My ongoing exploration of EVE play-styles for Guild Launch recently found Factional Warfare in my sights. Knowing very little about FW gameplay and the communities behind it, I approached CSM member and Factional Warfare guru Hans Jagerblitzen with some questions. The result was a two hour Skype conversation which took place at silly o'clock UK time on 23rd August 2012. Hans was very open and keen to talk about all things EVE and he gave me far more information than I needed for my article (which is aimed at those new to EVE or those considering giving it a try).
With his permission, I thought reproducing some of the more in-depth discussion here might be of interest to existing EVE players or Exploring EVE Online readers who wanted to know more.
As sitting through all two hours would probably lead to catatonia, I've segmented the conversation into digestible chunks so listeners can home in on elements of interest to them. It's worth bearing in mind that we didn't set out explicitly to deliver a podcast-quality interview, this was just a chat. Beyond segmentation, minimal editing has taken place, so although these excerpts should be on point, please forgive us if we ramble.
N.B. The segments presented below have been arranged in a coherent order and are not necessarily in chronological sequence.
Factional Warfare Q&A
How does a new EVE player get started? What does the rookie capsuleer need to know about Factional Warfare?
Hans gives a brief overview of what's involved in the first steps toward getting into Factional Warfare. Interesting to note that no Rookie frigates can enter dungeon complexes, despite their recent combat upgrades. [3m 57s]
What resources are available for new players interested in Factional Warfare? Is there an official guide? How can a potential enlistee track down other Factional Warfare players and corporations?
Hans identifies that there isn't an established process and there is heavy reliance on player contribution (some were linked in the Guild Launch article). Hans talks about the part that the UI Factional Warfare dashboard plays. [5m 50s]
[Note: This conversation took place before Susan Black made FactionWar.net]
What part does FW play in EVE's broad sandbox? How does FW differ from "player-driven narratives" as found in more free-form areas of the game like null-sec and non-FW low-sec?
Hans provides answers and discusses the importance of geography in FW low-sec, including the impact of the new station lock-out feature as introduced in the Inferno expansion. He covers the various motivations for players engaged in FW from territory to RP. [7m 41s]
How do Loyalty Points work? What is their part in providing motivation as a conflict driver.
Hans explains how Loyalty Points are earned and how they can be spent. He gives an overview of how Infrastructure Hubs work within the Faction tier upgrade system and what benefits can be gained. He gives examples of how this currently plays out, reflecting on how the new FW capture system could be improved. [13m 11s]
Do live events, roleplaying and storyline content play a part in current FW? Is there scope in the future?
Hans hints at how elements of the Winter expansion could benefit from a narrative delivery. We discuss the potential of live events similar to those attempted by Tech 4 News last year. Hans unveils the truth about players who pretend not to be roleplayers and we talk about the confusion that arises from players not distinguishing between roleplayed faction loyalties and standing by time invested in a community. [8m 7s]
As a CSM member, is Hans aware of further plans for CCP to iterate on the Factional Warfare system?
Hans speaks positively about the continued iteration of FW and discusses the ongoing development culture at CCP and the player perception of it. He discusses elements of what might be seen in the Winter expansion. [2m 56s]
Googling "EVE Online faction warfare" brings up the Inferno site where it reads:
"Factional Warfare is the PVP training ground for new players, where the hatred between the races of EVE fuels an Inferno..."
So is Faction Warfare the PvP kiddie pool?
Hans recovers (although he may have inhaled his gum) to stand up for FW. We go on to discuss the CSM Summit, including implementation (or lack thereof) of Lead Designer CCP Soundwave's personal vision and how to interpret Elise Randolph's threat to defend Pandemic Legion supply lines from FW interference. [12m 55s]
If FW is considered entry-level PvP, how can the ability to get involved be improved given that, with the right guidance a rookie can jump straight into the null-sec "end game"?
Hans explains his personal goal to see FW become an "end-game" experience equal to null-sec with more accessibility. We discuss the benefit of playstyle-specific starting locations and tutorials. [4m 41s]
End of Part One
That's pretty much all the Factional Warfare stuff we discussed, but we did cover other topics too. If this interview format is found to be helpful, I'll do the same with the remainder of the interview. Part II would include Hans and I discussing the challenges of the CCP-CSM-Playerbase relationship, spitballing about Jesus features and revisiting old concepts, Hans also shares a few more nuggets about Winter Expansion features and I develop an obsession with ice cream analogies (it was a hot day!).
Let me know if this works for you.