Tuesday 17 August 2010

Confessions of a Carebear - a lesson in high-sec war

I’ve mentioned previously how Factional Warfare helped me bridge the pve side of Eve to the pvp side, but I've not mentioned what happened with my very first taste of pvp, this took place a long time before FW had even been introduced to the game.

In the beginning I was much akin to the pilots whose many cries for help are regularly posted on the Eve-O forums in threads entitled how do we get rid of this flippin war-dec which we never asked for and such like.

It does make me cringe a little to see such threads now, not because I look down on them or feel I can judge but rather because of the guilt and embarrassment I carry over the memory of my own first experience with such a war.

I had a somewhat typical Eve childhood consisting largely of high-sec missions and mining, the idea of soloing a level 4 was a truly God-like achievement, surely this would be the pinnicle of my Eve career. Low-sec was something you had to avoid when setting autopilot destinations and 0.0 was a story people told to their kids so they wouldn't misbehave at bedtime. This was back between 2006 – 2007; Dodixe was a wonderfully quiet system and there was no such thing as salvage or ninjas. It really was carebear paradise, oh how we loved it!

My partner, Rashmika Clavain, ran a corp. called Revelation Space. It was a tight-knit, well run corp. and a pretty fun place to hang out. Our members were a mix of old gaming buddies with a few new faces who had just started playing Eve. We spent our nights chatting, mining, slaughtering npcs and reminiscing over previous adventures in different MMOs. It was a simple existence, unobtrusive and peaceful.

But as our ships got shinier and our activity increased the inevitable happened...

The Staunch has declared war on Revelation Space.
Within 24 hours fighting can legally occur between those involved.

Oh boy were we in for an overdose of Eve reality...

Now Rashmika was not quite the carebear most of the rest of his corp. was. Whilst he lacked direct pvp experience he had been around long enough to know the truth of what Eve was really all about... unlike his comrades, who were mostly playing Freelancer.

Rash did his best to rally the troops. He made contact with our enemy to try and work out why we had been decced (and potentially how we could get rid of it). He called for politeness in chat channels and common sense when out mission running. He made contact with another corp. that had also been decced by The Staunch. He tried to form plans for working together and protecting each other. He did most things that a CEO should do in times of war. Sadly for Rash his "troops" were simply not ready for it.

We had no voice coms what so ever, massive mistake. We got camped in stations and continually fell for docking game ganks. We ran into traps, thinking we were fighting back and not even realising it was a trap. We continued to mission, mine and go AFK in our shiny pve ships. People got caught left right and centre and a fair few ships were lost. And sadly there was some smack going on against our war targets when the boss wasn't around. This obviously didn't do us any favours. Whilst some folks did try and go on the offensive, without support, organisation or proper intel it was just a case of handing our enemy more kills. Our new "allies” turned out to be at least as clueless as us and diplomacy broke down. It was a disaster.

Suffice to say it wasn't long before corp. members stopped logging on and some left the game altogether. No one wanted to play when this "uninvited pvp" had ruined Eve for us all. There was some bickering and bad feeling going around; plenty of blame and no solutions. We didn’t “get” what was happening, and most refused to accept it. We were utterly out of our depth.

With nothing left to kill the war dec ended but by then the damage had been done. Many members left RS and went their separate ways. Some left the game altogether. RS all but shut its doors.

So much has happened since then... I’d love to go back in time and give myself and some of my corp-mates a good slap. Of course I know now that there really is no reason why any carebear corp. should have to find themselves falling apart at the seams when that first war-dec comes in. But if it’s happening to you, if you are that CEO trying to hold it together whilst your members moan and complain and leave you, well take some words of advice from someone who has lived to tell the tale...

Some basic common sense no-nos

- Stop running missions and mining

- No more going AFK in space – even in safe spots

- No undocking those expensive ships or faction fits.

- Consider setting your corp. tax to 50% or more to discourage complacent mission runners.

- Don’t go moving around expensive loot or large amounts of anything.

- If you insist on continuing with pve activity then in the very least use cheap ships. Watch the local channel at all times, but be aware that if war-targets enter your system it is possible they could already have your location probed out with a cover-ops alt.

Why are these no-nos? Well doing any pve and in your shiny ships is probably what your war deccers want. It is not unlikely that they have been watching your members undock for some time already and know what you get up to, where you do it and who flies what. Putting it simply, don’t give them what they want – you need to put your pve activity on hold for a few weeks. Now is not the time for carebearing!

Common sense musts

- Start using voice coms. Get everyone on coms when they log in, even if they don’t all have a microphone to speak. Voice communication is much faster and vastly more efficient for giving intel, warnings and calling for help over typing it out. Typing may have worked well for your pve fleets but it simply won't be effective enough for pvp. Eve-voice is not the best but it will suffice, plus you can all change your voices to sound like girls, neato.

