Monday, 7 November 2011

Killmail etiquette

This is a post that I've been meaning to put up for a while, as a result of discussions I've had with other pvpers, both in corp and out. None of my comments are directed at anyone in particular.

Killmail whoring. It's an ugly term for an ugly practice, but we've all done it. We all like being on killmails. We all like seeing our Battleclinic rating and our combat efficiency go up. So we all like to get in on low risk killmails, even if we didn't really "earn" it.

Because we all do it, we also all tolerate it, to one extent or another. Still, there's a line out there somewhere, and when a fellow pilot starts crossing that line on a regular basis, resentment starts to build. Here's my take on the "unspoken rules" of killmail whoring.

1) You need unequivocal approval to join any one on one fight.

Nothing pushes a pvper like a straight up 1v1; these are the fights we all dream of, the fights where you learn and grow as a pilot, win or lose. These fights are also rather hard to come by, so having someone jump in uninvited deprives you of a great experience, a valuable learning opportunity, and an attractive killmail.

Furthermore, interrupting these fights tarnishes your reputation, your corp mate's reputation, and your corporation's reputation; your victim will never believe that your intervention was not by design, so don't intervene lightly.

For these reasons, always get express permission before interrupting a 1v1. Simply asking if they want backup will do the trick. If they say "yes", you're in the clear. If they say "no", leave them be.

2) You need tacit approval before joining any fight where the target needed to be brought to battle (scanned down, bubbled, bait, etc).

Even if the fight is not going to be 1v1, someone put a fair amount of work into finding this fight. While they may well welcome assistance, you should make your intentions clear in plenty of time for them to object.

Usually, the easiest way to do that is to join their fleet and ask where you should be ("you want my Malediction on the gate, right?"). You've given notice of your intentions, and if anyone feels strongly, they have a chance to object.

3) If there has been a public call out, you are generally free to jump in...

If they didn't want company, they would not have advertised the fight on vent or in chat. Still, good manners suggests publicly signalling your intentions as early as possible. Again, this gives people the chance to object if they feel strongly ("Actually, it looks like we've got enough people right now")

4) ... unless the fight is nearly over by the time you get there.

When three frigates have nearly downed a battlecruiser, I guarantee you that none of the pilots will be pleased when you show up and open fire as the last sliver of structure disappears. It was a tough fight, and the killmail no longer shows that, especially if you are flying a heavier class of vessel.

Don't even ask. Be a man and help them try and point the pod. There will be other fights.

Politeness will probably push your corp mates to offer you a slice of the loot. Bow out; they'll respect you more for it.

5) Be a rain maker.

Some pilots are alpha hunters. They actively seek out targets and are very, very good at finding them. To a certain extent, the Tuskers (by virtue of their recruitment process) are all alpha hunters (although I'm more than happy to accept that certain members of the corp stand out above the rest).

However, many corps also have another kind of hunter - beta hunters. These guys spend most of their time in station or in safes, but are always happy to lend a hand when a fight is found. There's nothing wrong with being one of these guys (and it has nothing to do with pvp skill), but try to make sure that you are providing the corp with a fair share of kills, and, by extension, your fellow pilots with a fair share of killmails.

Of course, these are just my own views, and they are very general; the specifics of any given situation (or set of personalities) may well override them. Feel free to add your own views, rules, or guidance in the comments.


  1. I agree with you on this one. We all have km whores. My corpmates are usually good and sometimes we will hold a pod for everyone to get on it. Alliance not so good some guys even put sensor boosters just to get on the km. lame.

  2. I wish I had this yesterday as a guy in an Imperial Navy Slicer jumped in and took my kill after I engaged and was killing a Thorax in my Vengeance. I think I will send it to him in-game. Love the blog!

  3. Good day, Taurean Eltanin:

    Thank you for another well written post.

    I've been guilty in the past of just jumping in thinking I was actually helping; but with some nudges (some of them slaps), I've learned to ask first.

    The other thing, indirectly related to your article, is when you see a fellow alpha hunter (I think I'm a mix of alpha and beta for the moment) in a system, I've learned to ask if they mind if I am in the system or should I move on.

    Thank you.

  4. Good points. I will say though this is less valid in 0.0 where you just want stuff to die. Yeah we care about our kill boards, but if they're in our systems they need to die.

  5. Taurean! Hey, love the blog. I've read the whole thing in the past few weeks. I remember reading about a corp that lets you join to get jump clones. Can you tell me which one that was? Might be nice to have links like this somewhere. (along with rvb, eve uni, or any other useful corps or websites that we find helpful) Keep up the blogging, love your style.

  6. I found myself remembering this post while engaging the some targets the other day. Some alpha hunters had managed to tackle something or other, and reported the tackle in local. I made haste as a beta hunter to go help, but ended up contributing nothing except for drawing some AC fire from the target in question because I was AB fit in null >_< .

    So here's a question: what kind of hunter waits for targets to come to him? I find myself doing this alot. In a sense, it's alpha hunting because I'm not waiting for others to engage, but on the other it's beta hunting because I don't have to do the work of finding a target. I exhibit this behavior quite often in 1DH when TEST/GOONS/FA/FCON/BL are headed our way.

    I have to agree with Rail J'kar though. You find a target, if a ton of people are killing it, you join in. I think it's just expected behavior in null at this point where no one even thinks about it or takes offense.

  7. In 1dh, shoot everything that isn't blue! LOL.