Factional Warfare: An Introduction

 

With the recent influx of fresh meat new players to EVE Online, following the stunning success of This Is EVE, it’s time for Lowlife to introduce Factional Warfare. This article is intended for those new to EVE as well as those interested in trying Factional Warfare for the first time.

Factional Warfare is the most accessible and reliable source of PVP in EVE. There are always fights to be had and lessons to be learned. From the week-old character to the grizzled veteran – they all come to FW for a “gud fite”, because it delivers the action at the drop of a hat and is truly the place where both new and experienced have a role.

Welcome to the war zone

FW_faction_alliances

There are five main empires in New Eden: the fundamentally religious Amarr Empire, the capitalist and utilitarian Caldari State, the free-thinking and decadent Gallente Federation, the tribal and fearless Minmatar Republic and the mysterious and powerful Jove.

Although tensions between them have always been high, erupting in several wars throughout the history of New Eden, they have recently engaged in a form of perpetual, limited war, taking place in the regions between their respective areas of sovereign (high security) space. This is what is called Factional Warfare. The Amarr and Caldari aligned due to common goals (or enemies), while the Gallente and Minmatar call each other ally due to moral and political sympathies. The Jove have no obvious interest in the conflict and have historically proven they, to put it in the words of Wu-Tang, “ain’t nuthin to fuck with” (they are also not available as a “race” for player characters).

Factional Warfare takes place in the low security space between the empires (learn more about lowsec here). While high security space offers the protection of Concord, lowsec is a haven for brigands, robbers and pirates (of the player variety predominantly!). Although still governed by law, it is only enforced by automated sentry turrets at stations and stargates, not Concord, i.e. no ‘police’. Learning their mechanics and how law works in lowsec is a fundamental skill of survival, learn more about crimewatch here.

If you’re starting to develop a headache from all this information, don’t fret. Once enlisted in Factional Warfare, players of the opposite faction are fair game and 100% legal to shoot anywhere without Concord or sentry gun interference!

Denizens-pt-III-art-2

Enlisting

In order to become a participant in Factional Warfare you or your player-run corporation must first enlist into that factions militia. As an individual player you do this by applying to the NPC corporation that represents your chosen faction in the war (note: this doesn’t have to be the empire of your character’s birth, but you must have positive standings with that faction). These are the 24th Imperial Crusade for the Amarr, the Caldari State Protectorate, the Federal Defence Union for the Gallente and the Minmatar Tribal Liberation Force.

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Whether you join as an individual or as part of a corporation or alliance, you will be given access to the Militia chat channel. This is a great starting place to learn about FW and get in touch with the rest of your militia. It will also give you access to fleets people in your militia are running. If you have joined on your own, use the Militia channel and the Corporation Search Tool to find a player corp to join, this is probably the most important thing you can do as a new player to FW, so I’m going to say it again:

Join a player corp.

There are plenty of new-player-friendly corps out there that will take you under their wing, provide you with fleets to fly in, help you with your questions and perhaps even give you free ships to blow up! This goes for the experienced player as well, finding players that fit your playstyle, fly the kind of meta you’re interested in and fit your time zone is key to having a good time in FW.

A word of warning however: when you join a militia, whether personally or via a corp, you will no longer be welcome in the opposing factions’ high security space. The faction navy will shoot you on sight upon entering their space.

An important thing to observe is that your overview isn’t well adjusted to militia life with default settings. Many of your new-found allies will also be labeled as suspect at times or outright outlaws (a form of privateer). Without adjusting your overview they will show up as yellow (suspect) or red (outlaw). In order to identify them as allies before you shoot them and end up in a messy situation, rearrange the order of priority in your overview settings as per the image below:

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Winning the war

There are two war zones in FW. The Amarr vs. Minmatar, and the Gallente vs. Caldari. These war zones consist of a number of predetermined star systems that are up for conquest for your faction. Once you have enlisted in the militia you can access a map of the current state of the war zone via the “Business” sub-menu (click the ‘E’ on top of your main menu).

Enlist

At the top of this window you will see a bar that represents general war zone control and tiers. As a faction conquers systems they raise in tier, each tier brings further benefits to the faction. You will also see a 3D map of the war zone, as well as a list of systems, along with the status for each system. Systems can either be “stable”, a percentage state of “contested”, “vulnerable” or “lost”.

