Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Location, Location, Location

There are many factors affecting the "quality" of your PvP. Some of them are pretty obvious, such as skillpoints, whilst others such as your choice of corporation are less so. Another fairly interesting point is where you are based at (currently).

For example, most PvPers advocate settling down in a region so that you learn the locals - who likes to play station games, who likes to whip out Carriers and Falcons when they are losing etc. so that you get used to their antics and can just adjust your playstyle accordingly, knowing who to engage and steer clear of.. However, they fail to realise that the reverse is true - the longer you stay in a region, the more the locals get to know about you and they will also adapt in return.

Case in point, the Tuskers are based in Hevrice, in Gallente low sec. We've been here for over 2 years and every local knows of us. Whilst in some ways this is helpful - most gangs will come to Hevrice for fights, knowing that we do not enjoy docking games, use ECM or Carrier support, in other ways this is unhelpful - our reputation as good PvPers means that some gangs turn and run when we approach. When asked why, we're often told that 1 Tusker = 2 "normal" PvPers. This makes us proud (understandably) but also sad at the same timesince we're all about the good fights and we just missed one. :(

At the same time however, they may reship specifically for us. It's no secret that most of our gangs are Shield BCs and thus Recons in particular are a serious threat. Saying that, even they do not guarantee success, even when they also have sentry guns as well as more numbers on their side, as shown here.

This extends even to individual players. I'm fairly well known in the Gallente low sec area and increasingly I've found it harder to get 1v1s or even 1v2s. Whilst I'm not complaining (more people coming to kill me means more potential kills for me!), this does mean I am increasingly having to withdraw from fights or call in corpmates to help me (1 Shield Hurricane vs Arazu/Hurricane/Hurricane/Hurricane/Hurricane/Falcon/Rapier is not something I can deal with unfortunately). Molden Heath was a perfect example of that - when I visited there the first time in February, I got into a ton of fights over a two week period. When I came back in May with the rest of the Tuskers, we didn't get nearly as many since people had learnt to recognise me, most of the local PvPers only coming out when they had a trap ready (which is fine for me). If not, they would stay docked or run away (not fine for me).

Of course, the actual selection of the Region, and indeed the system is crucial. Many PvP and pirate outfits live in PvP "hotspots". Whilst this makes sense at some level (PvP on "demand" when you undock), in reality it actually often leads to reduced kills since most members of the corporation will just stay in their home system and not roam, reasoning that "If I roam, I'll miss out on an epic kill in Amamake with the rest of the guys!".

In fact, there are some alliances out there that have almost perpetual gatecamps set up, who run at the first sign of an enemy gang - P I R A T E S I'm looking at you. Check out their killboard then compare it to The Tuskers. They have more members (174 vs 81), but we happen to have significantly more kills than them. Why? We roam since Hevrice itself is not that exciting - however we do have excellent PvP opportunities nearby - the German pirate blue train in Ouelletta, Old Man Star, Gallente militia in Old Man Star, Caldari militia in Enaluri etc.

As for the Region, it really varies region to region. As a rule of thumb, I find faction warfare space has more PvP, but the gangs are typically larger than the rest of low sec. Saying that, faction warfare space is choked full of T1 Battlecruisers and Frigates, whereas the rest of low sec tends to fly more "pimped" ships such as Faction Battleships since there are smaller gangs out and about. A system based in Faction Warfare space, but with easy access to non-FW space would be ideal personally, or the other way around.

Null sec has not been mentioned here since I have never lived in 0.0, although I have roamed into it a fair few times. I would suggest sticking to living in low sec with easy access to 0.0 if you do want to PvP in 0.0, the logistics in low sec is far easier and you can quickly pop into 0.0 if you wish to. NPC 0.0 tends to have smaller gangs than Sov 0.0, but again it really varies on a case by a case basis. I found Great Wildlands to be much better for solo PvPers than Syndicate, which has more lame Dramiel/Falcon/Sabre gatecamps in it.

Final word on location - don't live in the ass end of nowhere such as in Aridia - find a decent spot where you can hit 4-5 "hotspots" within 10j. This will allow for easy roaming and might encourage gangs to divert towards you. Before you know it, you could be forming your own "hotspot", as is the case with Hevrice now.

Fly dangerous.