2012-09-26

Life in EvE: How to Stop Sucking the Joy out of Faction Warfare, You Piece of Crap #eveonline

So when I started out in Faction Warfare, these were my impressions:

  1. Good place to get some small gang or solo pvp experience.

  2. Decent place to make some ISK, especially if you didn't mind running the missions, but even if you didn't do that, a decent way to get paid by capturing enemy complexes.

  3. A great entry-level activity for new players, thanks to the low barrier to entry on a lot of the FW-related activities.


So... yeah. Two out of three isn't bad, I suppose. Pity I was mostly wrong about #1.
Here's the problem.

Due to the way Faction Warfare rewards are handed out for various activities right now, and because of the way those activities are accomplished, it turns out Faction Warfare is (until the Winter Expansion drops) one of the most profitable PvE activities in the game -- requiring little effort, little time invested for each payment, and very little investment in terms of ships -- you can make great money with your main character, and good money with an alt only a few days old, flying a very cheap ship (the downside to making this part of EvE accessible to new players is that it's easily exploited by experienced players with a low-skill alt).

This situation has attracted a lot of people who are only there to make ISK and have no interest in PvP. Further (and worse), it encourages those players who would be interested in PvP to avoid it in the short-term so they can make hay while the sun shines -- raking in piles of ISK before the changes in the Winter Expansion come out.

My impression of Faction Warfare -- the way I thought things would work, and the way I honestly believe they are intended to work -- was something like this:

  • High-level FW Missions, though fairly repetive, boring, and requiring a slightly more expensive ship investment (and a fragile ship easily destroyed by bad luck or misadventure to boot), pay out well enough that an hour or two of that a week easily pays for your PvP.

  • Offensive and Defensive Complex capturing, while a decent source of income, are best as a way to stick a flag in the ground, fire up a flare, and say: "Here I am, come and get me," with the added bonus that you wouldn't get mobbed by a crowd of ships that vastly outclass your own.

  • System 'sovereignty' changes lead to larger fleet activities as systems are attacked or defended.


In short, a great place to get fairly low-commitment PVP with regular fights, in a more varied and tactical experience than a bunch of station undock and up-shipping games.

The reality:

  • High-level FW Missions are farmed for hours upon hours, day after day, by people who pull in tens of billions of ISK in any given week, because if running them for an hour or two covers PvP for a couple weeks, running them constantly is a way to get filthy rich. For all intents and purposes, these full-time mission farmers aren't even part of the war -- they contribute nothing.

  • Ninety-five percent of Offensive Complex capturing is done by unskilled alts in cheap frigates designed to fly very fast, repair enough damage to ignore all the NPC attackers in the complex, and warp away if any players try to engage them -- which of course they want to do, because they have no guns fit to their ships.  Their only purpose is to rake in rewards for capturing plexes and get paid.

  • Defensive Plexing doesn't happen.

  • No one give a tin shit about system sovereignty changes, barring one or two 'home' systems where larger alliances stow all their ships.  When such systems need to be defended, only those larger alliances are involved, and if you aren't part of those alliances (but are part of the Faction), you're left on the outside looking in, uninvited and largely unable to participate.


I can't solve any of those problems. I have some small hope that the updates coming with the Winter Expansion will address some of it, but in the meantime...

Well, no, there is one thing I can try to do; I can try to help out those players who would like to PvP, but who are running complexes in non-combat-fit ships simply because that's what 95% of the plex-runners do, and they figure that's what they should do, rather than actually fly a ship that can survive the complex capture and still remain viable for PvP.

How Does I Shot War Tragets?
I've never run a complex in a ship that wasn't capable of engaging in PvP, and because the ships are all cheap and fun to fly, I pretty much fly whatever race's ships catch my fancy that day.

Since I'm flying a lot of different kinds of ships, all with their own strengths and weaknesses, I can't just copy the same fit from ship to ship. Instead, I have certain criteria I try to meet with each ship.


