Generic Chinese crap rigs
Tobacco that don't treat you right.
Reputable brands (Pipes)
A vast variety of tobaccos. Learn what you like and don't like. Understand that more expensive does not necessarily translate to better flavor.
Experimentation! A lot of people prefer to ice the water in the base. I find that warm water provides greater flavor and still smokes cool.
READ and POST in the forums. Get to know the more active members and what they like, benefit from their experiences pertaining to your preferences. E.G.- I enjoy traditional tobaccos, so I make it a point to absorb everything Hajo posts, it has saved me a great learning curve.
Darth Coyote, Executor of EGOB and the Black Leaf Brotherhood.