Earlier this month the Uprising expansion launched with some well deserved fanfare. With it came new ships, the first steps of the new story arcs and more importantly the FW overhaul.
This has been something those of us in the FW community have waited years for, and before going further I wanted to sincerely thank those at CCP who worked to put this together. You all did an amazing job and really delivered with this project.
With that, I wanted to go over the new system / updates we received and talk about what we have right, what may need further development on, and lastly what id like to see added in the future.
Lets start on what we have right. The front-line system, the removal of the tier system, the changes to Faction Ship BPCs, the new faction ships/dreads. All of these charges are phenomenal and have completely exceed exceptions on what we were expecting with the patch.
That being said there are a few topics I wanted to address for improvement
The Advantage System:
Personally, I really like the idea of this system. Both factions have activities within a system which will effect the victory points gained based upon how much Advantage they have in the system. At present the activities Advantage include Running Rendezvous Points, Destroying Supply Caches, and Running Propaganda / Listening point beacons (excluding Battlefields from this).
The idea with all of these are great, but I feel there can some additional improvements to these activities.
First, it is my belief that the primary driver for advantage (outside of battlefields) should be Running Propaganda / Listening Post beacons. I feel the difficulty of these sites are in line, but the reward is absolutely outside what it should be. At present you only receive 1% advantage (Up from 0.2%) and the person dropping the beacon gets about 10k LP. Running one of these beacons takes about 12 to 15 minutes with an organized group, and so a 1% increase in advantage for 15 minutes of actual work seems pretty low.
I would recommend you increase this value to at least 2% and allow the LP reward to go out to all those within 30km of the beacon for up to 5 players. This mirrored by an equal reward with listening posts would make it easier for players to move the advantage in the direction they wanted without an unhealthy amount of time invested.
Second, Supply caches will spawn for each side as they increase their advantage within a system. Killing these will deplete the advantage of the owners side by 2%.
The idea of Supply Caches is interesting, but the implementation needs some work.
Structure HP – The HP of these structures needs to be increased by at least five to ten times what it is now. In essence they are way too easy to kill and have too much value to just be taken out by a Tornado at range.
Attack Alerts – At present there is no way to know if someone is at one of these sites unless you are near one and constantly keeping eyes on it through your D-Scan, let alone attacking it. My recommendation here would be to add an alert or have the icon flash on your overview meaning it has received damage with varying colors letting the player know how close it is to death.
Example: Player is sitting in a plex when the Supply Cache Icon on his overview starts to flash yellow, meaning it is now under attack, this color changes to orange meaning the structure has now moved into armor, and red meaning it is now in hull and in critical danger of dying.
An update such as this would allow players within the system some ability to defend it without just sitting there and seeing an alert state its been destroyed without ever knowing someone as at it.
There has been reports of Faction Rats destroying their own supply Caches, can you please review
Third, Rendezvous sites currently grant 2% advantage and will randomly spawn within a system every 30 minutes after a previous site has been cleared. The catch here is that they can only be found via Combat Probes.
I like this, and the 2% advantage seems in line with allowing you to push a system so long as you clear these out. Though its really limiting as you will always need a combat probe capable ship available in system.
I feel like there can be more to this. First, by giving a system alert to those in system that a new rendezvous has spawned and having that site become available on the overview after a certain amount of time, but, be much more difficult than if it was scanned down while their fleet as assembling.
You are in the system plexing when an alert comes out stating “Enemy forces have been detected gathering in the system”
At this point it would be on the players to scan it down, warp to it, and run the site as it is now.
But if no one attempted the site say within 30 minutes to an hour, the location would now show up on everyone’s overview (much like supply caches) and its difficulty would be increased requiring as much as several battleships to engage.
So with this players know whats going on if they are active in their system, and if they are roaming and see one of these up, they now have some content they can engage in.
The overall mechanics of these sites is to gain capture % by controlling 1 or more of the 3 control points in the site till your side reaches 100% capture. The control points can be contested by opposing militia players, or their rats which spawn on the control point at varying times.
In all the mechanics are pretty simple, the opposing rats will engage with friendly ones around each control point and also players attempting to enter the control point. But here is where we run into problems. At present the opposing rats respawn at a very high interval, dragging out what should take maybe 20 to 30 minutes (controlling from 50% to 100%) to something close to an hour. The re-spawns are oppressive, and it actually makes the battlefield less enjoyable as you are constantly killing rats that respawn 30 seconds to 1 minute later only to repeat the process until you capture the battlefield or run out of ammo.
So how can we correct this.
Increase the respawn timer for the opposing faction ships. There will still be spawns, but having to fight off a wave every minute isn’t my idea of fun. I recommend increase the spawn rate to at least 2 to 4 minutes a wave (I’m open to any change here above what it is right now)
Increase the difficulty of each wave. At present most waves include a fair number of Frigs and Dessys with a few Cruisers and above. We are in an a battlefield. Both faction rats should have actual firepower on the control point, so we should see more Cruisers / Battle Cruisers / Battleships. Also, have the rats prioritize the players, and effectively work to destroy them. When a player is in the capture point, the rats need to be trying to kill them. This would have the bonus effect of needing logistics (something development have stated) and provide an actual challenge beyond spending 20 seconds hitting a frigate with heavy missiles.
