I have played Eve Online on and off for the past few years. These days, I log in to join fleets for a chance at a large nullsec battle as a line member or logistics pilot. Since I’ve been on a lot of fleets, I consider myself a seasoned veteran and know what I am supposed to do and how to handle myself. I follow my aligns, only jump when told, don’t split damage on targets, apply my electronic warfare effectively, and do it all while holding up some friendly banter. When I found myself stepping up to be a logi anchor for the first time, it became a whole new game.
A fleet was going out and the Fleet Commander was calling for more logi, so naturally, I jumped into a ship and joined the appropriate chat channels. Once I was there, however, I discovered that we didn’t have an experienced logi anchor to lead us into battle. After a number of semi-awkward silences, I said that I would give it a try. I knew the basics of what I was supposed to do, stay away from the enemy while remaining close enough to support the main line DPS. Little did I know that this wasn’t just going to be my first time being the logi anchor, but it would also be my first time being a pinch-hitter as backup FC.
The fleet headed out just like most others, although this time I was the pilot trying to organize the logi cap chain and make sure everything was running smoothly. Fortunately, a couple of other experienced logi pilots helped out as we coached the newer Logi-bros to get things sorted out. As we made our way into enemy sov, our scout reported a spike two systems out. We jumped our next gate into an enemy Sabre who popped a bubble on us and in exchange became the first killmail of the fleet. The FC had us start to burn out of the bubble, but as most of the fleet got to the edge, the enemy fleet warped in on us.
Our FC called for everyone to anchor up and I immediately told the logi pilots to turn props on as I burned to place the main fleet between us and the enemy. At the same time, our foes began to rush towards us and apply range dampers onto all of the logi. We were able to keep them away from us for a bit, but the damps made it difficult to keep the chain and reps going as we were primaried. One by one we began to fall as the ewar took its toll and kept us from aiding any stragglers, and as each pilot fell, the ewar pressure increased on the rest of us. In an attempt to hold us together, I called for the logi pilots to tighten their orbit and anchor back on the FC. Just as we were able to re-establish an effective cap chain, our FC came under heavy fire. The enemy fleet had changed from targeting the logi pilots to going for a headshot to end the battle. The fire was too much for the remaining logi pilots to hold and the FCs ship was destroyed, but he was still able to call shots since his pod was on grid. That ended shortly afterwards. The fleet was left in disarray with no one to direct them other than a blind FC, and had almost no logi to save them.
In that moment I caught on to what the FC had been saying last, to align upwards and out of any bubbles, and decided to step up. I called for the fleet continue to burn up and to warp to one of our scouts on a perch as soon as they were able. This was a retreat, but maybe it could be saved from being a route. As most of the fleet landed on the perch, I broadcast for the fleet to align out and had the FC move me to squad leader. I initiated a fleet warp and called for another align as soon as we landed, expecting the enemy fleet to be hot on our tails. Once it seemed that everyone was there, I warped us to another spot in line with a gate and hoped that the enemy fleet would fall for that simple trick. Whether they saw us warp off or simply guessed we would try to escape in that direction, the enemy fleet went to that gate and jumped through. This gave us an opportunity to escape. As soon as our scouts confirmed a different gate was clear, I warped the fleet and had everyone jump. We were able to get out of the system, but we had to move quickly in case the enemy fleet turned back to finish us off. For a number of jumps I broadcast aligns and warped the fleet before confirming that the enemy was not chasing us. At that point, fleet discipline took over, a destination was set, and the fleet was on its way home.
Even though we lost our FC, most of the logi, and were forced to retreat, it ended up being a good fleet. We won the isk war, if only barely, and more than half of our fleet made it home in one piece. Logi had held on well enough to allow our DPS to trade favorably against the enemy’s more expensive ships. I was especially pleased after talking with our FC and being told I did a good job of positioning the logi and then extracting the fleet after they were headshot. Did things go perfectly, not at all, but it was a whole new kind of rush that has given me a new perspective on the complexity of large fleet fights. And maybe next time, I’ll volunteer a little bit faster and do a little bit better.