14 Dec 2011

The R1FTA School of Hard Knocks (A Guide for New Pilots)

edit. the Incursus fits are now obsolete. 

This is a rough and ready guide that is aimed at the newer eve player who is just setting up in eve and wants to blast down the route to a pvp play style. It can also be perhaps useful to those with only a little amount of experience in pvp who want to expand their options and hit the ground running. Or to be more straight to the point - to get out there exploding spaceships.


It will be very biased and it will contain opinions and thought processes that not everybody out there will agree with. This is the R1FTA School of Hard Knocks, we come from the mindset that any fight that results in the destruction of your own or your opponent's spaceship is a damned good thing.

This guide will give quick pointers on some of the essentials that I had to dig out info for when I was starting 'on the road'. It might not be the most detailed but it should at least give you the basics, from there you can dig deeper yourself if you wish!


So you want to be a Rock Star?

There is a select group of pilots in New Eden who are labelled as outstanding pvp'ers. They shine like a beacon in local, their mere presence in a chat channel can excite and inspire. They aren't unbeatable, far from it. They started somewhere right? A quick glance at their stats reveals a goldmine of pvp killmails. Then you look at your own stats. You feel daunted somewhat? Or inspired? Heck, you want to be on that ladder. How did these maniacs rack up all those kills? Take me to this place! How did they do it? Let's start from scratch.

Choosing your character's race.

In reality the race of your chosen toon makes absolutely no difference to your options in-game. It is more of a personal thing. Your character will represent you in-game. You are that picture you see in your bio, the eve player base don't know you as the family man from Michigan with the wife and kids or whatever you are or wherever you come from. You choose to be a gun toting, tattooed, mohawk sporting Brutor with that nasty grin and cool as ice leather jacket then that is what they will see you as. Choose something that intrigues you, this decision does not stop you from training any race's ship hulls and weapon systems further down the line so go crazy and take your time choosing a cool name too.

A very quick run down on the available races.

Amarr - Laser breathing zeal. Missile spewing Slavers. The largest of the empires of New Eden. A deeply religious people. Their laser weapons can only deal out EM and Thermal damage. They have great armour defences. They wear hoods.

Gallente - Up close and personal. Blasters and drones. Pop star like race of liberalists of the Free World with people with pink hair and funky clothing and an unhealthy addiction to energy drinks. Good armour defences. Versatile ships. Limited damage types.

Caldari - Capitalist, missile spitting, shield tanking, ECM jamming, pig-dogs. The Caldari State is steeped in military tradition.

Minmatar - Projectiles. Fast ships. Armour and shield choices. Drones too. Minmatar is perhaps the most balanced way to go, although this choice can be skill intensive, you won't regret the maniacal lifestyle of the Minmatar. Can deal any damage type.

Nice hairstyle! So what next?

So you've created your monster. You want to jump on in now and get your pvp feet wet. So what is pvp? What can you expect?

Eve combat is deep, many variables can influence the outcome of battle, some more obvious than others, many less so. To fully cover everything related to pvp would require a journal of epic proportions. But this is what makes pvp in eve so beautiful, you see. Every fight is different, every locking of horns can harbour any myriad of outcomes.

You can pvp in eve within a few hours of rolling your character. It can take months to become anywhere near competent and years to be a master. However, this should not put you off. With the correct application and attitude you can begin the enjoyable, if sometimes frustrating path towards a career in pvp.

The key thing to remember is you will eventually soak up knowledge, from the very first time you lose a ship to your most recent loss.

Losses bring knowledge! Don't be afraid of dying!

A loose set of rules to follow on your pvp adventure.

1. This is probably the golden rule and you will hear this time and time again during your eve career but DON'T FLY WHAT YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE! This is a game, don't get to the stage where you're flying something that you get attached to because it is super expensive or you just used your last 100 million isk to fit it out. Be sensible and stick to the limits of your bank balance. Do not leave yourself short.

2. To counter the above. Once your ship is fitted up and locked and loaded, get into your head that from now on the ship is scrap metal. It is already dead, you already lost it! This will take a while to adjust to, some veteran players consider this an alien way of thinking. By thinking like this you won't be as bothered when your ship goes boom. Which it will, every ship will die! You will also become fearless when it comes to engaging in a fight that maybe you might have backed away from previously.

3. Every ship will die! As above, unless you are going to be one of those elite players who spins ships all day and never undocks, remember that your ship will explode at some point. It just will okay, trust me.

4. Never trust anyone. Never. Not even me (except for what I said above). Eve is home to some crooked people. Don't trust them. They are all evil. Especially when it comes to engineering fights.

5. Always rename your ship. A ship hull that hasn't been named is like sticking a big neon sign above your ship that reads HEY GUYS THIS IS PETER458'S CATALYST AND I'M RATTING IN TOP BELT COME HAVE A LOOK I'M SAT AT ZERO on an enemies directional scanner.

6. Learn to master the directional scanner! We'll look at the directional scanner in more detail a little later. But, this is the most powerful tool you have as a pvp pilot. It is also easy to learn. Learn to use it and then use it! Simple.

