Starting to FC

FC’s are the heart of your corp, with a few exceptions such as the committed solo guys at Hayabusa, much of your corp will not enjoy soloing as much as flying with a fleet. This is fair, it is more sociable, fun and you can take on a wider range of targets but it relies on having enough guys willing to step up and lead. If you only have a small number of them then burnout is a big problem.

This is such a complicated subject and everyone will approach it differently but I will try to jot down a few ideas to help out new FCs.

Firstly, do not get up tight about it. You may be worrying that you are going to loose everyone’s ships (and you will eventually) but they are all just happy to not have to do this. You are already the guy who is creating content so take some pride in it. The only way to learn is by doing so step up.

Know your targets, you can’t FC if you have not flown and fought a wide range of ships. Knowing how those vexors are fit and how they are flown will allow you to beat them.

Develop a style, some are overbearing micromanagers and some are easygoing – the ideal will be somewhere in between obviously and will depend on your fleet. My fleets are never expensive or formed for some huge strategic importance so we are focussed on having fun. If you are dropping a pile of titans you may wish to be more serious.

Can’t emphasize this one enough, repeat important instructions calmly, keep feeding info and adjust the way you say it slightly. We all play with people from a huge range of countries and occasionally confuse each other with accents. For example “primary Bob in the rifter, B-O-B, rifter is primary”. Spelling the first three letters  of complicated gate names is a good trick too. Remember no-one wants to pipe up on comms to ask “who was primary again?” so keep feeding the info and it can make the difference between winning and loosing, the guys will also thank you for not having to ask again and look like a prat. Keep your voice calm and slow as much as possible.

Don’t sweat target calling, pick something high dps (or ewar) and get stuck into it, while that one is going down you can start looking for secondaries and lining them up in your head for destruction. If something is tanking like a beast don’t be afraid to primary something else. You MUST make sure everyone is hitting the primary too – new players will concentrate on people shooting them or closer but it is imperative everyone shoots the primary otherwise what’s the point of an FC, you might as well all yolo in there. Shout if the damage is split because this will loose you the fight.

Have an idea of what your fleet want to get out of the roam, if everyone has just shipped up into shinies then don’t take the first outnumbered fight you can. Try to get some fair fights before the potential wipeout. Piling into a big outnumbered fight is for the end of the evening when you’re going home with plenty of kills and loot already. Then it’s fun and will either be a glorious victory against the odds or ships which have paid for themselves anyway.

Start to get an idea of positioning, you should be zoomed right out with the overlay on in most fights and as you fly bigger stuff, the positioning of your fleet becomes more important. Always be zoomed right out and try to spot stragglers from your fleet or potential isolated targets from the enemy one.

The hardest bit of FCing is to basically have the fleet acting as one larger entity rather than a number of  separate ships. You do this with timing, clear instructions and getting your idea across quickly and effectively. Ultimately how you do this is down to personal style and the type of fleets you run but the points above will apply to most situations.

Random drunken violence

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Last nights monday roam was pretty chaotic even by our standards. We were about to set off in frigs as usual when Nash, who is never content with cheap ships:), decided he wanted to take cruisers. At this point I had been drinking some delicious and very strong home brew so said “fuck it, bring what you like”.

We therefore assembled a hodge-podge of cruisers and frigs, shield and armour, led by nash in his scouting/bait cyclone (after robbing corp hangar of its last blue pill) and headed off to start a fight.

Before we got out of system we got intel of a proteus and some recons heading into system so lazy and I legged it back to reship into a couple of augorers we found in corp locker. They turned out to have salvagers in the highs instead of energy transfers but hey what the hell – there were shines to explode so we legged it back to gate quick.

