Posted Wed, May 05, 2010 by Space Junkie
The raven is a famously effective ship when it comes to running missions or killing NPCs in belts or complexes. When it comes to PvP, though, the raven is assumed to be the providence of the dilettante. The conventional wisdom is that only the most carebear of players will try to field the raven against other players, and this because he has not trained for other, more effective weapon systems. This is excellent for PvP purposes, because anybody that sees you will generally assume that you are completely incompetent.
This article is intended to show newer players how conventional PvP advice can be turned on its head, and how other players' expectations can be used against them, even if they are fairly advanced players. Even if you don't have the fancy skills and modules needed to fly a raven perfectly, you should still take away an idea of how wily PvP pilots can be in EVE Online.
For advice on flying a raven for PvE, see our previous guide.
The raven can be a ganker as well as a gank-receiver.
Every "just in case" PvP module fit on a raven is one less slot for a Salvager I or shield tank module, meaning that the raven makes ISK slower. For understandable reasons, most pilots prefer to bank on not getting ganked, even in fairly dangerous areas of space like low-sec or NPC null-sec. Because of this overwhelmingly non-PvP fitting trend, most pirates see a raven and think "juicy target." Your goal as a raven PvP pilot is to produce an embarrassing "reverse gank" killmail.
The way to do this is to have surprises prepared that the ganker did not expect. The manner in which you do this changes pretty dramatically based on what you are expecting to fight. Rather than just list a single fitting, I am going to explain tricks and methods for using a raven under various PvP situations.
Against Big Ships In Low-Sec
If you are cruising around low-sec gates, the odds are good that you will end up fighting larger ships that can field a tank capable of withstanding gate guns. Against ships like Drakes, Harbingers, Tempests, and so forth, you should use Siege Missile Launchers loaded with torpedoes. Hopefully torpedoes that do the right kind of damage for whatever you are shooting at. Like any torpedo pilot, you should use Crash Boosters to make more of your damage stick.
Getting people to engage you in low-sec is a bit easier than in other places since most of the people there in combat ships are looking for fights, rather than to avoid them. Just set your autopilot to prefer less secure systems, and plot a course between two low-sec systems that are a good distance apart. Anybody that finds you on a gate will likely assume that you are taking an ill-advised short-cut, or otherwise unready for combat. Some tips:
•When fighting on gates, do not make the mistake of locking a ship that you want to fight as soon as you can. You want to look like you're afraid to fight, and hope that the target falls for it. Align to another gate or station in-system as though you were about to warp, or start heading back to the gate that you jumped through. With any luck, the ship will lock you, and start shooting you, thus earning the ire of the sentry guns, instead of you.
•Use faction ammunition, Crash boosters, and a Target Painter module (with Signature Focusing IV trained) to get the most from your considerable torpedo damage.
•Tech two "Rage" torpedoes may be worth considering if you expect to be fighting only large ships under ideal conditions.
•The key to not dying is to avoid any coordinated pirate fleets moving through. This is a combination of luck, experience, and familiarity with the local inhabitants of the area you are moving through.
•One of the nasty tricks that pro players like to pull for getting out of a sticky situation takes advantage of a very marginal game mechanic to log out without remaining in space for more than a minute, despite recently being involved in combat --this normally would mean that when you log out, your ship would remain in space for fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes is more than long enough for a probing-capable fleet to find and destroy you, but a minute is generally not. The way to do this very simple: jump through a gate, then log off without moving or otherwise breaking your jump cloak. That's it. Jumping into a new system clears that timer. Of course, in order to jump through a gate, you need to not take offensive action for a full minute --no easy feat if you're going down in flames.
•Using a heavy energy neutralizer is an excellent idea in low-sec, where many ships rely on their capacitor to fuel an active tank. Even better than just one, is a second neutralizer. Fitting a second large neutralizer requires using a low-slot for a Reactor Control Unit, though, and may hinder your ability to use a MicrowarpDrive, which most PvPers dislike.