Lunchtime Post: A Different Approach to FW

Would have been a lunchtime post, except my lunch got interrupted. Welp.

Part of the changes in Kronos were aimed at Faction Warfare. The NPCs found in the complex got a serious buff to their capabilities and actually respawn as they were (I believe) originally intended to. The point of the change was to put a damper on the heavily stabbed semi-AFK plex farming. Unfortunately – at least, going by what I’m hearing from regular participants – the new NPCs put a crimp on active players as well. Someone comes in and jumps you and having this annoying NPC glued to your ass is not helpful, right?

So we’ve swung back the other way, I guess. What about a third option?

What if, instead of a timer and NPC spawns, orbiting a FW plex button meant that you’d have to beat the hacking minigame a few times?

I originally pitched this as a troll, but after letting it roll around I think there’s actually quite a bit of merit to the idea. What I’m thinking:

  • Every so often (say five minutes for sake of argument), if no hostile players are within capture range of the button, you have the hacking minigame presented to you automatically (no module required) opportunity to make a hacking attempt presented to you in an obvious but non-intrusive way. In some handwavey way anyone in FW will functionally have max skills and equipment, so you won’t actually have to have the skills or equipment. “Something something militia pilots issued automated hacking routines something something lore.”
  • Beat the game, get capture points towards flipping the complex. The idea would be to tune this so it wouldn’t take any longer than it does now, if you’re successful with your hacks. Larger complexes obviously take more capture points (and thus more successful hacks and more time) to flip.
  • Capture points are tied to ship size & type. A Tech I frigate would capture a complex just as fast as is possible now (success caveat still applies), but a Tech II or faction frigate could do it a bit faster.
  • Since larger ships would capture faster still, there’d be a bit more incentive to bring those larger ships into the larger complexes in the first place. Alternatively, this could allow multiple players to execute hacking attempts at once (perhaps capped by number of simultaneous attempts it’d take to capture the complex in one cycle), encouraging or at least rewarding cooperation. Both are probably worthwhile goals.
  • And finally, as an extra measure of “fuck you” to the stabbed farmers that I know all the FW pilots hate so much, WCS could give a very large penalty to the assumed level of your hacking skills. After all, you need a fast, responsive uplink to carry out a remote hacking attack, and WCS mess with your scanning & transmission capabilities!

So, stabbed farming nerfed if not killed off outright, minimal impediment to PvP, rewards bringing larger ships or working together – all upsides, I’d think. There’s still more room to play around with rewarding grouping or use of larger ships, too, like an LP bonus for X successful hacks executed within a certain window of time or for simply being in a larger ship.

I imagine some people simply do not like the hacking game period. Aside from that, though, any reason to dislike the idea?

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13 thoughts on “Lunchtime Post: A Different Approach to FW

  1. I like the idea, but I think that we could have another way of fixing it that includes what you said. So when you ” Hack the terminal ” you are actually hacking a signal that sends an all clear message out. When you successfully hack, it tells the enemy faction that there are no enemies, so you only end up killing that one NPC. But if you miss a hack, then you have to fight again. some people go out with salvagers so fighting the NPC’s gives a chance at a bit more loot to sell / make things with. This would of course all be for Offensive Plexing.

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    • When offering ideas to CCP, it’s always best to reuse already available mechanics and to not make the system ridiculously complex.

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  2. I like it better than the situation as it stands now.

    I’ve run a few plexes with moderate difficulty on my own (I usually fly DPS-heavy blaster brawlers though, which do better against the insane new active-tanked rats than anything else). Usually I fly in groups of 2-3 to plex, which makes it less frustrating. But our newbros have had a lot of difficulty with the plex rats, making FW a frustrating endeavour for them, when it used to be a game mechanic that welcomed new players.

    I’m glad players can’t cloak in capture range of plexes now, and I would welcome changes that shift the meta away from stabbed farmers and towards the people that live and fight in factional warfare.

