I recently caught up with “Vlillirier’s Sweetheart” and former JUSTK FC, Deen Wispa upon his exit from the militia. We talked about stagnation, conflicts of strategy, and the Gal/Am throw-down we all wanna see…
-Deen, you were active in facwar for about 2 years. What made GalMil a special place to be at that time?
I think the abundance of PVP from a couple years ago made it the golden age. I don’t know if there was anything within GalMil that made FW any more special than today. Though, I do think the pilots from a couple years ago didn’t take warzone control so seriously and this gave both sides a constant amount of PVP and created parity. But nowadays, it’s all about griefing people out of the warzone. Back then, we also weren’t operating in the Backseat FC and Derp era like we do now.
-What occurred over those years that lead to your eventual decision to move on? Is the FW community changing in some fundamental way, or has game design from CCP been more of a factor?
The culture for Gallente has changed a lot over the last three years that I’ve been here. On the positive side, there’s a lot of collaboration. And that’s great. It helps with accomplishing militia-wide objectives like warzone control. But it also became a double edged sword because we got so good at it that a lot of corps or pilots just wanted to grief Caldari out of the warzone for lolz. Do it too many times and the warzone becomes boring. And it causes pilots to stop logging on from both sides. That’s what you see now. Most people are just bored.
My reasons for moving on was similar to several of my colleagues who were in leadership positions. Pilots like Perunga (FC/CEO), JasonXXL(FC/CEO), and Thanatos Marathon (CEO) wanted to move on because elements within Gallente or militia life made the environment toxic. But we also wanted more than what FW can provide. I found myself operating in the age of the Backseat FC. At least a couple times a week, we would get people trying to FC the FC. Or you’d have pilots who put the importance of their own personal KB above the need of a fleet. It manifested itself in many ways such as scouts trying to solo another condor while the rest of us are in battleship hulls waiting to fight a real comp. And then throw in risk aversion and constant focus on KB efficiency rather than GFs, and you just started banging your head against the wall. That’s the great thing about FW; it creates independent minded pilots capable of undocking and creating their own content. But it also fosters this mindset that your personal objectives are greater than the team. That it’s okay to go solo someone while the rest of the fleet is focused on something else. It’s a lack of courtesy and etiquette.
I’ll give you a quick story to help you understand: There’s a guy in my corp who showed potential to be a fleet FC. I was in fleet with him while he was FCing a roam. But half of his time during the roam and leading up to an actual fight consisted of him telling pilots and crappy scouts to shut up. Some of the my pilots were just typing in corp chat conveying our disbelief as to how bad comms was. We were looking for a competitive fight in cruisers or above but some of the pilots kept chirping on about 2 thrashers in some other system that we didn’t care about.
It got so bad that the FC was glad to lose the fight so he could be done with the roam. I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me and cemented my decision to leave. I had tried hard to bring up new FCs in our corp because the old roster was no longer around. I enjoy FCing but I enjoy it more when I can work with other FCs. It’s that whole 1 + 1 = 3 thing. And to see what a younger FC has to deal with in this current era, I realized I was fighting a hopeless battle. He deserved better. My pilots deserved better. But I can’t do anything about it. You’re fighting a system that will grind you down. Sadly, it’s become what I refer to as one of those invisible tragedies; it quietly sneaks up on you, you don’t notice it and just accept it as the new norm. The environment became toxic. It was no longer a fun gaming environment.
–We’ve seen a fairly significant exodus from all factions in the past weeks, most notably from the Min/Am warzone. What can the player base do to rejuvenate the system, and what could CCP (or even the CSM) do towards the same end?
Expecting players to police their own warzone for the betterment of everyone involved is too naive. So don’t expect the playerbase to do anything to rejuvenate their own warzone. You’ll get the occasional nullsec alliance to come in and catalyze things for a couple months but that’s not a sustainable solution. Everybody wants to win but as Shalee Lianne recently said: “When you’re winning in FW, you’re just losing.”
There is no mechanic that CCP can implement that would keep pilots in FW forever. Obviously, you’ll get a few pilots from any corp who will always stay regardless. With respect to what’s going on with Amarr/Minnies, I think it was time for organizations like Imperial Outlaw, Late Night Alliance, and a few others to move on. Those corps and alliances have alot of veteran pilots who want more than what FW can offer at this time. If you’re a veteran and choose to stay, you’ll have to adopt one of 2 mentalities:
- Shrink down your ambitions of what you think your militia or FW can be and accept it for what it currently is. This will make FW life easier for you and result in less frustration and bitterness
- Don’t shrink your ambitions and keep whining about what your militia or FW can be but become bitter and frustrated in the process
Like several of my own colleagues, I couldn’t accept A and didn’t want to do B, so I decided to move on. It’s really tough because I made a lot of friends. I was proud of what I built for JUSTK having recruited, trained, and lead those pilots into great battles. I felt a personal responsibility to a lot of them. I accomplished a lot of great personal militia achievements such as organizing the only T5, leading a couple of eviction campaigns, and starting the nano militia movement by getting people to fly kitey ships like sentry ishtars (no easy feat being in a brawling militia and I initially got trolled hard for suggesting kiting in sentry ships). I know Caldari just hate me for that last movement. So even though my ending was bittersweet, I’d say I had a good career in militia. Not bad for someone who just wanted to learn to PvP.
But at the end of the day, and to quote from the final Star Trek episode, “All good things must come to an end.” I don’t even think FW is broken so I don’t expect CCP or the CSM to fix it. If anything, I think it’s meant to be like this by nature; scrappy, chaotic, and dysfunctional with occasional moments of brilliance followed up with a healthy dosage of face-palming.
I’m no master of game mechanics so I don’t consider myself an expert in this area. And because CCP doesn’t intend to examine FW mechanics for another few years, I don’t find it productive to bother with suggestions. Though, one idea I think might be interesting is to implement an LP tax mechanic allowing for corps to increase their wallet. I’d also like to see more tangible industrial benefits to corps who earn enough victory points for their home systems or constellation.
-What do you predict the warzone will look like in 6 months if things go the way they are?
I’ve been in a few lulls before but always felt optimistic about the future. But this time it feels different. And I don’t see any level of parity coming anytime soon. Hence my departure. Caldari leadership is smart enough to know they simply can’t take on the organized plexing juggernaught of the Gallente so it’s best for them to stay away. Unless of course, they want to get evicted for the umpteenth time and frustrate their playerbase. For Gallente, we’re just organized enough to take on Caldari but dysfunctional enough to fight anyone but Caldari. The only great thing you can say about being in Gal/Cal is that at least you’re not in Minimatar/Amarr which is absolutely bleak. I’d love to see an Amarr vs Gallente deathmatch. That would be interesting.