Every Fleet Commander (FC) needs a scout when roaming about looking for fights or defending a system.
Scouting for a FC is for some people not a fun thing to do as it means you might not get on to many kill mail’s especially if there is more than 1 scout for the fleet but I think this view on scouting is the wrong way to look at it.
I like to think that as a scout you are basically the eyes of the fleet. You see things before they do and you know what is coming or going on when they do not. It puts you in a very powerful position as the fleets success is sometimes in your hands and not the FC’s. It also means that you are more responsible than say the normal pilot in fleet and the information you give to your FC is most valued over others.
It’s a role that should be taken on with the mind-set that this role is a responsible position in the fleet and you should scout every fleet with the best of your ability every time. Scouting is also a fantastic first step into being a FC one day. So if that is one of your goals then scouting is where you want to start.
This guide will focus on the following:
- What do I need to be a scout?
- When should I start at scouting?
- What information does the FC need from me?
- Should we fight or should we run?
- The inner mind of a young scout.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BE A SCOUT?
There are a couple of things we need to have as an Scout but the most important thing on the list is that you actually want to be a scout. If you do not feel ready for it and people ask you to do it, then simply inform them that you don’t feel ready. You might have a very good FC with you and will be able to talk you through what he/she wants as you go on your planned route and sometimes this is a great push that you need but if you really stressed out about it, just simply inform the FC that you do not feel up to it at the moment. A good FC will choose others and a Bad FC will just be an idiot about it.
So let’s look at some of the basic things needed to Scout.
Communications (Ventrilo, TeamSpeak or Mumble)
Communicating with your fleet is kind of very important. Your role as a scout is to give information to the FC who will then make a decision and will give orders to the rest of the fleet based on the information given by yourself. If you can’t give information to your FC or they can’t hear the information that you are trying to provide them with then well you already have a problem and you have already failed before you even started as a scout.
So get your communications fixed first. Everybody should be able to hear you clearly and you should be able to hear them clearly. It’s a two-way thing. Your FC and fleet might be holding on the gate waiting for information and if they cannot hear your instruction when you have just informed them not to go to the next system and they do. Well that is your fault for getting everybody killed, so clear and working communications is a must.
Never ever use words like big, small, far away, me and just generic things like that when talking to your FC.
They want facts in detail and numbers.
Remember a big fleet for you might be 2 or more but for the FC it could be 20 or more. You saying “big fleet here” will give the FC the impression that there are 20 pilots but actually its only 5.
So don’t use generic terms about size.
“We have 5 frigates here. 2 x Punisher, 1 x Condor, 2 x Merlin” The FC now knows exactly what’s there.
Warp to me is another no no. Who is me? If I have just joined the fleet and we are in our home system and I hear warp to me as I am being attacked it means I don’t know who to warp to… It means I can’t help and it also means that you might have won or survived the fight if I came early but because me is not a person it’s very frustrating to hear this as I cannot help you.
“Warp to Eric Shang, Warp to Eric Shang, I need help” That is pretty clear who people need to warp to. Find Eric Shang on overview or in fleet and warp to them as he needs help.
You are playing a spaceship game where you flying in spaceships so you need ships. I know that sounds silly but it’s basic and I am sure there will be people out there that think scouting in a shuttle or rookie ship is great but unfortunately it is not. You want to have a very fast ship that can quickly find things in a system and catch things if possible. The Interceptor class frigates are really great for this especially when you are in null Security space but it also depends on the fleet that is going out. You can always ask the FC what he wants you to fly and then bring what he is asking for.
What ships should you start with?
Fast Tier 1 Frigate.
What the hell is a Fast Tier 1 Frigate?
Look at your race and see which frigates have bonuses to MWD (Micro Warp Drive) and also Warp Disruption modules. You want to be fast and nimble and be able to hold things down from a safe distance so your fleet can warp in and get the kill that you have caught for them. You will not be top damage and you should not be unless you were holding for ages, doing damage is not your job as a scout.
So Tier 1 Frigates are your friends. They are cheap, easy to replace and fun.
Tier 1 Frigates and Tier 2 modules are your max to start with.
You can then train for an Interceptor and finally a Stealth bomber or Covert ops Frigate. You will then become a cloaky scout and this means people cannot see you and you can sneak up on them. (I do not cover cloaky scouts in this guide but will write one if enough people pester me about it)
Every FC is different. Some want complete silence when they FC. Some like it when you chat. Some like a mixture.
