A hotspot is a dangerous locale where PvP activity is unusually high. These areas stand in stark contrast to the swaths of space in EVE Online where seeing someone is rare, let alone getting in a fight with them.
EVE Online is a game of hesitant PvPers, whose most important strategic decision usually comes down to whether to fight, at all, or whether to run away. The four kinds of hotspots described in this article contain the most avid PvPers, the most gate camps, and the most roaming gankers. Whether you want to avoid them, or want to recklessly hurl your ships into them, knowing where these hotspots are is important to all players in EVE Online.
Chokepoint gates are great places to set up gate camps.
The first and most common kinds of hotspots are the choke points between regions, where traffic between major areas is only possible via travel through regional gates. These regional gates are few in number, and are often the only way in or out of a region that doesn't involve major detours, possibly along even more dangerous routes.
These regional gates are the perfect spot for ambushes. Get together a fleet of your friends, including some fast tacklers and damage-dealers, and wait for your prey.
In high-security areas of space, the best spots are those connecting major marketing hubs. For example, the gate connecting Kaaputenen (in The Forge) to Niarja (in Domain) gets a huge amount of traffic from ships traveling between Jita and Amarr. Spots like this are ideal locations to wait for war targets, as are the systems around Jita and the other hubs, more generally.
The regional jumpgates often differ from normal gates, in that they are much larger. When a ship jumps through one, there is a much larger potential area in which he may appear, making tackling and killing them a little trickier. For this reason, people often camp a little bit farther into a region, perhaps along a "pipe," as chains of star systems are sometimes called.
The absolute best kind of chokepoint is when a high-security system connects directly to null-security space, directly, without any intervening low-security systems. There are only a few such systems in the game, but all are camped by pirates almost constantly. Jumping into one of these systems without a scout is suicide. On the other hand, if you get a fleet together that can lick whoever is already camping it, you can probably bait them into starting a ruckus with you, and then jump in your reinforcements to mop up, for a guaranteed session of PvP.
Some tips for maintaining a camp on these gates:
- •Always maintain a neutral scout on the empire side of the gate, to give a heads up on more powerful fleets moving in to break your camp.
- •Use mobile warp disruptors and interdictors (or heavy interdictors) to take advantage of the game mechanics that are uniquely available in null-sec space. Even if you can't catch people jumping through the oversized gates, you can still use them to pull in ships that are headed into empire. Test warping to your camped gate from other gates, to ensure that they are properly placed.
- •You will learn to recognize bait ships over time. It is important to recognize bait and assess whether you can kill it before any help arrives. The idea being that if you open fire you will not be able to use the gate to escape, and that if you are trying to tackle a ship you will almost assuredly be within range of its counter-tackle. The most common bait ship is, of course, the humble Drake battlecruiser. Be on the lookout for other ships that don't really do anything except tank, like the Prophecy, or that can field a wicked tank and tackle, like the Dominix or Raven.
- •Be wary of Minmatar battleships. Because of the high, front-loaded volley damage of projectile turrets, some Tempest (and less commonly, Maelstrom) pilots will deliberately jump into gate camps kill a ship in one or two volleys, and then wait out their aggression timer and jump back into empire.
- •Always have a plan to get the heck out of dodge. Good places to do this include bookmarks between celestial objects, or near the sun. You may also want an "on-grid" spot that is at least 400km away from the gate that you are camping --this will be invaluable to avoiding being trapped by whatever fleet eventually displaces your camp, because you will be able to see for yourself whether you can get to the gate or not, even without cloaks.
- •Gate camps are for the laziest PvPers in EVE Online. You basically sit on a gate and fire your weapons at anybody stupid (or crafty) enough to wander into your kill zone. If you do this with good buddies, it can be a ton of fun. Crack open a beer, turn on some background music, and shoot the breeze for a few hours while racking up the kills.
- •Some of the high-sec to null-sec systems are: HED-GP in Catch, EC-P8R in Pure Blind, PF-346 in Syndicate, and Y-MPWL and KBP7-G in Providence.