This weekend heralded a big moment in Faction Warfare history. For the second time ever a faction has achieved full warzone control. Several years ago, Caldari managed this victory, in part due to an imbalance of EWAR, and plex spawn mechanics. Although the Retribution changes did give an advantage to the Gallente, the commanders of the militia worked hard to capitalize on the situation and collapse the Caldari resistance steadily until full control was reached.
Although it seems clear now that no CCP medal awaits the Gallente for their efforts, they are taking pride in their accomplishments. CCP Fozzie has offered a high-five to any Gallente Militia who wants one at Fanfest. On the other hand, the Caldari have made it very clear that they will not allow themselves to simply be defeated. I was assured by a member of Happy Endings, one of the long standing predominant alliances of the Caldari, that the war was not over, and new allies would come to assist them in striking back against the Gallente (he then went on to ramble about blue lightsabers, and unleashing the power of Yoda.)
Star Wars references aside, it does seem as if the Caldari are intent to “strike back” as the Gallente are clearly exhausted from their efforts. Within one downtime cycle, the Caldari broke the 100% control, and took several more systems the following day. Happy Endings has rejoined the fight, and they are now backed by the notorious null sec alliance EV0KE. It is unclear at this time if EV0KE will be a long term fighter in FW, or if they will drift off without much impact much the same way that Nulli did last year. EV0KE has lost over half of their player base within the last two months, and so may find a new home in the warzone, or may use it as an incubator for a return to null.
The question remains, how will a long term victory affect the profitability of the Gallente LP market. Although plexing rewards are unquestionably high, with little to no offensive plexing to be done, the few opportunities for large LP payouts are disrupted by the necessity for larger fleets and spreading of the reward. Also, the high amount of warzone control also means that the LP cost to maintain that control is far less efficient, and the burden of throwing away hard earned LP generally falls on the few active members, and not the “plexing army” that is in the war for funds and contribute none of their earnings to maintaining control. Those members are finding ways to maximize the high LP payouts and flooding the market with FW LP market items causing the value of LP to plummet for Gallente. This has caused grumblings from the active players who “work” for their LP, asking CCP to continue to find a way to make rewards based on the PVP effort rather than the PVE.
Either way you look at it, a swing back towards Caldari is the most healthy outcome for Faction Warfare in general. If the Gallente manage to maintain a firm grasp of their warzone, members of the Federation may set their eyes towards Amarr space. As long as Caldari manage to push back, while Amarr manage to press against Minmatar, the eventual “doomsday scenario” remains averted. Also, we have not yet seen the full impact of Dust mercenaries on the war zone, because they came in far too late to impact the 100% push.
It is worth noting that on January 2nd the Gallente officially became a larger militia than Caldari, and now have nearly four hundred more members. Although it is likely that these new members are active participants in fighting, it is true that Caldari can finally complain about being outnumbered.