Friday 25 February 2011

5 Common Myths About PVP

As you probably know, I spend a lot of time talking to people who aren't very experienced in PVP. Along the way I hear a lot of the same misconceptions, and I'd like to take a moment to set a few of them straight (or at least, post lots of words about them in the hope that it helps somebody out!)

I originally had a list of about 10 of these, but rather than terrifying you with a wall of text I've narrowed it down to 5. Hopefully anyone who has taken a class with me already knows most of these, but for those who haven't, hopefully there's something in here for you.

1) Active tanks are for PVE, Buffer tanks are for PVP

At it's core, this is good advice - new PVPers are generally used to active tanks from missions and in a lot of PVP situations a buffer tank works better. As with any generalisation though, it's important to realise that there are exceptions (in this case, quite a lot of them). Buffer tanks are great when you've got remote repair in gang, or when the incoming damage is going to be significantly higher than what you can tank with an active setup.

In smaller engagements, from solo to small gang, an active tank can be really effective. In order for this to be true, you either need a really stiff active tank (think ships with resist or rep amount bonuses and dual reps/oversized shield boosters), or you need another way of reducing the incoming damage so that your rep can meet it. The ideal ship for this is solo frigates, especially close-ranged afterburning frigates, which are able to evade a significant portion of the damage output from any larger target.

2) Frigates shouldn't worry about tank, if they get shot at they will die anyway/the best tank for a frigate is a speed tank

This seems to be a common one, and it's absolutely wrong.

It's true that frigates' speed and low signature radius let them evade a lot of damage, and making the most of this will increase the amount you're able to evade. However, the improvement you'll get from covering a frigate with speed mods is insignificant compared to what you'll get by actually fitting a tank.

The thing is, your frigate is already naturally fast and has a naturally small sig. By orbiting close, you're already mitigating a lot of the damage, but probably not all. Whether it's drones, lucky shots, or other targets shooting you while your orbit their friend, you're probably still doing to be taking some shots.

While maxing out your speed might help a little, maybe cutting another 10% of that damage, a decent buffer tank (a medium shield extender or plate and dcu) can more than double your hitpoints.

Don't believe anyone when they tell you a frigate has to be paper thin and die when it's breathed on, it's simply not true. A tanked, afterburning frigate can stay in a fight for a surprising length of time.

3) Short ranged guns do more damage than long ranged guns

This is a really common one, and the prevalence of EFT and the like doesn't help much. The thing that makes it easy to fall for is that it's true in a literal sense - short ranged guns do put out more damage. However in practice, this isn't always true.

Where short ranged guns lose out is travel time - in a lot of fights targets will end up quite spread out, and as each target dies (or escapes) you'll have some time when you're simply trying to get into range of the next one. With long ranged guns (and just to be clear here we're talking about long ranged guns with short range/high damage ammo, not sniper setups) you can start applying your dps to that target earlier, if not right away. If targets are dying fairly quickly, this often means you're actually dealing less damage with the shorter ranged guns due to the extra travel time. The same principle is also one of the reasons t2 pulses with scorch (and to a lesser extent, autocannons with barrage) can be so effective.

There are of course other considerations to take into account when choosing guns such as how you're planning to fly the ship and what kind of gang you're in, but just bear in mind that especially in a larger gang, long ranged guns will often outperform short ranged ones despite the stats telling you otherwise.

4) Frigates which orbit inside web range are dead frigates

Another common one. This is a holdover from a couple of years ago when webs had a 90% speed reduction which basically spelled death for any frigate which got caught inside their range. Nowdays it's not really true - with webs only giving a 50-60% decrease the most survivable place for a frigate is often as close as possible, even if you've got an mwd fit (just orbit closer, hopefully you've scrammed and probably webbed your target too, so you should still be able to maintain a tight enough orbit not to be hit much. And you did tank your frigate, right?

5) My opponent is my enemy

This one is a little different but it still seems to be a very common assumption, especially among newer players. My answer to this one is really little more than opinion, there's no factual basis here and I guess whether this is true for you too is a matter of perspective.

Eve has it's asshats like any game does, but in my experience you're just as likely to find these guys in a hi-sec missioning corp as you are in a smartbombing battleship on a lowsec gate.

Sometimes their interests are going to conflict with yours, be it station-trading the same item, running that anomaly you just scanned down, or wanting your ship to explode when you'd very much like to keep it in one piece, or maybe blow theirs up instead. These guys are your opponents, and are no different from your opponents in any other game. Do whatever you need to do to make sure things go your way not theirs, but don't forget they're probably still a decent person just playing a game and trying to have some fun, the same as you.

At the end of the day, if you treat your opponents as what they are - other people who happen to be playing a game against you - and don't take it too seriously, you'll have a lot more fun. At least, I do!

Before we're done, a couple of plugs.

First of all, take a look at Wensley's recent blog post about FCing. This is something I'd been thinking about doing a post on, but honestly he hits all the points I wanted to cover and more. Check it out!

Also, former Agony member Toterra is running a competition looking for innovative t1 frigate fits, with the opportunity of winning a shiny faction frig!


  1. Nice writeup !!!
    Agree on all of your examples. Sure are more, as you mentioned, but could't come up with one just straight off :-)
    Talked to lot's of newer players that have got so cought up in the whole "must have a ton of SP's" before give it a try, instead of just taking some cheap frigs and go try blow things up. SP will never trumph practical expirience. SP's helps flying a lot of different things, and to some degree use modules more efficient, but expirience isn't something someone can teach you or to be read up on blogs and guides.
    So go out and blow things up i would say :-)

  2. Good write up. Thank you for the hard work that went into it.

  3. Very nice article. Also what I would ask all the others, please respect other players. If you smack in local and insult other people, this only shows that you are ... bah you know what I mean. :)


  4. Honestly, I wouldn't mind that list of 10 you mentioned.

  5. I really liked the last section 5) My opponent is my enemy

    To true in the aftermath of battle this can be forgotten and it is easy to /quit


The Altruist is the Eve Online blog of Azual Skoll, PVP instructor and small gang PVPer.

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