Several readers requested help with picking a ship, putting together a viable ship fitting and finding the funding for it. So many players asked for help that this week's column is entirely dedicated to the messy business of putting together your first PvP frigate and learning to fly it. Although the ship of choice for most newbies is the agile Minmatar Rifter, each race has a range of frigates that can perform well in PvP groups with minimal skills. In this article, I'll suggest fittings for two frigates from each race that new players with as little as one day of trained skills will be able to fly.
One of the core concepts of EVE Online's PvP that often discourages new players is the idea that your ship is irreversibly destroyed when you die. While this may seem like an extremely harsh death penalty, deciding how much you risk in PvP is part of the game's tactical gameplay and even the best active PvP enthusiasts lose at least one ship per week. Death in EVE is essentially a financial loss followed by the inconvenience of having to buy and fit a new ship. Most of the financial penalty can be countered by using cheap and effective tech 1 equipment and insuring your ship, and the inconvenience of death can by bypassed by building up a stockpile of disposable PvP ships.
With that in mind, this week's absolutely massive EVE Evolved is dedicated to getting you and a few friends into your first PvP frigates after as little as one day in the game and helping you mitigate the financial loss of death.
Incursus is a fast and effective tackler for gang warfare. You won't be doing much damage in this ship, but you'll easily pin down targets for your gang to kill. It doesn't matter how much damage your gang can do if the enemy ships are able to warp away. Use the microwarpdrive for a huge speed boost when approaching the target, lock him and once within 20km, activate the warp disruptor to prevent him fleeing. Activate the stasis web once you're within 10km, which will slow the target down and prevent him burning out of your warp disruption range. Once you've got both modules active, deactivate your microwarpdrive as it makes you a very easy target to hit and will drain your capacitor in no time flat.
The Tristan, cutely dubbed "the fat man" is my absolutely favourite frigate in the game. While I personally prefer a railgun setup, the fitting listed above can dish out a ton of damage at close range. You'll need to be within 2km to deal any real damage, but the afterburner can be run continuously to help with that. The warp scrambler is a short range version of the warp disruptor with only a 7.5km range, but it has the added benefit of disabling the target's microwarpdrive to help keep him right where you want him. Activate the armour repairer when you start taking armour damage, but be careful not to completely empty out your capacitor using it. On both ships, the damage control should be active at all times as it provides significant resistance bonuses and doesn't use much capacitor.
Griffin is a specialised electronic warfare frigate for fleet or gang warfare and probably the best frigate for making veteran players scream at their PCs. The ECM jammers have a chance of making your target lose all of his target locks and preventing him from acquiring new targets for 20 seconds. This setup can completely remove enemy ships from the fight at crucial times and help secure a kill against a superior opponent. The ECM jammers come in four flavours, each specialised at jamming a particular race of ship. If you know in advance what race the enemy's ship will be, you can swap all four of your ECM jammers for that racial type and he won't stand a chance. When jamming one target with multiple jammers, space their activations apart by around 5 seconds.
The Kestrel is an absolute damage machine, and unlike the Tristan it's able to project that damage over a large range. The base range on the launchers is around 18km, and skills can extend that up to over 40km. Use your afterburner to stay as far from the enemy as you can without going so far away that your missiles won't hit. Load the Remote Sensor Dampener I with a Targeting Range Dampening script and activate it on the enemy, reducing his maximum lock distance and possibly therefore making it so that he can't target you. Neither of these ships has any tackling gear, and as such both are intended to be used in a gang with another specialised tackler or close-range damage-dealer with a warp scrambler.
Slasher is the Minmatar Republic's answer to the need for a ridiculously cheap and fast tackler. This setup won't be doing much damage, but like the Incursus it'll be able to prevent the enemy from warping out and denying your gang the kill. Use the microwarpdrive to get within 20km of the target and then use the warp disruptor on him. This ship can get the first warp disruptor on a target extremely quickly due to its ridiculous speed, but it has no modules for slowing an enemy down. It's therefore best paired with a second ship that has a close-range warp scrambler and a stasis web.
The Rifter is the absolute king of newbie ships, able to fill both the roles of tackler and damage-dealer amicably. The number of different setups that work on the Rifter is a testament to its sheer versatility. The setup above is a fast tackler with a top speed of over 3km per second that can still deal a moderate amount of damage at close range. If you're in a group with another fast dedicated tackler, you might want to swap the warp disruptor for a warp scrambler to shut down the enemy's microwarpdrive.
If you're not really needed as a first tackler and would prefer to deal more damage and add more survivability, the Nanofiber and Overdrive modules can also be swapped for a Gyrostabiliser I, Adaptive Nano Plating I and 200mm Reinforced Steel Plates I. To make those modules fit on the tight CPU and power grid limits a new player will have, you will need to swap the standard autocannons for 200mm Light Carbine Repeating Cannon Is, swap the standard missile launcher for a 'Malkuth' rocket launcher and swap the microwarpdrive for an afterburner.
Head over to page 2 for suggested Amarr ship fittings and advice on how to get started on a new character, how to stay alive in a frigate gang and where to get the ISK for replacement ships.