Noob combat question

I want to throw this out as a generic question about ship combat. Total noob, only been playing a couple of days. My combat experience comes from the first tutorial and then the missions from the military agent. I am not on line right now and may get some of the names incorrect.

I end up in a hostile location and there are enemy ships around. Now I see them in my upper right window. Click on them, click on approach, click on target, maybe click to circle them, click to activate guns, wait till they blow up. Click on the next closest bad guy, click on approach, click on target, maybe click to circle them, click to activate guns, and wait till they blow up. Click on the next closest bad guy, click on approach, click on target, maybe click to circle them, click to activate guns, and wait till they blow up, etc. Ok, you get the idea.

Two thoughts here:

What I am not picking up on is tactics. I am sure as I progress click and shoot is not going to get me too far. I feel like I am missing something here.

Most of the time I do not even see the ship I am shooting at. Is there a view where my ship is on screen along with the ship I have targeted? Tying in and expanding on that: The other piece I feel I am missing is situational awareness. I am sort of not getting the big picture.

How do you pros fly and fight out there?

I do want to get the most out of these missions before I head out into the big bad universe. Any thoughts on how to do that?


Main tactic I do when running missions is to keep the enemy ships as far as possible and just move around to speed tank what manages to land a hit at a big distance, easier said for me because I use missiles, turrets have an optimal and falloff range to worry about but ideally you want to always be on your max optimal range and in a battleship if the enemy gets close I can just pop my Micro Jump Drive to rapidly gain distance…

As you progress on mission difficulty you will pick up that you won’t be able to go up close to the enemies as often as you used to or your ship will be shredded to pieces.
As your ship gets bigger dealing with smaller targets will be more of a pain and drone management comes into play to help with that.
As ships get bigger their speed turn slower so you doubtfully will get used to slowboating to wrecks to loot or salvage so dropping a mobile tractor unit will do wonders for you.
You’ll also slowly pick up that if you leave your shield booster or armor repairer on cap will be a big issue and you got to learn how to manage your capacitor in order to avoid running out of cap considering later on you’ll also make use of active defensive modules.

And a big thing to remember, pve fits =/= pvp fits, almost every single pve fit, if not all of them, will be destroyed in a pvp scenario.

If you want to see your ship, you can use the orbital camera.

If you want to see your enemy’s ship, you can use the “look at” option (looks like an eye, next to where you click to approach and orbit)

If you want to see both, use the orbit camera, enable tracking of your target and fly in close range of them. That can work and that’s what I find most satisfying, but it is not always the best thing to do.

If you want to see the big picture, use the tactical camera with the tactical overlay.

They are, unfortunately, mostly mutually exclusive solutions.

As far how to fly, if you have short range guns, approach and orbit (speed tanking) is an option, but it gets riskier and riskier as you face stronger, more numerous enemies and fly larger ships. Over time, staying far from your targets and shooting them from a distance where they cannot effectively shoot back (range tanking) is often the preferred option. Flying up close can be done with orbit camera and actually looking at ships but you will still spend a good chunk of your time with the tactical camera. If fighting at range, you will pretty much spend all of your time with it and never really looking at ships. It’s an unfortunate reality of EVE that there’s pretty ships but you barely ever see them…

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One of the problems with EVE is that the user interface CAN be reconfigured, but does not come with the “best” configuration by default. You have to put some time into reconfiguring the layout, the preferences, the keyboard shortcuts, etc., for best effective gameplay.

So, start with the “Overview”, that list of ships in the upper right corner of the screen. The Overview is where your situation awareness comes from; it lists all the ships in your vicinity, and you can sort by distance, by name, by ship type, etc. You can also make multiple tabs that show you only player ships, only bombs and drones, only asteroids, only players that are NOT in your fleet (enemies), etc. You can add other players, or other corporations and alliances, to your Contacts list, with blue (friendly) or red (enemy) standings, and they will appear color-coded as such in your Overview. EVE University has a decent tutorial wiki on how to configure the Overview properly, and you can also download popular Overview config packs and import them into the game.

Next is the actual combat scene and your ship. Your ship is like a naval vessel, and it has turrets that shoot in all directions, so the best view IMO is the default view where you can rotate the camera to look at where you’re shooting. But the game also offers a first person cockpit view, and a zoomed-out tactical view that has range spheres and notations around your ship, so you can easily see enemy formations. These views can be activated from the buttons on the LEFT side of the HUD circle at the bottom of your screen, or if you hit ESC to go into EVE’s Control Panel and set up some keyboard shortcuts for them. In addition, there’s a little box that has the target details, typically situated in the upper right corner above the Overview list, with buttons for “look at target” and “show info about the target”. The “look at” button will move the camera so you can see the target with an up-close view. And you can also “track” the target, the game can automatically turn the view around so you’re looking at what you’re shooting, by pressing C.