  1. Afterburners > Microwarpdrives. There are exceptions to this (interceptors), but in general most small ships make themselves more vulnerable to incoming damage/easier to hit if they're running a microwarpdrive. Yes, a microwarpdrive makes you go faster, and that seems like a good thing when you're 'speed tanking', but most speed tanking is actually 'signature tanking' or 'moving at a good clip while keeping your silhouette small', and Microwarpdrives fail hard at that second part. So: Afterburners.

  2. Active Repair Tank. This doesn't have to be a very strong active tank, if you'd prefer to just have a fat buffer of hit points, but you do need to be able to patch yourself up at least a little bit as you go, because you WILL get hit a little bit by the NPCs in the complexes, and if a player engages you, you don't want to start the fight beat up.

  3. Put some fucking guns on. Man up and get in the fight. In fact, one of your main goals is a fit that is reasonably viable for PvP while still being capable of the modicum of PvE required to capture a plex.

  4. Have a way to reduce the heat from NPCs, if it becomes a problem. Since you actually want to be able to fight if someone engages, you can't make the ultimate, gimped, super-fast, speed-tank, non-combat, run-away frigate. This means that you might actually get tagged every so often by NPC enemies, and that can become a problem if they build up a lot as you capture the complex. Therefore, as you pick out your weaponry, try to have some kind of option for taking out the more troublesome of the enemy NPCs. Ironically, the tougher the complexes get, the less this becomes an issue, because the big ships in the bigger complexes can't usually hit your little frigate. That too will change with the winter expansion, to which I can only say "about time".


So with that covered, here are some suggestions.
[Merlin, FW Med Anc Booster Rails]
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Damage Control II
Tracking Enhancer II

J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Medium Ancillary Shield Booster, Cap Booster 50
Experimental 1MN Afterburner I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

125mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
125mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
125mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

There are lots of ways to fit a merlin -- it's a wonderfully versatile ship, but I have some criteria to meet, if you remember:

  1. Afterburners/Speed. Check. Although its tank depends on shields, the signature of the Merlin stays fairly small. It's not the fastest ship I'll mention, but it clips along at just short of 1000 meters per second, which mitigates a great deal of damage.

  2. Active Repair Tank. The inherent damage resists in the Merlin make it a great shield tanker, and a medium ancillary shield booster is more than enough to patch up incidental damage, and then go into overdrive during a proper PvP fight.

  3. PvP-viable. This isn't a typical, "pure" PvP-fit for a Merlin (which usually features blasters instead of long-range railguns), but it still works well enough, considering you're trying to serve two masters. The idea is to get both the warp scrambler and the webifier on your opponent, so as to cut his speed and hold him at arm's length -- about 6 to 8 kilometers -- where you can plink away with your railguns and stay out of the effective range of their (presumably short-range, hard hitting) weapons. Works well against blasters, rockets, and auto-cannons. Pulse lasers are your bane (as they can put their full damage on you from right in your sweet spot), and light missiles and Artillery-fit Thrashers can be a real problem unless you maintain sufficient range and plink away from very long range with Spike ammo to drive them off.

  4. Have a way to reduce the heat from NPCs, if it becomes a problem. This is easy with rails, as it is with most longer-range weapon systems. Wait for the NPCs to get close (<15km) if you're using short-range ammo, or pop NPC frigates with Spike ammo when they get any closer than about 35 kilometers. They'll never get a proper hit on you.


[Incursus, Incursus: Dual repper]
Small Armor Repairer II
Small Armor Repairer II
Adaptive Nano Plating II
Damage Control II

1MN Afterburner II
Warp Scrambler II
Small Capacitor Booster II, Cap Booster 200

Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Small Anti-Explosive Pump I
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I

Hobgoblin II x1

This is far more of a standard PvP fit, which just happens to work beautifully for capturing complexes.

  1. Afterburners/Speed. Check. Although the armor rigs on the Incursus make it a bit slower than a Merlin, the fact you aren't puffing up your shields make you an even smaller target.

  2. Active Repair Tank. Holy cow can this thing tank. Although running both repair modules (or even one module full time) will empty out your capacitor fairly quickly, you don't need to do more than pulse a single repper every so often to keep up with incoming NPC damage, and when a player engages, you can bring both online, start using your Cap Booster, and tank pretty much any ship in your class.