The shinies didn’t materialise so we pushed on and found a Cane on gate which got blapped quickly enough but lit a cyno. At this point our command and control is out the window, we have guys taking gate guns in shield frigs with armour logi cruisers (without cap transfers), I’m driving a logi which I am bad at but also can’t FC while I’m doing it so several of the other guys are FCing at different times. The drop happens but a pretty ragtag fleet drops through consisting of a couple of T3s, a bomber and I think two stratios. By this point of course we are expecting PL and the order to bail has been given but then there is some discussion and a couple of our guys get dropped in the confusion. Bugger – round one to the droppers.

We however scrape together what we had left and pile back for round two because, apart from anything else, there was some decent loot on the field. Bit more composed this time we get stuck in and drop a bomber, stratios, deimos, another bomber and then their loki, which was not bad considering the outrageous kitchen sink fleet we had. I don’t think we took any losses either this time although Lazy’s Aug was getting a proper kicking from the deimos and my entire top rack was melting trying to keep him up.

After a break for more beer and Nash to divvy out the loot to those who had lost ships we messed about a bit in Hadozeko between two other fleets and again bad coordination cost us a few losses, it was one of those chaotic nights where no-one is really in charge, there are lots of guys on comms who don’t know each other, and plenty of afkers, which is fun occasionally but not to be made a habit of.

The tricky part is keeping a roam relaxed enough that guys can talk and have a laugh when not fighting but strict enough that the fleet is still capable of coordinated action. I think we are too used to fast frigates which can be warped and got into position quickly – cruisers are slower and therefore require more discipline. 

That said everyone had a bloody good laugh – we blew up about a bill of ships for loosing a handful of cruisers and frigs and scooped about 70 mill of loot which probably paid for most of the losses. We will do cruisers again but I wont be in a logi:)

Alliance tournament

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I really only got interested in AT last year and remember roaring at the screen watching Turn Left trying to break PL’s tinker tengu. It didn’t happen unfortunately and PL went on to win.

This year I managed to watch most of the first weekend matches despite some fairly determined girlfriend aggro and I enjoyed it a lot. The first thing that struck me is that a lot of my lowsec mates are in it this year which is kinda cool, I don’t know why but this year we have Tuskers, 7-2, The Devil’s Warriors, Turn Left, Scum and of course Shadow. With the exception of Scum I have friends in all these corps and fly with them when I can so am taking more notice than I otherwise would.

Obviously I am hugely biased, and living in lowsec as I do think that most nullseccers are brain-dead F1 mashers who couldn’t create content to save themselves. This of course is not true, pretty much all the past winners of the AT are nullsec teams so they must have a few decent pilots but here is the difference.

A large doctrine fleet such as seen in null acts more as a single giant entity, with cap and reps flowing about through the fleet and damage pouring out of it whereas a small lowsec gang is very much more independent, a collection of ships all capable of separate action or coming together to act cohesively. The AT seems to me to be more like the former, albeit far more finely tuned, despite the small size.

I think the first time lowsec guys will be at a disadvantage this year due to lack of AT experience but I actually think they will do well. Sulei for instance is a bloody good pilot and a great theory crafter – I know how much time he put into our T1 cruiser fits so god knows how much time he spent on AT. Their big advantage is of course the fact that they can all manually fly very well, nullsec does not teach you this skill and I can’t wait for the inevitable big upsets.

Highlights of the first weekend:

  • Tuskers stomping Cyno Field Theory
  • Feign Disorder doing a good number on the Unthinkables despite loosing their logi early on.
  • I missed Devil’s Warriors loosing to Solar but fingers crossed they can do OK in the other bracket
  • Also missed Camel club but no doubt they totally routed whoever they were fighting
  • Shadow had a cracking fight, highlight was Floppy surviving in 4% hull
  • Scum I seem to remember made Noir look pretty silly (why do they never do well?)
  • Hydra were amazing, never seen such a kicking
  • No Holes Barred were also pretty impressive

The other good thing to see was the lack of sentry drones which have largely been replaced with Geckoes. The meta still seems to be really drone heavy though.

More of the usual chaos.

