FW Leaders Agree to Moratorium on Mission Farming

Quendan 2019-10-05

Header Art by Redline XIII

Leaders of major corporations and alliances active in the Minmatar-Amarr Faction Warfare (FW) zone have agreed to not contest systems that contain lowsec FW agents to curb mission farming, a recent Reddit post has revealed. This moratorium is intended for three months, lasting until January 1, 2020, and serves to gather data on whether members of the zone are willing to take up PvP when the income-creation aspects of faction warfare are curbed. 

Mission Farming

Faction warfare mission farming is a PvE activity with a moderate to high ISK/hour potential, whereby the mission runner accepts special missions for FW members from agents in specific systems throughout the war zone. This is often done on multiple characters for maximum impact. Players then fly their ‘pullers’ around to create an optimized sequence of mission site bookmarks. The player then uses a dedicated ‘runner’, often in a ship that is kitted to avoid PvP, to clear those missions and receive the Loyalty Point (LP) reward. LP can then be converted to ISK by buying items, such as faction modules, from the FW factions’ LP-store. The Minmatar-Amarr war zone is especially beset by such farmers, as the electronic warfare used by the mission NPCs is easily countered by mission runners.

Dedicated runners would switch their running activities based on a meso-economic cycle called the ‘Pendulum’. When a faction is successful in FW and gains systems, their FW tier increases on a 5-step scale, which in turn affects LP rewards from all FW activities. On the lowest tier, all LP rewards are reduced by 50%. On the highest Tier, LP rewards are increased by 225% from base. With more LP available, their value relative to ISK soon decreases, so that the value of LP store items of the leading faction plummets. Soon, farmers would switch to the weaker faction as their relative LP value increases. Active FW players of the leading faction would at one point not fight back against the defeated faction in order for their rewards from faction warfare to appreciate in value. This cycle has been the dominant motif in faction warfare for the last few years.

Faction Warfare spoils for PvP, not PvE

While other activities, such as conquering opposing installations (called plexing) or defeating enemy ships, also provide participants with LP, the amount is paltry compared to the potential reward from running missions. As a result, the high amount of LP available to mission runners increases the speed of the aforementioned Pendulum. As many of those farmers consider mission running a source of income and are not active participants of faction warfare, there is a sense among the FW player base that those runners profit off of the FW players’ efforts.

The decision to prevent access to FW missions to everyone is tenuous, since it also removes a potential ISK faucet to FW participants. With pure PvE as a source of faction warfare gone, however, the focus would shift to more PvP-enabling methods of LP generation, thus increasing the content in the war zone and making it more attractive for PvP players. Economically, we will likely see an increase of the relative value of both factions’ LP, and – if this deal is kept up – a flattening out of the value-over-time curve for LP.

In summary, this emergent gameplay should provide both economic and activity-related data to give teeth to dedicated FW players’ request, that FW missions be reworked as to contribute to the experience of FW, and not detract from it. 

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Comments

  • I’ve never lived in lowsec space, so FW is one aspect of the game I have very little understanding of, but why would CCP design the system to have automated content beyond a minimal element required to hook people in / give them a tutorial? Why wouldn’t the whole effort be based on PvP, since the whole point of the FW system is to give people an “instant action” button (or, as close as will ever exist in EVE, anyway) to entry-level PvP content?

    I thought literally the whole point of FW was that you could sign up, choose your commitment level by selecting from sites that are limited to various ship classes, and immediately start shooting people.

    October 5, 2019 at 3:19 pm
    • Libluini Ganthrithor

      I thought the same, but in practice plexing is a lot more “waiting around watching timers go down” than shooting people.

      Also most of the time you need to bounce around your safety bookmarks because your T1-breacher gets a visit by a Succubus with at least 3x the DPS.

      Sometimes my Solo-PVP alt feels like it’s the only character flying around in T1-frigates.

