Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Not To FC A Moderate Sized Pirate Gang

A little while back, I wrote a shitty guide about how to act as a fleet commander for a small gang of lowsec outlaws. At the time, I had never FC'd for a moderate to large fight. Well tonight I got my first chance to learn when we assembled what was probably the largest fleet in Python Cartel history...

...and then proceeded to get melted by Gallente faction warfare and its friends. It was a fun fight and we were certainly not out of it until the end when their reinforcements (or was it a 3rd party gang?) arrived. Regardless, that fact still doesn't make me feel any better. I hate losing fights of any significant magnitude when I am FC. I hate being in charge and responsible for anyone other than myself losing a ship. As good of a feeling as it is to help be responsible for a victorious engagement, it is much a much worse feeling when you lose. At least this can be a learning experience:

Three things I need to learn about larger scale fights that I have never had to worry about before...

(1) Specifying A Secondary & Tertiary FC Before The Fighting Starts: I've never really had to worry about this. If the FC goes down, the fight is usually almost over anyhow and you can just call to one other person to take care of FC duties for the end. This time, I was the first target primaried and killed and then our secondary FC was not able to jump in due to server lag. This left me scrambling to find someone on grid and capable to take care of FC duties. This in turn led to an unfair sudden burden on a pilot who wasn't expecting to being calling targets and a degradation of communication in the middle of a fight. These are bad things.

(2) Worrying About Lag & Computer Performance: Again, something we rarely have to worry about thanks to our fights being small. This time we had one pilot whose computer dropped to an almost unplayable framerate, another who could not even jump through the gate until halfway through the fight thanks to lag and other pilots who had trouble loading grid to even start taking part in the engagement. I've never had to worry about whether or not being the group jumping into system for a fight on the gate would be an issue although I've heard about how it is a big factor in 0.0. I guess I have now learned that forty ships plus their drones is enough to make it a problem.

(3) Organizing Large Numbers Of People: I don't even know where to begin with this one. I discovered after the fight that we still had pilots who were AFK or not yet in system so we did not have the firepower I had thought we did. This isn't their fault as they had communicated their situation. It was mine for not calculating it into what sort of fleet and firepower we had. Additionally, voice communications get pretty overloaded with so many people involved. When the numbers go up, so does the amount of crap that the FC has to keep track of it. It is difficult beyond a certain point.

The conclusion is that I have a lot to learn about how to handle fights as a FC for engagements of any magnitude from moderate to large size. It is unfortunate that this education has to come at the expense of my corporation members ships. Perhaps next time we will fare better. If anyone has any advice or suggestions as to how to handle medium to larger scale fleet warfare, I would be happy to listen.


Letrange said...

point 3: get them to shut up - if they don't and they're not a scout or you didn't ask for advice, kick em from the fleet. Don't do it in the middle of calling targets but if it gets too bad in the middle of a fight don't be afraid to call a pancake and get what you can to a safespot so you can give all your attention to getting them to STFU!

I ran into this with my first few POS bashes. The last one went MUUUUUCH smoother coms wise as everyone had been thru the motions before and there was much less inane chatter.

Helicity Boson said...

wow... wish i hadn't missed that.

looking at the kb, I notice a lot of cruisers on their side, and I'm beginning to think it might have been worthwhile to eliminate them first rather than go straight for the battleships.

By reducing the incoming DPS as fast as possible you extend your time on the field considerably, especially considering that the smaller ships do damage disproportionate to the amount they can absorb. Killing them first eliminates more incoming DPS faster than taking down a Battleship.

We should also consider taking along a destroyer or two to handle threats like bombers.

Spectre said...

Letrange: I guess it's just the balance between not losing any important information by not letting people talk but at the same time keeping too many people from talking at once. Generally I do tell people to STFU if they're talking when they're not supposed to be. It's fun yelling at people!

Helicity: The cruiser gang actually came in at the end. The gang we initially took on was mostly battleships and we primaried the Scorpion that was in range to start. Unfortunately a third one arrived as the fight started and we were in a pretty bad spot E-war wise.

Yargok said...

Oh goodfight!

Was that fleet really bigger then when we faceplanted Ken Plante?

Oh, and I see crayons is back too! :)

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that you did a pretty good job. You killed 6 of them (or should I say "us"? but I wasn't there) and you lost 10, just 4 more.

It was good for you and you were good at it because in a normal situation, with our usual FCs, probably you all were going home to your clone vat.

So I think that you FCed well.

Just a note, don't talk about lag. It's noobish. Everybody can have that not only you and/or your buddies.

Just passing by while following a few links, I hope you don't mind.



Josh (GH) said...

The cruisers were a third party, they weren't FW and I even asked the qcat guys :P

Even if we lost, it was still a fun fight. We had 8 BS's and BC's with little\no RR circles, they had 11 BS's with RR circles (not counting their 3 scorpions, which would give them a total of 14 BS's), 3 BC's and a Logistics cruiser.

