Money is a massive restriction on every Character in eve. Without money, we cannot do anything in this game, even skills (which you would think were the greatest limiter to what you can and cannot fly) require you to have ISK before you can purchase them. As a result most players, myself included, have at least one alt; The money maker.
Its always important in eve to have multiple sources of ISK generation funding whatever activity’s you want to enjoy. This is because in the eve sandbox, your income source, like your ships, are never safe. Miners never know when the next Hulkageddon/Ice Interdiction will be, traders don’t know when the market will crash, Mission runners cant tell what will happen next patch. In my recent history I have invested and profited from 6 other income streams, all of which have since been abandoned (and replaced) due to external pressures reducing my profits, a few more have stayed constant, but they are a minority. I have explored a further 3 possible sources, and either rejected them, or placed them as a backup plan should a current method begin to fail. My money maker has only very occasionally engaged in PvP because its just not profitable; Well, until now that is.
My alt, and its corporation (with my friends alts as members), have joined Factional Warfare; we missed the “Gold Rush” I know, since CCP have nerfed the ability to make money for nothing out of FW, but we were interested to see if FW could become at least a minor income source to fund our mains while simultaneously supplying frequent PvP. We didn’t exactly make it easy on ourselves either, joining the Caldari fight on pretty much the same day they lost their last system.
So the Golden Question: “can you make money doing PvP in FW?”. Short answer: Yes. Our corporation has been in FW for 18 days (at time of writing), and our least active member has made 480m ISK, our highest money maker (me) has made 1.2bn ISK. Lets look at some details. Firstly I should confess: I have not so far treated FW as a PvP activity. Lets take a look at my fitting:
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
3x 200mm AutoCannon II (Hail S)
Medium Ancillary Shield Booster (Cap Booster 50)
Small Shield Extender II
2x Nanofiber Internal Structure II
2x Small Polycarbon Engine Housing ISmall Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
I made the early decision to begin my FW experience with the intent of seeing how much money I could make as quickly as possible and then, once I had built up a nest egg (and paid back the startup costs) I would start to be more aggressive in my plexing. I soon decided that the best way to do this, would be to run complexes and avoid combat. Step 1 was to take the fastest ship I could create (a 3900m/s variant of the above fitting) and make safes all around FW low sec; off gates, sun safes tactical points. With these spread around our hunting ground, I begun to farm everything and anything I could find. The process goes something like this: Find a small or novice plex in a system you feel safe entering (ideally empty!), trigger the plex, and kill the NPC inside. Fly to the edge of the activation sphere (furthest away from the entry point) and jettison a can to orbit. Watch local for 10-15 minuets. Doing this even at Teir 1 of FW control earns you 5,000-8,750 loyalty points (double this at Tier 2); and for reference 1000 loyalty point earns you roughly 1.2m ISK if you are smart about how you spend it. Now like I said, this isn’t really PvP money making, I have several layers of safety between me and non-consensual PvP.
Look I’m sorry FW players, but I wanted to make cash, is that really so bad? I expect people like me piss you off, but half the time the ship I am warping away from is a Navy Comet/Hookbill. Even if I was PvP fit, your just looking for a cheap kill, and I am just looking not to die, so that’s life. Now I’ve made a billion, I do intend to switch to a more PvP centric ship.
Before you get too angry with us as a collective, you should know that I am the anomaly in our little group. Arian, Lore and Minijack have all been PvPing. They have informed me that FW is a bit like a solo low sec roam, except that if you don’t find anyone to fight, you get paid, rather than going home empty handed, I believe that Arian at least intends to write about his PvP experience soon. They do (and I intend to start) FW in a different way. Flying to a plex, and using the same steps I use above to judge any potential opponent, and engage if they feel it’s a fair fight. If they win they get some LP, if they loose they fly home and start again. By my calculations at Teir 2, you need only do 1-2 novice sites (10 mins each) or 1 Small site (15 mins) to earn the value of a T1 frigate fully fitted and insured.
Strangely enough the fair fights happen more than you might expect as well! This is because Faction War has a tiny element which makes a world of difference. The plex sizes. By placing restrictions on what can enter certain plexes one major factor which makes for “bad fights” has been removed: Up-shipping. If I am in a novice the worst thing I have to fear, is a faction frigate (and I’ve heard talk of even restricting these), even better if I am in a faction frigate, there is nothing in a novice plex which I can at least attempt to engage. Of course unfortunately “blobbing” (can you really call 2-3 ships a blob?) can still happen, but as FW tends to be the realm of small 2-5 man gangs, so even that is a relatively minor issue.
Its not all sunshine and ponies though, FW, in my opinion does still need some tweaks. Mostly its around the concept for teamwork. Teamwork is required in FW, else you would never take and hold the space. However in the actual plex’s, very little is required at all. It has always amazed me that as a Massively multiplayer Game, eve have very little PvE content which requires you to group up. I was kind of hoping FW might be the exception to this. Sadly I don’t really think thats the case. As a solo player you are perfectly capable of doing FW sites, however, you will spend more time in-between plexs looking for a system where its safe to do one, you will also frequently be chased out of a PLEX (this happens more to me than some one in a PvP fit ship, because I am a yellow bellied bastard). The answer of course it to bring friends. Unfortunately plex rewards are split between every one within the sphere of influence at the time of completion. This means that if you do bring a friend to help dominate the plex and hopefully kill/scare and solo war targets, your only going to be getting half the profit.
This means that as a solo coward farmer you need to spend 50% of your time not in a plex, to be less profitable than having a friend join you, and that assumes your gang of two never gets chased away, and goes directly from plex to plex. This is unlikely but lets assume you might increase your efficacy occasionally by splitting up in a system to do two plexs at once. As a result its much more profitable to go it alone, and that disappoints me. In my ideal world, FW would be something that you could do solo, but at a far lesser profit rate as if you were to bring some friends along, but perhaps that is a pipe dream.
My only other complaint is that FW is only slightly more interesting than missioning running. It is true that killing lots of red crosses is less interesting, than killing one and then doing nothing (with the fear of being killed). But any game activity which can require you to do literally nothing for 10-25 minutes, is going to bore you fast.
We are loving Faction Warfare, and its proving to be a very profitable source of income for my main account. Further more getting paid to PvP is a refreshing change in eve (even if I haven’t really being PvPing), and something I wish could be applied to nullsec. My final thought is that FW is a great way to introduce new players to PvP, in my opinions new characters should get the option to start in the FW corporations of their choses faction as their starter corp… It would need some extra tutorials, but my goodness could we bread a new line of combat hardened pilots fast.
Fly like a coward