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Fleet Commander Guide

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inyoureye4's guide to the galaxy...err Being a Fleet Commander

Contents

Introduction

I am sure there are plenty more players out there with more experience in being an FC (Fleet Commander) than me. I have experience in it and have watched the failure and success of many FCs. Plus, situations in the wonderful EVE are always changing and adapting to the situation is something that must be done. So, don't use this as a rule book, but use it as it is: a guide.

FCs are a rare breed, they take responsibility for every ship under their command and a simple mistake can shame their name for their EVE life. They need to think on the spot and control every aspect of their fleet, right down to fittings of ships if need be. FCs are usually the primary if they are known by an enemy fleet as the FC so choosing a ship is extremely important.

Also be advised that this does not include Capital Warfare because, one, I have very little experience in it and two, there are so many factors that change in capital warfare. Another section this doesn’t cover is covert op fleets.

Choosing a Ship

As a rule, the FC needs to outlast the fight; he needs to be the last man standing in a fleet battle so he can carry on relaying orders. Of course there is an alternative, once the FC finds himself looking at his gooey pod, he should allocate another efficient member. However, if this alternative is not possible then follow these guide lines:

  • If you, as the FC is expecting a huge fleet battle with equal numbers or against odds then the smart choice would be to go in something that can cloak efficiently. This is important because instead of engaging, the FC relays orders and he won't try and save himself by ordering primaries that are attacking him. However, this has it's drawback, your name won't show on any kill mails and if you are like me, greedy for killmails, then this is not your choice. There are then three options:
    • Long Range Ships: A ship that sits on the outskirts of the battle firing volley after volley without being primaried is the ideal ship. Apocalypses are an example of one of those ships. The scorpion is another one of those kind of ships but for it's ECM capabilities. Both ships will sit 150km out or (hopefully, depending on your skills) more. There is one difference though: ECM BS + FC = primary. You will have a interceptor speeding towards you so his fleet members can jump on you like a pack of rats. An Apoc will most likely be left alone until there are no more favoured targets.
    • Speed Tanked Ships: Never leave home without them, perfect tacklers and because you are calling the primaries it insures you always have a point on that primary. Like any other ship I will suggest, if it gets webbed, then you are French toast.
    • Normal Tanked Ships: You will have to have amazing skills to withstand primary fire and still, even with maxed out skills your going to crash and burn. If you feel you want to take something expensive in this category, make sure your fleet can effectively spider tank. If you opt for this option, don't pick anything too big or anything that will be primaried. A perfect example of this would be the drake because it has a killer tank but the dps on them is underestimated by many players.
  • If you, as the FC is expecting a small fight where odds or where the odds are in your favour then you can ignore all of the rules above and try and fit in with what your fleet doesn't have but needs. After all, you are responsible for your fleet and if they cannot fill a role, follow the old saying: "Want something done right, do it yourself!".

Fleet Setup

Here I will state what is essential to certain types of fleets, now of course it would be ideal to have every single ship type under your command but that is not going to happen. An FC should make sure he has a mixed group, a group of 40 damage dealers can be completely immobilized by 10 Scorpions if they are organized really well. Realistically, these are the essentials:

