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Jiny's RvB Fleets Primer

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#1 Jiny

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 12:01 AM

DISCLAIMER:

This thing turned out to be a lot longer than I wanted! Read at your own risk!

TLDR: Have fun, don't be a tool, play to fight, not to win!

The following can basically be thought of as my SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for FC'ing RvB fleets. This has less to do with specific doctrines as they relate to fleets (IE Nano-Canes or Talwar/RLML Caracal Fleets) and more to do with how, in my mind, an RvB FC should operate. I DO NOT presume to speak on behalf of RvB's command, nor do I intend to tell people "how to play". This is strictly a take-it or leave-it thesis that you can use (in-part or entirely) as a guideline, or ignore and laugh at.

People who find themselves in a Jiny (or Jiramai Karlov for Blue) fleet can read this to understand WTF is about to happen to them and why I just did (insert super n00b mistake here).

I understand that I am not an expert, and do not presume to be. I will never FC a 200-man DREAD fleet in Null, probably not even a 3rd Party War Fleet in RvB, I know many others more qualified who can "do it right" and I leave it to them to make the "serious calls".

 

If you don't care about this and only want to know the mechanics of forming a fleet, you can click here to skip to section 2!


FLEET COMPS:

I'll only touch briefly on this, as in my mind RvB really only needs the basics. People are obviously free to do what they want within the rules, but getting serious leads to drama in my experience.

1.    Brawl Fleets - Like the name suggests, this is the in-your-face, warp to 0 and smash all the things, basic fleet. Vexor, Maller, Moa, Rifters, Merlin, Prophecy, etc. Any ship that performs well at a close range fits here. Once upon a time almost EVERY fight was a brawl fight. Perhaps that is why I suck at kiting, because I was "raised" in the brawling-heyday. These are, to me, the easiest fleets to FC because all that matters is what is close (which is theoretically everything), and targets are easy to select and call without worrying about range.

2.    Kite Fleets - These are the new "norm" of RvB, at least in my experience. I enjoy flying in them, I HATE FC'ing them. Managed effectively, they can be devastating, even against another kiting fleet, and especially against a less-skilled FC (such as me!). The name of the game here is Caracal, Rail-Thorax, Cormorant, Talwar, Corax, etc. If it hits at range and goes fast, it'll probably work!

3.    Kitchen-Sink - To an extent, this is every fleet. There is always someone who can only fly specific ships, and even in a full Caracal fleet will show up in a Stabber or Vexor or Maller. I don't discriminate in my fleets. If you can't fly what I am flying, I will give you alternatives. Still can't make it work? Bring whatever! I'll figure out a role for you based on what you can field or set you up with a special-snowflake job (I name-thee "Caracal hunter!" or go kill all the frigs or be my bait maller, etc.) This doesn't mean I'm going to OK a Dominix in my destroyer-down fleet, so please be reasonable!

Again, these are just basic concepts. Find your own "style", add logistics/ewar/etc. People, myself included, will often specify ship-types to fit a certain role, but it is important to not exclude anyone! Whatever you do, just don't turn your fleet into an unkillable death machine that cannot be beaten by anything except 2005 veteran FC with endless numbers of pilots and isk at their disposal. RvB is for all, not just the rich and super-skilled! Which leads us into...


BALANCE AND THE "FAIR FIGHT":

Balance in RvB is a constant job, filled with pot-holes and unexpected turns and endless headaches. HOWEVER, it can be so much easier if you just follow a few simple steps:

1.    Communication! Talk to the opposing FC. This is the biggest problem I see in fleets. I understand that many people do not like the concept of "arranged" fights, and frankly I'm not a fan myself. They take FOREVER to organize, they are over way too fast and someone is usually upset/embarrassed at the end, sounds like that first time you...never mind, moving on! The key here is not to arrange every detail into a grand orchestra, but rather simply

    a - identify that there is or is not an opposing fleet,

 

    b - ID both sides' FC's so that they can be REASONABLY spared during fights to allow for longer duration engagements,

 

    c - state intent/rough numbers on both sides allow for planning of comps, and

 

    d - keep both sides informed with regards to unexpected developments (such as 3rd party WTs, soloists who might cause an unnecessary imbalance, etc.).