      Though on the other hand, this means the “PVP” is paying itself because I can generally finish 2-3 plexes before I mess up and someone catches me.

      Just sometimes I’d like someone to turn up in another T1 ship.

      October 5, 2019 at 4:43 pm
      • Sounds like they should ban faction variants, although based on PvP videos I’ve seen it seems like there are a lot of really bad faction hull pilots in FW 😀

        October 6, 2019 at 2:20 am
        • Libluini Ganthrithor

          Yeah, I think I nearly took down two Asteros with my T1-frigates already. Asteros are the one faction frigate I don’t run from, since I always think “Yeah, I could take them” when I see them on D-scan. Still “almost” of course, since I’m a bad pilot, too. :V

          October 6, 2019 at 11:24 am
    • Romulus Loches Ganthrithor

      This is often the exact problem, from what I’ve gathered by dabbling in FW, there are two dies; PvP and Mission Runners. The PvP side consists of the fights in the gated plexes, on gates, blowing up citadels, etc. This produces relatively very little LP though in the scheme of things.

      Mission Runners are the same as any old highsec mission except it takes place in lowsec and grants much more valuable LP. In theory these sites should be risky, but the majority can be run with a pair of jackdaws that have near insta-warp capabilities. This is where the majority of the LP comes from while contributing nothing to the actual mechanics of the warfare.

      October 6, 2019 at 6:26 am
      • Hmm. Sounds like “missions” should just be deleted :3

        October 7, 2019 at 2:32 am
        • Romulus Loches Ganthrithor

          Missions provide a certain type of play style, it’s just that trying to force missions into FW makes it completely unbalanced. I’m really hoping that this experiment works, and if it does, maybe CCP will consider just splitting the two entirely.

          October 7, 2019 at 4:55 am
    • Alaric Faelen Ganthrithor

      I’m certainly no FW guy, having only dabbled in it and it totally failing to capture my attention. But what I noticed was that there are a ton of plexes to run, and virtually no reason to fight over any given one.
      This is identical to null sec anoms really. There are tons of sites available, and none are individually worth fighting over. So if challenged you just run away and continue your grind in peace. Add to that the sheer lack of players in low sec and you have a recipe for lack of content. The opposite of the ‘instant action’ button. Finding a target is hard enough, finding one that actually wants to fight is worse than in null sec.
      The focus on individual rewards hurts FW. There isn’t much of a collective to enjoy the spoils of war, and hence not much of a collective to create content either.
      Lastly, since FW has no impact on the high sec empires they represent, there is no reason for the average care bear to contribute to the war. No reason for the newbie miner to put down the mining laser and pick up a pulse model, even if just to make his mining back home better. Another example of why Eve doesn’t seem like one single monolithic game but rather a collection of smaller games almost unrelated to one another.

      October 6, 2019 at 1:20 pm
  • Strepan Dorsett

    Thanks a lot for your article.

    A small precision if you allow me : most FW leaders are RPers so they want to keep fighting even counter to the pendulum. But they often loose hope because :

    – Once the market crash it’s hard to motivate members to plex for a meagre amount of devaluated LP. Since members already have a lot of the now worthless LP and will cash it out later.

    – On the opposite, the enemy militia members and plex farmers ( and the bots unfortunately ) have now an economic reason to undock and plex since their lp/isk is good. So trying to hold your systems means fighting waves and waves of enemy plexing ships boosted by their isk/lp ratio.

    So from a warzone leadership logic, it’s better to wait for your enemy’s LP to plummet to go on the offensive again with the economic logic backing you.

    So yeah the “Please can we loose so I can cash out ?” is very strong and leads to FW alliances bleeding members, only hardcore pvpers and RPers remaining to fight the uphill battle.

    October 6, 2019 at 1:30 pm
    • Romulus Loches Strepan Dorsett

      Faction Warfare is an area that really needs some love and attention from the devs, but sadly, is unlikely to receive it.

      October 6, 2019 at 11:01 pm