I’ve been in FW, in Galmil, for most of my EVE Online experience. It is very enjoyable and I’ve had many combat hours and kills while doing it. It’s easily one of the most entertaining PvP experiences in EVE and is a great introduction. Allowing newer players to effectively use affordable ships and learn PvP. It also presents a strong roleplay element - and gives another avenue for lowsec content fighting for factional allegiances, without resorting to piracy and criminal misdemeanours.
Now, I’ve heard many a discussion on FW, and all the problems there-in. However, I want to boil it all down to a simple equation. Risk vs. Reward. The problem is all to do with earning LP, and the generation of PvP content. Essentially, the problem with current FW mechanics are as follows:
- Income generation activities (LP farming) reward players who avoid PvP;
- Prosecution of FW activities has no tactical or strategic merit; and
- The combination these mean there are no effective drivers for PvP content.
Essentially, the mechanics need to be reworked to rebalance the risk vs. reward equation. They need to reward actively controlled players who engage in effective and meaningful PvP. To this end I wish to site an example. Not a game, but, something which is mini-game. Kobold Tribes.
Kobold Tribes (KT) is an arcade mod within SCII, and is free to play. It is essentially a survival game, much like the “Hunger Games”, and the balance between economic expansion and PvP drivers is perfect. I think anyone in CCP and the CSM wanting to improve FW should consider learning this game. Two tribes compete for dominance in a forest. They hunt for food, build structures, make equipment, and survive together. All the while hunting down and destroying the enemy tribe.
Now, left alone these two tribes can increase their economies in peace. Battling only against a harsh forest environment. But what makes KT special is the quests. Every 2 or 3 days there is a quest, which gives advantages to the winning tribe. The key here, is that unlike FW missions. the quests in KT are head-to-head competitions. With proper tactical incentives - either awarding gold, skills, or special equipment. The quests are effective PvP drivers, both for those wishing to complete them, or for others wishing to deny.
I think the lesson for FW here is that missions could be a competitive head-to-head experience. That is: for every pilot (or group of pilots) sent out to achieve an objective - there should be an enemy pilot assigned with the task of ensuring their failure.
There also needs to be some tactical or strategic merit. When a pilot is sent to blow up a tactical array, or sensor network. The destruction of that should have actual consequences on the warzone. Such consequences could mean:
- Alterations to the capture mechanics in the target system. (increased or reduced capture times, or % contest modifiers)
- Enhanced acquisition of intelligence data; or enemy intelligence denial.
- Enhancement or degradation of the target system upgrade level.
So, when boiled down to concise recommendations. I would suggest reworking the FW missions to be more integrated into the tactical FW landscape. Make them a head-to-head experience with an incentive for enemy interception and perhaps rule out concurrent missions being accepted. Give measurable tactical influence for successful mission completion.
To this end, I think the FW complexes and system upgrade benefits need to be more nuanced and multi-dimensional. Incorporation elements such as:
1. Intelligence: The ability to detect enemy pilots in surrounding systems. The greater the intelligence upgrade the further this detection radius is increased. Pilots can interact with (or alternatively destroy) the sensor array to gain or deny remote intel.
2. Propaganda The ability to passively exert system control, alter system control modifiers. Disabling the broadcast tower will nullify that capability.
3. Military the effective exertion of military control in the system. Having online shipyards in the system will ensure a naval presence in the system - and those NPC naval flotilla will proceed to attack all enemy ships and structures within the system. Disabling the enemy shipyard denies this ability.
4. Industry the creation of passive economic modifiers to promote wealth to your friends, or deny that of your foes. Intercepting naval convoy’s can cause system wide degradation of the industrial index.