  3. PvP Viable. A dual rep Incursus tanks extremely well - around 170dps before overheating, which with the cap booster it can sustain for ... well, longer than any frigate fight should take. The downside is, you give up a web to pull this off, which means you might struggle to get in close and melt face as the gods intended.

  4. Have a way to reduce the heat from NPCs, if it becomes a problem. Although the blasters on this thing make it very unlikely you'll want to run around killing NPCs directly, you have a single scout drone, which should be enough to take out frigate NPCs, which are the only things that will hit you with much regularity.


[Atron, ASB AB Rails Atron]
Damage Control II
Tracking Enhancer II
Overdrive Injector System II

1MN Afterburner II
Medium Ancillary Shield Booster, Cap Booster 50
J5 Prototype Warp Disruptor I

125mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
125mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
125mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
[empty high slot]

Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I
Small Ancillary Current Router I

I don't have much to say about this Atron, really, except that it works well enough. I put rails on it so it can kite and fight at long ranges with a long-range point, since at close range the shield fit will make you feel the absence of a web to control range on your opponent. I tried an active armor tank, but it doesn't do enough to keep up with the NPCs and gimps the speed on the ship too much. Left as-is, it works, it's quite fast, and gives you the option to get out if things start to look really bad. Basically, you fly it like the Merlin, above, except you fly about 500 meters/second faster, aren't as tough, and don't have the web to help you hold range. Fly accordingly. (I like Atrons a lot, I don't love this particular fit, but it works well enough. I'd welcome other fits viable for plexing + PvP.)

Still, if I was going to go with a really fast shield tanked frigate, I'd prefer...
[Slasher, FW-Frigate]
F85 Peripheral Damage System I
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Medium Ancillary Shield Booster, Cap Booster 50
1MN Afterburner II
Warp Scrambler II
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
5W Infectious Power System Malfunction

Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

Sweet fancy Moses, but this thing flies. 1500+ meters/second. The tank isn't as hardcore as the merlin, but almost nothing will get a solid hit on you. With short-range guns and no drones, clearing out frigate NPCs is a problem -- until the Winter Expansion changes come, this is a frigate that would rather be in a medium or Major complex, rather than a frigate-heavy Minor.

I find the ship very flexible for PvP (I've got double handfuls of these ships around, featuring a ton of variations). This particular fit wants to get in very close in most cases (excepting blaster-wielding opponents), and it's generally fast enough to do that, then hold them right where you want them.

Best of all, you can run every single module on the ship, full time, including the energy neutralizer, and your capacitor remains stable. That neut will ruin the day of almost any other frigate you meet.
[Tormentor, FW Plex]
Small Armor Repairer II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Adaptive Nano Plating II
Damage Control II

1MN Afterburner II
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Small Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I, Cap Booster 200

Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch S
Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch S
Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch S

Small Anti-Kinetic Pump I
Small Anti-Explosive Pump I
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I

Warrior II x2

Disclaimer: I haven't actually flown this one yet, because the changes to lasers in the winter expansion will change how this fitting works, so just a few notes:

It doesn't tank as much as the Incursus, obviously, but the tank isn't bad, and it's more than enough for either pulsing to keep your tank up versus NPCs, or for the brief flurry of violence that characterizes most frigate fights. You make up for the lighter reps with much better damage projection than the Incursus: two drones (great for NPC clearing), plus pulse lasers (Scorch ammo optional) let you push your damage out very well (10+km with Scorch, which is damn good for 'short range' guns.)

Yes, I know it doesn't have a scram on. Play around with it if you like, but you'll have wait for the fitting requirements on the Lasers to drop in the winter expansion before it will fit. My theory with the web is that it will slow down the opponent and let the lasers hit hard, hopefully killing them before they realize they're in trouble and try to get out, because frigate fights are so fast.

Is it a perfect fit? No.

Is it better than flying something with no fucking guns on, where your only PvP option is to run away?

I'm not even going to answer that.

Grab a ship.

Grab your guns.

Have some fun.
Post a Comment