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Balancing Faction Warfare

First post
Author
Susan Black
Ice Fire Warriors
#1 - 2012-06-07 03:01:25 UTC
It has now been weeks since Inferno and we've had quite a lot of time to play with the new game mechanics. I admit I've enjoyed the half price LP store we had for a while, as well as my growing LP.

However, I haven't been able to shake the sense that something is not quite right, or balanced with it. At first I thought that maybe those who complain about there being 'no hope or value' for the underdog and etc. might be right. They still might be, but I think the root of the problem lies in the fact that some of the mechanics are backwards.

I do not mean backwards in the sense of being good-riddance rubbish. I mean, literally turned around.

Please hear me out!

Right now, it is intrinsically worthless to own a system in FW in and of itself. Station docking and system upgrades are not a privilege, because all neutrals enjoy these benefits. And low-sec isn't a mining and ratting rich environment.

Our primary 'resource' is LP and the LP store, the worth of which is dependent on how many systems you own. In addition to this, plexing LP only comes from offensively plexing in hostile space. (Keep in mind the LP and the LP store is the bottom line resource FW is based off of.)

To translate this in terms of nullsec, pretend that Alliance A and Alliance B are fighting over Querious. The catch is, that how much resources taken from belts, the bounties on rats and plex drops...all resource 'drops' are based off of how much of the region is owned by your alliance. Therefore, if alliance A owns 80% of Querious at a particular time, then any mining, ratting, or etc done by Alliance B is virtually worthless. In addition to this you can't rat and mine in your own space, you have to do it in hostile space. Your rats don't have bounties and your rocks don't drop minerals for you.

This is the philosophy of FW mechanics translated into nullsec terms.

There are several problems, some more serious than others:
1. You have mechanics by which it is intrinsically worthless to take a system
2. You have mechanics by which your primary resource's worth is based on how much space you own. (The space itself is worthless, the worth is in owning lots of it to affect the LP store.)

Essentially, the entire philosophy behind plex payouts and Warzone Control makes these mechanics extremely contrived, and therefore somewhat anti-sandbox.

The 'backwards' part comes from the fact that swapping around several bonuses and mechanics, in addition to other changes, would alleviate these issues.

The Solution

1. We would swap the Warzone Control store/payout bonuses. Instead of the store prices doubling with each tier, they would go up/down by 5,10,15 & 20%. Payout bonuses would double and quadruple. This means that the most the LP store prices would be are 120% base, and the least they would be is 80% of base.

2. We would swap offensive and defensive plexes. Therefore, plexes you run in your own space would be 'offensive' in that the rats are hostile and shoot you and you get LP, but 'defensive' in the sense you are 'protecting' your space from hostile invasions. Plexing in hostile territory would be essentially 'assisting' the NPCs, and would not result in LP payouts. (The primary reward for plexing in hostile space is taking the space.)

3. We would shrink the warzones to about 1/3 of their original sizes, making the warzones more volatile.

4. We would add a System Upgrade where the higher the upgrade, the faster plexes in system spawn.


Currently, there is an advantage to strategically allowing enemies to take your space for the express purpose of plexing it back, since the 'worth' of a system lies within plexing it while it is hostile, and not in the benefits it provides when it is sovereignly owned.

These changes would create a warzone where the primary objective would be to OWN the space. There would be monetary advantages to owning more and more systems for the intrinsic value of the plexes available in those systems, and it would be advantageous to take higher Warzone Control tiers in order to increase your payouts in your space.

The fact that plexes in stable systems wouldn't give out LP would control farming, and would force plex farmers to plex in volatile systems that are being contested by hostiles.

Since payouts will be dramatically increased based on WZC, it will also make the taking of systems with particular LVL four agents more of a priority, and increase the actual worth of specific systems.

These changes would also means that the LP Store would be somewhat more static in pricing, meaning that taking space in lower tiers of Warzone Control would still be extremely worthwhile for the risk, when compared to the risk vs reward of other in-game mechanics. (However, it would be less compared to the benefits of taking higher levels of Warzone Control.)

