Thursday, June 28, 2012

From a Minmatar

This is in reply to a post on Susan Black's blog which you can read here.  The grey is an Amarr pilot is the person who brought up several things from his perspective.  Susan's responses are in red, and mine are in yellow.


Plexing for minmatar is much easier than for amarr.

To be honest, I’ll have to take your word on it. Even in the year I was in Amarr I never did one plex!

If speed tanking wasn’t an issue would this still be true? Would it still be harder to run the plex normally? 
And why is it harder? Because of the weapons they use, or something else? Have you noticed any difference since they removed ewar?

A lot of this has been fixed with the EWAR removal.  Amarr were literally the only side that were unable to run plexes solo in super cheap ships.  This was because of the Target Painting and Missile spam from the Minmatar rats.  This meant either plexing had to be done in groups or that you had to actually invest in a proper PVE fit ship appropriate for the plex you were doing, ie: much higher barrier of entry, where everyone else could use a 10hr old Vigil toon and speedtank a major.  The much higher barrier of entry combined with T1 Warzone control meant that from a PVE perspective there wasn't much point to run plexes.  Meanwhile, all the other sides could simply split up single ships in each one of the plexes in a system and speedtank to their hearts content.  If off timezones when there aren't many gangs running around chasing people out of plexes and the only thing limiting your side is how many guys in frigates with minimal skills who want to make ISK/LP I think its pretty obvious why this was a huge deal.  I'd like to point out I think the ability to speed tank solo is also broken, but at least now all factions are playing on a somewhat equal field.

Lets fix these 2 issues and faction war will be much much better. I think very few who follow this blog would not agree these two things are problems.

Now other issues have been raised and I think there is considerable disagreement on these issues:

1) Whether goons helped minmatar very much. Some help yes but not much. Minmatar can easilly get the @6 mill lp needed to bring them from tier 1 to tier 5. They will likely do this again. They don't need to stay there long. Just long enough to cash out their lp!


I don't agree with this at all.  As I mentioned on a previous blog post, the biggest impact this had on thing was on morale.  Being able to get into tier 4 whenever you want is one thing, but for many Amarr combined with the fact that Amarr LP was worth fuckall it completely eliminated all gratification from offensive plexing because you could plex a system down to level 0 and it would be right back up at 5 the day again.  It literally felt like banging your head against the wall.

The fact that the Goons pumped in LP that the Minmatar didn't have to means that all the LP they used was LP that the Minmatar didn't have to.  While this may not have been a huge deal for organized groups that understand the game mechanics well enough to understand that you only need to get to Tier 4-5 long enough to cash out, i'm sure there are many general militia guys who have way more isk than they normally would have had and this created the image of the Minmatar side being this magical ISK fountain that was flowing all the time which from an outside perspective not only made the Minmatar more appealing for those who only want ISK also made many general militia members on the Amarr side wonder why there weren't on the Minmatar side or farming with a Minmatar alt.

I also wonder whats the point of tiers when you only need to push long enough to cash out.  FW would be much more fun if it was a constant battle between 2-3 rather than sit at 1-2 until you feel like cashing out, but thats a whole different discussion.
2) Whether amarr can come back. I think we can due to the no lp for defensive plexing rule. However amarr are simply not employing strategies to use that rule to our advantage. We keep flipping systems right next the minmatar bases and feeding them lp! This is dumb and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

The caldari seem to be much more organized and frankly smarter from a occupancy plexing perspective. Amarr got this idea of defending some sort of "pipeline" early on. Nothing is being piped through this pipeline because eve mechanics don't work like world war 1. But nonetheless old strategies seem to die hard.

I think the Amarr can come back too. And I think that employing some smarter strategies could very well be a big part of doing that. It will be interesting to see what happens. =)

A lot of this had to do with plex bugging.  Before I joined Amarr militia, I had no idea about any of the game mechanics and all the people whining about plex seemed like they were just whining.  Then I actually joined and realized how much it actually sucked.  A lot of times we were limited to the systems we wanted to offensively plex were trash systems which weren't bugged.  I agree that much of the pipeline stuff is silly, but another thing to remember is that with station lockout you're punished for pushing too far into enemy territory without first establishing a forward place to base out of and many key station systems that would be worth taking were constantly bugged.  Its easy to look at things from the outside and wonder "why aren't we doing this!?" without having the full facts available to you.

