Tuesday, 9 August 2011


I was originally planning on writing an single blogpost or two about the tips & tricks of solo PvP , but after chatting with a few people ingame I've been...encouraged to write a series of blogposts, covering the entire range of solo and small gang PvP, right from the very basics to the highest levels of solo and small gang PvP in Eve Online going on, in all gang formats I've seen - Armor Brawler, Black Ops operations, Shield Nano, with logistics, without logistics etc.

So, to begin this enormous topic, where to start? Simple, my credentials so that you, as the reader are able to judge, for yourself, whether or not I have the experience to actually write about this subject without writing effectively bullshit.

WARNING #1: This will come across as boasting and in a way it is. If this doesn't appeal to you, I suggest scrolling down and assume by the amount of writing, I am l33t.

WARNING #2: Seriously, this is a ridiculous amount of words. I suggest grabbing a meal, this is a long one (even for me).  

So, let's start with my humble beginnings.

Yes, I am aware this is a baby's shirt, we're not going that far back though!

I started playing Eve back in February 2009 along with a couple of friends. We joined one of a thousand generic corporations that 'does everything'.  After a few months we moved on and set up our own corporation, the exact same deal. We occasionally PvPed in low sec, with the utterly predictable losses of those who think they 'get' PvP whilst living in high sec, missioning most of the time.

After a while, I stopped missioning and committed myself to PvP, whilst still living in high sec. My friends soon dropped out of Eve, the endless PvE sucking their souls out of them, whereas I was still having fun.

I wanted to focus on Amarr and thus didn't bother cross training to either Gallente or Minmatar, at the time the two 'Flavour of the Month' PvP races. I settled on the Arbitrator, intrigued by the idea of drones since lasers at the time seemed fairly subpar. By abusing my high security status, I was able to get cocky frigate pilots to engage me, whereas I would happily dispatch them.

The fight that secured my fate as a hardcore PvPer was killing an Ishkur with my Arbitrator. His faction armor repairer was worth more than my ship and I was now making a profit!

My favorite region to roam around was Essence, particularly around Onne. By basing myself here, I found myself running across the same corporations, particularly Veto. and The Tuskers, both famous pirate corporations even then.

It soon became clear that I would need to learn from fellow PvPers if I wanted to get better. I settled on The Tuskers, mostly because they seemed more newbie friendly and open. I flew with them, assisting them in quite a few kills, such as this Golem in an Assault Frigate gang FCed by Wensley, a Tusker back then.

After flying with them for the better part of 4 months I believe, I finally submitted my formal application in November. Scant minutes later, I was accepted into the fold amid such comments as this:

"Great to see you joining us Sul! Welcome." - Zombiedeadhead 
And that's where I've been since then. Once I joined, I learnt rapidly from our corp fittings section on our forums, digesting information at an alarming rate whilst training up for a Harbinger, what would eventually become my most used ship to date.

Interestingly enough, the corp grew as I did. When I joined, we mostly participated in ganks and few fights, at least in fleet fights, fixated on the bottom dollar about self sustaining piracy. Over time, as my experience grew, I matured into a (IMO) pretty decent FC, getting tips from some of the best PvPers who joined (you know who you are!) or flew together with us and we started aiming more for good fights rather than ganks.

Still not content about where I was in terms of development, I effectively forsake small gang PvP to focus on my solo skills. Whilst this started off to a rocky start (I found out I was terrible in all honesty), I became better and better, not being able to rely on others to bail me out. My tactics evolved - shifting from armor to shield, preferring the extra mobility shield tanked ships gave me.

I still stuck with Amarr, focusing on the Shield Harbinger, working through getting all relevant support skills trained up. I flew Shield tanked Omens, but quickly came to the following conclusion:

Too small capacitor, too little a tank to really use consistently.