Finally, the keyboard shortcuts. Guns are activated with F1-F8, medium slots (shields, afterburner) with Alt-F1-F8, and low slots with Ctrl-F1-F8. This may not work for you. When you’re in space, the game lets you drag any modules to any slots, so you can put the icons for all your stuff in the top row, and activate everything with F1-F8. Or whatever setup you prefer. And you can change the keyboard shortcuts from the F1-F8 scheme to, say, something involving the numpad, or a gamepad, or qwertyuiop, or whatever you prefer.

There is one case where the keyboard shortcuts are lacking: drone use. If you have drones, the game lets you right-click them and assign them to groups, and then you can order the entire group to attack and all the drones will obey, but it’s very cumbersome to do this with mouse clicks. So I definitely recommend setting up a keyboard shortcut for “drones engage”, I use ctrl-shift-E, and for “drones return to bay”, ctrl-shift-R, so you can do these actions in the heat of combat much faster than with mouseclicking.

Otherwise, this is a strategy combat game. PVE is very simple, as you’ve noticed, and the core of the game is actually in setting up your ship for a specific attack scenario, and then going out there and picking fights that match that scenario. And we don’t use just guns (or just missiles / drones); there are a lot of electronic warfare jamming modules that can alter the behavior of enemies (crowd control), there’s remote repairing your fleet friends, scouting, baiting, setting up gate or location traps, scanning for enemy ships / scanning their setups and reporting it so your friends can bring the combo of ships that can easily destroy that setup you’ve scanned, etc. The PVP combat of this game is a lot more rich and nuanced, and you need to find a good group and try it, to learn it.

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As far as tactics, the few tutorial missions that you get in the beginning are extremely easy (and they reward you millions of ISK), on purpose. The game does get more tactical once you finish the tutorial and career missions.

It starts with fitting your ship properly. There are long range and short range weapon systems, there are speed modules such as afterburner and microwarpdrive to let you control the range and/or kite the enemies, there are jamming, target painting, and other ewar modules to also let you control the fights, and there are defense modules (shield, armor repairers and resistance amplifiers) to help you survive a fight.

Frigates are pretty easy, they rely on speed and being small in order to avoid damage. The level 1 missions that are designed for frigate combat are pretty easy, all you need is a set of guns (long or short range), an afterburner for speed so you can control that range, and maybe a small shield booster or small armor repairer for on-the-go repairs.

The bigger ships get increasingly more tactical. Cruisers and bigger, you aren’t going to zip around the battle area like with a frigate, so you need to put a decent tank (shield or armor) on your ship and manage it (turn it on and off as needed so it doesn’t drain your available capacitor energy and leave you defenseless). You will need to use the aforementioned electronic warfare modules to control the enemy so it doesn’t get too close, or fly out of range, or jam you, or drain your capacitor, etc. And you’ll need to pick your targets in a specific order, to kill the highest threat to your ship first. Sometimes the highest threat is a jamming ship, sometimes it’s the boss enemy because he does so much damage, sometimes it’s the drones they use, etc.

But it all starts with an understanding on how to fit your ship for a purpose, and what purposes the various ships have. So, ask around, look at the linked tutorials, and don’t be afraid to try out different ships and different fittings.

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Something else to consider is that you have a maximum number of targets you can track at one time, which is based on your Targeting skill level up to the max targets based on your ship. What you can do to ease the workload is to click the first ship, tap the CTRL key and your ship’s computer will start the targeting process. You can then select another target, tap CTRL and keep adding targets until you hit the maximum (you’ll know this when your targeting action fails to complete). Then, as you eliminate targets, you can keep adding as necessary. This should help decrease the hair on fire feeling when trying to manage a large number of targets.

First of all, I totally know your situation, it was the same with me.

You get used to not see enemies. but at least you should see where in space these ships are, if there are groups or if they are scattered. Sometimes (quite often) ships of other groups do not bother about the fate of their comrades 30 km away, watching them die one by one - that’s your advantage.
“Guns” is a very wide field in EvE - there are diferent types combined with different ammo resulting in different kind and severity of damage. In Lvl1 it doesn’t really matter, but as you level up, you should think about range, damage dealer, “Alpha” hits (ie the amount of damage points inflicted with the very first salvo), dps (damage per second), electronic warfare and many other numbers, tricks and gadgets. Or you just try and error like me. Don’t be too afraid to die, it’s just ISK and a Killboard entry :slight_smile:

Thank you all: Arcanith, Erethond, Memphis, Ky and Boldly.

I am going to play around with the views and come up with a combination I like. Plus work on keeping my distance, with the appropriate weaponry.

Let me ask: I did at one point get swarmed by ten ships (tutorial) all of whom were within 50m. My weapon was useless. Yes, now I understand a turret gun at close range cannot track the angular velocity (wish I knew that then) So this leads to my next question:

The tutorial teaches you to click something to point the ship then approach or warp to what has been clicked. If you are in a situation where you are being swarmed, what can you do:

Hit the afterburners and get distance?

