Hello! I’m Atom Deathstroke, one of the founding members of EVE Online’s notorious Fwaming Dwagons Corporation. Our group specializes in small gang PVP and we are bringing our unique playstyle to the mobile platform with the launch of EVE Echoes. This article is Part I of a series of small gang related articles. If you want to learn more about Fwaming Dwagons, or small gang PVP, join our discord server and hop into one of our public NPSI fleets.
**PLEASE NOTE** This is not a guide to hunting or the mechanics of hunting, this post assumes you have already found an area of content, and you are trying to provoke an escalation or fight.
For many years I have roamed the various systems of New Eden hunting for content. Like many of you, I have ganked my fair share of miners, and ratters, and gate campers. But one of the most enjoyable forms of PVP for me has been finding “the good fight”. Sadly though, roaming around endlessly has mixed results and lacks consistency. Instead, what I have found to be a better use of my time (fun per hour) is creating fights, where fights wouldn’t normally happen. Below I’ll be teaching you the art of generating PvP content, in or around highly populated or active regions.
Sometimes, you have to be the bastard.
Eve is a game of complexity in so many ways and I'm not even referring to the combat mechanics, industrial scope, or even the sheer size of the game’s landscape. I’m referring to the psychological component and the players’ mindset. Some of the greatest moments in EVE were created or found their roots outside of the game. Thefts, grudges, spymastery, much of the EVE meta is fought in the mind as much as it’s fought on the grid. In the sections below, I’m going to go over some of my favorite tricks to help instigate fights.
Today, you are going to be the bastard.
Talk shit, get hit.
Talking trash, smack talking, shitting up local, antagonizing, patronizing, trolling, and even a simple “git gud” are different methods of provoking a fight. I personally refrain in most cases from being a “YOU SUCK AT LIFE” provocateur and usually prefer a more strategic way of tempting targets into a fight.
My favorite method of smack talking opponents or those I'm looking to bait into a fight, is hitting their leadership/FCs competency and making them look bad in front of the regular line members. At the end of the day, it’s usually the FCs and leadership that are the content creators for their groups and are the ones that call for forming up and fighting.
“Do you guys want me to FC for you? I don’t mind. You obviously don’t have anyone that can do it”
This simple statement does several things… It mocks the FC’s ability to command, and it makes the FC look bad in front of their other corp//alliance members. It also gets them to question or even defend their FC’s ability, both of which are useful. It can also increase the fear they have of you, making them more cautious on the grid itself. It can also serve as disinformation - causing the enemy to assume the person making the statement is the FC (usually there are no FCs in small gang) This can give you a tactical advantage by having the “fake FC” in a role that requires them to burn through a gauntlet of death to reach you.
“Imagine having XXX pilots and not be able to fight off a couple people in small ships.. LOL”
Anyone that has been doing small gang PVP knows that numbers aren’t everything. It usually comes down to fleet composition, skill, and adaptability. The quote above is a lie - but it’s a very effective lie. It feeds into the mind of the crab/nullbear that lives and breathes the “numbers are everything” meta. It allows them to question themselves into thinking that they should engage you, because you do have fewer numbers. It also feeds into the lie that a couple people in small ships equates to little effectiveness. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your ship is generally purpose built for these kinds of engagements and theirs are not. You, in most cases, will have the tactical advantage.
[Master] Baiting, we all do it…
“Baiting is one way of convincing the other guy to commit to a fight. Baiting involves sending out a baitship (or baitfleet), ahead of the main fleet. The role of the baitship is to appear as an easy kill, lure an attacker into combat, and then hold the engagement long enough for the rest of the fleet to arrive.” EVE University
There is nothing wrong with some healthy baiting in the small gang meta. In fact, We have found it to be a great tool to provoke knee jerk reactions from enemies that respond unprepared. Below are a few of my favorite baiting techniques.
“The long haul”
Fit up a Nereus Combat with max tank, scram, nos, and warrior drone. Find a gate camp and keep your fleet 1 jump behind you. Obviously if you can get an out-of-corp cloaked alt to watchthe camp, do so. (intel is everything) Jump the bait through, and grab the most expensive ship on grid! Once you have hard tackle, send in the cavalry.
This technique is pretty simple. You go to a popular freeport/NPC station with a lot of mixed corporations and you undock your bait ship. It can be anything, but it needs to be a little tanky. You provoke a fight on the undock until your intended target is aggressed (aggression timer cannot dock) Then, you simply dogpile on the target from the same station or your gang waiting on the gate next door.
“The Circle Jerk”
This is probably my favorite form of deriving pleasure. Unlike the other forms of baiting where you are using you or a team member of bait, we use the enemy as bait. The goal is to get the target to call for help and get reinforcements. You will see this method be highly effective as we see higher value ships in anoms and belts (looking at you humpback/coveter).
This bait method usually causes the pilot that is caught to panic and ping for help. ANY HELP! Sadly, this pilot doesn’t realize he is the bait, as the whole point isn’t to gank a helpless miner,(although it is a kill) the point is to escalate a real PVP response to create fun and engaging content.
What will happen in most cases is the response fleet will be a “kitchen sink” response - a poorly executed fleet composition without proper intel and understanding of what they are fighting. This can generate some interesting fights and allow for your small gang to have a tactical advantage despite fewer numbers. This also increases your chances of getting 1 kill to many more. Additionally, this will allow your bait pilot to actually fly a ship that is more useful on grid instead of usually slow, overly-tanked bait-fit ship.
I hope this short little guide has given you a different perspective on picking fights and the physiological component involved with creating content instead of trying to find it. Now, all you need to decide is what to bring. Stay tuned for Part II of my small gang related article where I'll dive deep into the basics of a small gang fleet composition.