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  3. Just modify the rat slightly

    Make it small so that it takes a good while (but not impossible) to lock if you got stabs fitted.
    Does little/no dps
    Has a tank that requires an appropriate amount of dps to break
    Does not auto agress

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  4. Not a fan of a hacking mini game. What is the problem here? Having an NPC spawn as you are fighting? Easy to solve.

    The respawn timer is apparently random but nether the less its still a countdown. The capture of a plex pauses if there is an enemy player in there with you. So why not link the NPC respawn timer to the capture timer. If you are alone, both run. If an enemy player enters, they both pause.

    The only risk is if a NPC rat spawns a few seconds before an enemy ship enters the plex. Then again going on the offensive is supposed to be harder than being on the defensive!

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  5. I think they should make the plex timer tug of war winner gets the lp. Id say bubble the button but Thats gonna cost pods. some kind of u cant warp off this close to plex effect would be nice. Then reduce the number of plexs and have a way for fw people to tell if a plex is under attack from anywhere in system. This would also make defensive plexing more strategic for people that want to keep their FW system. FW should be about pvp fights not NPCs ive always hated any NPC in their plex. I like the mini games for data and relic sites, Id like them to be different games. However once again FW should be about PvP, if they dont care enough to come defend the plex they lose out on the LP in that system till the next one spawns.

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  6. What’s the issue with NPC respawns? How exactly are they hurting PvP? I’ve seen a lot of whining on the forums, but aside from a vocal minority I’m not seeing a huge impact. The tanks on small rats in particular might need to be adjusted – 75dps being hard to hit in low skill kiting or missile ships – but aside from that everything seems to be working well. Assuming that the design intent wasn’t for T1 low skill frigates to be able to run all plexes equally well of course.

    While this might seem like a nice change, it puts things back in the main+alts category of play. You send in your main to clear the plexes in a system, park low skill alts in naked / brick boats. No modules or skills needed for the hacking game, so just set an egg timer to alt+tab back every 5 minutes or so to beat the easy hacking game. Since the modules / virus strength / etc are innate to all FW pilots, it’s only player skill that matters – not character skill.

    In short, Malcanis’ Law definitely applies. This would make it far easier for folks to multibox alts in FW plexes and undo a good bit of the progress that has been made. Since no modules or particular skills are required – indeed, don’t even need to fit guns if you’ve got a main to clear for you – accepting the death of the alt becomes an optimal strategy. In essence, you’ll get OPlex rewards for deplex level effort / skill / investment.

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  8. From my POV there are two main problems with the new rats for active players looking for combat.

    1. Tank is unbreakable with many common kite fits, restricting options for player pvp (bad).
    2. Added DPS can, and will, tip the scales in many fights. Frigate fights are often a “race to the finish” with both ships ending the fight in structure.

    These issues seem pretty easy to solve:

    1. Give rats a decent buffer tank instead of active (obnoxious for farmers, but not impossible for kite fits)
    2. Rats are not aggressive (can’t suddenly spawn and cause you to lose a fight you might have won). They do, however, stop the plex timer while they are active.

    Many players will just say “adapt”, but IMO anything that restricts viable pvp tactics is a bad change. As someone outside faction warfare that goes into plexes looking for a fight, I want to see variety, not the same blaster ship every time. Not to mention that the cookie-cutter blaster boat is going to warp away from everything since it’s fit is too predictable. FW is all about counter-counter fitting.

    As for the hacking game, it’s terrible. The type of people that do faction warfare correctly are not the type of people that enjoy that mechanic. And the only thing worse than battling an OP rat when a player shows up would be having that miserable interface up on your screen distracting you from dscan and obscuring your view. It’s a good troll though. :)

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  9. Let players know when and where plex timers are are being (on a map or some other way) so they can defend them themselves. We shouldn’t rely on npcs or a hacking mini-game. We should rely on pvp.

    This combined with timerollbacks and fw is fixed. You can even get rid of the npcs altogether.

    CCP said they would do both of these back about a year ago. I wonder if they are still working on it.

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