This is part 4 of my Introduction to Incursions Guide. It is far and away the longest part, a guide specifically on flying a Logistics ship in incursions. Since this is the most challenging role in an incursion fleet, I felt it deserved a lot of attention.
Basic Logistics Skills and Fitting
First, don't attempt to fly a Logistics ship in a fleet without at least Logistics IV. You're also going to need at least Level IV in the various support skills associated with Logistics pilots, depending on your specific logi ship: Shield Emissions, Energy Emissions, and Remote Armor Repair. You're also going to need Multitasking III skill (and therefore, Targeting V skill). This will allow you to lock ten targets while flying your logi. However, if you are flying a Scimitar or Oneiros, you will be expected to be entirely cap-stable without any support. Most often, this is going to require Logistics V skill, so keep that in mind.
Recommended fittings for the four types of Logistics ships are included in the appendices to this guide for your convenience. However, if you choose not to use the recommended fittings, there are some basics that you should understand for flying a logistics in incursions.
No matter your type of logi ship, you need at least four large reppers. Three large reppers, even with a medium repper included -- even if that medium repper is a dead-space model! -- is not ideal for incursions. If there are no other logis available, you will probably be picked up with fewer than four large reppers fitted. But if your FC has any choice, he's going to go with the pilot with four reppers fitted instead.
Second, just as for any other incursion ship, fit resistance first, buffer second. This will probably be forced on you by the power requirements of your reppers and energy transfers, if any. Once those are fitted, you're not going to be able to fit very many LSEs, CDFEs, plates, or trimarks. As a result, you will be forced to fit resistance mods by necessity, but that is not a bad thing. Because of their relatively thin tanks, logis should aim for the highest resistances possible.
Do not bother fitting ECCM modules. Yes, incursion sites include strong Sansha jamming ships. However, your FC will make destroying these ships a priority. Sansha jamming ships have a jam strength of 60, which means that to sufficiently protect yourself, you'll likely have to devote two slots to ECCM modules. Since your fleet will be destroying jamming ships as soon as they appear, the short and infrequent times that you'll be jammed are not worth the sacrifice to your cap stability or tank from these two lost slots. If you do get jammed, just grin and bear it for the 10 or 15 seconds (if that) that it lasts. You're not going to cap out in this short time, and neither are your cap partners, if any. Best of all, while the Sansha are jamming you, they're usually also attacking you, so there's usually nobody you need to rep during this time anyway. ;-)
For HQ and mom sites, you're going to need all the tank you can fit. However, for Vanguard and Assault sites, you can (and should) sacrifice one or two of your mid slots for either Remote Sensor Boosters or Tracking Links. The former can be used with a battleship-heavy fleet and will allow the battleships selected to lock faster. Use them with the Sensor Resolution scripts. Tracking Links will be useful for any kind of turret-heavy fleet. Battleships will appreciate the Tracking Speed script. Cruisers and battle-cruisers will likely want the Optimal Range script.
Finally, because of their relative fragility compared to other incursion ships, it is generally not worthwhile to pimp them out too much. A Tech2 rig or two is fine. A faction item or two, also fine. But don't go nuts. More logis die by far in incursions than any other ship type. And when incursion fleets get griefed, it's invariably the logis that take the brunt of it. It's unlikely you're going to be able to pimp your ship out enough to prevent this if it comes down to it... so limit your potential losses.
A typical Vanguard fleet is going to have three Logistics ships. A typical Assault fleet will have five or six. A typical HQ fleet will have between ten and twelve. Mom sites will have between 15 and 20.
Regardless of the incursion site that you're running, the first thing you're going to want is a watch list. If you're flying a Basilisk or Guardian, the first two pilots on this watch list should be your cap partners. This will allow you to find them rapidly when you first enter a site and determine at a glance if they are on grid with you. The third entry on your watch list should be the anchor. The fourth entry should be the FC.