Click something far away and warp?

This is the classic how do I get the heck out of here question.

So if I do get distance and have outrun them but still need to destroy them to finish the tutorial, what is the best approach to get back in the fight? I think there is a keep at distance option. The tutorial teaches you to orbit but if you orbit one ship you may fly right back into the other nine and be swarmed again. Curious how you would approach that.

If I get swarmed I usually just attempt to destroy as many targets as possible before warping off, in these situations I remain aligned to something (preferably a Raitaru or any player-owned station due to free repairs when sitting outside of one of these that will tether you) and warp off when I see my armor drop low, let the ship heal at the station and then warp back to finish the job.

I used to do that more commonly just after grabbing a brand new battleship, with the skills I got now (both for modules and as a player) I very rarely find myself warping out.

If you can get distance with a MWD or AB then yeah you got yourself some time there, but you might want to consider just warping off to keep the rats in one place since they will just chase you as far as you go. No point in running away from frigates if you fly something bigger than them since they will be usually faster than you, in other cases they catch up to you fast.

The “Keep at Distance” option you mentioned does exist, it will basically tell your ship to move just enough to maintain the distance you specified, it will not orbit, all it will do is keep the distance, if the target comes closer your ship will try to go away, if your target tries to go away your ship will go closer. Think of it as a orbit command, without the actual orbit and more like a sitting duck due to very minimal angular velocity.

As for how to approach a fight, start practising manually flying your ship by double clicking empty space, your ship will fly in that direction, so you can manually set your ship to fly in a way to have a good angular velocity while keeping away from diving into the swarm. Consider trying to fly your ship towards something you can warp off to to help stay aligned case things dont go your way, just a good habit to keep in mind since being aligned saves a LOT of time.

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Normally, I do not warp to sites directly but in a distance referring to my weapons and try some sniping before the whole wave reaches me. If I get too much damage, I warp away and return after repair, that’s quite ususal. You also can fit your ship with low distance weapons and tank and just shoot one by one in the melee.
Don’t shoot at multiple ships at the same time, because both ships will thus last longer alive and shoot at you.

Trail them behind you so they chase you, reducing angular velocity (to 0 if you are actually faster than them and they are trailing directly behind you in a straight line).

Target frigates first, destroyers second, cruisers third, etc. The smaller ships are easier to kill and get out of the way quickly. So in my level 4 missions, non-battlecruisers are taken out first with long-range ammo, and then with remaining battlecruisers, I get up close with drones and short-range ammo. You can do the same thing with lower level missions, level 3 missions, which you should be able to do in a few weeks.

You can maneuver in space by double-clicking your mouse in a direction to make your ship go that way, or by picking some sort of object or ship and choosing Approach, Align, Orbit, etc… An afterburner gives you extra speed; if you’re the fastest ship then you can control the range to enemy ships by just flying away. You have a HUD circle at the bottom of your screen; it shows you your shields, armor, energy, and also has a speed gauge at the bottom that lets you click and slow your ship down to half-speed, for example, so you can control the range to the enemies that are chasing you. You also have keyboard shortcuts that you should memorize: ctrl-space stops your ship, alt-ctrl-space makes you go full speed, and the + and - on the numpad make you go faster or slower (same as clicking on that speed gauge on the HUD).

These options will let you maneuver within the combat area, or you can pick a distant object (station, planet, etc.) and Warp To it in order to leave the combat area and repair / refit / recharge. For returning, you can find any mission - related site in the upper left corner of your screen, and, if you remember to click a wreck or asteroid or item and “save location”, you can return to any such bookmarked location with a right-click menu.

As far as the combat itself:

  • Long range weapons (rail guns) have a lot of difficulty hitting a swarm of enemies at 50m, because they’re designed for long range. You can warp out, go to station, and re-fit your ship with short-range blasters, designed to work at less than 1 km range.

  • You can also apply basic electronic warfare and propulsion modules to control the fight: Stasis Webifiers will slow enemies down so your guns can track them, Afterburners will make your ship faster so you can get out of the swarm and keep a range that works best for your guns.

  • And some ships have auxiliary weapon systems: light scout drones, for example, are pretty good at hitting targets anywhere within your range of control, and sometimes are the answer for pesky swarms like this. Missiles are the same; they will track and hit targets regardless of how close they are to your ship. So if your ship doesn’t have drones or missiles, but they’re clearly superior for this mission, perhaps you can buy a drone or missile ship, use it for the mission, then repackage and re-sell it on the market once you’re done with it.

The point of building a character in this game is to unlock a variety of ships and weapons, so you have a good tool / ship to use for any situation. Almost everything on the market is player-made or loot that’s collected and sold by players, so the abundance of ships and gear makes it possible to buy what you need, use it, then sell it back for others to use, and recoup your money.

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