Some advice for FCing in RvB in 2019
The Google Doc is the most updated version! The text below is probably outdated and only included for reference and searches.
RvB FC Training Document 2019
Advice and Etiquette Tips for FCing in RvB
a Perspective by Zen Tsai
What is a FC?
Fleet Commander is just a fancy title for the guy in charge of calling targets and telling the fleet where to go. “Warp to the gate. Shoot the Domi.” That’s really all there is to it. Everything else is icing on the cake. If you can call targets and keep the fleet in one place generally, you are doing GREAT as FC.
From RvB’s perspective: We need you to FC. RvB lives or dies on its ability to provide FCs for our fleets.
From your perspective in Eve: FCs are in high demand in every corporation and alliance in Eve. RvB is a great place to learn how to FC by doing it because we don’t care about losses. Learn how to FC in RvB and you can write your own ticket anywhere else in Eve. Also, you get on all the killmails as FC, generally lose less ships in RvB space, gain instant respect and gratitude from RvB management, and attractive members of both sexes will want to have your babies. So be sure to hide your babies. But seriously, it’s fun.
From your perspective in real life: Learning to FC builds real life leadership skills which are readily applied to leadership roles outside of Eve Online. FCing builds social skills and pushes back on introversion. This makes it a great stepping stone to being more confident and a better leader in your real life.
The path to FC
Line member -> Solo -> Scout -> FC
In my opinion, this is the most natural progression for developing low sec FC skills. Learning to be a good line member in a fleet is a critical first step. Pay attention to how the FC moves the fleet around and ask questions if you get confused.
Once it becomes second-nature to be in a fleet, go solo in low sec and RvB space. A solo PVPer is a fleet of one. As a solo player you will learn to watch/use dscan and local. Fly frigates, destroyers, and T1 cruisers. Learn what you can and cannot take on. Learn all of the usual ships and what they can do. Learn kiting.
Once you can find ships on Faction Warfare sites using dscan, you can scout effectively. Scouting gets you used to talking on comms more than the usual line member. Once you are used to scouting, transitioning to FC is relatively easy. FCing is like soloing but you have a scout and backup.
NOTE: You do not need to be good at dscan or scouting to FC fleets in RvB space!
Being a “bad” FC
After 7 or so years in RvB I have seen all manner of FCs come and go. By far, it was the “bad”, new, inexperienced FCs who most inspired me to become a FC. Good FCs are intimidating, and often unintentionally discourage others trying to FC through their competence and confidence. Thankfully, some people are brave enough to step up and be a “bad” FC. The painful truth is, as a new FC you will be pretty bad at it, in terms of wins/losses. Your fleets will die in hilarious and humiliating ways. You will recognize this from your soloing experience. Realize that this is part of the process of learning and that you are inspiring others to try FCing. The worse you are, the more tempting it will be for someone else to step up and FC next time. Meanwhile, you will get better with every fleet. And here’s the real secret:
No matter how bad you are at FCing, people will still join your fleets.
I was startled to discover this fact, but after watching RvBers join “bad FC” fleets over and over again, this truth became undeniable. If you at least sound somewhat confident, good-natured, and willing, people will join your fleets. Whether you win or lose is more important to you than to your fleet members. Get your fleet into fights, have a positive attitude, and people will come back, win or lose, over and over again when you form up.
Responsibility for Fleet Losses
As FC, you are NOT responsible for fleet losses. I know it doesn’t feel that way, but it’s absolutely true. Each pilot is individually responsible for their loss when they undock their ship. By joining your fleet, they are implicitly admitting to you that they do not want to fly solo, nor do they want to FC, and they are assuring you that they will not complain about the outcome. THEY need YOU, not the other way around. They are the replaceable line member. You are the irreplaceable FC.
