Feel like I don't understand PvP in this game at all

I’ve been reading the really complex rules behind PvP in this game for awhile but still feel like I don’t understand how anything works. I fit a Punisher with a kinetic armor resistance item because a lot of guys fly Hookbills. A hookbill comes in and starts shooting Kinetic rockets at my anti-kinetic Punisher, it was dead in like 5 seconds.

Here’s the zkill link: Punisher | Count of MonteCylon | Killmail | zKillboard

Should I just not bother flying T1 rigs or was there something else I did wrong and if so, why would doing something differently have changed the outcome here? I’m not necessarily expecting to win flying a T1 ship but dying in 5 seconds isn’t even a game, makes me wonder why I am sitting there staring at the overwatch.

Try that.

Actually this is a fair assumption. If you are facing an Amarr laser boat, stack EM/Thermal, Minmatar, Exp/Kinetic, etc. Nothing wrong so far.

Did anyone explain active tank vs passive vs buffer tank? It looks like you are trying to active tank, so your ship needs to repair more damage than what is coming in. This is usually very hard to do.

Assuming a glass cannon fit hookbill, it will do around 150 damage a second. With a rough %60-%65 resistance in kinetic, that’s an effective rate out 70? damage a second. The two small armour repairs on your punisher do about 20 damage repair per second each, so 40 with a deficit of about 50 damage. At even base level hit points, your ship would take about 10 seconds loose shields and another 10 to loose its armour.

Problem being, each armour repair takes around 4 seconds to cycle, and armour repair modules do not add to armour until the end of the cycle. In 4 seconds, the deficit is like 200 damage, so that is easily half your armour missing, by the time the next 4 seconds rolls around, the other half is all gone.

Now if you go for a buffer tank, pull out both of the armour repair modules, add in a 200mm plate, change the membranes to compacts, change the rigs to cpu overclockers and add in a dcu, you are taking about 35 damage a second and have twice the hit points to chew through, so now instead of dying in 28 seconds, you are going to take about 50 something seconds to die.

You still need to shoot at the hook bill though. Looking at the resist profile, with em-thermal as your weapons platform, you have 750 shield to chew through and 550 armour, at %50 resist, its over 2000 effective hit points to chew through.

Are you doing at least 2000 damage every 30-50 seconds in a buffer fit? You’ll have to be doing the same amount of damage in half the time for an active fit.

If not, you will lose every time.

Make sense?

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So to help set expectations…

Frigate fights are short. If it’s longer than a minute it’s probably because both people are kiting poorly and applying damage poorly. 5 seconds is not unusual for a t1 vs navy match up. I have a lot of experience whelping T1 frigs into bad 1v1 odds for fun and science.

Because the fights are so short, frigate battle is just as much the lead up as the execution: planning a fit, finding a target, running from bad matchups or determining if something is bait.

So you planned well and found an optimal opponent and things went south. What gives?

Well sometimes it happens. Great ideas in theory sometimes don’t work out, or perhaps were only great because something was overlooked.

A hookbill using kinetic rockets is going to do a lot of damage. You can use pyfa or a tool like that to see its raw damage output. If it was 2-webs then it’s successful applying most of that damage to you, too.

Armor reps take a while to cycle and only grant HP at the end. For this reason, ancillaries are preferred over your regular repairers because they grant extra HP when filled with paste.

So why didn’t the repairs work? Well, I think a lot of people familiar with PvE but not PvP underestimate the importance of buffer. You can do the math of the incoming hookbill DPS multiplied by your armor kinetic resist. Let’s say that’s 100HP (just example number). If your two armor repairers heal 80HP per second but the cycle time is 4 seconds, then you need 4 seconds worth of armor buffer before any of your repair HP lands! That’s 400 armor HP! And only then you’re getting back 320 HP.

Since you didn’t fit any plate armor in the lows, your armor bar must have been swinging wildly like windshield wipers.

The more plates you add, the more time you have available for your repairers to cycle. So add plates! But what if you did the math, and each plate gives you X seconds of survivability, but the repairer gives you less than that, maybe the repairers running for those X seconds gives you <X seconds of HP back and it makes more sense to replace repairers with plates?

