Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Class: PvP 101: Fundamentals

PvP 101: Fundamentals

Why PvP?
1) PvP in EVE is persistent, and its impacts are lasting.
  • When you kill a ship, you are taking away your enemy's ability to do PvP for a while.
  • You're claiming his weapons, ammo, defenses.  If you lose a ship, the same thing happens to you.
  • All ships in EVE represent hours of work in purchasing, fitting, building, and preparing.
  • As a result, PvP in EVE is a rush unmatched by other games because the PvP has *consequences*.
  • Even after months, your heart rate WILL go up, and your hands will shake; be ready for that.
  • The most important thing about PvP: stay calm at all times.  Take a deep breath.
2) Understand that what I'm going to teach you today are general principles, not rules.
  • As Morpheus would remind us, some rules can be bent, others can be broken.
  • Still, these are sweeping guidelines that will get you started... the safe, conservative choices.
  • As you gain experience, you can try different or riskier approaches to the information in this class.

General Principles
1) Don't fly what you can't afford to lose.
  • As far as I'm concerned, this should be written in 5 meter letters of fire on the login screen.
  • Preference: have a carbon copy of what you're flying hangared somewhere else.
  • Don't forget about your clone!  If there's the slightest danger, don't undock in a clone you can't afford to lose.
  • Always have an up-to-date clone, and always have an awareness of where your medical clone is.
  • Don't fly around with +3 or +4 implants during a war-dec.  Make a war clone.
2) Assume what you're flying is lost the moment you undock.
  • Your ship, the fittings, the cargo, are gone.
  • If that makes you wince too much, then you're doing something wrong.  Fly the cargo in a tougher ship?
3) Don't blame the FC for what happens during a roam.
  • You are the master of your own destiny, plus your FC is human and may make mistakes.
  • Every ship loss in PvP can ultimately be traced to something that YOU did.  Not the FC.  Not fleet mates.  YOU.
  • Your FC might order you into places outside your comfort zone (scouting, tackling).  Roll with it.
  • Don't blame your fleet-mates for mistakes, either.  We're all human, and PvP is risky.
4) 90% of PvP in EVE is preparation.
  • The side that is more prepared for PvP is going to win the battle, whether it's an ambush or a straight fight.
  • PvP fights in EVE are rarely to the death; the enemy FC, if losing, is going to try to extract his force.
  • The actual PvP in EVE lasts only seconds, ten minutes at the most.
  • If you're in a PvP fight for longer than five minutes, you're probably losing.
  • But the set-up for those seconds or minutes can be a half hour.  Don't get impatient.
5) Talk about movement.
  • Always, always, always stay in motion in battle.  Never stop moving.
  • Best option: find the primary, and orbit the primary at the optimal range of your weapons/mods.
  • Second-best option: be aligned out to a celestial or bookmark.  Be ready to warp out if you're primaried.
  • Talk about losing cyno ship in one volley while creating a cyno field.
  • If you don't have other orders, orbit another member of the fleet (not the fleet CO, please...).

Your first exposure to PvP will probably be in a wardec.
1) The easiest way to draw industrialists into PvP is through war-decs.
  • A war-dec allows members of one corp to attack members of another corp.
  • Once the war is declared, there is a 24-hour grace period before the corps can begin shooting at each other.
  • Once the war is active, members of either corp can attack the other without conditions or prelude.
2) Wars are not free, but they are cheap.
  • At the end of the first week, if the declaring corp doesn't pay to continue the war, the war ends.
  • Alternately, the war-dec'ed corp can declare the war mutual, which makes it free for both sides.
3) Wars are declared against Empire corps because the war-dec'ers are looking for easy targets.
  • They're not looking for fights.  They're looking for ganks.  Don't be stupid.  Stay in fleets.
  • More typical wars are declared for specific strategic reasons.
  • Resources, areas of space, pipeline access, or general hostility are other reasons for war-decs.