2.    Numbers! I hate math...I can add, I can subtract...beyond that, I need a calculator. If you have 12 and I have 9...I'm going to engage. In fact, if you have 10 and I have 4...I'll probably still go for it. I know several Blue FCs and a number of disheartened Reds who will confirm this fact. In my mind, a fight is a fight is a fight. I would rather be overshipped/outnumbered every time than be the one who brought too much, and I would rather leeroy a Vexor alone into a 20-man fleet and get 1 kill than sit and do nothing for 2 hours. I sat in Null, I came to RvB to fight.

3.    Winning? One thing to say here...I DO NOT CARE. If you are in my fleet, be prepared to lose your ship. Any ship...EVERY SHIP. Does that mean I am going to run your State Issue Raven into a 100-man Tengu gang? Not intentionally (I'll probably tell you to dock it for a Navy-Raven instead), but basically, FLY WHAT YOU CAN LOSE. This goes for the FC, the fleet members, EVERYONE.

4.    Losing? Through poor planning, opposing FC/fleet skill or just plain old bad-luck (be it mine or yours), expect to lose AT LEAST 50% of the time. If you're not...then you're doing it wrong. People love to win, and don't like to lose. Losing is unavoidable, so the best we can do in RvB is try to make it "even". This to me means:

    a - Disregard your fear of internet-death. Insurance is a lovely tool that will pay you back for your lost hull. If you can't afford expensive mods, don't use them.

 

    b - Really an extension of point a...don't be afraid to engage! Basically, if I look at an opposing fleet and think "hmm, we could probably kill a couple", then I will engage. Reforming a fleet takes so long, it's almost faster to run in and lose a fight, get a couple kills and then regroup, than it would be to reverse course, go back to HQ, replan, reship, move out, find the enemy again...I don't like waiting!

 

    c - If your fleet has stomped the other side the last couple fights, gimp yourself. Are they cruiser heavy but lacking in numbers? Ship to destroyers/frigs and execute Operation Leeroy. Even if they totally stomp you, you just lost a bunch of cheap frigs/dessies. WHO CARES! The simple fact that they won will likely draw in more people for their side, allowing your next fight to be a bit more even.

 

5.    Sharing is caring! If you simply CANNOT get enough people to function...talk to the other side (hey, remember #1?!). I know of 0 FCs in RvB currently who will not lend pilots if it means keeping the fights going. I know there are changes in-bound that will make purple-fleets as they are now impossible, HOWEVER, there are many people with characters on both sides and it never hurts to ask for volunteers.

6.    Targeting the FC. My basic rule here is, give full quarter, expect none. This is to say, I will do my best to leave the enemy FC on the field, but at the same time, I expect at any moment to be primaried. It's not a lack of trust in the opposing FC...it is more a realization that things happen, mistakes are made, and some people in fleets just plain don't listen. So...

    a - Clearly ID who the opposing FC is to your fleet members. I'll usually link the name and tell them on voice, with a specific direction to not fire on them, AND to remind me that they are the FC if I call them as a target. You've got a lot to do, so feel free to let your fleet help you!

 

    b - If during a fight you see that the opposing FC is being targeted without your expressed command, I find it best to immediately request that all damage be removed from them. You don't have to scream and curse...remain calm. "All damage off Finbud please, we're shooting Jiny" is much better than "Get your shit together you fucks, primary is the god-damned Prophecy!" Repeat, repeat, repeat until they stop. Sometimes people's drones get away from them, sometimes they joined after the first started and did not get the memo. Sometimes you'll catch them in time to stop them, sometimes you won't. If the other FC goes down, be quick to apologize. Few people get that upset about it, but if you speak up first, all the easier to avoid drama.

 

    c - If YOU are primaried during a fight...DON'T FREAK OUT. There are a million reasons why you might be shot, and only 1% of them have to do with the opposing FC trying to screw you over. This ties a little bit into my next section here...LEARN what people can do. Sooner or later you'll notice that some of the same names are in your fleets all the time, and some of those people may be other regular FCs. If you are going down in a fight, you can either call for everyone to bail OR call for a back-up caller to take over. I will usually call on one of those I know in fleet to call...Yngvarr, Delucian, Lady Ayeipsia, myself...anyone you see in fleet who you've seen FC recently would be a good candidate. If there's none, I usually call for anyone at all. If no one steps up after 15 seconds, call the retreat. Head home, reship, do it again! Almost every time this has happened to me, the other FC will have already contacted me to apologize or explain why I was shot before I was even docked in my pod, so no need to rant/rage/scream in local, etc. If people in your fleet start complaining, don't be afraid to shut them down. I like the argument "both sides do X, let's reship and go again!" for pretty much any Red/Blue specific complaint. I've had a few people argue beyond that, but most simply fall back in line...


