Friday, 17 August 2012

Faction Warfare - A Logical Outcome

When I made my post about Faction Warfare and the LP Metagame a while back, I missed one fairly crucial element:

You still get LP for plexing on behalf of your allied militia.


That might seem fairly inconsequential, but it's really not. You see, one of the natural barriers to a militia totally dominating their warzone is that once you've captured all the systems, you no longer have any systems left to plex in and your ability to make LP is curbed unless you decide to run missions instead.

However by plexing against your opponent's allied faction instead of your opponent directly, you can still have access to contested systems regardless of the situation in your own warzone. For example if the Minmatar militia were to completely dominate the Min/Amarr warzone, they could still plex for LP by plexing in Caldari systems. The ideal situation would be if two opposing factions, for example the Minmatar and Caldari, both dominated their respective warzones - both sides would have the maximum number of potential systems to plex in, while each maintaining enough systems in their own warzone to have almost constant T4 or T5 warzone control.

Now, imagine that in this purely hypothetical situation where the Minmatar control almost all of their warzone, you were fighting for the Amarr militia. You could keep on fighting the good fight against the Minmatar, sure. Or you could switch to the Caldari militia. You'd still be able to shoot exactly the same people as before, plex in the same systems as before, and dock in the same stations as before. The only difference would be that instead of cashing in Amarr LP at terrible prices, you could cash in Caldari LP at fantastic prices. Unless you're a hardcore devotee of your current faction, it simply makes sense to switch - you probably have the standing for it already on account of them being allied.

In the current game mechanics I believe that this, not any of the examples listed in my original article, is the natural equilibrium point for the new Faction Warfare system. It's also fairly close to coming true - the Minmatar and Caldari are both currently on the ascendant in their respective warzones, and recent news suggests that Fweddit, currently the mainstay of the Amarr militia, are in the process of moving to join the Caldari.

Is this a bad thing? That depends on your point of view. Achieving this kind of equilibrium would mean that pretty much anyone who wanted to could roll a low skilled FW alt and make bucket-loads of isk by orbiting buttons and cashing in their LP at excellent warzone control tiers. Eventually this would drive down prices for the LP store items (including items also available in non-FW LP stores), however I expect the level of take up would never be enough to make it anything less than 'ridiculous money'. What I would definitely say is that it isn't an intended outcome. I'll be very interested to see how this plays out!

9 comments:

  1. Welcome to two months ago.

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    1. Hey, better late to the party than never right? ;)

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  2. Yeah, there's great irony in people figuring out exactly how to overcome the ZOMG WE'RE DOOMED TO BE SPACEPOOR challenge of tier 1 with no systems controlled, by utilizing intentionally added mechanics enabling "diagonal" warzone participation, and than turning around and saying that CCP did nothing for the underdog.

    I've felt for a long time that this is exactly the reason CCP implemented this, as a safeguard against total domination, and it seems to be working as intended.

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    1. What I think is missing from the equation is some reason for say, the Caldari to care whether their Amarr allies are successful. As it stands, Amarr corps can switch to the Caldari to ensure they get an adequate isk flow, but as soon as they do that they no longer have any real investment in the state of the Amarr/Minmatar warzone.

      Without that, it doesn't really support the underdog. It supports the individual by ensuring that you never really have to *be* the underdog, but in terms of the balance in each warzone it actually favours the stronger party by disincentivising people from joining the opposing faction. What I expect it will lead to is that corps will pile up on the two winning sides, and you'll end up with two fairly static warzones with plenty of plexing going on but relatively few systems changing hands. I could be wrong, I guess we'll see!

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    2. Enjoy your first and last CSM seat

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  3. I've got alts in all 4 militias, farming LP and cashing out when appropriate.

    I can see how this works out financially for CCP, so I don't expect them to change it any time soon. Specifically, I added an extra account just for FW farming. I earn enough just from FW LP to perma-PLEX the new account, as well as my other accounts. And, I'm not alone - all of my mates have done the same thing. Figure that every player in the game is doing the same, and you've got a lot of new accounts and increased demand for PLEX.

    But, I really do wonder... does anyone actually pay RL cash for a sub anymore?

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    1. That's a pretty silly thing to say. The PLEX don't pop out of thin air, they have to be purchased by someone. The people buying PLEX for extra ISK will be the ones paying for subscriptions with cash because a subscription is cheaper then a PLEX.

      If there was more demand then supply for PLEX the price would just continue to increase until the amount of effort (hours in game) to earn the ISK to pay for the PLEX would not be worth it. Of course, with an increased ISK payout per PLEX it's more likely that people would buy them and resupply the market etc...

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    2. I actually don't PLEX either of my accounts. Even though it'd be fairly easy to make the isk for it if I wanted to, I'd rather just spend all my game time (and whatever isk I do earn) PVPing, rather than using it to pay for something that I can already afford quite easily.

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    3. "does anyone actually pay RL cash for a sub anymore?"

      When you have a family and like to PVP and have plenty of RL cash you do.

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The Altruist is the Eve Online blog of Azual Skoll, PVP instructor and small gang PVPer.

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