  • Tacklers: (At minimum, something with a warp scrambler, preferably a web with it). A must in pvp, in a big fleet these need to be fast and outlast the fight. You don't want to primary someone who then warps away at 50% hull who comes back 3 mins later with full shield and armor. In small fleets, your tacklers don't need to be small. They can even be battleships. The reason for this is, the next category is quite important and you can knock out two birds with one stone for this one. Make sure shield tankers however are not opting for this situation because to them, their medium slots are valuable beyond belief.
  • DPS: (Ships that deal a lot of damage over a second). Again, a must, no fleet could kill anything without being able to deal damage. These ships should be around 60% of your fleet in my belief. Damage dealers should be able to tank as well, but of course a tank is always necassary in any category.
  • Neut Boats: (These are ships with modules which drain capacitor of enemy ships like no tomorrow). A FC should always try to get these, they should work on the secondaries. No cap, no tank is the case of many ships. Passive or buffer boats are an exception and the pilot flying the neut boat should be advised not to go after those types of ships. These are not a must in a fleet but if you can switch out a damage dealer for one of these, go for it.
  • EWAR: (Electronic warfare ships which prevent enemy ships from even locking targets). Although they do no damage, they cancel damage incredibly. One scorpion can turn the tide of a fight because with proper skills it can prevent up to 5 targets from attacking, making the effect fleet number of the enemy drop. You should find out members who can fly blackbirds and scorpions, then poke them until they get in them. EWAR pilots should never focus on the primary because after all, if it is a big enough fleet the primary will pop and a 13 sec activation delay on your module will be wasted.
  • Anti-Tacklers: These ships should be designed to free up your ships incase of retreat. They need to be nimble and fast, however, I have seen Rapiers used because of their bonus to web range. FCs should again advise these pilots to ignore their commands for primaries and secondaries and look out for the pesky frigates and interceptors.
  • Logistics: These ships patch and repair your ships in dire straights. There are of course logistics which transfer capacitor however these are more so used in capital warfare and patching POS shields. Logistic ships are always priority targets after electronic warfare ships. The use of them depends on your situation, however if a fleet member is willing to fly one then there is a chance whoever is primaried may be able to survive the onslaught that will be thrown at him.
  • Fleet Command Ship: These ships sport modules which boost certain aspects of their and their fleet members’ ships. I suggest that one per wing is used if they can be afforded. They should be fitted to boost attributes which benefit the whole gang, i.e. armor hp, scan resolution, shield hp or velocity.
  • Scouts: Anything that can instantly warp or cloak without its velocity being penalized. One scout is a necessary, do not even bother leaving without one otherwise you are destined to fail. Even if you are FCing a gate camp you still need one. Covert Ops, Recons and Interceptors all make good scouts.

Of course there are other ships to choose from, and most of the time you will just have to take what you have got. FCs normally have respect of the people they command so suggesting what ships you need will probably be respected. A pen and paper can sometimes be necessary as one person may be willing to fly more than one ship.

A Note on Fitting (Turtle Tanking)

A rule I often enforce is that every ship, not matter what size, unless they are a scout, neut boat or ECM should have a remote armor repairer or shield transfer module. I ask all the armor tankers to type ‘a’ and fleet chat so all the RR (remote repair) guys for armor can add them to watch list. I then ask all the shield tankers to type ‘s’ in fleet chat so pilot with shield transfers on them can add them to the watch list. I then ask all hull tankers to ‘x’ in fleet so I can test their tank.

See Turtle Tactics

Drones

This section all depends on where you engage, but if you are not going to get sentry fire then ask all that can use them to fit two small or medium ECM drones to use whenever they can. This will ensure that your primaries and secondaries also cannot fire, causing them to have a most annoying death which will surely be followed by Eve-Mails spamming you saying horrible things.

Overview Setting

A really simple section to write which, if you go out pvping you should have this overview fixed anyway:

  • Sorted by A-Z (So when primaries are called you can easily find them)
  • Remove fleet members
  • Add ship type
  • Remove all celestial objects apart from stargates and stations
  • Remove tags (This is something which I have heard reduces lag, however I still do not know how to do it. If anyone knows of a guide I would like to know, please message me in game on character: inyoureye)


Calling Targets

In big fleets this job is assigned to another person so the FC is free to issue other orders and watch the progress instead of scouring his overview. The Target Caller needs to be able to assess the risk of each and every ship / player quickly. He should always call two targets, the first one to take down and the second one. A Target Caller should always start his sentence with either “Primary” or “Secondary” followed by the pilot’s name. Never should any target caller use ship type, for members who have not customized their overview it will take them long enough for you to blow up that ship before they even find it.

As a general rule, this is the order of ships which should be taken down:

  • First, Electronic Warfare ships
  • Second, Logistic Ships
  • Third, Ships with high dps

If the target caller is not the FC he needs to pick his ship according to the section ‘Choosing a Ship’ because he also needs to last to the end of the fight.