REMAIN HUMBLE:

I'm talking about communication again! You may be the boss, but that does not mean you are the king, and certainly not the only one who knows what they are doing. A couple notes here:

1.    Accept constructive criticism, be it from the opposing FC, a member of your fleet, whoever! Even if what they tell you isn't something you agree with, or doesn't fit into the RvB "style", they are trying to help. If nothing else, at least hear them out and explain why you don't agree.

2.    Listen to ideas. If someone pipes up with "hey, I think if we bring a couple X to counter the enemy's Y, that might help us out" and it does not totally what you have going (remember that balance thing we talked about?), let them run with it! If it's a bit unreasonable for a given fight due to numbers/whatever, explain to them why you must respectfully decline (don't just say LOL NOPE, unless of course their idea is to smash a frig fleet with 10 RML Caracals or some other such nonsense that would totally ruin the opposing sides' fun).

3.    Learn who is good at what. I touched on this in the last section...certain people stand out in RvB for certain skill-sets. Frank Bean is a Logistics Guru, Delucian will hunt down snipers to no end, as will Shen and Zao and countless others. Most of them are also competent FCs that can serve as scouts/back-up callers or give you advice (I ask all the time, "hey, they seem to have X, what do you think of Y to counter?"). If you have a specific job in your fleet that needs doing and you see a guy who really shines, give him the task! Most likely, you'll be happy with the results! If you see none of the "regulars", you can still offer the opportunities. Maybe someone would love to try out logistics for the first time, or has never really done scouting before. You just might help discover the next Yngvarr or Yank (these dudes are good if you don't know them)!


CONDUCT BECOMING OF AN OFFICER:

You may not be a Director, or a Team Leader...but remember that the C in FC stands for Commander. Act like one! I'm not talking about demanding total obedience or assigning ranks, I'm talking about being civil and decent. Basically 3 rules for this one:

1.    Don't be a turd! Stuff goes wrong, people make mistakes, randoms join fights. Probably 0.1% of the time this actually is a maniacal master plan orchestrated by the opposing FC to completely ruin your day, and 99.9% of the time it's just bad luck or your own fault. Even if you have the smoking gun from the grassy knoll, raging in comms/local, or getting into a pissing match in a private chat will not do anyone any good, least of all you. The best thing you can do is message a command member, or post in the moderation section on these forums, and explain what went down (use your words, not just a bunch of exclamation points and expletives). To be clear, you should never, and I mean NEVER EVER EVER trash talk the opposing side in a public channel/fleet/comms while FC'ing. As far as the fleet is concerned, your word is scripture (you know what I mean). You are literally POISONING RvB by spewing negative comments/rants. If you really are that upset, take 5. Put the fleet on a bio-break, get up, walk away...collect yourself, then come back.

2.    FUN, FUN, FUN, FUN, FUN! Yes, Rebecca Black said it best! Seriously though, why are we here? RvB is about fun right? So have fun! Don't worry about winning, or losing, or whether your fleet lost a bunch of ships or you let that Officer-Fit Nightmare get away because your tacklers are all 10-day old players who just barely know how to fit a Rifter. It's not that serious! There's enough alliances and corps in Eve that would love to have you if you want that type of thing, but RvB really isn't one of them. Do we appreciate a skilled pilot or FC? Of course! But, we do not REQUIRE it, and I doubt we will change ourselves to cater to their "by the numbers, strict doctrine" stance on PvP. If you FC, bring fights and maybe occasionally win, people WILL follow you. Winning is always fun, but fun is not always winning!