Rules of Engagement
1) High-sec space (0.5 to 1.0).
  • Only PvP versus corps in war-decs, or against pirates (-5 sec status or below), allowed.
  • All other attempts at PvP will be met by CONCORD, the in-game "police".
  • CONCORD will arrive quicker in 1.0 systems, slower in 0.5 systems, but is there to punish, not to protect.
  • As a result, suicide gankers abound, particularly targeting haulers and freighters carrying valuable cargo.
  • The gankers will also go after mining ships to get their jollies, either with smart bombs or arty ships.
  • Battleships and below.  No capital ships.  Orcas and Jump Freighters.  No bombs.  No bubbles.
  • Attacking valid targets gives no sec status hit.  Podding valid targets gives no sec status hit.
2) Low-sec space (0.1 to 0.4).
  • Away from gates and stations, anyone can attack anyone else.  No CONCORD.
  • However, attacking non-war, non-pirate targets will get you a 15 minute Global Criminal Countdown.
  • During the Countdown, gate guns and station guns will engage you, and anyone may attack you freely.
  • Gate guns are nearly instantly fatal to any ship of cruiser or below, but BCs and above can tank them.
  • Capital ships may enter low-sec, and some types may dock.  No bombs.  No bubbles.
  • Attacking invalid targets gives a sec status hit.  Podding invalid targets gives a sec status hit.
3) Null-sec space (0.0).
  • No CONCORD, no gate guns.  Anyone may attack anyone else, without restriction, penalty, or consequence.
  • No sec status hits for anything done in 0.0.  CONCORD has no eyes there.  Pod whomever you like (can).
  • Capital ships roam freely.  Bombs and bubbles may be used.
  • Gate camps are frequent.  Talk briefly about what a bubble is and how to escape one.

Overview Settings
1) Setting up a proper PvP Overview tab is very important (give access to the prepared Overview download).
  • Keep it available at all times.  Even the most carebeary carebear needs one of his five tabs to be PvP.
  • PvP in EVE is non-consensual: anyone can pull you into a PvP encounter at any time, even in high-sec.
2) EVE has Overview tabs, and Overview settings.  Learn the difference.  Exploit the difference.
  • You can only have five tabs, but you can have as many settings as you like.  Have a lot of settings.
  • Have a PvP setting, and a Planets setting, and a Moons setting, and a Belts setting, and a Drones setting.
  • Later, add settings that are specific to the way you fight or the targets you go after.
  • A dedicated PvPer should have three tabs set aside for PvP: PvP, GTFO, and Variable.
  • Use your GTFO tab for escape.  Use your Variable tab for places/targets the FC might send you after.
3) Make sure your filters are set properly.
  • A properly-set PvP setting (any) should not include allies, fleet members, or friendlies.
  • You can avoid friendly fire incidents (and de-clutter your Overview) by eliminating all blues.
4) Overview columns and sorting.
  • At a minimum, have target type, target distance, target name, and target alliance columns.
  • Lots of people also like to have transversal velocity and actual velocity, but I find this messy.
  • Sort your Overview by target NAME.  Your FC will be calling targets by name.

Joining a Fleet
1) Understand your FC's needs.
  • Your first PvP experience is probably going to be with a fleet.  The fleet is led by a Fleet Commander.
  • Your first job is to understand what kinds of ships the FC wants and to *comply with that*.
  • If the FC is asking for cruisers and below, respect that.  Do not bring your battle-cruiser.
  • It is also your responsibility to understand what range the FC expects to engage at (short, mid, sniper).
2) Understand the style of your FC.
  • As you gain experience with FCs, you'll get a sense of the style of your particular FC.
  • Will he accept questions, or will he squash them?
  • Don't be afraid to ask in corp chat other corp member's experiences with this FC.
  • On your first few roams, if possible, get a corp mentor to watch your back and help you with orders.
3) Be ready to move fast!
  • Most fleets come together in 10 minutes or less.  Once gone, the fleet probably won't wait for stragglers.

