Monday 16 December 2013

[Competition] Space Christmas Trees!

So every once in a while I run a little fitting competition, I usually ask the mods what they fancy, and then promptly ignore them and do my own thing. But it's christmas, so what the hell lets let their ideas loose on the boards...
"Turn your ship into an xmas tree:
Fit a ship with modules that makes the most colorful in-game effects possible. Youtube it. Must include a link to the BC loadout"

* Anabaric facepalms.

Ok.... you wanted it, here we go:

The competition is simple, the choices are not, take your ship of choice and make it look as much like a Christmas tree as possible, we will require a fitting on the board with the complete fit used. Please be colourful, creative, and above all have fun.

We require a video or screen shot of the ship(s) being as colourful and christmassy as possible.

  • Photoshop is allowedCGI and editing are allowed. 
  • Please feel free to "enhance". 
  • Feel free to take pictures on SISI
  • Group Photo's / group entries allowed
  • One Entry per person/group
  • One prize per entry
  • Link back to this thread as always
  • You will require an active EVE account to claim prizes
  • Competition Closes at midnight Christmas Day (EVE time)

Everyone that enters will win a prize* Top prizes will be awarded on effort/creativity. 

Top prize:
1x Plex + 500m isk

Runners Up
5x 250m isk

*Mystery Prize / Lucky Dip
All entries will get a lucky dip prize drawn at random from Santa's sack, some small, some shiny, some silly, and I do seem to have misplaced a navy battleship... maybe it's in Santa's sack?

Original Source.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

[GUIDE] Target selection - Who should you shoot first? EVE Target Calling

Following on from my brief FC'ing guide, here is a one regarding target selection for target callers.

Now some fleets have special target priorities, and where possible I'll mention those as I go, but remember this guide is meant as a primer for FC's, and I'm going to hope by the time you are taking out a specialist fleet you'll know what to shoot first anyway!

Now the idea of target calling is simple, by focus firing you use the entire fleets DPS to remove enemy DPS in the quickest possible way. At the same point you need to consider the integrity of your own fleet. 

A simple target priority list is this:

  1. DPS
  2. Everything else.

If you kill all of the enemies DPS ships they cannot kill you. You win the fight, and in the simplest fights it it is just that simple. Now to maximise efficiency of this process you need to know which ships put out the most DPS, and which are the easiest to kill. This comes from being able to assess the current fleet composition of the enemy, and choosing which ships will remove the most DPS in the shortest time. 
EFT is your friend here, the more you know about ships and their capabilities the better.

TIP - Playing in EFT is good way of learning ships,  if your unsure what fits to look at a simple way is pick an active PVP corp's killboard look over their losses, import the fits into EFT and see how much EHP and damage they provide.

Example: Against a shield fleet with 3 brutix and 3 drakes
A Brutix can put out 1000dps, and has 40k EHP
A Drake puts out 500dps but is likely to have 70k EHP
(All figured made up on the spot)

To remove 1000 dps from drakes it takes almost twice as long as killing a single brutix. In this situation you are better off shooting the Brutix's. However be warned in an armour gang, the Brutix is likely to have 80k EHP but only do 500dps. So be aware of what the enemy fleet is composed of. If the fleet has an obvious theme you can make a judgement on targets.

Now obviously this is EVE,  it's not as simple as that!

In EVE we have lots of ships that act as force multipliers. Force Multipliers are ships that either increase the threat of the enemy fleet, or decrease the threat of your own fleet. Many brawling gangs will run buffer fits rather than active tanks, however by adding a logistics cruiser to the gang the enemy fleet is suddenly capable to repairing some or all of the damage you are shooting at them. Their ships stop exploding! This is a bad thing! Or if they add an ECM ship, your own ships are unable to lock and shoot the enemy, your fleet looses DPS, or potentially your own logistics ships suddenly are unable to repair you! Your fleet starts to explode! This is a really bad thing!

