Monday, July 15, 2013

What Makes a 'Good' Eve PvP'er?

I have been thinking about this question for some time now. Do you look at killboard stats? At first I thought that this would be a good way to know, but in reality it can be slightly confusing. People can be extremely risk averse, have great KDR / Efficiency, yet still suck at that game. On the other end of the spectrum, you find guys that don't have a single kill with less than 10 people on it. In those cases, I just assume blobber- and like the risk averse pilot also has no skill. So KB stats (While providing some degree of a litmus test) Was too vague. I wanted to come up with something cleaner.

Then I started wondering about experience. Certainly if you have spent a long time in game, and acquired RL experience and lots of in game SP, then surely you must know what you are doing. But again upon testing this hypothesis was proved wrong again.Some of the worst players I have ever seen, have been playing this game for years on end. Stuck in their old ways, confident that they know everything- and very sure that there is nothing more that anyone can teach them about eve. They are quite possibly the worst of the worst, because they have learned all of the wrong things, and must un-learn the bad habits before being instructed on the new.

With those two ideas thrown out of the window, I sat on the problem for a little while longer. I went on playing eve, speaking with many different people with many different eve backgrounds- when it hit me.

The easiest way to tell a competent pilot from a monkey, is to find out if the pilot understand the concept of your ships 'engagement profile'.

All of that fancy semantics jargon aside, I feel that statement wraps things up pretty nicely. But what exactly is an engagement profile? In the most simple of terms it is this:

Under what set of conditions can you ship get kills, and survive in an engagement. The larger the number of ships / groups of ships that your ship can comfortably fight, the larger the engagement profile. A higher engagement profile means that your ship is of higher performance than a ship with a smaller engagement profile. From what I have noticed I found that pilots that I consider 'Good' or pilots that I would fly with, all tend to fly High engagement profile ships. And when you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. For those of us that really love PvP, and spend a lot of time doing it, its little wonder that we gravitate towards ships that can handle the most situations thrown at us- and better prepare us for the PvPPPPP Environment that is eve.

Lets look at our favorite ship (the bombers) for a quick demonstration of High engagement profile vs Low engagement profile:

In the case of the bomber:

Any frig flat out kills it.
Cruisers flat out kill it
AC / Pulse laser BC's kill it
When you think about it, that is a huge list. Which in this case is a bad thing. Bombers have an EXTREMELY small engagement profile (While flying solo / small gang). This is a problem. Finding PvP in eve is hard enough, however being limited to only shooting ships not found in the following groups makes it even more challenging. Now in the case of the bomber, it has a very specific role. It is instalocking, cloaky ganking, all wrapped up in a frig platform. However outside of that extremely niche role, the bomber is a horrible ship to fly.

So what makes a ship have a good engagement profile?

Generally a ship is going to share a few traits.

1. The first and most important factor is projection. Projection (Especially after the TE nerf) Is the most difficult stat on a ship to increase. So a ship with good base projection (Using short range guns) can usually be fit in order to increase its engagement profile.

2. DPS This is the second most difficult stat to increase on a ship. With only a handful of low slots at your disposal, your ship needs to be able to project damage, and at the same time hit hard.

3. Speed: This attribute is the easiest to counteract. Snakes, Zores, ACC implants, Quafe Zero, Links, Nanofibers/ MWD So many ways to make your ship go faster that honestly it is one of the easiest things to change dramatically.

4. Tank: I list tank last, because in all honestly your tank is your Speed, and your projection. Don't get close, and you will be fine. Ideally you are looking for a tank that will give you just enough buffer to MWD away (Pulling range where an enemy can't hit you) Or to warp out if you are getting hit hard.

So now that we have our 4 ingredients that make a 'good ship' lets compare some common ships.

The Bombers.

1. Projection- Yep, they certainly have that. 60K+ With torps.
2. DPS- Nope. This is where the bomber falls apart. While bombers have good looking numbers in EFT, apply that damage is really difficult against anything that is not a BC or above. The bomber needs massive help in this department. Webs / TP's from rapiers being the #1 Best thing you can do to increase your damage output, however with out that- your neutered.

3. Speed: Bomber is a frig, so it already is pretty fast, throw in a nano / links / snakes and you are more than fast enough to handle just about anything.

4. Tank: Properly flown, and linked, a bomber can sport a nice speed / sig tank. However it still falls apart because a flight or two of light drones will completely screw it.

So a bomber fails completely on 2/4

So lets take the 4 factors, and compare them to another ship.

How about the Scythe Fleet Issue?

1. Projection. With Rapid Light missiles, it can project damage out to 45K or more. Which is plenty of range.

2. DPS Scythe is a little light on DPS. 400DPS with 3 BCS. warrior II's. and Rapid Light Missiles. Damage is the downfall of this ship. However, it is not unplayable. Still more than enough to handle cruisers / frigs / Dessies

3. Speed: This ship shines. With 2X Nano, and an MWD the ship goes 3000m/s unheated. You are faster than all AF's / Cruisers / Dessies / some frigs. Nothing can catch you. So if you can nano effectively and pull them apart, handling a gang many times your size would be easy.

