The unintended consequences of free Omega + LP inflation + 5-man sites for Faction Wars

As you are no doubt aware, the Uprising patch recently released. This introduced a few interesting features, such as a split between NVY sites that only allow T1 and Navy hulls, and ADV sites that also allow T2 and Pirate hulls.

However, it also introduced the 5-man FW site. At a time period when FW LP inflation is reaching uncomfortable new highs. Which coincides with a week of free Omega.

What has this resulted in, one might ask?
I am here to inform you that since these changes occurred, the norm has been this:

What is happening is the following:

  • The combination of “being legally allowed to multibox on free-to-play characters” + “the existence of 5-man sites” is allowing farmers to group the kite tristan alts they normally use to cap backwater systems into balls of five.
  • The extreme LP inflation allows them to replace their kite Tristans with kite Navy Mauluses (they discovered that they can ram 4 compact Drone Damage Amplifiers in the lows)

Effectively, the three circumstances I have referenced, whilst inconspicuous and well-intended by themselves, have conspired to create a situation, where the norm is massive numbers of farmer characters, going around in groups of 5, often with multiple groups of 5 in each system, and yet more groups of 5 in adjacent systems, scourging the land like a swarm of locusts.

This would not be a problem if there was a counterplay option that allowed someone to effectively engage them, but that is currently not the case.

Before the Uprising patch, specifically before the split between NVY and ADV sites, the only ship that could have fitted into a Novice complex and still have a realistic chance of dealing with one of those 5-man blobs would be a drugged up Kite Succubus pilot running High-Grade Snakes, which would already have been an unreasonable proposition, but at least it was a possibility.

With the split between NVY and ADV, however, people can not leverage T2 or Pirate ships in order to cure the disease, as the spawn rate of ADV sites is extremely low relative to the spawn rate of NVY sites.

Similarly, you can’t just drop a Navy Osprey with RLML on them because they can simply focus on the Scout sites and the Small sites instead.

This effectively means that you are now in a situation, where you have to 1v5 five kite Navy Mauluses running 15km range Scrams, meaning ram+scram+blam is not a viable strategy in the slightest. You then have to kill them within the timeframe it would take all the other groups of 5 to fleetwarp to your position to add their numbers to the fight, followed by the groups of 5 in the adjacent systems.

Now, you might say, bring friends. However, this farming session happens between the moment where the Americans fall asleep, and the moment when the Europeans come home from work. This means that you will at best have one or two people around who are both willing and able to counter-attack.

Why is this happening?
I defer you to the column labelled ISK/hour income for people multiboxing 5 characters in this image:

How would I resolve this issue?
The week of free Omega time will cease to be a problem when December rolls around, at which time we can reasonably expect that the number of multiboxing accounts will diminish. I, posit, however, that it will not diminish as much as folks would like to see, for the simple reason that the 5-man FW sites make it economically viable to print ISK this way, which they can then use to buy PLEX, which they can then use to sustain the multiboxing. Thus my ask to the CSM would be:

  • to encourage CCP to remove the 5-man site from Faction Wars.
  • to discourage CCP from handing out free Omega time in the future.

Why am I asking for those solutions?
I am a player who, with regards to EVE, grew up in FW Lowsec and has lived in FW Lowsec continuously. This used to be a place where anyone could go for enjoyable PVP in smaller ships which were cheaper to acquire but had higher skill curves than the larger ones. It also used to be a place where newbros could get their first PVP experiences without having to bankrupt themselves. I am also someone who has spent a good two years trying to teach any newbro who wanted to learn about solo PVP in FW Lowsec, by means of creating a library. Now I log in every day to find groups of 20 to 30 Tristans/Navy Mauluses, because the environment I live in has become the next convenient isk printing venue. The old FW sites encouraged downshipping due to the gate restrictions, and discouraged blobbing because the payout was divided over all allied pilots in the site. The new FW sites still encourage downshipping (even moreso than in the past, which may even be an improvement depending on your perspective), but now they actively encourage blobbing because up to five characters receive a full payout instead of the reward being divided. It feels like being a minority group that just had an oil field discovered underneath their preservation. I am watching the FW Lowsec way of life gradually being uprooted over the course of the past few weeks. I deem this a net detriment for the game as no other area encouraged downshipping and solo the way this place did.

