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Lately, I've been thinking about starting to play EVE Online, but looking at various sources, it seems like PvP is a pretty big part of the game.

That's a problem for me, because I hate PvP. If I get into combat, I want it to be because I've made an active decision to allow it - that means entering known, hostile territory, or turning on a flag. If I absolutely have to enter such an area, I want there to be a way for me to quickly get out.

I understand that I can't turn off PvP entirely, and I realize I won't be able to see everything without venturing into those areas - indeed, I've read that the best money making potential is in nullsec, so clearly there's an incentive to accept that risk.

However, I don't want to be left horribly behind simply because I choose to avoid that content. It's okay that things go a little slower, but there is a limit - e.g., if I can earn some amount in 1 hour in PvP areas, I don't want it to take 3 days when sticking to a PvE approach.

Alternatively, I can accept having to go into those areas if it's realistic that I can get in there, do what I need to do, and get back out, all while avoiding PvP - I don't want to spend forever finding a sufficiently safe area, and if I do see trouble approaching, I want to be able to get out before it's too late.

Is it even possible to pull this off? Do I need to do anything special to make it feasible? Is the game still enjoyable when played in such a way?

EDIT: Just to clarify: I'm not asking for 100% security. If the game is as PvP-heavy as my impression suggests, I am perfectly willing to accept that there will always be some degree of risk. However, I will want to keep that risk minimal - if the risk for some given task is low, or I can reasonably expect to be able to flee before it's too late, then that's okay.

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Saw this bumped and felt the need to chime in - this is why I never could get into this game - it's toooo PvP centric. (I, like OP, hate PvP - a large part of the reason that the only MMO I've ever stuck with for a long amount of time was FFXI.) –  Shinrai Jun 5 '12 at 0:30
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10 Answers

up vote 32 down vote accepted

EvE is a purely PvP game with minimal PvE elements mixed in for money making. It is possible to sit in a station and just trade all day, or do planetary interaction or other extremely dull aspects of the game - but the game mostly revolves around spaceships fighting other spaceships.

There are missions with NPC pirates and space-rocks to fight (mine), however the missions aren't very deep and really there isn't enough content in PvE to enjoy. The game is PvP-oriented in that your internet space ship should be fighting other player's internet spaceships.

Think of it like chess. You can move your pieces around the board for no reason, but ultimately to play the game you need to attack your opponent. It just doesn't make sense to not play competitively.

edit: I would like to add that, there is some interesting PvE content such as group mining, corporation management and wormhole exploration - but all of these come with some PvP aspect to it.

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For the PvE content, how does that PvP aspect come into play? Is it mostly that there is a risk, or is it a frequently occuring element? –  Michael Madsen Jun 22 '11 at 22:47
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There's two parts to the PvP aspect coming into play. There is the risk of suicide ganks, where other players may attempt to blow your ship up even if it means they themselves will certainly die in the process. This often happens when it seems to the attackers that they may make money from the loot your ship will drop that will offset the loss they will make from their ships dying. This is the risk that's in play in all areas of space in the game. –  camster342 Jun 23 '11 at 0:56
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The other PvP aspect is in "competitive PvE". Best example of this is "Incursions" where a group of players (anywhere between 5 - 40) join a fleet to take down NPC ships. The PvP part of this is that if there are other fleets in the same site (there are a limited number of sites in any particular Incursion) killing the same ships, then only the Fleet doing the most damage will be rewarded. –  camster342 Jun 23 '11 at 0:59
    
@Michael because wormhole combat, profitable mining and basically anything beyond the beginner parts of any career path take part in low-sec or null-sec space. Any player can freely attack you in this space with little to no consequence. –  Resorath Jun 23 '11 at 16:09
    
I flew a very successful miner/explorer without ever really exploiting low-sec, null-sec, or w-space. I'd check out the wormholes I found, sure, and I'd do some limited exploration in low-sec, but easily 90% of my career was spent in high-sec. And I was well beyond beginner in my Hulk... –  Kromey Jun 23 '11 at 18:43
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I played EVE for about 2-3 years, not counting a 6-month hiatus in the middle when I didn't have the time to play.

Contrary to what almost everyone else is playing, I can assure you that avoiding PvP is most certainly possible, about 99% of the time. The key is to play smart, and always be vigilant -- someone can attack you at any time, in any place.

