The PvP Guide
Basic information: Gang Warfare
This guide assumes you are already familiar with the basic mechanics and purpose of gang warfare. This is for people who are serious about regularly winning fights in PvP.
What you need to succeed in PvP:
1) Good stats. I'd recommend at least 15 in each stat. The more HP, the better, and Reflexes are handy for free runaways from NPCs, and fleeing when you get a bad hand of techs in PvP.
2) Healing items
3) LOTS of persistence
4) The right set of equipment. If you don't have the right set of equipment, you'd better have either the cash or patience to get them.
5) An appropriate set of skills and techs.
6) Obviously, to be in a gang. The Legion is easily the best one, though, if you want a suggestion. :)
Probably the most important thing to know about PvP is that reactive defense is king. Period. It gives excellent defense against every single damage type except for "none", which is weak, and Etheric, which can be countered another way.
Second to reactive defense is Chance of PvP Encounters. The more you have, the more PvP you'll be able to fit into your daily Energy. Chance of Combat Encounters is good to have too, since it reduces the incidence of choice and noncombat encounters.
You do NOT want Chance of Etheric Encounters active while you are Etheric, the reason being that etheric encounters in PvP Zones are usually rather useless, weak opponents who will really chew through your Energy.
Shirt, Pants and Offhands
I would recommend packing a reactive gang jacket and reactive pants (or elegantly torn pants w/ reactive patching) when you're not facing Etheric attackers. A gel shield is optimal for the offhand as well.
The Gel Shield is usually a strong offhand, but you'll want something like a black crystal orb or crystallized octopus eye for Etheric-dealing Opponents. If Energy is a concern and you want to fend off legion tract gives, Walk with the Blind is a good idea. An offense-boosting offhand, if you can one, may work wonders as well.
The hat slot is a toss up between the guard helm, filtered HUD, reactive mask or something that boosts Power, depending on who you're facing. The filtered HUD is a good general-purpose hat if you're having trouble deciding.
Weapons and Gadgets
Weapons really vary depending on your choices, of course. It's generally best to have a Chance of PvP Encounters weapon on hand, such as a Custom Weapon. Of course, anything that hits sufficiently hard enough is good. Remember, big numbers are GOOD.
Gadgets also vary. Just bring the most powerful and useful ones you have. The TZR Chipdeck is notable for both giving good melee power and with the unsettling loop and white noise producer it gives you excellent Etheric Defense as well.
Ahh, cyberware. Make sure you commit to making the most of your cyberware and only install it when serious about PvP- it's pretty costly in Body and installing and removing it gives moderate penalties for a while. Currently, the most useful ones are as follows:
The Claw/Integrated Cybergun- A good bonus for melee and ranged users, respectively.
glimmering crystal eye- Crazy difficult to make, but it's a fantastic Etheric Power bonus.
targeting cybereye- Good for ranged users, the reduced melee defense is generally covered by your reactive defense anyways, so no worries.
chameleon glands- Decent for stealth users.
adrenal pump- Very expensive, but quite powerful. Basically grants you 8 more HP and gives you a nice defensive buff sometimes. The reduced perception is of negligible impact unless you have very low stats.
corroded dermal plates - A significant source of both ranged defense and melee defense. The only penalty is to evasion power, which you won't be using in PvP anyway.
Most recommended skill picks for PvP:
On the Prowl- Incredibly useful for the Chance of PvP Encounters. However, it's really expensive to get, so only use it if you plan to not reset in a while.
Lord of Nightmares- More useful than Slave to Nightmares because it's more general purpose, it's easier to improve will than to reduce it, and because with more will comes more HP.
Ghoultouched/Kingly Favor- Either incredibly convenient food or incredibly convenient healing.
Engineer Explosives- Obviously for those who like using fire techs. If you don't use fire techs, it's a toss up between the other two skills in the Punk Uprising quest.
