Etiquette and Rules of PvP

Outside of not explicitly cheating there’s no universal expectations you should assume others will hold themselves to for a good or fair fight. This article will set out some basics for what to expect in PvP and what sort of play style can encourage engaging and rewarding fights. The goal is to develop your skill and abilities, not get cheap kills just to up your kill/death ratio.

Table of Contents

Expectations for Good Fights

Etiquette and rules can be a tricky subject when it comes to PvP. Outside of not explicitly cheating, whether through a third party app or purposefully exploiting an unintentionally broken game mechanic, there are no universal expectations you should assume others will hold themselves to for a good or fair fight. At best most rules are informal.

Different groups will have their own culture for how they go about fights. Organic PvP can end up as a free for all where anything to gain an advantage will be used, especially as many spaces for organic PvP are also used for ganking. By comparison, organised PvP is more structured and events will have clear rules for participation.

This article will set out some basics for what to expect in PvP and what sort of playstyle can encourage engaging and rewarding fights. The goal is to develop your skill and abilities, not get cheap kills just to up your kill/death ratio.

Etiquette in Organic PvP

Most of the time in organic PvP you use an interdictor to pull someone out of supercruise, or someone pulls you. The fight begins as soon as someone deploys their hardpoints and opens fire. Sometimes people will ask for fights via direct message or system chat. If you set up a 1v1 this way it’s customary to start with a “Pass and Go”, usually abbreviated as “PNG” in chat. If you see this:

  • Try to be about 2-3 km away, facing your opponent.
  • Fly or boost towards them.
  • The fight will begin as soon as you both pass each other, often with a boost to improve the maneuverability of your turn to engage.
Pass ‘N’ Go

Before the fight, they may also include a “glhf” which stands for “good luck, have fun”.

If you’re interdicted and you don’t want to accept a fight, or reach a point where you know you’ve lost and don’t want to risk a rebuy, then you can wake out.

  • A low wake, jumping back up to supercruise in the same system, is quicker to charge unless you’re mass locked. Mass lock factor (MLF) is hardcoded to each type of ship. If this number is the same or higher than your MLF then a low wake will charge very slowly within a couple of kilometres of anyone not in wing.
  • A high wake, jumping to a neighboring system, takes a little longer to charge but you will not be mass locked so your time before escaping is predictable and consistent. If you’re mass locked by your opponent you should switch to a high wake as soon as possible.

After a fight, win or lose, it’s always a good idea to send the opponent(s) a friend request and say “GG” which, to most people, stands for Good Game. Even for a loss try not to get upset. You’ll learn more, develop faster and build connections if you ask for advice for what you can do better next time or offer advice yourself if you’ve got any.

Tactics to Avoid

As said, most rules in organic PvP are informal. There’s no real way to enforce them other than ignoring people that use tactics that make fights less fun and instead seek out more rewarding fights with better opponents. Here are some things you should always keep in mind doing any PvP:

  • Don’t combat log. Exiting out of instance whilst a player you’re in conflict with is present is very poor form – whether that’s hitting reset on your PC, pulling the ethernet cable out, or exiting to the game menu. Don’t do it. Most PvPers will consider a menu log to still be cheating. 

Be mindful that the game is flawed and a crash to menu or crash to desktop can and does happen before assuming someone has combat logged on you. But remember: we’re here to have fun fights within the game, not use loopholes to dodge risk in Open Play.

  • Get used to flying at all times with Report Crimes turned off. Flying with crimes on (aka “NPC assist”) is a tactic that rarely results in a win based on skill. You’ll either still lose or otherwise watch your opponent wake out. For an opponent, it’s easier to fight someone else than risk a rebuy that could send them to a detention centre and grind their night to a halt.

[The Report Crimes Against Me option can be switched off in the Ship tab of the right-hand panel.]

  • You should try to avoid waking out of a fight to reboot or repair and then drop back in on a wingmate, or otherwise returning to a fight after you’ve already died once. This is often referred to as “Zombieing” and it forces your opponents to chew through your entire health pool a second time.

Tactics to manufacture weighted, unending instances are not a way to develop skill and will either result in multiple losses or, at the very best, cheap wins. When potential opponents learn you do this they’ll often avoid fighting you unless they know they’ll be in a position to repeatedly dunk on you.

  • Broken netcode is a big problem for multiplayer in Elite and NPC controlled Ship Launched Fighters, unfortunately, are hit hard by this. You should avoid taking them if you’re looking for PvP. They cause significant lag problems that incrementally grow the longer they’re deployed and lead to a poor quality fight experience. People will assume you’re purposefully exploiting if you use them consistently.
  • Healing Beams and Concordant Lasers both are wildly unbalanced and it’s not uncommon for people to refuse to fight a team that employs them. You should try to avoid leaning on them or even using them at all. If used by both sides they can lead to unending fights that grind on indefinitely.
  • Packhounds and Seeker Missiles aren’t out of the question but they do have a very unfair advantage against hull tanks since they destroy surface modules very quickly. Again, it’s not uncommon for hull tank pilots to just avoid taking fights against players and wings that employ them so keep that in mind if you want to get honest fights out of people. 

Poor balancing of seeker missiles is a big part of why people often avoid bi-weaves and go straight to prismatic shields in open organic fights.

  • Don’t synth Premium Munitions. Whilst weapons can run out of ammo during a fight, especially if this is your third or fourth fight since you last restocked, doing anything other than Basic synth is looking for a weighted advantage against opponents.

The simple counter an opponent has for this is to also synth premium munitions. So then we’re locked in a loop where everyone has to constantly farm mats as consumables to keep up with the damage potential of their opponents. Or we could just not start that in the first place.

Rules in Organised PvP

Organised fights operate quite differently to organic. In another article, we will go into more depth about how these fights are set up. Each event will have its own specific rules which you should check before participating. Generally, there are some standard rules you can expect governing most organised PVP.

  • Crimes off is straightforward. Especially as we’re often running tournament FSD’s and fuel tanks with the minimum weight fitted and no jump range. Even a speeding ticket will get you stuck in jail with less than 1 LY jump range if you eat a rebuy.
  • No Premium or Standard reloads, though you should try your best not to reload at all. Some events allow for Basic reloads but you should be sure to check the rules set for each event before participating. 
  • No Packhounds, no Seeker Missiles.
  • No Regenerating Sequence on beam lasers or Concordant Sequence on pulse or burst lasers.
  • No Ship Launched Fighters.
  • No waking out of a fight, nor returning to a fight after a disconnect or crash.
  • As always, no combat logging.

It’s pretty common to hear these referred to as “San Tu Rules” and they can even be invoked in organic PVP at times.

Seeing all this information can seem a little daunting at first. Nobody expects you to know everything straight away. The etiquette will be very quick to get used to and become second nature. As for the tactics and mechanics that lead to good fights, you’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t by the quality of fights you have and the enjoyment you get from them.

The most important thing for PvP is to have a good attitude: we’re here to get good and have fun playing a game!