Lowsec Space and Sentry Guns
PVP in Lowsec vs 0.0
There are two key differences between lowsec and nullsec space that affect how PVP is conducted there.
One is presence of sentry guns. Sentry guns open fire on anyone who engages in aggression first and gets a Global Criminal Countdown (GCC timer for short). These guns do about 350 dps in addition to the dps your target does by firing back at you. Now you have probably seen sentries positioned around stations in 0.0. Those are pirate sentries - they belong to pirate NPC corporations - as such they don't give a damn if you start engaging killing someone on same grid. In empire space, however, sentries belong to lawful NPC corporations and will begin firing at you if you start engaging someone who is not an outlaw or who does not have a GCC going. Because of this constant sentry threat the emphasis in lowsec space is on flying big, heavily tanked ships with expensive setups.
Another important distinction is that lowsec is a bubble free zone. Anchorable, interdictor, and heavy interdictor bubbles cannot be deployed there. This does not mean that it is always safe to warp to 0m to gates in lowsec space, because smartbombing battleships still work quite well.
Global Criminal Countdown
Whenever you perform an act of aggression against another player, unless that player either has security standings of -5.0 or lower, has a Global Criminal Counter (GCC) going, or you are at war with, you'll get a GCC yourself as well as take a security hit.
The real challenge of lowsec is trying to figure out who gets GCCs, because that impacts sentry guns fire. GCC only aggros the sentry guns on you as well as CONCORD if you accidentally jump into high sec. It is not same as aggression counter you get that prevents you from docking or jumping gates. If you have a GCC, you can still jump through gates and dock.
The security hits include: -0.5% for performing the act of aggression, -2.0% for blowing up the ship if the person didn't fire back, -12.5% for podding. The the amounts above are variable. If you are in a 0.4 system, you get more of a security status hit, in 0.1 - less. Standings with CONCORD of your target impact the value as well. Once you reach -5 or lower security status the sentry guns stop protecting you, so if somebody attacks you they will not retaliate.
Sentries everywhere are the same, now matter how they look. They do the same amount of damage of the same type no matter which NPC sov it is. So if you can tank them in Amarr regions say, you can tank them anywhere with the same setup.
Sentries do all types of damage, but more thermal and kinetic. These are the stats that were posted pre-Revelations and might be changed in future patches.
EM damage: 16 - 18%
Explosive damage: 16 - 18%
Kinetic damage: 28 - 32%
Thermal damage: 28 - 32%
Damage Mod: 3.5
DPS: 176 per gun
Sentry range: 150km
So with two guns you have 352 damage points per second. If your bs can tank this kind of dps for 30 seconds without going into structure, then you will do fine with 2 sentries focusing fire on you. The guns actually switch from ship to ship every 30 seconds. Gallente HAC would be ideal for tanking because they get bonus to kinetic/thermal resistances, and also Gallente command ships. Deimos, Eos, Astarte, and Ishtar are all cool.
If other people remotely repair you or transfer you cap, because then they become criminally flagged to sentries. But you can have a person or two standing by to NOS their cap for tank. Once you run out of boosters or the other person runs out of cap, you won't be able to tank them any longer. Generally because most low sec has more than 2 guns per location, you have teams of bs and hacs do the tanking.
Most solo gate campers just rely on being able to kill the target quickly enough before the guns get them. That is why they mostly go for haulers and smaller ships. Alternatively, you can snipe outside of the sentry gun range. But you'd be able to do only limited DPS as all long range weapons do less damage than shot range. So once again you'd be limited to killing ships with fewer hp.