Reducing the size of each warzone would create a more volatile environment, decreasing the number of systems it takes to increase your Faction's Warzone Control Tier.

Adding system upgrades to increase the spawn time of plexes would make upgrading systems highly worthwhile in conjunction with the rest of these changes. It would mean the system would be more easily defended, and a more lucrative asset. (More LP plexes to farm.) It would also mean that allowing enemies to chew down your upgrade levels would have much more serious consequences, encouraging people to not just defend their systems against capture, but also defend their upgrades more closely.

www.gamerchick.net @gamerchick42

Bienator II
madmen of the skies
#2 - 2012-06-07 09:31:12 UTC
regarding the shop.

much simpler.
replace the lp store price variations with an available or not mechanic. Certain systems give you certain items. The important stuff is placed near the friendly empire to make it easier defendable. It even makes sense from lore perspective... stations have factories and systems have planets which could provide certain stuff.

There is enough crap in the lp shop to distribute it in groups over all systems.

how to fix eve: 1) remove ECM 2) rename dampeners to ECM 3) add new anti-drone ewar for caldari 4) give offgrid boosters ongrid combat value

Hans Jagerblitzen
Ice Fire Warriors
#3 - 2012-06-07 16:37:54 UTC
This is an intriguing proposition! Definitely some wrinkles to iron out, but I think the principle of swapping offensive and defensive plexing would indeed encourage a sense of system ownership and prevent that rather absurd situation of tactically losing in order to be able to earn LP again.

Also, I don't know if there's a need to modulate LP store prices at all (I like controlling one variable at a time, holdover from my science coursework) as long as that modulation lands on the payouts themselves.

Bienator - I agree, one of EVE's primary resource problems is homogenization of regions. This would be a cool thing to do, but it might be more time consuming for CCP to engineer (there will be massive debate over fairness and specific distribution of goods), and I still think CCP's priority should be fixing the bugs and the NPC AI first and foremost.

The elegance of swapping offensive and defensive plexing and moving the warzone control modulation to the LP payouts instead of to the pricing is that would be relatively straightforward to implement from a coding standpoint (at least one would think) as supposed to resource re-distribution which would demand many hours of game design work before it could begin to be coded. I'd say thats more of a "down the road" fix though its a great suggestion as well.

CPM0 Chairman / CSM7 Vice Secretary

Ryven Krennel
Hopscotch
#4 - 2012-06-07 17:19:52 UTC
Um. So, you want to take away the only thing the underdog has going for them?

Better suggestion: give LP for defensive plexing. Way easier. Way more fair.

Wow.

Seriously, you want to flip the script so that you get LP for defending your systems, but we, with 14 systems, would gain nothing from working to take yours? No. You already have enough going your way. You've lost touch.

Just give LP for defensive plexing to shut up the whine on the minnie side and then everyone can get LP for playing the mechanic. No convoluted nonsense.

Also: when did LP become the entire purpose of FW? Sellouts.

"Oh, good, we're surrounded.  That makes this easy."

Gritz1
Ice Fire Warriors
#5 - 2012-06-07 18:27:45 UTC
LP for defending is very easy to abuse.
Susan Black
Ice Fire Warriors
#6 - 2012-06-08 01:03:01 UTC
Anything can be abused.

www.gamerchick.net @gamerchick42

Veshta Yoshida
PIE Inc.
Praetoria Imperialis Excubitoris
#7 - 2012-06-08 13:14:23 UTC
It is a good concept .. but cutting the space being fought over would make it awfully cramped.

