It's bound to happen, whether you are in high sec, low sec or null sec. The WarDec (slang for War Declaration) is brought upon your Corporation and you now have to prepare for it. Your first WarDec is a tricky thing, especially if you are new to Eve Online and the gauntlet of emotions will run through you, starting with enthusiasm, going through frustration, boredom and back to excitement. This article focuses on a WarDec in low security space and as-is the nature of war, may or may not apply to your particular conflict. There are some tidbits here that should apply to every first time wartime pilot.
For our corporation and alliance, our WarDec happened because we let the wrong people into the alliance. Coming to us in the disguise of offering training in PvP to our new pilots and offering some additional protection in our low security systems we control, within a week spies were implanted into our organization and they withdrew from the Alliance and WarDec'd us. That was the first wave of emotion to hit the Corporation and myself: anger. In a nutshell, these were experienced PvP pilots and many of us are on the newer side of EVE. We had presented ourselves as a target and would now have to pay the price.
Underestimation in an Eve War situation can lead to chaos, poor planning and kill mails - not necessarily in your favor either. After the initial shock that within 24 hours we would be at war with a more experienced, if smaller corporation, it was decided to give them a war of denial. Our non combat pilots left our home system to points throughout New Eden, most of us with a rule of thumb of at least 15 jumps and for many of us 25+ jumps. Seemed like a good plan at the time.
We had underestimated our enemy though. We believed they just wanted to harass us in our local systems and for the most part we were just going to lay low. What we hadn't counted on though was how willing they were to hunt us down and how vulnerable this "scatter" would leave us. Within the first day we lost 16 ships, most of which were in turn pod killed. Our kills... one. It probably wouldn't have been so bad, but after getting bloody noses all day, we decided to go hunt them. Bad decisions, inexperienced PvP pilots, new Fleet Commander and the result was the loss of several ships.
One of the deadliest tools in war we found out about in that first day was the use of Locator Agents. As our ships were hunted down and blown, our pods destroyed, we found those same enemy pilots bearing down on us in the systems we reemerged in with our clones. Luckily we had enough seasoned veterans around in the corporation to remind us to upgrade our clones again and no one was the victim of a second attack, this time without an upgraded clone. In EVE, once your character dies and reanimates in his/her clone, you are given the basic clone that holds 900K skill points. Without upgrading immediately, this means you're even more vulnerable because if you don't upgrade your clone, you will lose every skill point you have past 900K. This means that if you are say a 2 million skill point character, you will lose 1.1 million skill points. Not fun.
The next couple of days required us all to go back to our home system, where we would establish gate camps and station watch for our enemy. By increasing our numbers in key systems, it was hoped that we would be better able to respond to war targets and control access to our systems. This plan has worked out a lot better for us and even resulted in taking out a couple of their ships. This in itself was a huge motivational factor in our war. In addition, we were able to - due to their own mistake - find their spy that had been in our Corporation.
During wartime, especially as a new player, there are some factors you want to be aware of, a checklist if you will on what and how to do things:
Through it all, wartime as a new player is a combination of boredom and frustration followed by brief moments of excitement and danger. For the most part, it is better to keep your head down, your ship docked in port and only venture out with your corp mates. Not only will it be safer for you but better for your corporation as well.