Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Art of the Duel

So yesterday I pontificated on the challenges facing the roaming solo PvPer, mostly talking about low sec as the challenges in null sec are different but no less daunting.

Today we will talk about dueling in Eve.

There are three broad categories of duels. There is the spontaneous duel, the improvised duel, and the arranged duel.

In the spontaneous duel, you and your opponent are both out hunting and happen upon each other. There may be some positioning and warping to celestials but essentially the gist is that you both want the fight and go at it with no interference from other pilots on either side and no refitting to specific ships for the fight. There may be some communication in local or private chat along the lines of goading or arranging to meet at a particular spot.

While these fights can be satisfying, they are fraught with risk. Your opponent could be in a fleet with an alt providing significant performance boosts through gang links, or in a fleet with other pilots ready to jump in as soon as you are tackled. Or your opponent could have seen you roaming and put together a specific fit to defeat you.

The improvised duel is a way to mitigate some of the risk. Usually these types develop when someone asks in local for a 1v1 of a particular ship type like frigate or cruiser. If you agree, a chat is started up and a fleet so that both sides can see that the other does not have a booster alt or gang waiting in the wings. There may be additional requests like "only to the pod" or "no ECM" and a hope that suggest agreed to requests are honoured. You meet at a safe spot and go at it.

Like a spontaneous duel there is a threat that your opponent has buddies waiting in the wings with a bookmark to the location or that if he saw your ship earlier he built a setup just to defeat you, but since there is an agreement in place there is more honour in respecting the terms and not cheating. Its no guarantee but in Eve memories can be long and grudges fierce, and honouring 1v1s is considered the basic mark of a good low sec citizen.

Another form of improvised dueling is when a pilot sits on an undock of a trade hub with some ammo in a jet can and waits for a dancing partner to it so he can fire upon them. This is not so much a duel as a trap since even if you are ready for a fight, he may have friends ready to undock if you fire or logistics ships ready to go out of your range. I'd advise you to not take the bait and don't feed the trolls.

Finally we have the Arranged Duel, a hallmark of the blogging/podcasting community that was really brought to the fore by Nashh Kadavr's work with the Celebrity Death Matches of yesteryear. Essentially you and another pilot agree ahead of time to have a duel with terms and conditions set out in explicit detail as to what is allowed and not allowed. For example, tech 1 frigates (no faction), tech II gear and ammo (faction charges allowed), no ECM, warp to bookmark at preferred range, to the pod. A time and place are set and the participants arrive and get ready with some banter and clarifications if necessary.

The big difference in arranged duels is that both pilots have time to plan ship fits to an obsessive degree, piling on killboards to see what their opponent has used before, seeing if any intel on skills or certificates can be found, and in some cases checking out previous duels. Since the terms are set out very clearly, and warping out is an admission of defeat where the goal is bragging rights more so than a kill mail, ship fits can be customized in a manner that normal PvP ships would never be found in. For example, fits without points or fits with Amarr drones (don't laugh, I used them to help defeat Nashh once). Arranged duels can happen anywhere, high sec, low sec, null sec, even in wormholes. For high sec or low sec, players can exchange one unit of ammo in a jet can to become red flashy to each other to avoid a security penalty. Also, arranged duels can be more than just 1v1, they can be 2v2 (see video below) or even more as long as all participants are considered trustworthy.

Having done all three, I can assure you that arranged duels can be awesome as players are more willing to risk bigger ships if they are assured of a fair fight. While a Rifter duel can be fun, a loss is nothing to write home to mother about. But putting a battleship or tech II vessel on the line is a whole different matter.

If you want to dip your toe into the water, don't be afraid to drop me a line. But watch this first :)

Nashh Kadavr's CDM # 16 - 2 v 2

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