Eve is a notoriously complex game with a million different constantly changing scenarios running, colliding, and shaping each other all the time. As such, true definitions regarding subjects are tough to come by. No matter what I say about a subject, someone will pop up and disagree with me. And probably be correct. Or partially correct. Or correct under certain circumstances. Or totally wrong. And all of those outcomes can be legit.
The pure basis of a good fight in Eve is simple - an engagement in which all participants (no matter the number) feel equally capable of winning the engagement. That is pure and holy. And the sacred grail that all PvPers strive for.
Except it's bullshit. No one actually flies with that goal in mind, because it is impossible. Even in situations when I am flying the exact same ship as my opponent (which I do strive for) it isn't that clear. For one thing, I want to win every fight. So I've spent the last 12 years doing my best to become extremely good at winning fights. My opponent may or may not be so dedicated or experienced. Or I may be rusty on the ship I'm flying. Or any of a thousand other factors may be at play.
My true goal is stated clearly in the Stay Frosty Code, "I seek the respect of other space-farers through mastery of the martial skills. Knowing that the fight may be over before it has begun, I seek to engage others only on my terms."
So a truly good fight is one that I win. On my terms. And that is the most honest and true statement a Pirate/PvPer will ever say about fights in Eve Online. So tuck that one away in your pocket, because once again, things are never really that simple.
The essential disagreement among Pirate/PvP players in Eve boils down to what "on my own terms" actually means. For us in Stay Frosty it means self-determination. Every pilot determines their own definition each time they choose to undock. And they are 100% free to choose whatever path they want on that particular undock. Without judgement. From that baseline there are a million choices to be made, each one filled with its own challenges. And not everyone is comfortable with those choices.
Case in point. There is a pilot that I know who has made it his goal to eliminate the possibility of losing. He flies with at least five alts in blingy, drugged out ships with several super-caps always in reserve, ready to pounce should things take a negative turn in any given fight. On his terms means picking fights he knows he can win and ensuring that win if things go south.
And I'm sure you can recognize this choice if you've played Eve for more than five minutes. Smart-bombing gate campers, gankers, blobs, and pretty much any other style of play that strives to eliminate the odds of losing and stack the odds of winning in someone's favor. Eve is rife with these types of choices.
Sadly that line of argument also happens to be bullshit. Because, while I may not agree with those choices, I have used those choices myself at various times to ensure a win. For my side. Because I want to engage the enemy on my own terms and we've established that my terms are simple - I want to win. Why would I engage someone with the goal of losing? I wouldn't.
I do often engage with the odds of winning extremely low. I find those kinds of fights to be among the best that Eve has to offer. Winning a fight that you had no business winning is, in my opinion, one of the greatest goals a Pirate/PvPer can have. But flying like that does increase your odds of losing and having red on your kill-board. (Just look at mine!)
So let's say I go out flying in a Comet. The first fight I have is with another Comet. Most of the time I'm going to win that fight about 90% of the time, so I take it with the expectation that I will win. The other pilot is happy to have a fair engagement and we both come away thinking that was a fair fight. In the next system I see an Atron in the large and warp in to engage. (Let's assume he is fitted and doesn't have 18 WCS) My odds in this fight are nearly 100%. So while I think that is a good fight, my opponent probably doesn't agree. And so it goes. The Venure I kill in the belt? Not a good fight, but a fight that I win. The Vexor in the Medium? If I win that fight it will be fantastic for me. But that Vexor pilot will most likely be pissed off. And who can blame him? A Vexor should beat a Comet.
Over the course of a solo roam there are going to be a lot of opinions about me expressed in various fights. Some will be honest good fights and some won't be. That is just the nature of Eve. And the same goes for small gangs, medium fleets, and bigger fleets. If I'm out with my pilots and we spot a lone ship and kill it with 8 pilots, is that a bad fight? Not for us it isn't. And we still give a gf in local. But that other pilot should be angry. That totally wasn't fair.
I don't like ECM, but the other day I flew a Blackbird to kill a gate camper in Abune. Those were my terms for that engagement and it worked. The gate camper died.
Everyone in Eve is doing what I did there. Trying to ensure the ship they are flying doesn't explode. Some of us are just better at doing that than others. The choices we make to ensure that victory can vary wildly, as can the odds we are willing to accept on a case by case basis.
Which brings us ultimately to intention. And here I can only speak for myself and the pilots who choose to fly with me. Our intention is always good fights. Sometime those on the receiving end of our intentions might disagree with the results and that is totally understandable. No system is perfect. But our intention is to create content, have good fights, and enjoy playing the game we love.
And win more often than we lose. About 70% of the time in fact. (78% of the time for myself thank you very much)
A good fight in Eve is all about perception. Your perception may vary if you happen to be in your pod at the time.