Faction Warfare – Predator or Prey


What is it about Faction Warfare that makes it so appealing to guys like me? At a glance, Faction Warfare is much like the old school frigate fighting tournaments that used to pepper the New Eden horizon. The only difference is, in service, you come to learn really quickly that every time you undock you are committing to an impending fight. There is no audience; you do not get to watch.

This article would be different than my last, I wouldn’t be writing about the crusade I was watching from afar; I would be flying personally. The last time around, I had conflicting priorities. NBSI (Not Blue Shoot It) is the Swarm. If you are found fleeting with neutrals and enemies, or even are suspected of it, you could find yourself in a very bad place. Nuked, then exiled. Trust me, it happens more than you think. I found a corp sanctioned by the swarm for the purpose of FW, it’s run by a group called Welp Squad who now also have a few articles about their shenanigans. This time, the story will be my story, not some jumbled list of names some dudes threw together, and a scroll through zKillboard.

Few million ISK here, few million ISK there

My journey started off in Dodoxie. After linking up with Welp Squad’s Gal-Mil corp, I purchased a few brand new Catalysts, and fit them in varying degrees of gank vs tank. I even fit one for cap stability, which let me tell you, is a bad choice regardless of what you are fighting. Most fights last less than a minute, but you know for the sake of completeness, I fit one anyway. I also picked up a few Navy Issue Maulus, various degrees of tank and gank, and even a few pimp fits here and there.  The first fit I tried while waiting for a corp invite was an Atron, which didn’t seem to have the damage output to do anything but the novice plexes. And let me tell you: inevitably I ended up slag. I had bought a few Tristans that I didn’t really intend to use. I popped a few skill injectors and instantly moved up to a destroyer. I would be doing this article as a Gallente Alpha, much like my trials with the Blood Stained Stars. The destroyer opened up small and medium plexes for me. It also closed off my ability to engage war targets hiding in novice plexes. My first destroyer build was a token Algos; I got my first true taste of the faction warfare in this ship.

I found a little AFK core-stabilized Merlin. He must have been botting because he warped out of the plex but ended up sitting on the acceleration gate when I went back looking for him. I put my drones on him and made quick work of his little terribly fit Merlin. This Algos I quickly abandoned as it didn’t seem to have the DPS to break the State ships in the plex, which at the time seemed relevant to me. It would have been different if I was in an Omega clone, but I decided again to run with this trusty Gallente Alpha clone and see how viable it really was to do this and learn PVP as an Alpha this way. Whatever the outcome would be, there was no lack of a fight; my first was here.

They were waiting for easy prey. It wasn’t me.

It happened on the Teimo gate in Kedama, a little lowsec system after a highsec, essentially a point of tension in the region. There were three Merlin and a Bantam on the gate. They weren’t war targets, but they were flashing red at me all the same. Pirate hopefuls. I landed on the gate in a Serpentis-skinned catalyst, sleek black with chrome accents and instantly locked up all four. Two of them had not gained extremely low-security standings yet, but they were exuding the waft of salty noobs. Two of them were suspect, another true outlaw in a logi frigate surprisingly, and a neutral Merlin, all fleeted and waiting. We were sort of in a standoff: they weren’t sure whether or not to engage me on the gates, and I was hoping they would aggress so I could use the gate guns to bolster my attack. It didn’t work out like that exactly; I opened fire the same time as the Merlin but he was suspect, and my primary was flashing red; I was not. I started eating into the shields of the outlaw Bantam and he warped off; I started firing on the suspect ships one by one, the first warped, the second was not so fortunate, and the third was eaten entirely by the gate guns.

Now, this has little to do with Faction Warfare, but I had decided to ninja my way back to Hakonen and sell off some of my abandoned war chest assets and inject a bit more for more damage and survival purposes. None of this is relevant, I know, but it turns out to be the trip home. I had logged off my FW alpha alt and was back in the skin of my main. I sold off all of my #nopoors frigates and cruisers I had waiting for a welp that was just never coming. I still had my favorite Hecate left: Tech II fit with perfect align. It was skinned Serpentis, so it was all black and silver, and after a few minutes of Jita station spinning I decided to fly it home.