- Keep any contact with the enemy in local/mails/shared channels FRIENDLY (even if your enemy does not). Smack hinders potential negotiation and if your enemy starts goading you in local then by answering back you are giving them what they want, your tears! The least amount of entertainment your members give them the better.

- Contact the enemy CEO, simply ask the reason for the dec and if there are terms for potential surrender. They may choose to end the dec for a fee or they may likely be looking to blow up your shiny ships. But there might also be a specific reason for the dec that is not isk related, perhaps a conflict with one of your members. So open negotiations and keep it pleasant. Obviously they might not shed any light at all, but it is worth a shot. And of course doing so in a polite and neutral manner will ensure you don’t make yourself and your corp. look like a bunch of easily rattled newbies who don’t know what they are doing (even if it’s true!).

- Find out if your enemy is at war with anyone else, perhaps you can work together. You can see current active war decs by going to Corporation tab -> Wars -> Other wars and search for the Corp who have the dec against you.

- Make safe spots, insta undocks and on grid viewing spots for your popular gates and stations.

- Encourage corp. members to set up jump clones – so that if they do get podded they won’t have lost their expensive implants during the war – particularly important if you plan on biting back.

Educating your membership

There is nothing more disheartening than having the corp. members you have invested months of your time in suddenly jump ship when the sh!t hits the fan. Making sure everyone has the right attitude towards war-decs is key to ensuring that things stay together if and when a war dec comes in.

Joining a player corp. in Eve means that you are ALWAYS going to be at risk of war. It is essential that your corp. members know this - and if someone really doesn’t get it then the best thing you can do is encourage them back to the NPC corp. – it is the only way to avoid a corp. war dec.
Remember that CONCORD will not intervene in a legal war and that the people who have declared war against you have done nothing wrong – they are playing the game the way it is meant to be played.

Make sure your members know and understand the “no-no” and “common sense” points above and get ready to execute Plan B... yes your Plan B, even the most carebeary high-sec corp. should have one and ALL of your members should be aware of it.

Plan B and forward planning

The first thing to realise is that, even if you are the most anti-pvp corp. in New Eden, YOU DO HAVE OPTIONS. Here are a few suggestions:

- Consider hiring your own merc corp. for defence/counter war dec. – Easily done (use an alt if posting on the forums so as not to alert your war targets) but could be expensive.

- Dock up for the duration of the war and completely ignore your war-targets. Dull as hell but it is completely safe and once your targets realise they will get nothing out of you they will likely move on.

- Research cheap and cheerful pvp fits for your corp. Fleet up and get everyone out pvp-ing. Keep it affordable (and shiny free) so you don’t have to worry about the losses and just get out there and have a laugh together. If you lose 50 T1 fit Rifters, who cares? And you never know you might actually enjoy it. It’s certainly a lot more fun than getting ganked in your Nightmare or sitting in the station crying for a week or three.

- Do the above but also drop your corp. into a Factional Warfare militia and head out to low-sec for a corp. pvp holiday in your t1 gear. Yup it’s pvp and yes your war-targets might follow you BUT hanging out in low-sec is often a sure fire way of annoying high-sec war deccers who simply want to pew pew shiny ships flown by noobs in the safety of high-sec.

- Consider having some of your more active (and loyal) members attend a pvp training course. Learning even a few fleet basics and getting some pvp common sense from experienced players will enable them to advise and educate the rest of the corp. – I know if we had done this in RS we could have avoided many obvious traps in which we lost ships.

- Closing the corp. OK, do you really want to do this? I hope not! But for the sake of this guide I shall cover it as an option - If you close and re-form then there is a chance of your war deccers simply targeting the new corp. The alternative of course is that you close the corp. and all of your members re-join an NPC corp, perhaps with a shared chat channel so you can still work together. This really is a last resort however and to be honest if you embrace the dec and accept the fact that you have to deal with a war now and then it really needn’t be an option.

- Join an Alliance. Being part of an Alliance will not prevent war but it will throw off a lot of opportunistic war decs due to the higher war cost and the fact that any dec that comes in will not be just against you but all corps. within the Alliance. Of course if a War did start out it could likely be with a large corp. or another Alliance... there are up sides and downsides to being part of an Alliance and I would suggest you do your research before entering any such agreement, however it is a popular option for pure PVE Corps particularly industrial types.

- Similar to the above but less formal would be to form friendships with pvp corps - perhaps you can offer them services/items/replacement ships or equipment and in return you get a defence force when you need it?

- To pay or not to pay? Sometimes war-dec corps will drop the dec for a fee –whether or not they will actually drop the dec when you pay is another matter – consider carefully before you do this. Some research on the forums or eve-search can sometimes shed light on how honest the corp. is that you are dealing with and how likely they are to honour such an agreement.

