One common theme on the EVE forums is the large number of players who do not engage in PvP. Players cite a variety of reasons, whether they are “unready”, they "don’t have the time” or it isn’t their “playstyle”. The other reason that is usually not cited is aversion to risk, which is usually covered up by one of the excuses above or a dismissal of EVE’s PvP mechanics as “too simple” or “PvP is invariably dominated by blobs regardless of where it takes place”. For the most part, these reasons have their merits - some players simply do not enjoy the prospect of losing and others may simply not have the spare time to take part in an all-night roaming op. However, one of those reasons has a tendency to stick out: "I am not ready for PvP." Many of those who cite that reason can be found running missions or incursions in T3s and faction battleships. Those are the "perpetually unprepared", those who despite having played the game for years, feel that they are not at a point where they can take part in PvP.
The notion that one needs to be “ready” to engage in PvP is trivial to disprove given the fact that one can tackle anything short of a supercarrier with a T1 frigate. This fact is usually dismissed by the “perpetually unprepared" crowd - many of them will loudly proclaim that they will never be “bound servants of the blob”, loftily placing themselves above those consider “mindless F1 monkeys”. Their goal is to start with solo PvP, despite it being a very costly exercise for an inexperienced player unless one is flying disposable ships.
The perpetually unprepared will then go one of two ways. In one, they attribute their failure to something else, whether it’s being outnumbered, local chat, bubbles, Falcons, connection lag, CCP or the Almighty’s will. They mistakenly believe that they’re fully prepared. After all, they have the skillpoints and they’re flying today’s flavor of the month, so they’re obviously the best! In the other, they revert to the “not yet prepared” phase, planning to return with more skills trained and a new flavor of the month ship.
This mentality originates in MMOs where a max-level player equipped with the best gear can effortlessly take on lower leveled players even with a rudimentary understanding of the game, a mentality incompatible with EVE’s principle of diminishing returns. This mentality also stems from PvP-oriented organizations with high skillpoint minimums in their recruitment requirements, a practice which gives players the idea that one is useless in PvP without years of skill training.
While higher skillpoints and a superior ship can generally lead to success in a one-on-one situation, player skill remains a factor. Knowing how to get out of a fight, using tools such as the map and the directional scanner, understanding your ship's capabilities and assessing your situation when engaging another player all require a thorough understanding of game mechanics and a degree of experience, which cannot be made up for with expensive ships and traded characters. These are the aspects of the game that one learns with time, aspects of the game which are rarely if ever useful in PvE and thus disregarded by most players.
Escalating Costs, Escalating Challenges
As the perpetually unprepared accumulate skillpoints and ISK, learning the ropes of PvP in a T1 frigate becomes less practical due to the way clone costs scale. While a more prudent player would train a frigate alt on a throwaway buddy invite account and join the likes of Red vs. Blue, the perpetually unprepared continue to dive into PvP situations in expensive ships with clones loaded with hardwirings before they end up joining a major nullsec alliance, deciding that they’re “not cut out for PvP” or simply unsubscribing out of boredom.
This is a mistake that many players make. Acquiring massive amounts of ISK and SP and purchasing whatever ship is the current flavor of the month does not augment one’s PvP abilities; lacking PvP experience when first flying setups only ever guarantees an expensive lossmail. Expensive ships with augmented capabilities are only more challenging to utilize to their fullest potential, and taking on new challenges is what EVE is about.