PVPing Better by Asking Better Questions

Way back in my early days of learning how to PVP by losing countless Taranis Interceptors, I used a few tools to help me learn my craft.

  1. Repetition - Golf, Surfing, Martial Arts, Typing, and just about everything else you do is improved by repetition. Repetition creates Instincts by creating Muscle Memory and Faster Mental Reactions. Repetition cannot be given it must be practiced. Which is why you see Kung Fu Masters in movies tell their students to do something over and over for some crazy amount of times. Repetition creates Masters.
  2. Analysis - While I was losing several Taranis' a night, I was also stopping after every fight and analyzing every aspect of the fight. What went well, what went wrong, what could I have done better, etc. Once I started recording my Fights this became MUCH easier and more effective.
  3. A Plan - Early on it was very difficult to learn which ships did what and what my tactics should be for each ship I fought against. So I created a Cheat Sheet by using EFT + Killboards to find the most popular fits for each ship then figure out a way to beat them. The finished product was a list of every ship I wanted to fight against and instructions on how to fight them so for every fight I would look at the paper on my desk and follow the Plan. Many of my Guides include Cheat Sheets to help players like the Frigate PRO Guide and Wolf PRO Guide however I suggest players use those as a starting point and update them as they go with new ships and new tactics.

The key to finding a plan to was by changing the way I thought about PVP...

When I first started I constantly heard people say things like "You can't kill a Taranis with a Claw" or "You can't kill a Harbinger with a Taranis" and so on. At first I accepted these things as truth even though they were Unnecessary Constraints to my thinking.

Later I discovered a cool thing about the way the brain works at a deep level. The brain likes to work on things in the background without you knowing it. If you have a problem or you're trying to find a solution then your brain will work on it long after you stop thinking about.

This is why we hear stories from people who say they had the idea in a dream or the solution came to them while they were driving. Often they say it just came from no where. A burst of creativity and genius.

In truth the brain had been secretly working on solutions for the problem without your knowledge.

So the question is how do you get your brain to find solutions?

The most important thing is to not put any limitations on it. When you say something can't be done you are telling your brain it's not a problem that can be solved, and therefore it shouldn't work on it.

Instead the best way to find a solution is by asking questions. Instead of "A Taranis can't kill a Harbinger" ask yourself "How can a Taranis kill a Harbinger?"

Do you see how one leads to an end of thought and the other leaves an open loop?

Your brain HATES open loops.

An old Marketing trick is to use Open Loops to get people to respond to email or physical mail.

For example, Marketers who were looking to sell a Restaurant their Marketing Packages and Consulting would send a mail asking "Do you do Parties?" and nothing else.

If you were to add "Because I am an expert at getting people to book their parties with you instead of your competitor!" then you have closed the loop and the prospect losses interest.

But the open loops creates a whole new set of thought patterns like:

  • Who is this?
  • Does he want to book a Party (because parties are very profitable for restaurants)
  • Do I know this person?

As a result you get an almost Guaranteed response which invests the prospect in the process and increases the chances you will get a new client.

This works the same way when you do it to your self. When catch your self and change all of your barriers into questions you soon find the barriers start to disappear.

For example, a Taranis pilot who believe it's impossible to kill a Harbinger will just avoid the fight. While someone who asks themselves how to kill a Harbinger will start considering it logically and asking more questions like:

  • What are the dangers? Drones, Guns if they track me, Webs, The approach
  • How can I remove the dangers? Orbit at 500m while killing drones as quickly as possible with enough buffer to survive. Perhaps a Special Fit just for him with a AB, Tracking Disruptor, and a Scram?
  • Do I have enough DPS to break his tank? What was his fit last time he died? AAR or T2 Armor Rep?
  • Do I have enough time to kill him before he gets helps or de-aggros?
  • How can I get enough time to isolate and kill him?

You can see how these questions change your entire perception and open up a long chain of new possibilities.

Plus, if you can't solve it, your brain will continue working on it long after you stop thinking about it. So next time you catch your self saying "I can't" or "It's impossible" stop and ask your self "How could I?" instead.

About the author

In 2010 Abbadon21 was the first person to create Narrated Instructional PVP videos for EVE Online. This started a new era of EVE Online and opened up high level "PRO" PVP to everyone. Abbadon21 is also the Founder of EVEProGuides.com, which is EVE Online's oldest and most trusted source for high quality PRO Guides.