Amarr originally had about 30 systems which, combined with the layout/geography, makes for what "feels" very small space. If anything, then that should be goal, meaning for instance that Minmatar FW space (never really looked at Gallente/Caldari space so no comment) should be restructured so that it is not a monstrously long snake but rather more condensed with same sort of multiple paths that exist in Amarr space ..
To intensify the fighting a better solution is to have a maximum number of systems where the plex generator upgrade can be installed and have it represent a significant increase in earning potential of system .. makes the systems prime targets for pew as one must assume they will be defended vigorously. Question is how to chose said systems, first come - first serve (ie. first system to get max investment) might work but will cause all manner of drama in the more disorganized militias.

Still need mechanics to hinder snowballs and assist the downtrodden though .. it is currently based (ignoring NPC balance for the moment) entirely on raw numbers, whomever can put the most ships in space wins, made even more evident with lockouts in place. CCP/Null love their blobs but I still abhor their idea that it should be the alpha-omega of gameplay .. 'diminishing returns' and its reverse (VP not LP) should get us most of the way .
Quote:
LP for defending is very easy to abuse.

Reason why it keeps coming up is that the mechanics are set up to encourage system ping-pong because there is a very real quantifiable LP value attached to flipping a system, whereas defending it makes no real sense .. one is better off farming for a while and then pushing hard to maximize WZC modifier - cash out and let everything slip again .. it is like a cartoon boxing match where each fighter takes turns punching the other.

By removing the abstract WZC and taking the benefits of succeeding, even on the small scale, down to ground level - be it system or constellation based - you encourage defending against hostile plexers .. I suspect that is what Ms. Black wants to achieve.

PS (obligatory bile spewing): All these things were raised in discussions immediately after the FF presentation and apparently made zero impact so question is if a rewrite of the napkin is even on the table before tiericide is complete, null is sorted, supers are made less iWin, Cosmos is iterated upon and the ribbon is cut at the Purgatory Ski Resort (get it?!? Smile).
Hans Jagerblitzen
Ice Fire Warriors
#8 - 2012-06-08 14:10:34 UTC
Veshta Yoshida wrote:

PS (obligatory bile spewing): All these things were raised in discussions immediately after the FF presentation and apparently made zero impact so question is if a rewrite of the napkin is even on the table before tiericide is complete, null is sorted, supers are made less iWin, Cosmos is iterated upon and the ribbon is cut at the Purgatory Ski Resort (get it?!? Smile).


In a word (without breaking NDA)......Yes. CCP is committed to iterating on FW in the near future, and is on the agenda for Winter Expansion as well. It is very much worth talking about these kinds of ideas, best to strike while the iron is hot. It's once we go into 2013 that the risk of a focus shift increases greatly, so we have no time to be jaded and not contribute to the debate. Speak now Faction Warfare enthusiasts and shape the feature over the next 6 months, or forever hold your piece! Blink

CPM0 Chairman / CSM7 Vice Secretary

Zarnak Wulf
Amarrian Vengeance
Team Amarrica
#9 - 2012-06-08 16:41:54 UTC
Some quick points as I furtively type this out at work. Since Inferno:

Three weeks in Minmatar militia - 80k LP.
Three days in Amarr militia - 300k LP.

That is without missions. Now even if I cut the time in Minmatar in half to account for RL obligations and distractions, that is still conservatively a 12 - 1 ratio per day. Others will do the math and pour into Amarr militia to get that LP. Don't spen it - just hold onto it till the tide turns. Meanwhile groups that didn't talk to eachother are forced into a few systems together. Forced cooperation. New blood. New leadership. A promising combination.

On the other side? Running around putting out fires. Increased competition for limited plexes. Even if I found a plex by myself without WT around a Minmatar fleet would invariably jump in and split the LP. This happened every time! You had to fleet up at the battle front and so split LP from kills.

TL;DR

The winning coalition will struggle to hold onto talented pilots as the monotony of a guerilla war continues on. The losing side will attract new talent, leadership, ect through the promise of future riches.