3.    Don't be the only X in a crowd of Ys. What I'm talking about here is shiptypes. If you are flying a Caracal fleet with tackle support, and YOU are the only tackle support, don't expect to live long. Same goes for Logi...don't fly Logi AND FC...although if you can seriously multitask effectively, props to you, but still, maybe save it for "real" Eve? Some FC's will blap you first...I'll probably ignore you and lose my whole fleet, but either way, it's poor sportsmanship in my opinion. I won't rage at you, I probably won't say anything at all, but just know what I and the rest of my fleet are thinking. Sooner or later, I'll lose my fleet members due to frustration because I refuse to kill you, and then there will be no more fights for anyone.


SOMEONE IN YOUR FLEET SHOULD BE YOUR REPLACEMENT:

One final thing about FC'ing...sooner or later, you need a break. The more FCs we have, the more we can share the responsibility and keep fleets up for more hours in the day. I do not ever see the day when we will have too many FCs and need to regulate who can and cannot FC. To that end, always be on the look out for people who want to step in and try. Even if it's just one fight...let them.

1.    Ask for volunteers to take over...make up a rousing speech to give on comms about how easy and fun it is to FC, and how no matter how bad you think you are, you're still going to earn the respect of your fellow fleet members just for stepping up. Tell them about the LP program...do WHATEVER you can to encourage new FCs (maybe write a super long post that almost no-one will read and post it in this forum! :P ).

2.    If you find yourself in a fleet being run by a new guy and he's sounding really unsure...offer him advice. Don't belittle them, just nudge. Maybe even in a private chat, coach them along and help them improve. Even if all you do is say "Hey man, great job! We'll get them next time!". Any and all help will almost always be greatly appreciated. No matter who the FC is, if you have an idea you think is better, don't be afraid to speak up! Just be polite about it, and of course be warned that if you're trying to teach me how to do something, you'll need to draw it in crayon!

3.    And finally, if you want a surefire way to piss me off (which is actually really hard to do), try humiliating a new FC that is just starting out and made a bad call. Seriously, DO NOT DO IT. I don't care how bad they are...how terrible their ideas are. If I see this kind of behavior, you can bet you're about to be pulled into a private chat and set straight. We're all here to have fun...you want to trash talk people for no good reason? Jita is a mere 2 jumps away, enjoy!

CONCLUSION:

If you've read (or maybe skimmed) this far, then props to you! I hope this helps some of our newer FCs (be they new to the game, new to FC'ing, or just new to the RvB life) to get a feel for what I see as the ideal RvB "style" of FC'ing. Again, others may or may not agree with me, and I'm perfectly fine with that. I expect there is a low risk that I will be run out by an angry mob with pitchforks, but I'll be surprised if I don't have at least some who disagree with parts of what I've gone over. This is meant to be just another point of view for consideration among those who either are or intend to FC in RvB. Copy my style, modify it to fit your methods, call me a n00b, makes no difference to me. If you ever have a question, feel free to shoot me or any other FC you come across a mail, PM, smoke-signal, whatever. If I don't have the answer, I probably have a good idea of who might!


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#2 Delucian

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 12:59 AM

Nice write up Jiny.
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I'm a walking nightmare, an arsenal of doom
I kill conversation as I walk into the room
I'm a three line whip, I'm the sort of thing they ban
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#3 Aqua Latus

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 03:40 AM

Well done.


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#4 Y'talana

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 05:44 AM

Very nice and looong guide how to do things in RvB. I'll consider flying in one of your fleets. :)
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#5 Combat Mink

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 08:05 AM

A lot of good points here, some of which I touched upon In my FC class and for good reason, good write up


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#6 Jasper Sinclair

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 12:02 PM

+1 for Rebecca Black reference

 

Seriously, I agree with all you say and if I don't live up to it, it's only because I'm fallible. I would add two things:

 

1) designate a d-scan whiz (which I am not) to scan for you if you're hiding in a safe or on a gate awaiting enemy fleet approach

 

2) if the other side is organized and you are not, you are probably going to be slaughtered. GET AN FC! He can make contact with the other side, arrange numbers, ship types, etc. Even if no one wants to be FC, make contact through RvB community and voice your concerns.


