As we all know Faction Warfare is in a pretty broken state at the moment, and people have been craving a rebuild of the system for quite awhile. While I doubt the system I propose today will be fully viable, it at least serves to get a discussion going.
The Basic Idea
The idea of this system is to bridge the gap between fully-NPC warfare, and fully-player warfare. This takes the form of a 2-step takeover process for a system, the first of which is somewhat predictable and the second of which is not. The Warzone tier system is done away with, but other benefits of upgrading I-Hubs remain.
The Takeover Process
Each system contains the same set of Size-Restricted Complexes that the current system has. However these new complexes work a bit differently than the ones you’re used to.
Every complex contains 5 rooms plus a final room with a Database Access Point that can be hacked using a data analyzer, but this final room also always contains a healthy amount of NPCs of the type allowed into the complex (friendly to players from that faction, aggressive to all others) with a high respawn rate. The 5 other rooms can also be populated with a healthy amount of these NPCs, depending on the system’s upgrade level. (For example at level 2 only the 2 closest rooms to the final room are populated, at level 5 all 5 rooms are populated) (EDIT for Clarification: These NPCs do not need to be killed to proceed, just tanked throughout the site.)
Step 1 - NPC Reinforcement
Once hacked by a member of an opposing faction, the Database Access Point links “Intelligence” of that system to that ship and player, which can be turned in to a friendly station for a healthy amount of LP and ISK, but cannot be dropped or transferred in any way. Once X-Amount of intelligence has been turned in, an announcement will be sent out to both factions that a fleet will form in 24 hours to reinforce the I-Hub. This fleet consists of a very large number (say 150?) Diamond NPCs from the faction in question. While it can technically be countered by players, it would be impractical to do so. The class of ship formed is dependent on the highest-level opposing system adjacent to the one under attack:
No Adjacent System - Frigates
1 - Destroyers
2 - Cruisers
3 - Battlecruisers
4 - Battleships
5 - Dreadnoughts
After the threshold of intel has been reached, players can continue running the complexes to make their ships the stronger faction variant at 2 times the threshold.
Only the Diamond NPCs are capable of damaging the I-Hub at this point, although players may assist in defending the NPCs.
All information regarding the strength and composition of an offensive NPC fleet, along with intelligence gathered on that system is public information, accessible to anyone in the system and through ESI.
To be prepared for this fleet, the defending side needs to gather Counter-Intelligence, which is acquired by killing an enemy ship with intelligence and can be traded in for significantly more LP and ISK than normal intelligence. This can be gathered before the offensive fleet is announced, is again not transferable, and has the following effect:
A-Amount - A response fleet of 75% of the enemy numbers is formed.
B-Amount - A response fleet matching the size of the enemy numbers is formed.
C-Amount - A response fleet 150% the size of the enemy fleet is formed.
The class of ship the response fleet is made of follows the same formula as the offensive fleet, except it’s based on the highest-level friendly system adjacent to the one under attack (INCLUDING the one under attack). The defense fleet cannot be made up of the faction ship variants unlike the offensive fleet.
All information about Counter-Intelligence, including how many have been submitted for each system and their effect is completely hidden. BUT; submitting intelligence and counter-intelligence creates a notification for the player submitting them (notification includes the system linked), allowing it to be trackable at the corporation or alliance level via ESI.
Step 2 - Players Flip the I-Hub
This step is pretty straightforward; 24 hours after the first reinforcement a player fleet can finish off the I-Hub by attacking it just like they can now, within a reasonable time limit.
— Edit Below —
So What’s the Point?
This proposal is meant to accomplish a few things to overall encourage more PvP in lowsec and especially along contested space.
- Force people who want to do solo FW to put a large amount of ISK on the line to do so, encouraging people to hunt for them in the process.
- Encourage Group and Fleet PvP through constant pressure on players’ tank from NPCs.
- Create a “front line” between factions through the adjacent system mechanics where PvP can be focused.
- Create clear goals for players to accomplish to take and defend their faction’s space.
- Allow for some grand-strategy elements such as encirclement, spearheads, etc. with meaningful advantages and risks.
- Allow for some intelligence play related to Step 1