My trip was twenty plus jumps, most of which through high and low with the last chain in nullsec. You know, the usual. The ship was fast and as you know, has amazing DPS. Real men hull tank, and this is one ship that makes perfect sense to do it in. Along my path, in one of the first of Nullsec systems. I ran across a Gal Mil pilot in a Harpy. Immediately, he went for kiting range and started yellow boxing. I had just no choice; before I could type out “I don’t wanna burn you down,” he had gone for my jugular.

I reacted and started barreling towards him. My shields melted off quickly into armor. I webbed and scrambled him, slowing him down quite a bit, but once in range, he scrammed me slowing me down as well. The low transversal was going to be my noose, he had burned through half my armor and by now was surely hoping I was armor tanked and about to be dead. I managed to catch him and over-heated everything, all out. I had switched modes from speed to sharpshooting, now I was in defense mode, praying the jump in resists coupled with my T2 DCU would make for enough hull to finish him. My hybrids now had the optimal range to start hitting him, and what once was going to be my noose would now be my salvation as my hybrids finally started producing the DPS to give him the fear. It came down really to a matter of moments. This AF was about to kick my ass in my T3D. I should be ashamed of myself. Believe me, I am. Fortunately, even though he dictated the start of the fight, he burned while I was in hull. What can I say; real men hull tank.

I really had to hand it to the guy.

Regardless of him melting under the hybrids, the dude was good. Had I been in anything less OP than a T3D against a frigate, he would have truly ruined my day. That’s the skill of these FW pilots. They get infinitely more solo fights than a normal nullsec guy. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I get a solo fight—looking at you Cigar Rette. They are great when I do, but usually, meh, usually the fights I am apart of is that of the whatever fleet I surely must be whoring a pap from. These guys get more fights too, just all around. I won’t say they are better. Nothing is more epic than grand scale battles that matter. That said, these micro fights are intense and honestly white-knuckle; there is a vast difference between Johnny Crowe and my FW alpha pilot. I have infinitely more room for error with Johnny. Their fleets are also smaller, and I don’t want to say more purpose driven, but there aren’t as many “let’s go blow off steam” roams up on fleet finders and such. Mayhaps I wasn’t in the “in-circle,” but that’s just my general experience with it.

Better than a VNI alt.

Let’s discuss the ISK per time ratio. It’s actually, for Gal Mil, pretty damn good. It’s better than a plus one VNI, trust me, especially at tier three or so. So the ISK is definitely able to sustain a new pilot who likes to PVP and tends to lose ships. There are also missions, which when blitzed are also pretty good. I’ve heard there are some fits out there requiring a bit of injecting and such that will allow you to blitz these level 4 FW missions at a speed that makes them comparable to running sites in a carrier. Some of these fits and routes you’ll just have to figure out for yourself. There is also the cool factor, flying through enemy space, the enemy faction announcing your presence in system and all of that system knowing you’re a threat to their peace and happiness. Even though the enemy faction is against you, they really don’t CONCORD you, or really chase and scram you. It’s actually pretty manageable.

Meh, it’s not all peaches.

All in all, Faction Warfare is something that is all around good for someone looking to cut their teeth in combat. In the long run? I’m not sure it’s entirely sustainable fun. I’ve been pretty positive about FW for most of this article but it does have some cons. First being the dudes who bot and just leave the beacon all stabbed up when you enter system. Orbiting the button and fleeing when fights comes happens to be the best way to continue making ISK. The missions are rubbish and utterly blitzable (I know I listed it as a pro as well, but to somebody it’s surely a con). The whole thing just seems stale, the teams are predictable, most guys just joining the winning team with zero incentives to join a losing one. All in all, I’ll only keep my alpha clone in Gal Mil as a way to replace all the VNIs I lose out in Goonland.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing you all out there while I’m orbiting a button.

