Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Search for the Holy Grail.... of PvP

"He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the Holy Grail in the Castle of..... aaaarrggghhhhhh" 
The Last Words of Joseph of Aramathea.

Are we asking too much? Does what we want actually exist in Eve Online? To be honest I don't know.

What do we want? We want a fight! But an equal fight, a good fight. Not a fight were we engage an Amarr militia fleet and suddenly there are hundreds of them coming out of the woodwork from seemingly nowhere (seriously, where do they all come from?). Not a fight verses one of the big pirate alliances where 2 minutes into the battle they light a cyno and titan bridge reinforcements onto our heads. Not a fight where if you deploy carriers you can expect 52 super-carriers to land 24 seconds later and melt them all in a swarm of fighter-bombers.

We had the "ideal" two years ago in the Gallente/Caldari faction warzone. After a period of Caldari dominance the tide was turning. The formation of the MDP had given the Gallente a force to be reckoned with. There was plenty of small to medium gang warfare. At times it was as high as 100 vs 100. Soloing was always an option in Black Rise. It was a great time. Then the wheel turned and the Gallente had dominance. We were getting some great fights but soon this was moving into a period of wiping the Caldari fleets with the greatest of ease. Caldari activity dropped off. To make things worse some of their better FC's went to 0.0 or worst of all, swapped sides, accelerating the decline of the Caldari Militia. From early summer 2010 onwards, some might say it started before that, we saw a slow death for the Gallente/Caldari warzone in our opinion.

There WAS a Squid There

So Shadows of the Federation started looking elsewhere. We had a short-term move down to NPC 0.0 space to help some friends who were being attacked. A potential for some proper PvP! This was also seen as a dual-opportunity, we hoped with us not around in Black Rise the Caldari might start getting a foothold back in FW. We thought it might have been an issue with us living at that time only 2 jumps from their hi-sec staging area of Nourv, it might tempt them out more if we left for a bit. That month in NPC 0.0 space should have been fun. The "Faction war noobs" verses big, scary 0.0 alliances. We thought that we'd need to up our game as many of us ventured into the unknown area of scary null-sec. But no, we didn't need to "up" anything. We were vastly disappointed in the PvP abilities of those we found in Syndicate. Our killboard efficiency in the campaigns was higher than we'd ever got in Faction War. Every time I log on there is always some Eve mails or notifications to deal with. The "surrender mails" for corps dropping from those alliances started making up half of the daily clear out back then.

It was clear to us that Syndicate was not for us. The alliances were generally carebears and couldn't compete with us, the "Faction War Noobs".

As we were wondering what to do next, the Caldari had not taken the opportunity to advance in Black Rise, we got an offer from R.A.G.E. alliance who were part of the NC. Plenty of action was promised, our own system, we could build a station and PvP was everywhere. So we packed up and moved over to Vale of Silence. We ratted, we ran complexes and we sat in POS shields for hours staring at a titan being told "Any minute now...." only to get blue-balled and disband. There was no medium PvP. It was either fairly rare solo fights or small gangs plus the usual 900 man blob/lag fest whilst shooting a station/iHub/SBU/POS etc. However, I did get the "kill mail" on a station! For those of you who have never experienced attacking a 0.0 station, 1 - be glad, 2 - it takes ages and 3 - the corp of the person who lands the "final blow" gets control of the station. But it was clear 0.0 sov-holding-megablob-warfare wasn't for us. So we packed up, sold our station to another corp and moved back to faction war... which was still pretty dead.

I feel a useful and integrated part of this iHub shoot op.... in my little BS!

Next we tried an alliance with Wolfsbrigade and headed into a new area of low-sec. We had some active war decs and limited piracy (sec status cap of -1.9) and basically cleared the area. The alliances we were deccing simply moved out after a few weeks of fighting. To be fair we were doing 20 v 20 engagements and not losing a ship on our side and killing 90% of them. So we moved again to the Amamake area and dropped the sec status cap. The Amamake area was well known as a PvP hotspot. And as pirates in the middle of that, surely we'd get what we're looking for. It got a bit better, but differences of opinions and play-styles between the two corps ended the fledging Alliance.

Which brings us up to where we are now.

The trouble with being a ebil piwat is that everyone shoots you. So here we are, sat between the Amarr Militia and the Minmatar Militia. Having both sides gang up on us, Rooks and Kings dropping us and being generally outnumbered (especially after the split with WBR).... but never out-gunned. The other night was a good example. We were having a small fight (3v2) and my Hurricane got popped, I reshipped in the next system but before I got back the Amarr had quadrupled their numbers and we had some Minmatar militia hovering at a pounce hoping to shoot some ebil piwats!