This is why a lot of punishers opt for buffer plates in the lows: they get far more time to fight by skipping repairing all together (or maybe 1 small ancillary armor repairer) and having an HP buffer that is simply big and fat.

Don’t get discouraged, take your learnings and iterate. Lose 100 T1 frigates. The fights will be short but if you reflect on them you’ll learn a lot.

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This Caldari Navy Hookbill | psilon2000 | Killmail | zKillboard might be what you are up against.

… and two explosive. Wrong choice, these didn’t help you at all.

You’ve lost a mere 2m ISK ship fighting a T2 fitted Navy frig, worth 15 times your fit, and a player with the exerience of more than 8’000 kills. What do you expect, kill him with ease because of one module?

Contact the opponents and receive tips, and in no time you are the guy shooting other players.

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Frigate fights usually last less than 30 seconds and yes them taking a couple seconds only is quite normal.

There is an old recommended method: Fit a few dozen T1 frigates for PvP and fly them until you lose them, with the expectation that you will not win any of the fights.

This might sound extreme but is a good way to:

  • Get used to the fact you will lose ships, sometimes several in a row, sometimes many in a row and in general you might lose a lot of ships especially early in your PvP career.
  • Get used to PvP itself, its fast nature, making mistakes and instead of nervousness taking over after a while staying calm(er) and being able to make decisions in a rapid pace environment, which is hard so takes time getting adjusted to.
  • Get experience and learn, there are a ton of things to learn so if you do this with a couple dozen pre-fit ships you no longer will bother trying to figure out what ship to fly and what fit to use, you have your base template and can learn what are its pros and cons and focus on that scenario for now and see what and how other ships and pilots fly their ship and what kind of threats they pose.

It is also recommended that you record your gameplay if you have the chance so you can later analyze the footage and maybe come back to it later on as well with a calm head to get further useful data out of it, how you would act and do things differently, what mistakes you and your opponent made, what you and your opponent did right and so on.

Alternatively make sure to save the combat log if nothing else but actual video is lightyears better for this and you might even upload some stuff to youtube or whatever to help other new players learn from your experiences and to archive your journey, you could look back years from now and see how you started, the nostalgia will be great.

Even if in the future you’ll just watch the footage on your computer and not actually upload it anywhere it will be a great experience reliving the memory years later. I personally encourage you to also share as well. There is no shame in being a beginner, we all started the same and not everyone has the same skills or talents so don’t be ashamed of your failures and mistakes, it is all part of the game.

Well, you met a Decadent Court member in their natural habitat. It’s not Kadesh, nor Ottaviani, but at least someone in like top 10% of smallsize pilots of all time. Fighting such pilots is tough and unfruitful in terms of kb statistics, but at the other hand is helpful at gaining experience. I would never ever discourage you to fight anyone just because ‘they’re scary, I’d better dock’, as it’s a common behaviour of weaklings that ruins this game and makes no benefit to anyone, but checking stats of your potential opponent (cmon, it’s kspace, you see all of them) to figure out his engagement profile and your capability to meet it is useful. And then, after your most probable hopeless demise, I’d convo them and ask politely what exactly did I do wrong and how could I act to win the engagement, Some will reject convo, some will swear, but most will answer.

Next, on your fit. As a frigate pilot, you’re stuck with a low amount of slots. Being solo you absolutely want two things: tackle and propmod of some kind, range control is essential in any engagement, especially for smallsize duels. You went with no propmod at all which means you can’t control range at all, and that’s the first point where you lose to almost anything. Given you have just two midslots, you can generally act as a full-kiter with mwd+point (not the case of the slow punisher, but theoretically - why not), ramf1 with mwd+scram (will work) or scram-kite with ab+web (and pray for the pvp honor in your opponent), You definitely can go for ab+scram, but in that case you’ll have to chose carefully: in case you can’t break your opponent before he slowboats out of your heated scram range, you’ll lose an engagement. Moreover, battery you’ve fit is absolutely useless, as in most cases your fight won’t last longer than one minute. You don’t have to be capstable at all times, cap stability is costly in terms of slots and is useless on most occasions (but some specific ones or when achieved via cap booster).

