Friday, 18 November 2011

The Battlefield

Inevitably, for a fight to occur between two entities (gangs, solo pilots), they must both be present at the same gridspace as it were. Depending where this is, one side or the other will have an advantage. So, let's look at them:

#1 - Stargates

Probably the most common location for a fight due to stargates being chokepoints of travel, we'll be looking at these first. They have two special features about them compared to "plain" space.

Number 1, if you're in low sec, the sentry guns will open fire on anyone foolish enough to shoot someone they shouldn't within 150km of the stargate, dealing roughly 350 (omni) DPS, swapping targets at least every 30 seconds. Due to frigates generally having little tank, this means that the fleet with frigate elements in it which is hunting neutrals is at a disadvantage - their frigates are of limited use. It is for this reason one doesn't see frigates in pirate gangs often, but occasionally in FW or just neutral gangs. These sentry guns can whittle away at larger ships, forcing them off the field.

Number 2, this one applies to all security space - stargates allow a relatively "safe" avenue of retreat. If your gang is getting beaten badly, you can immediately start deaggressing (often called deaggroing) by turning off all offensive modules, calling in drones and waiting 60 seconds for your session change to run out. At the end of this time, if you are within range of the stargate (2500m), you can jump through. Thus, fights on stargates often result in significantly less casualties for the losing side.

Moving onto stations..

#2 - Stations

Simply put, from my point of view as a PvPer, stations are an absolutely horrible place to fight on. One can deaggro on them much like on stargates, except there is no possibility of hounding them on the other side since (as of yet) people are invulnerable once docked. Adding to the problem, many stations have absolutely huge docking radiuses of up to 40km, making it almost impossible to bump vulnerable ships out of docking radius before they can dock. Due to this, stationgames are common and are made worse with such lame tactics as using Orcas to scoop up ships which would otherwise be lost, using Carriers to do the same as well as provide remote reps. Whilst such despicable tactics are used on stargates as well (Heretics used to do this ridiculously often in Amamake before PL moved in), this is much less common than the amount that goes on with stations.

Oh yeah, there are station guns as well in low sec which follow the same rules as stargates - enjoy!

Next, asteroid belts...

#3 - Asteroid Belts

Ah, Asteroid Belts. Many a fight I've had in them, with them providing some fairly unique challenges. Kiting ships should be very wary here as one can easily get stuck in asteroids if using approach/orbit instead of manual flying (another reason not to use them), leaving them easy prey for cunning close range brawlers. In some very close fights, the presence of belt rats can make all the difference - some of my corpmates have won fights with only minuscule amounts of structure intact due to the fact that the resident belt rats chose to go for their targets rather than them. 

And finally, deadspace..

#4 - Exploration/Faction Warfare Plexes/Mission Sites

One might think that these are mostly useless for PvPing, but in reality they can make a huge, huge difference to the outcome of any fight. All three of these types of "sites" share common features, such as the fact that they generally have acceleration gates. For those of you not in the know, these are perhaps the most amazing structures for solo vs gang situations. By warping to one of these sites at range, you can land up to 100km from the acceleration gate. Hardly amazing by itself but if someone tackles you at this range and their gang warps to them, they will always land at the acceleration gate and not next to their tackler who you can now destroy whilst their gang watches from 100km or more away, unable to provide immediate backup. Same deal if they probe you down - they will always land at the acceleration gate. Whilst this is not completely foolproof (if they figure out where you warped to 100km from, they can land ontop of you so you must burn away from where you land, preferably to somewhere not between the acceleration gate and a celestial), it is a godsend.

Oh yeah and if you use the acceleration gate, Faction Warfare (and some exploration sites) will limit the hull size of what ships are allowed in, as well as telling you exactly where they'll land, allowing you to setup at your optimal (either 0 in a brawler or at range in a kiter), ready to engage. You can also get the FW rats to help you if your standings are high enough and some of them can be truly devastating (corpmate lost a Stabber Fleet Issue to a Hookbill because the Caldari FW rats inside the plex kept him perma-jammed)

Those are the 4 main types of space which are interesting. "Normal" space - safe spots, planets etc. offer no inherent strategic example and thus won't be covered here.

Next post will be discussing Alts - Boosting Alts, Falcon Alts and simple Scouting Alts with my opinions, facts etc.