7. Learn that cap stable ships in pvp in 99% of cases are bad. So many players strive to fit out a cap stable ship when venturing into pvp. Why? Good question! Remember that most pvp fights won't last that long anyway and if they do you've done something wrong in the first place by not killing your enemy sooner. You can successfully fly ships with 8 seconds of standard capacitor in pvp. Also, to get a ship cap stable requires using up precious slots and rig points that can be utilized far better by sticking combat mods in their place. So just to be clear. Don't purposefully set out to make your ships cap stable. Okay? Glad we're now clear on that one. Still not sure? Go look at any killboard of the top listed pilots and show me a fit they lost with capacitor rechargers installed in the mid-slots.

8. Rigs. Always rig your ships. Gone are the days when rigs were only viable on large ships due to their high cost. Most rigs are now affordable, use them. Take a moment to read what each type of rig does and what it can bring to your pvp ship.

9. Acquire a knowledge of good fitting manner. In your early days of pvp don't be tempted to mash together one of your own fits. These usually turn out bad. Instead, study killboards of corporations and pilots who have years of experience. Check their losses, look at the fits. You can also access good fits from websites such as failheap challenge.

10. Damage control habits. Get into the routine of always switching on your damage control after every undock or jump into a new system. It will never compromise your capacitor levels. You'd be surprised how many pilots who don't do this sometimes forget to switch on their damage control too late in a fight or even not at all. Think of your damage control as your seatbelt. If you have one fitted then make sure it is ALWAYS on!

11. Don't ever fit a warp core stabilizer to a pvp ship. Ever. They are bad, m'kay?

12. Finally. The shakes. If you're doing things right and you are getting your kicks through eve pvp you should come across a marvellous drug-like experience that most combat pilots call 'the shakes'. The rule is that you will need to keep a clear level of concentration while you are experiencing this quite addictive feeling. The shakes can make you do silly mistakes, make you lose fights you could have won, make your arms do things involuntarily. Once you learn to fly and fight through the shakes barrier you can say that you've made it as a pvper. Remember that the shakes are good, they aren't a bad thing. It's an adrenaline kick like no other. Learn to live with this.


Frigate Lore.

To begin with, forget about cruisers, battlecruisers, battleships and imperial star destroyers and other large hulls. The frigate is going to be your workhorse on your pvp journey. Frigates offer the best value for money, at little risk. You can fit out a frigate for a couple of million isk. Frigates are fun, every decent pvper worth his salt started out in frigates and most are still in them. Doesn't that tell you something?

Even a semi-skilled frigate pilot can easily take out destroyers, cruisers and in some cases battlecruisers and battleships. But these ship classes won't be your staple target diet, of course you won't shy away should an opportunity present itself but instead try to concentrate on frigate v frigate combat. The beauty of frigate combat is that given the mind-boggling amount of possible fits out there, any frigate can in theory kill any frigate.

Your first frigate.

We're going to look at some basic entry level tech 1 frigates. The fits are designed for (relatively) easy access during your first few weeks and months. You should look to train towards the tech 2 guns at the very earliest opportunity but don't be afraid of sticking some equivalent tech 1 'named' guns on there until you are skilled towards the tech 2 weapons. Same goes with the other modules.


The Incursus is a Gallente blaster boat, it is a cheap and throwaway do-or-die frigate. You need to fly these ships with no fear, as fights will often end with your ship's hull on fire or you in your pod--it really is a race to hull sometimes in these little firecrackers. One thing is for certain, you'll have a lot of fun learning your trade in this ship.

[Incursus, Afterblaster]

3x Light Neutron Blaster II (Null S) Tech 1 'named' guns don't really work with this fitting. Train up those tech 2 weapons now!


1MN Afterburner II You can use a 'named' afterburner if you can't yet fit the tech 2 module.

J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I Self explanatory warp stopper.

X5 Prototype Engine Enervator Your webifier, keeps your opponent close by and in blaster range, assuming you manage to land the thing in the first place of course.


Emergency Damage Control I Always switch on your Damage Control!

F-aQ Phase Code Tracking Subroutines Tracking Enhancer that enhances your tracking. Haha!

Small Hybrid Burst Aerator I
Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I

1x Hobgoblin II Tech 2 drone is a must here really. Look to train for tech 2 drones as soon as you have trained up your weapons to tech 2 level. Tech 1 drone used here until you have skilled up, but be advised it won't really do that much to your damage dealing potential.

Flying style.

With this ship (with t2 weapons) you will want to try and 'keep range' from your opponent on the edge of scram range. We do this by setting our 'keep range' function to something around the 7500-8000 mark. If we have the ability to do so, overheating our weapons, scrambler and webifier gives us extra range and damage to play with. Don't burn them out though! We can also overheat the afterburner if we get into a tricky situation, if you need to overheat the jets I'd suggest cutting the heat to the other mid-slot modules or you'll end up with a burnt out middle. Not nice.