Do you care about this? No. What you should care about is that when you want information to reach your FC that people respect that you are the scout and they will then be quite. The fleet is as much in your hands as it is in the FC, so they should respect you when you ask them to be quite.
Asking them to be quite is very simple. You simply say “Clear Coms” with Authority. This lets the FC know that you have vital information for him/her and also it informs the fleet to keep quite now as the information coming from you is very important to your FC.
Do not be scared to speak over others when doing this, even the FC. They might be talking about random things and you might have information that will get them kills or worse… get them killed. So you have the right as a scout to talk over them and to be a bit bossy when they don’t stop talking. Your FC should have this under control but sometimes people get a bit excited so it is needed.
Knowing How To Use Your Directional Scanner (DScan)
This sounds a bit silly but every scout needs to know how to use the directional scanner. If you think that simply opening it up and hitting scan is working knowledge then well you have not even scratched the surface as to how useful the thing is. There are a lot of video guides on YouTube about this and I will not be covering this here but make sure you watch them and practice, practice and o yes practice.
WHEN SHOULD I START AT SCOUTING?
So you have been practicing with your DScanner and you now know how to find things on it. You can narrow things down to a 5 degree angle and know what that means. You can see who is new in a system as the person has not changed the name of his ship. Things to look out for “Eric Shang’s Rifter” is a clear sign that the person is very new and has not been told to change it or does not know how to do it.
This information is very useful for you as a scout. It means you know something about someone and they don’t know this about you. You know who they are and what ship they flying. You can have a quick look at their information to see how old they are and if they are less than 2 months and they have not changed their name of their ship then I would say they are new to EVE or an Alt. Finding out where ships are in system and how far away they are or even who they belong to is one of your main tasks.
You want to be able to jump into a system and be able to give a full system break down within your full DScan range in 60 seconds. (60 Seconds is how long your cloak lasts when you jump a system)
This sounds like very little time to do it but if you have been practising your DScan skills then it should not even take you 30 Seconds.
When you can do this under a minute I would say you ready for your first scouting experience.
WHAT INFORMATION DOES THE FC NEED FROM ME?
Just remember before you start scouting that the FC does not know what you know unless you tell them. They are not in system with you as you will always be +1 (1 Jump ahead of them) or -1 (Trailing behind 1 jump).
So whatever information you feel the FC needs to know is the information you provide to them.
There is a set process that I like to give my FC and also what I want as a FC when my scouts jump into the system.
You can change and adapt it as you want but this is just something that makes sense to my brain when scouting and FCing.
- Is the fleet about to jump into a death trap?
- How many are there in System with you?
- What is on long range Scan and can we shoot it?
Now I use this because it basically starts with information that is crucial to us now at this very second and then moves out in distance and also in stress level for a FC?
Is the fleet about to jump into a death trap?
You are +1 so jump into a system ahead of us and now all I want to know as the FC is if there is a gang waiting for us on the other side of the gate and how big are they and what ships are they flying?
A simple “the gate is clear on the other side” will inform the FC that all is well and clear here, so don’t stress about the fleet and me.
If it is not safe and there is a massive gang, then guess what you might die…
That’s right. You the scout as important as you are normally are the first pilots to die. If you are new to the game of scouting then you will freak out and make a mistake so practice to stay calm is very important.
Nobody likes to die but if you think of it as in you have helped the others survive it’s a positive outlook. You sacrificed yourself and ship to save them. If one of them was scouting and he/she sacrificed their ship to save your ship you would be grateful for them informing the FC.
If there is a gang on the other side your FC needs to know that they there. I don’t care who is telling you stories of how they met the Dali Lama or Nelson Mandela but today at this point in time the Mr Lama and Mandela is not very important. What is important is that your friends are about to die! You need to get your message to your FC so be rude, be a duch bag I don’t care but tell your FC what is on the other side.
You have 60 Seconds of cloak after your jump if you do nothing. Do not try to burn back to the gate or hit orbit or anything and you can sit there for 60 seconds and see what is going on. So do not panic as you have that time to give information to your FC.
CLEAR COMS! There is a fleet of 20+ on the other side in cruisers and smaller. They are all flashing or maybe they even have bubbles on the gate (bubbles are null security only – Interceptors are not affected by them).
