Time to rollback the complexes
Full disclosure: I am a pirate who often preys on plexers; most of the time I am solo, and often times I am not the victor. This is not a proposal to assure I gather more killmails.
Faction warfare complexes are a broken mechanic. ‘Plexers’ fly empty ships, warp core stabilized ships, cloaking ships and have almost zero risk in exchange for the loyalty points they are earning. They can do this with day-old characters. There is no way for another player (whether it is a pirate or an opposing faction) to stop the plexer as they can just warp from complex to complex in a single system running each one down a little until they end up back where they started. My assertion is that players who are actively taking part in capturing a complex and fly in ships capable of defending the complex should be rewarded more than players who risk almost nothing.
Empty ships are relatively easy to catch, though there is ample warning and plenty of time to escape. Warp core stabilized ships can be killed with a large alpha or multiple points, but often they will warp off. Cloaking ships can be found with enough effort. I am not arguing that there is no counter, but the effort is herculean in comparison to the risk.
Faction warfare complex timers should roll back when not actively being run down by a faction warfare pilot. The timer should roll back at half the rate if no pilot is in the complex, an equal rate when a neutral is in the complex, and double the rate when an opposing pilot is in the complex. This gives a way for the opposing faction to fight back and a general level of incentive for pilots to stay and defend their complex. I don’t even care if the payouts go up to compensate, at least the pilots willing to risk their ships will be well rewarded.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with pilots not taking a risk — they just shouldn’t earn the same (or better) Loyalty Point rewards as capsuleers who risk their ships. I’ve spoken with pilots taking advantage of the brokenness. They admit the system is broken. They admit there is no risk. I often see new characters (sometimes created that day) in faction warfare complexes — these are never brand new players; they are veterans taking advantage of a broken system.
Thanks to Cearain who let me know you could query the EVE API for the top performers in faction warfare. Taking a look statistics for the last week, 7 of the top 10 in the VictoryPointsLastWeek section have no combat record or very few recorded engagements. Those pilots with losses primarily lose unfitted or heavily warp core stabilized ships. For example, the top character for victory points last week was Mitsuyo Ichinumi who only lost unfit Condors. Devora Dora (4th) is only 2 weeks old and has no recorded kills or losses. And Last Starfigter (7th) has no recorded kills or losses. Others have very few kills or losses, but are losing primarily warp core stabilized ships to ships with large alpha or those of us smart enough to fit multiple points and get lucky catching them.
In fact, take a minute to search for the CorpoISK corporation on eve-kill (here’s a link). kill history and members, you will see that they are all losing unfitted or warp core stabilized ships and some members are have been on both sides of the war (Pak Zeitgeist). Two of its members are in the top ten last week (Devora Dora and Last Starfigter). These guys just happen to be visible this week, but you can bet there are others doing the same thing. This is pretty obviously taking advantage of a broken system.
EVE is a sandbox, but when sand starts spilling outside the box it’s time to scoop it back in.
Note: This is a compilation of posts from the EVE Online forums into a single, cohesive thesis. Original proposal is here; if you have thoughts on the subject please take a minute to visit the thread and air them.