This is from a site from a guild I belonged to during Shadowbane's hay day (Kill Cult) *salute*
Great information and words to live by (and die by):
(Note: This is a copy/paste from another site as is and not my grammar or spelling.)
I'm posting it here for those we are new to FFA pvp to give them a general idea of what to expect. Its been about 4 years since a good FFA game has come out. So a lot of us are rusty.
Another thing... following these guidelines can greatly ease your game play on these servers, and might help many of you anti-ffa type folks find a home.
First off you should probably read these two articles to get yourself familiar with what to expect, and to see what to look forward to.
For those who have never played on a FFA server there are a few things you need to understand before you even create a character.
#1 Your going to die, and your going to die often.
This is the cardinal rule to think about on a PvP server. No matter how good you are, how big your guild is, or how much money you buy off ebay there will always be someone bigger, better, faster, richer, quicker, and more ruthless.
Dont get frustrated when you die. Try and learn what you can, and remember who and what killed you. If it was a cheap shot, make sure to return the favor.
#2 People will kill you for no reason or provocation.
There are people on this server who will kill you for no other reason than the sounds you make when they poke you with sharp sticks. Asking why?, How come?, Im just questing cant you leave me alone? are all wastes of your time and will invite more kills.
If someone's tormenting you the best thing you can do is keep your mouth shut. The less entertainment you give them, the less likely they are to continue.
#3 It will not be fair, even, or sportsman like.
If your looking for fair fights stay in town and do the PvP minigames. People will wait till you have pulled, will wait till your low life, will wait till your fighting 2 other people, and any other advantage they can come up with. Expect to be robbed of kills, blindsided and suckered.
#4 Should you win a fight, expect to be trash talked, accused of cheating, called names.
Any time you lose its almost a cardinal rule that the person who beat you didnt play fair. Even if it was a 1 on 1 it was probably lag! ...yeah...right.
Dont expect any congratulations or GF man's when you win. Occasionally it will happen (when it does remember them!), but more often than not the 12yr old you just owned is going to call you names, insult your mother, threaten you, and maybe even report you. Ignore it and walk away.
Just remember who said what, and if you see them again, pop em again. Nothing is more satisfying then having someone trash talk you for an hour only to kill them again and have them go nuts.
The more they trash talk you, the harder you killed them. This is the only kind of fame you can expect.
#5 Anything you do in regards to pvp, guilds, etc will become part of your toon.
If your a Random PK then there will be folks who respect you and folks who hate you. You can change your playstyle... but there will be folks who wont let you or wont forget.
Therefore think carefully on how you wish to play and who you wish to group / guild with. Your guild's reputation is automatically added to yours. So if your a level 20 in a level 80 guild who kills lowbies... your going to have an extremely hard time leveling. Anyone your guild kills will take the opportunity to get back at you.
If someone kills you and says thats cause your guild ganked me... just understand this is the negative side to what ever positives your guild gives you.
You should always way the positives with the negatives from your guild. Are they going to help you level and make your playing time more fun? or are they going to just get you killed over and over.
#6 Keep a list of people and guilds who screw you over.
This way later you can exact revenge, or know who to associate with and help and who to kill and maim. Online games are great for karma. You might get killed by BoB at level 12, only to find BoB at 10 hp later that day after he has pulled to many mobs. If you have his name written down or his guild... thats your time to strike back. You can rest assured he will do it to you.
Revenge in a FFA pvp environment is what many would consider the best part of the game. Its a riot to have the guy who tormented you endlessly as you leveled up submit an application to your guild. Always remember who your friends and enemies are.
#7 Main quest lines and population centers are bad news. Anywhere there are people there will be gankers.
That quest line might have a nice exp reward... but how long will it take you to accomplish with the 500 other people trying to do the same thing. If you hang around trade and quest hubs your going to attract attention.
If you must quest make suer you group up with guildmates or friends. There is definitely strength in numbers. They might not think twice about attacking you solo, but if your rolling with six friends, they might hesitate.
#8 Friends, friends, friends. Meet people and make friends.
If you see a newbie being chased by someone 10 levels higher, help out. You never know who that person might be and what they might do for you later. Notice... I didnt say help the newbie out.
If you help the newbie, you may have a friend for life, the newbie could be a powerful guild leader on the server, or just some random guy. If he sticks with it, he might return the favor one day.
If you help the ganker he might appreciate it and his group of buddies might think twice about killing you the next time...however, he might turn immediately around and gank you next. This isnt fair... see rule #3
Friends in pvp games are exponentially more important than on a pve server. With them quests and such are much easier and groups are always harder to kill than solos.