- Set up a war chest fund – encourage all members to donate to it, put part of the corp. tax funds into it or run specific war-chest fund raising events. Aim to build up a pot of isk to cover cheap ships + fittings for if and when that war-dec comes in. That way your members will be able to fly corp. funded ships when they try their hand at a bit of suicidal pvp, which may make them more willing to join in. Also, getting everyone involved in the war-pot donations before such an even occures can help create the right mindset in your members (if they are forward planning for it then it is less of a shock when it actually happens).

- if you are publically advertising your corp. say on the Eve-O recruitment forums, try not to make yourselves sound like a bunch of officer fit faction ship flying mission runners who know diddly squat about pvp – there may be more than just potential recruits reading your thread...

Some things to be aware of

- Making the war mutual (through the corporation tab) will simply allow your deccers to fight you for free (mutual decs do not need to pay CONCORD a weekly fee).

- Surrendering a war (through the corporations tab) does not guarantee the war will be over – the war-deccers would need to accept the surrender, but they don’t have to.

- Do not post on the Eve-O forum asking CCP to change game mechanics - by all means ask for advice but you will not garner sympathy if you start complaining, this is how it is meant to be - embrace the game.

- Be prepared to lose some members, some people just were not meant to play Eve. The ones who stick with you are the ones worth hanging on to!

- It is a cliché but the undock button IS a consent to pvp button in Eve – you risk it every time you are in space, at war or not. High-sec is safer space, but not safe. CONCORD is there to punish, not to protect – and of course, as mentioned above, they will not intervene with a legitimate legal war dec.

Further reading

Friedrick Psitalon's most excellent guide for new players on dealing with war-decs
, it's old but still fantastic - read it.
War target guide

Eve Search is handy for checking posting history and getting a feel for the people after you – honourable scoundrels or total asshats?!


Popular Killboards - for checking kill history and what your targets like to fly.


A very excellent Rifter pvp guide from Rifter Drifter


Agony Unleashed pvp classes info

I am happy to report that the war dec on Revelation Space did not actually kill the corp. completely.

Many months later, after separate adventures throughout New Eden, most of the original members rejoined RS. A little older and a lot wiser. The corp. thrived wonderfully and we even started par-taking in some new thing called Factional Warfare a few times a month.

In 2009 Revelation Space merged into Shadows of The Federation, a pure pvp corp. in the Gallente Militia. Not long after this happened
myself and Rash found ourselves enacting a little belated revenge when, of all the people in the universe, the CEO of The Staunch meandered straight into the fleet we were out flying with. Turns out they fancied a taste of FW...


It may have taken a few years but oh baby that kill still felt good ;-)


  1. The short stint alot of us RS vets did in snake assault really allowed us to brush up on the pvp basics and understand the true meaning of EVE.

    When we came back to RS it was for the better and it was some of the best months I have had in EVE and has gotten us to where we are today. Can't thank Rash and the directors of RS enough for the contribution they made to my game development. :D


  2. Haha I believe my exact words were "make sure you kill that f**king c**t".

  3. You fail at anonymous lol

    Have had some great feedback on the guide - hope it helps some people survive the dreaded dec!

  4. Added Agony Unleashed class link and adjusted the link colours to stand out better.

    In addition I thought it worth mentioning the point brought up by Irae Ragwan who responded to this guide on the forums and said:

    Years ago when I first left nullsec and came back to empire I ran with several friends who were new to the game. I had been training them to pvp as well, but for the most part they were in ill-fitted bc's when we got our first wardec. I don't think we suffered more than half a dozen (cheap) ship losses in the whole affair (which ended up lasting only a few weeks). I had long ago told my newbs to place a jumpclone in a quiet spot out in deep lowsec where I had stocked a few dozen cruisers, bc's, and various cheap fitting/ammo bpo's. A few days in we all hopped clones to the secondary system and proceeded to laugh as our would-be opponents got incredibly frustrated. We didn't accomplish much (and the newbs did loose some ships to the locals) except ratting and plexing for minimal income, but our losses were a fraction of what our opponents suffered trying to drag their ships to our new location through one of the most dangerous lowsec pipes around.

    As it turned out, the experience was good for most of our members. Currently we're now operating entirely in lowsec and laugh at the prospect of being wardec'd by anyone based out of highsec space.

    Have everyone in corp set a jumpclone to your station of choice. You can try to build your own corp's standing to accomplish this or you can have your members join a JC corp temporarily to set a clone. Be sure to stock the station with enough supplies to last a few weeks and do NOT spend an abundant amount of time there otherwise (you don't want to let anyone know about this place if you can avoid it). The combination of needing to hunt you down again, slog through gatecamps, and operate logistics far from any decent hubs is something that will discourage all but the most hardened pvp corps. So, unless you totally ****ed off the offending corp, chances are good you'll be able to return to normal operations within a few weeks.


  5. Good Guide. I so endorse every option you have there. Good writing too.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this article, and kind of opened my eyes slightly. Adding your own experiences really make the article shine too. It was a very enjoyable read!

    P.S. When I read the ending on how you got revenge, I won't lie, I smiled and laughed...a lot.