  • Choose a low-traffic/low-population system to use as your home base. Amarr space is full of clusters of high-sec systems with almost nobody there -- I spent most of my time in the game mining there, even though my character is Gallente. You can fly where ever you want to in EVE. Low-traffic systems also happen to be more profitable for carebear pilots, as there's less competition.
  • Be vigilant. Keep your eye on Local and on your overview, and dock up if there's a sudden spike in the local traffic or if someone suddenly appears near you and approaches.
  • Always have an escape route planned, no matter what you're doing. Learn about safe spots and alignment -- Google "EVE safe spots" to learn more, as going into the whats, whys, and hows are well beyond the scope of this question and this answer.
  • When in doubt, "safe" (i.e. go to a safe spot).
  • Always have multiple safe spots in any system you frequent. Never stay in one long, and always assume that any "safe spot" where you leave behind stuff (a can, a spare ship, etc.) or where you sit for more than 30-45 seconds is known to others, and remain vigilant.
  • When you have to visit high-traffic systems (e.g. Jita), don't dink around -- get in, get out. Suicide gankers abound there, but there's so many juicy targets that the odds of you getting ganked are low -- but rise rapidly the longer you linger!
  • When you have to visit a low-sec system, get in, get out. Don't dink around. Assume that everyone in Local will attack you -- and slaughter you! -- on sight, so don't let them sight you.
  • When you have to visit a null-sec system, assume that you will not leave alive. I suggest you don't even bother -- you won't leave alive. (That said, I did survive my one-and-only trip to a null-sec system, but only because it and the adjoining low-sec system I entered through were completely empty.)
  • The safest "carebear" profession in EVE is exploration. This is because you will spend 99% of your time at safe spots and at exploration sites, making you harder to find. Exploration in low-traffic systems is almost completely safe -- even when Local lights up with a dozen pirates, you can be assured that you will most likely not be found, at least not before you're able to dock up at a station. NEVER probe from anywhere except a safe spot, and NEVER sit still -- arrive at your safe, hit the engines to full speed, then launch your probes and start scanning down sites. Periodically hop to other safes (unless Local is completely empty). Bookmark the sites you find -- those are new safes to add to your collection after you harvest them! Unfortunately, exploration is not easy to get into for new pilots.

If you fly smart, you will avoid PvP almost entirely. I've suffered only 3 PvP losses (no wins, I'm not a PvP pilot at all) in almost 3 years of flying by just being smart about where, when, and how I flew; none of my losses were crippling, because I followed the Number 1 Cardinal Rule of EVE: NEVER fly anything you can't afford to lose!

Fly safe!

Edit:

Almost forgot the biggest error of new pilots: Don't autopilot. Sure, it might seem convenient to set up that 40-system hop, hit the autopilot button, and then walk away from you computer while your ship does the flying for you, but more often than not when you come back you'll be staring at your pod floating in a field of debris, or even worse you'll be in a fresh clone back in station! Set your route, then warp-to-zero to each gate in your route and jump immediately.

That brings up another tip: Warp-to-zero to gates and stations ONLY. When going to belts, moons, etc., warp to 100km, scout it out, then warp away before warping back in to a closer point if it's safe. More than once I saved a very expensive Hulk from a ganker lying in wait in a belt by doing this -- even a Hulk can align and warp away before a ganker can close from that far away and lock you down.

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I'd say avoid nullsec altogether for PVE. I was a long-year carebear and wanted to get into PVP. So I thought it would be fun to get myself used to getting blown up by living in a nullsec system with an alt. The mechanics, playstyle and paranoia change dramatically when flying in nullsec and you have to constantly check your surroundings. PVE in nullsec is just not possible at all because you have to keep the other players in mind all the time. On the other hand, I learned more about game- and combat mechanics in those few weeks than in my long carebear-years. –  Mike Jul 25 '11 at 17:40
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As someone who doesn't do PvP, i would like to disagree with everyone else and say it is possible.

Yes staying in high sec leaves you with the chance of being suicide ganked or can flipped.

But in 4 months of eve (which isn't long true) i have never been suicide ganked. Joining a corporation helps prevent some, but be mindful if you ever get into a corp war.

Can flipping is common but follows one easy rule. if they steal from you, never take it back, never shoot at them (it could be a lure, where the flipper has a stealth-ed buddy waiting to take out what you take him out with). if your can mining, you get rid of the hassle of moving back to the station every time your cargo is full for security.