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#7 Jiny

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 12:25 PM

Good points Jasper. I tend to forget the D-scanner a lot of the time and rely solely on my scouts, but it is an excellent tool. I'll have to remember to make use of it more! And yes, communication is key. If one side is struggling with numbers or organization, let the other side know. Sometimes the enemy fleet will back off, sometimes they won't. Some people who have characters in both corps might (read: should) just hop sides to help organize the underdog team! There's a way around most problems...people just have to try :P


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#8 Lasse R Farnsworth

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 12:59 PM

Btw can one of the d-scan wiz make one of that threads for d-scan

 

And GREAT WORK !!!

Here have one ;)

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#9 Lady Ayeipsia

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 01:54 PM

Awesome write up. About the only concepts missing are standard commands like anchoring on the FC and such.

Also, rolling safes... People need to use those more if worried about probing, and people need to get their own.safe spots just in case.
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#10 Jiny

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 02:03 PM

I'll get round to adding a basic concepts section tonight if I have time...

Sent from my DynaTAC 8000X
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#11 Combat Mink

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 03:10 PM

Jiny do an FC class
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#12 Jiny

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 01:04 AM

Lasse - How did you know redheads are my favorite! :wub:

Lady - I'll see about writing up a part 2 that deals with such things...

Mink - I think that's probably more your venue. You did such a good job with the last one! I'd happily assist, but I would not trust me to be left alone with a group and them to learn anything as I am easily distracted if not constantly prodded to stay on task :P


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#13 Lasse R Farnsworth

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 07:18 AM

Lasse - How did you know redheads are my favorite! :wub:

Lady - I'll see about writing up a part 2 that deals with such things...

Mink - I think that's probably more your venue. You did such a good job with the last one! I'd happily assist, but I would not trust me to be left alone with a group and them to learn anything as I am easily distracted if not constantly prodded to stay on task :P

 

Because your forum avatar was half blue and half red . .and I don't have blue hair in the archive ^^


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#14 Jiny

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 08:19 PM

BASIC CONCEPTS/TACTICS:

The next thing I want to touch on is the basic concepts and tactics of FC'ing. There are already endless posts, blogs, videos, classes and other assorted resources regarding this, and my understanding of such things is rudimentary at best, but here are the basic building blocks to start with:

1.    Fleet Interface Basics. Operating the fleet interface is relatively easy, given the simple nature of RvB's typical fleet warfare. To access it, you'll need to navigate using the Neocom Menu in the upper left (above your character portrait) to Social, an then select the Fleet button. You can also drag this item down onto your main Neocom bar to avoid having to do this every time.
 

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    a. - Forming a fleet. In the upper left corner of the fleet window, click the box and select "Form Fleet". That's it, super easy right?

 

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    b. - Squad, Wing and Fleet Commanders. These positions within your fleet are strictly referring to who can and cannot warp those under them as a group, and who passes "boosts" using leadership skills. NOTE: You DO NOT have to have any in-game leadership skills to lead a fleet OR fill one of these positions, they are simply an extra advantage you can have if you train them. Best practice is to drag yourself to the "Fleet Commander" spot, so that you always have access to the fleet warp options and can move your fleet as a group (more on this in a minute).

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    c. - Fleet advertisements. The next thing you want to do is advertise your fleet so that others may join you in glorious combat! To do this, navigate to the "Fleet Finder" tab and select the "My Advert" sub-tab. Then click the "Create Advert" button at the bottom of your fleet window. The below image shows what your basic advertisement for a Red Fleet would look like...you can add a description to further explain what your fleet is all about (IE "T1 Frigates" or "Cruiser Down").

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    d. - Free Move. This is a very important option that you'll want to select. It will allow members of your fleet who DO possess in-game leadership skills to take over squad command positions and pass "boosts" to their fleet-mates. The same goes for Wing Commander positions, but you as the fleet "boss" must manually drag and drop them into these positions. To set free-move, click the box in the upper left and select the "set free-move" option.

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    e. - Fleet Composition. This is accessible in the same location as free-move (click the box in the upper left of your fleet window). This tool allows you to view all the members of your fleet, what they are flying, where they are located, and whether or not they posses in-game leadership skills. For "Fleet skills", the first number indicates Fleet Commander, the next is Wing Command, and finally Squad Command. The interface does not tell you if they possess specific "boosting" skills, so you may want to ask for specific pilot's to tell you their skill levels if you want them to provide "boosts" and not simply pass them from above.

