Fleet Command 101
This is a somewhat ambitious goal to raise someone from a newbie to an FC. This is normally a mentorship approach where someone gets what is called 'Backseated'. But there a lot of baby steps in between. And a lot of room for self improvement. After I've recorded a few versions, I'll post one on youtube, similar to my dictor 101 class.
The topics I plan to cover in 50 minutes are: (With the 'answers' posted below under a spoiler tag!)
Fleet Command - The most stressful game
The importance of a single FC for a fleet
What in-game skills are important
What to practice to get better ahead of time
How to pick a doctrine (rock-scissors-Munnin)
Finding a fight
Just start FCing
How to use other people to get there
Range and your fleet
Dealing with loss and doing it again tomorrow
Your first fleet
I'm going to be looking for feedback on this list from FCs in horde as well. But ideally, anyone with experience can take this list and run their own version.
Note that the https://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Fleet_Command_Guide Eve University guide has a lot of extra detail.
Please note, this is just someone who can do small gang but gets tunnel vision so can't do the full mainline doctrine stuff. I'm good at focusing on a single thing or two, which is helpful and terrible at the same time. I'm sorry if I have ever annoyed you as well, I do that a lot. (see in game bio for details.)
Fleet Command - The most stressful game - The Fleet Commander or FC, is a complete different game, where you steer a rag tag bunch of dummies manually pressing buttons to do the single thing you want to do. Where you want to press F1, the FC wants everyone to press their F1 at a the same time. Where you want jump through a gate, an FC has to decide WHEN he can safely get through the gate with aggression and what might be waiting on the other side.
The importance of a single FC for a fleet - There has to be a single person 'in charge'. That person will often assign alternatives in case their internet goes down, or have one person handle tackling or bombing or scouting or capitals. But you have one person calling the play to make sure that everything is going to go well. And if things go in the toilet, it's on them.
What in-game skills are important - None. No seriously, a newbie in a brand new frigate could be an FC. Ideally, you have the following things though: 1. a slightly more tanky and faster ship than the mainline ship, possibly the t2 version. The harpy is a great FC ship. 2. Decent Magic 14 skills. 3. Probing skills are nice but not necessary. 4. A monitor is great, but not at all necessary below like 50 people. 5. The fleet formation warping isn't required but again helps in some cases. 6. boosting skills are no longer required, thanks CCP!
What to practice to get better ahead of time - Telling people what to do. That's it. Well, initially you're listening to advice. On every fleet of 20 people, you'll have 5 complete idiots, maybe 5 that know how to do most parts, 4 that know everything you do, and 6 that know way more than you. Use those people to help you. Again, you're in charge, but learn what they are teaching you. I would recommend you study the following. 1. all of our fleet doctrines 2. Identify most critical fleet ships by name and role (dictors, hictors, recons, booshers, logi, and t3c) 3. The general layout of our allies and enemies. 4. Who is going to be there to help you in time of crisis.
How to pick a doctrine (rock-scissors-Munnin) - This is hard. I would recommend sticking to the current doctrines you've seen other people ping for. A single ship is hard enough to fit, and entire doctrine takes time and effort and skill. So go with something easy. Cormorants, caracals, or feroxes are the three bigs to go for. Corms if going for a roam, caracals if responding to something, and feroxes if it's something actually dangerous. By minimizing your response and not going straight to eagle/muninn, you are more likely to get your fight when it comes to you. You treat your fleet like a single ship, with a single speed and maneuverability and range and dps.
Finding a fight - Again, hard. You want to identify a target. I know Mist likes to roam on XIX, since they share a timezone. Going someplace, going into an ESS, and forcing them to come chase you off is honestly pretty easy. You can use a filament to move around quickly. Or try to get home quickly. Doing wormhole exploration makes this easier, drifter holes make this even easier since you just need a single entrance/exit in a 50 wormhole system. Get people to help you! Or just roam about after doing a filament.
Just start FCing - Just undock. just go. stop overthinking it, announce a time, and go.
How to use other people to get there - This is really key. If you look at any operation, you'll notice one or eight people helping the FC. Everyone has a role. 1. Recon, someone advising you where to go. 2. Backup FC, if something happens to you. 3. A backseat FC, this is someone helping you do your job, and standing in for you if you die or disconnect. 4. Lead scout, someone going in before your fleet lands and warning you that a tick bomb is setup. 5. Link pilots, these are experienced pilots who can often help you. 6. Logi Anchor is needed for larger fleets, pulling logi away from the main fleet so that the main fleet can survive.
Range and your fleet - Range and speed are basically everything. You need to make sure you stay in range of your weapons to shoot them, while staying out of the weapons that can hurt you. If you have ever gone on a mist fleet, you'll know how important range is. Most of the doctrines that we fly are that good because the weapons systems work at good ranges while going quickly. I'd recommend taking out cormorants to test these things out.
