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.
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.