In Part 2 I discussed the definition of The Sandbox, quests and raids (EVE Online's analogues to them), the end-game (or lack thereof) and the all-importance of user-generated content.
In Part 3 I discussed the psychology of stuff, to give you, the new capsuleer, the proper mindset with regards to the stuff you own. Don't get attached to it, your stuff will be destroyed eventually.
Player versus player combat [PvP] is a vital component of EVE Online. Don't let carebear arguments, that EVE is what you make of it, sway you. Conflict is everything in EVE, whether you wish to participate or not. You can do all the mining, all the industry, all the manufacturing you want, but without conflict and the losses that come with it, there's no market for industrialist gameplay. People will not replace items that they have yet to lose.
The Importance of PvPAs discussed in Part 2, EVE Online is a game that relies heavily on player-generated content. Whereas there are some examples of interesting player content that has little to do with PvP (the Arek'Jaalan Project, as an example), the majority of player-generated content evolves from confrontation, or a desire to instigate such.
Even if you have zero plans to be a PvPer, it is still in your best interests to learn PvP. Your best defence is to know your enemy. There are no PvP-free zones in EVE Online, nor should there ever be. You undock, you're implicitly agreeing that PvP may be in your future (until you dock up again), whether you want it or not.
People can and will attack you for any number of reasons: to name only a few, because you were a jerk on Twitter to them, because they see profit in your ship, modules, and/or cargo, or for their laughter and your potential tears. Folks aren't going to leave you alone simply because you want to be left alone (that will actually make you more of a target, especially if you express this sentiment publicly). People won't leave you alone because they obviously have the upper hand on you (most PvPers are looking for kills, not e-honour.) People won't leave you alone because your mining is of great and noble service to the community (unless you're giving away all your ore for free, you're playing EVE for personal gain, the same as most everyone else.)
So, don't end up one of those theme park players who start screaming on the forums for CCP to change EVE Online into something you're more familiar with. Learn to embrace the core concept of conflict in EVE Online.
If you're still not convinced, here are some stats: during the month of April 2012, 158000 ships were lost to PvE (including losses to police), whereas 249000 ships were lost due to PvP. 138000 of the 158000 PvE losses were in highsec, many of those the result of ganks and other attacks that ultimately end by death to police and CONCORD. Newbie deaths are also a large component of highsec PvE losses. The majority of PvE losses are not high value losses.
The PvE in EVE Online is predictable and manageable (even wormhole sleeper sites, which have an unpredictability built in to them). So as players become more experienced, their PvE losses decrease over time (as can be seen by the number of lowsec, nullsec and wormhole PvE losses.) Thus, PvE cannot sustain the player-market economy alone. Without PvP, industrialists cannot turn profit, and if they are not profiting, they are not playing the game for long.
Fair and BalancedIn theme park MMOs, you're familiar with PvP as something the developers take great pains to balance. Battlegrounds with equal numbers of opponents on each side. Arena contests against combatants of similar skill and equipment. Or mutually agreed upon 1v1 duels.
Fairness is not a design consideration of EVE Online. The lead designer of EVE Online, CCP Soundwave, said it best:
Why would I want to balance a fight? That's never really been the goal in EVE. Fairness ... isn't really a design philosophy in EVE.If you expect fairness and balance, there are a plethora of MMOs already out there that promote just that. You probably came to EVE from one of them. So embrace what makes EVE different from the rest of the MMO marketplace, rather than hate that it's different.
Types of PvP1v1: this is as fair as it gets in EVE Online. When you and another party agree to duke it out, one on one at some planet or other celestial body. Except, that either side can always reneg on the social contract. There are no game mechanics that hold either side to a fair fight. Fair fights are easy to find, but always expect that they might not be. Assume your opponent has an off-grid booster alt.
Ganking: this usually occurs in high security space. The ganker hopes to kill a target before CONCORD hits the grid to blow them up. The death of their ship is inevitable, but their goal is to kill before being killed. Gankers are motivated by profit, laughter and/or tears.
Small Gang: this form of PvP usually consists of small groups of PvP ships (three to ten) roaming space looking for prey of equal or lesser numbers. They are sometimes looking for fair fights, usually looking for smaller gangs to beat up.
Blobbing: this consists of gangs of many tens to hundreds of ships, roaming space looking to squash anything they come across. (There is no agreed upon definition of a blob, though I like to think that any fleet pouncing on another fleet that is 1/10th its size is blobbing, for all intents and purposes.) Fairness is never a consideration in blob warfare. Overwhelming odds are the name of the game. You can often find blobs gate camping systems.
Structure Bashing: whether POSs, sovereignty structures, customs offices, or iHubs, these are relatively stationary battles. Due to timers and the like, you know when the bash is to begin, as do any defenders. The attack and defense thus becomes a war of attrition, who has the most manpower, the most ships available nearby, the best supply lines. Big and bigger ships versus each other. This sort of PvP used to be the domain of nullsec, but you can now find it in w-space, lowsec, and to a lesser degree even in highsec.
Faction Warfare: this is about as theme park as it gets in EVE Online. Fairness and balance are not design considerations of faction warfare, but you do get points and rewards for your PvP.
Where to Learn PvP?EVE University: a great place to learn the fundamentals of the game. They will teach you the rudiments of PvP, though their focus is mainly on blob warfare. If your desire is to be an industrialist in EVE, learning how to avoid PvP is something you can learn successfully through EVE University. They operate in the Metropolis region, five jumps from the Hek secondary trade hub.
Red vs. Blue: two corporations, perpetually at war with each other. They take in and train new players all the time. This is a great environment if you wish to learn about small gang and blob warfare. They operate just a few jumps north of the busiest market in New Eden, Jita.
Agony Unleashed: these guys run one of the premiere PvP classes in EVE Online, though it can be very difficult to get a spot in one of their classes. They have a strong focus on small gang PvP. They are based out of Syndicate, NPC nullsec.
Test Alliance/Goonswarm: these guys treasure their newbies. If you're a member of Reddit or Something Awful, respectively, you can get into their main corporations, otherwise you can often find entrance into the alliances via many of their other ancillary corporations. Both these alliances operate out of player-controlled nullsec.
Pirate Corporations: there are many lowsec pirate corporations that are more than happy to accept and train new players. There are far too many of these to name, and many come and go frequently.
Faction Warfare: many faction warfare groups are more than willing to take in new players. Fweddit, of the Amarr militia, are such a group. There are others for Gallente, Minmatar, and Caldari. Look around on the forums and in the corporation recruiting interface in-game to find what you are looking for.
Everything is PvPCompetition is everywhere in EVE Online. Some view market trading as a form of PvP, since you are actively engaged in screwing over other market traders for your own profit and benefit. This is certainly not the traditional definition of PvP, but it is a valid view. Any area of the game which has players competing with other players for profit and resources can be considered to be PvP in the loosest sense. Again, EVE is driven by conflict and competition.
Next Time . . .Part five will, likely, be the last in the series. As I see it now, it will be a collection of random, small topics that have yet to be covered. Money is one small topic to be covered. A short glossary, perhaps. And I have a few lurking in the comments of previous Theme Parker posts. If you have any ideas of your own, post them to the comment section.
These articles continue to evolve. If you notice any inconsistencies, or have a suggestion on how to explain a concept better than I have, then please add your notes and opinions in the comments section. They will more than likely be incorporated into the article in short order.
The Entire SeriesPart One