Once the enemy begins to burn towards you and close the range, switch your flying to 'orbit' mode. Set your orbit to something like 16000-20000, this should (in theory) keep you away from the advancing foe. Then, going in for the final kill we switch back to the previous 'keep at range' setting. If it looks like your opponent is now trying to run from you, hit approach to gain range and then switch back to keeping him at range or just go at him full on to finish him off, assuming it looks like the fight is going your way. After a bit of practice you should find yourself getting used to this tactic and winning more fights than you lose.

Alternatively you could try a buffer fit Incursus.

[Incursus, 200Buffer]
Damage Control II
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

1MN Afterburner II
X5 Prototype I Engine Enervator
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Light Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter S
Light Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter S
Light Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter S Here we can use some 'named' tech 1 guns if we like.

Small Anti-Explosive Pump I
Small Hybrid Ambit Extension I
Small Ancillary Current Router I

Hobgoblin II x1

Flying style.

This fit relies on the buffer from the armor plating for added survivability during fights. You can fly this similarly to the above Incursus if you have the tech 2 weapons and load null, or you can go for an in-your-face smash and grab style of fighting by going in close and orbiting at 500 and praying, with the faction antimatter loaded. Again, overheat guns, set your drone loose and have fun. The fit may require a good level of fitting skills (Weapon Upgrades, Advanced Weapon Upgrades). You may need to switch some tech 2 modules for meta modules to make this work or in some very low-skill cases use a Micro Auxiliary Power Core in place of the damage control, although I wouldn't really advise this.


The Rifter is a bad ass fire-spitting flying machine gun on steroids, the every day diet of the Black Rebel Rifter Club pilot, but you guessed that already by the name right? It can be fitted out in an unbelievable amount of different ways. Shield fits, 200mm armor fits, big fat 400mm plated fits, dual repper fits, cap booster fits, artillery fits, and I think the list goes on. We're going to concentrate on the 'cookie' Rifter fit. A universally acknowledged 'standard' Rifter.

[Rifter, Cookie NOS]

Damage Control II Your hull-saver lifeline. You can fit a 'named' tech 1 module here but really you should be using the tech 2 module. Some people like to fit a Gyrostabilizer here for extra damage and rate of fire. They are very brave or cocksure. You need to remember that once you start bleeding hull points with no damage control fitted you will inevitably go pop.

Small Armor Repairer II Again you can get away with the tech 1 modules here until your skills are up.

200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I Your buffer for extra survivability.


Cold-Gas I Arcjet Thrusters Poverty line tech 1 afterburner. Fit tech 2 if you feel flush.

J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I Standard tech 1 warp stopper.

X5 Prototype I Engine Enervator Your webifier, use tech 2 if you prefer. Not essential though by any means.


150mm Light AutoCannon II, Barrage S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Barrage S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Barrage S Some of the tech 1 'named' guns can dish out some mean damage, some are quite expensive too, find the right balance for you. Train up for the tech 2 guns as soon as possible. Barrage gives you extra options during fights.

E5 Prototype Energy Vampire This will replenish your own capacitor levels by stealing capacitor from the ship that you have it targeted on. If your capacitor level is lower than that of your opponent and the module is operating in range. This can be a lifesaver in certain circumstances.

Small Projectile Burst Aerator I
Small Projectile Ambit Extension I
Small Projectile Ambit Extension I

Flying Style.

The science to flying a Rifter is ..... Well, there isn't any science. There is some skill to flying one, of course, but you can get straight into pvp and learn along the way by strapping yourself in and throwing yourself into combat.

You are going to be agile and fast. Use this to your advantage, whether it be closing and dictating range or running away from a fight--never be afraid to turn tail. You can use the fall-off from the Barrage ammunition and try to kite your opponent, similar tactics to as discussed with our first Incursus fit or you can go in close and fight knuckle-to-knuckle with faction ammo.

With the armor repairer you are for the most part looking to 'pulse' this module. You will need to set your auto-repeat to off (you can set this by right-clicking the module in space). The repairer will then de-activate after each cycle. You will need some careful capacitor and cycle management when mastering this ship, but after some practice you should start to get the hang of things. Sometimes mid-fight you can switch the repper to run permanently if you think your cap will last.

The beauty of this ship is in figuring it out for yourself. To discuss every little tactical detail would in some ways be like putting in a spoiler alert. Go out there and have a blast learning your trade in this multi-functional death machine.

A word on ammunition types. When out in the Rifter I will always have the following in the cargohold ready to use.

Republic Fleet Phased Plasma.
Republic Fleet Fusion.
Republic Fleet EMP.

I will carry anything between 700-1500 of these rounds.

Other frigate options.

With the two Incursus fits and the Rifter fit I've gone for two cheap and easy fittings to give you an idea of what to go for as you start your pvp career. Other options to look into and research include fits for:

Punisher. An Amarrian tech 1 frigate that rivals the Rifter as numero uno in the fight for the top frigate crown. Can be fitted with lasers or autocannons. Is well known for its strong armor tank. Definitely a tough frigate although the lack of mid-slot modules does hamper your choices somewhat.

Merlin. The Caldari frigate of choice. Although slow it has a tough shield tank that can be hard to crack. Uses a combination of either blasters/rockets/missiles/railguns and can sport any other weapon platform in some niche fittings--autocannons and lasers are not uncommon. Well worth looking into if you want to go down the Caldari route.

