon tank.  Here’s the problem with bringing to FW anything that can be farmed.  It will draw the attention of the big people.  Goons clearly have folks in Minmatar FW, TEST now has FWEDDIT on the Amarrian side.  People who have worked hard for years within FW, who take genuine pleasure in this aspect of the game now find themselves at the mercy of uninterested Nullseccers who want to do nothing but farm content and make isk.  For a time Faction Warfare became the most ludicrously profitable means of making money and Goons freightered in loot (literally) to enhance their profits.

CCP has to balance things.  While FW needs and should have unique aspects that make it profitable, unless they want it to turn into “Nullsec Lite:  All the Drama, half the Space” they need to test more thoroughly.  When they manually update their prices they need to check for outliers, I have no idea what item was used but if it’s something like Kruul’s DNA and suddenly it’s average price is 10 billion a  pop EyjoG should be sitting up a little going “WTF” and hitting big red buttons.

Expecting Goons to act in anything but the narrowest, short-sighted, self-interested way is expecting something we will almost never see.  There’s even been some Goons asking what’s wrong with them keeping the money.  Well hmmm…. Let’s say there’s a new fleetcomp that requires Hyperions and is virtually unbeatable (yes I know it’s batshit crazy, roll with me) with their trillions of isk in profits they drive the price of Hypes so high that other alliances literally have to research BPOs to build their own to compete.  This kind of isk lets them play market games on the Wal-Mart scale, where they buy out everything, entire markets not of T2 sentry damage augs, but of Large Pulse Lasers, standing the market on it’s head and throwing grenades into the machinery of the economy instead of just wrenches.  People have said “Oh it’s not like they created isk.”  Well yeah they just created things that can be sold for isk.  What they did resembles real-life insurance fraud.  They grossly inflated the value of something, blew it up to collect on that value then blew up what was left to collect on the stated value of that.  No EvE isn’t real life, and it shouldn’t be treated as that, but I’m not going to shed any tears for people, no matter how creative, who exploit the system to that extent.  Of course I’m still giggling at the numbers.

Will Goons be punished?  Almost certainly, and likely beyond what has already happened.  Will FW see some sweeping changes as a result of this?  I hope so.  Will Eyjog face some ramifications?  I certainly hope so, he seems to have been completely asleep at the switch for this one.  Is the market in for some serious corrections as items disappear?  OHHHH yeah.  Let the speculation begin.

I’m using it every time I can

It’s Wednesday Sir

Hieronymus Karl Frederick, Baron von Munchausen:  Gentlemen, don’t you think it would be a good idea to silence those enemy cannons?  

Bored Soldier:  No sir

HKFBvM:  No?  

BS:  It’s wednesday

HKFBvM:  (disgusted) oh… wednesday

Retaining large-scale control of a warzone doesn’t seem particularly advantageous.  Having it at one moment is, especially if you know when that moment will be and can cash in your LP.  Keeping it is a chore and a bother.  Control of individual systems might make some difference tactically, allowing one side or another to dock up and base out of one system at need.  The LP benefit is tremendous, but doesn’t require sustained control to be used.  The rest of the benefits are such a joke that they might as well not exist.

For most of the story of Adventures of Baron von Munchausen, the Baron, an idealistic old man, is opposed by the Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson, a “realist” who doesn’t see the point of fighting a war with heroism and extreme efforts, but rather an intensely organized “rational” method that seems limp and uninspiring.  Jackson would LOVE faction warfare.

The good Baron would be dashing from one endangered system to the next, chasing out plexers and running defensive complexes, holding the line against the invading Turk.  He sees the adventure and need to control the area, defend the space of his militia.

Jackson would be planning one day blitzes, seizing control of the warzone in one day of supreme effort, coordinating efforts to drive warzone control as high as possible to cash in the LP they farm over the rest of the week.  The other side would of course do the same thing.  Possibly even coordinating days to do these activities to prevent working at cross purposes.