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Things seem to be slowly hotting up after a pretty quiet summer, I was away for much of it and so were many of the others. However the UK has now had it’s two weeks of summer and the leaves are falling off the trees and people are spending more time indoors. 

Most of the russians have left Auner but a few remain and they are broadly bearable, one in particular is polite most of the time in local and keeps feeding us kills so long may it last. One or two new ones have turned up and I watched one bring in a garmur and an orthrus. It took only a day or two for lazy to bump off the garmur and we have our eyes set on the orthrus too. Meanwhile I relieved another of his gatecamping tornado.

Then shit got silly as it always does. 

Tibbs decided it was venture roam time so off we went. We found a guy in a prospect mining in Amamake and perhaps when eight or so flashy ventures landed on grid he thought “ah here are some mining buddies come to share the belt” for some reason he didn’t cloak or warp and was torn to bits pretty quickly.

We were still chuckling when a PL hurricane landed and again we thought “naaah, surely not” but never forget the rule “always take bait”. He was stupid enough to let us get on top of him and again was exploded in short order and without a cyno going up – which was a shame..

Can’t remember much about the rest of that night but it ended with a classic scrap. We were about to go home when we saw a equal size gang of faction and T1 frigs and they seemed to be up for a fight. After a bit of arsing about we took it in a small plex and the fight was on, I was calling targets and dropped the three comets first which all went down very fast, luckily the slicer came in too close and we got him too. We were obviously loosing ships too as they had enough points to hold us down but they were loosing them faster. The T1 frigs went down a lot slower as by then they had dropped much of our dps until all that was left on field was me, one of the meats and two enemy kiting out at 20+km. 

By that stage we could do nothing but nor could they hold us so we warped off – lots of GFs in local, the kill count was about equal but we lost 7 mill mining frigs and they lost faction frigs so we deffo came out ahead on ISK (and bragging rights).

I have tried many times to get a decent battle report but they’re all so mixed up you’ll have to take my word on this one (or visit our killboard). 

Suddenly, Spaceships.

 

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Well I’m sure you will all agree it has been a bit quiet over the last few weeks but the last few days seem to have seen an upsurge of activity in our area.

Firstly I have to mention the sterling work our training corp is doing, the Meatshield Bastards are our learner corp where we take guys straight out of pod school and make them into killers, have to say its going quite well. Just recently our (supposed) newbs in meta fit T1 frigates have dropped a daredevil, a succubus, and two rather shiny pods. I bloody love ‘em. To be honest we aren’t teaching them much at all these days, they have enough knowledge within their ranks to learn without us and that speaks volumes. Promotions to Bastards corp coming soon.

BLOPs stuff is something we are capable of but don’t do enough partly because not everyone can fly a droppable ship and also because we are not great at getting ready quickly:) But when our local russians were gatecamping nearby it was an ideal opportunity to drop some heavy metal on them. One of our meats, Dero went in with a bait maller and amazingly they took it, cyno, bam, and we got a cynabal and two logis, unfortunately the damn oracle got away..

Our trusty fleet comp of kitchen sink frigates has been doing us proud too, we dropped a couple of destroyers and a Retribution in Gulmogorod then managed to isolate a Vagabond, kill off its drones and wear the bugger down which took no small amount of skill on the part of everyone there and many of the guys were very new. Scratch one Vagabond to frigates.

Last of all and after many months of baiting with my alt in a procurer someone finally took the bait, woohoo. Cynabal down.

Its good being a Bastard..

 

It’s a good day to be a pirate.

Today has been quite unusually good so far, having lost a pod to a derp when I got back from sailing last week I have been needing some luck. Mr Spaxi has also relieved me of a Comet for winning the monthly “best kill” competition (again) so I’m going to have to enter that this month to save the corp some dough.

