There are a number of important timers that will affect your PvP gameplay and knowing them can be the key to saving your ship. The most common one that catches everyone out at some point is the session change timer. This is a 30 second timer that starts whenever your character changes location within EVE. Actions such as docking, undocking, jumping through a stargate, changing ship, ejecting from your ship and even being blown up require a session change and so activate this 30 second timer. During this time, you can't do anything that requires another session change.
To avoid a session change timer ruining your day, follow these few guidelines:
- When your ship is destroyed, warp immediately. Even if you're at a stargate, you won't be able to jump and your escape pod may be at risk.
- If you jump into a gate camp and want to try re-approaching the stargate to escape, wait for around 20-25 seconds first. Your post-jump cloak will hold for 30 seconds and if you get back to the gate before your 30 second session change timer is finished, you will be unable to jump.
- When you undock, you're invulnerable for 30 seconds while your session change timer expires. Moving or activating modules cancels this effect but the session change timer is still active. If you want to re-dock, don't do anything for 30 seconds and providing you aren't bumped out of docking range, you'll be able to dock again immediately.
There are two main combat aggression timers in EVE. The first is a 60-second docking timer which goes off when you engage in any PvP activity. Whether you were using a nosferatu on a corpmate, shooting a pirate or even just testing your warp disruptor on a cargo container, this timer will activate and prevent you from docking for 60 seconds. If you're fighting someone within docking range of a station, you could disengage and if you can tank them for 60 seconds, you'll be able to dock. Be warned that many players will attempt to lull you into a false sense of security to get you to engage on a station. As you're then trapped for 60 seconds, they can warp in allies and swiftly take you down.
The second aggression timer is a global one that activates any time you're involved in PvP, even when you're the target rather than the attacker. This 15 minute flag simply signals that you've been in PvP and logging off with the timer active makes your ship stay in space for a further 15 minutes rather than disappearing within two. This means if you log off within 15 minutes of being involved in PvP, the enemy will have plenty of time to probe out your ship and destroy it. This is the method that was used to get the first titan kill in EVE when its owner Cyvok logged off with an aggression timer. Docking in a station before logging off or logging off within a POS shield will essentially avoid this.
Knowledge of the many timers and aggression mechanics in EVE can mean the difference between losing your ship and keeping it. Whether you're a PvP junkie or just a miner having his ore stolen, keep the above information in mind and you'll be a lot safer. Of course in a game as complex as EVE there are other mechanics that it will help your survival rate to learn about. What mechanics do you think every EVE player should definitely know about? Drop a comment and let us know.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at massively.com. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at brendan.drain AT weblogsinc DOT com.