This week we were able to put together a roundtable for a discussion on Fleet Commanders (FCs). We invited pilots from several diverse groups across New Eden and were joined by representatives from Brave Collective, Pandemic Legion, Goonswarm Federation, and Snuffed Out:

Anschau (Moderator)

Apothne (Pandemic Legion)

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation)

Catelyn Stoneheart (Snuffed Out)

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective)

The following roundtable took place at 22:30 EVE on April 4, 2016.


Anschau (Moderator): Welcome!

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): 7o

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): I’m gay.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): Fair warning I write walls of text.

Anschau (Moderator): So with a new large war raging across the universe we turn to a critical aspect of any conflict: Fleet Commanders (FCs). As the game has evolved over the years the duties and definition of a fleet commander seems to have grown as well. A lot of alliances have formal or informal tiers for how they rank or assign duties to FCs. To start the ball rolling how many tiers of FC do you think there generally are? World Class, Mid-Fleet, Small Gang?

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): I think it really depends on the alliance and what the alliance does, it’s pretty much uncountable. Or corp/NPSI group/group of friends whatever.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): In GSF we have 3, more or less, new guy, mid tier, bloc FC.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): I agree, also after a certain basic point it shouldn’t be divided by skill level, but preference.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): Unless you mean, are there groups of “skill levels”? If so those are a lot more graduated.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): Personally I have most of my experience in roaming gangs in 10-50 man roaming gangs through low and null.

Anschau (Moderator): A lot of times FCs get huge reputations, do you think that is apart and separate from their skill level, or are all bloc-level FCs famous to one degree inherently?

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): But some guys specialize on size/type of space/objective types of doctrine class of ship/objective. Broadly speaking if you’re good you’ll get a reputation, but reputations are generally formed in at least your local area as long as you’re consistent.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): ^ This, I generally group all new FCs under ‘jr fc’ then branch out to things like micro-gang FC, cap FC, bloc FC, fleet FC.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): I was never a bloc FC but for quite a while I had some form of reputation in northern low when I was with waffles. I remember a time where I was FCing against a guy called Perunga pretty regularly in Galmill, he was excellent at maximizing the gimmick of a given doctrine, probably better than me. But his maneuvering and more broad fleet control was much worse so I almost always had the upper hand, there are many different skills which different FCs have varying levels of ability in.

Catelyn Stoneheart (Snuffed Out): Perunga is my CEO.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): Some of it is just right place, right time, I think, There are a lot of FCs who have reputations that were basically just earned by showing up every day with a lunch pail. If you fight long enough you’ll win some and you’ll lose some. Some FCs like Mister Vee are incredibly talented and have the kind of battlefield visualization, pre-planning, and judgment that other FCs will never approach.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): It also means that they excel at different types of fleets.



Anschau (Moderator): So someone could be a great bloc FC and a great cap FC and a great small-gang FC, and those skills are all different?

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): A bunch of FCs are made by the group of people they have working for them.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): I say they require different skills to some extent.

Catelyn Stoneheart (Snuffed Out): Different levels of multi-tasking for sure.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): For example while Shadoo (I am told) is one of the best FCs to touch the game, a big part of his brilliance was having amazing people scouting for him and managing things that allowed him to be the sick nerd baller 5 that he was.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): A lot of it depends on doctrines, a guy running 50 Ishtars has more to think about than a guy running 50 Feroxes.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): #FuckIshtars :p

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): And micro-gang stuff like camel requires a lot of fine tuning and a deft touch.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): Ishtars are the hardest doctrine in the game to run properly, that’s why I always respected really good Ishtar FCs like WarGod.

Anschau (Moderator): When you have a huge campaign with an alliance and coalition, you often get a Sky Marshal or campaign coordinator. That person might obviously have been a FC, but does that person need the same skills as a day-in day-out FC?

Catelyn Stoneheart (Snuffed Out): Some FCs try to take on too much. To be a great FC you have to know how to delegate.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): Manfred Sidious is known for that in PL. While a very good FC he is far more known for being an incredible campaign commander.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): BRAVE just has the mildr, who’s generally a promoted FC.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): Yeah, the bigger the fight the more you get into being a coordinator than an FC. A lot of what wins the fight was determined hours or days before the fight when there are 1000s of people involved.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): It’s definitely necessary to avoid things like management guys who have no clue about Fleet command grating with the FC team with impossible directives and orders. They [Sky Marshals] don’t need to FC, but they should have been an FC at a recent point.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): Blawrf was a good Sky Marshal but was never an FC

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): Didn’t know that, how did he get the job?

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): He was our recon head and got promoted. But as far as I know he never FC’d a fleet. He wouldn’t tell you how to run your fleets, he would just make overall strategic decisions and let you do your job.

Anschau (Moderator): How has the advent of Fozziesov affected mining and ratting fleets, is this a thing now, or is still not considered ‘true’ FCing?

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): In my mind FCing is anything where you lead a bunch of people in spaceships. Incurions FCing is just as legitimate as FCing something like B-R.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): In BRAVE at least we just mine whenever. I see a bit more pressure for people to mine to get the ADMs up but with the exception of some wormhole ops it doesn’t need a dedicated FC. Incursions are different though, you have an entity actively trying to kill you every minute you’re there.