Next, your weapons. You went with top-tier meta0 pulses, which might seem natural to an amarr ship, but it is not. If you look closely, punisher does not provide any damage bonus to any kind of weapons, just natural amarrian laserboat activation cost one, so you might chose any kind of a turret here, and you’d be surprised, but most common ones are blasters, then ACs. Next: meta0. You don’t want to use any meta0 item if you have higher tier alternatives, they’re just plain better in one way or another, And the last one: pulses. The only reason to use pulses is their versatility in t2 variant: conflag gives you damage comparable to neutron voids but with better application while scorch allows you to engage into deep scram range. Since you’re stuck with t1 for a while, I’d recommend you to avoid close range weaponry as it shines only when able to be loaded with proper t2 ammo. There’s a trick with ACs however, as they allow you to go for greater tank because of low pg requirements without sacrificing that lot of damage or application.

The last is the tank. You’ve done almost well, trying to reduce resistance holes and max out active tank, but it will work on larger ships, not on frigates, just because you have that much of the buffer anyways. Adding more buffer to solo frigate is almost always better than eliminating one specific resistance hole. General advice is to not approach tanking as ‘my ship has to survive anything anywhere’, as it obviously won’t anyways. The good approach is ‘I want my ship to die later than my particular opponent’s one’. Also helps in considering which opponent you want to check, and which one wrecks your ship up so obviously that it doesn’t cost your time to go and reship. The latter is the rare occasion if you do it right =) Common approach for armor tanked frigates is a hulltank in combination with SAAR. Consider ancillary repairers as a prolonged buffer, not as an active tank (which is exclusive to triple-XLASB BSs), and it will help in understanding how much will you sustain. Plates are fine too. Punisher is the toughest of all t1 frigs in terms of plain ehp, btw.

Let’s put it all together. You’ve got a well-tanked frigate which is rather slow and lacks control, but allows for a good range of weaponry. Generally high resistance profile and lack of control says it is a fleet vessel, but no one restricts you to fly it solo, That said, you want to avoid fast targets if not waiting for them in deadpace and want to engage almost anything that fights in scram range.

All that said, there are couple of punishers with most stuff downgraded to meta4 I’d personally try out before considering moving to something that actually can control engagement range. It might work but probably will fail and die horribly in a ball of fire, depending on usage and opponent. Good thing, there is no actual death in this game, so you’re free to try.

[Punisher, Solo Novice]

Damage Control II
400mm Rolled Tungsten Compact Plates
Multispectrum Coating II
Extruded Compact Heat Sink
Extruded Compact Heat Sink

1MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier

Small Focused Modulated Energy Beam I
Small Focused Modulated Energy Beam I
Small Focused Modulated Energy Beam I
Small Focused Modulated Energy Beam I

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Trimark Armor Pump I
Small Energy Burst Aerator I
[Punisher, 800mm]

Damage Control II
400mm Crystalline Carbonide Restrained Plates
400mm Crystalline Carbonide Restrained Plates
Gyrostabilizer II
Multispectrum Coating II

1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner
Warp Scrambler II

200mm Light 'Scout' Autocannon I
200mm Light 'Scout' Autocannon I
200mm Light 'Scout' Autocannon I
200mm Light 'Scout' Autocannon I

Small Projectile Ambit Extension I
Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Trimark Armor Pump I

P.S. There is almost no point in t1 ammo in this game, use faction at least, it is just plain better with no drawbacks, However, laser lenses are somewhat pricey to lose, as their price is roughly equivalent to 1000 faction bullets of other kinds, but most likely that exact set of lenses you’ve just loaded into your frigate won’t last long enough to deal 1000 shots.
P.P.S. Sorry for inconsistencies, hope that helps. I was brawling on frigates too long ago to remember everything and to keep in mind current frigate meta. This game is so much better when played with a bunch of friends, and fleeting up adds way more depth to any ship than any honed solo fit, so I’d better recommend to find a fleet for any of this punisher and see what happens =)

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