What do you think of the Inferno changes for FW? Is it everything you’d hoped it would be?
Of course not. It was half of what I wanted it to be. Many of the elements players have demanded for years finally made it into the feature, from payouts for plexing and PvP kills, to system upgrades, bug fixes, and an overhauled (and gorgeous) new user interface through which to view the war.
There’s still the other half of work to be done – the NPC’s inside the plexing need an overhaul to encourage PvP fits instead of speedtankers, and should be balanced so that there’s no advantage for one faction because of the combination of damage and EWAR. We still need better system upgrades. We need the payout system and warzone tiers to be balanced so that they don’t crush and ruin the fun of those that fall behind in the war. EVERY faction warfare pilot deserves a “living wage” whether they win or lose, I firmly believe that. I had advised CCP to tone down the penalties before they deployed Inferno, but they wanted to test it anyways, I think we see now that we could have a lot more fights if the penalties for losing weren’t so harsh that they push people out of the warzone to seek isk elsewhere. I’ll once again be asking CCP to go back to what I told them before.
The good news that CCP has increased the size of the team handling Faction Warfare, several of which I am in daily contact with on Skype. This level of developer access while working on the feature I love is a godsend, and will allow me to make sure that player interests are protected at every step of the process as we work on the next project cycle. This is a major advantage I lacked when Inferno was first released, even though I was grateful CCP was at least starting out on the roadmap I gave them last November.
With all of the null sec alliances joining FW, do you feel Faction War has retained it’s uniqueness as a ‘fight club’ since Inferno or has it morphed into something closer resembling null sec?
Well, the stakes are certainly higher, and that’s what we asked for. We now have a reason to take space (its fun to boot another faction from their home) and theres a lot of money on the line for the winner. This has worked exactly as intended in terms of revitalizing the war and getting more people excited about Faction Warfare, but it has certainly challenged the players to grow along with new mechanics.
The thing that we all know has transformed the most is the tone amongst the community – the acid and bile that is slung around puts anything we heard pre-inferno to shame. We’ve moved from record unity (during the build up to the election) towards behavior that resembles the same kind of herd mentality we all hate about being a part of a large nullsec alliance. The difference between Faction Warfare and 0.0 however, is that we utterly fail at the “meta-game”. Somewhere, someone got this idea that sexual harassment, hateful language, and smear campaigns somehow constituted “metagaming” as if it had even the slightest chance of helping a group to victory. What is has done instead is reinforce the stereotype of Faction Warfare being a bunch of noob scrubs that don’t know how to meta their way out of a cardboard box, and its a tremendous setback for all of us that are working hard to get everyone else in the game to take Faction Warfare seriously as a group of cool players.
I’m all for smacktalk and incredibly competitive gaming. I want factions throwing their entire might at each other militarily, and not holding back. I want there to be a friendly rivalry, no doubt.
Its when players cross the line and call each other a bad person for simply saying that your internet spaceship enemy sucks that everything sinks into the gutter fast. If Susan write a nasty blog about how the Amarr fail (I guarantee you it won’t be the last), than write a nasty blog back about how the Minmatar fail. If she calls out Fweddit, feel free to defend your Empire by calling out Late Night Alliance. THAT is the sort of fair turnabout that is sorely lacking right now.
We have to move back to that place where we can taunt our enemies while still being friends with each other – and that is something that WE are responsible for as leaders of the community. I’ve heard so often recently that it’s “just a few bad apples” or that “they can’t really be controlled”, but this is a cop-out on the part of FW leadership. We all set the tone, regardless of what CCP gives us in terms of mechanics. I’ve been encouraged recently by seeing many FW leaders stand up and say “Enough is enough, children!” so hopefully we’re back on the right track.
What do you hope will happen for the winter expansion in regards to FW?
