Some time ago, CCP implemented a change that limited the number of wars any corp can declare at the same time to three. For most corps, this isn't much of a restriction and won't really factor into the decision to go to war with another group. For dedicated war corps, however, this makes each war slot a valuable resource. The target for a war must be worth not only the weekly war fee but also tying up one of only three war slots. The first step to deterring frivolous wardecs is to understand what makes a target valuable enough to bother with.
While it's not fair to say that every PvP corp is looking for easy kills, this does seem to hold true for most initiators of corporate wars. Haulers, miners and mission-runners are seen as easy targets and can often be very high-value kills if caught. Target corps are often selected because one pilot in the corp makes himself look like a tempting target. To prevent this, avoid hauling on autopilot, sitting idle in a freighter in space, or using officer or deadspace modules on your mission ship while in a popular mission hub. Joining or creating an alliance also multiplies the weekly cost of any wars against your corp by 25, making it far less likely that your corp will be attacked by small entities without a strongly motivating reason.
When the ship hits the fan...
For an active corporation, it's all but inevitable that a wardec will eventually come. Wars are character-building experiences that can really test the dedication of corp members. Some players can really find their feet in a war, organising defense fleets or digging for intelligence on enemy ships. Conversely, some people are really not prepared for PvP and can be expected to leave the corp during a war in order to stay safe. It's advisable that any purely industrial characters, like miners and freighter pilots, leave their corp during a war to prevent the enemy from getting any easy and potentially valuable kills.
Whether you plan to fight back or hide out from the war inside a station, your first step should be to gather intelligence on the enemy pilots. Google for the corp's name and look for killboards where its members may be listed. Every player in your corp should add all known enemy pilots to his watch list so that it's obvious when a lot of them are online. This can give some advance warning of a possible enemy gang that could be forming up to hunt your pilots. The killboard will also give some clues as to what ships the enemy pilots can be expected to fly and what setups they typically use. As players can be pod-killed by the enemy during a war without penalty, all corp members should also update their clones and if possible use a jump clone to temporarily remove any implants.
Wars will usually persist for as long as their declarers find them entertaining and can afford to pay the weekly war fee. As soon as this stops being true, the war will usually be dropped within the week. In that sense, the fastest way to end a war without fighting is to starve your enemies of activity and bore them into submission. It doesn't sound very heroic, but if enemy combatants can't get any kills from your corp and members of the corp aren't responding to verbal challenges, they'll go looking for another corp to harass.
To prevent avoidable ship losses, corp leaders should establish some ground rules for what members can and can't do during wartime. Players should be free to go about their daily business but need to be aware of the danger when a war-target appears. Detach the local channel from your main chat stack and place it vertically along the entire left-hand side of the screen with minimum width. This makes the list of players in your system long and much more immediately visible. If a war-target enters the system, his name will stand out in the list with a red star next to it. This is the signal to get safe by docking, warping to a corp starbase, or leaving the system. Trade hubs and popular mission spots should be off-limits during a war, as many war corps target these locations heavily.
In a previous EVE Evolved article, I looked at preparing a PvE corp to transition into PvP and fight back against wars. For those who aren't interested in fighting, however, the key to ending a war quickly is to deny the enemy any fun or kills. Boring your enemy into submission by avoiding deaths well can help quickly end an unwanted war, but I've always found it a lot more fun to actually fight back. Providing the enemy isn't running massive fleets or just playing station-camping games, fighting back creates a great opportunity for corp members to gain some valuable PvP experience. The Massively Mob corporation was recently involved in a war, and some of the members had a great time organising and running hunting parties. Before the war ended, the hunting parties managed to score some significant kills and gained valuable experience with PvP. The war might drag on for a longer duration, but the whole experience will be a lot more fun.
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.