If you are running Vanguards, once these four are at the top of your watch list, put the rest of the Vanguard fleet into it, too. This will allow you to keep an eye on everyone. In larger fleet sites, you won't have this luxury. In Assaults, your watch list should include the four ships above, followed by the remaining logistics ships, followed by any "special snowflakes" in your fleet. This will usually be any thin-skinned Minmatar ships that your fleet includes, notably Huginns and Lokis. In HQ and mom fleets, you will rarely have room on your watch list for anything except the four ships above and some of the remaining logis.
As you're getting your watch list set up, bring up your Fleet dialog box and switch to the History tab. Once you're there, set this to the Broadcast History using the drop-down. Use the settings to remove targeting commands and requests for repairs of any type that you are not able to perform. This will concentrate your Broadcast History display on three things: the types of reps you can perform, the broadcast "In position", and travel orders: orders to align to or warp to a site. During the incursion, you will be relying on this window heavily, so make it prominent!
If you are going to do a mom site, it is also a good idea to create an escape bookmark. You can do this by bookmarking any location in the system. Once the bookmark is created, create a new temporary bookmark folder. Transfer the bookmark into this folder. Then double-click the folder name on the bookmark list. This will detach the folder into its own dialog box which you can then place in a convenient location on your screen.
IF the FC or the logi commander (if you have one) don't think of this before the first site, remember to ask (on voice) if any pilot in the fleet has an active war dec active against them. Different FCs and logi pilots have different feelings in this matter. Repairing a pilot with an active war dec will make you a valid target for that war dec. However, if the corp declaring war is small, remote, or unlikely to attack a large incursion fleet, this danger can be safely ignored. Most pilots will be smart enough not to join an incursion fleet if their war dec is something more serious, but be sure to check their claims! You are under no obligation to repair someone with a war dec before the fleet starts doing sites. But once the fleet starts, you will be expected to keep war dec targets alive, the same as anyone else. If you are not comfortable with this, you are well within your rights to ask the FC to kick that pilot from fleet, or to leave the fleet yourself.
The Cap Chain
Those of you flying a Scimitar or Oneiros can skip this section.
If you are a Basilisk or Guardian, if possible, determine the Logistics skill level of the remaining members of the logi group, and give the group your own logi level so they are clear on how many cap transfers you are going to need. In a Vanguard, nine times out of ten, you'll either send one cap transfer to each of the other two logis, or if there is only one other Basi or Guardian, you'll send that pilot both of your cap transfers.
In any fleet larger than a Vanguard, you will be expected to join the "logi channel" -- a chat channel for Logistics pilots. Ask for an invitation. Once you are there, you will be expected to send cap to the people both above you and below you in the list of pilots in this channel listed to the right. This is referred to as sending cap "one up, one down" and once everyone is doing this, the formation created is referred to as a "cap chain". It will be important to keep this cap chain running while the site is being run, no matter what happens.
You may be asked to perform a "cap test" before the fleet's first site. This involves setting up your cap chain. Once it's up, pick four ships in the fleet at random and activate all of your reppers on these ships. Continue repairing these ships for 45 seconds or so. If you remain cap-stable, report this in the logi channel. If you are having trouble maintaining cap stability, report that instead.
If ships that are part of the cap chain are destroyed or are not on grid, it is extremely important that their former cap partners adjust to compensate for the loss. Skip the missing logi -- act as if he or she did not exist in the logi channel and adjust for your new "up" and "down". When and if the missing logi returns, or warps back onto grid, readjust to again include them in the chain.
The Site Begins
The site will begin when the fleet's anchor enters. This is typically the ship in the fleet with the heaviest tank. Once the anchor enters the site, the FC will wait a short period of time, and then order the other ships into the site. Many FCs will ask that you "passive align" or "active align" down the gate in anticipation of this order. Active aligning means that you get your ship up to speed moving in the same direction and plane that the gate will launch you. Be careful not to overshoot the end of the gate, though. Passive aligning means that you align your ship in the direction and plane of the gate, then stop your ship and await the next order.
In either case, once you are in position and ready to enter the site, type an "L" into the fleet chat window. This signals that you are at your keyboard, paying attention, and ready to enter the site behind the anchor. FCs will often ask for logis to "L up." This is why they are asking: to make sure you are ready.
