CCP Soundwave FW Interview

CCP Soundwave FW Interview

A couple of weeks ago I queried the Caldari Militia for a list of questions that they’d like to ask CCP about factional warfare.  I also got in touch with well-known Gallente pilots like Chatgris and X Gallentius and solicited their opinions.  From that combined list, I weeded out the duplicates, combined some of the others, and ended up with a good set of questions to pass along to CCP.  After chatting with CCP Falcon, he put me in touch with CCP Soundwave.  CCP Soundwave currently serves as the Lead Game Designer for EVE Online, and agreed to be interviewed regarding factional warfare, its current mechanics, and what CCP has in store for the future.  I think posting this back-and-forth dialogue is a fitting way for CSSYN to now phase out of factional warfare completely.

WT: Take us back to the beginning of FW. When did it come out? What purpose were you hoping it to serve? If you had to pick a dev most influential in the early design of FW, who would it be?

Soundwave: FW came out back in 2008, with the Empyrean Age. The idea was that it would be an easier stepping board into PVP, letting newer players go out and blow things up without the large groundwork needed to get into 0.0. Back then, I think Greyscale was the designer responsible for it. To his credit, the product we released back in 2008 was pretty far from what he wanted it to be.

WT: There have been some radical changes to FW over the years. Would you talk about how the system has evolved over time, and to what ends?

Soundwave: I think it’s still working by the same principles as when it started out, we’re just supporting it a lot better. Where I think we really succeeded with the changes was making it feel more like a real part of the universe, and less than some tacked on stepchild hidden away in low-sec. The number of people participating (both younger players and older veterans who seem to have adopted this as their permanent home) is awesome to see.

WT: Internally, what is CCP most proud about when it comes to FW? Most disappointed about? Are things currently “working as intended?”

Soundwave: The pride probably comes from us being able to take something that was, for a long time, the biggest thorn in the communities eyes and making it an actual fun feature. Go back a few years and ask people what they thought was in the worst state and a lot of people would say FW, while that’s definitely not the case today. I think my biggest point of disappointment is that we haven’t moved on to the next stage of iteration with the system yet, which I’m looking forward to. As of right now though, it’s definitely working as intended.

WT: One of the current “hot buttons” amongst militia pilots is the significantly reduced LP rewards for defensive plexing. As a result, any militia pilots view it as a waste of time, except at the extreme higher tiers of warzone control (i.e. T4). What was CCP’s mindset there during that portion of design? Are you satisfied with the reduced rewards? Is this something you’d consider changing in the future?

Soundwave: Yeah, when we revisit FW again in the future, looking at both offensive and defensive gameplay will definitely be on the table. If I were to look at a part of FW that needs love right now, that’s probably a good place to start.

WT: Mentioned at fanfest was the possible inclusion of timer rollbacks for complexes. i.e. The capture timer counts back to zero if neither side is close enough to the capture point. When might timer rollbacks be implemented?

Soundwave: That’s one potential solution. Usually though, we’ll try and come up with a large number of them and pick. This could be one of them.

WT: Currently, every faction has large swaths of systems not upgraded even to level 1, which stunts tier level considerably. Do you feel that the donation system is working as intended, and have you considered any changes to boost participation in system level upgrading?

Soundwave: I think the donation system is definitely working. But like anything else, we can always improve upon it, but as a baseline I’m not dissatisfied with how it’s working currently.

WT: As it stands, the reward for a successful ihub bash is 40k LP, split amongst the participants. There will always be the occasional FC in it for the glory, but do you feel this is an adequate reward to incentivize the average player to participate?

Soundwave: I’m not entirely sure I like putting rewards on things. Should you killing the Ihub be a business venture or something you do because you feel like it furthers your factions? I think the next time we iterate on FW, we need to look at some of the motivation and incentives.

WT: Are there any anti-farmer plans on the horizon? Could you speak specifically to some of those? What’s the potential timeline for their inclusion?

Soundwave: I think we would prefer to keep stuff like that under wraps.

WT: Are there any other parting thoughts that you’d like to mention to the FW community in general?

Soundwave: None right now. I’ve done a few talks about what I’d want for FW long term, and that’s unchanged. I’d love it if there was a more fluid transition between the empires and FW, with FW representing the military arm of the empires in a much more natural way. FW pilots could take over some NPC duties like customs enforcement etc, which would make it a lot more interesting.

I appreciate the time that Soundwave took to answer the questions.  In fact, let’s be a bit more direct:  Thank you Soundwave.  I can’t help to say that some of the answers disappointed me, though.  Donations system okay as is?  No firm answer on timer rollbacks?  The systems as a whole working as intended?  I wouldn’t agree with any of those points in particular.  Those things, and a multitude of others, are what has prompted CSSYN to leave factional warfare.


Fly dangeous.