There’s two reasons for the lack of desire for defense.  The first is the fact that you don’t need to hold the space for any sustained period of time.  The second is the difficulty in holding a system.  You have to run twice as many sites as the attacker and get no benefit other than retaining their current benefits, which they likely don’t need as they’ve already cashed in their LP.  Rather than defend space to hold benefits they cannot utilize because they’ve burned out their LP, which can’t be replenished on defense except slowly through kills.  EvE players tend to be rational creatures.  They want rewards for their actions.  There’s far more Horatio Jacksons than Baron von Munchausen, and if CCP wants to see things tilt the other way they need a reason.  Players need a reason for a crazy man on a horse to charge out screaming:

HFKBvM:  They’re inviting us to defeat them! We must oblige them!”

rather than

Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson: Ah, the officer who risked his life by singlehandedly destroying…
Functionary: [whispering in his ear] Six.
ROHJ: *Six* enemy cannon and rescuing…
F: Ten.
ROHJ: Ten of our men held captive by The Turk.
Sting (I’m not kidding): Yes, sir.
ROHJ: The officer about whom we’ve heard so much.
Sting: I suppose so, sir.
ROHJ: Always taking risks far beyond the call of duty.
Sting : I only did my best, sir.
ROHJ: Have him executed at once.
Soldier: Yes, sir. Come along.
ROHJ: This sort of behavior is demoralizing for the ordinary soldiers and citizens who are trying to lead normal, simple, unexceptional lives. I think things are difficult enough as it is without these emotional people rocking the boat.

Because right now there’s often a sentiment of “let ‘em take the system.  We’ll just take it back and profit from it!” and while that may be the logical solution in EvE, it doesn’t make much sense.

I’m using it every time I can

How’d You Expect That to Work?

Soo with the new update to Faction Warfare CCP has decided that all the rewards will go to the attacker.  The incentive to defend is to not get locked out of stations in systems and to maintain your current LP store standing, oh and hold onto those extra R&D slots you installed in the stations in that lowsec system you carried your BPOs to.

You don’t get LP, you don’t get much, if any standing, and per Susan Black who I trust to know a little more about FW than I do, you gain less System Control % for defending a plex than an attacker does for attacking it.  That means that in the time it takes me to run the 300 odd systems to regain full control of a system, I could have taken over 2 systems and gained the additional LP store bonus for total control of the whole thing.  Never mind the PvP aspect, which is ostensibly what the whole FW system is about.

This creates a situation somewhat similar to Castle swapping in WoW or the Ilum dailies in SWTOR.  The biggest difference is that there is at least a modicum of a reason to protect a system.  2 in fact.  1 so you can dock up, which people don’t worry about because they can base safely in highsec anyway, and 2 you maintain your overall control.  The system itself just doesn’t have much importance unless you happen to have stuff in station in it.  Even maintaining overall control seems dubious.  I could maintain control of one system, or I could lose it, and use the effort I would have spent regaining control of that system to take 2 other systems, one to make up for the one I lost, and 1 to put me ahead.

This assumes you have systems you can take of course, but here’s the catch, if I’m a plexer, and if there’s no systems I can take, I WANT YOU TO TAKE SYSTEMS.  I get no further reward for being great, and while there may be phenominal discounts at the LP store, it’s hard to take advantage of them without LP.

Defenders need rewards, attackers should get higher rewards, but defense should get something.  If a General told you “Hey look, Mexico invaded.  We lost San Antonio, Houston, Austin and Dallas, but we took Mexico City, Tijuana, Mexicali, Tampico, Cancun, Cozumel, Santa Sosalina, AND La Paz, we’re WAY ahead on points!” you’d smile at him, shake his hand and go call for the guys with the hug-me jackets.  That’s a ridiculously stupid way to fight a war, but that’s what CCP is motivating pilots to do.  If the Caldari give up on Manjonakk and instead capture Ashitsu and Enaluri, they’ve come out way ahead on LP and on standings.

Of course there is something of a counter to this.  People that want PvP tend to want fights they have a degree of confidence in.  They want to get the easy kills and have time to plan if something nasty shows up.  This means that the hardcore PvPers have incentive to hang around systems that need defense.  They can score some easy kills picking off the odd Plexer hunting easy LP, and earning a few LP themselves.

Defense needs rewards, defense wins championships and without some tangible reward for defense, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get anyone motivated to do more than shoot people trying to run plexes.

