Over the course of the years, I’ve come across a wide variety of PVP’ers in groups ranging from Major null-sec alliances, to merc corps, to low-sec pirates, to industrialists with teeth. It occurred to me that most of the players can be divided into four different categories. Now, of all games, the players of Eve Online tend to abhor being “classified” to any particular style, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t apply. So here’s my observations, and feel free to disagree and tear this apart:
Group 1: Killers
Now this starting group I defined this particular way because the reason why they PVP is primarily based off of Pride. I’m not talking about self-respect. I’m talking raw Pride, the belief they ARE better than everyone else, without an appropriate sort of humility to balance it out. The most obvious version of these type of people are the ones who sit around and pop newbies all day long.
However, while it is reasonable to conclude that most Killer-type players will move on to other games, not all do. Some stay in the same path and continue to enjoy smacking down new players. Others, on the other hand, actually start to develop vendettas. This latter group of pilots begin to rapidly improve their real PVP skills and can be dangerous because they will throw everything they can at the enemy. Their goal isn’t to just beat them, but to humiliate them.
Strengths: Can become extremely focused and willing to sacrifice heavily in order to achieve goals.
Weaknesses: Goals may not be inline with Corporate/Alliance goals, and their willingness to sacrifice can extend to beyond his own supply of ships and equipment as well as beyond the value of the entire conflict.
Leadership Capability: Depends greatly on the goals generated. Can be effective in achieving goals related to their personal goals, but can be detrimental if the goals differ. Organizations that have a particular enemy they want to defeat no matter what would do well to install a Killer-type personality in their operations.
Support Capability: Again completely based off of corporate/alliance goals. Would have no problem assisting in whatever capacity so long as the goals are in line with their goals. If not, their support will probably be minmal to non-existant.
Group 2: Mercenary
This group can be quickly defined as “financially motivated”. As such this group is both the most villified PVP group in Eve Online and a group that everyone tries to be like to some extent. The successful Merc mindset is based off being good at what they are paid for, and goes beyond just getting paid for PVP. Eve Online has only recently made this a more viable option and there have been only three organizations who have done Mercenary work with any success: Mercenary Coalition., Noir., and Pandemic Legion. All of these groups have illicited both positive and bitter emotions in the course of their operations.
As individual people, the only real coherent similarity is that “isk” is the motivator. Some are short-sighted and their loyalty is easily bought, while others adhere religously to a contract, under the belief that such loyalty will net them greater gains in the future. They definately can be relied upon to develop more cost effective strategies as well as to avoid battles where there is no gain to be had.
Strengths: Efficiency means money, so their strengths revolves around how well they can use less expensive ships and better tactics/skills to maximize their overall productivity in combat.
Weaknesses: Loyalty may be far too easily lost and it also may take some time before the Mercernary-Type personality has a solid grasp on what consititutes a valuable effort. May not conform to expected doctrines and procedures if they deem them “too expensive” or the risk too high for the results. Do not expect to see any ideas be retained if they don’t either save isk or make isk.
Leadership Capability: Usually have a strong ability to cut losses when necessary as well as to trim unproductive members. Having a good sense of isk to value ratios, may be able to develop more cost-effective fleet doctrines and management strategies. Tend to have a better awareness of actual value various tasks/operations will have within a corporation/alliance/coalition.
Support Capability: This depends largely on how the pilot is being rewarded, but typically a merc-type personality knows well that good support improves survivability and thus improves your ability to make or retain isk.
Ideal Combat Situation: Finding the enemy moving in a valuable hauler or priceless ship, alone while they have friends in the perfect counter.
Group 3: Warriors
I think many people think that the Warrior-type personality and the Killer-type personality are the same beast, but the fact is that their motivations are based elsewhere, despite the fact that both may have considerable pride. While the Killer-type personality already has a level of Pride that they want to maintain, a Warrior improves his pride by improving his skills and real world tactics. In other words, a Killer-type gets better because he has to protect his and nurture his ego, while a Warrior improves his ego as he improves his ability to fight.
The Warrior is a player who always brings his best to the battle, but make no mistake he is there because he likes the fight. He may be disappointed in losing, but a good fight is still something to be proud of. They are also willing to take more risks, and tend to be more aggressive overall in the hopes of catching their enemy off-guard and disorganized.
Strengths: Willing to take risks, while at the same time willing to learn from failures. Ability to take quick advantage of combat situations and have less adversity to losing ships in combat.
Weaknesses: Can tend to be disparaging to more patient players, not really knowing the difference between cowardice and patience. Losses tend to be much heavier as they are more willing to risk ships, and may be get themselves into losing situations often.
Leadership Capability: Tends to do well either alone or in small groups. Larger groups tend to be more frustrating as their ability to react quickly steadily drops as gangs and fleets get larger. The resulting frustration can cause others to feel unappreciated and cause divisions within an organization.
Support Capability: Pretty much zero. Their overwhelming desire is get kills and to be great at combat, so running support tends to merely an exercise in frustration and will only do it if pressed or if they have great respect and admiration for the one running the fleet.
Group 4: Soldiers
This group is probably the most derided PVP’er type in all of Eve Online, primarily because the soldier-type mindset tends to be less about individual success and more group success. While vocally de-rided, the majority of alliance leaders would like nothing less than only soldiers operating in their fleets. The reason for this is simple: soldiers obey. This does tend to lead to less creative tactics and more predictable behaviors, but that is also their strength. They might not lead, but they will follow and obey diligently.. and often in large numbers.
The Soldier-type personality obeys because they have something they want to protect and as such, they operate with the mind-set that whatever protects their people/valuables is worth doing. Many Soldier-types will risk ships they cannot afford to lose and will adjust their own skill plans so that they can maximize their ability to follow doctrines.
Strengths: Willingness to obey commands and operate well in groups. Soldiers can also be directed to train for specific goals, allowing for more complex tactics and strategies. They can be reliable and capable of handling the more mundane task of an organization.
Weaknesses: Require a “finish” to whatever conflict they are engaged in, and while their morale lasts longer than most, it can be much harder to raise once it gets low. In addition, without regular conflicts, soldiers willingly go into a “steady-state” where their real combat skills go into decline.
Leadership Capability: Varies greatly, but almost never is suited for top level positions mainly because their focus is on cohesion, discipline, and obedience, not necessarily on improvising or on creative tactical thinking.
Support Capability: Excellent as they understand the necessity of working as part of a team, the only limitation would be training and skill points.
Personally, I think I tend to fall more into the Soldier category more than anything else, and to be honest, I think people.. as they play Eve Online, a game that rewards success and punishes failure, tends to open up other mindsets for gamers who choose to put forth the effort to stick with Eve Online. That being said.. it would interesting to see what people think.