The title for this post was a lot harder than the content of the post, originally it was going to be something along the lines of “Being a small PvP corp in Low Sec”, whereupon I realised that the vast majority of what I would be saying applies to Null Sec as well. Also, I’m assuming vast majorities of what I am going to talk about would be true for whole alliances and coalitions. Really, this is some portion of a “how to EVE as a group with a PvP focus” guide, which in itself would be far too grand a term for someone as inexperienced as myself, and I’m not arrogant enough to assume I know anything about true corp/alliance management.
Anyways, I’ve recently been spending a bunch of time with EVE University’s Low Sec Campus, where Unistas who want to live in Low Security Space can go to live with others who want the same thing. More specifically, they have recently undergone massive growth after a large period of inactivity, and thus with the new wave of “campers” are looking to redevelop into the lean, mean PvP machine we had in Maseera back when I was a Unista.
Part I: Intel
Living in Low and/or Null Sec without establishing an efficient system of intelligence gathering is a lot like going mountain climbing while wearing a blindfold. You’re going to miss out on a lot of cool stuff and probably get yourself hurt.
First, let’s talk about doing your homework. It is massively useful to collective maintain a working knowledge of all the other groups operating within your area. I’ll define “your area” as anywhere in your home region, the adjacent regions, anywhere you roam and in case it isn’t automatically included anywhere within 20 jumps of your home station. One of the best ways to do this is have a thread on your forum dedicated to such information, where people can continuously post and update intel as they become more familiar with their neighbours. I’ll use the old Low Sec Campus in Maseera Circa November 2012 as an example (of what I can remember, I was even more of a starry eyed-newbie at the time).
- Name & Basic info – EVE University, corp of newer players, though this Campus is home to their more focused and experienced PvPers
- Home system – Maseera, Aridia
- Any special RoE – They only shoot people with negative standings or those who are flashy. Non-flashy neutrals will only be engaged if they open fire first. They do not shoot structures.
- Average fleet numbers & activity – Anywhere from 5-30 fleet members with primetime from 18:00-02:00 EVE
- Known FCs – Darko Fett, Haelur, Apothne, Gallastian Khanid, Nys Cron, Kriegarman, Capricamper Shore
- Known Fleet comps – Kitchen sink shield brawling BCs, shield kiting BCs, Heavy Armour Battleships (though usually with T1 guns). Most of the time they will brawl you.
- Use of Capitals – Very rarely, maximum two Archons fielded with their heavy armour fleets Insert names of Capital pilots for watchlisting here, no known super/titan usage.
- Batphone – None; though given previous notice they can get a large increase in numbers from other EVE University campuses.
- Contacts/Representitives – Hong Hu, Darko Fett
Now that that’s done, let’s talk about continuous intel. There should be a specific chat channel for the 23/7 monitoring of the local area for anything of interest, i.e something that might mean you can shoot at people. This can vary from monitoring neighbours home systems, each system within a few jumps of your home system and well-traveled routes, such as regional entry/exit points. The intel you are looking for cam be unusual number of people in local, roaming fleets, structure timers people might turn up to. One of the best ways to keep a track of this information (and to make sure people don’t necessarily know that you’re watching them) is to have a picket alt(s) on your non-main account(s) to strategically place (let’s face it, who plays EVE with one account?).
Even better than picket alts with no-SP are noob-corp CovOps Frigates & Recons who can warp around covertly, probe stuff down and generally make you able to engage your targets as soon as you get into system.
Alright, so you’ve got this intel, now you need to report it accurately and efficiently. In general, this involves saying what you can see, where it is, what direction it’s moving in (if any), what their numbers are, what ships they have and who it is (and thus any relevant information you know about them). 3 Examples:
1. In Van at Planet 3 Moon 1 a Pandemic Legion POS has been reinforced by an Against All Authorities fleet of ~50 Oracles and ~10 Guardians.
AAA and PL are two entities with way more numbers, shinier ships and far more experience. Stay THE HELL OUT OF THEIR WAY apart from perhaps picking off reinforcements/the leftovers after any engagement. It may be possible to whore on killmails with a sniping fleet, but again remain overly cautious. Reccomend to leave cloaky eyes on grid to keep an eye on the POS as it comes out of reinforced, if only to watch a cool fight.
2. In Agaullores heading to Shirshocin is a 15-man Sadistica armour BC gang with 4 Guardians and Damnation links.
We had a good relationship with Sadistica, they had a “fite nite” every wednesday which we would happily turn up to provide people to shoot at and shoot back. Keep eyes on their fleet and convo them to ask them if they fancy a brawl.
3. In Kamih heading to Gens is a 20-man DBAM armour BS gang with no visible Logi & two Rooks.
We didn’t get along very well with DBAM, they tended to not care so much about a “gud fite” and just do everything they could until they won the field. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just that they were more prone to tactics taht some PvPers would find “ungentlemanly”. A good plan would be to see if we could form up our own heavy gang with the tools to take out a small number of capitals, potentially with reinforcements incoming from Aldrat.