Traveling with a Fleet
1) Get undocked and move out.
  • When a fleet gets going, it will move out rapidly toward its first objective.
2) Understand fleet composition.
  • Your fleet will be made up of the main body of ships, your FC, and your FC's scouts, skirmishers, and bait.
  • Scouts move ahead of the fleet looking for targets.  Most often, these are Interceptors and CovOps.
  • Scouts are usually a jump to a jump and a half ahead of the fleet along its path of advance.
  • Skirmishers are tougher ships that also proceed a bit ahead of the fleet and engage targets the scouts find.
  • Your FC might use bait ships or even a small bait fleet, to tempt a smaller fleet into battle.
  • A good FC will also designate a second-in-command, just in case his ship is destroyed or driven off.
3) Keep the communication lines clear.
  • During a roam, it's important to keep TeamSpeak clear as much as is possible.
  • Keep the communications lines open so that the scouts and the FC can use them to converse.
  • A good FC will give you interim destinations.  Set your ship's destination for these locations.
  • As you move, you'll hear your scout move ahead of you, declaring systems friendly or hostile.
  • It's a smart idea to keep track of the fleet's location on a map, such as the dotlan maps.
  • If you do have something to say, don't keep it secret.  You may have information others don't.
  • But call breaks before conveying that information.
4) Talk about the various PvP voice communications commands (give link to list of voice commands).
  • In particular, talk about the "j-word" and why it's a bad bad bad word in EVE.
  • Don't get offended when someone says "break break" or "recon", just shut up.
5) Pay attention to what you're doing.
  • Keep an ear out for the FC's orders, and obey those orders.
  • Obey orders even if you disagree with those orders.  There are reasons for the orders you've been given.
  • Be particularly careful not to jump through gates without orders.  Doing so gives away the fleet's location.
  • Don't decloak on the far side of a gate without orders to do so.  The FC may be using this time to think.
  • Stay calm and focused at all times.  Do not panic.  Take a deep breath.
6) Don't get bored!
  • EVE combat is 30 minutes of boredom followed by 30 seconds of sheer terror.
  • You're going to be spending a lot of time warping to gates, or sitting next to gates, or in safespots.
  • A good FC will allow chit-chat, but remember, he's using this time to find targets.  Don't distract him.

The Big Fight Scene
1) The FC will begin calling targets.
  • Targets will be called in alphabetical order by name.  Have your Overview sorted and ready.
  • Make sure you've got the proper ammo loaded in advance.
  • Hopefully, your scout gave you some idea of what you're facing.  Be ready for it.
  • Your FC may call for you to align to a celestial as battle begins.  Be ready to do that.
  • Stay calm and focused at all times.  Do not panic.  Take a deep breath.
2) Your DPS -- ALL of your DPS -- goes on the primary target.
  • Do not stray from this rule.  The FC is counting on his maximum DPS going on that primary target.
  • As the FC calls new primaries, switch your damage to each in turn.
  • Early in the fight, your FC will probably switch primary targets quickly.  Be ready for that.
3) Your EWAR goes on secondary targets.
  • As secondaries are called, if you have aggressive EWAR (jams, tracks, damps), use it on those secondaries.
  • If you have multiple points/scrams, or if you're not being counted on to tackle, use those, too.
  • Try to point or scram targets that others aren't already pointing or scramming.
4) You've got about a minute to get some good kills.
  • After that first minute, your FC or the enemy FC is going to think about bailing.
  • Your FC will be pressing his advantage.  Help him or her do that by staying on the called targets.
  • The FC will continue to call the primary and secondary targets, repetitively.
  • This is to keep everyone focused and on mission despite distractions.
5) If you see yourself getting primaried, run away!
  • If everything on your screen suddenly gets a yellow box around it, you're being locked.
  • That, incidentally, is a good moment to flee.  If you're aligned and can do so, warp out.
  • Don't stay and try to tank it unless you have logi.  Nobody can survive when they've been primaried by a fleet.
  • Get out of there, then warp back in once you're safe.  The enemy fleet will find a new target.
  • If you can't run, get yourself into a situation where you CAN run.
  • If you are getting killed and you can't do anything about it, no need to share that information.
6) Move from target to target under the FC's direction, and be ready for orders to bail if needed.

