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Survival in EVE

EVE is a dangerous place. Unless you are docked, you are ALWAYS at risk of losing your ship.
The most important things to help you survive in EVE are knowledge of the game and its mechanics, and finding a corp, so you can play with other people and don't have to do everything on your own.
Joining a corp can improve your EVE experience a lot, so consider doing it as early as possible in your career. There are corporations and alliances (like BRAVE) who will accept you without any experience or knowledge about the game and help you grow as a pilot.

Criminal Timers

There are a number of different timers in EVE that change who can aggress you (and who you can aggress). It pays of to be aware of how they work. Here is a good text on them by E-Uni

High Sec

High Sec systems have a security rating between 1 and 0.5. In these systems you are relatively safe (compared to less secure space), but the NPC police in EVE punishes pirates (by blowing their ships up) only after you have been agressed, so you are likely to lose your ship even with their intervention.

To avoid getting killed in High Sec, you can do a few things to improve your chances, like:

  • not using the auto pilot. Some people in EVE dislike it and will kill you simply because you have it active. (Also it makes your journeys a lot longer than they have to be)
  • being careful when carrying expensive stuff (don't carry 100m ISK in your T1 industrial)
  • be aware of the mechanics in High Sec. There's stuff you can't touch and some people will use it as bait, while some of your stuff might not be as secure as you may think.

Low Sec

Low Sec systems have a security rating between 0.4 and 0.1. In these systems, you are not protected by CONCORD, however there are sentry guns at stations and gates in Low Sec. These guns will shoot people who illegaly aggress other ships close to them, but a prepared attacker won't be stopped by them. In asteroid belts, cosmic anomalies and signatures you can be attacked without any intervention from concord or these sentries (and people WILL attack you)

To be (somewhat) safe in Low Sec, you have to be significantly more careful than in High Sec. Things to remember/watch out for are

  • People will hunt you and kill you, no matter what ship you are in.
  • Watch out when travelling in small, fragile ships. Some people like to camp gates in battleships with smartbombs and they can kill you easily if you are in a shuttle or a pod and even many T1 frigates won't survive their damage. To avoid this, don't directly warp to gates, make bookmarks on the grid of the gate (if it's a common route for you).
  • There will be gate camps. Here's an excelent flow chart for these.
The most important thing about surviving gate camps: STAY CALM!
  • Use D-Scan whenever you are undocked.
  • Watch out for combat scanner probes on your d-scan
  • Be aligned to something whenever you are in space

Null Sec

Null Sec does not offer any protection other than what you or your friends can provide for. Systems in Null Sec have a security status of 0.0 or lower.This means there is no NPC police, no sentries, only other people who will try to kill you and sometimes will be willing to invest a lot of effort into killing you.

Anyone who isn't part of your corporation, alliance or fleet will try to kill you, so watch out. There's also some mechanics in Null Sec that don't exist in Low or High Sec, like bombs and bubbles. This wiki has a guide dedicated to Null Sec.

Wormhole Space (J-Space)

Wormholes connect the “normal” systems of New Eden to the wormhole systems. They are often collectively referred to as “J-Space” since the system names all start with a J followed by a number. In J-Space you do not show up in local chat unless you speak, so it is impossible to tell if you are alone in system or if there is a cloaked ship there, waiting for you. With the exception of There, there are no stations in J-Space, only POSs and Citadels. The systems also do not have stargates, so the only way to travel through them is by finding (scanning down) wormholes. E-Uni has a good article on Wormholes.