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  • Pew Pew

    That’s cool.

    I wonder if there is some way to incentivise not running from a fight. Like maybe once you start orbiting a beacon if you warp out before it finishes you have to pay a penalty or something. Nothing too harsh but just a little nudge to make it better to stay and fight.

    October 2, 2017 at 9:10 AM
    • Alaric Faelen Pew Pew

      delete warp core stabs from the game. Problem solved.

      October 2, 2017 at 2:09 PM
      • Rolfski Alaric Faelen

        Ewar counter measures is a legit meta. Warp core stabs are not different in that regard.

        October 3, 2017 at 3:08 PM
        • Alaric Faelen Rolfski

          Except that all EWAR modules are offensive modules that require targeting and activating on another player- while stabs are simply a ‘coward module’ to run from a fight without consequence.
          Stabs do not create a combat timer. Even using ECM drones to run away requires engaging the other player, and flag the player as a combatant. Bringing with it consequences such not allowing the player to jump or dock immediately and logging out leaves your ship in space.
          Simple fix- only allow stabs on industrial class ships. Nothing that can fit guns has any excuse for mounting stabs. If you want to run away, throw out ECM drones and take your combat flag. (or better yet, stop running away from fights in a ‘war’).

          October 4, 2017 at 12:49 PM
          • Rolfski Alaric Faelen

            In PVP there should be a counter to everything. It’s the basic principle of rock-paper-scissors and what defines the meta in this game. And it’s not that warp core stabs don’t have disadvantages to them.

            October 5, 2017 at 2:38 PM
          • Alaric Faelen Rolfski

            Well the counter to being shot is…shooting back.

            Stabs have the disadvantage of targeting time, which is moot when all you are doing is running away.

            October 5, 2017 at 9:34 PM
          • Rolfski Alaric Faelen

            “Shooting back” is not a counter, that’s simply not how game design works. Warp core stabs are designed to be defensive, the targeting penalties are there to prevent offensive exploits.

            And they have even bigger disadvantages, which is giving up a valuable low slot to protect against only a sing warp disruptor. Which means outside FW they’re basically useless. And within FW, where giving up a low slot makes all the difference, they’re far from being OP.

            October 6, 2017 at 12:00 AM
          • Alaric Faelen Rolfski

            Did you really just say that shooting back isn’t a counter to being shot at…in a war? Seriously? Let’s review……war, a state of conflict defined by open hostility and combat.
            Except for FW, where it’s a state of running away apparently.
            And a whole low slot…wow. How can you manage to undock with a whole low slot not taken up by…..a fitting mod? A damage mod? What exactly is that low slot missing that ‘makes all the difference?’
            If using a stab is screwing yourself, then you’ve just made my point for me. Try fitting guns. Try being a threat. Or I dunno, maybe a soldier in this….what was it called again, oh yeah a WAR.
            All your excuses for coward modules falls flat. It’s a cancer on content, a cancer on conflict, and removes the ‘war’ from Factional Warfare.
            They are FARMING modules. Because you sure aren’t fighting, and that just leaves farming.

            October 6, 2017 at 3:30 AM
          • Rolfski Alaric Faelen

            In game design, a hard counter means game assets that are stats wise specifically designed to do well other assets. In this case, warp core stabs are a counter to warp disruptors and not specifically designed for “shooting back”, aka out-dps your enemy. How hard is that for you to understand?

            And especially in FW, where it often comes down to 1 vs 1 frigate PVP, missing that low slot definitely can mean just falling short in tank or dps and getting blown up just before your enemy goes down. Having to give up a low slot module like Damage Control II for instance can make a huge difference in your PVP survivability.

            October 6, 2017 at 7:31 PM
          • Alaric Faelen Rolfski

            It’s NOT 1v1 when 1 of them is just running away. 1 v1 implies an actual battle.
            It’s one person trying to fight a war, the other is just a farmer. it’s one person trying to engage in combat content in a PvP based MMO, and the other is just a non-interactive farmer.
            All the contribution to the game of a bot. At least the NPC bots will actually fire their guns.

