Edited by: Skira Ranos on 30/11/2008 01:00:11
(Subsection of my piracy guide, the main post of which is located HERE
If you stumbled on this post by accident, please look at the index first and read the other posts before commenting)
Previous Section: BOOKMARKS
I – III: INTEL AND INFORMATION
THE IMPOTANCE OF INTEL
Information is the lifeblood of PvP. If you couldn't find out where the enemy was, you could never fight them in the first place. If you didn't know how much damage the opponent had taken, or how close they were to blowing up, it would be much harder to make quick and careful tactical decisions. Without the overview, it would be next to impossible to target people and sort the battlefield out. In EVE, the victor is often the one who escapes with their ship intact. With that in mind, the ability to accurate predict the outcome of a fight, and be able to quickly and easily tell when and how a tactical situation is changing (reinforcements inbound, for example) is often the difference between winning, losing, or retreating and living to fight another day. Itel also encompasses the art of finding targets to attack: without the ability to locate a target, there would be no PvP at all.
Being able to gather and assess intel and combat information is what distinguishes the clumsy from the skilled PvPer. The tools required are relatively simple to use, once learned, though difficult to master. Without assistance from someone well versed in their use, however, it can take months (if not years) of trial and error (supplemented by the occasional well-intentioned but often misinformed opinions and anecdotes of friends and corp mates) to figure out how to merely use these tools, much less perfect them. To that end, this section (and the next three following it) are dedicated to helping you locate and learn the uses of these tools.
The first tool in your intel arsenal?
Wait, what? Isn't that the name of a chat channel? Yes, yes it is. The Local chat channel, if used properly, can be one of the most important tools in the acquisition of intel. Local chat consists of everyone present (and online) in your current solar system. Unlike corporation or alliance chat, however, the instant you log on or jump into the system, your name appears on the list. No matter how hard you try, its impossible to hide your presence from local chat. As a pirate, this means its possible to tell at glance if there are any potential targets in a system. Furthermore, by clicking on “show info”, you can determine if other people in local with you are pirates, alliance PvPers, experienced carebears or noobies with a fair degree of accuracy. Local chat also provides an excellent “heads up” alert: when the number of people in local “spikes” suddenly in low sec, chances are a hunting party of some kind is coming through. If you're lucky, they will be factional warfare pilots, mercenaries, or alliance PvP with a NRDS (not red don't shoot) policy. If you're unlucky, it will be a pack of pirates, bounty hunters, or your victim's allies coming to guard them or chase you off.
Local, then, if your single most important asset. Before heading out to PvP, the local channel should be un-stacked from any other channels and dragged to where you can see it at a glance (usually right above the rest of your chat channels, in a seperate window). The press the little circle icon in the upper right hand corner to pin it in place, making it transparent as well. I CANNOT OVERSTATE the importance of this. You need to be able to see instantly when the number of people in local changes, and be able to quickly move your mouse over to “show info” on newcomers (though this part is optional, and usually only for when you're in a safe enough location that you have at least a few seconds grace).