Anyone complaining about a perceived negative fleet outcome in your comms is being extremely rude, not to mention self-destructive. They are outting themselves as emotionally unstable and/or inexperienced with Eve pvp. Pity them privately, but otherwise ignore them, as they embarrass themselves publicly and burn their own bridges. If they won’t shut up about it, consider pasting their name in fleet and asking the fleet to donate ISK to them for the loss. Or just mute them.
In general, a FC should attempt to get fights with at least a fleeting perceived chance of inflicting casualties on the other side. But never worry about losses.
Various Types of RvB Fleets and How They Differ
If you want RvB-style high sec PVP in RvB space, check for corporate fleet in the Fleet Finder window. If there is not one, START A STANDING FLEET. Standing fleets have no FC, so there are no expectations from you after you start it. You don’t have to be on comms (though it helps). Standing fleets serve only to help your corp-mates warp in and join fights against the other corp. You don’t have to answer anyone asking to speak to the FC. There is no FC.
STANDING FLEET transforming to a FC’d RED or BLUE FLEET
If all goes well, the standing fleet will gain numbers as people log on and join the fleet. If your standing fleet has two or more people and the opposition bring two or more people, it will help your side win to call targets. If no one else is doing it, DO IT. Is it obvious that everyone should be somewhere but no one is saying it? SAY IT! Having called targets and told the fleet where to be, congratulations, you are now FC. Remove the “Standing” designation from your fleet’s name. Fleets with FCs get more interest than standing fleets because the odds of winning go up. Advertise your fleet and be sure to mention the other side is active.
RED FLEET or BLUE FLEET
These fleets are the meat and potatoes of RvB; a purely Red or Blue fleet hunting the other side in RvB space. Their vicious nature makes them unappealing for some and irresistible to others. Unlike arranged fights and event fleets, the object is to find and destroy the other side. Period. Tricks are allowed. Traps are allowed. Gate camps are allowed. Blobbing is allowed. Station games are allowed. Logi is allowed. ECM is allowed. Damps are allowed. Outshipping is allowed. Ignoring the enemy FC is allowed. The only exceptions are terms agreed to by both Blue and Red FC. For example: Q--“1v1 frigs at P1?” A--“Yes.” means you will stick to your word and bring a frigate to P1 to fight 1 v 1. Q--”Dessie down? A--”Yes.” means your fleet will be in destroyers or frigs. No surprise upshipping. Oh and try to avoid headshotting the enemy FC if you know who it is...unless they’re abusing FC immunity in some way, like bringing a fast scram/web zero-tank cruiser and charging directly into your fleet.
Feel free to work with the enemy FC to get fights moving. But if talks break down, fly what you feel. Let them adjust to your comp as they see fit. Let them try to scout your fleet. It often helps get fights to make some attempt at matching the enemy fleet weight, if you think you know what it is. Remember, they could be hiding ships to spring as a trap. If they bring too much, dock up or upship. In other words, play it just like you would if it was a war or spontaneous low sec fight. Try not to get upset about perceived upshipping/blobbing/headshotting. No one “owes you” a good fight outside of the terms explicitly agreed to between FCs.
It’s okay to despise the other side, but, never smack talk or complain in local, RvB Community or Discord. Handle disputes in private or bring them to RvB leadership or the disputes resolution forum. If an enemy FC consistently breaks their explicit agreements with you, stop making agreements with them. You don’t need to communicate with them, at all, which is better than arguing.
Bringing these spontaneous, organic, realistic fights BACK to RvB is something we want very much as an organization.
New FCs are welcome to try their hand at FCing at any of our events. We have regularly scheduled events that are much friendlier than the cut-throat standard RvB fights. For event fleets, both FCs make their best attempt to balance the opposing fleet weights before each fight. Terms such as logi/ECM/podding are agreed to in RvB Community channel. FCs try very hard not to let the other FC be killed and try not to abuse the FC immunity policy. Blues can be sent to Red fleet and vice versa to balance things. Fleets that win a fight often times will ship down dramatically or send key members to the other side to balance the next fight to the losing side’s favor. Strongly consider sending any one player perceived as critical to your last victory (interceptors, mauluses, logi, ecm, etc.) to the other side for the next fight. The goal is balanced wins/losses for each team at the end of the day. In all, it’s a far more civilized and friendly fight than spontaneous RvB fights. But never intentionally throw a fight! After a staggering victory, ship down, send a guy or two to the other side, challenge yourself and your fleet, play by any agreed upon terms, deal with the other FC in good faith, but always FC your fleet with the intent to WIN.