Some examples of force multipliers are:
  • Logistics - these repair their own fleet. 
  • EWAR - these negatively effect the enemy fleet
  • Tacklers - these can hold down one of your ships, forcing you to stay on the fight, or slowing it down so that it takes more damage. 
  • Cyno ships - these bring in support, either in the form of capital ships, or more subcapitals bridged from a titan. 
  • Covert Cyno's - incoming Blackops ships
  • Capital Ships Carriers/Dread/SC/Titans
When there is force multipliers in the enemy fleet you have to start looking at the threat they pose, and decide if you need to kill them, disable them, or ignore them.

Threat evaluation of Logistics. 

Logistic ships are a Tech2 cruiser hull, whilst they do not pose a direct threat to your fleet, they are their to repair the enemy fleet, a task they do very well. Usually they will be at the back of the fleet as far as possible away from you, so you have to go round or through the dps ships to get to them.
The more of them in the enemy fleet the more you need to pay attention to them.

If you have enough DPS in your fleet to kill enemy ships then you can pretty much ignore them, and focus on killing DPS. Focusing your DPS on fragile ships is a good way to test the enemy logistic tank. If you can't break a ship, call 3 targets and tell all ships to lock each of these, also tell everyone to lock a random ship in the enemy fleet. Now have them fire a single salvo at the random ship, then immediately  fire on one of the three to focus fire. The initial random shooting should light up the enemies watch list and make it difficult for the logistics ships to tell who is about to be primary.

If you have your own ECM/Ewar ships task these to disable the enemy logistics, this may include falcons (ECM) Curse (neuting), sending all available ECM drones is usually a good plan.

Kill/Force off
If you have tried to break the enemies tank, and are unable to keep killing ships you need to start firing on the logistic ships themselves either to destroy them, or to force them to warp out. If you can't kill the logistics and you can't kill anything else in fleet you need to bug out, or escalate the fight with support.

Threat Evaluation of EWAR. 
As a threat EWAR ships should rank highly on your list. There are many different forms, and they are less or more dangerous to certain fleet doctrines and ship types. Ewar comes in several forms, the most common in PVP are:

  • ECM
  • Neuting
  • Target Painting
  • Webs
  • Sensor Damping

  • ECM is often considered the worst threat, it prevents the targeting ship from locking anything and generally being useful. 
  • Neuting, slightly more specialised as some ships can still fire their guns/missiles whilst being neuted. Their shield/armour resists may be significantly lowered if they are active modules, making them easier to kill. 
  • Target Painting, this increases your signature size to make you a bigger target, thus easier to hit and you will take more damage. 
  • Webs, slow the target down, making it easier to hit/take more damage. Also can be used to separate ships from their support if the fight is moving on the grid.
  • Sensor Damping, this can be used to either makes ships lock slower, very dangerous against logistic ships which have to quickly change targets to repair them. Alternatively this can be used to reduce the locking range of ships, useful to force support ships (logistics/ewar platforms) to come closer into the fight, thus putting them at greater risk. 

If after their arrival you still have enough DPS to kill the enemy ships, and are not loosing significant numbers of your own fleet. Target painters against your battleships can pretty much be ignored UNLESS there are dreadnoughts on the field. Target painters on your frigates shouldn't be ignored, as you will be taking far more damage.

If you have your own ECM/Ewar ships task these to disable the enemy EWAR platforms. Sensor damps are very good at countering ranged ewar ships, who will often attempt to sit outside the main fight.
ECM drones are less useful given the extreme range.

Kill/Force off
Ewar ships are often relatively fragile, and long range guns, or even sending a couple of frigates towards them is often enough to force them from the battle even if you can't kill them.