The ability to communicate information accurately, quickly and clearly will make you among the top 5% of PvPers in the game, and FCs will love you. By maintaining all of the above information, you can monitor day-to-day goings on and maximise your potential to get involved in cool fights while minimising any unpleasant surprises. One intel-gathering tool I have yet to mention is the art of placing spys in other corps, though I have little personal experience of this so despite it’s amazing effectiveness I’ll just leave it as a footnote.
The only other thing to mention in this section is the usual roundup of the 3rd party tolls such as dotlan, Dingo’s FC Toolbox and null-sec.com. Being familiar with and able to use these rapidly is an invaluable ability, made much easier by using a second monitor/laptop.
Part II: Logistics & Preparation
It’s all well and good having all this lovely intel, but if you ain’t got no ships then you ain’t got no fleet. Equally, if everyone has a bunch of ships but nothing typing them together you will have at best single-tanked brawling fleet comps, which can only get you so far. I will assume that I needn’t explain what a “Doctrine” is or why it is so vastly superior to a “kitchen sink blob”, so suffice to say that any PvP organisation worth their salt will have in addition to whatever their pilots choose to buy and pilot themselves, a few core doctrines which allow them to engage as many different sizes any styles of opposing fleet as possible. This means you will be wanting to be able to fight all kinds of hull sizes at all kinds of ranges, bearing in mind the popular doctrines of the time in general that you are likely to face as well as the specific habits of the PvP groups that live near you.
As far as my experience goes, PvP corps tend to have usually 3-7 doctrines on the go at any one time, ranging from srs bsns tryhard strat OP doctrines to chill roaming “let’s go have some fun shooting at stuff” doctrines. This is not to say that any group has to fly exclusively these ships and fleet concepts, but that if there is a fight to be had the FC can choose an appropriate fleet setup and know that everyone will have the ships to do it. As a line-member you are a sick nerd baller if you have the 2-3 core ships of each doctrine available to you (many of which such as Logi will overlap) as well as always-useful ships such as Intys, Dictors & Recons. Everyone in your group of playters should strive to achieve this golden standard, and do their best to replace any ships that are lost as soon as possible as well as help out fellow corp mates by selling/lending/giving out spares.
The next hurdle to overcome is getting the ships from (typically) Jita to wherever you live and in the hands of your brothers in arms. These systems can range for the very simple to the very complex, run by specific sub-groups or by everyone pitching in and usually take the form of some combination of corp contracts, in-house JF services, seeding local markets and ship replacement programmes.
The other main preparation to do is bookmarks. One of my good friends and the best ‘Ceptor pilot I know, whenever he moves to a new home spends the first 2-3 days making bookmark after bookmark after bookmark, and for good reason. Especially in modern day EVE with its faster ships that project damage better than ever before, out-maneuvering your opponents and controlling engagements is the key difference between coming out on top and welping horrifically. There is no reason not to give yourself a home field advantage by placing bookmarks around structures that will see fights, your home station and well traveled or popularly camped gates, not to mention having a plethora of “safes”, at least one mid-safe per system that you can warp to when the brown stuff hits the fan.
Part III: Actually shooting at people
It’s taken us a long time to get to the bit we all came here for, but we’ve reached it at last, shooting at people for fun and/or profit. I’m not going to spend overly long on this section despite the fact that it’s (almost) everyone’s favourite part, I more want to cover how this should be approached in the context of this guide of mid/long-term living in low/null sec. There are many other (and far superior) places (including other posts in this blog) which provide resources on how to fly from your very first fleet to crazy Rooks and Kings stuff.
Especially in the smallest of groups, you need people willing to step up and FC, who will switch to ships to even out a composition, who will fly Interceptors and Interdictors. These tend to be the main personalities of corps, those who keep up the morale, drive for improvement and provide content for everyone to enjoy. It is a lot of fun to be this person and these are the kind of people every Coalition/Alliance/Corp are desperate to have. Without these people compositions are lop-sided, it takes ages to react to available PvP (which is never good) and the whole group suffers for it, becoming lethargic and ineffective as an entity.
One of the most important lessons I have learnt and want to impress on anyone reading this is that you should be aware of what reputation you’re building for yourself. This is something that new player corps especially can struggle with, for example E-UNI’s old reputation for ECM blobbing or Brave Newbie’s reputation for Talwars, Talwars, Talwars. If you’re fond of Falcons, unending Talwar fleets and/or dropping hideous numbers of dreads on people, you aren’t going to be liked very much. Now, by all means it’s your choice whether or not this is something you care about, but general people are more happy to take fights that are less in their favour if they like you and know you’ll be equally brave at a later date. By maintaining good relationships with some of your neighbours, you can have pre-arranged fights or even work together against an outside force which on your own you might not be able to deal with.
This also raises the point of how you deal with standings and your opinion/need for blues. More more people you blue, the less people you can shoot at, but equally the less people who are going to shoot at you. My own corp, SniggWaffe, operate on the basis that we like shooting things quite a lot and thus avoid blues like the plague, with exceptions for our own alts and PL (as we are the recruitment & training corp of Sniggerdly). If you have a bunch of structures that more powerful groups than yourself might want to replace with their own, you might want to try to attain a non-structure shooting agreement with them, or become best buddies with another group who might help fend off any aggressors.