I’m KiithSoban. I’m a small-gang FC. Although I have experience with PvP in all parts of space, the past six years I have been living in FW Lowsec. I’m here to talk about FW, some of the problems that plague it, and some proposed solutions to those problems.
The FW Discord:
First, if you want to discuss improvements and changes you want to see in FW the best place to do that is on the FW discord. Be sure to look at the vote section. You can see how the community feels about changes. This is what we sent to the CSM and CCP. CCP and CSM has even had some direct conversations with us asking for feedback about some of the changes last year, but have then sense been silent. I really want CCP to have a more active part in community outreach. FW has entered a development stage where a Dev needs to place a lot of trust in feedback from the community. I would appreciate that leap of faith.
The State of FW:
I would say that FW is on a downward trend for sure. The Gallente-Caldari warzone is “completely dead” with the exception of Tama. We have GMVA in the Minmatar militia area, who left that side of the warzone because it was just so dead. However, at least in the Amarr-Minmatar side of the warzone, we have a good batch of players on each side, but good fights between the militias over even inexpensive astras are squelched by snuff’s capital superiority. In the right systems though, small-gang fights do occur frequently. FW has seen some changes about a year ago, but many players view this as far short of hitting the needed mark. We need a complete overhaul and those recent changes were merely “minor tweaks” that didnt address the root cause of the problems that plague FW. About a year ago my mood was “hopeful” because it appeared that FW had the eye and was going to have some changes soon. The fact that the CSM had to specifically request a meeting from CCP about FW shows that they really had no intention of even touching FW for that entire year.
So the question then becomes: why are you still here Kiith?
This is why I Stay in FW:
I stay for Plex combat.
The system of restricting ship sizes in each Plex creates an extremely rich micro meta for each Plex type. This opens up enjoyable playstyles for T1 frigates, dessys, and cruisers. Compositions that work are seen nowhere else in Eve and it also opens up great opportunities for newbros, who don’t feel like they need to own a HAC or dread to make a difference.
Additionally, making the outside of a Plex deadspace was a great move. It opens up the meta for all kinds of good sniper-range setups and other kite ships.
Both ideas together are absolutely brilliant and in my opinion is the best feature of FW. I look forward to small balances to frigs, dessys, cruisers, and all other ships so that the meta inside FW plexes remains ever changing and rich in content.
A Problem: FW Missions and How They Devalue LP.
I consider FW plexes to be the real substance behind what makes players stay in. However, the payout for completing a FW Plex yeilds LP as a reward. This LP has more or less value based upon market supply and demand. Now I’m no economist, but I know that dishing out tons of LP to FW mission runners will devalue the worth of the LP we gain by completing a FW Plex. Good fights in these plexes is why I stay, but they need to attract players to fight over them. Now, CCP knows that FW missions pay out a crazy amount of LP and this can easily be converted to isk with relitively little risk. That’s why they just recently nerfed the LP payout of FW missions by 30%, but even that isn’t enough. FW missions need to pay out a different form of LP. That way, market supply and demand will naturally give a higher payout to the more risky activity. Makes sense right?
A problem: The tier system.
Let’s assume that FW missions didn’t exist. Would there still be a problem with plexing? Yes! The tier system adjusts payout for both missions and plexes. The difference in payout from tier 1 to tier 5 is 6.5x higher! That means that the faction that sits at low tier level has essentially no payout during that time. That’s an absolute killer for attracting and retaining new players! In addition, the casual pvper has little to no affect on the tier level. That’s mostly changed by “no-lifers” and farmers. Flipping a system is a 23h game. I can do nothing to affect the FW system level outside my window of playtime. This can lead to severe burnout for players, trying their hardest to make a difference and getting nowhere. In summary: the tier system is a harsh negative feedback loop for those in low tier and not even that rewarding for those casual pvpers in high tier that did little to change tier status.
The only good thing to learn of this is that FW does have a “zero input response” meaning that given little to no reward, some people still do it just for the fun of it. Beware though, the Gallente-Caldari warzone has died out because there is no “zero state response”, or what happens when there are little to no pvpers participating in FW. FW isn’t fun without anyone to fight.
A Problem: Concentration of Players.
Plexes are no fun if there aren’t players there to contest them. We need to find some way to concentrait players. Many have proposed a “Frontline” system where only a portion of the FW systems are available to be captured. I like some of the proposed systems, but if we had some way to monitor the activity in plexes and have the number of systems adaptively respond to that data I feel this would be the best system. That way, you could ensure players aren’t super spread out like they are now but also ensure things don’t develop into total blob fests. I want to note though that CCP has been doing a good job in using roleplay news articles to indicate what systems are of particular interest. This at least modivates those that stay informed, but isn’t the best method of directing new players.
Another advantage of a concentration mechanic is that PvPers tend to push out the farmers. Restricting the number of systems that can be plexed and slightly tweaking the Plex timer mechanics will go a long way towards encouraging those farmers to become hardened pvpers.
A Problem: Citadels Make System Ownership Strategically Meaningless.
Before citadels, the only places players really docked in and staged out of were the NPC stations (POS usage was very infrequent. Stations were just… easier to live in.) If you are in the militia, you can’t dock in an NPC station if the system is owned by the opposing militia. Because Citadels are so easy to set up you can just anchor one in whatever system you want to assault, JF in a bunch of ships, and have a plethora of comps you can switch into right on top of your enemy. Citadels in FW really need to be forced to declare loyalty to a faction and be locked out to all docking and undocking if the system is owned by the opposing militia.
Overall, FW is in a bad state that desperately needs attention from CCP. I welcome discussion in the comments about how you think we should fix this problem.