Threat Evaluation of Tacklers
There are many types of tackle ships, and most PVP fits have some form of tackle fitted.
The main threat of enemy tackle is that it commits you to the fight, it's largely not a threat until you want to leave! Skirmish/Nano and Sniper gangs have to treat tackle ships differently. These cannot afford to get bogged down in close combat so they have to destroy any scram/web tackle ships as a high priority. Rapiers/Huggins with their long webs are the bane of skimish gangs, and Arazu/Lachesis are often able to apply scrams at 20-25km and point ships out to 80km+ with bonus's. Tackle frigates interceptors interdictors can move very fast and provide warp in points for heavier ships.

Threat Evaluation of Cyno ships
These are a massively unknown risk, a cyno field on grid means that either the enemy (or a third party) is about to bring on considerable support. Usually this support is going to be large enough to change the balance of power in a big way, you don't commit more ships to a loosing battle unless it's going to change it to a winning one! Unless you have your own backup support you should be thinking about an exit plan at this point.

Cyno's can either be used to bring in any or all of the following:

  • Triage Carriers - these are giant very powerfull logistics ships normally dropped to support Battleships heavy fleets who have the EHP to make it worth while. They are harder to kill than normal logistics cruisers, and rep more! 
  • More sub caps! Titan's can bridge any form and quantity* of sub caps to a cyno beacon, that means you could suddenly be facing 30+ battleships! or even 100 frigates!
  • Combat Carriers - whilst relatively rare carriers can field large amounts of drones, or fighters to kill battleships. 
  • Dreadnoughts - these capital ships apply huge damage to other capitals/structures with the right support they are able to alpha battleship size ships. They struggle to lock, let alone hit smaller ships, cruisers and frigates are largely immune to dreadnoughts.
  • Titans - it does happen... 
Not wise. 

Not possible, once the cyno is up it runs for 10mins unless you kill the ship. (less on bonused hulls)

Cyno ships are immobile once the field activates, usually you won't have very long before the enemy fleet starts to jump to the beacon. If you can manage to kill the ship quickly you may prevent all of the gang jumping through. Be advised, most fleets that are running cyno's will use something with alot of tank to light the cyno. Most gangs will also have a backup cyno just in case you kill the first one. 

Threat Evaluation of Covert Cyno ships
These are usually more of a risk to your fleet than normal cyno's. They only allow BlackOPs battleships, Recon's, Stealth Bombers, and Covert T3's to jump (or be bridged) in, but because of the value of whats about to land on you, you can be sure that your enemy is very confident that he is bringing enough to completely overpower you.

Not wise, pretty much suicide.

Not possible, once the cyno is up it runs for 1min unless you kill the ship. (less on bonused hulls)

Good news on this front, Covert cyno's can only be fitted to particular ships, these are usually have squishier tanks than normal cyno ships. Unless it's a tech3 cruiser as these can be (and usually are) highly tanked.

In conclusion

So now we're looking at a broader threat landscape than the beginning of the post. It will change depending on your own fleet composition, but as a starting point you will want to consider threats in this order. 
  1. Cyno's
  2. Ewar
  3. Logistics
  4. DPS
  5. Everything else
Hopefully after reading this guide you'll now understand more about the threat landscape you are facing as an FC, and have a better idea on how to evaluate and deal with threats.

- Anabaric

Monday 2 December 2013

[GUIDE] Some thoughts on Herding Cats (or a brief guide to FC'ing)

What does the FC actually do?
FC'ing is actually relatively simple in theory, you need all of your people in the right place, shooting the right thing. If you can manage that task usually you'll start winning fights.

In practice of course there is much more to it than that, getting people undocked together in a cohesive fleet can often be a challenge for some groups.

But we have an FC, why should I start doing it?

In every corp or alliance there is usually only a few FCs that are willing to step up and take people out on roams. This can often be the difference between an active alliance, and a disbanded one. Everyone should try commanding the fleet, you learn a lot in a short period of time. The best FC's aren't always the ones with the greatest skill points, or the shiny ships.
FC'ing can often be stressful, some FC's will log on to relax only to find that everyone is immediately asking for them to start a fleet and spoon feed them content. The more FC capable pilots a corp has the less likely those FC's will burn out.