Why are we having issues currently? There are a few reasons. Firstly because everyone wants to shoot a piwat (which is not always a bad thing). Secondly, it's also summer so many of our members are doing more fun stuff and getting tans (we generally recruited casual gamers in the past, not hardcore gamers). Thirdly we've been losing numbers slowly with all the moving and switching directions during the last 7/8 months seeking the "grail". Also some people just don't want to go -5 or lower. So our current 10-20 man fleets (down from 30-50) are engaging other 10-20 man fleets only to have the opposing fleet double in size within a minute of the engagement starting.

So what can we do? Apparently Gallente/Caldari FW is dead and full of mission runners in Manticores. There is some action on the Amarr/Minmatar side, but is it really enough? Piracy can be a PITA to be honest and being in an active area means small gang and solo is difficult. Low-sec wardecs don't appear to work as the otherside just moves on. Our experience of 0.0 is its either lag-fest-mega-blob-warfare or carebears who think they are vastly superior to the "Faction war noobs" but soon find out no, they are not.

It would be nice to have FW "fixed" because let’s face it; it's not working properly is it? It's full of mission runners in cloaky ships and not enough PvP players. Plexing and capturing systems is worthwhile because it gives you.... erm.... OK it's not worthwhile in the slightest unless you want to grind faction standings, that one time. If it was fixed more people would use it. PvP corps would return and once you have the critical mass of players on each side, you've got it sorted!

A few ideas to revamp FW and attract people to it:-

- FW missions. Make it so you cannot cash in those missioning LP's without sufficient kills of the opposing militia. You get LP for killing other players so can we separate the "missioning in a cloaky ship" LP's and the LP's for "killing opposing militia members"? Two types of LP and to buy items in the LP store and you need a certain amount of both. No point joining the militia to just run missions then, you've got to do some PvP! 250,000 missioning LP plus 1000 LP from killing opposing milita to get your Navy Domi?

- Increase LP rewards for player kills. There is a huge disparity between LP's awarded for PvP and those awarded for mission running. Surely taking down several enemy capsuleers in expensive ships is worthy of more than what we are given currently? If I was to solo a Titan belonging to a rank 10 member of an opposing militia I'd only get slightly more than I used to get running a single mission. Soloing a Marauder or Black-Ops piloted by a rank 10 member of the opposing militia I get 2000 LP's. I used to easy get 12x that from a single mission from a good agent. To put it another way, I'd need to solo 50 t1 battleships piloted by people who didn't Plex to get the same LP's as a single decent mission. Turn it around, FW should reward PVP not missioning in cloaky ships! (*these calculations are based from a year ago when I was in militia, with the agent quality changes I'm not sure how close they are now)

- PLEXing. If you are in a militia and your militia occupies the system you get buffs. Have the Command Bunker give some bonus' like a warfare linked Command Ship. Reduced POS fuel requirements for those POS' owned by militia corps when the system occupation is yours. Reduced prices for militia pilots for repairs at stations in systems controlled by your militia. Make owning a system worthwhile and not just for spamming in local "na-nanana-na we captured your system! ha-ha-ha-ha!!".

- Stop Fighter-Bombers in low-sec. Bring back cap warfare without the fear of being wtfpwn by super carriers. A Titans DD device won't work in low-sec. For the same ISK investment, are the fighter-bombers from 4 or 5 SC's so different in terms of melting capitals?

- Fix the faction hit when repping a GCC/-0.5. When you are in militia and you rep a corp/militia mate who is GCC/-0.5 you take a standings hit to the faction. Seriously, after all this time WHY IS THIS STILL HERE?

However, who knows if FW will ever get some loving. Doubtful it'll be in the short term as 0.0 is getting some next, again. How many 0.0 revamps has there been since FW was introduced. Three? Oh well, I guess we'll just have to keep on looking for that grail of ours.

The 100,000,000 ISK question is, where in New Eden can we find a place where:-

  • 20-30 man gangs are roaming the area most nights (EU TZ).
  • Plenty of small gang action.
  • Where you can solo PvP.
  • Where you can make a bit of ISK to replace those ships you have lost in PvP.

 Anyone out there know.....?

1 comment:

  1. You know, I thought with Incarna when more fully deployed,creating an interface for a sort of PVP fight while in station, and you can bet large amount of isk, or maybe pink slips for the ship being used in question. you could do it as a 1v1, or larger.
    You could then end up with high sec PVP zones. say a station per region or something, that puts on these games. Maybe it would cause less lag?
    Then your normal roams, fleet fights and all that are purely for faction wars or corp/alliance wars.
    The station one would just be a sort of 15 minute fast PVP one, for people who log on with limited time. it a thought.