This article explains the complicated and somewhat obscure flagging system in EVE. The article explains the effect of gangs and player actions on flagging. The effects of flagging, attack rights and side effects, are discussed.
More on aggression in AggressionCountdown
and more on security and aggression in RulesOfEngagement
On this page:
What is flagging?
'Flagging' refers to a player becoming a legal target for another player or an npc. Whether or not someone or something can attack a pilot depends on whether the proper 'flags' have been set. Flagging can also have some other side effects.
Flagging can occur from a pilot to another pilot, a corporation, an alliance or everybody, for each case of flagging.
If you're not interested in the details, stop reading here and just remember that anyone flashing red in the overview (if you didn't adjust your settings) is a legal target and nobody else. It's not that simple, but it covers 90% of the cases and won't get you killed, barring overview bugs.
When am I allowed to attack?
Often, but not always, a pilot will have a special icon or background color in the overview, if and when you are allowed to attack (assuming you have these colors turned on in your overview settings, like they are by default). You can be allowed to attack another pilot for a large number of reasons:
When a war is in effect between your corporation (or alliance) and the corporation (or alliance) of another pilot, you are allowed to attack. The pilot will have a special marking (red background color by default). All pilots in both corporations (alliances) will be flagged to the other corporation (alliance).
War in a gang
If a pilot joins a gang with a pilot whose corporation is at war with yours, you are allowed to attack them both. However, they are not allowed to attack you first
! The pilots in the gang will not appear special in your overview. Your enemies will show as normal war targets. In other words, joining a gang gets a pilot flagged as a target for all the members of the corps (alliances) gangmembers are at war with.
This leads to a dangerous possible exploit
: if two pilots are at war with eachother, but form a gang together, they can invite you and both of them will have the right to attack you, even though you do not have the right to attack them. They will both show as normal gang members in overview (purple star by default).
If the pilot is an outlaw, i.e. their security status
is -5.0 or worse, you are allowed to attack them anywhere. Note that this has nothing to do with bounties. Bounties do not affect flagging at all. An outlaw will have a special marking (flashing red by default). Outlaws are flagged to everybody.
Note: pilots marked for low security (below 0.0 security status) will appear with special marking (yellow by default) but you are not allowed to engage them.
If the pilot performed an act of aggression against you or an object in space you own (like a container or a POS), an aggression timer will start and for 15 minutes, you will be allowed to attack them. The pilot will be only flagged to you if you were attacked; if the pilot attacked your container, they will be flagged to everyone; if they attack a corp structure (like a POS module or tower) they will be flagged to your entire player corporation1
Acts of aggression are any acts that 'hurt' your ship (or the object). So, damaging, scrambling, webbing, jamming, disrupting, draining, nossing and painting are all acts of aggression. Targetting, scanning and aiding (see below) are not. An aggressor will have a special marking (flashing red by default, same as -5.0 security status outlaws).
Note: if you defend yourself, you are also commiting acts of aggression, just not illegal ones. This does void any kill rights you would have gotten if the aggressors kill you.
If a pilot picked up something from your jettisoned container, or a loot container dropped by an npc you killed, this also starts the 15 minute aggression timer. The container will have appeared yellow to the pilot at the time. If you are in a player corporation1
, this also applies when the pilot takes something from containers of your corporation members. The pilot will have a special marking (blinking red background color by default, same as -5 security status outlaws). The pilot is flagged to you and all your player corporation members.
Note that getting into someone's ship after they eject from it is not theft.
Your player corporation members
If a pilot is in the same player corporation1
as you are, you are allowed to attack them. The pilot will appear with special markings (green star by default). Note that many corporations frown upon non-consensual combat between members. You could say all player corporation members are flagged to eachother.
If a pilot (or group of pilots) manages to destroy your ship as a result of an illegal attack and you did nothing aggressive to defend yourself, you will get kill rights on them, that is all of the pilots that are mentioned in the kill mail. For 30 days, you will be allowed to attack without penalty (until you succeed in destroying their vessel). Kill rights are listed in your character sheet. The pilots will be flagged to your personally for 30 days.