A few weeks ago many of us agreed that the plexing strategy was bad, but there wasn't much that could be done at the time since the only group actively plexing was Fweddit and since we didn't have a lot of numbers.  I'm not in the Caldari militia so I can't really speak for them, but since their warzone control is much more even and they've been able to solo speedtank, I can't help but feel like from the start of Inferno they had much more incentive and ability to run offensive plexes strategically since there was still ISK in it for them.  EVE is a game about min/maxing and why would you want to fit out a proper ship to run plexes or do it in a group when you can do it solo in a cheap toon you don't care if you lose and make more ISK doing it for another side.  With the current FW mechanics, you don't really need a solid PVP core.  You can successfully take systems with a large amount of guys who are motivated from an ISK standpoint to just offensive plex all day long in ships that are hard or not worth trying to catch.  Why doesn't the Amarr do this?  Because most of the groups running plexes are PVP oriented groups and care more about fights than flying all over the map running plexes to put ISK in our pockets.  If I told my alliance to run plexes for a month straight for strategic warzone control we'd probably just say fuckit and leave FW because thats how boring plexes are.  In fact, we just lost -7th- fleet to the Caldari militia because many of their members have ran out of ISK to fight with and its just not feasible to stay in the Amarr militia.

3) Whether the lp disparaty is too large. I tink it is not too large. Given that no lp for defensive plexing is given the amarr could easilly turn the tables on the minmatar by not actually taking systems but leaving them vulnerable. This is what we see caldari and gallente doing. And yes its because they are smart about plexing.

After the amarr get the upper hand then minmatar will be able to flip it back. And this flip flopping is how all people in faction war will be able to afford top notch ships and fittings to continue the war. These large rewards gives us reason to plex and to defend plexes. (note by defend plexes I do not mean defensive plexing. I mean fighting enemies who try to plex in your space)

Interesting perspective. I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree with the whole defensive plexing. I think the fact we have less systems to LP for ISK in condenses our ‘farmers’ and makes it easier for us to take systems in the long run.

However, if the Amarr simply refuse to take a bunker and leave something vulnerable, I’m not really sure how the Minmatar would respond, so you may be onto something where that’s concerned. They can barely be asked to defensively plex in systems they live in let alone other places…so…it could be interesting…

The disparity needs looking at.  I completely think the winning side should have rewards for their hard work. But as far as breathing new life into the losing side, if i'm a new player without outside means to fund my PVP why would I ever want to join the Amarr?  Fweddit has filled this void, but from a game mechanics standpoint if I want to jump into the wonderful world of faction warfare without a pile of ISK beforehand, theres no incentive to join the losing side if you can orbit a button for 20 minutes and get an SFI on the winning side.

Once again, I don't think you can easily directly compare the Gallente/Caldari wars with the Amarr/Minmatar one.  Map layouts are much different and they both had much different starting positions going into Inferno as well as many different starting groups.  Add this to the issues of plex bugging, EWAR imbalance, and Goon pump and dump and you have a very different warzone picture.  Like I said before, before I joined I thought all the people whining about these things just needed to try harder, but then I joined and realized how much many of these things actually sucked.  With the above 3 issues gone, I can honestly say that many of the complains were completely justified and we're fighting a much different war now.  I think defensive plexing does suck, but as it stands now, since all the major groups in the Amarr militia are only in it for the PVP and could care less about LP rewards, we've actually been defensive plexing our systems.  Is this good game design, de-incentivize LP rewards for the losing side so much they just ignore it completely as a game mechanic?  Probably not, but thats how its working for us now and we're fine with that.  Time will tell how things pan out.  

4) Station lockouts. IMO this was stupid and remains stupid. And yes it is annoying to hear hans or even fweddit say its no big deal. Neither was effected by this change! As far aw I know fweddit is still based outside faction war and they have no idea how great it was from a pvp perspective to have the stations open thoughout the warzone. Lockouts simply makes it harder for the side with fewer systems to field pvp fleets.

