Eve is famously a game of consequences. People carve out empires and reputation over the bloody broken husks of their opponents' destroyed ships. And most importantly you lose everything when you die in pvp.
At least that's what people say...
It doesn't have to be true, with some clever gaming you can pvp without consequence particularly if you're new.
Now let's hope to win but plan to lose and design a character setup and a ship fit that can cope with disaster.
Section 1: Implants and cloning.
A big cost of dying in Eve is losing your implants. Most people regard implants as basically necessary since they help you skill up faster.
There are several ways to not lose implants in pvp.
First make sure you understand how to not get podded. In your Eve interface right click on the Overview tab, where it says DEFAULT. Pick Add Tab. Call it PANIC. Click on your new tab. Right click on the little arrow next to the word OVERVIEW. Open Overview settings. In Filters Tab, Types sub-tab Deselect All. Under Celestial tick Planet and Sun. Close. Right click on the little arrow next to the word OVERVIEW. Pick Save Current Type Selection As... Call it PANIC. Go back to your normal overview, you may need to select whatever it is you usually like to notice.
In a fight once you realise you are going to lose your ship, get as much distance from the opponent as you can (point away from him, set full speed and turn afterburner/microwarp drive on) pick anything off your PANIC tab and mash the warp to button. Mid warp open People and Places and Add Bookmark. As soon as you come out of warp warp back to your bookmark just in case someone followed your pod.
Another way to not lose implants is the use of Jump Clones. You will need standings of over 8.0 with a NPC corp. You will also need the skill Infomorph Psychology, you can make one jump clone per rank in this. A jump clone is a temporary You which doesn't have your implants in so you can go nuts with it and when it dies you don't lose that expensive cyberware. In fact if you get podded you just appear back in your body.
An alternative method is the low skill pvp alt. When you get podded you have to re-clone and it makes pvp expensive... unless you have under 900 thousand skill points. If you have under 900 000 skill points then the basic Clone Grade Alpha which everyone gets after a podding is all you ever need. So you have a low skill pvp character (ideally you skip learning skills since they fill up your 900K quota with stuff that isn't about killing) and once you're skilled up you train the other guys on this account and never train skills. You can actually be a pretty nasty frigate pilot with 900K skills and never need to worry about cloning or jump clones or whatever.
Section 2: Your ship
Part 1: Trading
The key element to keeping cost down is buying effectively. Purchasing is a genuine skill in Eve and most players aren't very good at it.
Buy at Jita on Buy Orders with an alt. Plan in advance so you have a stockpile of expendable ships and have buy orders for more ships and modules. For instance the ship I'm going to show you later needs 10 buy orders which you can get by training the Trade book you get in the noob tutorial to level 2. Remember not to train this on your pvper if you are keeping under 900K skill points. To place a buy order click Market in the Neocron or Station Services, search or browse to your item, look at it in the details tab. Click the Price column in the Buyers section to sort so that the highest price is at the top. Place a Buy Order that is 0.1 isk higher than the current highest. A lot of times you won't get your order filled as people overcut you but this is why you need to plan in advance. If you have 8 Punishers ready for action who cares if you don't fill your order for 8 more? Just keep overcutting once a day until you get your stuff.
On your Buy Orders set range to Station and duration to 3 months and tick Remember Settings. Don't screw this up or you'll be flying around for hours collecting your stuff.
You may find it helpful to open your Wallet at the ORDERS tab. This means you can see your orders in one window and the market details in another at the same time.
It's also helpful to right click each item and add to market quickbar. Do manually check from time to time, just because a module is cheap now may not mean that it will always be.
Now a word about modules. Many modules are cheaper for the meta 1 or meta 2 named than for the basic vanilla version. At the time of writing the price of buying on .01 isk overcuts at Jita (16th Jan 2010) Small Nosferatus is as follows:
Small Nosferatu I (8 energy, 5500m range,requires 8 grid) = 24200.03 isk
Meta level 1 small Nos (8 energy, 5775m range, requires 8 grid) = 3700.01 isk
Meta level 2 small Nos (8 energy, 6050m range, requires 8 grid) = 4002.34 isk
Meta level 3 small Nos (9 energy, 6325m range, requires 9 grid) = 45555.02 isk
Meta level 4 small Nos (9 energy, 6600m range, requires 9 grid) = 526012.34 isk
Small Nosferatu II (9 energy stolen, 6600m range, requires 10 grid) = 700827.44 isk
Notice that the second and third ones are cheaper and better than the first option. There's no downside here. People are simply buying and using the wrong choice.
This helps us outfit our cheap pvp ship because several of our modules are better and cheaper than regular starter stuff.
Part 2: The Build
3 Light Ion Blaster 1s with 300 Antimatter S for each
Small "Knave" 1 Energy Drain
Fleeting Progressive Warp Scrambler 1
Monopropellant 1 Hydrazine Boosters
Damage Control 1
Small Inefficient Armour Repair Unit
Dual-sheathed Adaptive Nano Plating 1
100mm Reinforced Nanofiber Plates 1
Total cost of insured ship = 315,394.86 isk
Insurance payout = 287,500 isk
Cost per ship lost 27,894.86 isk
I could have gone a little cheaper but if both the meta 1 and the meta 2 were really cheap I forked out a couple of thousand extra for the meta 2.
Another cheap and really dirty variant is the hull repairing Punisher. The trick here is that most even fights will put you into structure fairly fast at which point your opponent will believe he has won. His frigate won't quite get the kill on yours though because you have high resists and hull repair but no one ever, ever, leaves a frigate v frigate fight if they got the opponent down into structure. Also no one does it so the modules are dirt cheap.
I'm going to test drive a few now, expect a follow-up post with some anecdotes and tactical analysis in the next few days.