Catelyn Stoneheart (Snuffed Out): I disagree about incursion FC’s being the same. Incursions you are following a script. There’s no script for pvp.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): My very first fleet was a ratting fleet! It was a great no pressure situation to learn aligning/fleet warping/etc. I also hope there are no comms recording from back then.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): Lol.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): Equally, I FC roams in PL fairly often and some other stuff, but due to the nature of the reputation of PL I’m not a “PL FC.”

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): Apothne, what does that mean? You aren’t a “PL FC”?

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): I’ve FC’d a couple of ratting fleets. Especially when you are working with a lot of newbros there’s a lot of room to go off the script.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): Is there some ranking system in PL where if you don’t reach grizzly bear status you aren’t a “PL FC”?

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): I mean that I run fleets in PL sometimes, but I am not part of the core FC team. I don’t run the campaigns or do the strat-ops.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): But you can run all the doctrines?

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): Sure. Anyone can run any doctrine they want.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): PL’s pretty fluid like that. I’ve heard.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): If people don’t trust you with their titan they wont join your fleet if you ping for titans. But I can call for any doctrine I please. Even non-standard ones, for example currently there’s a Deimos doctrine I really like but its not part of the core set of doctrines we are deployed with. So I just bought a stack of them and hand them out when I want to do a fleet.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): Got it.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): BRAVE has a bit more control, newer FC’s are encouraged to stick to Talwars and cheap things like that.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): I’m shocked you like a doctrine based on the thorax hull Apothne.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): I have a long history with the Thorax Hull.

Anschau (Moderator): Thorax love.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): Apothne it’s interesting to see the differences in FC’ing and fleet [composition] between a resource loaded alliance like PL and a poor alliance like BRAVE, we don’t have access to anything like that. I had to get several people together just to put a Phantasm fleet.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): I ran a dual prop Thorax fleet from the day I joined waffles and everyone said it was shit. The first doctrine I designed was a thorax doctrine I think. 18 months later and I’d beaten everyone into the ground with it and people still said it was shit. XD

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): Concept in line… Were they shield or armor?

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): Armour. Named by my friend Darko as “DickCats.”

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): Makes sense with dual prop. Can you tell me, what’s PL’s obsession with cat names?

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): Once you run a doctrine for some time you get really good at knowing what they can take.

Catelyn Stoneheart (Snuffed Out): Taylor Swift loves cats. PL loves Taylor Swift.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): Like, I won a fight with them and T1 logi vs Snuff VNIs and Guardians once.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): That’s very impressive.

Catelyn Stoneheart (Snuffed Out): Who was snuff FC?

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): Taylor Swift posts on 4chan, PL loves 4chan.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): Many people in PL hate the cat naming scheme. It’s because of the original Hellcat people tagged on cats to new doctrines and it became a ~dank meme~

Anschau (Moderator): Catelyn, you have a lot of experience with wormhole action?

Catelyn Stoneheart (Snuffed Out): Yea I’ve been in wormholes for about 2 years.

Anschau (Moderator): What are the big differences with wormholes vs nullsec or lowsec?

Catelyn Stoneheart (Snuffed Out): I think you have a lot less control in the wormhole. In low sec/null sec you can influence the fight ahead of time in certain ways by moving various pieces into place. This is a lot less possible in wormholes given their fluid nature and lack of local.

Anschau (Moderator): Do you think the current conflict will produce new FCs and how would someone best position themselves for it?

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): In non-Imperium alliances it’s a fantastic opportunity for new FCs that we are already seeing. Inside Imperium to my knowledge the standard advice at the moment is not to take fights, which is not conducive to building a strong FC core.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): Yes, it will. The size of the conflict and complexity means responsibilities are going to get shunted off to someone new and fresh, deliberately or by coincidence. The best way to prep IMO is to just be someone who acts with authority, like if the chance comes up stand up and say ‘Follow me.’ That’s how I got the job. We had PL Muninns on the V-3 gate, and I got handed a 90-man MOA fleet for my first strat-op fleet. No pressure at all 🙂

Catelyn Stoneheart (Snuffed Out): Yea definitely its a great opportunity for small gang FC’s to take on larger roles.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): Oh definitely, war time means tons more fleets, we had 4x as many fleets last month as the month before. The best way to become an FC is to do it a lot. You can’t get good without making a ton of mistakes so get out there and volunteer. I disagree with Apothne, we’re sending out tons of fleets and often times they are outnumbered, it’s a really good environment for an FC to learn on his/her toes.

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): More than anything else FCs need to do FCing to be better at it. I started in E-Uni fighting a U-MAD war dec. More or less.

Anschau (Moderator): That seems like a good place to wrap it up. Thank you all for your time!

Apothne (Pandemic Legion): No problem.

Catelyn Stoneheart (Snuffed Out): Thanks.

Asher Elias (Goonswarm Federation): Thanks for having me.

Siege Torpedo (Brave Collective): Thank you Anschau.

(Editor’s Note: While the content of this chat was edited for spelling, punctuation, and comprehension, nothing was censored.)

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