For a casual gamer like me who will never again base out of faction war unless ccp undoes this rule it is not at all a reason to fight. I don't care if kamela falls from a docking perspective. Tuomuta is right next to it and I used to base out of there anyway. I still have a bunch of stuff there in fact. However not being able to reship in frerstorn or arzad sucks and has cost me plenty of fights. It has also made the war zone blob up in and around kourm. I would love to see the percentages of fw pvp that take place in all the fw systems in april compared to june. I think you will find the pvp was much more spread out in april with lots of small gangs rolling througout the faction war zone. People who just joined faction war after inferno simply didn't get a chance to understand how great that was.


Okay, okay. I also haven’t thought of it as a big deal, but then again I didn’t have to move, and I haven’t yet been gotten locked out of anything important.

When push comes to shove, I’m not sure I care either way about the station docking issue at this point. While I think it’s interesting to have some sort of home court advantage in your own home systems, I also like the idea of facilitating small gang pvp by not creating a system that polarizes people into certain systems, as you are saying. I’m going to have to think that one over for a while.

I'm fine with the homefield advantage aspect of it.  I think i'm with Susan on this one.  I think if anything, station lockout makes staging systems that much more important.


I'd like to finish by saying that when I refer to the Minmatar as having more numbers many of these comments are/were based on a few weeks ago, which many of these arguments and remarks are based under.  The warzone is much different now and in terms of active combat pilots I would say things are much closer to being even in terms of what each side can field.  Obviously there is Fweddit with massive numbers, but I think that at times saying you were fighting 2:1 or 3:1 with Fweddit on the field can be misleading when it comes to the outcome of a fight.  Fweddits effectiveness can greatly vary depending on which fits they're using and their fleet composition and you never really know what to expect out of a Fweddit gang.  Sometimes they'll take a fight they should probably lose and end up holding the field, other times they'll all die gloriously in a fireball.  Case in point, I lost my Talos because I did a short warp to the Huola gate at 0 from Kamela since I thought we would have no problem holding the field with 20 Fweddit on the field and by the time I landed more than half of them were dead.  Meanwhile our kiting Tornado gang wasn't able to keep anything pointed because Fweddit who was our only tackle had pretty much went poof before we could land.

Do you like bananas?

Greetings everypony.  Its been a while since I've made any blog posts.  Truth be told a lot of this has to do with the fact that my alliance Moar Tears has been going through lots of changes in EVE because of the war dec changes and the fact that I've been having much more fun playing the game than writing about it.  For those who don't know, we recently joined Faction Warfare and are fighting for the Amarr militia.  While it took us a few weeks to get used to the pace of lowsec and fighting against properly PVP fit targets that actually shoot back we're finally getting our footing.  Everyone is having a blast despite the fact that none of us have been able to bust out our T3s since we've been in FW.

When we first joined, the Amarr militia was very disorganized.  None of the groups really worked together and each group tended to do their own thing.  You can read more about this in my blog post from several weeks ago that I wrote but never published.  How times have changed since then.  After several initial difficulties and strong personalities figuring out how to work together with one another, the Amarr militia has turned a corner and things are beginning to look up for once.  There are many reasons for this, the first one I think is discovering that the Goons were pumping LP into the Minmatar militia to keep their warzone control tiers up.  While many Minmatar argue that they can still get to Tier 4 easily without Goon help and downplay the effects of Goon manipulation on the state of the Amarr/Minmatar FW side of things, I would like to point out that even if they can get to Tier 4 with little to no effort whenever they want the biggest impact that the Goon pump and dump had was on the Amarr militia's morale.  When we first started, there was literally nothing we could do to get the Minmatar militia's warzone influence bar to budge.  We would offensive plex their systems down and they were always at a solid T4 warzone control.  It literally felt like banging your head against a wall.  Add that to the fact that whenever we did take a system it was because the Minmatar willing let us in order to farm more ISK, many of us wondered what the point was when everything we did only seemed to do two things, give the Minmatar fun PVP fights and allow them to dance in their ISK fountain.  Now, let me take a step back and remind you that Moar Tears joined for the PVP, not the ISK, so we were more or less apathetic about the FW mechanics themselves, but from a militia wide standpoint it had a very adverse effect, which also impact our fun levels because without a motivated militia to fight with, there was little our 30 man alliance could do against larger better organized fighting groups.