 

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    f. - Fleet/Wing/Squad warps. While in space, if you occupy any of the "command" positions in your fleet (Squad/Wing/Fleet), you will have the option to warp those below you in the hierarchy with you. All members on grid (that have not manually exempted themselves through the fleet interface) will be warped at the same speed, but, if they are not all aligned, they will still arrive at different times. (See below for more on aligning and fleet warps).

 

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2.    Basic Commands. Pretty much to get anything done in a fleet, you have to issue orders/commands to your fleet members. I find it best to repeat commands at least twice, and in the case of target or maneuver commands during a fight, keep repeating them to ensure that the fleet stays on task. People will get distracted, not hear you, go afk, ponder their place in the universe, and any number of other things that can cause them to miss a command. Remember to remain calm (as best as you can) and speak clearly so that everyone has the best chance of understanding you.

    a. - Primary targets. Depending on your fleet's size, number of opposing ships, speed with which you can apply damage, etc., you will want to call targets in some sort of order to get your fleet firing at one specific target at a time. I'll go over a basic order of precedence a little further on, but for now, you should call at a minimum always have a Primary target. This is the ship/pilot you want the fleet to all be firing on at once. An example is "Primary is Jiramai Karlov in the Merlin, Jiramai in the Merlin". By calling both a pilot name and a ship type (add these to your overview if you have not already), you will eliminate at least some potential confusion.

    b. - Secondary/tertiary targets. In many fights, you'll want to have your next target, or perhaps several, already selected. These are secondary/tertiary targets. In order to get your fleet's damage applied to targets quicker, you can prime them with secondary and tertiary targets to pre-lock while they are shooting the primary. When combined with a primary target, it would sound something like "Primary is Delucian in the Tristan, secondary will be Jiny in the Rifter. Delucian in the Tristan, then Jiny in the Rifter". You can add further targets to your list, but generally going beyond 3 at a time is unrealistic within RvB as the dynamics of the fight will be constantly in flux. Half the time I change secondary targets before the primary is dead.

    c. - Align. This is a big one, maybe as important as target calling. Have you ever been in a fleet where everyone warped in one at a time, only to be picked off before the FC ever had a chance to call targets? Aligning will reduce this risk! Whenever you want to move your fleet from one place to another with a warp, use this command first to get everyone pointed in the right direction and primed for a fleet warp. Ex. "Align to Otela" would instruct your fleet to align to the Otela gate. Make sure, depending on what ships you have with you, that you allow time for the members of your fleet to get up to speed. Mallers are much slower than Merlins!

 

    d. - Take Warp. This one is pretty simple. Any time you initiate a fleet/wing/squad warp, it's good to let your fleet know. Simply stating "Take this warp" is all you need, but you can also amplify further with other info such as "Take this warp, damage mods on" or "Take this warp, align to Planet 1 when you land". This is especially useful if you are planning a follow up warp shortly after, or expect to encounter targets when your fleet arrives on grid.

 

    e. - Jump/Hold. Jump obviously means jump through whatever gate you are at. Hold means NOT to jump. However, if you were to say "Do not jump" there is a fair chance that someone is only going to hear Jump and next thing know, you just lost one of your Brutix's to an ambush on the other side. You can say "Hold on gate" or simply "Hold". The majority of the time I warp a fleet to a gate, I will give this command to ensure I have everyone together before I move into the next system, and to get one last Intel check from my scouts.

 

    f. - Anchor. Anchoring is useful to keep your fleet from getting spread out, especially if you are a kiting or other range-type set-up. Typically I will instruct my fleet to "Anchor on Jiny" and type XX in fleet chat to help people identify me. They should then be setting their ships to approach or orbit you at a close range. More on this below...

 

    g. - Free Fire. Sometimes you'll find yourself in a fight where you may have so much firepower on hand, or the targets are dropping so fast, that it is difficult to call primaries. You can either issue a general "Free Fire" command, and let people fire on whatever they wish, or, you can select a ship type for them to concentrate on such as "Free fire on all Atrons" if you want to remove a certain type of ship from the field before focusing again on another target(s). Be careful with this as your fleet could potentially spread out, meaning that if you want to refocus your damage, it will take longer for everyone to get back on task.