Tristan. The Gallente split-weapons system frigate. A tough frigate, more skill intensive to get into than the Incursus. If flown and fitted correctly can make for a mean frigate. One to progress to perhaps after the Incursus.

Kestrel. Traditionally a Caldari missile boat. Rocket fits are now popular and this frigate, although paper thin on the defence front can spring a few surprises to those who look on it as an easy kill.

Understanding your modules.

Get to know and fully understand what your basic pvp modules do for your ship, here is a basic run down of the most important basic modules used during pvp.

Damage Controls. This module generally makes your ship stronger by reinforcing the internal structure of your ship and providing uniform resists across the board when you need them the most. Always a good option for frigate fits.

Armor Repairers. Reps or reppers as they are commonly known give you the ability to repair incoming damage to your ship's armor hitpoints at the expense of capacitor. Essentially giving you more time on the field. In theory.

Armor Plates. Armor plates are available in various sizes. Concentrate on the 200mm and 400mm versions for frigate combat. The best available and therefore most expensive being the Reinforced Rolled Tungsten version. You will not be able to fit anything bigger than a 400mm plate on a frigate, nor should you be using anything smaller than a 200mm plate. 100mm and 50mm. Nope. Don't do it. Ever.

Warp Scrambler. Commonly referred to as the scram. The warp scrambler will stop a pilot from warping away from a fight providing that he does not have two warp core stabilizers fitted. The warp scrambler has two points of scrambling power versus the warp core stabilizer's 1 point scramble strength. It also shuts down an opposing ship's active MicroWarpdrive and operates at standard ranges of between 7.5-9km, increased when overheated.

Warp Disruptor. The warp disruptor offers more range (20-24km) but only has 1 point of scramble strength, they do not turn off MicroWarpdrives and they also use too much capacitor to activate. Only really used on specialist long-range tackle fits like interceptors or kiting frigates.

Afterburners. Propulsion modules are vital for good frigate combat. The afterburner boosts the ship's speed at the expense of capacitor. Always turned on during combat.

MicroWarpdrives. MWD's as they are commonly known boost the speed by a massive amount, but at the expense of more capacitor over the afterburner. They also increase your signature radius bloom, making you much easier to hit by enemy fire despite your boost in speed. They are also deactivated by warp scramblers. Often used on tackle interceptors and some specialist kiting ships or throw-away tackle frigs. For the most part you should always look to fit an afterburner for frigate combat.

Stasis Webifiers. Webs or webbers. These modules slow your opponent down by a set amount depending on the webifier type. They come in useful in allowing you to dictate range and to stop would be escapers from escaping out of scram range.

Nosferatu (Energy Vampires). These modules replenish your own capacitor levels by stealing capacitor from the ship that you have it targeted on, if it is in range and if your capacitor percentage is lower than that of your opponent. Range is below 6.5km.

Neutralizers. Similar to Nosferatu modules. Energy neutz suck the opponent's capacitor dry at the expense of your own capacitor levels, although you lose less than you take. They work well against active tanked fits, i.e fits running an armor repairer. Range up to 6.25km.


A quick note on overheating modules. Overheating your modules can give you a massive edge during combat as it allows you to squeeze out extra performance but at the risk of burning them out completely. I'd recommend training the Thermodynamics skill to at least 4. There are some great individual guides and debates out there on overheating and I'd highly advise searching for them and studying them in detail.

Skills needed for overheating (Thermodynamics).

  • Thermodynamics.

Prerequisite skills.

  • Engineering 5.
  • Energy Management 3.
  • Science 4.

Certainly not the quickest of trains but definitely worth training for early in your pvp career for that added performance boost.


Choosing whether or not to roll with implants is purely a decision you must make on whether you can afford to or not. It is definitely worth doing as the bonuses given to learning and combat can give you a tactical edge and speed up your skilling times. Just remember to warp your pod out often by spamming the warp to button BEFORE your ship explodes when a fight looks like it is turning sour, and you should lose less implants.

I'd recommend a cheap set of learning implants, up to +3 in some cases and I'd advise reading up on what particular hardwirings give boosts to your chosen ship and flying styles. I'd then look at buying a few sets of these implants and keeping them with your ship stash.

Choosing a home system and the ship stash tactic of learning.

This method is recommended by most as an excellent way of learning combat the hard way. We say the hard way because you will die often, however, as we mentioned before, dying often and taking in the knowledge from these experiences and evaluating your application and errors can only hold you in good stead for the future.

You will need to figure out a base of operations--your ship stable. Ideally if you want to go down the route of low-sec pvp you will be better off selecting a low-sec system that is not more than a few jumps away from a bordering high-sec system. This can be advantageous for finding targets and for logistic purposes. You might want to scout out the neighbourhood first, you don't want to move into a poorly researched system where you are sharing one station with a bunch of angry pirates now do you?

If you're going down the high-sec route of pvp then all you need do is set-up your stash in one of the major market hubs. Jita, Rens, Amarr, Dodixie, Hek, for example.

Your stash you say?