Address the Seagulls. FW has a varied mix of players, and the LP reward for these sites has drawn people out of the woodwork that want to try to run them successfully. Nothing makes a group more upset then watching a fleet of 15 to 20+ T1 frigates either warp in just as the complex is complete, or hang around 200km outside the capture points not contributing to the actual capture.
I’ve heard there are tools available for this that were implemented with the sites in Pochvan, and so I would like the rewards more closely linked to contribution of the capture.
In addition to the above please look into the Battlefield Warp-in Points. At present there are some points that put the player almost immediately into a structure, this needs to be addressed.
These timed event sites are a welcome addition to the warzone, giving players a site to contest for both a large LP payout (so long as its not a defensive warzone) and significant advantage / capture percentage for the system.
I like these sites a lot, but feel they spawn too quickly for the rewards granted by them and as of 11.25.22 is 15% Advantage / 200k+ LP (Max 30 players before reduction) / 4000 Victory Points).
I write this knowing CCP Aurora stated the VP amount will be greatly reduced in the next patch.
With that knowledge, 15% advantage is a huge bonus to the winning side of the objective, and given that a site could respawn in the same system within 2 hours of completing it could lead to many cases where RNG plays more of a role in a system capture than anything else.
I like the next person feel this shouldn’t be something left up to chance, and would like to see the advantage amounts lowered to at most 10% and the respawn on sites increased from 2 to 4 hours. Yes, this does decrease the availability of these sites, but they give a significant reward in both LP and Advantage that should be contested whenever available, and not used as a substitute for plexing.
In addition, at present the LP payout for capturing a defensive battlefield is adjusted to the current system Capture percentage, meaning a system at 10% will only pay a player contributing to the defensive capture 10% of what they would have received from that battlefield.
There is no difference between an offensive and defensive Battlefield at this moment, and so the same amount of work goes into both to succeed in the capture. So limiting the payout to players who are defensively capturing these battlefields makes little sense, and should not be a thing.
It is my recommendation that the defensive LP payouts should mirror those as offensive ones. This assigns equal reward for completing the objectives.
Battlefields are a really hot topic right now, which is great! They are new, and there is certainly room for new mechanics.
Tucked away in the Rearguard systems of the WZ are the Operation Centers. Data sites containing five Hard hacking containers defended by that Militias Rats and are Key to moving advantage in the warzone outside of battlefields.
I have gotten to enjoy the sites a lot, they are difficult, require you to bring a ship that can either dive in and get the items needed for beacons or bring something that can outlast the ever increasing waves that come in as you hack more containers. Whoever designed this did a great job, but I feel something is missing.
After you hack each can a wave of enemy rats spawns and attempts to kill you, these waves grow in regularity as you hack more containers leading to the final one throwing an overwhelming number of ships at you.
Being that this is a max hacking site, and that its linked to FW I feel like there should be an LP reward for hacking the cans. I would recommend a value of 5000 LP per can, it gives those who want to hack all the cans an incentive to do so, in addition to the four to five million you get out of the sensor logs.
With this addition the site could be a lot more than just, cargo scan the cans with what I need, run them and warp off. Here you are giving the player to risk more, and get some reward out of it in the form of LP.
Of course this reward would only be available if you were part of the enemy faction, to prevent outside FW farming.
The following are future iterations I would like to see added to FW
Faction Warfare Store Improvements:
At present the FW stores give a significant discount to faction hulls and BPCs to streamline their creation.
I feel its time for the rest of the store to receive such love.
To begin, its time we removed Tags as a requirement for FW items and replaced with increased LP costs. My reasoning here is that most of these are locked behind FW missions which few do (post patch), and LP should be the primary currency for all items within the store.
Currently a Small Imperial Navy Neutralizer 5 run BPC costs 72k LP, 28m Isk, and a grand total of 1,346 Minmatar faction tags of various ranks.
This is Insane!
An updated store would remove the Tags from the costs entirely, as well as provide the FW discount of 60% so the new cost could be 50k LP and 25m Isk. Putting an estimated price per unit at around 15-18m Isk (LP at 1k)
Faction equipment should be better than T2, but should also be more expensive, and depended on the value of LP at that time. But changing the store to use mostly LP many items will will become available on the market that you don’t see now.
Example: (Imperial Navy Neutralizers)
Faction Warfare Tags:
With the removal of tags from the FW store (stated above), its time we treat these more as a reward for completed kills. The addition of NPC buy orders for FW tags would allow players that collect them from missions / plexes to turn them in for ISK to help supplement their income.
Frigate Tag – 200k ISK
Destroyer Tag – 300k ISK
Cruiser Tag – 400k ISK.
Cashing out LP can be daunting to newer players, and while they work to figure things out, having the ability to cash out Tags into ISK will help them better survive within the Warzone. A player can only participate so long as they can afford ships, and locking them out of a stable revenue stream makes it harder to get newer players within the system.
The views presented here are mine after extensive discussion with those I play this game with. The Uprising expansion was an incredible addition to the game and has greatly revitalized Faction Warfare. I cant wait to see whats next, and hope to have a good discussion about what the system could be after a few updates.
TLDR Savros once again writes a novel, but this time its more about updates and not about hopes for the future.
Dirt ‘n’ Glitter
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