Note: it is currently unknown how this pilot is displayed in your overview. Also, it is unclear how this affects their gang members if they have any.
Flagging and gangs
Contrary to popular belief, being in a gang does not convey special rights or rules for combat. If a pilot steals from your gang member, you are not allowed to attack the thief. If your gang member then fights the thief, which he is allowed to do, you are still not allowed to attack the thief. Only if the thief does something foolish, like attacking other players than the can owner(s), then you can attack them.
The only effect of the gang on flagging at this moment, is that being in a gang with someone who is at war, puts you at risk of getting shot by their enemies.
have an effect on theft though. Taking items from containers that were jettisoned by a gang member or that dropped from ships killed by a gang member is legal. When in doubt, check the color of the container: if it is yellow, it's not legal to take. If it is white, you can take it.
If a gang member docks or leaves the solar system, this doesn't break the gang connection. You can still take the contents of their containers. If they log off or otherwise leave the gang, you won't be able to take the contents of their containers, unless they rejoin the gang first.
Side effects of flagging
Apart from allowing players to attack you, getting flagged can have additional effects.
Docking and jumping
Even if you didn't initiate hostilities, if you commit an act of aggression (no matter its legality), there is a 2 minute timeout (more or less) before you are allowed to dock or jump through a gate. If someone attacks you, but you just flee and commit no acts of aggression, you can dock and jump normally.
Illegal acts of aggression
If you commit an act of aggression against a target that you weren't allowed to attack, you will lose some security status. -0.5% for initiating an illegal attack, -2.5% for destroying a ship in such an attack, -12.5% for any pod you destroy (unless you are at war with the target, or the target is an outlaw).
The percentage reflects how much you lose, relative to how much you are over -10.0. For instance, if you are at 3.1 security, you are 13.1 over -10.0. So, attacking an innocent would result in a loss of 0.0655 security (the number in the game is rounded for display, but stored as a real value). If you then destroy their ship, you lose another 0.356 security. In other words, the higher your security, the greater the loss.
In systems of security 0.1 and over, you will lose security as described, but if you are in range of any sentry guns, they will fire upon you as well. In systems of security 0.5 to 1.0, CONCORD will arrive immediately and fire upon you, it is nearly impossible (and not allowed) to flee from CONCORD, unless you are an outlaw and not allowed to travel in the system
In 0.0 space, there is no law and the term 'illegal aggression' is therefore meaningless. Anyone is allowed to attack anyone, without consequences for security. However, the docking and jumping side effect still applies for aggressive acts.
Note: theft is formally not
illegal. CONCORD won't interfere, security status is not affected. Citizens of EVE are perfectly protected from theft, unless they purposefully leave their belongings behind. Either by ejecting from a ship or by jetissoning cargo from their holds. When such theft does occur, the only consequence is that CONCORD allows the victim to take the right into their own hands.
If you engage NPCs or their structures, this will start an aggression timer for 15 minutes, just as when engaging players. Members and structures of that npc faction will now automatically open fire on you if you get near enough. You can tell what faction is 'aggressed' towards you by hovering your mouse pointer over the aggression timer
Engaging npcs is not illegal though and CONCORD will not intervene. You may lose standing towards the faction whose npcs or structures you attacked.
Aiding a flagged pilot
If you provide any type of aid to a flagged pilot, you will receive the same flags for 15 minutes since the last act of aid. For example, if you aid a pilot at war, their enemies will be allowed to attack you. If you aid a criminal (illegal aggression or -5.0 security status), you are considered a criminal and their victims are allowed to fire at you as will CONCORD and sentry guns in the proper systems.
Shield transferring, remote repairing, remote sensor boosting, drone repairing, etc. are all forms of aiding. Basically any activity that 'heals' or 'improves' your target's ship are a form of aiding.
'player corporation' does not include npc corporations, like the start corporations or the corporations you end up in when you quit a player corporation.
Current EVE version
: 2.09.3913 (Bloodlines)