Updated Mon, Aug 30, 2010 by Space Junkie
Many players enjoy running missions or being an industrialist in EVE Online. Still, some players wonder how the other half lives, and long to shed their soft and fuzzy demeanors for something a little more dangerous. In EVE Online, a person that shuns competitive behavior and PvP action is referred to as a 'carebear' to reflect their harmlessness. If you are a carebear but long to be something else, read on.
Author's Note: Being a carebear is not necessarily pejorative, nor a bad thing. Many players choose that path. This guide is intended to help those that are relegated to being a carebear by a sense of helplessness, rather than deliberate choice.
#10: Admit That You Are A Carebear
You may be powerless against professional PvPers right now, but the road to recovery is not as long as you think. Do months go by with you actively playing EVE but not seeing your name on the delivering side of a killmail? Do you have a faction fit battleship but no PvP ships more expensive than a tech one cruiser? If so, then it is best to face the facts: you are a carebear.
Trade in your mining barge for a PvP battlecruiser or cruiser, and take a walk on the wild side.
Still, being a carebear is more about a mindset than about your specifics. Once you crave conflict and hunger for PvP, or even want to give it the old college try, you have already taken the biggest step on the road to recovery.
#9: Start Cooperating With Other Players
I think it is fair to say than many if not most non-PvPers play EVE Online by themselves. Missions are run in NPC corporations, mining is done solo. Maybe you have a friend or ten, but if you do not actually do anything in tandem with them, they might as well not be there, as far as EVE Online is concerned. If you actually do things with them, like run high-level missions, venture into wormhole space, or camp gates, that's a whole other ball game. Once you get in the swing of working together as a group with others, it's pretty easy to repurpose that group to getting your toes wet in PvP.
For nearly self-evident reasons, cooperating with other players is good even if you eventually decide that PvP is not for you. You will make more ISK if you pool collective labor and reduce shared overhead, and more importantly, you will have more fun overall if you participate in things with other players. The challenge usually lies in finding players that match your particular interests or maturity level. This is hardly an impossible challenge, given how many active corporations there are in the world of EVE, but it can still take a little while to find the one that fits you perfectly. Don't give up on finding a good corporation or settle for good enough, that's what a carebear would do.
#8: Train PvP Skills
Your seven million skillpoints in mining and industry? Those are dead skillpoints as far as this guide is concerned. Getting more lab slots or a better refine on scordite isn't going to do crap when you are being orbited by a ring of assault frigates. You need real skills. Skills that let you use microwarpdrives and warp disruptors. You need as much CPU and power grid as you can squeeze out of your ships with skills. You need to be able to fly combat ships and get the full benefit of that ship-type's bonuses.
Moreover, training skills willy-nilly is not enough. There are a number of generally applicable skills that help you (high speed maneuvering, advanced weapon upgrades), but specialization is the way to make your newly PvP-oriented skills do more for you, faster. Pick a ship hull or ship type that will have general applicability, and does not cost too much. Perhaps a Harbinger or one of the various stealth bombers. Train the ship skill for that, then start training up the skills that matter most to that ship class. To continue our examples, fitting, laser, and armor resistance skills would be the natural starting point for the harbinger once you have battlecruisers trained up to IV, or missile and navigation skills for any of the stealth bombers.
The more you specialize, the more you put yourself on a level playing field with people that have been PvPing for a long time, especially people that flit from one thing to another without really building up their supporting skills or maxing out skills. Having tech two weapons and a tech two tank really makes a big difference, too. The jump from tech one guns or missiles of any time, to their tech two equivalents, is well worth the lengthy training times, and will eventually be necessary if you intend to be a competitive PvPer.
Let me add a word about maxing out skills: an extra 2% damage (or whatever) will not make much of a difference by itself. But having six skills all at five rather than four will give you enough aggregate bonuses that they actually can make a difference, especially if you are in a ship that has really good fittings, and are on a level tactical playing field.
More than any of the above, though, I will emphasize that the only PvP module that new players need to be able to use is the warp disruptor. If you can warp disrupt, you are an asset to any fleet that will have you. Don't go thinking that you need everything trained to level V before you can even get started. But do start planning to spend your skillpoints on things that will do an extra 2% damage, rather than skills that would just increase your mining yield by that amount.