Nonetheless, we kept fighting and then something wonderful happened.  Within the Amarr militia leadership there was an epiphany.  It didn't matter what strategic goals we agreed on were best to fight the Minmatar, it didn't matter that we all had to agree with each other on every decision that was made within our respective alliances, the only thing that mattered was that we work together and learn to support one another.  A few days later I was on a podcast with GSF director Courthouse discussing our FW situation and the first thing he said was how hilariously broken FW was at the moment.  Then, a few days after that Goons came out on the forums about how they had made millions manipulating the FW LP markets.  The next day CCP declared this as an exploit and the massive pumpings had stopped.  For the first time we saw our plexing efforts bear fruit and even though the Minmatar got back into T4 today, you didn't feel like there was this phantom force creating this invisible wall for your militia and we even got them down to Tier 2 warzone control a few times.  A few days after that, Inferno 1.1 came where CCP removed all EWAR from the plex NPCs, which evened the field by allowing the Amarr to solo AFK plex for the first time since ever.  In the past, the Minmatar have been able to solo AFK plex against the Amarr while any plexing efforts for the Amarr generally needed to be group activities.  I still think that the plexing mechanics are terribly broken, which the fine scholar and fellow blogger Poetic Stanziel covers here.

With the Inferno 1.1 patch CCP finally fixed, after 4 years, the bug where you could cause plexes to stop respawning until the next downtime.  This was a huge deal for us because it basically meant that the Minmatar could bug all the plexes in the systems that we wanted to actively plex, thus stopping us from taking them over.  We could also defensive plex where needed, since in the past you could run plexes to take over a system and when you were done for the day, bug all the plexes so the opposing side couldn't defensive plex.  I'm sure this activity went both ways, but in the case of Amarr/Min FW where warzone control was so lopsided it completely stagnated any system takeover except where the Minmatar wanted to purposefully cede systems for the sake of ze LP for taking it back.  The plex bugging was one of the most frustrating things because when TZ activity levels finally flipped in a favourable manner, once the opposing side decided to dock up for the night you couldn't attempt to take over key systems.  Also, attempting to offensive plex deep in their territory to knock their tiers was mostly pointless as well because the Goon manipulations meant that your efforts would have absolutely no impact whatsoever.

Needless to say, now that the Amarr are finally fighting on a level playing field in terms of game mechanics, things have turned around considerably and many of the groups whose member bases had all but given up on the new Inferno FW changes are remotivated and blowing up ships and losing their own in glorious fashion once again.  With a month of FW experience under my belt before and after the scandal/changes I can truthfully say Amarrian "whining" about FW being unfairly stacked against them was completely justified.  I can only help but wonder how things will be for us moving forward.  Despite the propaganda wars and constant smack talk between the two militias, the Minmatar are very worthy opponents and competent PVPers.  I personally am excited and my alliance as having some of the most fun they've had in EVE since the forming Moar Tears.

Also, I <3 Fweddit.  A lot of people have been saying that once they get higher SP and have gotten their feet wet with FW they will be a force to be reckoned with.  I would like to say this is completely fucking wrong and the very definition of understatement.  Everyone should be fucking terrified of the prospect of Fweddit getting a few months of experience and SP.  Big playz.

Faction Warfare - Week 1 Impressions and Wrap Up

I wrote this post several weeks ago but never ended up posting it because I wanted to add more things to it. Now that I've decided to begin posting on my blog again I figured I might as well post it to give a baseline for the changes over the past few weeks for my alliance and the Amarr militia as a whole.

Moar Tears has been in Faction Warfare for one week and let me tell you, it hasn't gone like we expected it to.  We were torn between joining Gallente or Amarr, but settled on Amarr because that's where we were already based from our Empire days and the prospect of fighting for the underdog was more appealing.  Unfortunately, some things you just have to experience firsthand before you truly understand what you've been reading everywhere else.