LOW SEC FLEETS
Feel free to start an impromptu fleet for low sec if nothing is happening in high-sec RvB space. The easiest way to do this is just head for low sec in a solo frigate/dessie/cruiser. Start a fleet, open it to Red and Blue, get on comms, paste the ad for the fleet into corp and Community chat and Discord (community channel is fine).
You don’t need a comp beyond “kitchen sink”. If you do have a comp, be sure to be inclusive and have roles for players with low SP or limited ship options. Always welcome scram/web frigates. Frigate/Destroyer fleets are a great way to roam with little risk. No one cares if they lose their T1 frigate/dessie. Actually no one cares about losing anything they bring to an RvB fleet, and if they do, they’re doing it wrong. But as a new FC it feels less painful to lose a fleet of frigs than BCs. Popular systems to form for Low Sec are Jita, Samanuni, Amarr, RvB space.
Opening a Fleet to Red/Blue
Set the opposite side’s CORPORATION (Red Federation or Blue Republic) to “Good” standing. In the fleet’s advertisement, select ONLY the “Based on Standings” box and check the “Good” box. This is necessary for Low Sec and Event Fleets.
If you would like to try FCing but don’t feel quite confident enough to go it alone yet, feel free to ask if anyone in your fleet would like to “backseat” FC for you. Any regular FC will be happy to do this for you. If you get stuck, you can ask them to take over at any time. If you have a question, such as, “do you think we should take this fight?” you can ask them. If you lose your ship, they can take over while you reship. It takes a lot of pressure off of a new FC to have a backseat FC ready to take the controls mid-fight if you ask them to.
How to Get More People in your Fleet
Schedule in Advance -- The further ahead you plan it, the more people will come to it.
Publicize it -- Ask RvB managers to add your scheduled fleet to the Community MOTD.
Ping Discord with @here in Fleet Ops or General at least twice.
Mention your upcoming fleet in Mumble comms.
Shamelessly paste your fleet invite to RvB Community/Corp while active.
Ask personally -- Asking a few key members to fly specific roles can be very effective.
Fly a Comp -- While kitchen sink is fine, at least pick a hull size. “Dessie down” is good.
Build a rep -- Build your reputation as good-natured and reliable. “Effective” will come.
What to Fly as FC in RvB Space
Bring something tanky if possible for RvB fights. Fit a SeBo if worried about damps or ECM. Don’t try to fly logi as FC (unless you’re Lurker). Tackle is optional because if you are tackling you are fair game to be primaried, especially if scram/web fit. Don’t try to game the “FC immunity” guidelines. If you are in a ship which is causing unique problems for the enemy fleet/FC you will be primaried and/or hard countered or even worse the other FC will just log off.
Typical Issues and Solutions
Losing your Temper
It will happen. Herding cats can be frustrating and exhausting and tempers will flare occasionally due to the high-speed, adrenaline-flooded experience of PVP. However, you must attempt to control your temper on comms at all times. Expressing frustration with fleet members, the opposition, or the situation is never helpful. If you find yourself unable to control your temper, the best thing you can do is excuse yourself from comms and collect yourself. “Ten minute bio” is all you need to say and if you’re still upset after 10 minutes, just excuse yourself for “real life” stuff and turn the fleet over to someone else or just log off and let them sort out the fleet.
