This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective to discuss a few factional warfare things.
Ok, I haven’t been posting much or putting much time into EVE in the last couple of weeks, mainly because I got married last weekend and have had my mind on other things… 😉 So, I’m a bit behind the times on this post which I started writing over a week ago.
In my last ‘proper’ entry, I summed up my commentary on the revised war zone control mechanics with this comment:
If CCP choose to tackle the issues concerning the geography of the warzone then the Amarr will find their fortunes substantially improved by the Retribution development cycle. Oh and in case you are wondering, yes, I do think that CCP should do something about the Metropolis region choke points. A more fluid and balanced war front would be a good thing to see.
I picked this out as it is in my book perhaps the last major ‘legacy’ design issue of the original FW design that CCP has not tackled so far in either Inferno or Retribution. That the imbalance of the map is even considered to be a valid issue is a quirk of factional warfare, in that such a discussion has never been taken seriously when applied to anywhere else in New Eden. How two null sec regions connect and if that layout favours one side over another is a non-issue. This is because, over a long enough timespan, the player corps and alliances fighting for that space can and will change beyond all recognition. Whomever holds the geographical edge is entirely up to the players in the truest sense of the sandbox.
But in Factional Warfare, there are two fixed sides battling in an eternal war over a pre-defined and much smaller area. Giving one of those sides a much more defensible territory hands that side a strong edge, and I do agree with my opposition (the Amarr) that the map itself works against them. What I didn’t expect was to see anything being done about it in Retribution 1.0. It’s nice to be surprised. 🙂
This handy little graphic has been doing the rounds for a week or so now, and I pretty much agree with the proposed changes. I’m not entirely sold on linking Eszur to Siseide as I think the Siseide area is busy enough already. I’d prefer it to be Eszur to ‘somewhere else’ but don’t have that strong of an opinion on it. These changes will be a good thing for Amarr/Minmatar FW regardless.
The main thing that struck me about this subject was that as soon as everyone had finished saying “Really? Cool changes!” I started picking up on the inevitable Hans Jagerblitzen bashing. Which is something else that I’ve said before:
The other people who seem unhappy seem to be mainly from the Amarr militia. As with Inferno, they (or at least some of them) feel short changed by the mechanics and feel that this patch has played into Minmatar hands. I even found an obligatory accusation that Hans Jagerblitzen of CSM7 has yet again played favourites and leveraged CCP to deploy the changes now so that his militia benefits. This is a standard occurrence in any thread involving FW changes.
There is, in some circles, a perception that Hans attempted to bury the notion of map changes in order to preserve the Minmatar advantage. I don’t think that is fair, so I went back to the CSM7 summer summit minutes to see what was actually said about it back then.
CSM & CCP Meeting minutes, May 30th – 1st June 2012
Page 115 of 165
CCP Ytterbium explained that the NPC’s are the current project being worked on, that he’s already begun some of the balancing work. Ytterbium clarified that his current work only applies to the dungeon NPC’s, which are in more immediate need of balancing effort. Missions would be revisited as well, but they represent a whole different set of challenges to rework them. CCP Ytterbium then posed a question for Hans – explaining that he’d heard from a few individuals that Amarr space is harder to defend, being in a small area whereas Minmatar space has a single pipe that can be easily blockaded.
Hans replied that he hadn’t studied this issue in great detail, and mentioned that the more pressing issue with regards to the map lay in the Gallente/Caldari warzone, where the number of systems to fight over is making achieving high levels of warzone control a considerable challenge.
CCP Soundwave: “Yeah, I mean, that’s alright. You’re not supposed to have everything upgraded all the time.”
Two step: “Is this something you guys are actually thinking about changing?”(referring to the map of the warzone)
CCP Ytterbium: “I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking. Do you feel that there are issues with the general geography of the map?”
Two step: “I mean it makes sense that if you’re going to have this battlefield, with a static structure, that you examine it to make sure it’s a balanced structure to start out with.”
Elise countered that nowhere else in the EVE universe is geography balanced, it’s not like 0.0 has an equal number of entrances and exits to each region.
CCP Ytterbium interjected that Factional Warfare is not like null sec, however, and standards shouldn’t be the same.
Hans wrapped up discussion of the map by stating that he doesn’t consider it a major issue, that there hasn’t been enough feedback recently to place it as a priority over the other items discussed so far.
CCP Soundwave mentioned that he would like to look at the small isolated pockets however, the systems that are disconnected from the rest of Factional Warfare territory in some fashion.
Hans agreed that this would be worth looking into, especially since system flips are more likely to occur in adjacent systems, as supposed to deep behind enemy lines.
Emphasis mine, as I think it is really important. These minutes do show that it was CCP bringing the map discussion to the table, not Hans or the other CSM. So the critics are not without a point, Hans himself did not push for these changes back then.
However. This summit took place a week after Inferno 1.0 was deployed, and that was quite a different time for FW. At that point there really were much bigger issues for FW players to worry about, such as the plex NPC’s and (exploitable) plexing mechanics in general. Compared to the other changes going into Retribution, these map changes really were looking pretty far down the priority list at the time and that is where I think Hans was coming from back then. In hindsight he could have done himself a favour and been a little more acknowledging of the issue in general, but I guess you can’t have everything. 😉
It is to the credit of CCP Ytterbium and Team Game of Drones that they were looking at this six months ago before the players themselves were giving it any serious attention. The map has been a long standing issue but not a hot topic until recently as the larger issues have been systematically tackled, gradually bringing the less obvious stuff up to the top.
If that isn’t a sign of progress, I don’t know what is.