Players often forget that Eve is a PvP game. Although the game is much safer than it used to be, I think this is a good thing. Players have gotten smarter and are able to protect themselves more efficiently as they mature as capsuleers. However, every now and again, we get the urge to methodically hunt down others. Just as players can now more easily avoid pvp, the hunter’s tools have evolved as well. Today, we will go over some of these tools and general advice to hunters and hunted alike. We will be going over high sec war decs specifically, since this is one of the first type of pvp formats that new players encounter in the game.
The most important characteristic that hunters share is attitude. I know I’m a hunter. I know I can pull the trigger when the time is right. I know I can get away if my prey charges at me. As the CEO of a short-lived but dedicated war dec corp, my job was to identify targets that would feel compelled to fight, expose their organizational weaknesses, prepare the field, and pull the trigger.
WAR DEC TARGETS – A high sec war is not free. As a 6 man corp, it usually cost us around 100 mil isk to start a war against a 200 member count corp or alliance. With that, I have to ensure we get our money’s worth for the duration of the war. At the very least, we need to be in a good enough position to harvest enough kills to offset the cost.
I search for targets as I go about my daily routine in the game. I take note of any organized mining or missioning operations, freighter movements, and similar routine activities from other players. However, the most important aspect of a target is corporate assets. Does my potential target have assets in space that can be attacked such as a POS or POCO? This is vital in making my decision because if the targets choose to turtle up during the war, I need a way to punish them for it. The best way to entice a fight at this point is to put them in a position where they will lose something if they don’t show up to fight.
Another tool I use to search for potential targets is the Recruitment Channel and Corporation Ad Search function in-game. These assets will give me critical information such as the main activity of your corp, active time zone, and member count. If at all possible, I do try to gather even more information from recruiters. Oddly enough, this is a much faster way to find out if the potential target has assets in space. Free strategic information on the enemy’s assets is always welcome.
After this initial screening, I dive a little deeper into getting more precise information before I declare war. At this point, I review their kill board to have an idea of what they are capable of bringing to the field. Here are some of my interpretations of their killboard information.
- Very high kill board efficiency percentages don’t scare me. If anything, it encourages me to continue. To me, this means they don’t take too much risk and only engage if they know they are going to win. They may be strong as a unit, but individually they probably are not competent enough to survive a 1 v 1 scenario. If my corp is proactive in isolating individual targets and not let the targets get properly setup, then we can easily pick them apart one by one. It is also at this point that we will begin brainstorming individual fits and specific fleet compositions to counter what they have been documented to use.
- I make note of their kills where they worked with players from other corps and alliances. I need to proceed with preparations in the mind set that their allies might assist in the war. If they do not receive assistance from their documented allies, I usually consider them as potential war targets in the future if they pass our screening methods.
www.evewho.com – This is the next resource I use after reviewing their kill board. This website will help in identifying individual pilots in the target corp and provides me with a list of pilots to watch list and find using locator agents as appropriate.
MATERIAL LOGISTICS – The next step in our preparation is staging all the ships we will need for the war in and around the target’s active systems. If at all possible, we stage enough ships to account for fast re-ships so that we don’t lose momentum in an extended engagement.
Tactical bookmarks will also be made around the stations in and around their surrounding active systems. Appropriate bookmarks will also be made around their space assets just in case we need to escalate to structure bashes (or at least the appearance of one) in order to entice a fight away from the safety of stations and star gates.
When preparations are done, the only thing left to do is to pull the trigger and initiate the war. A lot of work has gone into the war at this point, so let it play it out, keep your own pilots logging in and motivated. And above all, have fun.
Now the other side of this exchange revolves around how an organization can protect themselves from unwanted combat. As individual players, one of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to stay in NPC corps. However, player run corps and alliances have more to consider when it comes to keeping their members and assets safe.
- If you have gone through the trouble of swelling your ranks and acquiring destructible assets, then you need to be ready to defend them. Or at the very least, lessen the possibility of their destruction. In the case of player owned starbases, at least be ready to unanchor it to diminish losses. In the case of POCOs, it would be prudent to have a holding corp designated to manage destructible assets and set standings appropriately.
- Be very careful with what pieces of information you make public. Kill board information is perhaps the easiest type of free information to gather. It is one of the few pieces of data that can directly be linked to the level and type of activity of your organization.
- Good spies won’t have any obviously revealing information in their API. I’ve come across many corporations that simply put their guard down once a potential recruit’s API screening checks out. The best way to combat this is to actually talk to your members, play with them when you’re online, and see what you can do to help with their progression in the game. Often, you will know if someone is up to no good just by being involved in their gameplay.
- If you find yourself in a position where you have to fight your aggressors or risk losing your space assets, then show up to fight. Even if you feel you can’t win, show up to fight. You will be surprised to know that plenty of war dec corps actually are pretty bad at pvp. Not all, but most are like this. Take this opportunity to test your corp’s mettle and organizational skills. Often, showing up to fight will diffuse an engagement altogether, especially if the war deccers were only expecting to catch you coming out of trade hubs in untanked haulers.
I hope this helped you understand some organized hunting practices and how to defend your assets. Ultimately, hunters and prey occupy the same game space. Each group simply want to play their game. Most PVE and industry type of players engage the game itself for content, while pvpers engage others as their content. Protect yourself and play your game. Fly safe and good fights!