Anyway I digress. Anabaric our CEO is getting married soon and doesn’t have the time to spare these days to run our rag-tag band of merry misfits so he retired and I’m the new CEO of the Bastards. While this is pretty cool in itself nothing important will change, we will still be the Bastards as we have been since 2007, no blues, no politics, no bullshit and a tonne of fun.

I spent a little while poking round the alliance interface and didn’t understand a single thing so here’s hoping I don’t mess that up but then spotted a merlin in a plex in Auner. Tally ho, scram bosh and I have his pod pointed so I thought I’d try to get a new haiku for the board.

Johnny Twelvebore > hey
Johnny Twelvebore > gonna need a ransom I’m afraid
Katusha Starski > hi
Katusha Starski > how much?
Johnny Twelvebore > know what a haiku is?
Katusha Starski > yes
Johnny Twelvebore > give me your best shot
Katusha Starski > I say no to terrorists, I’d rather be killed
Johnny Twelvebore > really?
Johnny Twelvebore > rather than be creative and try making a poem?
Katusha Starski > nah, not my native language, so I can’t
Johnny Twelvebore > ah which is your native language?
Johnny Twelvebore > well sorry but no haiku then I’m gonna have to pod you – you seemed like a decent bloke but cant make exceptions

 

Nothing unusual about this, most people are idiots and would rather loose a pod than compose a poem but I had a premonition and checked my char sheet. Sure enough I had been at -9.999 sec status for months and this one tipped me over to pure -10, Oh yes, good day to be a pirate.

 

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Edit: Today just got better, we jumped through a wormhole to an Amarr lowsec system and scooped over 700M of pos mods (silos, reactors, moon harvesters) which were just laying about. TF would be proud of me.

Pissing off PL (again)

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The boys were out on a roam in a variety of t1 frigs the other day when we spotted a flashy Dominix derping about on gate in Evati, it seemed a bit suspicious but hey the number one rule is “always attack bait” so we did.

We tackled it on the gate but just didn’t have enough dps to drop it before it slowboated back to gate and jumped through. We had a guy on the other side but unfortunately it was a regional gate and he decloaked miles off.

Thoroughly interested by now we followed it for a while and next time had a bit more dps and webs so were getting him into low armour when he starts to neut and point and, hey presto, cyno and six PL carriers appear. We laugh and warp off back to amamake which is only a few jumps off and blow up their return cynos.

I can’t remember exactly when it happened but shortly after the cyno went down we hit it a third time just wanting to piss off PL and make them jump about the place for no reason but having several more ships the guy was going down quite well, he is into low armour and still no cyno and I’m doing the sums and decide the carriers can’t lock us before he drops so give the word to all overheat and go balls deep, even if we loose a frig this sod is going down. It all gets a bit exiting as the cyno goes off and again hey presto a pile of carriers jump through with some BLOPS battleships for good measure but they can’t lock us in time and the bait Domi explodes in a glorious vindication of frigate pvp over expensive toy arsewits.

We had a new guy with us and he was a bit slow getting out so they shot up his probe worth about five mill, the Domi came in at 315 mill so we were happy, and if you check the killmail you’ll see his mate even whored on the kill..

Then we went back to amamake again and kept blapping their return cyno so they couldn’t come back:)

 

 

Ups and downs

roller_coaster_up_and_down

So I have just got back from a few weeks away and as usual I suck, lost an incursus to an atron because I didn’t have a drone and failed to reload null quickly enough. Then I heard that Huola was busy so we went over there and jumped into a gatecamp – I made a series of crap decisions which ended in me loosing my pod and nearly loosing a mates snake pod but thankfully he sucked less than me and got it out. His voice did go a bit squeaky though.

So I went back to Auner (in a noobship, like a boss) and got chatting to Sarcos who was chasing a missioner. I warped in on him in an inty and the whole pocket went for me so I was lucky to get out in one piece, Sarcos went in for him and he had bailed before he got to the second gate.