After a few months of this, I returned to small gang PvP FCing. Whilst initially rusty as hell, I quickly developed and applied my new found knowledge to FCing. Suddenly, we were able to engage fleets we had previously thought impossible to engage - 5 of us against 10 of them for example, same ship classes through separating them, either on grid or using stargates etc and come out on top comfortably. The importance of range control I had learnt from solo PvP, where you engage small gangs several times a day came to shine.

Funny enough, the above happened after we attempted to win the Alliance Tournament. That lack of real solo PvP experience, as well as other factors (such as the fact we teamed up with another pirate corporation - The Bastards contributed to our very early dismissal).

 Moving on from this, I again returned to solo PvP, only calling in other Tuskers who were also solo roaming when absolutely needed, ie. too much Ewar for one ship etc. I started notching up some impressive solo kills and I was made a Director of The Tuskers. Our 'no-drama' and 'no-blues' policy made this have a very low workload, whilst it did cement me as the 'official' FC, as official as it can get for a small gang pirate corporation.

After a few weeks of the same, two things occurred simultaneously -

i) My alt finally finished training up for a Boosting Loki
ii) I finished getting nearly all my support skills to V and finally trained new ship classes, after a year of flying almost no new ships (Dramiel for the Alliance Tournament being the exception).

The combination of these two things exploded my PvP horizons. Suddenly I was able to engage 10 man gangs and kill a few and withdraw safely with the new speed granted by the gang links. At the same time, our nano gangs were suddenly much more lethal, being able to avoid even more incoming DPS by staying at 30km instead of 20km as previously, taking even less losses whilst still inflicting DPS.

And then, I took a vacation and moved to Molden Heath. Alone, with no corpmates to back me up and dozens of blood thirsty veteran pilots all around me, I was in the deep end. Thankfully, I pulled through and ended up flying with some of them (none of them set blue though!) and killing the rest (the two groups overlapping often!), whilst at the same time learning about the awesomeness that is the Myrmidon.

Still one of my favorite fights of all time
Pushing boundaries on both the Shield Harbinger (see below) and the Myrmidon, I turned my eye to the Hurricane. After flying with and against them numerous times, I felt like they were very lackluster compared to my Shield Harbinger for fighting gangs solo, mostly due to their abysmal ability to put down DPS at range. I elected to try and solo in an Artillery Hurricane and it works damn well!

Close, close!

 Once I was back from Molden Heath with a fair few kills, I started FCing Artillery fleets when we moved to Kinakka for the Black Rise Campaign, which were a great success:

Click to zoom in
 Then, we moved to Molden Heath for our Insurgence campaign, where we had a grand time.

Not seen, their 3 Carriers
We had a couple of engagements with Eve University in Molden Heath, where I FCed a Hatchery/Tusker fleet against Eve University three times in 6 hours, the last fight being 12 vs 34. Raw fraps can be found here (I had a blocked nose so sounded terrible :( )

During that campaign, I had a run of damn good fights, my favorite being my Hurricane vs a POS bashing fleet composed of 2 Supercarriers, 5 normal Carriers + their 20 man support fleet, ending with me killing one Vagabond before being forced off the field by fighter bomber lag (damn you!)

After that, I had to take a break for exams, then came back and was predictably incredibly rusty. Over the last few days, I feel like I've shaked off most of the rust and am nearly back on form, soloing a Harbinger (reshipped to Rupture) and a Sleipnir in my Myrmidon, after having an absolutely awesome gang fight that spanned 2 systems and 5 separate engagements in 45 minutes.

We killed (and lost!) more in Aeschee as well. So much ECM
So, that's where I am right now. I'm still working on my skills and I am in no way at the fabled end-game of Eve PvP, but I believe I have a fairly solid grasp of small gang PvP, as well as solo PvP where I keep engaging larger and larger gangs, such as this one in Old Man Star a few days ago:

I had to run after they decloaked two falcons on me :(
 Next time, something informative (and shorter!). I'm thinking skillpoints...

1 comment:

  1. Cool story bro.

    looking forward to the next chapter. will this become the new pvp bible? hope so!