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So last night, I decided to see just how practical it was going to be to run plexes, because, well, I like to see how I am going to make iskies to pay for my ships and modules.  I jumped into a local haunt, Kinakka, and noticed that it was still under Gallente Control and the was only 20% contested.  The Kinakka – Onnamon gate is a major transition point for Caldair pilots to get into the low-sec part of our conflict space.  Fortunately, I was flying my Wolf.. which would be a good indicator as to how effective it would be to plex for LP.

Initially I could not find a single minor or standard Plex, so I waited a bit and did some PI (which I found out I could improve my intake by isk income by 30% with an addition of another product line).  A standard and a minor came up again, but they were taken right away.  So, feeling rather bored I decided to risk a Major Outpost.  (Now before I get too far ahead, and before people start de-crying that Major Outposts are too weak, I am FULLY trained in all the Wolf components.  As in everything but the Rigs are trained to level 5, including the resist modules.)  I jump in a notice five ships, three frig class and two cruiser class NPCs.  I confirm that the timer does not start when I get in range of the structure and I go about taking down the local NPCs.

I endure wave after wave of NPCs, fortunately without anyone bothering me.  Most of the ships get dispatched pretty easily by my Wolf.  That is, until I have to deal with the Elite Cruisers that spawn near the end.  That really slowed me down, and to be  honest, if I wasn’t fully trained in my Wolf and ACs, I probably wouldn’t have had the DPS necessary to win.   The armor repping on the Elite Cruisers were strong enough that I was only taking just a sliver off more than they were repping.  This can be a little stressful when local starts to fill up and you are surrounded by Elite Cruisers who are barely dying.  Each Elite Cruiser took about 3-4 minutes to kill in my Wolf, so that added another half an hour to the overall time it took to finish the plex.

After I finished killing the NPCs and starting the  however, my solitary existance was interrupted rather often during the next 20 minutes.  The first was from It Garibaldi, who tried to get the drop on me twice with this ship (Killed sometime after I logged off.. but definately a fit I will probably copy).  The other pirate who tried to get the jump on me, lost his ship to the first guy who tried to get a jump on me.  Needless to say, my successful escapes turned out to be the wiser course.  So, with warp-outs and being more patient than the pirates who are trying to find me, that added an extra ten minutes to my solo plex hunting.  I will definately say that it was the hardest 12,500 LP I have ever had to earn.  And if I had remembered that the Caldari were still in Tier 1, I probably wouldn’t have even tried to do it. 

Overall Opinions of New Faction Warfare

I will have to say that Hans, the CSM, and CCP did a pretty fair job in handing the LP farmer and Plexing issue.  Considering how quick both the minor and standard Plexes were taken up, it seems that they are pretty reasonable to do solo.. but you have to be awake and paying attention as well.  It is also very painful to be at Tier 1, which calculates to about between 20 and 25mil isk per hour if you include the value of Tags and such and are assuming that you are patient enough to sell datacores on the market.  If you aren’t patient, expect that number to go down by 20 to 50%.  Once you reach Tier 2, you start earning isk at about the same rate as mission runners, so there is a good reason for everyone to contribute to get to tier 3 and up.  I am going to read up more on all that is required for achieving Tier 3 and up because there might be some details that I have missed.

Now, I do still have one qualm, and that is based off of something mentioned in the devblog for future release:

Have plex capture timers visible to everyone in system so you can easily tell which plexes are close to being captured.

While I agree with much of Hans’ reasons for this change going through, which are based on what he thinks should be the quissesential Faction Warrior:

1.) Players that may be after the LP or WZC, but that embrace the possibility of PvP, and fit their ship to win against aggressors. (warp-stabbed gunless atrons fail this criteria)

2.) Players that may or may not care about the LP, but go into a plex specifically to bait someone for the sake of a fun PvP fight.

3.) Players that just want to murder whoever is in the plex, for whatever reason. These players don’t give a flying cluck whether you are the first or second type, they want to see you dead. No questions asked.

I still don’t think EVERYONE should have this info.  There should be a price for what is essentially a big, huge arrow pointing to the plexer saying “HERE HE IS!!  RIGHT HERE!!”, and that price should be that they have to be in Faction Warfare to see that information.  Run of the mill pirates should have that access or that intel, nor would they be given that intel otherwise.  I see where Hans is coming from saying that displaying that information to everyone will cause more PVP fights.. but I think there will still be that need to burn through plex and plex in order to keep the Tier system going, and if EVERY plex is going to be a potential trap, and EVERY plex is going to be difficult, and if EVERY plex is going to have the high potential that you lose a ship worth more than the plex itself.. then there is going to be a steady decline in players joining faction warfare.

Let’s face it, the vast majority of faction warfare players still want to make isk when they play AND while they don’t mind PVP, if their side is stuck at Tier 1 and you have not only enemy FW pilots but typical pirate bands roaming constantly through the area, constantly harrassing you, then I think the fun and the desire would leave rather quickly.

Now that being said, thus far the changes to Faction Warfare are just what was needed.  I see both Solo and Organized groups making their mark as well as useless LP farmers basically regulated to the poor returns of defensive plexing (which still benefits their faction anyways).  So, well done CSM, CCP, and Hans.