4. Tank: Again the Scythe Fleet shines. With 3X LSE and some rigs / DCU your looking at over 32K EHP. Which for a cruiser, isn't bad at all.

Scythe has a respectable 3.5/4

Now  after this comparison, does that make flying bombers any less fun? No, of course not. However I was hoping that would give you some foresight into what I am going to say next.

My stealth bomber blog has gotten pretty old. I still get very frequent messages from people asking me about bomber fittings, or just a friendly hello. I really enjoy reading the messages- but I have something to ask:

My Blog almost seems to have come to a cross roads. From a solo bomber in worm hole point of view- what else can I share with you? The stories are in some ways quite similar. I sneak up on an unsuspecting Indy / Barge, let fly with torps, engage cloak and repeat process. Reading back through my blogs, I have given my exacting methodology and explained everything in detail. do most of the readers here simply like the narrative that I spin? Or are most of you looking to get something else out of this blog?

The reason why I am asking this now- is simply because I have changed quite a lot since the old bomber days. While I still do fly them here and there, I certainly don't spend 23/7 In WH space sitting inside of my bomber. When I first started this blog, I lived solo inside of my bomber for 8 months never seeing a station, or know space.

Nowadays, you will find me flying small gang / solo with some of the best eve has to offer. I guess in the end, I am just chasing those PvP shakes. I still remember my first bomber kill, and how much adrenalin / shaking I had. To me now, its a joke to think about- but I was so nervous. Overtime, I learned to control it and get used to PvPing in my bomber. However one day, the shakes, and the adrenaline left. The hunt no longer excited me. Spending hours and hours probing, or long moments waiting for a single industrial kill no longer juiced me up.

So I started doing other things. First it was learning to fly Nano ships, then it was learning to fly them in a fleet, and then flying in a very small fleet vs huge blobs and killing them all. Each step of the way, I got a dose of the 'PvP' shakes again, and again.

Before I knew it, I was flying in my first Alliance tournament, Then my second. The shakes I had on those weekends was incredible, and it seems like I am chasing that high all over again. After the AT's and with the dissolusion of my corp (Hatchery) I had to once again find other pastures. Again I didn't return to bombing. Instead I started flying more and more extreme fits, and flying against the odds to recapture some of those great feelings.

And now... What do I do with my time? To be honest I spend most of it Solo PvPing in Karan. Which if you didn't know, is TEST's staging system. Flying solo with local at 250+ And having carriers / fighters assigned and attacking you along with a kitchen sink fleet of 50+ guys out for your blood is a rush. A second late on your warp finger, or missing that rapier decloaking 80K off you ready to web- will kill you instantly. It is by far the most brutal PvP I have ever experienced in EvE- but it pushes me. While I don't think that I will ever get the shakes again, it certainly gives me rush. 

So I am asking you guys, Where do we go from here? What should I do?

Here is some standard Hatchery footage. We are using ships that can do the 4 things mentioned previously to great effect:


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  2. Your website was a real eye opener for me and much appreciated. Your stealthbomber tales led me to skilling up an alt for wormhole adventures.

    My first (and really only) attempt at killing a wormhole noctis didn’t go quite perfectly when, in local, the Noctis pilot said "hello" to me. It became apparent that while warping to range on the noctis I had de-cloaked myself somewhere along the line and was “sneaking” up on him uncloaked… He said hello and flew away… But it was exciting.

    I’ve ventured into wormholes now and then and did get kill a noob’s gas-harvesting venture with my bomber. But the time spent waiting can be a bit tedious. I've since moved him into RvB and the missile skills I developed for bombers have come in very handy. And I sometimes hop into a bomber and explore wormholes still.

    As for the future – I’d very much enjoy hearing tales of your Karan pvp. What ships do you fly in a neighborhood like that? What glorious victories have you had? What mind-numbing mistakes have you made? (mistakes are one of my best skills as a pvp pilot…)

    Thanks again for the great bomber resource and your continuing efforts!

  3. My comment may have got lost the first time - so apologies if this is a repeat.

    "So I am asking you guys, Where do we go from here? What should I do?"

    These are two separate questions though aren't they? I would really like to hear about your shield nano journey and how Hatchery got to be as good as they are with those compositions - I'm sure I'm not alone. OTOH for you that would be a retread of old times.

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  5. So I put the Scythe Fleet Issue in Pyfa, no way does it even come close toe 400 dps (max is around 120) with max skills, tech ii launchers, and faction ammo. It also go around 600m/s w/ an mwd and 2 nanos with max skills. What am I missing here?