Just some quick PvP stories for those interested.
So I went to Panjabell to do the bounty CG (I'm not a cultist, just want to see the world burn), and as far as I could tell there were more gankers there than CGers. It was dangerous!
I was attacked or interdicted half a dozen times, and avoided another half-dozen attempts. The first one was the best – me (missiles & beams Challenger fitted for some on-the-side NPC pirating) attacked by a Krait 2 right outside Moore Hub, inside the no-fire line. At first I thought I was done for – one shot from him (I think he had mostly flack cannons, and maybe some energy weapon) took my shields down, and so I tried to flee, but he hit me with an anti-FSD missile, so I turned around thinking, I'm gonna die fighting. But apparently my flying and my armor did me well, and I held up till he and his invincible shields ran out of flack ammo and missiles and I could finally flee safely. I call that a draw!
Another time outside the station I was attacked by an Asp Explorer. I thought, this will be no problem, but no, it was a big problem. Once again my shields (plain old thermo-resistant 6C) were paper and his were almost impenetrable (I think I did get them down, but he had already damaged most of my missiles to inoperability – he had some kind of corrosive missiles, and maybe flack – so I couldn't do much to him with my beams, which were also damaged). I fled to SC then dropped out so I could do some quick repairs (had no sensors), but he followed me! I couldn't see him (no sensors) but I heard someone drop out and that prop-plane put-put-put sound of a harmless AspX, and so I bumped out to another star.
The most dangerous time was returning to Panjabell with a stack of bounties. The thought of "just do it in Solo" entered my head repeatedly but I resisted. Most of the time I made it back ok, but once I was interdicted by a Chieftan with PAs and some kind of rockets. I didn't try to fight, just fled to another system. Waited a couple of minutes, then jumped back – he got me again, and this time kept me from jumping out. So I fought till my thrusters were destroyed, and he blew me up. I lost 5 million in CG bounties! And to be honest, wasn't even mad (it's just a bunch of numbers, and I was 5% closer to Dangerous regardless). Didn't let it happen again (that was my one time destroyed; finished the CG with something like 30 million).
The last time, last night I think, I got interdicted just 20 Mm from the station. I tried to escape but he had some kind of weapon that was knocking me off my trajectory, totally new to me – force shell cannon or something? I tried to fight briefly, but then his wing partner showed up, and I somehow got back into SC and made it to the station safely.
And let me say, when it comes to flying, I feel like I had all these guys (Idunno, maybe not the Asp), but the loadouts were just too imbalanced. Every time I got into it with another player my heart started racing, it's like, this is real. No single NPC pilot is a challenge anymore, and now I understand this whole PvP thing.
So as to the title: I spend 98% of my time in this game never seeing another player, and of that 2% something like 90% of it is anodyne and benign. But being able to experience these kinds of interactions, even if I'm certain to be on the losing side (for now, at least), is really thrilling. I know some of you know this and still hate the idea of it, and are Solo forever, but for those of you who've been scared off from Open by ganker stories, try sometime just leaving yourself open to it. See if you can survive, see if you can escape (and someday, if you can win).