Even though the rules of EVE Online gameplay are broad, there are perfectly legal tactics some space factions eschew as ruthless, taboo, or unfair. This guide will explain five such techniques, designed to give the daring player an advantage in EVE PvP over opponents.
Honor is a strange concept in a game like EVE Online. EVE's open format allows for many approaches to game play and enables players to evaluate their success using self-defined metrics. Some players judge their success based on the number of friends they accrue or how much ISK is in their bank account. For others, 'winning' in EVE Online means racking up as many killmails and saved chat logs of crying carebears as possible, regardless of the means used. This guide is for the latter group.
1. Warp Core Stabilizers
Warp core stabilizers are the original dishonorable PvP tactic in EVE, as people have been complaining about how 'unfair' they are since they were introduced with EVE Online's launch in 2003. The premise of the module is very simple: fit one to improve your resistance against warp disruption. In exchange, you suffer a penalty to your scan resolution, meaning it takes longer for you to lock targets. This is a small price to pay for a modification that allows you to disengage from a battle and run at any time (so long as you have more warp core stabilizers than there are warp disruptors targeting you). Despite their blackened reputation, warp core stabilizers see regular use, especially by solo EVE PvPers in low security space.
To take advantage of this tactic, try using the set-up described in our guide to flying the solo gank Raven. Swap out a low slot for a warp core stabilizer and either deal with your reduced lock speed or switch to friend-or-foe missiles. FoF missiles automatically return fire on ships attacking you without locking a target. Though their haphazard nature makes them useless against groups, if there is only one target (and that target does not have drones), your missiles will hit them. This is also helpful if the target has a buddy in an ECM ship that prevents you from targeting him (more about this, later).
2. The Faithless Ransom
You'll recognize this next maneuver from both EVE Online and from classic movie villains.
Asking for a ransom in exchange for sparing targets was once a common practice amongst EVE Online pirates, who back in the day would actually attempt to make a living via piracy. Nowadays, EVE PvP is something you spend ISK on, rather than earn it. Still, there are many pirates that solicit ransoms when they have a helpless target. You should do that, too. Except you should blow them up, anyway.
Be sure to twirl your mustache and caper off, afterwards. Perhaps you might paste a tasteful ASCII image into local chat.
3. Fight On Station Undocks
Fighting near a station in a tough ship is considered extremely cowardly. If the fight starts to turn sour, simply turn off your weapons, wait a full minute, and redock. Repeat as necessary. Because so much of high-sec combat takes place near stations, this is particularly applicable during wars between corporations. It still sees quite a bit of use in low-sec and null-sec, too, as people in those areas occasionally get trapped in a station that is surrounded by hostile ships.
Few things are more frustrating that trying to kill a ship only to have it escape into a station and repair itself, over and over. Even more so if the ship slowly takes your fleet apart, ship by ship.
There are a few tricks here. You need to be sure that the station you are fighting near has a large "undock radius". With some stations, one needs to be practically right on top of them in order to dock. With others, you can be quite a ways off from the in-space station object, and still dock up. The former are terrible for playing undock games on, while the latter are great.
The undock timer is a big deal here, as is the aggression timer. The former is very simple: one cannot re-dock until at least a minute has passed since one undocked. The latter is a bit more tricky: you cannot re-dock until a full minute has passed since you stopped taking offensive action. Offensive action includes weapons, electronic warfare, drones, and so forth. It does not include remote-repairing. If you must use drones while playing docking games, be sure to recall them when you are getting ready to re-dock.
There are some potential pitfalls to this method. Some players get really, really good at bumping other ships away from station undock radiuses. Microwarpdriving battleships and cruisers are adept at this, though even frigates can push you away if the radius is small enough and they time it right. Keep an eye on what your enemies are doing. If they are moving about ten kilometers away and then accelerating into you, it might be a good idea to re-dock, or at least get ready to do so.