He did however make one massive mistake by asking in local “did you get the loot?” which told us he had popped the final rat but warped out and couldn’t get back in because of us, then the mission gate despawned. Luckily it was a simple case of scanning his abandoned drones and scooping 300M of loot:)

Bam. Bob giveth and he taketh away (or is that only in wormholes?)

Stand by for a newbie training guide, we have a couple of new guys and they’re asking about training.

Some days you suck, and some days..

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Every time I go away I get rusty and this trip was no different, I got back and we have some top new guys in corp so I went out with them, and exploded instantly every time. I think they were a bit downhearted actually having joined a pirate corp and then realised one of the directors was a total dud:)

Today I had some time spare so went out soloing which I don’t do enough, my weapon of choice was a comet and holy crap these things are good!

My spree of awesome started off by whacking a taranis in a tristan, that was a damn close fight and he hung about so I got the pod too.

Then I jumped into the comet of pure evil (btw this is just a standard T2 fit, I don’t do bling or expensive implants) and set off to introduce myself to whoever I could find.

I warped in on a firetail and after a good scrap he dropped and was daft enough to leave his pod hanging about, as I was scooping his loot his mate in a tristan warps in. I was about to bail when I noticed I still had some charges left in my ancil so thought “fuck it” and yoloed into the bugger. Well turns out the shit had dual neuts so I was dry pretty quick but not before Id hurt him, the vamp was sucking a little bit of power back and it came down to the choice between cycle repper or guns. No contest, one burst and he was toast, I was in low hull with the proper pvp shakes – not had that in a while! Scooped the loot and that paid for my ship when it finally pops. Forgot to mention – also got his pod:)

 

At this point I’m wishing there were more blokes online to hear about this fight when I find a tormentor in a plex. Tally ho etc and got the bugger pointed but he is fast and I’m struggling to close on him to lay the serious hurt on, finally I get close and he eventually goes down but not before his mate in a bloody dual rep incursus turns up! Well it worked once so let’s try again. Its a damn close fight and he reps like a boss but I’m chucking out some serious damage here and just overwhelm his tank as I burn out my repper. Couldn’t have been closer.

 

The only bad thing about this is that no-one is on to hear about it:)

 

[edit] Shortly after writing this post I soloed a daredevil in a tristan, today is turning out pretty well:)

 

Pissing off PL..

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EVE is a game and I think often that fact is forgotten. We play the game to have fun and we laugh loud and often on comms which is basically my metric of success, if we come back with holds full of loot and sides sore from cracking up laughing then I count it as a good roam.

So when Tibbs insisted on ventures the other day I groaned out loud but then hopped into my trusty venture which has been alive for a worryingly long time now.

We scanned out a firetail and blapped him (plus the pod) then found a PL bait drake sat on gate. Now everyone knows this is a brick tank with a cyno but we were a bit drunk and thought it would be a laugh to shoot it up and try to provoke a reaction. So we did and our five battle ventures piled into it on the gate, he agressed back and we set about maximising our dps to see what we could do. At about 1/3 shield the inevitable cyno goes up and there is much cheering on comms as the overview goes red with BLOPS battleships and carriers – we didnt hang about and got off grid laughing our guts out. They must have lit a return cyno because they dissapeared quickly but the cyno was still up so we warped back in and continued pelting it.

A bit more organisation at this point would have got us the kill but we were a bit slow and they jumped more big stuff through the gate to chase us off and the drake finished its cyno and jumped out.

Ah well never mind, we jumped into Amamake and found their return cyno and thought “why not” so five ventures warped onto station where the BLOPS and carriers were sitting, blapped the cyno talwar and warped off before they could lock us, Mr Spaxi had the pod locked but had to leg it when they finally got him targetted.

This must have riled them up as a massive command ship fleet then chased us about for a bit but obviously couldnt catch frigates and it was only when they finally got firetails that we thought it was time to bog off and executed the “brave sir robin” manouvre as quickly as we could.

Not much in the way of kills that night but we had a right good laugh poking PL.

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