Once you enter the incursion site, the most important thing you need to do first is get moving! Ideally, if you have the anchor on your watch list (and you should), you can just right click the anchor, select Orbit, and pick a distance (I like 5000 meters). The major advantage to moving right away is that it breaks the fake session timer that EVE imposes when you enter a site and allows the other logistics ships to lock you right away. This can be critical for Basilisks and Guardians. Next, lock up the anchor. No matter what type of logi you're flying and what your skill is, you can safely send the anchor one repper while you finish getting set up.
If you're a Basilisk or Guardian, your next task is to get your piece of the cap chain running. If your cap partners are smart, they will also get moving right away which means you'll be able to lock them right away. Otherwise, you'll have to wait for them to finish locking a target before you can lock them yourself. The easiest and fastest way to do this is to repeatedly Ctrl-click their name in the watch list. Once any required cap chain is up and you've got the anchor locked, send the anchor a second repper. Two reppers should be sufficient for now if the other logis are awake.
Next, if you're in a Vanguard site, lock up all the other ships in the site, hopefully from your watch list. In Vanguards, most players won't bother broadcasting for reps unless they feel their damage is being ignored. You can prevent this by keeping an eye on them on your watch list. Anyone who flashes red there is taking damage. And obviously, once you have everyone locked, you can rep anyone who is taking obvious damage from your list of locked targets.
When applying reppers, most often, the best approach is to apply those reppers in pairs: put two reppers on the target receiving damage. You'll also want to "counter-cycle" those reppers. Activate one, wait until the cycle on it is half-way complete, then activate the other. This will both regulate your own cap use and ensure that your reps are being applied in a way that will make the aggressed pilot less nervous about their situation. ;-) When aggressed in an incursion, nobody likes to watch their shields or armor take big dips between reps.
Monitor the situation with the aggressed target for five or six seconds. If all seems well, then you can stick with two reps on that target. If not, then use a third repper to help stabilize the target. Try to avoid using all four of your reppers at any given moment. You nearly always want to have at least one repper in reserve, and if you can keep two reppers in reserve, all the better. Particularly good incursion-running pilots will transmit "In position" to let you know that they are no longer aggressed by the incursion rats. This will allow you to release the reppers on these targets and hold those as your reserve reppers.
As the rats move from target to target, keep an eye on your watch list and your locked targets. From this, you should be able to easily determine who receives aggression and who your reppers need to be on at any given time. Still, keep an eye on the Broadcast History window as well. Clear it periodically so that if anyone does request reps, you'll notice it right away.
In sites other than Vanguards, you won't have the luxury of keeping everyone locked all the time and won't be able to keep everyone on watch list. In this case, you'll have to use the Broadcast History window to determine who needs reps. At any given time, try not to have more than seven targets locked. Scimis and Oneiroses will have the advantage here, since they don't have to keep cap partners locked all the time. As the number of targets you have locked rises, try to unlock targets that you no longer need to keep an eye on. In particular, ships with strong tanks can be unlocked as soon as you are confident that they are no longer taking major damage.
If you are equipping and using repair drones, you'll be expected to put these repair drones preemptively on your "down", the first logistics pilot whose pilot name is below yours in the logi chat channel or fleet chat channel. You can, of course, apply those drones to targets that are taking damage as you feel you need to. However, as soon as those drones are not doing anything better, put them back on your "down." Logistics ships are fragile and often that little bit of extra preemptive rep can be important, particularly on a Vanguard site called an OTA, the Override Transfer Array.
Scimitars should strongly consider carrying five shield rep drones and four armor rep drones. Armor damage is usually inevitable if an incursion fleet goes on long enough, and even a few light armor drones, used on a target over time, will repair this damage and keep the ship from having to dock up for repairs and slow the fleet down in the process.
A few of the incursion sites require special handling from Logistics pilots.