Decreasing the war zone or offering defensive LP is a boon to the wining side. Running defensive plexes, losing cohesion through boredom, having fleets thinned out and not gaining the expected LP is needed for the system to self regulate. The only part all will agree with is needing better upgrades and there already is a CCP endorsed thread for that.
Cearain
Plus 10 NV
It Burns When I'm PvPing
#10 - 2012-06-08 19:31:29 UTC  |  Edited by: Cearain
Susan Black wrote:
...

This is the philosophy of FW mechanics translated into nullsec terms.

There are several problems, some more serious than others:
1. You have mechanics by which it is intrinsically worthless to take a system
2. You have mechanics by which your primary resource's worth is based on how much space you own. (The space itself is worthless, the worth is in owning lots of it to affect the LP store.)....

Essentially, the entire philosophy behind plex payouts and Warzone Control makes these mechanics extremely contrived, and therefore somewhat anti-sandbox.


Here are my thoughts:
It seems to me that the null sec mechanics are very contrived for gameplay purposes and make no sense. Why would a sovereign upgrade his system in order to have more of his enemies military complexes appear in his territory?

I don't know what you mean by it is intrinsically worthless to take a system. In addition to the advantage of not having wartargets dock there (which is a bad game mechanic BTW) your factions gear is better supplied.(I.e., you don't need as many loyalty points to get it) You can even upgrade that system to get your supplies even cheaper. How does that not have intrinsic value?

Just because neutrals can also dock there that doesn't mean docking there has no intrinsic value. I don't understand this, and I'm afaid this might revolve around some odd notion of the term "intrinsic." Clearly gaining systems has value I think you would agree there. I don't think quibbling about whether it is intrinsic or not will get us very far.


Susan Black wrote:
...
The Solution

1. We would swap the Warzone Control store/payout bonuses. Instead of the store prices doubling with each tier, they would go up/down by 5,10,15 & 20%. Payout bonuses would double and quadruple. This means that the most the LP store prices would be are 120% base, and the least they would be is 80% of base.

2. We would swap offensive and defensive plexes. Therefore, plexes you run in your own space would be 'offensive' in that the rats are hostile and shoot you and you get LP, but 'defensive' in the sense you are 'protecting' your space from hostile invasions. Plexing in hostile territory would be essentially 'assisting' the NPCs, and would not result in LP payouts. (The primary reward for plexing in hostile space is taking the space.)

3. We would shrink the warzones to about 1/3 of their original sizes, making the warzones more volatile.

4. We would add a System Upgrade where the higher the upgrade, the faster plexes in system spawn.
….
The fact that plexes in stable systems wouldn't give out LP would control farming, and would force plex farmers to plex in volatile systems that are being contested by hostiles.


That last sentence. Which of your numbered proposals does that? Do you mean no lp unless the system is "contested"? Then you could just have an alt contest the system for you.

Susan Black wrote:
...


These changes would also means that the LP Store would be somewhat more static in pricing, meaning that taking space in lower tiers of Warzone Control would still be extremely worthwhile for the risk, when compared to the risk vs reward of other in-game mechanics. (However, it would be less compared to the benefits of taking higher levels of Warzone Control.)

Reducing the size of each warzone would create a more volatile environment, decreasing the number of systems it takes to increase your Faction's Warzone Control Tier.
….


Here are a couple of thoughts:

First, your change makes faction war much more contrived like null sec currently is. Lets upgrade our systems so our enemies have more military complexes in our space. Hopefully you will agree that notion is the one that is mainly contrived for game play purposes. Why would there be a bunch of amarr military complexes in minmatar space?

Second, the whole idea of reducing the size of the war zone seems completely distinct from any of the original problems you proposed. Moreover, since I prefer smaller scale pvp I much prefer the larger warzone. The station lock outs make things blobby enough.

Third, what will lead to balance here? Why would anyone want to fight for the losing side? They will not be able to dock in most of their mission hubs and the mission pay would be bad anyway. Plus they would get no lp for offensive plexing.

