Faction Warfare and the Newbro

When I was in Brave Collective (during Catch and Fountain in 2014) I thought I had found content paradise. It was a glorious time. After leaving, though, I ran into some people who clued me into another perspective about Brave and other new player groups such as Pandemic Horde and Karma Fleet. While they thought these groups were over all cool, they felt they did a lot of damage to small corp recruitment in Eve. I’d say overall that the majority of startup corps and small corps you find in the recruitment channel end up being a pretty crappy introduction to Eve Online for the new player. However, like watching Barnes and Noble swallow up the small, quaint corner bookstores, I couldn’t help but lament that it was indeed harder for smaller corps to form and grow and become something great because Newbros get so effectively funneled into groups such as Pandemic Horde. These groups are very high profile, and players have no trouble finding their way to them. As a counter to that, I wanted to write a post about an environment that may be taking a back seat to nullsec with the advent of PH, Brave, and Karmafleet. Back in the day, Faction Warfare was considered the ideal proving ground for every up and coming PvPer, and in truth it still is, but players are missing out on that these days, and I wouldn’t want the next generation of Eve players to wind up like me and discover Faction Warfare after being in the game for years.

So I’ve been in FW for a couple of months now and am having a blast, learning things that I never knew, particularly in the area of solo PvP. I can’t claim to be good yet, but I can easily see that I am in the right place to get good. As of right now, I’d say that FW is the best system that Eve has in place to guarantee quality content. Don’t get me wrong, there is always room for improvement, but Eve is a game that is always improving. Nullsec’s mechanism for generating content centers on structure warfare, and with the advent of the new structures Nullsec may just take the crown for the best system toward the end of the year, but for right now, FW is where it’s at, since the mechanism for generating ISK at an individual level involves staying vulnerable in space for a set period of time. Now please don’t think I am saying that FW has a way to point ships at each other for fighting. As it stands, players in the FW sites who are paying attention and want to get away from you generally can. So quite a number of fights in FW involve people who are NOT paying attention, or they involve parties that choose to fight each other. This is not a flaw in the system, however, as Eve is a sandbox, and fights should not be absolutely forced on everyone. Plus, the current system requires attackers to use bait, stealth, speed, decisiveness, and trickery in order to get kills – in other words the fun stuff. Given that caveat, FW is easily the best place in the game in order to fight solo or in a micro gang because there are all sorts of other solo players in combat ships in space earning ISK.

ISK is often a problem for the new PvP player with just one account. In nullsec, actually making ISK is not too hard, but getting the stuff you need at acceptable prices can often be very difficult. Since FW is a lowsec environment, the hubs are not very far away, and since it uses a type of war dec mechanic, it is possible to do lowsec fighting without losing so much sec status that you can no longer get to the highsec hubs (which is a problem for standard lowsec pirates). The ISK from running the sites in FW is actually quite good, being on par with entry-level nullsec ratting and far more profitable than highsec mining. To make comparable ISK with missions requires exceptional knowledge about maximizing loyalty point value, lightning fast salvaging, and a super-skilled mission runner. So FW is a great place to make ISK with a combat toon on a single account. While hub access is not perfect, since rival factions occasionally camp the hubs, these rivals normally have such bad standing with your faction’s hub that these difficulties are nowhere near like those of being dec’d by a standard war dec corp. For a new player to go straight to null they will invariably encounter difficulties obtaining their ships and modules unless they are in the most established groups. These groups normally have very high expectations of what ships you will be training to fly and what sorts of fleets you will be in.

