And now, an EVE term definition for the newer EVE players. You vets can move on to the next post.
There's a lot of different ways to avoid damage, particularly if you're in a long-range ship. In PvP, skirmishing tactics extensively use a tactic called kiting. The tactic gets its name from kite flying. When flying a kite, the person doing so will be connected to the kite by a long piece of string or twine. As the wind blows, that wind will tend to hold the kite at a constant distance from the flier.
In much the same way, kiting involves using long-range, fast ships to hold a set range from a target or targets. The range chosen is typically 70-80% of the optimal plus the fall-off of the kiting ship's guns, or 80-85% of the range of missiles of a missile boat. However, it's critical for the kiting ship to have superior speed to its targets and be able to control the range of the engagement. Artillery-fit Minmatar ships are traditional kiting ships, because of their good range and high speed. Rail-fit ships -- particularly rail-fit frigates -- are also excellent kiting ships.
Specifically, the kiting ship will attempt to begin the engagement at the chosen range. Then, as the target or target advances, the kiting ship will confirm that they can control the range of the engagement. If the kiting ship or ships can do so, all is well. If the kiting ship or ships can't hold its chosen range, a more defensive fight will take place. There are a couple of possibilities. If a kiting fleet is having trouble holding range, then they can concentrate on the enemy fleet's tacklers as they close inside the chosen kiting range. Once a significant number of tacklers gets within tackle range, the kiting fleet needs to warp off. If the engagement is 1v1 and the kiting ship can't hold range, then the kiting ship will also need to warp off in short order.
In the FOTW Punisher a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the nemesis of that particular Punisher was kiting ships such as the Caldari Navy Hookbill. This is for two reasons: the Punisher is slow, and has short-range weapons. Because of this, the Hookbill (with its long-range rockets) can set the range of the engagement. The tricky part of kiting in PvP is maintaining tackle on your enemy. In the Punisher v. Hookbill fight, this will be as easy as a Warp Disruptor on the Hookbill. However, in a larger fleet engagement, the kiting fleet will need to rely on fairly exotic tactics: you'll either see bubblers used extensively or long-point ships such as the Lachesis or Proteus.
However, as I mentioned, kiting is often used with artillery ships. Artillery ships have the advantage of tremendous volley damage and if the fire from these ships is reasonably coordinated, no tackle will be needed. Ships will simply disappear under volley fire before they can warp off. ;-)
In a 1v1 kiting engagement, it's fairly important that you still maintain transversal, by the way. A lot of manual flying will be useful here. Once you have range, angle the movement of your ship back and forth about 20 degrees at a time while still maintaining range. A kiting fleet usually doesn't have to worry about this; instead, they'll just pick an align point and the FC will try to ensure that the fleet stays grouped at the proper range.
Finally, kiting is every bit as useful in PvE as it is in PvP. You can't kite incursions, wormholes, Guristas ships, and you probably can't kite Angels. But every other type of rat is ripe for kiting. It's particularly effective against non-incursion Sansha ships and Blood Raider ships, both of which rely on close-range high-punch laser damage. A Drake or Raven can warp into many missions at long range, then maintain this long range from the mission rats, often taking little or no damage.
Occasionally on Sundays, I will be defining a common EVE term for those who might not have heard it. If you have a suggestion for such a term, please drop it into the comments.