Yes, you are going to save up enough isk (or sell some PLEX) to purchase a bunch of frigates of your choice, complete with fittings and ammo. You are going to base them out of your newly decorated home system and you're going to fly them all until you lose every single one of them. Go for what you can realistically afford, ideally you want to have at least 10 frigates. I'd recommend more like 20. More if you can. Get a friend or courier service to ship your modules into your new home system. I'd highly recommend Black Frog Logistics here. Alternatively, if you can't afford the courier services, base your stash in the neighbouring high-sec systems. You can keep revisiting your stash until your security status tells you otherwise.

This gives you 10, 20, or 30 or so individual roams, fights, experiences. Keep a journal of every fight, what went wrong, what you fought against, how the fight went, et cetera. Make notes on the pilot you fought against, what tactics did he use, what ship did he fly, did he call in friends, do you see him often.

Don't be afraid to send a message asking for advice on the fights you have. For every idiot who will smack you there will be a good guy willing to offer tips and help you out. Sometimes you may get free ships, ISK, or the offer of a rematch. On the same subject, be polite in defeat, don't resort to smacking or being an idiot or getting mad over an internet spaceship. People will remember the smacking idiots.

Get to know the local area, make safe spots in all the systems you visit. Make insta-undocks from your home station to evade anybody that decides to camp you in.

Once your stash is depleted, study your notes that you made. Take time out to evaluate your current situation and how you can apply yourself better. You may even be getting the hang of things by now and you may have some shiny loot to ship back to market to sell. You may even have another stash of ships on the way ready to burn through.

I'd highly recommend this stash method to new players and I'm sure a lot of other pilots out there will too.

Target selection.

We talked briefly about frigate v frigate combat. In most cases you shouldn't be afraid to try any frigate duel, to test your mettle and push yourself in combat against any frigate pilot. But what else can we look out for when it comes to target selection?


Even though they have recently been buffed you can still take out an enemy destroyer in your frigate. Look out for ratting destroyers hopping the asteroid belts, usually with their pilot name advertised on their ship hulls. These should be easily taken out with your frigate. You will occasionally come up against a destroyer that is fit for one thing in mind. Frig killing. It will often be a tough fight, you can still beat these destroyers but the fight will be hard. If you do find yourself taking a resounding beating against one of these frig-cutters take the experience on the chin and move on and hope the next one isn't so mean.

Cruisers and above.

There is a theme here and generally it is if somebody is ratting or doing other pve activities then you probably have a very good chance of taking them down. A cruiser in an asteroid belt shooting at rats is well worth a nibble. If it is a drone boat the general idea should be to scram the opponent's ship and target and then destroy each drone, webbing the drones helps too. From this point if you are still alive you should be able to get a tight orbit on your enemy and finish him off. The same goes for battlecruisers and battleships. The only problem in these cases is if you run out of ammo or not.

Don't be afraid to try and poke these larger hulls. In some cases some of these ships will be tricked out for killing frigs by trapping you into thinking you are scoring an easy kill. They will have anti-frig guns, lots of webs, drones, neutz. It will not end well. Again, learn from these experiences and move on.

Mining barges/Industrials.

If you see a mining barge in a belt or an industrial at a customs office by all means head on in and dish out the pain, the rewards from loot drops can be worth the while. Be aware that a Hulk can be quite deadly if attacked, with its drones causing you some cause for concern if they are tech 2. Also in rare cases you could find yourself attacking a bait battle industrial. These can be quite deadly too.

Tech 2/faction frigates.

Interceptors, faction frigates, assault frigates, electronic attack ships and other advanced frigate hulls can cause you great harm. However, do not be put off. For every good pilot you come across who vaporizes your tech 1 hull you might well find a pilot who is jumping ahead of himself and flying a frigate he doesn't really have the correct skills to fly properly. In these cases you have every chance of removing him of his ship in your tech 1 frigate. You will take great satisfaction from these kills.

Remember, everything is possible whilst at the controls of a frigate hull. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise! The Black Rebel Rifter Club has pilots who have even taken down advanced tech 2 cruiser hulls and advanced recon ships whilst out solo in their frigates. In small gangs they have even removed pilots of their tech 3 cruisers. The sky is the limit! (Until your hullpoints run out).


Gathering intel on your chosen target can be the deciding factor of whether you live or die in combat. We spoke about getting to know the area you live in previously but there are other forms of intel worth keeping track on. Use battleclinic to search for your opponent's previous kills/losses, what fits he uses, if he is a solo pilot or a gang flyer. If his record is something like 2-66 (2 kills. 66 losses) go in all guns blazing regardless of what he is flying. If he is something like 2800-66 then I'd err on the side of caution and perhaps look for a different fight, unless you feel your particular match-up might give you the sway, then by all means go for it. But knowing what to expect before the fight can help you immensely. I always have battleclinic loaded up for these purposes. Sometimes a fight is sprung so fast that you don't have time for intel gathering but in most cases you will be able to check.

To go with the above, always keep an eye on local chat and the local count. Frequently check newcomers to local and watch out for spikes (large jumps in the number of current pilots) which could mean a gang is on its way to you or passing through. Look out for corp mates of your potential targets. Make sure that you have local chat on its own in your user interface, don't at any time let it become hidden behind another chat window.