Not only is FW a great place for the individual player, but it’s also a great place to take a new corp to grow. For both the new player and the new corp, you get access to the militia chat, and most militias have a common teamspeak. Players and corps can benefit from meeting other and getting connected through the militia mechanism and recruits are easy to find there. Also, in the various militias there are the more established and dominant corps and alliances who add their own levels of competence and organization to the militia. I happen to have the pleasure of being in the Amarr militia at the moment, and our central alliance is Local is Primary (CTRL V). Now I wrote a post a while back trash talking a guy from this group, so I’d like to say that post should be taken more as a comical presentation of a personal experience (I do get into trash talk sometimes), and should really not reflect poorly on that alliance. CTRL V is actually a great group. I chided them for being like a “male locker room” but in all honesty I never really experienced any truly hazing behavior. They’re just a rowdy and funny group of folks that have a good time on comms in their eternal quest to reveal to the world the most perfect of dank memes. They add an incredible amount of fleet content to the mostly solo and super small group content that FW would be without them. They have some excellent FCs that mix in the occasional nullsec roam and other forms of content beyond what the FW mechanics provide, and they provide a link between the militia and the lowsec Good Guys Coalition that is waging an exciting war throughout Minmatar lowsec space. They also support their members and the militia with a loyalty point cash-out program which makes ISK making even simpler and have a corp, Thrasher Attacks and Replacement, specifically geared to train new players that provides every resource available to to someone who joined Brave or PH. Overall, the Amarr militia is doing as well as it is because of these guys, and I encourage anyone interested in FW to join this alliance. Their recruiting methods are actually fairly standard and consistent with the more advanced alliances that use core authorization services. And for the record, Tristan, the guy I made fun of, is actually a cool guy.

So when I was a new player, I made my way quickly to nullsec, got overwhelmed and returned to highsec for a good while, then went back to nullsec after getting some experience. I’ve had good times along the way. I did a fair amount of PvP in nullsec, though PvP was never really my main deal. When I did it, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that I was basically a number in a fleet and didn’t really have the opportunity to develop on my own. This of course is not the experience you’ll have in every nullsec group, but it is an all too common experience. Also, every nullsec group I went with had a different doctrine and I was always required to train different ships. I mitigated this problem to a degree by flying a lot of interceptors and scouts and dictors and whatnot, but the pressure never fully went away. Now, after three years in Eve, I’ve made my way to FW through a haphazard set of circumstances that I have been chronicling somewhat in blog posts. My overall conclusion is that I can’t believe I missed this part of the game. It has so many elements that a single player needs in order to get good, and frankly, most of the PvP gods that I have run across have told me that they learned to PvP in FW. The opportunities to gain knowledge about fighting in this game are nowhere else greater than the solo and small group environment of FW, and when a militia is supported by a strong lead alliance like CTRL V that integrates the various parts of FW together so well with other forms of Eve content, it’s easily the best place to be for a new player who wants to see what Eve is about. And if you’re a more senior player like me who hasn’t done it yet, you really need to check it out. For the Newbro, please don’t think Brave and Pandemic Horde are your only options. FW is the best option in my opinion.

I hope to see you guys in the zones.

Force Auxiliary Implementation

Now I haven’t quite settled on how actively I will be blogging again at this point, but I do have a post or two in mind and wanted to slide in a bit of a comment about Force Auxiliaries. This post is going to be a kind of a knee jerk post, not informed by any sort of information other than what I have garnered as any old player of Eve. I am not involved in the Capital Focus group and other than an occasional eve mail to Steve about this or that industry chart I don’t cavort with any CSM or luminary players. I think, though, that a situation has arisen that might call for just any old someone to suggest something because there just might be some metagaming going on that might need to be nipped in the bud. So I’ll say at the outset that the ONLY information I am going on are the Force Auxiliary skill player feedback thread, the dev blogs about the Force Auxiliaries, and a few reddit posts discussing them, notably the one that just turned up today with pictures of FAX information on SISI. Now that last bit of info contains pictures of FAX that will quite obviously be changed before they hit TQ. However, the notion of drone boat FAX following on the heels of the poor skill implementation has me upset, so I just want to jerk my knee.

