EVE Online's Faction Warfare system was released almost one year ago with the Empyrean Age expansion and was initially a complete success. It provided a stage on which thousands of players waged war. From fleets of over a hundred players to gangs as small as two or three pilots, everyone found their own place in the conflict. After the initial wave of success, questions began to arise on the lack of rewards to offset the cost of losing ships in PvP. In addition, while the point of faction warfare initially revolved around capturing systems, holding an enemy system provided no benefits beyond bragging rights. Almost a year on from its initial release, faction warfare has barely changed, prompting very real concerns from players that EVE's developers CCP have entirely abandoned it. These issues have even made it as far as the Council of Stellar Management.
In this article, I take a retrospective look at how faction warfare has (or hasn't) progressed in this past year and ask the question "Has Faction Warfare been abandoned?".
When faction warfare was released, ownership of a system didn't actually provide any benefits. It was assumed that the benefits of system ownership would be added later and for a time players on all sides fought over them. Almost one year since then, system ownership is still absolutely useless. Beyond the standings increase gained from capturing complexes and systems, there is absolutely no reason to own or capture them. Unfortunately, it may now be too late for CCP to introduce system ownership benefits. The Gallente faction have long since abandoned system captures in favour of pure PvP action and the Caldari now officially occupy almost all of the Gallente contested systems. To make system ownership important now would relegate the Gallente to automatic failure or require the undoing of the Caldari's current capture achievements.
Lack of rewards:
It's no secret that losing ships costs money. A night of PvP could cost you nothing or it could cost you several hundred million isk if you make a few particularly bad losses. Almost immediately after the faction warfare system was released, players began asking for rewards to offset these losses. This is of course a little backward and the age old adage "Never fly what you can't afford to lose" was re-iterated countless times on the forums and militia channels. If a player can't afford to lose Tech 2 cruisers or rigged battleships on a daily basis, they should fly something cheaper but still effective.
As my corporation proved during the first few months of faction warfare, gangs of cheaply fit tech 1 ships can be very effective and they cost barely anything to lose if fully insured. These have now become the staple ships of faction warfare and in that regard, I don't believe excessive monetary rewards are appropriate.
Rewards we could have:
One aspect of faction warfare that could certainly do with some added incentive is the almost completely unused faction warfare mission system. The faction warfare loyalty point stores have nothing unique in them, every item can be obtained from another corp's store. As normal missions provide a much easier and bigger stream of loyalty points, the faction warfare missions have a lot less appeal. Some items exclusive only to the faction warfare store could easily give some purpose back to faction warfare missions. There is such potential in the loyalty point and capture point system and I think it's a massive shame that it hasn't been developed any further.