So you think you have what it takes to lead a fleet out into the depths of space? You see others do it or maybe you started by scouting and now feel ready to lead.
I will share with you what I have learned from some of the best Fc’s (to me they are) in the game. I will help you setup your fleet and take you out step by step and share with you what works and what does not work.
This is my guide to you and I hope you enjoy the read but most importantly I hope it gives you that push and confidence needed to go out and do it.
What I will cover in this guide is the following:
- What do I need to be a FC?
- Where do I start?
- Where do I go?
- Who should scout?
- Do I need Experience with me?
- Should we fight or should we run?
- The inner mind of a young FC.
WHAT DO I NEED?
There are a couple of things we need to have as an FC but the most important thing on the list is that you actually want to be an FC. If you do not want to do it, then you should not be forced into doing it. If you want to FC and you are not sure what to do or how to go about it then this guide is just for you. I do suggest starting with scouting before you FC and reading my “so you want to be a scout” guide first is a great place to start but if you feel ready then let’s begin.
So let’s look at some of the basic things needed to FC.
Communications (Ventrilo, TeamSpeak or Mumble)
Communicating with your fleet is kind of very important. Your role as a FC is to give orders and they (the fleet) follow your orders. If you can’t give orders or they can’t hear your orders then well you already have a problem and you have already failed before you even started.
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. You will have people flying about looking for things and if you can’t hear them when they have just told you not to go to the next system and you do. Well that is your fault for getting everybody killed, so clear and working communications is a must.
This is important because I have heard stories where people have joined a fleet but is not on communications and gets killed. They will then complain and they will tell others how bad you are as a FC. To prevent this, simply make sure that everyone in fleet is on coms. It’s pretty simple.
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 flying in shuttles are cool because they just want to be there while you FC. No!
What ships should you start with?
This is a very tricky question but to be honest the answer is simple.
Kitchen Sink Tier 1 Frigates
What the hell is a Kitchen sink Tier 1 Frigate?
It’s basically fly what you want to fly but it has to be a Tier 1 frigate. It is also a way to inform people that you don’t really care about their ship because they going to lose it.
So Tier 1 Frigates are your friends. They are cheap, easy to replace and fun.
I say this with caution because people are silly. That’s right. You will find that when you say kitchen sink frigates that people bring stupid expensive stuff like 300mil Daredevils and Faction fitted Navy frigates.
I know you don’t care about their ships and to be honest you should not care about their ships. They might have all the money in EVE but in some Alliances there are people that are a bit silly about their killboard. They look at it and worship it like it’s a religion. Things like “How dare you get people killed worth 300 Million isk in a frigate” and “Who said you can take that ship out in a fleet?” might get mentioned to you in a private chat. If you ever get this from someone and it’s someone important in the Corporation or Alliance then I would say to maybe leave that set Alliance.
It’s a game and we should have fun but if you enjoy being a part of this Alliance and they are a bit crazy about their killboard always being positive then simply keep it cheap.
Tier 1 Frigates and Tier 2 modules are your max to start with.
Every FC is different. Some want complete silence when they FC. Some like it when you chat. Some like a mixture.
I am one of the mixture people. I really don’t mind people talking in my fleet. Even if you brand new to the Corp or my fleet, I find it helps to have a laugh. Some of the best times I have had were us not finding anything to kill so we just entertained ourselves and it was a blast. People where having fun and that’s what brings people back. Talk all you want BUT when someone says “clear coms!” (Important stuff coming next) in my fleet then I expect everyone but that person who wants to give information to be quite.
Don’t be afraid to tell everyone to stop talking. The problem you have is people get carried away and if you can’t hear information and then get everyone killed. It’s basically your fault and not the person who did not stop talking. They remember you being bad and normally people will not want to fly with you again.
Was this your fault?
No but at the same time you should have controlled your fleet with more authority so in a way yes. You don’t want this to happen so the best thing to do is to lay down some rules in the beginning of the fleet as to how you want things to run and then everyone knows what you expect from them.
Don’t be afraid do kick someone from your fleet. If they cannot follow your orders then simply ask them to leave. You are the boss. Simple.
WHERE DO I START?
So your communications are all fixed and everybody wants to go shoot stuff. Nobody wants to FC so you take that crucial plunge and say “Can I FC?”
“Yah!”, “Off course you can” and “Sure” will be heard. Unless this is a planned thing that someone else has planned it’s normally a positive for someone else to put up their hand and FC.
