Friday, May 18, 2012
The Word on Solo PVP
I'm a solo PVPer.
I do fly in gangs, I call targets, sometimes I even FC, but my real passion in eve is for solo PVP. It's the part of eve that I give the most thought. As such, I have a three basic principles that guide the way I fly when solo.
The number one thing I consider when solo is how to get people to want to fight me. If you want to find fights, it's important to be in a ship that people actually want to fight. Back when tackle inties were prevalent, and the taranis was king, I didn't fly the ranis, because people didn't want to fight that. When the pirate faction ship buffs came through, and everyone and their grandma jumped in drams, I didn't fly drams, because nobody wanted to fight a dram. It's important to see things from the point of view of your targets, and give them a fight they want to take. Many people will take fights they see as "even," but even more will take a fight where they think they have an advantage.
Beating the standard fit:
So you can get someone to fight you in a ship hull that appears to outclass your own. Great. Now how are you going to beat them? When I open EFT to make a fit, I'm looking for something that can beat what 95% of pilots are going to be flying. The idea is to present a scenario wherein your opponent believes he has the advantage, while in fact holding the pocket aces yourself. To this end, you want your ship to have what I'm begun calling the "win factor." Win factor is whatever it is about your fit that makes it better than the ships it's intended to fight. This can be accomplished many different ways. It can be packing on more gank and tank than is expected. In can be done with ewar. I'm a fan of tracking disruptors, but I've seen fits such as an ecm thrasher be devastatingly effective. Win factor can be a surprisingly strong active tank, or more speed than you'd expect. As a rule, I don't often solo in ships that don't have win factor. Most standard fits lack win factor. Standard fits are standard for a reason. They're solid, they work well in a variety of circumstances, especially in gangs. A standard fit is like a good cliche, it's popular because it's widely applicable. However, standard fits are rarely head and shoulders about other standard fits, and therefor can't expect to win a particularly high percentages of even fights.
An example of a type of fit that lacks win factor that I've seen a lot of lately is the single rep assault frig (lets set aside the vengeance from this, as that's something of a special case). I'm talking about armor AFs like the enyo, ishkur, wolf, and retribution. Many people fit these as active tanked with a single small repper. This strategy will work a decent amount of the time, especially against relatively low-dps opponents. The problem is that many of the enemies you might fight in such a ship will not be low dps ships. Natural opponents to the AF are other AFs and destroyers. Both of these classes can put out high amounts of dps that can be as much as 2, 3 of 4 times your active tank, especially if they can do the right damage type to hit your resist holes. Where a buffer fit might hang on longer (and will often have more dps as well), a single rep active tank will fold quickly once the damage outpaces its rep.
Avoiding the Blob:
The third major consideration of a solo pilot is to keep your fights limited to numbers you can handle. This can mean dodging a 30 man gang, or simply splitting a pair on a gate by getting one to agress and one to follow you through. Avoiding the "blob" is the reason I, and many other solo pilots fly predominately frigate hulls. Frigs have a a good changes of getting away if you jump into a camp, and they move from system to system quickly, which is nice for roaming.
Basically, you want to ask yourself three questions: How do I get people to want to fight me? How am I going to win this fight? How do I avoid getting ganked?
I'm happy to answer specific questions here or ingame, and most of my fits can be seen plastered all over various killboards.