TL;DR: instead of simply being “present” to capture a FW complex, require anchoring and defending a space-maguffin. If it is abandoned, the capture pauses. If it is destroyed, the capture resets to 0. This is only for offensive plexing. Defensive plexing is replaced by plexes “timing out” if unopened/uncontested and automatically lowering contested level.
In the past few years, I ended up quitting Eve for a long while. Part of the reason I did so was frustration with the garbage state of FW. I have returned now, and while FW remains one of the best places for solo / small gang PvP (thanks to size-gated complexes and the general community), its core mechanics are still hopelessly broken for something that’s nominally a “war”. The “war” is centered around FW complexes, which need at best 10 minutes or at worst 40 minutes of sitting in place to capture them and contribute to the war effort. This has some undesirable outcomes:
- “Winning” a fight for a complex (either by killing or driving out the enemy) does not matter unless you are then willing to sit there for 10-40 minutes. This is boring.
- If you want to capture a complex, the best tactic is to run away. Your enemy is unlikely to want to invest the time to actually secure the complex, so you can come back and complete it once they leave.
- Together, these points mean that actually “fighting” the faction war is irrelevant compared to “farming” the faction war, for the purpose of FW victory.
Through a combination of perverse incentives, the way to win the war is to not fight. That is ridiculous! Even worse: the way in which the “not-fighting” is accomplished is very friendly to outright farming, or even botting. It is inconceivable that one could capture HED-GP through a semi-AFK army of alts that avoid any direct combat, so why has that been the case in faction warfare for years and years?
The idea I am putting forward is meant to be as minimal as possible while shifting the focus of FW complexes to be direct, destructive PvP, and adding a real cost to running away in war.
The crux of the change: a new deployable, the Complex Claim Unit (e.g. “Republic Fleet Complex Claim Unit”). It takes 30 seconds to anchor, has 10k EHP, a lifetime of 1 hour, and can only be deployed within 30 km of an enemy FW complex structure. It can be purchased from NPC sell orders at militia stations for 5 mil ISK.
The actual mechanics changes to make it work:
- Militia members are no longer able to capture a complex by just entering it and blowing up the NPC.
- For the complex timer to tick: 1+ appropriate faction CCU must be anchored and 1+ offensive plexer must be present and 0 defenders must be present (player or NPC) within the capture radius.
- If the plexer leaves, the timer pauses and does not tick down.
- If all CCUs in a plex are destroyed, the timer resets to zero.
- If the timer is completed, system contested level shifts up and LP are paid out, as in the current mechanics.
- If a complex exists (either “unopened” in the scanner, or “opened” in the overview) for an hour (or similar duration) without a CCU getting anchored in it, it gets auto-captured by the defending side and system contested status lowers as in the current mechanics.
- Destroying an enemy CCU grants a small amount of LP (replacing dplexing LP)
- The defensive NPC in the plex will try to shoot the CCU (but prioritizes a hostile player, if present).
That’s it. The intended outcomes:
- Elimination of d-plex farming
- Added consequences to retreating from a plex when challenged (thus rendering running o-plexes with WCS pointless)
- Capturing a complex requires actively destroying any interlopers (NPC or player)
- Defending a system requires actively destroying attackers and their CCUs
- No more decapping = no timers longer than 20 minutes
- No change to size-gating for plexes, since it is working well as is
- Neutral third parties can continue interfering in complexes, but remain unable to actually capture them
These changes refocus FW on fighting rather than on passive-aggressive farming. The numbers I cited for price, EHP, timer durations etc are all just sample and can/should be tweaked.
While this may well be beating a dead horse, and there are tons of other ideas on how to turn FW into actual impactful PvP… It still bears repeating until CCP finally adopts a change that actually makes a difference. At the very least, this post is an outlet of frustration for a salty bittervet. Enjoy.