In lieu of Monday’s normal “This Week in FW” article, I have some apologizing to do. I hope you don’t mind. Next week we’ll see our first TWIF submission.
One of the common denominators of humanity is that we like being right. It doesn’t really matter about what. Worse, when we make a decision, we become emotionally invested in the outcome. We decide to go with Project A instead of Project B. When someone comments/critiques A, we often take personal offense. After all, that was our choice. Our decision. Our executed option. Far too often, we defend that choice “to the death,” even when we’re wrong.
A short real-life diversion for a moment (for a purpose): Obama and Obamacare. I did not vote for Obama. I do not like the Obamacare initiative. I don’t benefit from it in any way, shape, or form. Indeed, my premiums are going up, not down. The government just released numbers showing how few Americans have taken part in the online marketplace. This week, Obama could have come out and said, “Hey, it was actually these people’s fault. It wasn’t a bad choice. Everyone else is in the wrong. This is right, no matter what.” After all, that’s what people so often do. We draw a line in the sand, cast blame wherever else we can, and deflect responsibility. This is what I expected Obama to do. Color me pleasantly surprised when he didn’t. In fact, he did the opposite. He accepted full blame for the failures, not just privately, but publically to the nation. He went even further, saying categorically that “he was wrong.” That he wished he’d done things differently. He then offered a solution to make amends. I still might not like the guy, nor the policy (I don’t), but I have a great deal more respect for our President than I did before.
So how does this diversion play into EVE? This is my chance to say I was wrong about Factional Warfare. For the record, this is what I previously said:
“Militias are fundamentally broken from the ground up. The focus on frigs and destroyers. The near-AFK plexing of systems as a way to gain rank and LP. The complete joke that is flipping systems (read: it’s pointless). No way to remove troublemakers (individuals or corps) from the militia. Too many easy ways for pilots who repeatedly engage in militia-on-militia combat to recoup standings. The only feature that delivers as intended is a shared chat channel to aid in coordination between parties.
If any one or two of the above problems existed, we’d still be all-in. But the amalgamation of all the issues? Hell no. They collectively breed a system that I want nothing to do with. I hate that it has taken me 3+ months to come to this realization. My only rationalization is that the issues crept up on me one at a time, and I was unable to see the entire mess they made.”
Wow. Boy was I wrong. Is FW a perfect system? Hell no. Does it have its share of flaws that I wished would change? Absolutely. But FW doesn’t have to be the same as nullsec for it to be “good.” It is a completely separate feature set that serves its own purpose.
I still stand by most/all of my thoughts and suggestions found in the “FW & Nullsec” article. I want to see more incentives for taking and holding systems in FW. Things like limited jump bridges from one place to another place you hold sov. Or pirate detection arrays to make the exploration sites that much better/valuable (this in turn would increase the amount of PvP in the area, which is another win-win). I’d like to see more Medium and Large plexes, and for those plexes to affect the Contested State to a greater degree than Novices and Smalls.
But those changes don’t need to be made for FW to be “okay.” The features it already has make it “okay” as-is. So, for the uninitiated, what are those features? Why should someone consider joining one of the sides and taking part in FW?
Low barrier of entry
Just about anyone can hop into Factional Warfare on a moment’s notice. As the battlegrounds lie in between the Empires, rather than on their outskirts, anyone can get to the closest recruiting station and join the militia right away.
I previously listed this as one of the great sins of FW. There are little-to-no strategic consequences for system gains and losses. And that is okay. I’ve come to realize that not every feature in EVE needs to have dramatic, long-term consequences. Sometimes losing your ship(s), repeatedly, is enough.
Focus on small ships
Again, I previously listed this as a weakness of FW instead of a strength. I still prefer cruisers, battlecruisers, battleships, and their Tech 2 variants. I especially prefer cruisers, be they T1, T2, or T3. But FW’s focus on destroyers and frigates isn’t wrong, its different. It makes the system more accessible to newbros and alts. It allows “aces” to get that adrenaline rush during/after an epic dogfight. And characters of all ages can more easily replace their losses and get back into action over, and over, and over again due to the reduced cost of the materiel in play.
Stepping stone to organized PvP
This is probably one of the best things about Factional Warfare. As soon as you join the militia, either by yourself, with your corp, or with your alliance, you are thrust into Militia Chat. In this chat channel, people are often organizing fleets to counter an enemy offensive, reporting hostile movements, or any number of other things. For some players, this is the first taste of organized (if chaotic) PvP they’ll have experienced. No, militia members are not your friends. No, you shouldn’t trust them any further than you can throw their frigate. No, you especially shouldn’t trust anyone from the allied militia (i.e. Minmatar if you’re Gallente). Often, these people will kill you as fast, or faster, than neutrals or the enemy militia will. But you can use them to further your own objectives. Like…
Holy crap, FW is an ISK printing machine. I can think of very few combat-related activities in EVE that allow you to make as much money as you can in FW. While the earning power isn’t great at Tiers 1 or 2, at 3 and 4 things really pick up. Heaven forbid your faction ever gets to Tier 5. There the LP flows like milk and honey. Capture a plex? ISKIES! Run a level 4 FW mission? ISKIES! Run several level 4 FW missions one after another? Let’s just call you Scrooge McDuck. “Would you care to swim through the ISK in your vault today, sir?”
So that the above isn’t misleading, Tiers 3, 4, and 5 don’t actually give you ISK. They give you LP. Lots of it. Oodles of it. Couple that with everything being half off in the FW LP Store, and you have lots of potential ISK. The longer you are at Tiers 3, 4, or 5, the more LP you can make. But remember, everyone else in your militia is making that same amount of LP. So while your potential income is skyrocketing, the prices also tend to fall on those common turn-ins too. Ever wonder why a Federation Navy Comet retails for 16-18M, while Navy Slicer prices are in the ditch? The Amarr Militia hit Tier 5, and sustained it for a number of weeks. Lots of people “cashed out.” Prices on LP goods fell. As the prices of LP goods fall, so does your potential ISK.
This is why veterans of most Militias aren’t troubled by hitting Tier 1, especially after sustained periods of time in Tier 3 or above. Many want their Tier to drop to 1 or 2, so that the value of LP goods will begin to climb again. Then, over time, they can cash out a little bit here and a little bit there. They want that 1,500,000 LP they’re already sitting on to be worth 1,800 ISK/LP or 2,400 ISK/LP (or more), not a measly 1,000 ISK/LP. This explains the drive to hit Tier 3, 4, or 5 and sustain it just long enough to accumulate a stockpile of LP before collectively letting the enemy recapture large swaths of the warzone. When they say, “We didn’t want those systems anyway!” often they really don’t. If it isn’t a major staging system it is fair game to lose, all in the name of realizing that potential ISK.
I was wrong. Chatgris, Andre, XG, C3ph, Scylus, Sub, and others…you were right. Mistakes were made. I look forward to seeing you on the battlefield again.* Gate/station cams are a go. You’ll see them linked here on factionwarfare.com, on the Intel Cams page. Also upcoming, a revamped video tutorial for those just getting into FW for the first time. Being wrong never felt so good.
*White Talon Enterprises won’t be rejoining Cal Mil. Instead, White Talon Auxiliaries is joining the fight to provide support and assistance to the Gallente Federation. Thanks for the invite, Andre. You made a compelling argument, many times over. I hope to fleet with you guys soon.