Check dotlan maps for recent hot-spots of activity. Such things like noticing a choke point on your route with 88 kills in the last hour can only mean a gate camp is locking and killing everything that passes through. Time to change your route.

Similarly, you can use the maps to look for systems where potential targets might be. We can check for statistics on how many rats have been killed in the last hour to give us an idea of where the ratters are.

Get into the habit of using intel to your advantage.

Overview set-up.

Setting up your overview in pvp is vital. There are plenty of guides out there that will show you how to go about setting one up that is pvp efficient. Go check them out!

Personally I have my main pvp tab that only has ships visible, I have a separate tab for drones and I have a standard tab with everything on. On my pvp tab I always have the sun on the overview, so that if it looks like I am going to lose I can start spamming the warp button to the sun. Be sure to then move off after you land at the sun as most evil doers will try following you!

I don't have any blues on my overview. Having blues or corp mates on your overview will only end in tears.

As for the columns, I like to keep it nice and simple. From left to right I have. Targeting Icon >>> Distance >>>> Name >>>>> Ship Type >>>>> Velocity.

This setup keeps it nice and simple, it doesn't blind you with unnecessary info and you can easily work out where a ship is in relation to yourself and whether or not it is coming or going, moving or static.

My drone tab is self explanatory really, all drones that I want to shoot at are in here. Nothing else.

The standard tab is there if I need to quickly warp to a station or gate or a planet or something.

Find the overview that works best for you but make sure it is correct by reading through the guides and understanding how to correctly set up the columns. Also remember to save your settings! One last thing worth remembering is to always add scan probes to your overview settings, that way you can easily work out if somebody is trying to probe out your safe spot.

Directional scanner.

The most powerful tool at your disposal is the directional scanner. Learn how to use this tool and you are well on the way on the road to pvp greatness. It may seem a little daunting at first but once it clicks and you get to grips with how it works then you're in business.

You can easily pinpoint a potential target, with practice, within a few seconds of entering a system. If there is a cluster of belts near the entry jumpgate to the system I have just entered and somebody is in the belts the chances are that I will know his exact location within a few seconds, before my cloak has even dropped. In these cases I am on my way to my target before he knows I'm in system.

First of all after opening the scanner (alt & D or click the scanner tab on the hud) you will need to set the maximum scanner distance.

Click on the directional scanner tab.

The maximum range of the scanner is 2147483647 km

Approximately 14.3 AU

You can auto set this by entering a lot of 9's like this


It will then auto set to the maximum.


Excellent, now that was easy let's get down to using the thing.

The scanner works on a degree basis with your ship being the central scan point. Scroll out now so your ship is smaller than it was when it was on the standardized camera view. With practice you will learn what a good size to go with is. If you click on your ship you will see a white box. Use this box as your cross-hair.

Check the box 'use active overview settings'.

Click the slider to 360 degrees then hit the scan button.

This will make your scanner pick up everything within 14.3 AU of you and in every direction. When searching for a target this should be your first action.

If you see something on scan your next action will be to try and narrow it down to give you a more detailed idea of where it is.

Drag the slider to 180 degrees.

Now remember that the scanner's directional system relates to your forward facing camera view.

At 180 degrees, you scan the entire screen in front of you.

At 90 degrees your scanning angle is slightly bigger than your screen (depending on your screen size).

At 60 degrees your scan is slightly smaller than your screen.

30 degrees will relate to a circle in the middle of your screen (half of your total vertical screen size in most cases).

15 degrees is half that again (maybe an inch or so around the centre point).

And finally 5 degrees is only a few pixels wider than that box on your ship (your cross-hair).

All that make sense?

Good. I thought so. If not, read through it again. Then go out and play with the scanner for a bit. Eventually you will get the hang of it and will soon be finding targets at 5 degrees within a few seconds of jumping into a system. Alternatively you can just align your cross-hair at 5 degrees to planets, belts, stations and see what you pick up that way.


Pvp styles and options.

What kind of pvp is actually out there? We'll take a brief look at your options here.

High-sec can flipping. This style of fight engineering involves stealing items/ore from cans or wrecks. It can be used to spring traps and surprise people into fighting when they don't want to, for example you can switch stolen items into a new cargo container and when that player takes 'his' stuff back he becomes 'red' to you, enabling you to attack.

It can also be used to arrange fights between two willing parties. Although this doesn't always result in a fair fight as you often take aggression with an entire corporation. Third party neutral repping alts can also be used against you in this method of pvp.

This style of pvp can get you some good fights, you have the added bonus of being able to keep your security status well-polished. It can be a frustrating life to lead, sometimes the fights aren't always there. Definitely worth trying though as a new player.

Low-sec Pirate. The low-sec pirate lives a murderous lifestyle, he has no politics holding him back and he will attack and often kill anything that crosses his path. He relies on ransoming and loot drops to fund his lifestyle.

This style of pvp means that eventually you will lose access with your pirate character to most if not all parts of high-sec space. But don't let that put you off. Piracy in eve is great fun. I highly recommend giving it a try and taking on the life of a -10 plunderer.