I know that when I took the plunge that my Senior FC’s where actually delighted that they did not have to FC so where more than welcome for me to give it a go. I was only in the game for 2 months so my ship knowledge was very poor but I kind of knew what they had been doing and thought I would just mimic them… I mean how hard can it be right?
The short answer is that FCing is actually not that hard. You look for targets and shoot targets. You win or you lose. That’s it. That’s FCing in the most basic of its forms and to be honest it’s this way of thinking that you have to adapt your mind to. If you over think something, it will get complicated in your head and if it does get complicated then you start to worry about things you should not worry about and make mistakes.
So you nominated as the FC! “Whoo Hoo! I am the FC now yah!”
“O Crap! People now depend on me right?” Yah they do.
Firstly stop stressing out. It’s natural to stress out when you are going out for the first time as the FC. Your rational brain starts to overthink everything. Where do I take them? What ships do we take? This guy does not have this ship so should he come with us? Who do I get to scout for me… AGHHH!!!!!
So as you can see there are a couple of questions that you naturally never think about but at the same time you subconsciously do. These are the questions that everybody wants to know and it’s your job to give them the information.
To you I say this. The next time you join a fleet do a couple of things. When you join the fleet write down the things you want to know or are looking for.
They might be different from my list but the basics are:
- Is this a new FC, not heard this guy FC before?
- What ships does the FC want?
- Where are we going?
- If I don’t have that ship am I still needed in this fleet?
So let’s just break these things down into simple to explain solutions for you.
Is this a new FC, not heard this guy FC before?
Should you tell them you are new?
Off course you should. Why not?
What is the worst thing that will happen?
Someone might think to themselves that they only fly with experienced FC’s and to be honest. I would not want those people in my fleet. People like that question every little thing you do and has everything negative to say about what you doing but guess what. That person will never have the guts to actually step up and FC themselves. They like little back seat drivers that you just want to shoot instead of the enemy and I am sure there have been many a times where FC’s have done this to them.
So with that out of the way everyone now knows that this is your first time as a FC… If you mess up now then they can’t turn around and say you crap. Well no shit Sherlock. I am new to this so yes I was always going to be crap and you still came on my fleet so who is the idiot?
Sorry for that rant there it had to be done as you get some right idiots…
Something you need to understand as a new FC, is that you might actually have about 2-3 people with you that actually know what they doing as a FC. They might have FC’d all the time in their previous Corp or Alliance but don’t want to FC now.
Now don’t be worried about what they think about you because guess what… DUM DUM DUM (Scary old film drums) at a set point in time they were… A NEW FC!
So the best thing you can do is get an Experienced FC to be your back up. If you die in a ball of fire while attacking something you should always have a person as a backup FC to take over. Ask if anybody will be your backup FC or even ask if there are any experienced FC’s with you there and simply ask them to please monitor you and give some feedback and advise when the roam is completed.
You will find two things out now:
- Who in your fleet is experienced and advise you should take if needed?
- Who you can ask to be the second FC.
What ships does the FC want?
I said that Kitchen sink tier 1 frigates are your bread and butter. So this is what you want from them… “Kitchen Sink Tier 1 Frigates with Tier 2 modules if you can fit them and no officer or faction fits.”
So that is your bread and butter as they say. When you get more experience you might find that you want to try everyone in a specific ship with a specific fit and you can then start experimenting with your fleets, ships and fits.
If I don’t have that ship am I still needed in this fleet?
You will get question’s like this:
I don’t have that so can I bring my Cruiser/Battlecruiser instead?
Now I don’t want to bad mouth people but this one really grinds me. You have just stated what you want and then someone has clearly not understood what you saying or the more likely thing is that he/she just wants to go shoot stuff and does not really care about the ship and does not have a frigate now at this time.
The problem is that you are all in Frigates. You fast and nimble and can get out if a blob lands on the gate where you are. The slow Cruiser/Battlecruiser is not fast or nimble and cannot get out fast if a blob lands so guess who will be the first to die!
So No! Sorry Mr Cruiser/Battlecruiser guy. It’s my first time FCing and I don’t want to be held accountable for that loss.
I also do not want the killboard ninjas to be on my ass after my first attempt at this so NO, NO and NO!
If they don’t have what you want then guess what, they just are not coming today on your fleet. Maybe next time have the right ship.
WHERE ARE WE GOING?
