Crucifier is an electronic warfare frigate specialising in turret tracking disruption. This setup is designed for a gang support role and will help your group survive against turret-based ships. Fit both Tracking Disruptor Is with Tracking Speed Disruption scripts and use them on enemy turret ships. Friendly ships orbiting in close should then be safe against enemy turrets, but remember that this has no effect on missiles or drones.
Use your microwarpdrive to get close to the enemy and activate both nosferatus once within 5.5km. While your capactitor charge percentage is less than the target ship's, this will drain a total of 5.3 capacitor per second from the enemy ship and give it to you. If your nosferatus don't seem to be sucking any energy out of the enemy ship, you may need to manually drop your capacitor levels to below the target's by briefly activating your microwarpdrive. Draining the enemy's capacitor is a great way to kill an active tank and can shut down power-hungry blasters, railguns and lasers.
The Punisher is an absolute tank of a frigate, and like the Rifter can be fit several different ways for PvP. Its primary bonus is a reduction in the capacitor usage of small lasers rather than a damage bonus. For this reason, it's common to see Punishers fit with autocannons that don't use any capacitor anyway. The setup above is designed as a close-range tanky damage-dealer for gang warfare. It has no warp disruptor and so must be paired with a dedicated tackler, but it has a stasis web to slow the target down and make it easier to hit.
Use the microwarpdrive to get right up to the enemy and stay as close as you can. The optimal range of your guns is only 500m, but they work well out to a range of a few kilometers. The energy neutraliser can be activated to cancel out a chunk of the target's capacitor with some of your own. As your autocannons don't use any capacitor and you won't really need to use the microwarpdrive once in range, you don't have to worry about expending all of your capacitor using the neutraliser if that's what it takes to get the kill.
It's recommended that new players finish the tutorial mission series and all the missions offered by one of the Military Career Agents in nearby systems. The Military agent's rewards are designed to get you into combat-capable ships as quickly as possible, providing free frigates and most of the necessary skills to fit your first functional PvP ship. By the time you've finished, you'll have the Propulsion Jamming, Afterburners and Weapon Upgrades skillbooks, in addition to several free ships to play with. For more information, the EVE University wiki has a handy list of all the Career Agents in EVE and the rewards they give out.
The first missions will give you an Atron, Condor, Executioner or Slasher based on your race, the cheapest possible frigates available but still a viable entry-level tackler for PvP. If you find your ISK supplies dwindling, start using these ships as they'll only cost around 50k each to replace. The final mission from your Military agent will give you a Tristan, Kestrel, Punisher or Rifter depending on your race, which is the top grade of frigate and most effective in PvP. At around 300k each to replace, you should only use these if you have around a million ISK in the bank and so can afford to buy a few replacements.
Staying on your feet
With options as cheap 50k ISK and even the best frigate costing only a few hundred thousand, it's very easy to get your hands on the ISK you'll need to keep engaging in PvP and losing ships. While new players can often obtain up to several million ISK from kind strangers and PvP corporations will usually give members dozens of free frigates, you needn't rely on charity to stay on your feet.
Most of the players you'll find in low security space, wormhole space and nullsec are financially stable enough to use valuable tech 2 modules on their ship, some of which will drop when the ship is destroyed. Looting any wrecks you come across and the wrecks of any players you manage to kill can easily pay for your replacement ships.
When in combat, your best defense in a frigate is your speed. Orbiting close to an enemy will decrease turret tracking speed, and flying at high speed will decrease incoming missile damage. If things start to go pear shaped, a frigate with a microwarpdrive can often speed out of a larger ship's warp disruptor range and then warp out to safety. I would recommend, however, that once you engage a target, you stay there until you're dead to gain valuable combat experience and help any allies on the field with you. Your own ship losses will be negligible, and just barely getting a kill is a priceless experience.
In contrast to the MMO norm, small and cheap ships in EVE can still be very effective in PvP. The asymmetric nature of EVE PvP means victory tend to go to the group that picks its fights well and executes a good strategy as a team, while of course evading the bigger fish in the pond. Keep in mind that while you can fly alone and hunt targets of opportunity, the real power of new players in cheap ships is when they come in numbers.
A group of three or more frigates together can be effective against much larger ships, especially if one of the frigates is fulfilling a specialised electronic warfare role. The setups posted here are by no means the only ones that will work, and as your skills train up you'll find new and potentially more effective setups will become possible. If you don't have any friends willing to give EVE a try, consider joining a PvP training corp or finding like-minded newbies in-game and starting your own corporation.
After a few weeks of skill training, your group will be ready to add destroyers and cruisers into your regular group setup. Destroyers are a specialised but fragile ship aimed at taking out frigates, while cruisers are fantastic all-round ships able to fill several roles. Trading your frigate's speed for a cruiser's significantly higher damage, survivability and versatility in role is definitely worth it, but you'll need a few million ISK under your belt before you can afford to replace one. If you're planning to give EVE a try and charge into the unknown with guns blazing, I wish you the best of luck and I apologise in advance for the life-long EVE PvP addiction you're about to acquire.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at Massively. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column or guide, or you just want to message him, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.