Mercenary. The mercenary is often part of a group of players who mostly (but not always) operate in high-sec by using war-declaration mechanics to fight against a target character/corporation/alliance for payment of ISK as a reward for kills and disruption of activities. Terms of agreement are usually preset in an agreed contract. Great sums of ISK are axchanged in these contracts.

Mercenary work can be a viable option if you can get into a mercenary corporation. Ideally though you will need some form of pvp experience as most will not recruit a rookie with nothing to back him up with.

Ninja. A ninja engineers fights by utilizing aggression mechanics to gain aggression rights against his target. Usually the targets are mission runners in high-sec space. The rewards of this lifestyle can be great with nice loot drops and ransoms. It can be a profession worked as a solo pilot but again getting into a good ninja corporation can increase the fun factor.

Faction Warfare. Fw can open up pvp options for the rookie pilot by placing him into a constant war between the factions where fights are plentiful in the warfare zones. Before deciding on a life in faction war it is worth reading up and acquiring some knowledge on the subject.

Disadvantages include some high-sec space being inaccessible.

Advantages include isk making opportunities through mission/plex running and loyalty point store access.

Definitely an avenue worth looking into.

Red v Blue Experience. An ongoing war between Red and Blue corporations. Basically you will get to burn through a lot of ships and fight in high-sec, ideally you will need some ISK to back up this experience. Maybe not suited straight away to the new player but definitely worth checking out at some stage. Just don't fly a Rifter in the gang fights, the fc's always primary the Rifter!

This is just a very small selection of things to do in eve. You could also stick to being a solo pilot, a very difficult task but very rewarding.

Here is a chart which maps out some possible things to do in eve.

Regions, systems, hot-spots.

As you fly through space and begin to find fights you will begin to notice the areas that you always seem to be able to find combat, areas that are always busy and areas that you will mostly want to avoid. These vary from region to region, system to system. Obviously the trade hubs are a hive of activity for high-sec warfare.

In low-sec some hot-spots to look out for include.

Amamake. Famed top belt. Easy to find a fight, easy to get yourself killed/ganked/blobbed/podded. I'd recommend hunting in the systems within a few jumps of Amamake.

Tama. The Caldari version of Amamake. I don't visit here often but I'd use the same advice with regards to Amamake.

Old Man Star. A busy system on the Gallente/Caldari faction warfare pipe. Some great systems in and around. Often camped by pirates and faction warfare crews.

That's only three of the obvious systems. You will learn the others as you go along. Remember to keep notes on the systems you find to be busy. Make plenty of safespots in these systems and never stay in one safespot for prolonged amounts of time and certainly never go afk (away from keys) in space.

Choosing a corp.

So you didn't quite like the sound of being a solo pilot? Now you will want to find yourself a new corp. A few pointers.

  • Always look for a corp with activity. Check their killboards, make sure they are active during your own play time.
  • Advertise yourself on the forums. State clearly what you are looking for in your new corp and what you have to offer.
  • Make sure you agree to the corporation's rules on such things as conduct, requirements on your part, ventrilo/teamspeak communications requirements.
  • Always talk to your potential new corp through chat or in-game mail.
  • If you feel you've made a mistake don't be afraid to leave.
  • Make sure it is a fun environment and isn't too strict or work-like. Nobody wants a job in eve. It is a game.


It is always a good idea, regardless of whether you are going solo or joining a corp to get yourself your very own killboard. Griefwatch and eve-kill both offer free killboards for individuals. You can easily keep track of your combat record this way.

Career plan.

Finally, make a career plan and try to stick to it.

If you continue with frigates why not move onto tech 2 frigates? If you do I'd advise training up skills such as Assault Frigate, Interceptor, Electronic Attack Frigates all the way to 5. Getting these skills to 5 should be a must on your skill plan. They really do come into a league of their own when the skills are maxed out for them. Don't be tempted to jump into them before level 3 at the very least. Level 4 is ideal, but 5 is the best!

Max out your gunnery skills. Don't stop at level 4 on what are basically the best skills in the game. Squeezing out the last percentages can make the difference between winning and losing a fight!

Max out your support skills. All the skills you need to fly your chosen ship, make sure you get them to level 4 and then onto level 5!

Don't be tempted to fly cruisers, battlecruisers and battleships with bad skills! You will suffer embarrassing losses. If your plan involves these ships make sure you have the required skills to at least 4, preferably 5.

Always enjoy your eve time and don't get disheartened with the game. If you're not enjoying it then it is time for a change!


I hope you found some of this guide useful. Comments encouraged. If I've screwed up with something please let me know. I'm just a n00b at heart myself! Additionally, comments furthering on pointers I have made can be beneficial for anybody reading them.



edit. pdf read only link now available by clicking here.


  1. That's a really good introduction to pvp for new players, and I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

    There are a lot of 'new player guides' out there on the interwebs, but what I think helps yours' to stand-apart from the rest are the 'fighting style' sections.