Since you can get a trial and your absolute sure you don't want to be part of the PvP system, you could use that to see if the missions or mining could keep you interested in the game or if you just like the freedom of flying your spaceship.

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No. There is no space at all in EVE that you are safe in. Even in the highest security systems you can be destroyed by a group of kamikaze attackers.

If you want to avoid PvP games, EVE is not your game.

http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Attacked_in_Secure_Space

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As someone who has been podkilled while undergoing the first PvE quest line out of the tutorial, I can definitely affirm this. –  FAE Jun 23 '11 at 1:31
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No, you cannot completely avoid it. However, if you're smart about it, you can minimize your losses and play mostly PvE. Upgrade your clone early and often, find a corporation that provides security, keep an eye on Local, avoid autopilot, and above all, be aware of the risks you take.

When I played actively, I did nothing but mine and do missions. Let me be the first to tell you that it gets very boring very quickly. Even if you're not a "PvP person," I think you'll grow tired of being a carebear very quickly.

EDIT: Eve "terrorism" like can-flipping happens more often than most people would like to admit, even if you're smart and aware. The way I see it is that you can either try and fail to avoid PvP and suffer greatly when you can't, or you can get into PvP from the start and avoid the tears.

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Part of the problem is that in the EVE community the overwhelming attitude is to always blame the victim -- IE, it's your own fault for flying a mining barge in 0.9 space where a suicide ganker can come along to ruin your day. –  Shadur Jun 23 '11 at 10:16
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I disagree that you have to PvP to have fun. I've enjoyed the game for 5 years and have done almost no PvP. But I don't do PvE much, either. Most of my time is spent running a corporation and alliance. –  Almo Feb 1 '12 at 22:31
    
@Shadur Carebear :P –  Brian Ortiz Aug 11 '13 at 2:11
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The two main sources of PvP in hi-sec areas are suicide ganks and can flipping. Both of these are reasonably easy to avoid.

Suicide ganks: Unless you pissed off someone, they need to make ISK from the gank. This means, if you fly a ship that's fitted cheaply enough that average loot drop does not clearly cover the cost of gank, you're very safe. Not totally safe, because no one in EVE is, but still very safe. The exact limits are pretty much trade secrets, but for example flying missions with ship that costs 5 billions in total is risky. In comparison, a good level 4 mission runner ship costs about 300-400M fitted. Everything after the first 1.5b is most of the time just nonsense.

Can flipping: We mine in groups and usually have multiple battleships (fitted for mining), and our corp has had a single ore thief incident in past 6 years. If you mine solo, in crowded area and use barges, you are easy prey. If you stay out of the beaten path, mine in group and have battleships mining with you, the risk is very low.

So, if you want to totally avoid PvP, you need to make compromises. But that's EVE for you - anything you do is always a compromise, because the game is well balanced. For any easy answer there's always a counter, and counter to the counter, so compromises in core of the game.

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EvE is a purely economic simulator with minimal PvP elements mixed in to create a customer base. It's all down to point of view.

It's readily possible to avoid PVP almost all the time but you need to play a different type of character. Unlike most games EVE does allow you to do something other than just be a combatant.

Industrialists, miners, and traders are all careers with minimal PvP involvment. They're not for everyone and they take more effort than most people realise but they are distinctly non combat provided you take sensible precautions.

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I too, hate PVP. I still play EVE, though, due to loving sci-fi and spaceships in particular. I too, though, want a PVE-only experience in EVE.

Here are the rules I have learned to follow to avoid PVP:

(1) Avoid PVP-oriented areas: stay in highsec.

Lowsec/Nullsec revolve around PVP 24/7. Therefore, if you want to be PVE-only, you have to treat lowsec/nullsec as if they don't exist. No exceptions. "Rewards" (often scams) do not matter. Even risk/reward does not matter. You're PVE-only. Low/null do not exist for you. No exceptions, ever.

(2) Avoid wardecs (and taxes): start your own one-man corporation.

This both shields you from wardecs, and avoids the up to 10% tax charged by being in someone else's corp (including NPC corps, which tax at 10% of your income from missions, the primary PVE activity). As a side bonus, it makes you less visible (which is what you want, as PVP players tend to consider PVE players as nothing more than prey/food). If you do get wardeced anyway, drop to an NPC corp for a little while, then reform your corp with a new name. This costs the wardeccing corp at least 10x more than it costs you to delete and reform your corp. Thus, only someone who absolutely hates your guts is going to continue to wardec you after you pull this trick once.