Example Target Calling:
Scout, "We have 3 inbound hostiles to the L-A5 gate Boss."
FC, "Everyone warp at optimal range to the L-A5 gate immediately. Tacklers warp to zero on the gate.  Dictors, bubble up."
Scout, "Magic – Megathron, 0049 – Stilleto, Patriach – Prophecy."
FC, "Primary target is Magic in the MegaT, Secondary target is the Patriach in the Prophecy. Assault Frigates and Inties, tackle the Primary, but engage 0049 in the Stilleto if possible."
FC, "Primary target is Magic in the MegaT, Secondary target is the Patriach in the Prophecy. Frigates, get that Stiletto if you can."
FC, "Primary target is going down, secondar-- OK, he's down.  New primary is Patriarch in the Prophecy."

1) This is when the fleet is most vulnerable.  Don't do something stupid.
  • The enemy now knows exactly where you are, exactly what your composition is, and is probably watching you.
  • There are almost certainly scouts or stealth bombers nearby, keeping an eye on you.
  • You are extraordinarily vulnerable at this moment.  It's a bad idea for the enemy to know where you are.
2) You'll be ordered to recall drones and "scoop loot".  Do so.
  • Go for nearby wrecks.  But don't go for distant ones unless you're in a very fast ship.
  • Don't get separated from the rest of the fleet.  Being alone is a bad thing.
3) The FC wants to get out of here.  Keep that in mind.
  • He doesn't want to be in a position where the enemy knows where he is, so expect fast movement orders.
  • If you're 20km off the gate grabbing loot or salvaging, you could be left behind and killed.
4) Once you're away, the process repeats until it's time to roam home.

Bonus topics: cover if there's time
1) Run away when needed -- don't die fighting!
  • Wars are about loss of ISK, so keep our losses to a minimum and the aggressor will get frustrated.
2) Deagress when ordered.
  • Your FC might be trying to limit Global Criminal Countdowns, or ransom the primary target, or maybe someone just ejected from the pricey T3 that you're shooting.
  • Deagress when ordered or you get to be the primary target.  ;-)
  • Always follow FC orders, even if you don't like them or disagree with them.  There's a reason for the order.
3) Put your weapons in order from highest range to lowest, unless you have a role, in which case your role is your F1.
  • If you're in an interceptor, your role is to point people, so your point should be F1.
  • If you're in a cloaky ship, your role is to be cloaked, so your cloak should be F1.
4) Only carry as much ammo as you need for your intended operations.  Don't give the enemy ammo in case you get blown up.
5) Carry the types of ammunition that are likely to go over well.  Keep an eye on enemy resistances.
6) Put your Overviews in alphabetical order.  Talk about "dock at top station".
Talk about the top left, right-facing triangle and the order of objects in the menu that comes up.
7) Critically evaluate your own performance, then apply what you've learned.  Keep notes.  The game has a notepad.  Use it!
8) Don't make the same dumb mistakes over and over again.  Make all new dumb mistakes.
9) You are not your ship.  You are not your pod.



  1. I agree and disagree with a lot of the points you stated. But this is an absolutely illogical statement:

    "If you're in a PvP fight for longer than five minutes, you're probably losing."

    If you pay attention, you must recognise that both parties will be fighting for more than 5 minutes...

  2. There are a lot more losers in EVE than winners. I stand by the statement.

  3. a VERY helpful guide. read this way back when it was first posted. I've come a long ways and now FC frequently. I almost have it as required reading for anyone who wants to go out on roams with me.

  4. Regarding the 5 minute statement and logic, it is intended not as a maxim more than a truism. Being in a fight that long is opening the door to too many variables, enemy reinforcements, etc. If you have lost control of the scenario, assume the worst.

    It is like saying "Assume that your ship is lost everytime you undock" when clearly that isn't the actual case.

  5. Been thinking of getting into PVP and this has given alot of insight. Being industrialist for my 2 years of eve its deffinately going to take some time for me to switch my gameplay style.

  6. Ultima Online also had the same affect and consequences.


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