    Speaking for myself, when I first started pvp'ing in EVE, 'how do you actually do it, properly...' was the most intimidating part of the learning curve. Unanswered questions like, 'when exactly should you keep at range vs. orbit', etc.

    If you decide to expand in the future, I think that having more material of that sort would really help new people.

    Adding a section about attacking on gates/gate guns/aggression would probably be really useful as well - and tanking them too, if you do guides for bigger ships.

  2. You are a prolific young man MB! This guide along with Wens Rifter guide should be on the reading devices of every young pilot who wants to learn the pirate business. Well done mate!

  3. Ive heard conflicting info about scrams and mwds and Im not able to test it myself atm.

    If you have a t1 scram module, does it still stop a t2 mwd from working? Or do you require a t2 scram to stop a t2 mwd?

  4. Fantastic guide miura! This will certainly be incredibly useful to new pilots wanting to get into pvp.

    I'll be sure to link it to any pvp newbies I meet :)

  5. Excellent guide.

    As you mention Implants and Overheating it is probably worth a quick mention of the various boosters available.

    Not sure what the ettiquette is for you bloggers, but adding a link to Wensleys Rifter Guide, or Taurean's Punisher Plan may be worth it for "Further reading"

    Good guide though. Nicely written

  6. Fantastic overview MB!

    One thing I might add that was a concern for me when I started pvp is - don’t be embarrassed about attacking someone in low sec. Don’t feel sorry for them and don’t feel like you’re doing the wrong thing. In low sec everyone knows that everyone else is a potential target/attacker.

    Once you have your frigate set up and you cross that border into low sec – attack everything that moves. Don’t hold back. Find a target and attack it. Whoever you attack will expect nothing less and won’t be surprised or outraged by your attack. (If they are, so much the better!).

    When I first started, I was hesitant to actually go after someone. Basically, it’s against my RL Weltanschauung (you can look that word up) to make an unprovoked attack. But that was months ago. Now, if you’re in low sec then you know the risks and you’ll face the wrath of my rifter. That should be the approach for all new pvp pilots.

    Again, MB, excellent overview! Thanks!

  7. Nice guide!

    You should link this on the new players / trial players section of the forums.


  8. One of the best guides I have read. You have a great style MB!

  9. Excellent post my old friend. I'll be signposting your post ASAP!

    Very enjoyable read and an excellent guide.

  10. This is an invaluable guide to newcomers and everyone should be encouraged to get involved in some solo PVP even if their careers eventually take them to large fleet fights or even invention or what have you.

    Someone asked a question in the comments, I don't know how to individually reply to them so here goes...

    "Anonymous said...
    Ive heard conflicting info about scrams and mwds and Im not able to test it myself atm.

    If you have a t1 scram module, does it still stop a t2 mwd from working? Or do you require a t2 scram to stop a t2 mwd?"

    Basically, regardless of the tech level of the modules, all scramblers will shut down any microwarpdrive. So no, you dont need tech II.

    The only 'real' difference between scramblers is their range, and for one faction module in particular, it cancels out 3 points of warp strength rather than 2. This has nothing to do with microwarpdrives though and is related to warp core stabilisers.

  11. Pew Pew! Pew! Pew Pew!

  12. Not feeling the mwd/kiting love in this guide. Also, fuck rifters, merlin 4 lyfe.

  13. Fuck marlin, Atorn is a GO!

  14. Very nice guide, though i have to disagree with the fact that the best ship to start in is a frigate, imho its a cruiser.
    A tech1 fitted cruiser (something like a vexor, or a small gun thorax) is cheaper and way better insurable than a tech2 fit frigate.
    You have to adjust to the fact that you are going to lose a few to gatecamps (im talking lowsec right now). Also youll lose a few to blobs.
    Also forget about taking on equal or bigger ships (class wise). Your main targets are frigates and dessies (tech1 and tech2).

    Also beware that this will only work in the beginning fo your carrier (0-3month).

    Just fly around in your cruiser in lowsec run away from everything big and kill the small stuff!

    Its amazing how many people will want to fight you in a frigate, "oh look a 3 week old noob in a vexor time to kill, 5 hobgoblin I later, congrats on your first kill!"

    Also cruisers are much more forgiving than frigs ,as they can have quite a large buffer.

    And tbh if i were to see a 3 week old noob in a thorax id jump right at him in my ishkur or in my dram. And i believe most posters above would jump right at you as well. Its a great way to get fight when you are young, "HEY GUYS THIS IS PETER458'S CATALYST AND I'M RATTING IN TOP BELT COME HAVE A LOOK I'M SAT AT ZERO " just replace catalyst with thorax/vexor and you see what i mean!

    Also the only targets you will ahve as a noob in tech1 frigs are other noobs, as seasoned combat veterans in there frigs will eat you for breakfast!!

  15. Nice guide, thanks for the hard work :)

  16. Very good post , enjoyed reading it a lot

  17. where to go to start killing people? 1.0-0.5 or lower? im having a really hard time finding an answer

    1. Unless u plan on stealing from cans or probing them down and then letting them steal back or attack you first for Kill Mail (KM) hoarding i would reccomend 0.4-0.2 maybe 0.1

    2. RvB dude. RvB.