Set your enemies to dislike: This is always the responsibility of the attacker and can be done as soon as right after logging in or as late as a split second before the actual attack but the bottom line is that it must be done.
There is a hostile button available through the radial menu. It can be quick slotted. Right click->Assign Special Abilities->Class->Hostile. Target an individual to hostile him or her, or target the ground to hostile everyone.
Activities that may be considered an attack:
- Stabbing and/or punching them
- Casting unfriendly spells on them
- Or any other negative effects
- Pick Pocketing (also see: Pick-pocketing rules)
- Disarming them
The actual setting hostile (going to party list and changing from neutral to hostile) is considered an OOC action. Therefore, let IG actions determine if a character is being "hostile" towards your character, not a mechanical setting and/or red aura with a pointy sword.
If someone sets you hostile and you suddenly start buffing in preparation from 20 areas away from that character, that is metagaming. Don't do it.
Setting to Hostile
Attacking npc's and hostile settings
Contact and Hostile
Setting hostile when the PC name is unknown