I’m using it every time I can

Initial Observations

I haven’t been in-game too much but I’ve noticed a few things about Faction Warfare that have amused me in the realm of “Unintended Consequences”

The reaction of incoming players to the possibility of losing their stuff to losing the system has largely been “Well fine we’ll base in hisec”

Defensive plexing is necessary to keep control of systems, but doesn’t give you any notable benefit.  No LP, just a drop in the contested status of the system.   Makes it harder to lose your LP rewards I guess.

Faction Police seem to be able to catch a freighter on a good day.  Anything smaller blows by them.  Seriously have you seen Loren Galen’s killboard?

PvP is of course as exciting as ever.  cricket… cricket… I need to get on and find a fleet that’s going to pick a fight.

Also about to pick up recruiting.  Warning any spies we discover in corp will be jettisoned in a can outside Jita 4-4 with the self-destruct disabled and Gilbert Gottfried reading local.

I’m using it every time I can

The Rocky Road To Faction Warfare

Ruminations

Since the first couple of week of Hulkageddon, Fancy Hats has been rather dull.  Star and I, with the help of Orakkus were mostly busy getting every door to nullsec slammed in our faces one way or another.  There just isn’t much many nullsec alliances think a corp under 20 (or 50) members can offer no matter what they do.

We considered wardecs, briefly, we considered wormholes, a little more seriously, we even talked very briefly about breaking up the band.  We talked about how to build our membership, we talked about how to make ourselves more interesting and attractive to the kind of players we want to bring into Fancy Hats.  We talked a lot, we plotted we planned.  We finally came down to Faction Warfare, and not without some serious discussion as there are consequences to it.  Yes that “C” word that is EvE’s triumph and tragedy.

Picking Sides

Faction Warfare immediately restricts you to “safely” operating in half of highsec, with the other half now infested with nasty hostile NPCs and even meaner players, who can even operate with some success in your “safe” zone just look at Loren Gallen’s killboard to see the kinds of things people do in space where Faction Police “Chase” them.

You can play FW without tanking your standings with the opposing faction, but I doubt most of my guys will really be able to do that.  We have taken steps to protect ourselves by giving ourselves a “buffer” but again, there’s limits.  In reality we will most likely have most of our guys locked out of Gallente space and possibly Minmatar as well.  This isn’t a minor consideration, although it’s also not as big as it would have been when we considered wardecs a viable strategy.

We also looked at the various factions.  Gallente was out immediately.  We simply don’t have the resources to lock our less capable players out of Jitamart, even if we could latch onto an alliance with a logistical tail.  Minmatar was out for the same reason for all the kinda-friendly contacts we have there.  This left Amarr and Caldari.

Amarr had practically nothing going for it at the point we started our preparation.  They looked like a disorganized mess on a good day and were close to being chased out of lowsec altogether.  FWEDDIT has certainly inspired a culture change in Amarr that has them fighting more actively and successfully, but even with this change, I don’t want to enter an unsettled situation.  Fancy Hats hasn’t prospered in those circumstances, we really are too fragile a tree to withstand a storm like that.

Caldari wasn’t a whole lot more impressive to be honest.  We had very casual contacts who were rejoining the fight, which was helpful, but there were still some pretty negative indicators, especially when it came to the pretty blatant plex-farming indicated by the stats.  All the same they were the best choice for us.

FOR THE STATE!

Having made the decision we did what we probably do best.  Short-term, operational level planning.  We had numerous people come back from stints out of game spanning between weeks to over a year for one gent, so getting them all on the same page has taken some effort and my officers have done a lot of work helping people get ready.

Meanwhile we have to decide how we will screen recruits, as FW is a bit nasty when it comes to spais and such.  We expect to have a lot of rust to blow off the old warp scrams as well.  I suspect the Gallente will fight back a bit harder than the Hulks did.  We plan on flying cheap for a while, no point getting back into rhythm in really expensive ships when we are far more likely to win eggs than see lot of big blue booms for a while.

The main objectives we have are to have fun.  This game is fun goddamnit!

put up good numbers, especially as we get used to working together again, and build ourselves up so that when we want to move on we can pick our destination and not scrabble for scraps like beggars outside a church.

I’m using it every time I can

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