Target calling - Start with the most dangerous ships on the field. These include Lachesis, Huginn in big fleets. But dictors (sabre) or booshers (bifrost, stork), these can fuck up small fleets. Then move onto shooting their DPS, see how the first one goes down. If that doesn't work, you start working on their logi. Note, you have to sometimes do alphaing, where you get everyone to clear their guns and everyone shoots at once. This will cause all your damage to arrive at the same time, volleying through the target.
Dealing with loss and doing it again tomorrow - DBRB is a goon FC and he isn't the best FC. But he shows up, gets people to fly with him again even if he lost the last time, and is energic. This gets people to show up to his fleets. Note that a good FC gets people to follow them, like Mist has for his roams.. If people lose confidence in you as an FC, they don't show up, they don't put their valuable assets on the line, and you don't get the numbers you need for the fight you want. For large scale ops, Horde backs the losses with SRP Ship Replacement Program, or Valhalla program on the left hand side of the bar. This makes sure your *must* have ships are there, getting replaced, and the alliance is paying for those problems. People are more than willing to put their expensive ships on the line for a person they trust.
Your first fleet - Start today. Go join standing fleet, arrive early when fighting someone, practice calling targets and directions. Then ask if anyone wants to go for a roam, find some place to go. Or even start your own sub channel with a small group. Then work on doing broadcasts for normal fits, like cormorants or caracals. Or do handouts of ships so you get the exact doctrine you want. It's all up to you and your interests though.
Yelling at people
You are not the first FC to yell at someone. It's super common. Your emotions get up, you think of the loss that you personally will experience. Except it doesn't exactly.
What you were asked to do last night with the numbers you had was impossible, no matter what. They had more than us, in better ships, with no support. It's okay to ask for people to continue to ping to get more people for instance. It's okay to ask people to get you perches and warp ins etc. You really need to learn the probing bookmark trick, though your enemy can use it against you, I can give you that technique if you want.
So the best FC I have ever flown with was a guy named Mister Vee. When he first started, he would call people the n-word when he was mad at them (It was early internet, it was common). However, he would rarely stop the fleet to berate someone. And he stopped doing it as much because it's wasted time when he could be focused on something else. He learned that his fleet is going to do what they're going to do, and focus on the success that he expected and less on the oddballs who are fucking up. In the end, he would just say he was disappointed in people and that was FAR worse than anything else.
Let me talk about another FC who cannot hold onto people, Hedliner. I have this line in my in game bio because he's so damn toxic. He basically stopped a fleet because two scimitar losses. What happened yesterday wasn't NEARLY as bad what Hedliner did. I happened to be recording at the time, and you never know what will get posted and go viral. I never posted it, however. CCP Falcon wanted to permaban Hedliner for telling his members to kill themselves.
And finally, let's talk about a horde FC. There was a guy named Johnny. Or Musky. Or Travis. Or Deveron. Or AlphaStarPilot. Or Woodius. Or even the up and coming ones. They don't rage out when blatant mistakes happen. Never. Maybe for like 3-5 seconds, but back to action for them.
However, I can tell you who used to. Mist Amatin. Urs Blank. Those guys are gone because they couldn't deal with the chaos that is horde.
I believe in your ability to FC, it's why I've continued to help you as much as I can. Once you got a scout, you were SO much better. You show the capacity to grow, which is VERY tough for people to acknowledge they can get better. And THAT is what makes a good FC.
But in the end, you have to remember who you're flying for. You're flying for Horde, you're there to make us succeed in a video game. Being mad and yelling at people about wrong ships and being 'not fun' defeats the purpose of playing video games with you. I think Travis is honestly the most fun because he is so good at making the game fun.
DBRB is a TERRIBLE FC. He makes bad calls, he gets confused, he burns straight at kiting missile doctrines while shooting missiles. But goddamn was he fun to fly with. 🙂 I miss the dude, I don't miss his terrible FCing. heh But who the fuck needs to be good when 200 people show up to your fleets because you're so much fun to fly with. And the Ego of that man... woof. heh
Anyway, keep at it. Your personal problems are you own and talking a professional therpaist is never a badge of fault, it's a badge of honor, because you are willing to make yourself better. You have shown that trait and that is what makes someone great, the ability to recoginze that they could be better. Persuading people with empathy and encouraging them together is a great life skill.
BTW, I'm terrible. I know it. I'm a bad pilot, I interrupt, I am helpful when it's unwanted. If you want me settled, just tell me 'Chill Kis' and I'll stop being as annoying. In the end, people are easily confused in this game when they have never PVP'd before. And that is the only reason I asked someone to deal with this problem. I didn't find out the guy in the basilisk was in his first fleet till we were already knee deep in it. WHOOPS! But playing eve has helped in my career as an IT Professional, for sure. 😄
Anyway, you'll get better. You will feel better about your skills. You do have them. You make good calls regularly. Your target calling is good. Your dual boxing is constantly getting better. So keep at it man. 🙂
This is my talk with Eve University to address their Sov Warfare problems they are dealing with.