 

    h. - Drone Primary. This is useful in engagements where you have a mix of large and small ships. If you are busy taking down Drakes and Prophecies, but there are a couple tackle-frigates that are annoying your fleet or slowing people down, you can call for anyone with drones to send them after a specific target. I usually call this as "Primary is Jiny in the Drake, secondary is Delucian in the Prophecy, put drones on Zao in the Atron". Now you have your main fleet firing on your primary target, your secondary is lined up, and your drones can deal with something small that does not need the entire fleet's attention.

3.    Tactics. Depending on the type of fleet you are running, and what you are trying to accomplish/engage, your tactics will vary greatly. Below I've listed the 4 general types of fleets that I typically run or see within RvB. There are many more specific styles/tactics/methods to all of these, but here's the basics.

 

    a. - Brawling Fleets. As discussed earlier, brawling fleets are the in-your-face hulk smash style of fleet combat. You want big dps and/or big dps at close range, and are generally less concerned with speed.
    
    A typical brawler fleet might have Moas, Vexors, Mallers, Ruptures, Merlins, Punishers, Incurses, etc. It is advisable to have some (really all) of your ships fit at least one tackle module (a warp scrambler/stasis webifier/warp disruptor). You can also supplement a brawling fleet with logistics (Exeqs, Augorors, Schthes, Ospreys), but be mindful that these types of ships are typically the first to be targeted. You may want to either have them delay entering the engagement until your main fleet is already engaged, or have them working in pairs/groups to assist and manage themselves. Remember when I talked about learning what people in your fleet are good at? A proficient logistics team can end up soaking up a lot of damage that would otherwise be applied to your main fleet, allowing you to wear down the opposing forces while they waste time trying to kill your support.

    A basic brawling engagement will see your fleet warping in at 0-10 km and engaging anything close that you can get your tackle on. Against another brawling fleet, you'll have little trouble catching and engaging targets. Start with ships you know deal out a lot of damage or logistics/ewar support ships (Celestis/Arbitrator). Remember that logistics are often at range and can end up soaking up a lot of damage if they are working together, so you may want to assign ewar pilots to disrupt them rather than apply direct damage to them. Keep your eyes on them and if one gets close, direct your tacklers to chase it down and then bring your damage to bear once one of them is scrammed.

    Feroxs/Brutixs/Harbingers/Hurricanes/Moas/Vexors/most destroyers are generally my first choices, and any wayward kiting ships that happen to be close (Caracals/Cormorants/etc.). If you pick a primary that turns out to be tankier than you thought, don't be afraid to switch targets. No sense wasting time killing a triple ASB fit Moa when there are three untanked Vexors tearing apart your fleet at 5km.

    If you are fighting a kite-long range fleet, you can try to catch them unprepared with good scouts and a decent set of bookmarks. Another option would be to use some of your frigates as suicide tackle, chase down one or two of their kiters and then drop the slower ships on them. Be mindful of warp-range, here again a decent set of tactical bookmarks will serve you well. Sensor dampners/tracking disruptors/drones are also useful in countering longer range fleets. And of course, kiting fleets are generally fighting you from outside point range. If you can't apply your damage effectively, simply withdraw your fleet to a tac and let your scouts/fast tackle try to reposition for a warp in closer to them. Look for stragglers that are away from their group, these are easy pickings if they are not careful.

 

    b. - Kiting Fleets. Kiting fleets are a common occurrence in RvB. Flown correctly, they can do a lot of damage and can take on superior numbers. However, flown incorrectly, they are easily countered and beaten. Generally I lose when I FC these types of fleets, and there are far better sources of info on how to do this right, but here's my take on it...  

    There are several flavors of kiting fleets such as Caracal/Talwar/Corax/Kestrels that rain missiles down from 50-100km. Coupled with Scythes and ewar support, they are lethal to anything that is not heavily tanked. These ships themselves are lightly tanked, and if caught generally do not last long.

    Another option is Cormorants/Thorax/other rail fit ships. These can also hit at impressive ranges (30-100) and deal out a good amount of damage. Again, support from either logistics or ewar is advisable to deal with any potential threats that try to engage from a distance.

