The killmail is the token prize once the dust of combat settles; the trophy, the deal breaker, the ornament, the bragging rights. But what makes a good fight?
Generally speaking this could be a difficult question to answer, everybody has posted up the obligatory gfgf in local after a battle, each and every one of you has a different opinion on what is a good fight. When posting up the gf in local we don't always mean it in its true form, but to myself and many others it is the obligatory gentlemen's nod, the handshake after the fight. For example every single time I run into one of those annoying as hell insta-locking camps, if I have the chance before I am podded, I will offer up a gf in local. I definitely don't mean it in this instance, in fact what I am actually thinking is far more sinister but I enjoy the fact that your lame camp has not fazed me in any way, not made me angry, I will simply take the punishment of being -10 and go about my business somewhere else, acknowledging the 'effort' put into the 'fight' against me.
This isn't to say I don't fight back of course, I will always go guns blazing with the thermodynamics whacked up to 11 when it's a Thrasher camp I can't escape from, sometimes you can take one of them down with you. Which partly defeats the object of their fantasies somewhat, if only a little.
Speaking on a personal level, a good fight for me is when the odds are stacked against me and I am outnumbered in the manner that I will get a good fight but not so much that I'm blobbed into oblivion. Getting the balance right can be very rewarding. There are not many better feelings in combat than when you are on your own in an assault frigate or interceptor and there is a fight happening with three or four hostile frigates, all hell bent on screwing you over. Carefully managing range, target selection, overheating, angle of attack, capacitor and everything else whilst the damage is incoming can be an exhilarating experience. These fights really do get the heart thumping for me.
A recent engagement that springs to mind happened in Hagilur a few nights ago, sitting in an asteroid belt in my Wolf class Assault Frigate admiring the sun glistening off the rocks I was tackled by an Incursus. With other ships on scan it was obvious something else was going to come on in and start dancing along the barrels of my autocannons. In good time a Punisher and Rifter were on top of me. This was good, just what the doctor ordered, if you could bottle the adrenaline from these types of fights I think you could become a rich man. Not knowing if the other larger ships on scan were about to enter the field or if anything cloaky was about to announce itself really does keep you on the edge, especially as your armor starts disappearing into the blackness of space.
I also enjoy the more risky engagements, in particular I like to test the limits of the Rifter, whether that be in small gangs or whilst flying solo. Last night I was out flying in tandem with corpmate Kaeda Maxwell. I followed a Wolf to a plex and announced tackle, fully expecting a good fight and perhaps the Wolf to at the very least take one of us if not both of us down. The Wolf was hitting me heavy but I was able to rep up the damage with some mad bursts on the repper, the end result was the death of the Wolf and Kaeda announcing that she had only just got off a few volleys in the end after landing outside of an ideal range. Never underestimate the Rifter is the lesson learned here.
Another avenue that always engineers a good fight (well, unless broken, obviously) is the arranged 1v1. This particular engagement was an assault frigate duel that ended in my favour, I've had plenty that I have lost, plenty have been won, this one is the most recent I can remember and I remember it being a close fight, always the best type.
If I have a ship to hand and know that you're good for your word and I'm not doing something else I will always be up for a 1v1. Especially if you are in Metropolis or Heimatar where I have a ship stash that really needs burning I must admit. My corp members will also oblige to give you a good fight if you so wish, just ask nicely as some of them can bite.
It seems that the above ethics towards good fights run deep right through the Black Rebel Rifter Club. Sure, there will be times when we gank people, times when someone brings an ecm boat or other foul deed but the majority of the fights I see spring up on the killboard look like good honest fights to me. Not to put down the above kills, I like kills like that as much as any, we're all cutthroats after all.
Some that have caught the eye recently include some rather well known eve names. This fight and this one spring to mind, as well as this one. Zodiac Black is a young Rebel pilot who is ruthless when at the control of his Rifter, this Crow kill rewarding him with a nice pay packet from the loot.
It is also nice to see a few Dramiels showing up on the killboard too, whether it be one of ours scoring a kill or somebody else's that we have blown out of the sky. We're not really that fussy and neither were Saftsuze and Darkstar and Gul'Gotha when scoring these Dram notches to their kill count.
So in summary, the good fights are there for the taking, it is just how you apply your mindset towards pvp that shapes what good fights you engineer. You won't learn that much by being a cog in a machine of 50 others, so broaden your horizons a little bit and catch the solo/small gang bug. It might just be the best decision you ever made!