Getting in on the action:
Once the Empyrean Age patch goes live on June 10th, you'll undoubtedly want to get stuck right in to the action. Details on the game mechanics that allow individuals and corps to sign up to factional warfare are plenty but advice on what to do after signing up is surprisingly scarce. Although fighting between warring factions can occur anywhere in EVE, most of the fighting and faction warfare missions will be concentrated into stretches of low security space around the borders between warring factions. According to CCP developer Greyscale, the Caldari will be defending the new Black Rise region and a few constellations in The Citadel against the Gallente. The Gallente will be initially poised in Placid region and some low security systems in Essence. The Amarr are defending The Bleak Lands region and the upper parts of Devoid while the Minmatar defend Metropolis and areas of Heimatar.
Read on for information on how to set up an effective player militia, where to set up your base of operations and how to profit off the coming war.
Some common complaints about factional warfare are that new players don't stand a chance against old ones and that those who are part of an alliance simply won't be able to participate in the war effort. One potential solution is the use of throwaway PvP alts, new characters created specifically for the war effort. As the bar on entry has been set very low at +0.5 standings to a faction, a new character can potentially be ready to sign up within a day. Even a new player on a trial account can get involved this way.
The other more obvious solution for throwaway alts is to have them join an existing player-run corporate militia. These are corps that people are starting to set up with the purpose of signing up to the war effort. A new player's standings of 0 won't contribute to the corp average and most militias will have a healthy number of players with standings above +0.5 to drag the corp average up. This means your throwaway alt doesn't need his own standings, he can simply join the corp and he's part of the war effort.
Several days of skill training will provide your alt with the skills to pilot destroyers and use important modules like warp disruptors and stasis webs. A single destroyer may not be very effective on its own but I guarantee that a pack of them will make short work of frigates, other destroyers and even single cruisers. Since some faction warfare missions and combat zones are size-restricted to destroyers and below, you can guarantee that your destroyer pack won't be fighting above its weight. Providing you can get to them, that is.
Setting up a militia:
With the impending influx of new players to the PvP scene, some of the older pilots are starting to set up their own corporate militias to attract pilots. Like the official NPC militia that individual players can join, a player-run militia is just a corporation that is part of the war effort. The corp's standings from their chosen faction need to remain above +0.5. Because these standings are an average of the corp's members standings, it's a good idea to only recruit players with over +1.0 standings or new pilots with 0 who don't contribute to the corp average.
Setting up your own militia is a very easy process. The first thing you'll need to do is create a corporation with a snazzy name. Something a little more creative than "Gallente R us" or "Caldari noob-pwners" will probably attract more players but the name's entirely up to you. Before you begin recruiting players, you'll need to briefly examine what it is that your corp is going to be offering its members. Since people can just as easily sign up to the NPC militias as your corp, you'll need to have something special to attract them.
The promise of running regular PvP gangs is one of the best motivators for attracting new pilots, so I suggest starting with that. Other services you could offer might include exclusive PvP training from grizzled EVE veterans or access to blueprints so pilots can build their own ships. If you do give access to blueprints, remember to lock them down in the corp hanger so that they can't be stolen. Likewise, be very careful how you manage your members' roles. Be sure not to give someone you don't trust access to something they can steal.
In order to make back some of the money you're investing in helping members, you'll want to set a fairly high tax rate on the corp. The corp wallet gets a percentage of the mission rewards that its members receive based on its tax rate. A rate of around 10% to 25% should be sufficient to help pay the bills but any higher is likely to discourage players from joining up. Once you've got your infrastructure in place and your corp is signed up to faction warfare, you can start recruiting.
Making a base of operations:
Whether you're on your own or running a militia corp, you'll need somewhere to base your operations out of. Make no mistake, you will lose ships in Factional Warfare. No matter how good you are at PvP, if you do a lot of it you'll lose a lot of ships. Your base of operations will be a storehouse for your replacement ships and modules as well as a place to gather with friends before heading out on a dangerous mission. Your base should be somewhere close to the action without being in the direct line of fire. More importantly, it should be in a high security system (0.5 or higher) with a healthy market not too far away.
Some tools are available that could help you choose suitable locations but I think it's best to check a few potential systems out in-game. Some possible star systems are:
- Gallente: Orvolle, Chamerout
- Caldari: Usi/Jeras or some of the new systems in Black Rise
- Amarr: Myyhera, Netsalakka, Gammel, Saseikko, Tuomuta
- Minmatar: Amo, Hek, Offugen/Roniko, Dammalin, Osoggur, Audaerne
Setting up shop:
As with every patch, there are things individual pilots can do to make a quick profit turnaround based on changes in the patch. In some cases it's as simple as buying something that could be increased in rarity with the patch or that demand will increase for after the patch. In the case of the Empyrean Age patch, the biggest money-maker by far will be in setting up supply lines to the new battlefields. Players will generally pay a fair percentage more for new ships and gear right next to their base of operations than they would in an established trade hub like Jita.
Traders who would be of little use in a PvP scenario can choose to bolster their chosen faction by supplying the markets near them for a modest profit. This war could be fought as much with freighters as with battleships. On the other hand, a sneaky trader could stay out of the fighting and run guns to both sides in the conflict for a nice profit. Small trade hubs will undoubtedly establish themselves next to each of the faction warfare areas. With the concentrated PvP in these areas, turnover on basic items like destroyers and named modules is likely to be extremely high. The new "Black Rise" region in particular is likely to be a goldmine of profit shortly after patch day as traders scramble to fill the empty markets for a quick profit.