How much SP do you need?
Very little is the answer to this. Is does help to have some SP invested into leadership, but you can FC from any position within the fleet, be it squad member, commander, or the wing or fleet position. The only thing I would say is make sure you have enough skillpoints to pass down any bonus's. At leadership V you are able to pass bonus's onto a squad of 10 pilots. It's a relatively short skill and I encourage all pilots to train it, even if they are not going to actually run the fleets. The leadership skills also pass on benefits to the pilots in the squad, you should check them out, as extra HP, agility and scan resolution are often very nice to have.

What do you need to know to start?
Knowing the capabilities of your fleet is the starting point. There are many different types of fleets to fly in EVE, and knowing what your fleet consists of is the first step. Your composition should dictate the types of fight you should take, and also know which ones to avoid. It's beyond the scope of this blog to discuss all the  fleet tactics, but you should try to know a little about the type of fleet you want to run.

Where should we go?
Once you've got your fleet undocked and ready you need somewhere to take them, route planning is a combination of knowing the area, the groups within it, and looking at the map.
If you are not familiar with the star map, press F10 and have a play. The starmap, is a map of New Eden, it contains huge amounts of data about the current server state. Look at the statistics options, the map can tell you including: Ships/pods destroyed in the last hour (recent hot zones), NPC killed in the last... (ratters/missioners), ships in space, jumps (how active stargates are), cyno's, and much much more.
Take some time and look though the options.
There is no point running though 50 jumps of 0.0 where there is only a couple of people in the entire area. Find a busier area! After you've been in an area for a while you'll get a sense of where people are, most groups will base out of a few systems, and will be very active around them. Going to their home system is often a good way to kick the hornets nest.

What fleets to fly?
When you're learning to FC fly something cheap, a brawling gang is a good start, as you pretty much just get everyone to warp to zero and start calling targets. Fly a gang you're familiar with, if you've only ever flown nano gangs, don't start with a brawler! Make sure that everyone knows your in new to FC'ing and brings sensible ships to the party. If you tell everyone that they are likely to be exploded, and that you're not going to pay any reimbursement they will usually bring something suitable.

A good way to make sure everyone is flying the right ship is to have the ships ready and fitted, then you just sell everyone ship (or give if your rich), that way everyone is flying the right fleet composition, and no one has an excuse that they don't have the ship ready. (Thanks to Jones Bones for that tip)

Who scouts?
When you're starting out don't scout yourself, even if you're in a small gang it's better to have a dedicated scout/tackle. These often die as the fight starts, and you really don't want to try FC'ing from a pod.

OK, so I've got my route planned and everyone is undocked, now what?
Get your scout to start the route, make sure everyone knows what the next destination is. Your scout should be one or two jumps ahead of your main group. Keep the rest of the gang together, make sure that everyone is keeping relatively quite on comms. I usually ask that people type in fleet rather than over voice comms, that way when the scout or I say something it's heard and immediately understood.
If people are being noisy on comms tell them to shut up. It's your fleet you are in charge.

Keep the gang together, don't let people start wandering off to random belts and shooting NPC's.
It's often worth keeping moving, if your scout doesn't find anything within a few minutes of jumping into system, tell him to move forward to the next one. Boredom is a bad thing in a fleet.

Scout's found a target what now?
What happens next depends on the target, when you're starting out just get the scout or another dedicated tackler to warp in and tackle it. As soon as it's caught jump the rest of the gang in and warp straight over.
As you get more confident (and depending on your fleet comp) you can start sending in a smaller force to try to escalate the fight (he warps his friends in, you drop the rest of the gang and kill everyone!).

Who do we shoot? - Target calling
Other than getting the gang to the right spot, you need to shoot the right things. It's usually better to focus fire the entire gang on one ship at a time as this clears enemy DPS off the field fastest, start by calling a single ship primary, whilst you're doing this look for another target call this secondary so that everyone should have two ships locked.

Be clear on what target everyone should be shooting.

