Nowhere in EVE is truly safe, even high sec space. In even the most backwater of systems at four in the morning there's still a chance that a lurking enemy went unreported in intel. Despite this, there are some simple tricks you can use to increase your odds of survival and frustrate your enemies. This guide is divided into three sections: basic, intermediate, and advanced. Basics can be studied and executed while docked, but won't keep you completely safe. Intermediate tactics will help you stay alive while in space and will prevent unnecessary deaths. Advanced techniques can help you get the drop on the enemy!
The basics covered here are all essential tips that can be accomplished while docked in a station. After covering this section you should have a basic understanding of your surroundings regardless of where you are in EVE.
The most important tool to gauge your surroundings is the Local chat channel. This channel will show you everyone currently in your solar system. A properly set up overview can let you immediately distinguish allies from enemies with one glance. Effectively using Local chat requires little set up. Simply drag the local window out giving it a separate pane and stretch the window lengthwise. Right clicking the title bar of the chat window should give you an option to swap to and from a compact user list and detailed member list. Properly set up your local chat should resemble this. Watching Local chat like a hawk can save your life.
Intel Channels Edit
Paired with Local chat, intel channels will give you a good idea of any enemies in the area. It is important to remember intel channels are only effective if people are reporting intel! If you see hostiles or neutrals in your system it is imperative you report them to the proper channel. For more information on intel channels, refer to the article.
Under nearly every circumstance you should never use autopilot. Kite Co. is currently war decced by hisec grief corps. Autopilot will get you killed in hisec almost as quickly as in nullsec. If you value your assets do not use this feature.
The undock of any station is one of the areas pilots have the greatest false sense of security. You are not safe on the station undock even if there's only one hostile in system. It is important to note that immediately after undocking you are invulnerable and unable to be locked for 30 seconds. Any action taken by you will remove this effect save for completely stopping your ship. If you need to undock with hostiles in system, immediately stop your ship and check your surroundings. If the undock looks clear you are fine to continue, but if the undock is red you can redock after your session timer expires. Currently the session change timer is set for 10 seconds meaning that you will be unable to redock with a station for the first 10 seconds in space. It is imperative that you do not try to redock with a station in these 10 seconds or you will become vulnerable. More advanced undocking techniques are covered in the intermediate section.
Should you find yourself in hostile area or just fancying yourself a bit paranoid this section will help you avoid combat. Every successful pilot will need to utilize these skills whether in null or high security space.
Setting Up Your Overview Edit
The first task of any pilot after undocking is to have a properly set up overview. Your overview settings carry over to your chat as well as the space around you. The settings will help you differentiate your foes from your friends. You could cause a diplomatic incident or get banned from intel channels without a properly set up overview. While setting up your overview it’s a good idea to park yourself inside a station then make the necessary adjustments.
=== Tactical Bookmarking ===
Aside from setting up your overview, tactical bookmarks are one of the most strategically important steps a pilot can take to prevent death. Tactical bookmarks can provide instant undocks, "safe" spots in systems, and perches for celestials.
Your first task in any new friendly system is to make an instant undock bookmark for the station. If the undock is being camped without bubbles this will give you the chance to escape. Instant undocks are especially useful in high traffic systems, like our staging system or Jita. In highsec systems it's usually a better idea to use a neutral alt to make these bookmarks then contract them to your main character.
Safe spots and tactical perches are more useful in gathering intel on a system than helping you escape. A safe spot works by putting your ship outside of normal vectors between celestials, hopefully limiting the chance of you being scanned. It is important to note that if you're not cloaked you will be found. Tactical perches, on the other hand, serve to let you avoid bubbles as well as allow you to scan gates before you land on them.
Directional Scanner Edit
An often underused utility by newbros is the directional scanner. This tool allows you to see your surroundings up to 14AU away. The scanner is most useful when used in conjunction with tactical bookmarks allowing pilots to safely navigate around hostiles.
Avoiding Bubbles Edit
Warp disruption fields, or more commonly “bubbles”, are nullsec exclusive mechanics that prevent most ships from passing through areas of space while in warp. Bubbles serve many purposes and come in various sizes, but with some simple planning and caution they are usually easy to avoid. It is a good idea to get into the mindset that nearly every gate in nullsec is bubbled as carelessness can often get you killed. Common areas to bubble usually include stations, gates, jump bridges, or any high traffic celestials. The number of bubbles and their placement will be dictated by how much your enemies want to kill you. A five man gate camp might have one or two bubbles on a gate on a vector from a station, while a dedicated operation might have upwards of twenty bubbles strategically placed around the system.
Avoiding bubbles usually boils down to whether or not you have tactical bookmarks for a specific celestial. Warping to a perch and scanning the gate will inform you of hostile presence as well as any bubbles in space. If you’re caught without a tactical look for any celestials in range of your destination, such as an asteroid belt or moon, and perform the scan from there.
You can avoid most bubbles by simple not warping directly from a high traffic area (such as a station) to a gate. Simply bouncing from a planet on the outer edge of a solar system can save your life.
So you decided to brave the odds and venture forth into space, but you seem to have hit a snag and are currently fighting for your life. The advanced guide will walk you through some simple tips to keep your ship in once piece if you’re caught in a battle.