Scanner_Window_showing_plexes

Systems are taken by raising the contested state to 100%, making the system “vulnerable”, and then attacking the infrastructure hub located in that system. You contest or defend a system by running Faction Warfare complexes , known as “plexes”. This is commonly referred to as defensive or offensive “plexing”. The original, official name for them is “Factional Warfare Dungeons”, but this name is no longer used, even by CCP. Basically, to ‘run’ a plex, right-click it on your system scanner or overview, warp to it at 10 km (warping at 0 can get you ‘stuck’ on the acceleration gate for a short period of time), and enter the plex using the acceleration gate. The gates work the same way as in regular missions.

04_in-space_pointers

FW_plex_layout

Upon entering the plex you will find an NPC ‘guard’. If you are running a plex in a system that is currently controlled by the opposing faction (look for the faction icon and the contested level on the top left of your screen) the NPC will be aggressive and attack you. If the system is controlled by your faction however, the NPC is friendly and you should not shoot it.

Once the NPC is dispatched, or if you are running a plex in a system controlled by your faction, you must remain within 30 km of the control point located within the plex, also known as a “button”. A timer will begin to count down, once it reaches zero you will have finished or ‘taken’ the plex for your faction and earn loyalty points.

You can read more about plexes and fighting in them here. Suffice to say that as a new player flying a frigate, you will want to look for plexes with the prefix “novice” or “small” such as “Novice Outpost” or “Small Stronghold”. Don’t worry so much about the larger plexes until you get the hang of it. A good way to learn plexing is to join a plexing fleet within your militia.

One very important point to remember about system control is that you cannot dock in a system controlled by the opposing faction.

Another thing that you should know before going berserk in Factional Warfare is that for every time you shoot an NPC belonging to a faction, you will loose standing with that faction. So say for instance you are enlisted with the Gallente Federal Defence Union and kill an NPC guard in a plex belonging to the Caldari State, you will lose standings with the Caldari State. When your standings drop low enough you will be considered an enemy of the Caldari and shot on sight when entering their high security space even after you resign from the Federal Defence Union.

2014.02.17.22.02.03a Kestrel class frigate running a Factional Warfare plex, staying well within the 30 km control radius

Facional Warfare missions

Another way to engage in Factional Warfare is to run missions for your faction. These will be available to you from agents belonging to the NPC corporation that represents your empire in FW. So if you are enlisted in the Gallente Militia for instance, this would be the Federal Defence Union. To find one of these agents use the agent finder.

FW missions are much the same as regular missions but award only loyalty points for your faction rather than ISK and loyalty points. It should also be noted that they are all located inside the war zones themselves and their objectives are commonly quite a few jumps away from the agent that issues the mission. Remember that anyone can enter your mission site once you have activated it and you should always be on the alert for intruders.

Loyalty points

Both running plexes and FW missions nets you loyalty points (LP). LP can then be used to purchase items from your factions Loyalty Points Store, located in the same stations as FW mission agents. Read more about LP here.

Besides being able to buy some useful items from the stores, you will also want to ‘convert’ most of that LP to ISK. This is done by buying items in the LP store and then selling them at your closest trade hub. You can read more about trade hubs, and how to find them, here.

Note: You can also earn LP by  engaging in orbital bombardment, directly affecting Factional Warfare combat in EVE’s FPS counterpart, Dust 514, but we won’t cover it in this article. Learn more about orbital strikes here.

To the front!

There you have it, a basic introduction to Factional Warfare. More advanced concepts are intentionally skipped in this article, but if you would like to learn more about FW and lowsec life in general you should check out the rest of the Lowlife series. If you have any questions, make use of the comments section below or ask in your militia or the help channel in-game.

 

Here are some other useful resources that you might want to check out:

The EVE University Factional Warfare Guide
FactionWarfare.com – news, articles and guides
Official Factional Warfare wiki (outdated)

 

Tags: Factional Warfare, guide, lowlife, niden

About the author

Niden

11 year EVE veteran, Snuff Box lowsec scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.

  • Voddick

    Great write-up! As a returning player, I’ve forgotten most of this, which is important given that my main is in FW :).

    • Niden

      Glad you liked it, and welcome back!

  • Butcho

    Just be aware, FW is about the bling. Plex in a T1 frigate, get killed by a faction frigate. Plex in a faction frigate, get killed in a 100m+ pirate frigate.

    • Tiago D’Agostini

      If you think FW is about the bling.. never even check High sec merc wars. Most cruisers are over 2 Bil isk with every module except the guns being faction or deadspace.