Factioning it up

This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective to discuss the plans for overhauling Factional warfare in Dust514.

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Team True Grit are CCP’s dev team working on EVE-Dust link and have made an interesting announcement on their plans for revamping the Dust-side of factional warfare over a series of updates.  This is great to see as it is an extension of what we see being done increasingly often for EVE where dev’s take their plans to the forums at an earlier stage to get community feedback.

There are multiple threads breaking it all down, first this introduction then this one about faction standings gain/loss another about FW contract match changes and finally this one about the new LP rewards and LP store.  Put them together and it really is quite a lot of information!  Nice one CCP Foxfour. 🙂

The big in-match changes look to be that friendly fire will be enabled and that orbital strikes will only be available if there is an EVE-Online player on hand to launch one.  I like this.  It is both more realistic and raises the focus on both player skill and organisation compared to the public matches of high-sec.  The orbital strike change will provide an incentive for Dust players to forge links with EVE and create a niche for EVE players to fill, which has been quite lacking since launch.

But the really big deal here is what happens outside of the matches.  Basically Dust’s FW contracts are coming more into line with EVE and CCP are adding some meaning to the choice you make of who you fight for.  My guess is that right now the average Dust player has all four Empires enabled in their matchmaker and they don’t care which side they happen to be fighting for because it makes no difference to them.  I always felt that this was pretty pointless and does nothing for immersion or investment in the game.

Under the new model, players will be rewarded for tying their loyalty to a specific faction.  Each match you win will earn you a little bit of faction standings towards the side you fight for.  At the same time, you will lose a little less standings towards the opposing side.  As you earn more standings you unlock higher tiers of rewards.  Flitting between sides will shoot yourself in the foot and keep your rewards lower than they could be. Also team killing will see your standings plummet, which hopefully will deter griefers a bit.  Hopefully.

I like this a lot and was hoping that CCP would implement something much like it.  I think that this could do a lot of good for creating communities within Dust as the battle lines form around the militias.  You will be able to identify who fights for which sides and who the big players are.  It creates more reasons for people to get organised and that is great and needed.

Then there are the rewards themselves.  FW contracts will switch from paying out ISK rewards over to loyalty points.  LP will then be spent on items in the new LP stores that will cost a combination of LP and ISK to purchase, as in EVE.  What this means is that at some point players will need to play a combination of public contracts to earn ISK and Factional contracts to earn the LP.  I’m not too sure what I think about that, but it certainly does give me a reason to play public contracts which I presently rarely do.

The other issue I see is that there will be no mechanic currently in game that allows me as a dedicated Minmatar player to access items exclusive to the Amarr LP store.  I can still play either Gallente or Caldari, but not both as working for one will damage my standings with the other.  This might pose something of a hindrance for me as I really do like Scrambler rifles and they are an Amarrian weapon system. Hmm.

The solution to this issue (if it indeed is considered an issue that I can’t have my cake and eat it) is for CCP to implement a player driven market for Dust where players can sell stuff to each other.  I am quietly hoping that this is in the works for the near future as CCp recently removed militia item blueprints from the Aurum store (but not from packages in the Playstation store) stating that this was a move intended to help build a ‘true market’ in Dust.  It would also reduce the need for players who want to focus on FW matches to grind public matches to earn their ISK.  You could just trade loyalty store items to make a profit instead. 😉

It looks like CCP have a pretty good vision of what isn’t working out so well in Dust’s FW scene so far and are working on making it into a much more involved part of the experience that has a clear differentiation to public contracts and a reason for the two to coexist.  It’s a promising start.

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