I've been flying this factional warfare thing for a while now. And I'd like to go over the aspects of it's features and rate them.
1) Offensive Plexing
This is by far the best of the new mechanics so far. When in enemy territory you can concentrate on certain systems but when they run out of plexes all the other enemy systems that are not contested will also have plexes and they are useful for pushing the systems more and more into contested and they are all useful for getting standing. The biggest problem with them is the problem with all plexing: totally un-intelligent rats. There is no way two frigates should be able to run down an un-restricted plex but that is exactly what we are able to do.
2) Defensive Plexing
This is marred by the fact that once you run out of plexes in contested systems, you are reduced to running timers down in other defensive systems and get absolutely no rewards (ya can't shoot the rats and you get no standing for running these). Having to run 3 hours of defensive plexing in the hope that one of them will re-spawn in a constested system is BORING IN THE EXTREEM. Either some minimal reward for running defensive plexes in un-contested system or a different spawning mechanims is needed to repair this. As it is I must give the mechanics of defensive plexing a failing grade. If they somehow fix the NPC behaviour so that 2 frigates are unable to run all offensive plexes, then they should think about setting minimum force levels for running down plex timers. Something like anything can get in can run down a minor plex, Cruisers and T2 frigates can run down a medium plex, Battlecruisers are needed to run down a large plex and BS are needed to run down an un-restricted plex.
3) Control bunker
Welp - I've never seen a vulnerable one. I suspect this is due to the broken nature of plex spawning. There is some weird mechanic that advantages people who can run plexes just after downtime. Since my usual hours of play tend to be between 22:00 and 04:00 eve time this means that there is very little putting systems into vulnerable happening at in this time zone. So I can't comment on it. Since I've been playing FW for over 2 month I'd have to say this qualifies as fail again. CCP needs to run some analysis on when systems are going into vulnerable. I suspect they will be grouped temporaly. And I suspect the distribution will NOT match the server population. Should this be the case, the mechanics of plex spawing should be revised.
Prety pictures - the faction standing boost when you get promoted is worth it, but other wise they are just prety pictures.
The financial rewards (or stuff that can be turned into financial rewards) prety much suck. This has the effect that most pilots can only fly FW 1/2 to 1/3 of the time they are in faction warfare. The rewards need to be brought up to the level of missions in order for the pilots to be able to keep flying more often. I realize that FW came pre-nerfed but this needs to be implemented.
Again the lack of consequences (other than ship loss) to FW means it's just about pew pew. Which is fine, and a great learning tool for pilots un-familiar with combat. But after a while it gets prety repetitive and since there is no consequence to loss of system control for the pilots it makes for a very wishy washy feel to the whole mechanic. Some refinements are definitly needed.
Conclusion: An interesting tool to learn Pew Pew. It's biggest advantage is that you don't have the sec-status worrys of the typical anti-pirate campaign (only about 1/3 of all pirates are -5 sec status or below from what I've observed) and you dont' have to go Pirate to get some action. But until the rewards are tweeked and consequences thrown in at best it's only a training tool. The inability of alliances to retain corporations while letting those corporations go do FW means it's a disapointing training tool as well.
We'll have to see if upcoming patches repair/improve this situation, but for now that's what I see.
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