We may have lost twice the BS's that they did, but all things considered, I'm surprised we did as good as we did. It was a great fight, and it showed us what we need to work on to improve our fleets :)

Havegooda said...

Confirming the cruisers that aren't under the Gallente Federation alliance (not really an alliance, the KBs just report it like that), were NOT part of our gang. We actually killed 2-3 of them when they stole from our wrecks.

Good fight guys, and props to the Hurricane pilot that made
my Scimitar warp off with 10% shield.

Next time though, can we cut the smack down a bit
less from Golden Helmet? It was a great fight, better than we've had with the squids in a long time.


Azret said...

It was awesome to lose my first BS in a fight like that and to think I lasted more than 5 minutes? Doesn't matter. Spec you did a great job just calling the shot to bust in. I really think we would have been fine if that other Scorpion did not jump back into range at the beginning of the fight.

Helicity you shoulda came and lost your BS. Thx. =)

Spectre said...

Ago: I wasn't trying to blame anything on lag or accuse it of making things unfair. I was simply noting that when the size of the engagement grows, it becomes a factor that we have to consider while it is very rarely ever a factor in smaller fights.

Have: PC likes to smack. Don't take it personally... it's all in good fun. Good fight and I hope we can do it again soon :)

Teister said...

Resource management is a big thing in small groups like that. In any group over 5 it gets easy to lose track of who's got what and where people are.

At the start of any BOZO fleet, our FCs are expected to form the fleet, sort out who is flying what, get them undocked and all in one place before a roam starts.

I like to go to a SS before hand and have everyone in fleet warp to me. Once there I can see if people actually brought what I told them to bring and see who is/isn't there and boot accordingly.

Lag happens and it's a big stresser, especially when you're FC. Unfortunately there isn't really anything you can do about it but keep calling primaries/secondaries and hope your enemy is lagging as much as you are.

Another thing to think about is fleet composition and standard fleet fits. Your BS gang is kind of all over the place there. Some had RR, some had shield tanks, others armor...

If you have the motivation and your pilots have the discipline, it's makes the life of an FC much easier if you can call for ships that you know how they're already fit. If you call for your standard RRBS ships from your pilots, for example, you know that you'll have only armor tanked BS all with RR on them.

30% vs a larger gang with logistical and ECM support really isn't that bad to be honest though. I've done much worse with more even matches...

greg6 said...

The big things that swung the fight our way was our numbers, ecm, and the fact that you jumped into us. It's that last one that really killed you, me thinks. A larger force can get away with jumping into a smaller one but if a smaller force jumps into a larger one, it tends to be bad news.

I was the scorp pilot you all forced to leave the field early on, and then I warped back. Good job to your entire gang in going for me, if I hadn't got a jam on your tackle you'd have taken me down as well.

Nice fight, folk, come on back to the neighboorhood anytime. :)

Calderus Rex said...

Looks like a fun fight! I'd say you didn't do too badly, given the challenge you took on. Greg is right - jumping into them, when they had numbers, 3 scorps and a logi, that was going to be a rough fight any way you look at it.

Byron D said...

Honestly that cruiser gang wasn't with us. If youu check qcats killboard you'll see we popped the cruiser gang too.

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel.

I have FCed just a bit in Blue vs. Red. I like that the stakes are smaller when flying T1 frigs/dessies/cruisers. You still feel bad when someone dies.

I won't give up and I hope you keep FCing as it is helping the community deal with a tough and often turned down roll.

My FC experience:
Red Vs. Blue


Spectre said...

T: Thanks for the advice. Some of that stuff, specifically people having and bringing the appropriate ship to each fight would be huge. Right now our gangs tend to be a mish-mosh of ship types and fits because people are of varying SP and experience, partially due to us having a bunch of new members over the past few weeks. We also don't have any sort of ship type or fit standards like I know BOZO does and I don't know if that sort of thing would fly in our corp/alliance.

greg: Come back to the neighborhood? We LIVE in the neighborhood. Thanks though :P

Byron: Ah, cool. It can hard to tell sometimes who is with who, esp with the FW guys. We saw some Cry Havoc pilots flying around before that fight and we were almost certain they would wind up being with you and we would get hot dropped (since they do that a lot and they used to be in Gallente FW). I'm glad that wasn't the case in the end.

Blue: Thanks for the comment. I added your blog/log/thing to my list.

Byron D said...

Also, when FCing a BS gang you might want to fly something that isn't an instant primary like a Mega. I know it's a shitload of DPS but for the exact same reason you'll be off the field in no time. I'm not saying you should FC in a damnation, but even an Abaddon is a nice choice since it's a lose-lose situatin for the enemy gang. They primary you cos they know you're FC - they lose a lot of their own in the process of popping you. They don't go for you, the enemy FC is on the field till the end of the fight.