The issue that concerns me is the common skill that will apply to the FAX and carriers alike as well as the appearance of some pretty intense drone bays on the FAX in the recently released photos. I am not a fan of either of these developments. Concerning the skills, I’ve posted on the reddit a few times that the common skill for carriers and FAX is a useless cave to player whining. I’ve been something of a CCP fanboy since Seagull moved up and Fozzie stepped forward, and I’ve long made the player base the butt of many jokes. However, reading the reactions that I have read from the players, quite a bit of the negative reaction has been pretty reasonable. Yes, the original implementation of forcing players to choose which skill they will have in the future to be able to fly one of the two ships that will cover down on what is accomplished by one ship now would actually be the first time a player would have been expected to train in order to be able to do in the future what he can already do now. In this case, up to a couple of months of training. Capital pilots, though, are generally veteran players for whom a couple of months would not really be the end of the world, and I wasn’t going to put up any complaints. However, you add to this that players would be forced to inject a 500 million ISK skill book. Yet again, capital pilots usually have tons and tons of ISK. So again I’d have just bit the bullet and bought the book without complaining. But then you add to this all the cap toons that are babysitting space coffins. So in addition to the strictly metrical annoyance of paying time for a skill and paying ISK for a skill book, many players will have to endure the less tangible annoyance of having to do something with their supers while they fly their mains and sitters around getting skills books. And yes, super pilots have multiple toons to take care of their ships, and getting the skills injected is certainly doable, just annoying. But finally, there was the method used of some really complicated system where if you have such and such a skill injected and have such and such a ship or something then so and so skill points would be refunded for such and such. I’m sure I’m not accurate with the exact system, but here I am just illustrating that is was complicated and won’t be able to be taken advantage of by players currently on break from the game. Overall, my impression of the original implementation of the FAX skill issue was that it was indeed doable, and yeah, players will whine about anything they can, but frankly, it seemed to me to be a pretty bad implementation. Like if that had actually happened, I would not have rage quit or unsubbed like many threatened too, but I did think to myself, “there has just got to be a better way. This just isn’t the quality implementation that I’ve seen from CCP over the last couple of years.”

So then I see the proposed way currently. Carriers and FAX will use the same skill. I completely hated this idea. Historically, when there’s a rebalance, CCP does a pretty good job of designing things to look like they had always been that way. I can’t think of many features of the game, at least concerning skills and ships and all, where something looks like it is the way it is because of the way things used to be. Ideally, if Eve has carriers and FAX, the game should look like it has always had carriers and FAX. Carriers and FAX really have nothing in common that I can see. Yes, we are going to have these support fighters, but my assumption is that they will be added to squadrons to improve defensive capabilities of squadrons. I did not envision these things being used on FAX or anything. I still assume that’s the case. But then I see these FAX photos from SISI with these things having enormous drone bandwidth. Now obviously the numbers shown are preliminary and will be changed, and this gives me hope that it’s not too late to change these drone bays. AFK carrier ratting needs to go away, not be rebranded AFK FAX ratting. Returning to dev blogs for a second, the wording was that the carrier skill would be renamed at a later date, as if finding some sort of sensible common ground between carriers and FAX was just impossible at the time of writing. Carriers seem as though they are going to be anti-subcap ships in common with the dreadnoughts using the high-angle guns. I do not know if the support fighters will be loaded into logi squadrons to provide carriers with remote rep capability similar to what FAX do. Again, I assume they won’t. Even if they are, though, carriers won’t have more in common with FAX than they do with dreads. Giving FAX and carriers a common skill just doesn’t make sense thematically, and would make the game look like its current form is merely the result of a past form, unless the FAX are given drone capabilities in order to resemble carriers in some way.

So I have to ask myself, are there voices in the community that are trying to manipulate CCP into making FAX some kind of a drone boat, using the skill implementation problem as a pretext to keep AFK carrier ratting alive via AFK FAX ratting? The FAX themselves were created to address a balance problem. Yet if you look at the history of Eve, specifically the shieldtar, the foxcat, the potato, and the Tristan, all you need to do in order to create a balance problem in Eve is say, “drones.” The intended goal of the FAX is to isolate triage and capital sized remote reps to a platform that limits capital remote reps to triage and provides only triage. So why these drone bays? CCPLEASE do not make FAX drone ships. And please do not make them drone ships just so you can justify fly flying them with carrier skills.