Growing Pains and Harsh Realities
We're a very small alliance and our force multipliers in the past have primarily lied in the fact that we're all relatively high SP pilots that aren't afraid to field expensive ships backed by booster alts and neutral logistics to overcome lack of numbers. 3-4 pilots in T3 Cruisers backed by a handful of logi alts can handle pretty much anything you would ever expect to face in highsec and allow you to fight extremely outnumbered.  Unfortunately, in FW, the numbers and organization you face is much different and the second you bring out a gang like that, the opposing side brings out a gang with ewar and Falcons purpose built for taking that gang down.  So, we've been mostly flying around cheap nano-silliness which means that as a group, we've been struggling to do much other than larger dodge gangs and get small kills since 3-4 pilots has much less direct punching power and without bubbles, its really hard to DPS bigger targets down before they reapproach gates.  Secondly, in FW the opposing side tends to fly really small stuff unless given a reason to ship up into something bigger.  Meaning that as we ship up, so do they, however, since they always have numbers and have more assets in the area, they're able to completely match us and it turns into a game of numbers.  In our first traditional engagement, we brought 3 Absolutions and a Cane, backed by two Guardians and an Oneiros.  They brought 6 DPS ships including a Vindicator, backed by 3 Guardians.  We were tanking their DPS completely fine on our Absolutions, but weren't even coming close to breaking their Guardians and 90% webs on the Vindicator meant it was only a matter of time before we started losing Guardians so the call was made to de-aggress and we lost an Absolution that had been 90% webbed, scrammed, and bumped off the gate.

I hate to play into the whole, "if you ship up, then the Minmatar will just ship up as well, with greater numbers" whinefest that I see everywhere from the Amarr, but everything I've experienced over the past week kind of confirms this.  Even if you take into account all of our utility alts, we're still completely outnumbered by mains on the opposing side.  I'm not going to lie, its really frustrating and with how unorganized the Amarr militia is, we have yet to really find our way and morale is dropping extremely fast.  We've tried skirmish/hit and run tactics, but without bubbles to help seperate enemy fleets, we really only end up with a handful of destroyer kills before we get the attention of several Minmatar militia groups and the net starts being cast around us and we're forced to pack up.  Meanwhile, we watch the Minmatar militia get tons of kills against less organized groups and while our own militia chat fills with either drama or people in the process of getting ganked ask for help.

As much as I hate to say it, the best course of action for now at least if you're Amarr, might just be to put an alt into the Minmatar militia and farm plexes.  I'm totally new to Faction Warfare and am really trying to stay positive throughout all of this, but am really struggling to figure out ways to adapt and still have fun flying for the Amarr side.  When we joined the Amarr, I largely ignored the Amarr whinefest that you see everywhere, but after a week in FW, my own impressions are that while many of the complaints might be overdramaticized, there really isn't much incentive to join the Amarr FW side unless you're a hardcore Amarr roleplayer or Fweddit.

The Amarr are disorganized as fuck
Everything you read about the Amarr being disorganized as fuck is completely true.  I flew in a couple general fleets and they were fucking awful.  Its not just that they have difficulties working together, in the current state, they have absolutely no reason to want to work together.  In one of the general fleets that I flew in, we watched a more organized group backed by logi and better ships support ours in a major that pretty much did their own thing and left us to die when things started to go bad, but I don't blame them at all for this.  If they were in the fleet with us, we still probably would have lost and the poor FCing that our side had would have just gotten their expensive ships welped alongside ours.  After those experiences, i'm pretty sure that we're not going to be supporting any general fleets in any major capacity again, its just not worth it.

The only fairly consistent and 'organized' gangs I've seen within the Amarr have come from Fweddit.  I didn't really see any Wolfsbrigade or I.Law all weekend.  I don't know if they're all on vacation or farming LP on Minmatar alts, hell I don't know if I would even blame them, but unless the better groups within the Amarr are able to get organized in a meaningful way, they're in trouble because the only people I've seen attempting to fill that void thus far are pretty bad and not people I would really feel comfortable flying under.