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.