Good ways to go about this include ships that rely on projectile turrets (high alpha-strike), blaster turrets (high damage and best at very close range), and have a large buffer tank so they can withstand punishment long enough to re-dock. The dominix is a pretty fine boat for this job. Another good trick is to "under-gun". That is, use a battleship hull but fit cruiser-sized weapons so that you can track and hit small targets. Undock, pop a frigate, redock, repeat. It's almost as delicious as it is unsporting!
By Yourself Or With Partners...
4. Dual-Box The Noble Falcon
Many so-called "solo PvP" players in EVE Online will actually do so by running two EVE Online clients at once, each with a different character. This is called "dual-boxing" if two computers are used, or "dual-clienting" if two EVE clients are open on the same computer.
One common configuration is to have a single character that can tackle and kill targets, with a second account running a character that is specialized in electronic warfare, flying a falcon. The falcon is a magical vessel, especially capable of making fights unfair. It does so by being very, very good at jamming enemies from afar, while also being able to warp while cloaked. This means that it is extremely difficult to kill the falcon, especially since it can just jam you if it starts to feel threatened. The reason people don't just fly around in falcons is that while they are great at jamming multiple enemies, they are much less effective at killing things.
But that won't stop a dedicated jerk in EVE Online, oh no. Get your first account in a durable, relatively dangerous ship such as a myrmidon, and get your second account in a falcon. Sit in space somewhere prominent but not too likely to get smashed by a huge fleet. Think more along the lines of the Vehan solar system than the PF-346 solar system, if you get my drift. Wait for a fight, let your first ship take some damage and get a tackle on an enemy, then de-cloak the falcon and turn off your enemies' weapons. Groovy, right?
Note that it is just as possible to do this with a friend, as it is run two clients at once. If you're the kind of scurrilous villain that can tolerate being near spaceships that don't belong to you without killing them, I guess this is might be a legitimate option.
5. Remote Repairing In High-Sec Space
It is often remarked that high-sec space is more dangerous than most of null-sec. A big part of that is that there are constantly other players around that may or may not wish you ill, and there is no way to attack them. Whereas in null-sec space, anybody there is by default assumed to be hostile, and you probably have a decent shot at killing them if you try hard enough.
An extremely low-down, unfair variation of the dual-boxing falcon is the neutral remote repair pilot. The method is as follows: Declare war on some schlub corporations in high-sec. Get a friend or a second account into a scimitar or guardian, keep it in a different corporation than a combat character, and keep it nearby in case of trouble. Once trouble starts, the remote-repairing ship can warp in or undock then get to the business of fixing your ship. Though using remote armor or shield repair modules on you will allow your war enemies to attack the remotely repairing ship, even in high-sec, these modules do not flag that vessel for aggression. That means it can jump through a gate or dock in a station without any delay at all.
Oftentimes, the players you are facing will not expect neutral ships to get involved with a fight in high-sec, and they will be completely flabbergasted by the repair ship getting involved. In the panic that ensues, be sure to tackle at least one ship in the event that your enemies decide to flee.
The best part about using this trick is not winning fights, although that is certainly a perk. Rather, it is truly great that because of players using tricks like these, no player fighting in high-sec can be completely sure that he understands a situation before he jumps in. There could always be a remote-repair ship ready to undock, jump through a gate, or even just ready to log in at a particular spot. After a player gets jumped with this once, he could very well spend the rest of his EVE PvP career in high-sec jumping at shadows and running away from fights because of random passer-bys that might or might not be ready to get involved.
Some Final Villainous Thoughts
EVE Online is often a game about pretending to be a bad guy, but it's all in good fun. Though the tricks mention in this EVE guide are unsporting, they widely used and are not regarded as cheating by EVE Online gamemasters, nor by most players. Still, they can be unpleasant surprises for people that are not familiar with them. If someone seems particularly upset with something you do, you may want to send them an EVE mail explaining what you did and that it is not against the rules in EVE Online. You'd be surprised how friendly people can be if you help them learn, even if it is immediately after you blow them up.
Check back with us next week for some more dirty tricks!