So again, the second method of implementing the FAX skills, of having them just use the same skill as carriers, is certainly doable, but can’t there be a better way? Now this is the part where I inject a suggestion completely devoid of any internal discussion or inside knowledge. Back in 2013, I think the Odyssey expansion, but I’m not going to look it up, CCP turned the Destroyers skill into Amarr Destroyers, Caldari Destroyers, Gallente Destroyers, and Minmatar Destroyers, and they did the same thing with battlecruisers. Everyone who had a racial frigate or cruiser at 3 got that race’s Destroyers and Battlecruisers skill at whatever level he had Destroyers and Battlecruisers at. I have not seen it suggested that anyone with the Carriers skill who has Tactical Logistics Reconfiguration also be given the FAX skill at whatever level they have the Carrier skill at. It is absolutely inconceivable to me that someone at CCP or the capital focus group did not suggest this, and I am certain that it was shot down for some reason. This suggestion would solve the problem of buying extra skill books. It would keep the philosophy that if you could fly it before, you can fly it now. This option would be more advantageous to players than CCP’s first attempt with letting players choose which skill they have. I doubt that CCP would have been hostile to this decision. The only thing that I can think of is that CCP or someone suggested it and it was shot down by someone on the player side. I did notice that CCP is adding some Citadel defense skills but that they were sure to add that these skills would be very low rank because they are afraid of mass player riots if the players can’t gun citadels with 2-week old toons (as if gunning a Citadel is something that a newbro will be doing).

So in the event that this tried and true and successful way of addressing the implementation is not good enough for people, it would to me represent CCP caving to the players not being willing to make even the slightest adjustment at all. I have many friends who don’t have all their frigate skills or cruiser skills to 5 but they have all destroyer and BC skills at 5 because they trained them all up before the patch. Everyone was happy to get free skill points. The world turned. There were no riots. This would mean that there are players would would be angry because they only have carrier at 4 and don’t want to bother training to 5 before the patch and get free skill points. Or they haven’t bothered to get all racial carriers to 5 and they won’t have time to get them all to 5 before the patch. This sort of demand on the game by said players sounds to me unreasonable. To me these most elite players, who insist on a short route to getting all racial carriers and FAX at 5 even though they are the most veteran players in the game, are truly making an unreasonable demand. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it were some sort of ploy to get the FAX made into drone boats so they can still AFK rat like they currently do.

So I would like to stand up and say that the best way to implement the FAX skill wise is to keep two skills, one for each racial carrier and one for each racial FAX, and give current carrier pilots the FAX skill for each race at the same level that they have the carrier skill for this race. Hell, don’t even require them to be able to triage to do it, if it will make people happy. And PLEASE don’t put drones, of any sort, on FAX. Nothing good will come of it.

Dickhead

Today’s post will likely only interest people who are actually interested in me. Perhaps it will be of interest to those who are interested in the culture of the Amarr militia, but I’m not really counting on that. I’m just writing this because one of the reasons I started this blog was to chronicle my Eve journey for those who might want a quick way to get to know me and my history in the event that they may find themselves recruiting me or flying with me or whatever. The post should wax philosophical, though, so may prove to be an interesting read for those so inclined.

Eve being a place where people feel empowered to behave in ways that would have severe consequences in the real world has populated our little galaxy with psychopaths, idiots, and jackasses who would have been removed from society by natural selection if the sandbox were more realistic. Or so we think. I have marveled throughout my life at those who have made it to the top of the heap. I’m often reminded of the words of Rabbi Maimonides, who I will paraphrase: “I would completely understand the intent of God if the wicked were rewarded in this life and punished in the next while the just were punished in this life but rewarded in the next. Likewise, I would also completely understand God’s intent if the wicked were punished in life for their evil deeds while the just were rewarded. But unfortunately there’s no rhyme or reason at all. The just and the wicked are punished and rewarded at random, it seems.” You just never know who will succeed or fail.

Tonight I have had an encounter with an unfathomable moron and idiot who managed the support of an entire alliance. It was an encounter that many of us have experienced some form of: recruitment nonsense. After tonight I will permanently bear on my employment history that I was a member of Incident Command, a corporation of the Local is Primary (CTRL V) alliance in the Amarr militia, for a few hours. Here’s the story behind that.