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This would be a real tragedy for the new FW system. Sure, the new 5-pilot sites give the potential for even more rewards to low-effort multiboxers such as this, but they also reward regular players for coming together, and create new objectives that actually encourage small gangs, rather than financially penalizing them.

Removing them would be cutting off your nose to spite your face, it’s an integral part of a great package of changes, that sure, could possibly use some refinement, but is much, much better than it was before, and that is heavily reflected in the huge amounts of players flocking to FW.

Also, that’s AUTZ.

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I expressed this viewpoint elsewhere but also wanted to place it here.

In my opinion, removing 5-man reward sites will not stop farmers from blobbing, and deny rewards for regular militia that take the risk grouping up to run a site. I have no reason to believe that these farmers would return to the “old” FW w/ Tiers way of farming by sticking 1 of their alts into each site, especially now that there is an additional forcing function around “Frontline” and “Operational” rewards, and removed is the whole Tier system.

With the bonus of frontlines and operational centers, and the relative scarcity of sites in those systems, I have no doubt they would be just as happy to warp into a 1-man site with 5 alts. Even if a solo friendly militia is already in there, as it is a net 83.3% gain for them. I am sure they would figure out how to min/max rewards to split their group into teams of 2 or 3 into each Frontline / Operational plex site.

I am still a believer that putting tools into the players hands by removing combat restrictions and penalties will better allow the playerbase to express its cultural disapproval of farming without suffering harsh consequences.

Let militias of both side able to freely wardec militia corps without restrictions – even on the same side. Remove the friendly fire punishment for the NPC militia corp as well so it does not become a sanctuary for farmers.

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I’m of the opposite opinion on this one. In CalMil we have a group called Caldari Tactical Group which has recently taken to ganking fellow members of CalMil regardless of their affiliation, and similarly, MinMil has Nomad’s of the Republic who seems to have figured out that even though they’re not good at much else, they can at least shoot blues with very little consequence. I wouldn’t be shocked if PeeMil and GalMil have similar problem groups that should be ejected out of FW. Allowing friendly fire on NPC militia corp members just sounds to me like it would enable even easier bullying of militia corp members by bad actors

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I hear you. However, that’s kind of the point about freedom. It can be used for purposes you like equally as freedom to do things you don’t like. All it means is use your new freedom and like-minded capsuleers to wardec the bullies in the name of the newbies, and pass around lists of known bad actors, and generally engage with the game. And also shoot the farmers. Literally building the game and culture in game embodied by the players instead of asking CCP to build it for us.

FWIW my position is how things were 12 years ago when I started. There was no place for farmers to hide, and true newbies were quickly encouraged to leave NPC corps and join corporations and begin engaging with the social sandbox because friendly fire was on.

CCPs introduction of “safe universe” by adding combat restrictions means rewarding farming behavior at a fundamental game mechanic level. The game mechanics can’t tell if a person is actually weak for being new and “in need” of protection & restrictions vs feigning weakness for leeching LP.

“In need” in quotes because I think it’s a mistake to coddle newbies in general, it’s lying about the nature of the game.

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Making FW lowsec a money maker is the mistake. This attracts all kind of optimization and malicious game play. As strange as it sounds, a poor FW lowsec, where people use the tools mainly for PvP and role play purposes (aka fun), is more healthy IMO.

CCP also missed to solve the number 1 issue, access to FW independently of own corp affiliation. This should have been done first, and then watch the participant numbers spike, and draw conclusions from there.

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Except we’re not seeing regular players coming together in a manner that results in them developing into a full fledged nanogang. We’re seeing kitchensink ganks comprised of meta-fitted T1 frigs that will warp out on you the moment a fight starts. I would like it if what you said was correct, though. The world can always use more nanogangs.