Vanguard: Override Transfer Array. This is the third-hardest site for a Logistics pilot. The reason is that most FCs like to "blitz" them. There is a particular order of ships, that, when destroyed in that order, allow the fleet to complete the site very quickly. That's the up-side. The down-side is that during the last minute or so of the site, an enormous number of Sansha ships will be on-grid from up to five different spawns. If all five spawns aggress a single target, all is well. Three logis can easily keep that single target alive. However, more often, the five spawns will split their damage across two or three or four ships. While this sounds like it should be easier to manage, in practice, it is harder.
You will need to pay very close attention to who you're repping and how much. Don't waste rep cycles if you can avoid it. Don't try to rep everyone to 100%. Instead, rep them to about 80-85% during this last minute, but try not to let anyone dip below this threshold. Toward the end of an OTA, it is not at all unusual for two or three ships to dip close to 50% armor or shield (depending). This is (mostly) normal. Just catch up as quickly as you can, or if nothing else, catch up when the site is over. ;-) In the meantime, you'll have to split your reppers, try to keep a repper in reserve, and try to react quickly if one (or two or three...) spawns suddenly switch damage to a new target.
Vanguard: Nation Mining Colony. This is the easiest incursion site there is for Logistics ships. However, it presents a unique challenge that Logistics ships are usually expected to manage. At the end of this site, a Sansha battle tower has to be destroyed. However, to do it requires that 255 units of an ore called Lyavite be dropped into a can that appears near the station. Since Logistics ships have the most spare cargo room and often fit afterburners, it will be expected that the fastest Logistics ship do this job. That same logi might even be expected to mine the needed ore with mining drones. There is a Lyavite asteroid about 70 kilometers ahead of and to the left of the warp-in beacon. Set your overview to show Kernite and you'll be able to see it. If you're instructed to mine this asteroid, proceed to it as quickly as you can, mine it, then head for the battle station (which is about 50km away from the asteroid). When the can appears, drop in 255 units of Lyavite. That will complete the site.
Assault: Overwhelmed Civilian Facility. Similar to the mining site, the civilian site will occasionally spawn cans from defeated Sansha with 15 captured civilians in them. It will again be the task of the closest Logistics pilot to gather these civilians. Toward the end of the site, the Obelisk freighter will become a droppable object. Head for that freighter and drop 40 captured civilians into it. That will complete the site. Be careful not to bump off the freighter as you are preparing to warp out. It is an enormous road block. ;-)
Assault: Nation Consolidation Network. This is the most annoying incursion site there is, and as a result, many FCs won't run it. However, if you do run it, be advised that it requires that the fleet be split in half. One side will be the "battleship side". All the fleet's battleships will take this path, along with three Logistics ships. The other side is the "cruiser side". The fleet's cruisers will go in that direction, along with two to three Logistics ships. The fleets will stay separated until the final room of the site, when the battleship side will warp in first, followed by the cruiser side. Other than this, it's a pretty typical incursion site for logi pilots. It just requires a lot of coordination and timing on the part of at least two FCs, which makes it an annoying site to run.
Headquarters: True Creation Research Center. This is the second-most difficult site for logi pilots, mostly because of the first two minutes or so. The initial spawn of this site is enormous and will destroy fleet ships if they are not absolutely diligent about broadcasting early! If this initial spawn aggresses on a logi, it can and will destroy that logi if the rest of the logi pilots aren't paying attention. I strongly recommend that Basilisk pilots in particular use the "Mom" fit below for this HQ site. However, there are only a few FCs that enjoy running this site -- it requires anal attention to detail -- so you may not have to deal with this site at all.
