PVP stands for player vs. player. It is what happens when two or more players, instead of slaughtering the local wildlife, decide to slaughter each other. Strategies are often different than those used against computer-based opponents, as human opponents may use strategies, act unpredictably, or go out of their way to counter your strategies, things that computer opponents rarely do.
There are a few different situations during which PVP combat can take place.
- Duels. Two players can challenge each other to a duel, at which point they will be able to fight one another.
- Rebel/Imperial overt agents. Overt Imperials can attack overt Rebels, and vice versa (see the Missions and Factions section for details). When you are killed while overt, you will come back covert.
- Battlefields. Battlefields are special areas which, upon entering, you pick a side to fight on. After you pick a side, you will be in PVP mode as long as you are in the battlefield area. Don't worry--battlefields are very clearly marked.
The melee-based fighter in a PVP match will always be at a severe disadvantage, when compared to a ranged opponent. As a result, you will always need to play smarter than your opponent, or force them to do things that they would otherwise not want to do, in order to win. After all, if they can move just as fast as you, and can shoot while they move, then you will continually be chasing them until you die.
If you are fighting against a ranged opponent then the best thing that you can do for yourself is to, if possible, force your opponent to fight you indoors. Whether this means only challenging people when you are inside a building, or starting the fight outside and then running inside, that is up to you. Naturally, this suffers from the problem that your opponent may simply wait for you outside a building, or simply get more people to come in after you, so be careful when you try this tactic.
If you do have to fight your opponent in the open, however, you will most definitely want to first select them, then type '/follow' in order to ensure that you are always near them. This will keep you close, but not overly close. Close enough, however, that you should be able to use your longest-ranged attack to hit them, the Jab. It would be nice if Star Wars Galaxies introduced a '/stick' command that would keep you right next to someone, but that may have to wait for another patch...
Fighting in PVP against an opponent that is another Melee-based opponent is an entirely different matter, and will typically depend solely on who has the better armor (you will want chitin) and who has the best pair of vibro knuckles. Yes, tactics will come in handy, but they are a distant second to damage output and damage absorption, especially since you will be face-to-face with them the entire time, and as a result will not be able to maneuver much, without inviting your opponent to hit you.
If you do have some sort of a ranged weapon on you, such as a CDEF carbine, then pulling that out and trying to kite against another ranged opponent can often work quite well, but take care when doing such a thing, as they may be prepared for that.
There are two types of PVP combat you will engage in against other players: battles against ranged fighters, and battles against melee fighters. Both are handled very differently.
When fighting a melee fighter, you have an advantage, but must still be careful. When it comes right down to it, he has to be close to hit you, and you have to be distant to hit him. You will want to keep away, and he will want to get close. A good brawler only needs to get close once; upon closing on you, they will hit you hard with one or two disabling shots, forcing you to the ground for a few seconds. By the time you can get up, you will be dead. If you stay away, you will win; if you get close, he will win.
For these reasons, pick your fights with care. Do not start a fight with a brawler inside a building; there isn't enough room to run. A good brawler will not chase you endlessly in a straight line, as he knows he is unlikely to catch up. If your opponent runs, he may be trying to lure you into a dead end or into a close series of alleys. Likewise, do not follow a brawler into a building during a fight. If you lose track of your opponent, it may be because he is trying to get you to come looking for him in a close environment. Walk around a corner he is hiding behind, he gets that one hit he needs, and you get to visit the cloning facility.
If your marksman also has some scout experience, and your opponent does not, you have a huge advantage. Run for the cliffs. Scouts can move much faster up cliffs than non-scouts. Run up a cliff, still attacking. You will gain a huge lead on your opponent. When he gets close, run back down. If he follows you, run back up. If he does not follow you, give him some blaster holes.
Fighting against another marksman is much more difficult. Unless one of you has a huge advantage in weaponry, armor, or skill, you will both be using the same tactics against each other.
Do what you can to stay at your ideal range while denying your opponent his. If you have a pistol and he has a rifle, you can fight closer, and hit better while moving. If you have a rifle and he has a carbine, you will have the advantage in a long-distance, stationary fight. Keep in mind, though, that he may carry several weapons. Close on a rifleman and he may pull out his own pistol.
Know your special attacks well. This is the biggest secret. Pay attention to your opponent's HAM bars. If one is significantly smaller than the others, then that is your opponent's weakness. If he has a small mind bar, or is using lots of attacks that are draining his mind, go for mind attacks; if he has a small health bar, go for health attacks. If they are all about equal, go for what you are best in (and remember that it is generally easiest to damage their health). Intersperse these attacks with attacks designed to stun and disable your opponent.
At the same time, be wary of draining your own HAM bars with special attacks. A good opponent will surely notice and use it against you.
PVP is about combat; support professions are not. Unless you have a combat profession to fall back on, you will get eaten alive in most one-on-one PVP combat. In a group PVP situation, like a battlefield or an overt Rebel/Imperial fight on the other hand, you will be just as useful as in a non PVP group, perhaps even more so. Do the same thing you would there--heal the brawlers, stay alive, and add a bit of damage if you get the opportunity. Be warned, though, that human opponents are smarter than AI opponents, and the medics are likely to be the first targets for the enemy marksmen!