So as I wrote my last post, just a couple days ago after a few months off from blogging, I mentioned that I was running a small corp in the Amarr militia that had made its way there after a few twists and turns of fate. Well that post had actually been started a couple of weeks ago and was just recently hurriedly finished. Actually, the few active members of our little group had been debating how we would proceed into the future for a while. We’d looked into joining some militia alliances as a corp, but in the end we decided to just fold up shop and move into a more established corp as individuals. CTRL V was known to us, and I had flown with them in fleets before. I had picked up that the alliance environment was something like a male locker room with towel popping behavior such as making fun of people who make mistakes and the like. I already knew that it would not have been my first choice, but since it was the main alliance in the zone I decided to have a go at joining. I contacted one of the secondary corps in the alliance, but was told that I had a lot of skill points and should look to join the main corp, Dirt ‘n’ Glitter. I did thus, going through all the useless garbage that entails such as giving APIs, was then forced to give APIs on alts (that is never happening again – nobody needs APIs of characters that aren’t in their corp), and then was told that my application was accepted, but someone who was able would have to come on and give me an invite. Now I didn’t want to mess around without being in the militia waiting for an invite, and I had roles, so instead of just dropping corp I entered the 24-hour stasis and expected to just move straight over the next day. I was assured that my corpies who wanted to follow me wouldn’t have difficulty joining later on. Finally, the recruiter mentioned that the environment was a bit rough, so I needed thick skin, but that the people who dished stuff out were good at taking it. I knew what he was on about from previous experience with the group. So all was good to go, but then the usual happened.

I log in the next day, and the reasonably cool recruiter was not around, and I had to deal with some other twit, and this guy…I don’t know what to say. So the night previous, the recruiter tells me that he was having a problem with my API in their auth system. We then go over a few things and tells me it’s working. But apparently he leaves a note somewhere that my API was messed up. So I log in the next day and ask for a corp invite, and this guy, Tristan daCuhna, says, “YOUR API IS FUCKED UP, FIX IT!” so I do what any self-respecting recruit would do – I ask him to say that again without all caps and to end it with ‘please.’ From there he flips out and instantly rejects my application. Another CEO sees the conversation, and I private message him with a request to join his corp. He accepts me inside of 5 minutes. All’s well that ends well, right? I’m in Incident Command.

So from there I promptly set off to a fleet to flip a system. In the process I got the fleet a couple hundred million in kills by jumping our fleet onto some attackers with my Pontifex and otherwise have a blast. After the fleet, I go AFK for a while, and I return to find that I’ve been kicked from corp, Slack, all that, and a couple of people, including the CEO, reject my private messages. So I send a defamatory eve mail to Tristan, the obviously retarded source of the difficulty, and after a colorful exchange I end up joining Imperial Feydakin, the corporation of one Maz3r Rakum, a guy who I’d gotten to know via militia chat as a bonafide PvP god who was regularly helpful and and cool to just about everybody in the militia. So yeah, all’s well that ends well. After a good time chatting about fits, fighting, and Eve I’m confident I’ve made my way into a group that will turn me into the kind of PvPer that I have been itching to be for a good while.

But the recruitment experience with CTRL V is telling. I’m sure a number of you have had such recruitment experiences. Either you give all your APIs, or maybe you move tons and tons of crap to a new group’s staging area or something like that and end up not joining or find out the second you’ve joined that you’ve made a bad move, or your situation is specifically like mine where you join and get kicked a couple hours later, usually because some imbecile like Tristan changes the picture. It’s not all that uncommon. It’s a picture of life. As a military veteran, I’m aware of a long history of individuals that got promoted to General that would have found themselves in prisons or mental institutions if they’d been forced to function in civilian society. The US Army has actually abandoned that practice in the last 5-10 years or so with the buzzword, “toxic leaders.” I mention this because Tristan ended up being somebody in the alliance, as shocking as that may be. He formed Dirt ‘n’ Glitter and was apparently a director or something. This evidently resulted in his entire alliance, obviously stuffed with jackals who just can’t get enough of Tristan’s rod in their mouths, picking up pitchforks and removing me out of another corp in the alliance. Group dynamics are a crazy thing, especially in Eve. Like Maimonides, I’m just shocked at how such a twisted idiot could actually start a corp much less become someone that any group of reasonable adults would pay any mind to. Truth is stranger than fiction, however, and CTRL V just doesn’t resemble anything reasonable. Yet these yahoos are apparently where it’s at in the Amarr militia. Says something sad about the Minmatar…..

