Last night E-UNI had an arranged fight with FCON. I won’t go into how I found out about this, but let’s just say I knew where and when it was going to happen with about 2 hours notice and thought it might be fun to crash the party and apply some Waffle dunkage. What followed the two hours before was 3 hours of stress, frustration and euphoria. The plan was simple, get our lovely Darkside Naga doctrine formed up with enough people, travel two regions over and get a good warpin. Oh, and don’t get bollocksed by the myriad of blocs with fleets along the way.
A borrowed Titan bridge and a lot of jumping later, we’re 5 jumps out freeburning as we’re 10 minutes late (battlecruisers are slow bastards these days) and I hear that the E-UNI gang have engaged FCON. Their armour gang vs FCONs Cerbfleet. The result of the fight was pretty predictable.
Let me take a moment here to say FCON, dick move, seriously. E-UNI can’t do damage projection and have very few Recon pilots. If you’re going to have an arranged fight bring something they can trade with, don’t bring something to just sit at 60 and burn through everything they have without a chance of ever losing ships. Arranged fights should bring fun to both sides, so don’t be cocks.
Rant over, anyways, after 10s of forming on the ingate and sorting a warpin (cheers Gallastian) we landed on grid. Numbers were pretty even between our Naga gang and the Cerbs, though their sig radius, perfect damage application and ability to control the fight through superior speed gave them a slight advantage. Evidently that meat they should warp off immediately as we landed on grid, feeding us a Scimi we managed to tackle.
E-UNI had very few pilots left, so they bravely limped back through the Skarkon gate and made themselves scarce. As you can tell, I wasn’t very happy with FCON and we’d traveled quite a long way with very little to show for it, so I gave chase only to find they had 120 dudes ready to go two systems over. Cue the Cerb fleet going and docking up to be replaced by a 80-90 man rail Ferox gang with ~20 Logis and plenty of tackle.
At this point you’re probably expecting a trademark ambitious but inevitably futile Apothne welp. NOT TODAY FRIENDS!
Fortunately for me Waffles were on top form. The Waffle Naga anchor (Morrow Disca, soon to be retiring to NIGGS) kept us at the lovely range of just under 50km from their Feroxs, right at the edge of our optimals, and (in my head) forcing the Feroxs to choose as long a range ammo as possible while maintaining maximum DPS for us, making life for our logis much easier. Our pilots focused fire beautifully, logis were on the ball keeping us repped up (though it got a little hairy at times) and our support were hero-pointing and webbing/painting targets like pros.
Unfortunately for FCON, they were not. As you can see from the BR the Feroxs with T2 guns had Spike loaded, giving them an optimal of ~97. Sure, we’re in DPS range but you’re doing ~270DPS with horrific tracking, whereas with faction Thorium you’d be doing 100 more, while still being at good range. Their pilots with T1 guns had STANDARD antimatter loaded. For the inexperienced, the difference between faction ammo and standard ammo is that faction does a ton more damage…..and that’s about it. The general rule in EVE is that you use standard ammo for structure shoots (and only then if you’re cheap), and faction/T2 for everything else. With the standard antimatter (and meta1 guns, really? I know meta 4s are expensive but meta 3s do wonderfully) they’re doing 332 DPS at 23+15, i.e doing zero damage to us. If we once again consider faction Thorium, they’d be doing 286 DPS that would actually hit us.
Now, a quick aside to speak to Railgun doctrines, which were both being used here. Antimatter is your short range ammo (Javelin is rarely useful), Uranium/Plutonium is your medium range ammo, Thorium is your long range ammo and Spike is your ridiculously long range ammo. Not carrying sets of each is akin to flying a Pulse laser doctrine without scorch. Not a good idea.
My three favourite kills however are these:
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=20862165 Small gun Ferox? He’s using faction ammo at least I guess.
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=20862314 Javelin? Really? 13.5+10 is what you wanted?
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=20862162 Next-to-no-tank attempting-to-be cap stable Osprey. wow.
We managed to bag a few extra kills on the way home but not much else worth of mention happened. Mocking FCON baddies and berating poor doctrine choices is all well and fun, but what I would like to speak about now however is how terrible I was during the pre- and post-fight part of the fleet. I was fairly happy with the fight itself, I called intelligent targets, told our anchor where I wanted us to go and maintained good situational awareness, but for the travelling my words were continuously garbled,my decisions were slow and garbled and I spaced out often and had to continually ask scouts to repeat intel (especially after the fight).
This is where I find myself with FCing these days, I have enough experience and familiarity with popular doctrines that I can make relatively intelligent decisions and control the fight decently, but that is a fraction of what a FC needs to do. Moving the fleet itself around with ad hoc desto changes, having multiple different sources of intel through different mediums coming through and being so incredibly short on time blew my circuits and I pretty much cocked it all up. After the fight(s) I find myself a mixture of exhausted and elated, draining my concentration substantially and ruining any good maneuvers to eek out more kills. I can’t imagine any of the Waffles on my fleet were particularly happy with me or confident that I was doing good things while we were both setting up and leaving.
Frankly, the fact that we got the fight with the Feroxs was pure luck, as soon as our original target the Cerb fleet warped off in L4X I had that awful moment of realisation that I had brought us all the way out here for nothing but a single Scimi kill. Thus, I have the following things to work on, which are also factors any FC should be thinking about:
– Mental stamina: It is my dream to one day be competent enough and have the opportunity to lead a PL campaign and FC large scale, important campaigns and engagements not only passably, but fantastically. There’s no hope of doing this if I can’t maintain a high level of concentration and mental acuity for extended periods of time.
– Delegation: Partly to help with the above, but in general I will have a finite number of things I am capable of doing at any one point in time. There will be a subset of those things which I can do well, everything else needs to be delegated so that all jobs get done well.
– Presence & Personality: It was noticeable how at the PL London meet, whenever Hedliner opened his mouth the room stopped, turned and paid attention. Even when he was just chatting you could see people twitch to listen, tables over when he started speaking loudly. A 23 year old, green student had the attention of middle aged professionals as well as all kinds of nerds in general and people from all walks of life. He obviously has done a damn sight more to earn their respect than me, but any long-term FC should make people want to listen to him and enjoy spending time in his or her fleets. I am currently awful at this.