Headquarters: True Power Provisional Headquarters. This is the second easiest site for logi pilots, but it does have one difficult portion to watch out for. When the fleet enters the third room, there will be three spawns. The second spawn is extremely bomber heavy. Remind your fleet-mates that they MUST broadcast early if this bomber spawn yellow-boxes them. If they do not, that ship will take a tremendous amount of damage and you might still be trying to repair that damage when the bombers turn on someone else. This can make it difficult to catch up when the third spawn appears. Once the third spawn is defeated, the remainder of the fleet will be spending ten minutes or so destroying the HQ structure itself. This is a good time for logi pilots to take a bio break or get some food. ;-)
Mothership. These are the most difficult sites for logi pilots, and I do not recommend attempting them until you have a good deal of experience with less demanding sites. In particular, this site spawns two types of bomber waves in groups of ten ships each which are more than capable of destroying Logistics ships. Scimitar and Oneiros pilots will have little choice but to warp away if they are aggressed by these spawns; they can usually destroy even perfectly fit logi ships of this type. Basis and Guardians can usually take it if they're perfectly fit, but your logi commander might order you to warp off anyway. If one or more of your cap partners warps off or is destroyed, be ready to adjust the cap chain as needed on a moment's notice.
Here are some tricks that it will benefit you to know.
If you get jammed, report it in fleet and/or logi chat and shut down as many of your reppers as you can if you are a Basilisk or Guardian. If you are a Basilisk or Guardian and one of your cap partners gets jammed, shut down the cap transfer you have to that partner. He can't lock anyone to rep anyone anyway, so he doesn't need the cap. Since you can lock things and rep them, you do. So save your cap for yourself until he's back up.
When you can, keep an eye out for a pilot transmitting "In Position". This means that whatever the pilot was asking for -- whether shields or cap -- they have enough and you can stop sending it to them. In cases where it's used to indicate that they no longer need shields, the hidden message when transmitting "In Position" is "none of the Sansha are shooting at my any more; they must be shooting at someone else." Look for the "someone else" as soon as you can. This is also a good thing to transmit to your fellow logis if you get aggressed, after the aggressing ships move on.
When you have time, train Thermodynamics and its related skills, Nanite Operation and Nanite Interfacing. Occasional overheating gives a logi pilot a dramatic benefit when the time comes for it. Sometimes, you'll want to strategically overheat reppers that are keeping one of your fleet mates alive. Other times, you'll want to overheat your own defenses (if possible) to keep you going in a tough site longer.
Sometimes, two fleets will enter the same site at the same time. This is called "contesting". For a logi, it doesn't change a thing -- except to make the site easier because fewer ships will be calling for reps. However, in exchange, there IS a way that you can help your side. If your ship has an afterburner, use it to bump battleships in the competing fleet, particularly blaster battleships like Vindicators and Megathrons. A series of good solid bumps by a running logi is usually just enough to throw off the competitor's tracking and lower his DPS. ;-)
If it comes down to a choice between repairing two ships (an OTA is going all to hell, for instance), repair the expensive one. Nightmares, Vindicators, Machariels, and the like are your priority, followed by T3s, followed by Navy ships, followed by everything else. This question will only rarely come up, but if it does come up, what would you rather have to be reimbursed: a 150 million ISK Tempest, or a 1.5 billion ISK Loki? If you're forced into this choice, even the Tempest pilot will grudgingly admit that you made the right one.
If things do start to go to hell, just keep your cool. Particularly in an OTA, your heart rate will go up. Just keep taking deep breaths and doing what you have to do. Don't get tunnel vision. The easiest thing to do is to concentrate on getting a bunch of one reps on one guy to keep him up, staring at that little red bar, while five ships over, someone else is getting pasted. ;-) Take deep breaths and keep your eyes moving across your locked targets, your watch list, and your Broadcast History. Keep calm and keep your eyes moving.
Finally, the best thing about being a logi in incursions is that it's cheap, and you'll get picked for a lot of fleets. But the worst thing about being a logi in incursions is that nobody will thank you for your work, and everyone will blame you if something goes wrong. So develop a thick skin. ;-) As I say when I teach PvP classes, 100% of ship losses can be traced to one or more mistakes made by the pilot of the ship. They'll want to blame you if they lose their ship, but they'll be wrong to do so.
Appendix A: Shield Logistics
These fittings have been published a separate blog posting to make them easier to find when searching this blog.
Appendix B: Armor Logistics
These fittings have been published a separate blog posting to make them easier to find when searching this blog.
This concludes my introductory guides to incursions. I hope that they have been helpful. :-)