So that’s it. That was my day in outer space today. Like I said, this post will really only be of interest to those who want to get to know me personally through my blog. I’d say it could be good information for others considering joining CTRL V. If you like to suck people off until you get to a point where you can wantonly dump on anyone you talk to, CTRL V is probably your crew. As for me, they won’t be benefiting from my JFs and traders or my carriers or my Command Ship boosters or anything I would have brought to the table, and I am sure they are completely thrilled about that because, well, they’re geniuses. Beyond that bit of knowledge, though, I’d say the whole account is just a sad story of human nature as elucidated by the sandbox that is Eve, where failed humans are even more likely to be in senior positions than in real life.

EDIT: give credit where credit is due.

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Improving Fleet Mechanics

It looks like my return to Eve has had an element of, “I thought I was out, but they’re pulling me back in!” Eve for me has always been a game about player accomplishment, and I have been unable to resist the call to dig in deep, finding myself already running a small factional warfare corporation in the Amarr militia. Originally just building up ISK with solo industry, a random contact in my area tempted me to help him set up a fledgling alliance. Soon the endeavor became quite taxing, not simply because he had no idea what he was doing, but also because he became hostile when faced with making the decisions that he would have to make in order to set up a successful group. While in that environment, I hooked up with a guy, Tiberius Zenon, a rather comical and crazy British pilot who ended up being really fun to fly with. Looking to make my way out at that time, I ended up donating an Endurance as a ransom to a small group in the local area who ended up recruiting me, and I joined them with Tib in tow, the two of us running a small corporation that hoped to fill out the small alliance’s EU TZ. Alas, that group also would not provide a suitable home to us. Relationships had already been established, and bringing new people in at a leadership level caused strains. It wasn’t until Tib, an officially recognized alliance FC, was refused opportunity to FC an operation that ended up being lead by the alliance leader (who had just said in comms that he knew nothing about leading a PvP fleet), that we realized it was time for us to make our departure. After checking around with friends about where we could go, the corp ultimately decided to join the Amarr Militia.

Most of the people I talked to did not have any particularly interesting options for us, but one did. However, taking the option would have strained the corp quite a bit, and ultimately I was convinced to go into FW by the lure of an opportunity to finally, after over three years in Eve, learn to FC. The corp told me they’d die as much as it took to train me, and FW and action in the sites and lolfrig roaming would be an ideal environment for me to get my feet wet. Now this opportunity has come to me after the release of the Command Destroyers and after CCP’s comment that they were checking on the feasibility of the long-awaited Rorqual rebalance. To me, the Rorqual rebalance signals the last nail in the coffin of off-grid boosting. The end of off-grid boosting has been unequivocally promised by CCP for ages, and I am certain of its demise. I am convinced that this will happen soon, sometime after the capital rebalance. Likely there will be a Command Ship rebalance and tweaks to the T3 boosting defensive subsystems in tandem.

Given this conviction of mine, I have determined to get a handle on on-grid boosting, and as I have explored the various tools available to FCs, I have made some observations. In my previous experience I have become acquainted with various Teamspeak and Mumble setups that have allowed FCs to share command channels via whisper and shout keys and other tricks that are beyond my knowledge, and have seen combined fleets interact with a shared level of integration. However, in general, these different fleets are in fact different fleets, each with their own off-grid booster, quite often managed by the FCs themselves via alts. With enormous grids and the threatened end of off-grid boosts, it seems like some of the mechanics of how fleets are managed could use some sprucing up. So with this post I hope to inspire some pro-active thinking that could facilitate a smoother transition to a world without off-grid boosts. Admittedly, I am completely green to all this, but in my experience, positing some silly scenarios and solutions can result in good fruit.

