The Theatre of War
New Eden is divided into 64 regions, each containing constellations of star systems linked by a network of stargates. The core regions of the star cluster are home to the Faction nations, with poorly-policed fringe systems separating them from the far-flung “null-sec” regions of lawless expanses entirely ruled by player empires.
Every system has a security rating which serves as a guide to how a capsuleer can expect the world to respond to his actions. As a sandbox environment, players can choose to behave how they like regardless of what security rating a system has, but the consequences of those actions vary wildly according to this security level.
The four Factions each hold claimed “high-security” territory which remains under the watchful eye of CONCORD – an interstellar police force with access to unique technology which is devastating to capsuleer ship systems. In this way general capsuleer hostilities in high security systems (those rated 0.5 or more) are discouraged. The exception to this is if a capsuleer is in a CONCORD-sanctioned war, which includes both private corporate wars and Factional Warfare. If an enlisted capsuleer is engaged in high-sec by a member of the opposite faction, CONCORD will not intervene. In addition, any enlisted capsuleer venturing into the high-security space of an enemy (or their allies) will be intercepted by NPC naval forces loyal to the territory-owning faction. The path of the committed soldier is narrow and perilous.
The Shifting Battlefronts
On the outer periphery of each Faction’s high-sec dominion are low security systems. These systems are claimed by one the various factions, but unlike high-sec, neither CONCORD nor the Faction Navies actively respond to hostile action there. However, it is worth noting that powerful static weapon platforms protecting stargates and stations will still open fire under certain conditions. There are many areas of low-security space scattered amongst the regions, but a specific few are where Factional Warfare rages.
The Amarr-Minmatar war zone comprises 70 star systems within four regions; The Bleak Lands and Devoid are both traditionally considered Amarrian territory and the Minmatar front lies within the Heimatar and Metropolis regions.
The Caldari-Gallente conflict takes place across 101 systems in five regions; Black Rise and The Citadel belong to the Caldari State and Placid, Verge Vendor and Essence are Gallente territories.
Despite this, the ability for invading forces to take control of individual systems and gain control of space station facilities means that the front is constantly shifting. In this way, capsuleer strongholds and outposts containing many of their warships can fall into enemy hands, preventing them from being able to dock to access them. Reason enough to take up arms.
Joining the War Effort
Factional Warfare as a playstyle is a complicated beast to enter into, and the rookie EVE player may find it quite daunting. As well as learning the basics of EVE’s gameplay mechanics, with its deep character skill process, the nuanced ship-fitting system and the art of combat, the proto-capsuleer also needs to find his way into the player-run Factional Warfare communities.
As with many of EVE’s more involved facets, the key to community integration is finding an existing organisation of players compatible with the rookie’s chosen gameplay goals. This way at least, the more experienced players can provide some guidance and knowledge as the new militia pilot grapples with the unique Factional Warfare experience. For those brave souls who want to find their own path, some militia pilots amongst the EVE blogging community have written a few excellent articles describing the basics. Susan Black’s blog, @Gamerchick42, has an invaluable guide on “How to Join Faction Warfare” and Drackarn of Sand, Cider and Spaceships has written “The Ridiculously Quick Faction Warfare Guide”. Both are recommended reading for the fledgling enlistee.
Each player-driven militia has its own community, with their own idiosyncrasies and cultures. Enlisting with a faction militia automatically opens a new ‘Militia’ chat channel on the user interface, which serves as a lobby for players to get involved. There are secure private channels and other means of communication for operational purposes, but these will only be divulged on a need to know basis. Infiltration and spying is part of EVE’s gameplay, after all.
Edit: In the last few hours before this article was published, Susan Black launched a fantastic Factional Warfare portal site which looks like it may well provide exactly the unified information service that FW needs. I highly recommend bookmarking and visiting FactionWar.net.