And yeah, Teister is right, try to form up with either armor or shield, mixing doesn't really work that well unless you have like 2 scimi and 2 guardians on field.

Last but not least, you will find out that when you go from small to mid and especially large gang, the fight and the eventual victory are the only fun you are left with, cos the other things that make small roams entertaining (random drunk chatter, ppl beeing able to test fits and so on)are exactly what makes a bigger fleet inneficient.

Mynxee said...

Looks like a pretty respectable job of FC'ing to me, Spectre. Look how much you've learned from this engagement and from others' comments here. Next one will go much smoother, I bet.

I guess I'm just a heartless bitch because I really don't feel bad when people in my fleet lose ships even if my crappy FC'ing could be partially to blame. After all, they CHOSE to fleet up with me :) Sure I'd rather no one in my fleet lost a ship but if ya undock it, ya risk losing it. Suck it up, that's my opinion.

Michael Phoenix said...

It's all in gaining knowledge through experience. Fortunately for the Gal Militia members, we have a lot of experience and some really good FCs that know what can turn the tide of a fight (i.e. forcing the other fleet to jump into us).

Also, we have really drilled discipline into our ranks, where coms are kept clear unless it is vital information (switching targets, local spike, etc.). This included calling for RR! Be sure to tell your fleet to shut up if they are being shot and use the Broadcast: Need Armor/Shield buttons in the fleet window and let your logistics pilots handle the reps.

Finally, to keep lag down, be sure all of your pilots know how to have their overview setup correctly with a "large fleet pvp" tab that turns off brackets. That cuts down a TON of lag.

Other than that, it was a good fight and you took down more ships that we are used to losing when fighting the squids! See you around OMS for round 2 ;)

Tony "EVE's Weekend Warrior" said...

- Fleet members need to stay quite unless they have intel, discipline.
- Have someone relay in text so that names aren't confused
- Clear text comms
- Warp out when you need to
- Tackle ships (lol surprising you didn't have some Dramils or them in your fleet)
- Turn off your brackets if lag is really that bad
- Lowest settings
- Again, if lag is horrendous, set guns to single cycles
- Hope luck is on your side!

Lei Merdeau said...

I'm a Quarter2three Qcats fan and they report anticipating 100% casualties vs the squids and win anyway. I'm with the you did well crowd. Recommended playmates.
You will be stronger.

Perseus Kallistratos said...

First, it takes balls to be an FC. If it goes bad everyone bitches at you. Only when it goes good are you a hero.

Second, get vent/ts admin privileges. If you tell someone to stfu and they don't, global mute their ass.

Thirdly, reform fleet when you suspect AFK members. Knowing your fleet composition and numbers is a must. You are asking to fail when you engage without knowing that shit.

Lastly, as someone else mentioned, don't fly something that would be primaried. I usually fly cloaky or uber tank. Having a secondary FC or tertiary is nice... but its better if you are alive since you're the FC for a reason (smartest we hope??)

I'm not going to mention lag because that shits normal. Come to one of our fights with 1000+ in local :P

I've written about lots of the things you mentioned


RaveNight, The Star Fraction said...

The key to "comms" is that balance between useful information and junk clutter. Fleet members need to understand that if your "comms are clear", the fight will go well -- Or as well as it possibly can.

Once your fleet members respect this, they'll be less likely to ask "Where am I supposed to be" during target calling and more likely to know when information at-hand is actually important enough to interrupt the FC.

In our fleets, and many other people's, we use the key phrase "Check Check" to signify that someone needs everyone to STFU. It works well, is usually rather distinguished, and should act like a mute button for everyone -- Even the FC. But this, again, relies on people knowing when that is absolutely needed (Enemy fleet/support in-bound, Titan online in local, etc. heh)

Kuan Yida said...

Militia excels at small/medium engagements. Takes lots of experience, don't beat yourself up. Maybe we Minnies should head out your way to look for some more fights, it's been too long:


Old BYDI engagement, but typical for us!

Myrhial Arkenath said...

Some good advice in both post and comments.

Speaking of comments, having people put ship types and names in vent comment for reference = very handy for reference! Although the new fleet window has a thingie for it now too, I still have people do that. And tell them to keep everything that isn't (important) intel off of vent. While saying you've died in small gangs is crucial, in large gangs in the shouting something important can get lost.

Success with the next roam.

Lars Lodar said...

You forgot to white out a pilots name...


Andrea skye said...

"Militia excels at small/medium engagements"

Bwahahaha xD

Kobra said...

"Militia excels at small/medium engagements"


The Militia excels at one thing BLOBBING, and that's what they usually do.

Gamble Tuck said...

Havegooda - that was me :)

Omgah said...

I leave for a few weeks you guys start falling apart. But then again with the Laissez-faire attitude we have towards our members its not surprising.