Monday, January 12, 2015

How to be an Awesome Fleet Member

I was in a lot of fleets over the weekend. Some had very experienced pilots, some, not so much. Several times I heard over comms people not understanding orders/asking that the FC's meant. This is hardly surprising. I've been fleeting up for six years and I heard some things over the weekend that I'd never heard before! However, as it was clear there were a lot of new-bros in fleet so I thought I'd write a quick guide for new players on Fac War Fleeting. Follow these general rules and your FC will think you are awesome.... may be...

Here is a very quick guide to being a good fleet member for bros who are pretty new to fleet warfare. Generally this is aimed at Faction War pilots.

FC Orders.

You follow FC orders. No arguments. No questions. Yes, sometimes you may think....

....however you do what they say. If you think you can do better then step up (next time not during the fleet!!!) and FC yourself. The only time you ignore the FC is if you are a specialist such as a scout or flying a specialist ship such as eWar or logistics. Then you should have separate standing orders. Its pointless for the five Griffins in the fleet to put all their jammers on the primary and logi shouldn't be locking up any called targets! Fly smart people.

Here are some common things you'll hear your FC say and what YOU should do.

"X up if you are/can....."
Type a 'X' in fleet chat if you meet what the FC asked for. Likely to be "...ready to undock" or something like " a T2 fitted Osprey".

"Fleet align XXX"
Point your ship at the thing he just mentioned! There are several ways to do this. If its on overview like a faction war plex click it and then click align in the selected object window. You can right-click it the thing in space and select align. Some times the FC will broadcast it so you can click there. Important thing is to be facing the right way so you all warp together! Timing may be vital!

"Warp to XXX"
Warp to that location at 0 and hold. See below for faction war plex as they are different and you do not warp at zero to these. If you are warping to a stargate and you think you might have clicked warp and jump by accident, click the "-" button to 'stop' your ship. Of course in warp you'll get a message saying you can't, but it will cancel the jump command.

"Warp to XXX and jump on contact."
Warp to the named stargate and jump through when you land.

"Warp to XXX at nn"
Right-click the object and and select the appropriate "Warp to nn KM". Its amazing how many people end up at random ranges when the FC asked for a set distance. You do it wrong and you may find yourself all alone and in the middle of the hostile fleet whilst your friends are 100km away wondering what you are doing over there!

"Warp to novice/small/medium"
Warp to the appropriate faction war plex. However, when warping to a plex you ALWAYS warp to 10km unless the FC says otherwise. You will hardly ever warp to 0 to a faction war complex. Warping to 0 could get you stuck on the acceleration gate and you'll not be able to get in immediately. Due to the size of the acceleration gate, when you warp to 10km you will land at an effective distance of 0 from the gate. You'll be able to slide in but won't be stuck in the prongs and bounding about for five minutes! The exception is large plex as they don't have a gate.

"Take the Gate" / "Slide the Gate" / "Activate Gate" / "Spam activate"
These all mean the same thing. Click the acceleration gate as you are dropping out of warp and spam activate. When landing there is a slight invulnerability you are granted after dropping out of warp. If you click the gate as you are dropping out of warp and spam this button you have a good chance of entering the plex even if there are hostiles camping it trying to point you.

"Align down the gate"
Select the deadspace pocket beacon and click approach as below. This will point your ship down the acceleration gate and when you activate it everyone will warp together. Remember to click on the gate after aligning so you are ready to activate.

"Hold your Invuln/cloak"
When you warp onto a new grid you get a session change. Just like undocking, if you do nothing you'll be invulnerable for a couple of seconds. Nobody can target you. Whilst you are not cloaked, although some FC's do call it this, you might as well be. Touch nothing! Just wait for the FC to give orders which will usually be an alignment or a primary target.

"Sort by name/range/type"
The FC will be calling targets by a specific field and if you sort your overview like what he says it will be easier for you to find them. For example he might want all the Griffins dead first so will call "The Griffin of Mr So-and-so". If you have your overview sorted by type it should be easy to find the Griffins and the pilot the FC called. Of course they can do it the other way and ask for it to be sorted by name - "Mr So-and-so in the Griffin". Sorting by range is rarer and generally, but not always, when the FC calls "weapons free".

"Primary is....."
Lock this guy and shoot him. Shoot him in the face! He might not be the guy nearest to you. He might not be the guy shooting you. He might not be your Eve Online nemisis. He might not be an easy kill. WE DON'T CARE. YOU SHOOT THE BLOODY PRIMARY AND ONLY THE PRIMARY!

"Secondary is....."
Lock this guy up but don't shoot. You only shoot the primary. After the primary is dead, this asshole is next.

"Tertiary is...."
Lock this guy up as well but don't shoot. You only shoot the primary.

"Free guns" or "Weapons Free"
No target calling. Just pick someone and shoot them! KILL THEM! KILL THEM ALL!

"Spread points"
The enemy is starting to or should be about to run. If you have a warp scrambler or disruptor you should use it on an enemy. Pick someone within range at random and don't just go for the closest or the guy called primary currently otherwise he'll have 20 points on him and all the others will warp off.

"Set drones to assist....."
Right click your drones group in drone control panel, select assist, click the persons name.