Whatever you can see on the gate is the information you give your FC or you can use tools like this one: http://eve-dingo.com/index.php. It’s a simple tool that allows you to show your FC what you have on DScan and will help a lot so bookmark it. It means they can decide for everybody to warp away or maybe they even want to fight them. That is the FC’s job but you have given the information to them and after that any mess-up is their fault. You have warned them have you not?
Inform the FC if they are jumping into your fleets system when they start activating the gate or are they just simply sitting there and waiting for targets.
Once you have given the FC everything needed, you can use the time now to try to get your ship safely away from them. Warp away if you can and warp back to them at range (100km) and get eyes on them if possible without putting your ship in danger. This is if you got out with your ship of course. Don’t scout with your pod. You will lose it. It will allow you to see what they are up to and it means you can inform the FC more about their ships. “On the gate you have 5 x Caracals, 3 x Omens etc.” if you have not used the tool I mentioned and it also means you can inform your FC what they doing as it happens from a so to say safe distance.
How many are there in System with you?
No death trap on other side… excellent.
Now how many possible targets are there in local chat?
Look at your local window and there should be a number on it. Give this number minus you and other fleet members in system to your FC. Some FC’s don’t want to know about people with blue standings so you might have to quickly subtract them from the total as well.
You have a grand total of 23 people. How many of those are neutral and how many are red and then orange.
If all 22 are from the same Alliance or Corporation, guess what… You have just found another fleet out and about looking for kills. Make sure you inform your FC who they are. The Alliance or Corporation might be known to hot drop fleets and that information can save lives.
Make sure you also inform your FC if there are only 2 from the same Corp/Alliance as it means the FC can start thinking about strategy to maybe bait one or both to come fight.
What is on long range Scan and can we shoot it?
Nothing on gate but people in system means that they flying around in space. They could all be docked up in a station but normally there is at least 1 or 2 people about in ships to shoot.
Can you find anything on your long scan?
No. Inform your FC this and inform him/her you will see if you can find them. Well let’s see if you can find them? Warp to planets (Never to gates or the sun) and see if you can spot them anywhere in system and what ships people could be in.
If they are on your long range scan and you now know what the different distances mean you should be able to narrow them down to 5 degree angle and possible have a destination to warp to and catch them.
SHOULD WE FIGHT OR SHOULD WE RUN?
Firstly as a scout you will find that the more you do it the more you will start thinking like a FC. You might have attacked a similar size fleet and won easy with another FC you have scouted for but this FC does not want to engage them… Why not?
Just remember that you are a scout. Your job is to relay info to the FC and the FC will make a decision based on this info you have provided. The FC might be new to FCing and the last thing they want is to feel pressured into attacking something that they not sure about. They will freeze up and get everybody killed. Give them advise on how they could engage them or what you have seen that works in that situation when the FC asks you for advice and only if they ask.
If you start to question the decision of the FC or you feel you could have done better than the FC, then I would say it’s maybe time for you to start looking into running your own roam as the FC ( “So you want to be a FC Guide“).
Scout = Info
FC = Attack: Yes/No
THE INNER MIND OF A YOUNG SCOUT
As a new scout you will make mistakes. It’s natural to jump into a gate camp of 30+ people and freak out. You will die a lot with scouting in the beginning and blame yourself for giving information too slowly or maybe you just made a mistake that meant the fleet died.
This type of stuff just happens. Its part of scouting and you should just inform your FC that you are new to this if you are worried about it before going out in a roam. Make notes on other scouts tips and tricks that they use. Do the good ones and ignore the bad ones.
Hopefully this guide has pointed you in the right direction and you might notice some things mentioned in here that people get wrong when they scouting.
You will get better the more you do it. Practice makes perfect as they say and this is the same with scouting.
Just remember that as a scout your role is information. It is Information that the FC might not/ does not have. If you going to die because of bubbles (null sec) or they have a lot of ships on field then what ever you do make sure that your role is the thing you think about. Information.
Inform your FC what’s happening and give that information to them. Whatever happens next is not your responsibility. You have done your duty as the scout. If you die then it means the fleet lives. If you survive then it’s a bonus.
Scouting is a fantastic step into becoming a FC. It teaches you when to run and when to fight. It teaches you about working as a team but most importantly it teaches you how to be a good scout and will mean you will teach others when you are the FC and also know what a scout should do for you.
Go out there and just enjoy it.
It’s a game. Have fun.
You are already a great scout the minute you said “Can I be the scout please”.
I hope you enjoyed this little guide and I hope you try scouting out.