Batten down the hatches with these tips to preparing yourself and your corporation for large-scale PvP conflict. Included are tips for getting ahead of your enemies' market PvP tricks, keeping your corporation stocked with war supplies, and protecting your personal ISK making capabilities.
This is the first in a two-part series on gearing up for large-scale EVE PvP, especially in null-sec space. These tips will help you protect your ships and ISK flow, while helping to keep your corporation going when things get tough.
EVE Ship Preparation
10. Relocate Your ISK Earning Ships
Even in the most lawless stretches of null-sec space, it can be difficult to meaningfully harm players. Between cloaks, starbase force-fields, stations, and intel channels, it is far easier to deny one's enemies the opportunity to earn ISK than it is to catch and kill them. This is as true with regards to a single player as it is with regards to an entire corporation or alliance. You might catch a ratting vessel or planet-tending industrial here or there, but the real overall effect is usually quite minimal. The threat of violence is much more effective than actual violence, especially in the case of having cloaked ships in popular ISK-making solar systems. Blowing up an ISK making ship would probably cost your enemies a couple hundred million ISK, tops. Keeping a dozen people from undocking and ratting or mining will cost them billions.
Because of this, it is imperative that you move your ships specialized in earning ISK to out of the way locations so that, once your war or conflict begins in earnest, you can keep yourself will supplied with EVE ISK and not need to worry about your ratting or mission ship getting trapped.
What qualifies as out of the way will vary based on your personal situation. It may be sneaking your ratting ship into a solar system that is off the beaten track or through a wormhole. It might mean switching it to your out-of-corp mission-running alt. It might be removing your ship from your corporate POS and logging it off with an alt. Whatever the form, the idea is that you be able to continue earning ISK and not need to worry about your income being completely shut off, even if things get really bad.
One of the most prominent features of the current mode of null-sec war is that player-controlled stations can have their services disabled. These disabled features can be repaired, but doing so requires time and logistics-oriented ships, and may not be possible in a hostile environment. Disabling station services is quite common in long, drawn out wars; in an attempt to break the stalemate and reduce their enemies' ability to respond militarily, alliances will disable their enemies' cloning facilities and, importantly, ship fitting services. If a station has had its fitting services disabled, players will not be able to equip or change the modules on ships except via repackaging, which is rather unhelpful if one is trying to outfit a PvP fleet.
Competent corporations will usually have a ship maintenance array or capital ship hanging out in a starbase so that their players are not left completely in a lurch, but you don't want to be reliant on that. In order to maintain your fleet-readiness, purchase several of your PvP-oriented ships and fit them, before your station services are disabled. That way you can get right back into a fight if you are blown up, whether or not there are any fitting service issues.
For players that do not have large enough EVE ISK caches to keep several of their preferred PvP ships, it is still a good idea to outfit several budget ships. Even very new players should be able to afford keeping a handful of tackling frigates on the back burner, just in case. Even in a high-sec war where station services cannot be disabled, it is a good idea to have some spare ships ready.
8. Fit An Escape Ship
In non-wormhole null-sec space, the worst thing that can happen to most players is that their assets end up trapped in a station that they have lost the ability to dock in. Usually, this is because the new station owners decide to keep their enemies out, though sometimes it is because one's corporation dissolves or leaves the alliance. When this happens, players usually end up docked in a station with a not-inconsiderable portion of their belongings, deciding what they want to sell locally (often at cut prices) and what they are willing to risk getting blown up in an escape attempt.
To offset this risk, consider buying and fitting one of the many EVE ships that are capable of warping while cloaked, be it a covert ops, stealth bomber, or blockade runner. This way, if and when your alliance loses access to your home station, you have a ship that can survive the rigors of null-sec travel while carrying a good amount of your goods. Alternatively, if you are rich enough to keep a capital vessel on hand, that would probably be the safest, surest way of getting your high-value goods out. Most players should still be able to haul out a respectable of high-value, low-volume stuff with just a humble cov-ops, though.
7. Mass-Purchase Reasonably Priced Goods
In peace time, well-used null-sec markets tend to regulate themselves. Popular goods will be available at inflated prices, and if someone buys out the market on an item, there will shortly be an influx of new goods to replace them. During war time, the lines of supply often get muddled, with travel and transportation being increasingly risky. In such times, the market starves. Shortages can happen even with the most basic modules and minerals. Tritanium ends up costing 10 ISK per unit, tech I modules cost millions of ISK, and EVE ship hull costs double. Usually, the market remains fubared until a lengthy spate of peace occurs or a serious industrialist decides to reseed it at reasonable prices.
Because of these market hiccups, and what might be called "economic warfare" where attackers will buy out the market of critical items, then sell them at incredibly inflated prices, it is better to switch to a wartime economy early. As soon as you have reason to believe your space is getting hit, buy big piles of reasonably priced items and minerals before there is a real shortage. Not only will you be well prepared when war comes, the local merchants will rush to replace their bought out goods, resulting in there being more total material resources in the area than otherwise. When things start getting desperate on the market, you can sell your accumulated goods at a price much lower than the people trying to gouge, but still at a profitable markup that prevents easy enemy buyouts and allows you to earn some ISK for your consideration.
Overall, hardening against enemy economic warfare and shortages is more of an art than a science. Experiment, go with what works, and don't sweat the stuff that doesn't since it is all a learning experience.
6. Import Essential Items
This tip dovetails neatly with the one above: import essential wartime materials from high-sec in order to improve your personal combat readiness, and to sell on the market and keep your alliance equipped with the really important stuff. Some helpful ideas:
- Nanite Repair Paste is an essential part of any null-sec PvP kit, yet is hard to come by in null-sec at reasonable prices.
- Large-sized turrets of all types are seeing a lot of play in PvP right now. It may be helpful to bring out a big stack of whatever type you expect to be popular, whether it is Tachyon Beam Laser IIs or another type that your organization utilizes.
- Cloaks of all sorts are always in high demand in conflict-afflicted areas. Though large volumetrically, they often net a decent return on investment, with a fast turnaround.
- Cynosural Field Generators are essential to capital fleet movement, large-scale industrial movement, and (critically) the maintenance and setting up of starbases. They also sell at a markup in literally every region in EVE Online.
Other things that might be handy vary considerably on your situation, corporation, and region. Try to think of things that might be needed, once supply lines are cut off. Shield, armor, and hull remote repair modules tend to do well if stations or starbases are being attacked. Even offbeat items can find a market if things are thrown into chaos. For example, I find that corporate hangar arrays sell decently in null-sec, if stations are being camped, but your mileage may vary. I like keeping a kit of high-demand module blueprint copies in every station that I spend time at. Be creative.
I hope these EVE tips have given you some food for thought. Be sure to check back with us later this week for the second half of this guide!