"Recall your drones"
Get them back in the drone bay now, we may be about to warp off and you'll lose them.

"Broadcast for reps if you need them."
The fleet has logistics ships. If the enemy is shooting you and your tank is taking proper damage (not being tickled) click the appropriate button for the tank you are flying.

"Bail" / "Warp away"
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES. Generally this should be the only time you flee. When your FC orders you to. Stop warping away if you get yellow boxed by a single ship that is out of range! Don't warp away if you are taking damage. Fight and die like a man (unless your FC has said "warp off if you need to")

"Warp off if you need to"
This is a rarer call but happens. If you are taking significant damage and are not pointed, warp off to something and then warp back.

"Align out"
Select anything far away and align to it so you can warp when told to. The FC MIGHT call bail soon (TM) or he might not. So don't warp away like a sissy. Align as per the order and keep firing assholes!

"XXX is anchor"
This is usually FC. Best way I find is to right-click them in the fleet list and select "add to watch list". Then they are easy to find and you can simply right-click them in the watchlist and select 'Keep at Range - 1km'.

"Prop mods on"
If this needs explaining you really shouldn't be in a fleet for the sake of us all.

Turn on overheat for your weapons (FC may call for prop mods but he'll make that clear). Overheat is usually just for weapons. Be sensible. If your guns or launchers are badly damaged don't burn them out. Fight smart.

"Someone take squad X command"
In order for boosts to be effective you need a complete fleet chain of command. This requires a squad commander. You don't have to physically do anything, don't worry you don't need to give orders, but you need the skill Leadership V in order to give all 10 squad members the boosts. If you have it, jump into that position.

"Battle Comms"
Shut up. Seriously. Stop talking, now and stay quiet! FC, scout and target callers are the only ones that should be opening their pie-hole. BE QUIET.

"Check Check"
Same as the above but for a short bit of information. Stop talking and listen.

"Keep fleet chat clear"
Do not type anything into fleet chat tab for a while. The FC will probably be asking specific people to X up or something.

"X's in Fleet"
No, do not post pictures of your ex-girlfriend in fleet. This means that the person you are supposed to warp to/approach has typed 'XXXXXXXXX' in fleet so you can right click his name and select the appropriate thing. For warps it can be "WWWWWWWWWWWWW".

General Fleet Advice.

Bring What the FC Asks For
If we are flying sniper Kestrels then no, you cannot bring a Drake. The FC wants specific ships so you need to be in them. There may also be a specific fit. The FC's plan might rely on dampening out the enemy logi or alpha'ing them off-field. He might want to kite them or swarm them with high DPS drones. If you bring the wrong fit you are not helping very much. If this is the case the FC will say what fit he wants.

Train for your Doctrines
If your fleets contain sniper Corms often and you cannot use T2 railguns.... WHY? If your fleets regularly call for sniper Kestrels and you cannot fly them.... WHY? These are all quick and easy trains. Look what your corp or alliance flies a lot and make a plan to get the minimum skills for those ships ASAP. You can train "Scrap Metal Reprocessing" to level five after you can fly all the common fleet ships properly fit!

Follow the FC's Orders, Especially Targets
This cannot be overstated enough. Spreading DPS can turn your epic fleet of epicness into salvage for the enemy. Hit the primary in the face, hold on the secondary. Forget whoring. Shoot the bloody primary, align where the FC says, do not run unless the FC calls it. Listen to them! Simple but apparently so hard at the same time -.-

Consider Pre-Broadcasting if 'Called' by the Enemy Fleet
If you are primary you'll be broadcasting for reps anyway as you'll be taking a pounding. However if the entire enemy fleet is yellow boxing you it probably means you have been called secondary or tertiary. If you broadcast then the logi can pre-lock you up ready for when you become primary. ONLY do this if the majority of the enemy fleet suddenly starts yellow boxing you. If only one or two are it means that they are stupid pricks and cannot follow the target callers of their own fleet. Rejoice in their stupidity and supreme levels of fail.... and ignore them! You are much superior to them as you are firing on the primary right? RIGHT???

During an actual battle the FC and the target callers need to talk. 99.9% of the time you do not. Shut up. Unless you are in a fleet critical ship nobody cares you are going down, have gone down, been podded or some nasty person is shooting you. Logistics, yes, the FC needs to know when they are breaking. You in your cheap Kestrel, no. If you really, really need to tell people you died gloriously in a fire simply type "-1 Kestrel" or whatever in fleet chat (unless the FC has asked to keep fleet chat clear ofc). Keep voice comms clear.

There is no I in Fleet.
"Me" and "I" are useless in comms. Many are using a single screen so do not have TS open. They have no idea who you are. Always use your toon name.

There you go. Go join fleet and be awesome!


  1. Excellent primer. Also funny which is good.

    One typo: "When you warp onto a new grid you get a session change"...

    When you jump through a stargate or wormhole onto a new grid...

  2. I've found that there are some kind of session invulnerability when you land. There have been several times that ships have been sitting still after warping in on me and I've been unable to target them for several seconds so there is something funny going on there (it's not slow computer or interwebs)

  3. Nice article. Thanks for taking the time to write it.