Ship of the Damned skill: Undead Scourge for melee specialists or Dreamslayer for Etheric users who want to add power melee into the mix. If you're not planning on much melee, get whatever you want.
Everything else, get what you think suits your playstyle.
Damage is everything. Evasion is for the most part useless because most worthy opponents in PvP hit way too hard for you to get most of it, or are likely to use damage types you can't defend against, so you're basically sacrificing a turn to take slightly less damage. Therefore, useless. On the other hand, if you kill them faster, they hit you less on account of being dead. So, offense is everything.
Now, what types of techs should you use? It depends on your Skills and playstyle. However, unless you can get a LOT of power in a single damage type, it's often best to use two types of techniques, in the event an opponent proves resistant to your main choice. Some damage types synergize well with others, as there are equipments and buffs that can increase both types. Whatever you do stay consistent when laying clones. If you use different decks while also laying PvP clones, those clones will follow your example and probably will end up using sub-optimal tactics.
-Melee techs are most accessible, and fairly powerful overall. There are a LOT of buffs that can improve melee power, as well as a lot that improve Melee Defense. Synergizes well with Stealth, Etheric. Sidenote: If you open your chains with melee, back it up with a LOT of melee power, as clashing blow is very popular as an opener.
-Ranged techs are somewhat more versatile than melee and synergizes well with Stealth, Fire and Etheric, but a bit hard to buff up on when you need an offensive boost (and harder to defend against as well).
-Fire techs are even more difficult than ranged to properly power up or defend against. Still, fire is quite reliable if you can get enough Fire Power and Engineer Explosives.
-Stealth techs are similarly hard to buff/defend against, but don't hit very hard. However, they do have useful stunning techs included in there. Not very popular in PvP, I'd recommend only picking the stunning techs and using the other tech types with the rest. Synergizes with Melee, Ranged, and Etheric.
-Etheric techs are incredibly powerful, totally ignoring reactive defense and hitting the hardest out of anything, period. However, its main drawbacks are that it requires careful maintenance of Etheric energy, that etheric encounter NPCs are very annoying, and it's easy for enemies to get a lot of Etheric Defense with the right outfit. These drawbacks are mitigated if you combine Etheric another type of tech, and such a setup can prove very dangerous in the right hands. Synergizes with Melee and Stealth.
-None type techs (other than Pyrophobia, Channel Inspiration and Trash Simulacrum, which are really hybrid techniques) deal pathetic damage. Skip.
As a general rule, you basically want whatever deals as much damage as possible, as reliably as possible. Keep in mind that fights in PvP rarely last beyond the third pass, so you want to "front-load" your damage and put out as much as possible in your first few techs.
If you can also reduce your enemy's damage-dealing while attacking, that's a big plus. Therefore, techs such that simultaneously attack and defend, such as
bullet for ginn
bullet for surt
bullet for ymir
lethal resolve (with Cold Depths)
and techs that reliably stun, such as
are definitely the most useful in PvP and should be prioritized over others.
Southside fortifications are general purpose. Use whatever. Barrel trap is nice for spiting enemies.
Waterfront: Incoming Shipment will drain your opponent's energy (great for spiting), stacked crates is good for if you're using chain 9 techs and descending down, and experimental drugs is a general-purpose deal.
Sewers: Narrow tunnels is good if you're using chain 0 or 1 techs, and sabotage valve will severely blunt ranged, fire and some stealth techniques while improving Etheric attacks.
Quad: Call the rave improves Etheric attacks, stage a bust is general purpose IF you bring an air filter. Call the punks is questionable, considering that your opponent ought to be dead or nearly-dead by the time you manage to get unopposed attacks on them.
Remember that some fortifications can be used against incautious defenders. Narrow tunnels and incoming shipment in particular, because defenders who use techs that are not sufficiently long/short ranged can be defeated if you select attacks that use the narrowness/longness against them. ie. defender with Stacked Crates uses chain 7-6-5-4, so you use 9-8-7-6 and win.
See Unearthly item Buying Guide for details.