I can agree that the new NVY sites are interesting, and I can agree that the Frontline system is a nice counter to bots in the backlines, but for the 5-man sites to be anything other than a detriment, they would have to result in a net benefit, beyond a net benefit to the wallet of someone who does not engage in combat.

It is.

I believe that removing the reward-sharing element will force the farmers to spread their characters out across multiple sites, which in turn allows for counterplay. Similarly, I believe that regular players should not be bunching up in one site in a situation where the objective is to take or hold a system, unless the enemy is forming a coherent gang/fleet to contest, in which case counter-forming should occur.

I understand and respect that you want players to solve it amongst themselves, but letting people awox without penalty would result in pure chaos.

We already see this happening in the shape of characters like Vuk Vukovic, who kills friendlies without penalties because the other two alts in his solo corp have +10 standings with the Militia NPC faction, meaning that even with -10 standings he can’t get kicked out. In that specific case FW enlistment should be shifted from the corp level to the character level, so that going into the negative gets one booted from the militia irrespective of whether one’s corp has a good standing towards it.

We also see this in the shape of characters like Flick Narbotan, who is in Amarr-Mil solely to Awox Cal-Mil without repercussions. In that instance, the penalty for killing members of your own militia should also be extended to cover members of an allied militia.

Both of these characters already exploit loopholes in the mechanics to get away with killing friendlies. The answer to that is not to deregulate, it is to close the loopholes.

I am here to suggest changes that would make the warzone less of a lucrative sanctuary for farmers who try to avoid fights (unless those are so one-sided that they can get away with it). Your counter-suggestion would additionally make it a haven for people like Vuk and Flick. Some would say “a haven for awoxers”, but having spoken to Awox, I believe rumours of his blue on blue activities in null were greatly exaggerated.

They tried friendly-firing me too. Keyword being tried:

I believe that in this case, it would be a binary choice between having a Faction V Faction system that works as intended on one side, and player freedom on the other side. If I were to shank another player during football, citing freedom as a justification, I would similarly be held in contempt of the spirit of the game that is being played.

I do believe that we both want the same thing, more content, but whereas I seek to achieve that by modifying existing mechanics in ways that would encourage solo pvp and downshipping, you seek to achieve that by removing mechanics altogether. Whilst that is inherently incomprehensible for me, I at least respect that we work towards the same goal.

I fervently agree with that. It also encouraged people to use cheaper ships to take out expensive ships by means of intelligent fitting and good piloting which were both rooted in game knowledge.

This is slated for release in the first quarter of 2023. I agree that it should have been introduced as a part of Uprising, as it would have allowed many people to participate, on top of undoing the exploit used by Vuk to kill friendlies without repercussions, but at the same time, I am very worried about what might go wrong if CCP rushes things.

The 5 man site is a good example of that. This got tacked on to a package of changes that were received with positive or neutral feedback, and it resulted in this. I defer you to the category about multibox income:

As you can see the ISK per hour value for multiboxing Navy-5 sites is on par with winning a Battlefield. And it’s a helluvalot easier for a multiboxer with five Frigates to run a site than it is for the militia to form for a Battlefield. This is not right.

Agreed, it’s a very complicated change, but they had some years to think about. On the other hand what I also criticize for a few years now, is the attempt to micro-manage PvP-everything with super complicated and artificial rules.

This will and does fail, as with more rules always comes a more narrow solution space, and few optimal solution, which will spread fast, and “stagnant” any new content. It’s only black and white, either you go optimal, or you are out, or the content will be ignored totally (in case no feasible solution exist, and it can’t be repurposed for something else). No grey zone of chaos and unpredictability (which is the value prop I myself play EvE for).

They have, but just because CCP has had some years to think about it, doesn’t mean that they have the code read (and tested it) now that they have made up their minds.

For me it is moreso single combat.
It’s the only thing that makes the kokoro go doki-doki nowadays.
Especially close calls like these:








A possible different solution:

-Turn the NPC rat for the 5-man complexes into a group of rats that 5 multi-boxed characters would struggle to deal with if they are operated relatively passively. If they are operated well and the multiboxing farmer still wants to run these sites actively, then kudos to them.