    Tristans also make excellent kiting ships, and in groups are quite difficult to pin down. Their drones, if concentrated, can easily overcome larger ships and shred small targets.

 

    The main drawbacks with kiting fleets are their light tank, vulnerability to ewar, and inability to keep targets on grid. A competent pilot will simply warp away if being engaged from a distance that they cannot hope to catch up to you. Long points are advised on at least some of your ships (preferably fast tacklers like Tristans/Condors/Stabbers/etc.) These point ships can also serve as a screening force against anyone trying to chase down your main force, or to engage and eliminate opposing ewar ships. If you chose to use logistics, they should be fast and able to keep up with your man fleet. Be constantly mindful of where they are on the field, and do not let your fleet drift out of their range or let them get caught alone and destroyed.

    Anchoring is a useful tool with kiting fleets (less with Tristans/fast frig fleets), but you have to be careful to keep your group together and always be aware of what is near you. Engage any targets close first, or they will pick off the stragglers in your group and wittle you down little by little. With a fleet anchored on you, you can be reasonably assured that (assuming you're all flying roughly the same fits that do the same range) you can all apply damage effectively to whatever target the FC can. However, your fleet is vulnerable to being caught if the enemy can get a warp in on you.

    If you chose not to anchor your fleet on any one pilot, you can still be effective. Your risk of the whole fleet being caught is reduced, but your risk of having some out of range of primaries, or individuals being caught, increases.

 

    c. - Gate Camping. Sometimes you may find that there is no opposing fleet, or that you have time to kill before they are ready. Rather than sit in a station, you can easily set up a camp on a gate and catch targets of opportunity. Key components to a successful gate camp in RvB are scouts, fast-locking long points (warp disruptors), fast tacklers, dps ships, and optionally, support/logistics.

    A gate camp fleet can either be set entirely on a gate, or you can hold some of your ships in reserve at a safe-spot/off-grid bookmark for larger targets. You'll want to deploy at least one scout on the other side of your chosen gate, and have at least one (preferably 2 or more) fast-locking long points at 0 on the gate (Condors/Slashers are good choices). Heavier tackle frigates such as Merlins are good for securing scram/web on targets that are initially long pointed, and will allow the rest of your dps ships to catch up and apply damage.

    One thing to note is that generally, the longer you camp a gate, the more likely someone is to come along and try to chase you off once word gets out that you are there. If you're trying to entice a fight with the opposing side, this is a good way to do it as opposed to dropping 20 BCs on the opposing station for 3 hours. Be on the look out for solo pilots...they are generally very good at picking off stragglers from the edges of a fleet. If you notice certain pilots (generally you'll learn who they are) hanging around your fleet, but at a distance, don't let your tacklers chase them. These pilots are skilled at taking out tacklers that chase them and then running before the rest of the fleet can catch up. If you want to engage them, make sure you can get enough support to your tackle pilots in time so you're not just wasting ships (this doesn't mean drop 10 Vexors on Hurrdurr's solo slicer, but at least have enough tackle frigates that once he's caught and killed the first 1/2, the rest can be reasonably sure to get him). Remember we're about good fights here in RvB...you don't have to completely stomp every target into the ground, so if both sides walk away with at least a kill or two, you're doing just fine.

 

    d. - General Roaming. If gate camping isn't your thing, you can also just roam around with your fleet. If you're in frigates/destroyers, you can even let them have free roam over a whole system to find targets and then group everyone together once something is located. For cruisers, it is generally better to keep the fleet together. Use your scouts, and keep moving. Don't spend too much time in one place, and make sure you don't leave people behind or they'll get caught by other fleets/solo pilots and picked off. Use a bait ship to spring a trap (something with a decent tank and tackle) on people, but again, be mindful that you're not dropping a massively overshipped fleet on one or two guys in Atrons. It happens, but don't make it your mission. And don't be afraid to take the bait yourself. Yes, that solo Maller is obvious bait, but if your scouts can tell you generally what's waiting for you and/or you think you stand a decent chance (to me that's anything above about 10%), go for it. If you get slaughtered, at least you'll know there is an opposing fleet and you can hit up the other FC and set yourselves up for a more balanced fight next time around...


 


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#15 Zen Tsai

Zen Tsai

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 10:27 PM

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Current Title: WORST FC 2014
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