ABC in the Thorax is Primary
XYZ in the Vexor is secondary
XYZ in the Vexor is now primary, 
CDF in the Arbitartor is secondary

And so forth, depending on how quickly the enemies are exploding you may need to call a tertiary target as well.

ABC in the Thorax is Primary
XYZ in the Vexor is secondary
Lock up DFG Thorax, and EHG Maller

Make sure that you have locked the extra targets too, if you see they are taking damage, tell everyone to focus fire. Be clear on your orders, tell people to shut up if needed.

Clear Comms! 
Stop shooting the secondary target! Primary is ABC in the Thorax. 

People will understand and listen if you are clear and concise.

Target Selection
Target calling is making sure everyone knows who to shoot, but you as the FC need to choose the target. Again this depends on your fleet composition and the situation, you'll learn this with practice.

Ideally you want to clear as much of the enemy DPS as quickly as possible whilst keeping as much as your fleet alive as possible.

1. Fragile ships with high dps - Anything likely to be squishy is a high value target (ie Brutix is a shield gang)
2. High DPS ships
3. Everything else.

Don't get bogged down with grinding highly tanked low dps ships - a Drake is a good example of low dps, high tank, as are Mallers, and the prophesy. The more you know about ships and their capabilities the better FC you will become.

Now in some situations there are other threats which need to be dealt with immediately.

1. Cyno ship lighting on grid
2. ECM
3. Logistics
4. Recons/Ewar
5. DPS

Force multipliers such as recon ships, and logistics can drastically change the outcome of a fight. Learn these hulls, learn the risks, and recognise them. These threats should be considered as priority, and you need to make a call early to either kill, neutralise or ignore. This subject requires it's own post, which I'll follow up with soon.

In conclusion
Like everything else in EVE practice is key, the best way to learn is go out there in a cheap fleet and start exploding. No one will worry if you derp a few times, as long as you learn from your mistakes. Don't worry about loosing ships, I've seen highly competent FC's welp billion isk fleets with a bad judgement call, but I'll still fly with them the next week, as I know they won't make that mistake the next time.

We would all rather go out in a "suicide" roam with a new FC than just sitting round in local, waiting for something to happen. The one thing we all agree? FC's are important, and we love people for stepping up and making it happen.

[Free Stuff] In case you missed it...

Ok, it's not free, but your here...

Beginning today, Wednesday November 20th, 2013, through Saturday, December 7th, 2013, CCP will be accepting PLEX for GOOD donations from our players. For each PLEX donated during this period, CCP hf. will contribute USD $15 to the Icelandic Red Cross to fund their aid efforts in the Philippines.

To make your PLEX for GOOD donation:

• Contract one or more PLEX to the "CCP PLEX for GOOD" character on a 14 day item exchange contract.
• Contracts will be accepted within 24 hours of submission, though usually sooner than that.

Please ensure the receiving character is the one named above, and double check the character is in the C C P Corporation to avoid contracting PLEX to the incorrect character. CCP cannot guarantee the return of PLEX contracted to the wrong character.

We cannot thank the EVE Community enough for the support, encouragement and dedication that you have shown to the PLEX for GOOD initiative over the past three years. Previous PLEX for GOOD initiatives have resulted in donations totaling over $100,000 US Dollars to those in need during natural disasters in Haiti, Japan, Pakistan and the United States. In total, the EVE Community has raised donations totaling more than $150,000 US Dollars for charitable causes since the first collection in 2004 following the Indian Ocean earthquake and Tsunami.

As a gesture of thanks, for each PLEX you donate CCP will give you two virtual in-game Sisters of EVE Food Relief “'Humanitarian' T-shirt YC115” t-shirts (one male and one female) for use in EVE to show your support for PLEX for GOOD. These t-shirts are currently being designed, and will be distributed on Tuesday, December 10th.

If for no other reason than a groovy t-shirt, dip into your wallets and do this!

Thank you.