Fourth I like the less static lp store. I like that it fluctuates quite a bit. However I don’t think the losing sides lp store should ever go below the preinferno base.


That said I am somewhat sympathetic. Although I think CCPs balance idea of no lp for defensive plexing is really great the way it is based off of selfishness. In the same token it does seem a bit heavy handed as implemented.

I mean it would be one thing if you could defend plexes by actually defending plexes in pvp when they are attacked. But as a practical matter due to ninja plexing you can't. Plexing is mainly a pve game until the system gets to @80% contested.

However if the minmatar rats in the complexes did notify you when plexes were being attacked then you could defend them. By defending them and chasing the invaders out you would then save yourself the payless job of having to orbit buttons to uncontest the system.

So in sum I think CCP should stick to their current economic plan but make it so the defenders can actually defend every plex that is attacked by letting them know when and where they are attacked.

Make faction war occupancy pvp instead of pve https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=53815&#post53815

Kalicor Lightwind
Garoun Investment Bank
Gallente Federation
#11 - 2012-06-09 03:00:49 UTC
I was in a fleet with Susan a few nights ago when she brought this up and I had some counter-suggestions to go along with this:

Defensive Plexing: Grant half the LP as offensive plexing, possibly only regaining LP lost from offensive plexers.
System Upgrading: Increases the quality (more unknown/militiary sites) and quantity of scan signatures. This means neutrals/enemies can benefit from the system upgrade as well - but wouldn't they theoretically do so in null as well (providing they don't get esploded)?
X Gallentius
Black Eagle5
#12 - 2012-06-11 17:20:36 UTC
Overall, I fear this proposal will lead to significantly less ship limited combat, and ship limited combat is what plexes are supposed to be about.

1. Discourages mixing of opposing forces on day to day basis. Each side will stick to their own systems to farm.

2. Alts will farm backwater systems. Players will create unskilled alt in opposing militia to cap a plex, and then run the defensive plex with their main. Nobody else in FW will care since doing so will not affect occupancy.

3. Unless it is a serious attempt by one side to take the other side's system, then plex warfare will cease to exist. The home system team will let the other side cap some plexes so that they can farm them at a later time in the day.

Inspiration
#13 - 2012-06-11 18:52:47 UTC
As I read it, it's an odd system indeed.

You would think the "loosing" faction would give out higher LP payouts to regain territory control, which intrinsically would have more value then just the LP the players can earn. On the other hand the prices in the LP shop should get more expensive at the same time as there is less territory to produce the items in the shop.

When you want to cash in on LP it would then be best to control as many system as you can, while when earning LP you would want to be the underdog. But you will have to deal with risk of many more hostiles in your system as the underdog.

Now that would be proper balance, now....everyone can go to one side and reap maximum benefits with no real reason at all to fight over. Given there is good money in FW, new players will simply move to join in on the winning side.

Call me nuts, but that is how i perceive the mechanics...it doesn't make sense to me!

I am serious!

Bienator II
madmen of the skies
#14 - 2012-06-11 19:00:18 UTC
the current system has double penalties. You not only have a basically worthless LP shop if you are "behind" you also have less LP gain as the opposing faction.

Together with the fact that defensive actions are basically without befefits for the individual (e.g defensive plexing) you could argue that the system is designed to get out of balance and stick in that state forever ;)

how to fix eve: 1) remove ECM 2) rename dampeners to ECM 3) add new anti-drone ewar for caldari 4) give offgrid boosters ongrid combat value

Ravyn Antollare
Dead Space Continuum
#15 - 2012-06-12 00:17:36 UTC
The current system is a hopeless, broken mess. I would never - and I mean never - again waste my time Defensive Plexing. Period. It is a double loss - triple if you are podded while doing it, as I was. Let me explain:

Defensive Plexing offers no rewards. Zero. No Isk. No LP. Nothing. This is lost time. Secondly, this loss is time - limited by RL obligations - that I could have spent profiting from endeavors in EVE. Any time spent not earning a profit in EVE is all loss, all RISK, and no reward. Plainly not worthwhile.