Moving Your Fleet

Organizing your movement is a tough one, however it has to all be planned out, you should never sit on one side of a stargate without a purpose. If you find this happens, get someone to create a safe spot, preferably an interceptor and get the fleet to warp to it. If you know the way you are heading there are some very important commands to know, some of them obvious, here are some of them:

  • JOC = Jump on contact
  • HG = Hug Gate (it means peddle back so you can sit on the gate at 0km) I have only seen this abbreviation once, not sure if it is in active use.
  • Jump = Jump over
  • HC = Hold cloak
  • Hold = Don’t move from the fleet location / don’t fire.
  • Gate fire = The gate has activated, it will get everyone’s attention.
  • Align = Align to the next destination or the one stated
  • Break = This is for use in voice controlled operations (which I think is how every operation should be done). It commands everyone to shut up and listen.
  • WTO = Warp to optimal (Warp to the range where you are most effective if engaged)

All the above voice commands should be written in fleet chat (apart from ‘break’) so that if people missed the command they will still know what to do.

When you know where you are going, always issue the align or HG command after jumping. This means everyone can warp instantly off if needs be or jump over. Whenever warping somewhere, make sure everyone is align, take time to make sure the slowest ship with you is aligned and then fleet warp which is not only nice to watch but also serves for another purpose. Often enemies will wait for a straggler and scram him, make sure no man is left behind.

Always make sure your scout is one jump ahead of you if you are moving continuously, if you are sat on a gate at optimal range or hugging it, make sure he is on the other side. Always ask the scout how many reds and neutrals in system. The rest is instinct and depends on the situation. However there is one more point I should make:

NEVER Jump on to an enemy fleet unless both fleets are less than 10 strong (even then it is not advised). Thanks to the new update which prevents a certain amount of people jumping over if that system has reached its limit and the lag it causes when 20 people jump all at the same time into an already busy system with a small server load you are bound to lose. Lag can be your ally, try and set it up so people jump over to you. Many a time a smaller fleet has dropped a bigger fleet due to lag.

An example of this was one of my experiences in FW. We were a 30 man gang camping a gate waiting for around a 60 gang to jump over. They jumped and the system lagged, modules took around 20 seconds to activate, however, the enemy gang jumped over at intervals due to the lag and because the lag was so bad, they couldn’t do much. They would uncloak after the 30 second period individually so it was really easy to FC because we were able to pop one ship before more came through. However, we started podding people which cleared up the system and allowed some more of the enemy gang through but by then they were so reduced in numbers and their FC had long been popped. So the moral of the story is that no matter what the odds, with the help of CCP’s servers, you can win an unfair battle.

Finding a Battle

This part of the FC’s job can be the hardest and can often lead the FC into make foolhardy decisions. Never engage when you are sure to lose, after spending 30 minutes looking for a fight and finding another huge roaming fleet, just leave, no point wasting good ISK. Although, you have to keep your men happy and nobody can stay online forever so, try and scan down ships are make sure every exit is covered along with every station. Eventually, with a bit of luck, you will find something that is no match for you and FCing skills. There is not much advice to give in this section because I am sure I could write a 10,000 page guide to this because there are just so many different situations.

A Note on Retreat

Don’t? If your image of retreat is everyone get the **** out of there as fast as possible then never issue that command. If you notice you are losing the battle or you feel that enemy reinforcements are on the way. For whatever reason you need to leave, issue a ‘break’ command and calmly inform everyone to target the tacklers whilst aligning to your next destination. Ask fleet members to issue a “x” in fleet chat if they are pointed, you will take losses but they will be much less than running around like a headless chicken.

With careful usage of stealth bombers a retreat can even be turned into a victory, by disengaging most of your fleet while leaving a suicidal rearguard to keep the opponent occupied and bunched together, whist your previously unnoticed force of stealths rains down fiery death on friend and foe alike. This has the added advantage that said force of stealths can even be composed mostly of the fleet's leadership, providing the double effect of cloaked leadership and reserve stealths to take advantage of bunched-up enemies.

Summary

I hope you have enjoyed reading this and I apologize for the many common sayings I have used. I wish you safe flying and many kills unless you are up against me. Overall, just play smart, with your head, not the size of your guns.

Disclaimer

The character / author of this guide (inyoureye) is in no way responsible for your FCing skills. If you use this guide and find yourself sitting in a station then you have either not followed the guide properly or you have come across a strange space time anomaly which has resulted in a death of your clone and ship. Inyoureye will not replace ships, modules, ammo, implants, training time or clone cost. However, inyoureye will replace up to 5 exotic dancers if proof is shown of you carrying them onboard and a chat log of fleet chat to prove that you were FCing.



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