NPC content overhaul inside the plexes. Adjusted payouts so that the losing factions still have a viable income. And end to market spiking and real consequence if you live at a lower tier most of the time. Notifications for when plexes are entered and taken – let players run, but not hide. Rollbacks of the button time to discourage plex bouncing to evade PvP. An end to LP payouts when systems are taken vulnerable. An end to system contested percentage “buffers” above and beyond vulnerability. Batch purchasing in the LP stores. Better system upgrades. Better rewards for PvP kills. All of these items need to be handled first and foremost – above all else. Nail these, and there’s plenty of other items that could be built on. But these iterations are the bread and butter of the expansion as far as I’m concerned.
What do you most enjoy about being CSM?
Direct access to CCP and their cooperation in seeing that these items get worked on. It’s wonderful to not have to nail up posts and pray for a response, and to be able to have a meaningful dialogue with them about the game on a daily basis. This is the prize I want future CSM hopefuls to chase after, and its been fantastically rewarding without ever having stepped foot in Iceland myself.
What is the most frustrating thing about being CSM?
Players that pretend that they care enough about the game to stamp their feet and complain and cause a scene, or to attack me for my work, but don’t care enough to sit down and have a respectful, well-informed discussion with the one person that is in a position to help them achieve what they want. There are a lot of fools right now that are so wrapped up in whether I’m screwing them over that they are wasting the precious time we have left before CCP stops working on Faction Warfare again for a while trying to discredit me or mope about how they don’t have anyone that cares about their interests. What they don’t realize is that anything I implement that “screws the Amarr” screws me over the minute that the Amarr old combines forces with Nulli, Fweddit, an Hun Reloaded to take Tier 5. It’s time to drop the stupid rhetoric about “Amarr bias” or “Minmatar bias” and just talk about what makes for good gameplay.
How has being CSM affected yourself, your corporation, and your game play?
It’s been isolating, more than anything else. I’ve had members of my corporation call me out because I have less time to devote to corp management now that I’m on the CSM, and I’ve had members of my own Alliance and faction attack me for some of the positions I’ve taken publicly regarding Faction Warfare changes (like the reset to the war zone I advocated for). I’ve had people who I thought were friends going into the election turn on me because they didn’t like how Inferno turned out and blamed me for screwing their faction over.
I’ve had less time to play and socialize and fleet up and hang out, and much of the time I do spend playing the game it feels like its taking me away from the myriad blog articles, forum posts, and personal conversations that the community expects me to keep up with on a regular basis. It’s all very taxing, though it’s also very much what I expected going into this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to just cut the internet cable to my house and leave EVE entirely for a year. But this is an incredible opportunity, to be able to directly help fix up the game I love for the community I love, and I’m in this till the end.
What advice do you have for someone just joining FW?
Be aggressive. You WILL be treated like a spy initially, blow it off, stay calm, and persist. Use your minimap, find where the action is at, fly around, take plexes, tag along fleets and ask if you can help. Whatever you do, don’t sit in station asking for fleets in militia chat all day. This will work some of the time, but for the most part the best way to enjoy Faction Warfare is to find a group of friends or a corporation, and get involved. Don’t expect for the militia to just welcome you with open arms, hand you a uniform, a ship, and an assignment. It’s a cold harsh universe, even in Faction Warfare, and there will be a bit of hazing and distrust (that’s OUR responsibility as veterans to address), but those that are genuinely new, genuinely interested in helping, and who genuinely make the effort will always find a home.
Thank you for the interview, any parting thoughts?
Faction Warfare pilots, new and old alike – represent the community with some pride. Put your game faces on. I want to see ugliness on the battlefield, not ugliness in the blogs and ugliness in the forums. Sure, it’ll go on regardless in small amounts, but I really enjoy showing you guys off to the EVE Universe. I want to be an apologist for the community as often as possible – I was so incredibly proud that everyone came together to elect a representative (even if it hadn’t been me) because it proved everyone in the game wrong who said that Faction Warfare pilots were too childish or animatistic to ever get along well enough to achieve anything.
It was cross-factional friendship and teamwork that got our feature CSM representation, got us a pair of Faction Warfare expansions, got us an incredible Titan kill, and it will be that same friendship and mutual respect (if we can get back to that place) that people will know and remember our community by for years to come. We have so much going for us, and so much work left to be done, let’s not blow it for some cheap momentary lulz.