So for quite awhile now, Factional Warfare has stagnated quite a bit, and with the advent of citadels in the past year or so, content has ground to a halt with the new structure content nullifying any impact things like stations lockouts or inter-system warfare might have had. So i won’t say i have a solution for any of this, but i have a few ideas that might help pull things out of the jam they’re in, and mesh better with current gameplay.
Compartmentalize the Warzone
A big issue that’s always faced the warzone since its incarnation has been it being such a monolithic entity from a gameplay standpoint; while it might seem inclusive to have such a large area as a content sandbox, there’s a lot of real estate that gets ignored, or worse, becomes dead weight. The mechanics of contesting systems towards a global point system ignores the topography and value players find in areas entirely, assigning flat point values across the board and leaving it up to players to determine where to fight and contest, while completely ignoring the strategic or economic value some systems have over the other. Instead of focusing on driving content through gameplay, it gives equal value to empty systems as it does ones filled with stations, or ones that have static value based on their placement.
A possible solution to this would be scrap the warzone system as a whole, and come up with a new system based on correlating value with activity. So how would we go about that, and what would it look like?
Logically, we could look at other gameplay in EVE that works, and see how it can translate over to FW. Incursions have been a hit since they took off nearly half a decade ago, and a big part of that is the fact that they’re not static, and that they’re compartmentalized with an end goal. So taking that and applying it to FW, we could see a similar system where people run non-soloable sites with the end goal of regaining control of a constellation. Complexes in their current form are fun from a PvP standpoint as an arena, but don’t offer the kind of epic content we’d expect to see from fighting in a war (or against legions of body-snatching cyborgs).
So a good blend of the two would look like this in my mind: Each constellation would have a number of sites allied to whatever faction owns the constellation, and would work on a 24-hour cycle, where the defenders stack up “supply” into a central command hub, which would determine the spawn rate of group sites in the constellation. This would allow a group to “bunker up” a constellation with actively defending it, and constellations that receive little attention from either side would fall into Pirate Faction hands (we’ll get to that later).
Each side gets a certain amount of special supply rewards for running FW missions, dependent on the level of the mission they run. This supply is found in the sites you complete from each mission from the mission targets you have to kill (commanders, industrials, etc.), and you can either stockpile it on your own when you need it, or you can feed it to a friendly constellation hub that needs it. The supply cannot be contracted or sold on the market. You have to decide to use it.
If you’re playing offensively and don’t want run missions or grind sites, you can gain war points by killing enemy combatants, which are registered on a per-system basis in each constellation, and count towards weakening the hold the defender has on the system. This scales by your ranking for your partisan faction (state ensign, Luminaire general etc.). At the lowest level ranking, pilots aren’t worth much to kill and don’t get many points from killing. This is scaled by gaining and increasing modifier to your kill XP based on your killmarks, so if you’re wanting to be a successful solo/small gang pilot, you have to balance the value of keeping your marks with kills with keeping your ship, and subsequently might act as an effective metric to discouraging people from farming fodder alts for free XP. People who are higher ranks get more XP for every kill, but are subsequently worth more rank XP to kill, and are bigger targets. Ranks increase LP gain by a small, but noticeable XP gain, and can be lost with decay over time from “not reporting to duty shift”, or logging in and getting kills. This should hopefully encourage a separate gameplay geared towards solo or small gang, rather than group work. In addition to this, another possible incentive would be an increase to pirate npc bounty payments against pirates your aligned faction doesn’t like (just a possibility; LP scaling from this seems good enough by itself, but idk).
In addition to this, roaming flotillas with a commander using the new AI can be found either on gates or in belts in friendly systems where you can farm some supply, but without the LP reward gain. They will drop tags equivalent to bounties, and have larger quantities/more useful drops for LP store items than the ones in the missions.
This gameplay allows mission runners to actually play a useful role, and lets people pick and choose whether their playstyle while defending their chosen constellation.
Pirate Faction Warfare & System Sec Scaling
As i mentioned earlier, when both of the empires refuse to supply or aggress a constellation, that constellation may fall prey to pirates in increasing numbers. In the new system, each of the pirate factions (sans Sansha) would play a part in the warzone in a four-way fight. Guristas and Serpentis would fight each other as well as the Gallente and Caldari, and would fight to lower the security status of a system for max tier in a constellation, while one of the empires would be fighting to reclaim it as a secure space.
All lowsec in the current warzones would be reset with a security of 0.3. If one of the empires manages to fend off enemy factions over a given amount of time, the security of the systems in that constellation would eventually raise to 0.5 sec and become hisec, whereupon they would undergo a grace period of security. If an adjacent constellation falls to the enemy, an event very much like a Sansha Incursion happens, where enemy combatants are free to roam around and feed supply to their “expedition”. If the surrounding sites fail and the hub is left vulnerable, the defenders have to face down an NPC titan with capital support that they have to kill within a certain window of time before it escapes, and restarts the event. This includes fighting against (or for) a chosen pirate faction, with their own goodie drops as the end.
Pirate Factional warfare will be set up in much the same principle, but with in-space agent sites at various points in the different regions that make up the new warzone. People who are Pirate partisans have the goal of LOWERING the security status of a constellation, down to 0.0 sec and all the madness that represents. Pirate owned space acts just as normal npc null, with nobody being able to put down sov or anything. Empire incursions occur in the same way after a given grace period, and the pirates will have to fight for their “turf”. Note that all spawns, asteroids, sites etc. are locked at the 0.3 sec marker regardless of whether it becomes hisec or nullsec; this along with the normal safety of concord gives reason to defend hisec and nurture industry, while the tactical benefits of nullsec offer their own allure.
Now i’m sorry for the big wall of text, but i wanted to be thorough; it’s a lot to parse through, but i’m happy to answer questions and take criticism. Thoughts?