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Published December 28, 2012

During the heated discussion in the Fall, a “doomsday prediction” was given for Faction Warfare if the changes that were proposed were implemented. Many argued that, if too much benefit was given to the victors, and not enough support were given to the “losing” side, eventually both allied factions on a particular side of the war would “win”, and provide an impenetrable shield to any underdog. For example, if Gallente and Minmatar both demoralize their enemy and take the warzone, then, thanks to cross plexing, they could assist each other in stomping out any resurgence from either side. This would cause FW to stagnate into complete uselessness, fire will rain from the sky, dogs and cats will live together in harmony, and the universe as we know it will end.

Although it seems that this has missed its Mayan appointed deadline, it is beginning to appear as if this scenario will end up occurring sooner rather than later. At this time, the Gallente own more than 94% of their warzone, and are gaining numbers and coordination at a steady pace. Meanwhile the Minmatar have pushed back the Amarr and are taking back systems at a respectable pace. It is reasonable to suspect that as the Gallente move forward, some will eye Amarr plexes as attractive sources of income, and bear down on the already overpressured empire.

Cracks in the armor

CCP did try to build measures into the system to prevent total dominance, or at least make it much more difficult, though their efficacy is questionable. The prime example here is the LP tax. As a faction's warzone control climbs, an increasingly large amount of LP donated to infrastructure hubs for system upkeep simply vanishes. I have spoken to several high ranking members of the Gallente Militia and they agree that while Tier 5 is totally within the reach of the Gallente at this time, due to the high LP cost vs. reward, it seems unwise. As a result, the militia has collectively decided to set their sights on total warzone control first -- the mechanics of FW mean that it's entirely possible to control the entire warzone without even hitting Tier 2, much less Tier 5. When and if they achieve their goal, they'll have to decide whether to pursue and hold Tier 5, or whether to hit it once for "vanity" purposes and then drop back to the less rewarding (but less expensive) Tier 4.

A secondary cost to success has also arrived, the rats of EVE. These are not the red pluses we are so familiar with, but rather the vermin who flock to success and leech away from hard work in order to sate their own thirst. Although the changes in Faction Warfare have removed the solo-plexing no-gun Incursus, it has been replaced by its much more sickening brother, the no-gun plex-stealing Incursus. This new breed of vermin thrive off of a quirk of the Faction Warfare system. A combat pilot will enter a plex and kill the rat, starting the countdown of the timer. Some time later, a completely empty or basically useless T1 frig will enter the plex and sit as far as possible from the warp in. They are not their to contribute in anyway, and certainly will not help in the event of a fight, however they will leech their share of the LP away from the main plexer.

“So kill them!” I hear you cry with one voice, but that's where the quirk comes in. Killing a member of your militia incurs a standings hit to your faction. Enough of these and you can get yourself, or your corp, kicked from faction warfare. Standings have been an issue for several organizations already, and frequently disposing of some annoying pests (that do no real damage to them I might add) is simply not worth it. These pests are protected by the system and use this as an opportunity to feed off of the work of others.

However, one can argue that this is the cost of success. I have spoken to members of the Caldari and Amarr and they report no such problems with plex leeches, likely because they go to where the profit is. All great empires attract those who come only to steal the table scraps, content to take from others, and provide nothing in return. Perhaps those who are frustrated with such acts will get fed up and leave, or defect, causing the gears of war to once again spin.

I do believe these countermeasures are not enough to drive the pendulum and keep things interesting. I also strongly oppose any artificial swinging of the pendulum. Ideas keep being kicked around to help support and develop FW further, but we may not know if that is even an option until we get to see some information from the winter summit.

I have been playing the game *terribly* for right around two years. After a brief time in null, and longer stay in high, I have now entered into Gallente Faction Warfare and somehow landed a job as director of Aideron Robotics. I am still terrible.

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