Then there is the matter of getting blown up while Defensive Plexing. And don't claim the Rats help; they don't. I trusted in their help against one single Amarr Frigate and got wasted before I could even get my ship firing. That quick. They just sat there.

So yeah, defensive plexing has risks. And no rewards. And frankly as gaming goes - and this goes double for EVE - any event that consumes time and offers risk without reward is a plain no brainer issue. You avoid it. Plain and simple.

Defensive Plexing has to offer some incentive. Period. As it is now, I will never do it again. No point. Literally.
Muad 'dib
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#16 - 2012-06-12 07:09:09 UTC
There is no attraction to join a losing side.

The loser has little isk from the plex they take in offensive plexing and nothing to gain from retaining a system via de contesting, bar docking privileges in that system.

Since the solar systems are as were as they were before the patch, where no extra rewards were gained, there is no neutral stand point to begin the new war with the new mechanics. No new players, bar those just wanting pvp targets, while having out of fw isk income, would ever join a losing side - esp one so far behind.

Think about a large force fighting on the same terms as a smaller force, reinforced by their numbers and systems of operation, over night having all the aces.

It would be like fighting a war where an external force (ccp) hands the larger force bazookas while the outnumbered defenders only have the catapults they had before and the real kicker is the catapults cost more to buy than the bazookas. On top of this issue you have numbers of men joining the larger side to benefit from their cheap weapons, making those weapons even cheaper as well as every player having more isk to buy them too.

Ive whined way too much about this already: the fact ccp think that everything is fine and did not see the writing on the wall despite many dedicated players pointing this out before, is very uninspiring and does nothing to give hope to the side trying to run uphill with no isk or good ships to do so properly.

As to the pvp aspect, i do not believe we have seen much of a rise in pvp action and while more players join the winning side, simply exacerbates the situation further.

thats why i call this fw pve nightmare 'sovcursions', all the isk and blobtastic forces associated with incursions coupled with the sovereignty issues and all in low sec while the neutrals run free picking off both sides as they please.

fighting for your side has never been more worthless or demoralizing if you have t2 or less upgrades or many systems to base good offensive fights from.

Cosmic signature detected. . . . http://i.imgur.com/Z7NfIS6.jpg I got 99 likes, and this post aint one.

Cearain
Plus 10 NV
It Burns When I'm PvPing
#17 - 2012-06-12 14:10:36 UTC
Ravyn Antollare wrote:
The current system is a hopeless, broken mess. I would never - and I mean never - again waste my time Defensive Plexing. Period. It is a double loss - triple if you are podded while doing it, as I was. Let me explain:

Defensive Plexing offers no rewards. Zero. No Isk. No LP. Nothing. This is lost time. Secondly, this loss is time - limited by RL obligations - that I could have spent profiting from endeavors in EVE. Any time spent not earning a profit in EVE is all loss, all RISK, and no reward. Plainly not worthwhile......


Many in faction war would be happy if a wartarget came in to pvp. If you killed that frigate you would have gotten some lp for the kill.

Lots of people enter faction war expressly for the pvp. Not many wanted it to be designed as a carebear's dream where you are in it to maximize isk per hour.

As for the rewards for defensive plexing it helps the faction as a whole - including yourself. But yeah you would be better off if you could catch the offensive plexers before they finish a plex instead of having to orbit a button to undue the plex they captured. This is how the system is balanced.

Make faction war occupancy pvp instead of pve https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=53815&#post53815

Hans Jagerblitzen
Ice Fire Warriors
#18 - 2012-06-12 15:13:07 UTC
Remember everyone, this isn't a generalized discussion of the changes, or about defensive plexing, the OP has a very specific proposal that she is looking for feedback on, lets try to keep the dialogue on topic.

CPM0 Chairman / CSM7 Vice Secretary