So you may have read Hark’s feelings on Faction warfare and I agree with his findings but as has been mentioned in other blog posts I am notoriously bad at pve and earning isk, I have a terrible habit of loosing interest and…. oh something sparkly! Does it explode?
Anyway I had been looking at faction war from a distance for a while as a way I might actually be able to make use the potential risk of pvp (which I welcome) to help me spend more time isk making. In fact if i kill a ship from an opposing faction I get LP for it! This sounded as close to isk earning nirvana as I was likely to get, so with this in mind I jumped in two footed with my standard nullsec fits, you know the ones, MWD (no PVP without MWD) point and then tank and spank….. I got curb stomped……
I lost frigates and cruisers in rapid succession and when I had lost enough for relatively little gain I finally stopped and tried to analyze why. Looking into the mirror is never a kind experience. I realised I had made some pretty fundamental errors and had failed entirely to adapt to the new environment and its nuances. I had subconsciously bought with me a null sec mentality to combat. With this sobering thought I took a step back and looked at the mechanics of the battlefield I found myself in and started again.
The faction warfare “why-do-I-suck-so-bad!” soul search
Now the basic mechanics of plexing have been outlined by Hark in his previous post but I will outline the most important points again…
Different Plex sizes inhibit certain classes of ship from entering.
Another key mechanic of these plex’s is that in all but “large” plex’s they are only accessible via an acceleration gate that deposits you within 5km of a beacon within the plex. This is a choke point through which any ship entering the plex must pass. Large Plex’s operate diffirently and can be warped into at range but for the basis of my current combat this difference is not one I regularily use.
Now because of these key mechanics and your use of dscan (Which Hark did a guide to in his previous post) you can choose which fights you wish to take on. As a result if you are the person inside the plex you can also choose the range at which you wish to engage, this opportunity is often key to who will win the resulting engagement.
So with this re-evaluation of my battleground I went back to one of my favorite ships, the Merlin and decided how I wanted to fight. As there is nothing I like better than smashing things to pieces with overwhelming firepower, so blasters would be perfect. As I will be choosing the initial engagement range ( I would be sat slap bang on the warp in beacon waiting for people to come in)) I would not have the usual issue of having to get into range, YAY!
In fact my main issue would be keeping people where I want them (i,e, at my optimal), so I needed a fit that would allow me to control range as much as possible so I could effectively deliver my dps, as such my choices had to be very different from the usual null sec frigate fits that are mainly about being as quick as possible (MWD) so you can get the tackle (point) and wait for your friends to make them dead.
Now I realised I needed fits that reflected that my targets would be coming to me and I wanted to keep them there so I need a scram to turn off any mwd, a web to slow them down from running away and make them an easier tracked target, and an afterburner to help me dictate range. After these choices everything else has to be to maximize dps and survivability.
With this my redesigned brawling Merlin was created:
3x Light Neutron Blaster II
Experimental 1MN Afterburner
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Warp Scrambler II
Medium Shield Extender II
Damage Control II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
2 Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer
This ship also had the great side effect of having enough dps to kill the npc’s in medium sites meaning that if I found myself logged in at a quiet time, I could do the larger sites for those tasty bigger rewards. So long as it worked in the way I had theory crafted I might have the ship I was after, the only way to find out would be to try it.
Proof of the pudding….
And you know what happened? I didn’t get all that much combat. I think my choice of frigate may have contributed to this. You see in faction warfare circles the Merlin seems to be building up a pretty good reputation. In all honesty the Galente part of me is a little sad to realise that currently the premier T1 blaster frigate in eve is probably Caldari! That aside though, when combat did occur I noticed an immediate change in my fortunes; as long as I stuck to my game plan, I started winning; Incursus, Tristan, other Merlins, all began falling before my (overheated) guns. I have not won every fight, but I was finding that often even if the fight wasn’t going my way the range control of my fit allowed me to get away safely, in fact one escape was actually more fun than some of my fights just due to the angry tears displayed in local after I warped out. I don’t think the guy had thought his fit through, he had an amazing (for a frigate) tank but no ability to control range and thus had failed to make a efficient and effective PVP fit (i.e. stopping my escape).
So my faith in my fit and tactics started to increase and my wallet began to grow from the time I was spending in plex’s waiting for fights. I started taking more risks as my little ship had paid for itself many, many times over. Just as I started feeling this way, a Dramiel appeared on scan. I have flown these little beasts personally and I know just how nasty then can be, but my confidence was high and the plex I was in had only 1 minute 30 left to run so I thought “well he’s gonna be at 0, why not give it a go….”
So I overloaded my guns and waited for him to come in. When he arrives I lock him, scram and web on, start pounding on his shields, he doesn’t seem to be able to pull range…. I think I have him…. I think…. almost….Blammo!
I got him and still had my armour But at this point I nearly made a fatal error, I had failed to notice another hostile had turned up in local, thankfully my brawl with Dramiel had carried me way off the warp in. While I was looting the wreck and linking the kill in militia chat a Talwar (which according to the dramiel pilot had warped to the wrong plex!) warped into the plex and opened fire on me. I entered warp after a few volleys from him with 28% structure left (I have no idea what his fit was but his missiles hurt). This near loss was a rude awakening but did not dim the elation. This one kill pretty much made the previous weeks plexing worth it too me, but the fact I am actually making good isk while getting these sorts of fights is the icing on the cake!
This kill is also a special one for me as it showed me I had finally adapted to my new circumstances, to create a “faction warfare” mentality. You see the Dramiel was set up very much like I would have done with a “null sec” mentality. The Dramiel’s fitting is all about closing range for initial tackle and then holding on long enough for supporting dps. This mindset is further supported by the presence of dps backup in the form of his friend in the talwar. Unfortunately his fitting had as a result sacrificed its own ability to effectively control range when webbed. As I had now specialized my fitting for Faction Warfare I was able to use the factors in the plex to kill one of the deadliest ships in New Eden one on one.
Since this fight I have even taken more risky fights…like this one.
but again due to the choke point/Early warning nature of the plex system; as long as I am paying attention I have the final say in which fights I am willing to take. As a result when t2 frigs or destroyers turn up I have plenty of time to leave and it is at this point that I found another nuance of faction warfare I was not expecting.
Maturity in eve?
The Majority of fights I have had so far have actually been with low sec neutrals, not other faction warfare pilots. When a fight has obviously not been winnable for me I have often said so in local and wished them good hunting and the amazing bit? Generally this isn’t greeted by smack! In fact more often than not I have been told “I wouldn’t take that fight either” and “good hunting to you too”, there have been exceptions but in the main I have found the locals to actually be quite friendly and even engage in fitting and tactics discussions in local, occasionally even linking fits freely. For me this is quite the revelation and a great reflection on this sub section of the community.
So is this eve Nirvana?
Well its not far off and it is one of the better communities I have had the chance to try: it is not perfect however. I still feel the plex system while good needs more iteration: At the moment, if you are alone you can find yourself waiting for a 20 minute timer to wind down with little else to do than troll militia chat. Its a little to close to mining in that respect for me, but I can put up with that for the community and the fights! There are blobs, but these are an exception and generally only catch you if you not paying attention. I think the potential improvements are a topic for another post as this one is already a bit long, I may also post about kiting fits as well if there seems to be demand for it.
Faction Warfare can be great fun with the opportunity to make good money, there are more lucrative revenue streams but none with the same potential for some quite excellent pvp. If your wondering about trying it go for it, really what have you got to loose? If you don’t get pvp you earn money, if you get a fight doesn’t matter: got pvp!