So it seems to me that the fleet mechanics in Eve provide primarily three things: fleet/wing/squad warps, boosting, and broadcasting. On-grid boosting seems that it will tax the fleet mechanics of delivering boosts to the fleet while preserving the ability to provide fleet movement. If boosts are on grid, the booster will need to avoid being primaried instantly, which would take Command Destroyers out of the running for many situations. Even Command Ships and T3 boosters in the hands of FCs at the center of the blob rely on a gentlemen’s agreement in Eve not to headshot the FC in quite a number of situations. The fact of Command Destroyers being unable to tank an alpha requires that they provide boosts independently of the basic maneuver schema of the fleet as a whole. However, if a Command Destroyer is assigned its own squad and is given freedom to maneuver alone or with some light, fast protection, it can no longer provide boosts to the main fleet or the entirety of the fleet. Further, for the on-grid boosters to have any support with them that they can fleet warp around, they’d need to be in their own squad in order to be able to avoid fleet warping the entire fleet around. Yet if they are in their own squad escorted by light and fast protection that they can carry around the grid with them, they won’t be able to provide boosts to the entire fleet. Something tells me that this problem was the genesis of the micro jump field generators. The fleet commander can have a few folks next to him to protect him that he can jump around. However, being able to jump a few companions 100 km every few minutes isn’t going to cut the mustard, if you ask me. It’s a nice supplementary tool, but it just won’t do for keeping a boosting element free of squads of Claws MWDing after them.

Because of this problem, the conflict between providing boosts to the right people and providing fleet warp to the right people, I have thought of two things that can make a single fleet much more diverse. The concept of a fleet that I am thinking of that would use these tools is one where there are a couple of echelons of fleet commanders working in the same fleet, rather than separate fleets. For instance, a fleet would have a fleet commander that is responsible for getting the entirety of the force to the system and to the grid. Once on grid, the wing commanders would be the primary target callers and tacticians, while the overall fleet commander concentrates more on keeping himself alive and providing boosts.

The first thing I have thought of is that squad leaders should have the ability to exempt their entire squad from wing warp while maintaining the ability to squad warp, and wing commanders should have the ability to exempt their entire wing from fleet warp while maintaining the ability to warp their wing. So for example an AHAC fleet with a Crucifier EWAR wing could be lead by an FC with Skirm and Armor links and pass his boosts to the entire fleet. The EWAR wing could be lead by a WC in a Command Destroyer with EWAR links. Say this wing only has a couple of squads, and this wing would benefit from Armor, Skirm, and EWAR links. Then the DPS group could be one or more wings of AHACs lead by WCs in AHACs themselves not particularly vulnerable to being headshot. Finally, there would be another wing containing just one squad of a few jammers to keep people off the FC. All wings would exempt from fleet warp except the FC protection wing. Therefore the FC and his bodyguards can just concentrate on warping away from the aforementioned Claws.

Now in the above example, the two operating wings are EWAR and DPS (logi is assumed to be rolled into the DPS wings to share wing warps with them), and EWAR is not known to rely on target calling so much as getting into position and doing its stuff on whoever. However, there may be situations where different target callers existing in the same fleet may want to broadcast. In the above fantasy fleet, if there are two wings of AHACs, one of the WCs may want to broadcast targets for both DPS wings but not to the EWAR. This leads me to my second suggestion. I’d like to see squad, wing, and fleet commanders be able to put a 2 or 3 letter code in front of their broadcasts, and I’d like for fleet members to be able to color code their broadcasts in the fleet history window with not only broadcast type, but also by 2 or 3 letter code. So the members of both DPS wings can be instructed to color the target broadcasts from the first wing commander, with the code WC1, to be orange, for example. The two DPS wings could be instructed to alpha the orange broadcasts, etc.

The above improvements to the fleet interface would allow for a vastly greater variety of configurations for warfare links, fleet broadcasts, and target callers. If these capabilities are used to their fullest, the history tab could be filled with a bewildering rainbow of broadcasts. I don’t think this should deter such a system from being implemented, though. Smaller groups and more competent groups will be able to make use of the advanced capabilities, while larger and less experienced fleets will have to voluntarily cap the amount of flexibility they will be able to make use of.

So with these suggestions I just wanted to offer a proactive development of the fleet mechanics in advance of a move to on-grid boosting. Too often a change is made, and the fallout from the change is addressed after the fact. But if we think about on-grid boosting, we can see that fleet configurations that allow for maximum boosting conflict with booster survivability which conflicts with fleet warping. Allowing elements of a single fleet more autonomy in control of movement and broadcasting create room for tactical options to be given to the booster.