(3) Avoid suicide ganking: don't fly ships with expensive modules

People suicide gank you for two reasons: to steal your modules, or just for fun. If you avoid having expensive faction/deadspace/officer modules, it isn't profitable to suicide gank you in highsec.

(4) Avoid talking to people: most EVE players are not friendly to PVE players

Many PVP players consider PVE players nothing more than easy targets. Food. Prey. Some will attack you simply because they hate the idea of people doing PVE in the game. Don't tell anyone that you are a PVE player. Don't talk in local or chat channels. In general, don't talk to anyone at all. Treat EVE like a single-player game. Other people don't exist for you in-game. By all means get your info from the web, but never talk to anyone in-game, and if you must talk to people on forums, ALWAYS use a disposable forum alt character to do so. No matter how much they bait you, never post with your main or reveal their identity. Their words cannot hurt you, but their missiles sure can. Given the ratio of merciless PVP players to nice PVE folks, speaking up (aka: making yourself interesting, and therefore a target) is NEVER worthwhile. Example: Once, saying I only play eve for the PVE got me added to someone's kill-on-sight list, even though I said it in a chat channel dedicated to PVE play.

(5) Avoid being near people: use the starmap to find less-populated systems

Even showing up on someone's overview can make you a target. Make it a goal to live in a system with level-appropriate agents, and very few human players.

(6) If you must interact with people: run incursions

Incursions are high-end PVE content. They can be lucrative, e.g: 50m ISK per hour. And, unless you're filthy rich in EVE, you won't have the most valuable ship in the incursion fleet you join, hence you won't have much to lose (relatively) by joining them. The downside is that such fleets often have approved lists for ship fittings - if you can't fit exactly what they're asking for, you can't join. So, training up, buying the right ships/fittings/etc, can take awhile.

(7) Avoid being targeted/scanned: move quickly

Don't autopilot if you can avoid it, especially in 0.5 sec systems that border lowsec ones.

(8) Read around

Almost all PVE risks (and ways to get unexpectedly PVPed) are well documented. Know how they work, so in the event of an emergency, you know what to do. You don't want to take the risk of undocking with an active wardec, no matter how unlikely it seems they'll be waiting for you. Because, knowing EVE, they probably are.

(9) Don't fly anything you can't afford to replace

I must admit I've violated this rule myself at times, but by doing so, I've come very close to losing everything I owned in EVE! I only escaped that fate by being lucky. You might not be so lucky. So, don't fly any ship you can't afford to replace.

(10) Insure your ships

Sometimes insurance is worth it. Sometimes, it isn't. Still, in general, especially when you're about to do something risky (like run a new class of mission) you should opt for more insurance.

-

All of the above rules were born out of actual mistakes I have made as a PVE player, and what I have learned from them. It can be lonely playing EVE as a PVE player, due to the inability to interact with other people.

Still, EVE is a very predatory world. By playing a PVE player, many people will automatically classify you as prey. So, it can help to adopt some of the strategies that real prey use to avoid being hunted, such as:

  • be almost impossible to notice (hide away & keep quiet)

  • once noticed, be "not worth the effort" (be a hedgehog, not a pig)

  • once attacked, evade, rather than fight (birds don't fight cats on the ground, they just fly away)

  • don't risk anything you can't afford to lose (if you can't replace it, don't use it)

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You cannot completely avoid PvP. I've been in the game over 5 years, and I've only been killed or lost my ship a handful of times. Most of those were my fault for:

  1. Going into low or null sec.
  2. Hauling something too expensive on autopilot.
  3. Being warp scrambled in a level 4 PvE mission without knowing it.
  4. Something so stupid that nobody anywhere knows it happened except me.

There are simple rules to follow that will allow you to avoid PvP most of the time.

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You will not be able to do somethings with out any PvP. 0 sec for one. As fun as you may think it is in the core, 0 sec adds another level.

You can join a corp that has 0 sec holdings and if you go into the backwater systems you can avoid seeing other players a lot. If you have a POS you can hide in the POS when other players are around. It sucks but it is effective.

If you never give them a target they will get bored and go somewhere else. This may mean logging off for a few hours but really most gankers tend to go where they can find targets. If you never give them a target they go away.

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