Occasionally, you may notice someone who is very talkative on comms being “toxic” by bringing down your mood or the mood of your fleet. He might be questioning your calls, not following fleet orders, issuing his own orders to fleet, tackling stuff many jumps from fleet, complaining about lack of fights, complaining about losses, asking for losses to be posted to fleet chat, etc., etc. Often times, “toxic guy” is “good at Eve”, is perceived that way by himself or others, or at least seems very confident. Never willing to “FC right now” he is obnoxiously willing to interject his opinion on what the fleet should be doing at any given moment. Often times drunk and bad at it. Toxic Guy can be a handful for any FC.
If you can blow him off and ignore him, that’s probably the best approach. After that I try using the “COMMS” command to rein him in. Sometimes offering the boss star to Toxic Guy shuts him up after he refuses to take over. As a last resort, I’ve found that “local muting” him works wonders. You don’t even have to mention that you have muted him on comms, just mute and continue with your fleet. If mentioned in comms, freely admit it without escalating, and then get back to what you were doing: FCing the fleet. Ignoring/muting him lets your fleet know that they don’t need to pay attention to him either. As FC it is your responsibility to tune out anything that is disrupting your ability to command your fleet or negatively affecting fleet morale.
Most importantly, do not BE Toxic Guy. Do not brood, whine, bitch, moan, complain in your own fleet comms. Your mood is infectious. Your fleet morale is important. If you want to FC but you’re in a bad mood, reconsider. If you still want/need to FC then FAKE IT. Either be in a good mood or fake it well enough that your fleet can’t tell. Your fleet is not your support group. Your fleet members are all there during their recreation time to play a video game. They are entrusting that time to you, hoping to have a good time. As FC, you are the only one they cannot mute in comms. Unlike welping the fleet, which is totally acceptable, being a toxic FC is horrible for RvB. If you can’t keep up a good front, do everyone in your fleet a favor and log off. Someone else will take over or, if not, at least the members of your fleet will feel free to do something else.
Who is FC?
There can be only one. What if someone in your comms simply starts taking over as FC? It happens occasionally. We have some very strong personalities in RvB. Combine them with the excitement and adrenaline rush of pvp (and possibly alcohol) and they sometimes forget they’re not actually FC of the fleet they are in.
Handle these situations with good humor, and don’t take it personally. Sometimes Uncle RvB has a drink or two and starts to rant about the old days or call targets in the middle of a complicated fleet battle. If you are feeling overwhelmed and confused, just go with it and write it off as a friendly attempt at backseating you. You can “take over” again once things settle down. If they’re not helping, but instead messing you up or not doing what you want, feel free to call “COMMS!” or “Battle comms please” etc. to shut them up. As FC you have (what they call in the real world) Tactical Command. In your fleet YOU are the boss. You have the authority to tell even the highest ranking RvB bureaucrats to STFU, mute them, or kick them from your fleet if necessary. There is no rank higher than FC within the context of an active RvB fleet.
What to Insist On
Insist that everyone be able to at least hear comms. Scouts must be able to speak on comms (with rare exceptions). Try to keep your scouts within one jump of FC...two at most. For RvB fights, especially arranged ones, require your fleet members to ship down, drop logi, drop ECM, etc. at your request. Keep comms clear for target calling/FC orders when appropriate. Be polite but firm on these matters.
Do not insist that everyone fly a particular ship/fit. Encourage them to fly what you need for your comp but always be open to newbros in frigates coming along. Mauluses, Griffins, Frigate Logi, Scram/Web frigates are all inclusive and fun options.
Allow special snowflakes to bring large shiny things to your small cheap fleet if they want. But don’t make your fleet wait for them. They know it’s on them if they lose it. Feel free to key up your mic while you laugh, as they die to a blob, because they align slow. Give no s****ts about special snowflake losses. Do not count them when calculating “ISK positive/negative” as they are not in a comp ship and are essentially flying solo alongside your fleet.
When in doubt, I ask myself, “What would Nitro do?” Nitro Oxide is the least toxic, most zen FC I know, and I aspire to his unshakeable positive attitude in all things FC. Join a Nitro Oxide fleet if you want to see it done right.