My opinion:

-For now, CCP should wait to see how this changes with free omega expiring soon and with the warzone continuing to settle into its new form. If frontlines continue to become concentrated, and popularity continues to grow, anyone multiboxing many characters passively will be nice targets for real nanogangs that will form.

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I’ve actually been advocating the opposite. Free Omega time has attracted a ton of people back to EVE who quit, and many of them have stayed around. This is something we should encourage, rather than discourage.

Try to look at the overall health of the game, not your individual isk per hour.

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Agree, but let me add, it was not the reason why I returned, I was curious about the FW landscape changes … :wink:

EDIT: For fleet roams it’s great so far. Solo hunting is lacking attractive target opportunities.

Given that Omega has never been given away before, I believe it will not reappear until the next time CCP needs an expansion to save the company.

The 5 man plexes could use a little abyss magic to make the plexes varied and difficult enough to hard counter certain comps forcing reshipping.

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Reasonable. At the moment it can be done with 200 DPS, which is not.

I don’t have high hopes that it will shake out that way, but I would be unreasonable if I did not entertain the notion that it might be worth waiting a while to assess it.

And now you have something of an idea how the free Omega is being utilized. Whether CCP deems that appropriate is something they’ll have to decide on.

If you think my individual ISK per hour has anything to do with this thread, you should consider re-reading the original post. Dismissing my concerns about the damage being done to the PVP culture of the area because of a factor that was not mentioned is a bit disrespectful.

I dismissed your concerns because you actually advocated that CCP should not do something that has had a demonstrably positive impact on the overall health of the game. Also, not sure why you’re pretending you weren’t making an economic argument when you start off complaining about LP inflation.

Then I do not see the purpose of citing my “individual ISK per hour”, which was not only never brought up, but also has no bearing on the quantity and/or quality of the fights in the area.

Have you seen no uptick in the amount of PVP in your area of space? Is that not a positive benefit of these changes, including the free seven days of Omega?

My God man, the game was dying and they found a way to get the numbers back and you’re quibbling because you can’t figure out how to kill some multiboxers?

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Not really, no. Got guilt tripped into FCing the standing fleet one day and most of my attempts to get them to fight something were met by “look, we’re just here for the ISK”, with the monotony occassionally being broken by someone getting themselves blown up, until I started taking the opposition out alone since it was more efficient that way.

I am speaking about them radically altering the nature of the warzone and the PVP found within it. It did not descend into quibbling until you decided to make it about my bottom line. Considering how much the area means to a lot of people I did not anticipate such a strawman argument and certainly did not appreciate it.

I know you’ve not been around for a while so the difference may not be apparent to you. I have spent the last five years listening to complaints about how FW was dead, all the major groups were gone, all that was left was the botters and the LP farmers.

Now, we’re seeing tons of posts of folks actively fighting each other, I hearing from folks that they’re having fun again and that these changes have been some of the best ever made in the game.

And then we have you, mad because you can’t kill a dude multiboxing 5 mauluses, and suggesting that CCP not provide free things to players because you don’t like it.

Look around. Nobody is agreeing with you. I’ve seen nobody else make these arguments.

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Doesn’t particularly sound like anything I’ve ever heard whilst playing in Minmil, nor does it sound like anything I’ve ever heard whilst playing in Calmil. With the exception of Slava Gagarin, who speaks of a distant, mythical time full of 100-man fleets, so I am going to consider this statement cautiously plausible.

Similarly not a statement I can prove or disprove.

And this is the part where I once again suggest reading the original post in full instead of making erroneous statements about people’s state of mind or their intent.

I do not require anyone’s agreement to bring a problem to the attention of the CSM. Nor did I ever anticipate that there would be a lot of agreement. There’s simply not enough people who focus on solo PVP who also bother with the forums -to- ratio anyone here. I’ve said my bit, do what you will with it. You don’t have to agree with what I have to say. Making half-assed statements like “this is about your income” or “you’re just mad because x” does not contribute much, though.