That’s a pretty dam good question. Where the hell is this guy taking us?
Now the silly people would just go anywhere. “I don’t care where, let’s just go there and hope for the best. Yah!”
To this I say “No!”
Your Alliance or Corporation holds space or is in a set space in New Eden. Stick to your boundaries. Call your fleet the “Sniffer Dog Fleet” or something cool. You going to go on a routine patrol to see if any enemy are in your space like sniffer dogs so everybody has to name their ships with cool names like “Dog the bounty” or “The Terriers” and you going to chase the enemy or kill them to make sure they don’t come back.
What is the worst thing that could happen as a new FC?
You get stuck in a different Alliance space with no way for your Alliance to help you.
So stick to your space and just work on simple things like giving orders and get to grips with this. No one is asking you to get them kills today.
Work on things like this:
- Warp to and hold on the gate. (Look to see who jumps and does not hold and just jokingly say: who clicked the naughty button?)
- Everyone Jump at the same time. (This one most will get right)
- Holding cloak once jumped into the next system. (look again for who de-cloaks immediately and warn them that they will be shot if caught again: In a joking way of course)
- Align to the next gate. (Again who warped and did not align?)
I find trying to have fun while FCing keeps me calm and also the people around me so having a laugh and making tiny jokes like that will help the person not do it again and also means you not pointing your finger at them and saying “NOOOO, don’t do that again!”
You might not understand it now but 1 person extra in a system with a possible target scares that target away. You could have gotten a kill but because someone jumped in and did not hold on the gate meant that the kill warped away. This is also crucial with align to the gate. You might have Intel to say they have just jumped in a 30 man gang and guess who is going to die first… Yah that guy. You might have wanted to warp to the nearest planet to that gate and wanted everyone to just align to that gate in the meantime while you get a bit more Intel. So getting the basics right is very important. I even repeat what I have asked.
“Everybody ALIGN to gate ###”
“Everybody ALIGN to gate ###”
So the destination should be simple. It should be a place you know. You could even fly in a circle that’s 10 jumps long but you basically don’t want to go more than 7 jumps away from your home system and you don’t want to go somewhere that you don’t know. So doing a bit of homework with the systems around you is crucial again.
So your destination is set and everyone is ready, so let’s go.
WHO SHOULD SCOUT?
The 2 things you want in any fleet when you are brand new to this is a very good and experienced scout and also a very good experienced second FC.
This sounds silly but let me explain.
You see a scout is your eyes in another system. They are responsible of warning you about things coming your way and also trying to catch things for you so you can get kills. So your communication with the scout is vital to your fleet survival.
An amazing scout will almost do your job for you and I like to use people that can FC when I FC. This means that as a scout that has Fc’d they know what information you want. They can give you advice on what is going on in system and what possibilities you might have going forward. When they talk people should keep quiet and listen as they are giving you information.
This is not to say that new scouts are bad. New scouts are fine to use but not when it’s your first time as a FC. You want experience next to you holding your hand and guiding you through this process. The blind leading the blind is a disaster waiting to happen and you wanted to avoid those situations as much as possible right?
So pick someone you trust and also someone that you know has scouted before or has FC’d before.
As you get better at FCing you will find that your scouts will be able to know less and less as you start to train your scouts as you fly system to system. This just comes with time so stick to the experience at the beginning.
Should I have more than 1 scout?
You can have as many as you want but ask yourself this.
How much information do you think you can remember on your first time as a FC?
The answer is not a lot. You are still stressed out about being in charge and listening to people while making decisions is stressful enough. Now add 2 more people giving you different info and it gets unmanageable. So stick to 1 scout in front of you by 1 jump and as you get better you can add more if needed.
DO I NEED EXPERIENCE WITH ME?
The truth of the matter is that when you have experienced pilots flying with you in fleet, scouting and secondary FCing for you that your job as the FC becomes easy. This is especially so when you are new to this.
The scout is constantly giving you information about how many people there are in systems and how far away they are. In what ships they are in and also if it’s a good thing to engage or maybe run and hide for a bit.
The secondary FC will help you with questions you might have like “If we fight them what’s the chances of a win?”, “If we do engage them who should I go for first” and those types of things.
My CEO Anabaric has a very good guide on picking targets… It’s worth a read.
The experienced pilots will then make sure that this happens for you if done correctly under your instruction.
The worst thing you can have is the opposite of that:
No info from scouts, no help from anybody about ships and possible target calling and also people unsure about themselves and also about you.
