Is PvP about quick thinking? Or is it more about training (deeper thought, trial and error, practice) paying off during combat? If it's one or the other, I'm hoping it's the latter, after being ganked tonight by a Sacrilege.
One of the exotic dancers on board my Thorax was inappropriately intruding into my concentration on the hunt; eventually I had to dock up in a space station in a hostile system in order to gain a measure of safety while I gave her my full attention. Big mistake. The station was full of hostile pilots, and when ultimately the dancer was dealt with and I undocked to resume my hunt, a Sacrilege was circling the station, waiting perhaps for me. Sacrileges are fearsome heavy assault cruisers, and I had no intention of messing with it. This is where my basic training came into play.
I did not panic. I sat there for a moment and considered my situation, knowing that for a few seconds I would be protected by the station's defensive shields. Any overt action on my part--whether to warp away, engage in combat, or even return to the space station--would terminate that protection. I decided my safest course of action would be to re-dock immediately; a sound decision, I still believe. Accordingly, I refrained from any hostile act against the Sacrilege, in order to avoid any sanctions from the station that would prevent me from docking. My mind set, I then issued the command to dock, simultaneously engaging my damage control system and microwarpdrive.
The Sacrilege targeted me at just that point and began his attack; lasers flashed, and a few drones began buzzing angrily around. This is where my basic training fell short.
The Sacrilege rammed me, knocking me out of docking orbit around the station. I tried warping away, but of course I was scrammed. What I should have done was probably to launch my ECM drones, hoping to break the Sacrilege's lock long enough to warp away. Instead, pushed beyond the limits of my training, I froze in the heat of my enemy's laser fire. Nudged further and further from the station, I never deployed my drones, never webbed my foe, never fired a single round of Void. I was stuck on "when planning to dock or jump, do not engage in a hostile act." I double-checked that my microwarpdrive was engaged; I issued the command to dock again and again. Sadly, what didn't work before continued not working.
Success in combat is at least as much a matter of combat experience as ship, fitting, or skills. Someday, I hope to be a veteran, seeming to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat; for now, I have to learn the lessons such a veteran would know. Tonight's personalized lesson: when jumping through a gate into a gate camp, or when undocking from a station to face a station camp, have not just one good plan, but two or three.
And don't cruise dangerous space with exotic dancers aboard.