#9 Lowbies can be threats
If your pulling mobs that get you low HP dont ignore that lowbie nearby. He might be 10 levels lower than you... but if you have 50 hp your an easy kill.
Just because they look weak doesnt mean they arent a threat.
#10 Dont trash talk when you die.
If some band of roving murderers wipes you out, keep your yap shut. Your more liable to be left alone if you "loot and scoot" than if you tell them all the wonderful things you want to do to their mom.
If you anger a ganker he might take you up as his pet griefing project and thats rarely fun for anyone. If someone does start harassing you get some friends!
#11 Stay aware of your surroundings.
When fighting always pan your camera around. If a spot looks like a good hiding spot check it. You never know who might be waiting around for you to get low hp and pounce.
Try and stay moving, this will make stealthers have a harder time setting up on you.
ALWAYS have an escape plan ready. A hill to run and hide behind, a river to swim under, whatever. If you spot the targets before they spot you, you might just be able to get away.
#12 There are two types of players in FFA. The Screwer and The Screwee
In any conflict there is the Victim and the perp. Its much more fun to be the guy inflicting pain than the one receiving it. Keep this in mind. You might not want to kill the group thats moving in on your spawn... but if you dont... they might just kill you.
#13 DONT hesitate.
If you think someone is a threat, dont think twice. Kill them. Its better to be safe than sorry, than to be dead and kicking yourself.
Anyone standing in your vicinity facing you and not doing anything is a threat. If they are AFK... not your problem. But you leave them standing there and they melt your face while your fighting 3 mobs... well your not going to be happy.
#14 Dont get frustrated.
If things start to get heated, take a break, walk out side, kick a puppy, whatever you gotta do to vent. FFA servers are different than any other server type you may have played on.
It takes a special kind of person to be able to play on them. Main thing is keep your head, stay cool, keep your goals clear and in reach, and you will make it just fine.
#15 People you kill / Who kill you can turn into friends.
I cant tell you how many times the people I killed, or who killed me, became my new buddies. Instead of trash talking, take the time to say good fight, ask them if there was something you could have done to increase your chances, and just in general be friendly.
Occasionally you will get an asshat who is just going to mock you... but the majority of us are just like you. Getting tips from people who fought you is the best way to learn and a damn good way to make friends.
People your chatting with and being friendly with are less likely to kill you.
#16 Trust no one outside of guild or RL friends.
I cant stress this enough. If someone is being nice to you... there may be a reason behind it. Dont trust anyone right off the bat... test them slowly over a period of time. Its best to find a good guild as soon as possible that way you can have a pool of folks to help you that you can trust.
#17 DO NOT transfer money, items, etc to someone you dont know.
People will take your stuff. I REPEAT people WILL take your stuff. Only have extremely trusted guild mates transfer your stuff for you.
#18 Anything on a pvp server takes longer
Dont expect to quest easily here or to grind to 80 quickly. Any time you go to turn in a quest your going to die, most likely several times. Any time you go to get a quest your going to die, most likely several times. Once you find your quest area... you get the idea. There will be lots of dying.
Leveling on a pvp server can take as long as 10x a normal server or more if your solo. Find a group or guild, make friends, and play with the same people as often as you can, this will help you level significantly faster.
#19 There is always one more(or 12 more)
Never forget that just because you think Bob is all alone and an easy kill, doesnt mean that all 40 of his friends arent closing in on you the second you engage. If you kill a target heal up and get moving. In the days of voice communication friends are just a click away, and if you have been active in an area, its highly possible folks are hunting you.
Also, anyone can attack you here at any time. There are no time outs, no half times, nowater breaks. Kill your targets, clean your blades, and be ready for the next one, it could be sooner than you expect.
#20 Post look outs
If your grinding away with your group its pretty easy to lose track of your surroundings and get tunnel vision. Its a good practice to leave one guy to keep an eye out for people sneaking up on you. Make sure his view distance is as far as he can handle... many times if your clipping plane is way out there you can spot a threat before it spots you.
Mindlessly grinding away is no fun... getting ganked cause you were in the zone and not paying attention is even less fun.
Also an addition for Xsyon:
#21 Don't leave your safezone with any equipment/tools you do not absolutely need.
#22 Anything of value you acquire while out of your safezone (from foraging, harvesting, fishing, hunting, looting, etc)... head back and store immediately.