            October 7, 2017 at 6:23 AM
          • Rolfski Alaric Faelen

            Defensive/evasive play is totally legit in this game. Your suggestion that everybody should engage is ridiculous.

            October 7, 2017 at 1:38 PM
          • Alaric Faelen Rolfski

            And your suggestion that a war is fought by running away is…..well glorified botting.
            We get it, you’re a farmer, not a warrior. You contribute as much to the game as any bot. CCP could remove you and just put in a random timer that pops up alerting actual fighters to warp to a plex to stop said timer. The result would be the exact same. One guy looking to fight….in a war….but getting blueballed and being bored.
            I’ll meet you half-way, keep stabs in the game, but remove any LP payout for running a plex with a ship with them mounted. You’ll still move the control index for your side and impact the war, but you will receive reward in line with your risk/effort.
            There, I fixed FW. You’re welcome

            October 7, 2017 at 1:51 PM
          • Rolfski Alaric Faelen

            Apparently you’re just too stupid to understand the why of key modules and concepts in the game. That’s your loss, not mine.

            If you can’t understand that players are running these sites for income and not for PVP, then frankly you simply don’t understand this game at all. And punishing players for merely fitting a legit module is just utterly stupid game design.

            October 7, 2017 at 9:48 PM
          • Alaric Faelen Rolfski

            Apparently you’re too much of a coward to actually fight….in a war.
            But you said it best….income instead of PvP

            You’re a farmer. The worst kind of cancer in any game. Just another care bear. You could be replaced with a bot and it wouldn’t impact the game at all.
            Whatever, keep running away like a little girl. At least the local pirates will do what you lack the spine for.

            October 8, 2017 at 1:57 AM
          • Rolfski Alaric Faelen

            Ease up a little bro. Just because you refuse to understand key mechanics in this game doesn’t give you a reason to personally attack people as being “cancer”, based on completely bogus assumptions.

            If you’re frustrated with 100% legit mechanics in this game, then you should divert you rage against CCP, not to the players who just use the sandbox rules that have been given to them.
            You simply can’t dictate players how to play this game, it just doesn’t work like that. If anything, the only thing you will accomplish with this rage is players behaving even more “cowardly”, just to annoy the heck out of you and farm your tears.

            October 8, 2017 at 4:29 PM
          • Alaric Faelen Rolfski

            Farming is the cancer. Whether it’s you, or bots from some chinese gold farm sweatshop is irrelevant. Cancer is cancer.

            And since my original post said to delete warp core stabs from the game, something only CCP can do- it ought to go without saying that it is indeed a plea to CCP to clean up their game and take the trash out.

            The lowest form of gamer is the gold farmer. They contribute nothing, accomplish nothing, are completely lacking in value to the game. They are like that little bit of food that gets stuck between teeth- best excised and simply discarded. CCP’s failing (indeed all game devs) is allowing them to exist in the first place.
            If that content is ‘war’ then allowing it to be wasted on cowards and farmers is simply bad development. It defeats the purpose of the content by allowing people to work the system rather than play the game.

            I’ll meet you halfway. Only allow stabs on industrial ships. The only ships that have any legitimate claim to their use. There, now you can continue to be a gold farmer and run away like a girl. That is if you can align and hit warp in time.
            Or, make it so you have to target and actively engage a stab for it to overcome the warp disruption- thereby forcing the player to actively engage the other guy (and generating the same timers as combatants.

            Any of that would be an improvement over the embarrassment that is the current state of FW and it’s….lol…warriors.

            October 8, 2017 at 10:53 PM
      • Adam Wicklam Alaric Faelen

        This has been talked about a lot on Calmil comms. Bit don’t take them out, just making them unable to activate inside a Plex with in a certain range

        October 3, 2017 at 9:10 PM