You queue up for the arena. A few minutes pass. Pop! The game is on: Fed vs. KDF at Cracked Planetoid. Your stomach flutters just a bit. It’s your first PvP match ever. You’ve heard people say it’s different than PvE, but how different can it really be, right? Two teams try to kill one another—just like PvE—no problem. Map transfer complete.

As you fly to the center, a target comes into firing range—an escort. “He’s mine,” you think to yourself smiling, as your fingers begin to dance across the keyboard. “Wait, I’m tractored and what is that red symbol activating over his ship?” you say out loud. “It looks familiar. Isn’t that the Greek letter alp . . . hey, where did my shields go?” Hull at 15, 10, 5, percent, boom! 30 seconds into the match and you’re a charred hulk in space. With wounded pride, you click “Respawn” and head back into the match.

All you want now is to get that guy who just blasted you. So you survey the mess of ships, pets, and warp plasma, find the escort that killed you and head straight for him. You engage and start to wear down his shields a bit and even start to eat into his hull when suddenly, his shields regenerate, his hull is fully restored, and your weapons seem useless! “What the ….!” you shout, “these are Mark XII purple consoles and fleet cannons. This guy must be cheating. And what is that blue beam coming from his teammate’s ship anyway?” A few seconds later, your enemies’ guns turn on you, smacking you down rather quickly with a one, two subnuc punch. You are dead . . . again. The same scenario repeats itself over and over for the next five minutes until the other team wins 15-0. “I hate PvP!,” you say through gritted teeth. With great exasperation, you run through the match in your mind and say to yourself, “I have the best ship Zen can buy, the best STF sets, the best consoles and weapons, the best carrier pets. I should be unstoppable.”

Sound familiar? In point of fact, this dramatic monologue is not science fiction. Based on my conversations with new PvP players and my own personal experience, this sort of frustration is quite common among STO players. I remember feeling it myself. In my early PvP days, I used to lose like this all the time. But I wasn’t losing because my opponents were cheating. I lost because my opponents were simply better players and had skills and knowledge I was lacking. It took me a while, but I slowly realized that there was a massive gap between me—the rookie—and these more experienced players. I had a lot to learn.

The time to bridge that gap is here. Have you ever wanted to experience the thrill of live team-vs.-team combat? Do you long to go head to head with other players and win—or at the very least, “go down fighting”? Have you ever wanted to push your skills and your ship to its very limits and see what crazy feats you and your teammates might accomplish? PvP Boot Camp is here to help. Boot Camp is a grassroots initiative that will help you develop your PvP skills in a friendly, safe, and fun environment. We have assembled some of the best PvP players in the game to help you bring your skills up to the next level. Coaching in small groups, helpful reading guides, sparring, skills-based education, in-depth knowledge about ship and character builds—all of these things you will find at PvP Boot Camp. Regardless of your experience, your gear, or your ship (just don’t show up in a Captain’s Yacht!), you are welcome in our ranks.

Here are some details. Boot Camp is a monthly event that will be held on Saturdays and will last for 1.5 hours. Each session will be geared around a four-step curriculum that is meant to provide you, the student, with foundational PvP skills and knowledge. You will be placed into small groups of roughly 8 students. Each group will be overseen by a head coach and sometimes even an assistant coach. The coach’s job is to help you become a better PvP player. Each session will include both instruction and sparring, so that students have the opportunity to test out their skills and knowledge. Sparring will also provide the instructor with the opportunity to fight alongside the students and provide direct feedback. Initially, space PvP will be the focus, but if we discover that enough ground PvP students sign up, then we will hold ground PvP sessions as well.

The first Boot Camp event will take place on Saturday, December 29th, 2012. In order to accommodate our global player base, two sessions will be held, one at 8pm/2000 Eastern Standard Time (click HERE to view in your timezone) and the other at 8pm/2000 Central European Time (click HERE to view in your timezone). All in all, these sessions are meant to be educational spaces where you can ask questions, obtain constructive feedback, and improve where you are weak. No “noob” is too noobish to participate in Boot Camp. Come with the gear and the ship you have. Regardless of your equipment, you are certain to learn something and grow as a player.

But perhaps you aren’t interested in becoming queen or king of the PvP arena. That’s okay too! The skills you develop in PvP are applicable across the STO universe: teamwork, cross-healing, maximizing damage, devastating builds, timing, etc. It’s no exaggeration to say that a great PvP player will make a great PvE, including STFs, teammate. So even if you don’t want to dominate the PvP arena, Boot Camp will help you in all combat situations.

If the personal rewards of Boot Camp weren’t enough, PWE/Cryptic is also providing a number of in-game incentives to players who participate in Boot Camp. Here is the rundown. First off, every student who signs up for the first Boot Camp in December will have his/her name entered into a drawing for the opportunity to go head to head with the don of DPS himself, STO’s very own Community Manager, BranFlakes (hold your applause, please). You never know what other devs might show up with him! Students who complete the four-stage curriculum will receive a Boot Camp Pack as a graduation gift. The pack includes a unique title (“PvP Boot Camp Graduate”) and a free respec token. This graduation pack will allow you not only to show off to the universe that you are a Boot Camp grad, but also to apply the knowledge you have learned in a brand new spec of your character.

If you are ready to take your game to the next level, sign up for the first Boot Camp event (Dec. 29th, 2012) using the following forum post. If you are interested in gaining access to even more resources, consider registering on the PvP Boot Camp website, created by @drkfrontiers. As Boot Camp grows, you will begin to see PvP resources like ship builds, tactical guides, etc.  There is also an affiliated tournament, run by @pascalb1, which you and your team can participate in. Please take advantage of these resources. If you are a fleet leader and are interested in helping us promote PvP Boot Camp, please contact me (Sargon) directly at

In the weeks leading up to the launch of Boot Camp on December 29th, you might see players with “PvP Boot Camp” in their ship names. If you do, feel free to PM them and ask them questions. These people are skilled players who are eager to help you become the best PvP player you can be.

Remember one thing, great PvP players do not fall from the sky. Greatness in the PvP arena comes with time, patience, and a willingness to learn. Let us help you achieve your PvP goals at Boot Camp.

Sargon, PvP Boot Camp Project Leader
Ships: I.K.S. PvP Boot Camp 1 (Fleet Negh’Var) and U.S.S. PvP Boot Camp 1 (Vesta)
Author, Warrior’s Way at Priority One Podcast
Fleet Affiliations: The 300 (KDF), -x-treme (KDF), and 110th (Fed)

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