So the more experience you have with you the better but also controlling that experience is going to be your job. They might have a lot of tips for you but I normally only listen to the secondary FC and my scout while I am FCing. Any feedback by others can be given to me after the fleet and I am happy to listen to most then but keep it simple while out and about.
SHOULD WE FIGHT OR SHOULD WE RUN?
The truth of the matter is that this will come up at some point. Do you choose to go and attack them or do you decide that maybe it’s not a good idea.
The choice is your choice and to be honest each situation is different. It depends on so many little factors: The number of people, ship types, are you engaging them on their terms or are you engaging them on your terms.
I would say that as a rule I never engage on their terms. You always want the upper hand and I normally look at things in a real life manner.
I also never engage if I don’t have all the facts. So if you feel like you not 100% confident with the situation then simply warp everyone away to a safe spot. Get info and re-asses
I know that sounds strange but I will give you an example.
Your scout jumps in and there is a gang on the gate waiting for you. If you jump into them… It’s on their terms. So no!
Your scout sees 20 ships on the gate but there are 55 people in system. Do you know how big there fleet is? No you do not. You only see 20. So you might need to make a safe spot or ask if anybody has one and warp everyone there. You can now get your scout to see where the other people are and if they possible flying with this group. Only engage when you are happy to do so and if you have to go back a couple of jumps and go on a different route then do that. Rather run to fight another day than fight and die.
You can also ask your second FC for advice on this. What would he/she suggest you do? Do they think you should engage them or not and how. The guide Anabaric wrote will help here again.
They there to help you so why not get the help you need from their personal experience. Plus you learning about their fleet so next time you don’t have to ask them or yourself so many questions it becomes like a secondary thing.
We have this in our fleet and they have that. Yip I know what to do here so let’s attack them, or we cannot win this so let’s not engage them.
I find that if it’s a 50% chance of win/loose that I will always take the fight. It’s a 50/50 right? So you might as well try.
Remember you are in frigates that are cheap. So if you die it’s easy to get new ones and loosing ships and fights teaches you what to take on and what not to take on as a FC. It teaches you about things you need to work on like ship types and also did you maybe need to get more people in your fleet for next time and attack them with more numbers. Whatever the lesson is as long as you don’t make the same mistake again you have learned something.
What your ultimate goal will be as a FC is being able to have 5 frigates and you take on 10 and still win. That will mean that all the people are on top form and your skills as a FC are on top form. You called the right ships to attack first and everybody got out with no loses even though you were outnumbered. It happens quicker than you think but only if you want to get to that point and put yourself into those situations to learn from.
Having 100 vs 10 is not really a good fight as a fight goes. You will win which is great but will you learn anything from the fight? I think not.
THE INNER MIND OF THE YOUNG FC
“EVERYONE IS JUDGING ME!!!”
“People are judging me based on the kills we get and the success of my fleet.”
“If we do not win then I have failed.”
“If we don’t get kills then I am not a good FC.”
If these are things that you are worried about as a young or new FC then guess what. It’s something that I think even the oldest of Fc’s think.
The problem we have is that we forget what it’s like to be in a fleet as soon as we become the FC of the fleet. Your mind changes from “I am hanging out with my online friends” to “I am in charge so I am responsible for the fun of people now”.
So before you FC I want you to do me another thing. Join a fleet as a normal member and now at some point in the fleet ask yourself “if we get no kills am I still enjoying this?”, “Am I still enjoying the jokes in fleet or the little comments that people are making in the fleet?” and “Am I having fun?”
The answer is yes you are having fun.
You are enjoying just being online with different people and enjoying talking with them. You are flying together as a group of killers looking for others to kill.
At any point did you think before you left on this fleet? “If this FC does not get us kills then I will not fly with him again?”, “I died and now I will not fly with this FC again!”
If the answer is yes then guess what… You that guy I spoke about that back seat driver. You the guy that complains about everything the FC does wrong but never had the guts to take the plunge.
People don’t care about you being bad. What matters is that you out there taking on the responsibility of leading the fleet. They will respect you more for trying and failing and trying again and if they don’t then they are idiots and that Corporation or Alliance does not deserve you, so go where you will be welcomed.
Go out there and just enjoy it.
It’s a game. Have fun.
You are already a great FC the minute you said “Can I FC”.
Good Luck and please inform me how it went with a EVE Mail if you decide to take the plunge!