Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Being good in space

I don't think this is something that I've ever done, but I want to run a "guest post."  The CEO of Stimulus corp in the Rote Kapelle alliance, Cassius Longinus, wrote the following post on our corp forums.  And it's such a gem, not only of great PvP advice, but it does such a lovely job of expressing the STIM corp philosophy that I asked (and received) his permission to post it on my blog.

No matter your level of PvP experience, I think you'll find it a very good read.
  • If you're brand new to PvP, then here are some basic concepts that will give you a fast head start.
  • If you're reasonably experienced at PvP, here's some instruction to make you even better.
  • And if you're an EVE PvP expert, then you'll recognize that reviewing these concepts periodically is optimal.
Anyway, I've edited it some for clarity here and there.  I agree with what's below completely.  Read it.  Learn it.  Live it.  Even if you aren't in Stimulus or Rote Kapelle.  ;-)

Take it away, Cass...


I want to talk about attention in fleets. This is not directed at anyone, it's simply a PSA.

There are a number of key components to "being good at EVE", which we here in the Stimulus Space Corporation value. The easiest of these is "having skillpoints to be useful". Perhaps second easiest, though something we need to work on a little is "being staged for all eventualities". Of course, not fitting your ships like a shit-lord is pretty much assumed; come on people, I'm getting tired of seeing STIM shit-fitting. Remember where you are.

But past those, being good is actually about ~being good in space~.  Here are some of the components of that, which should be of no surprise to you.  I'm going to use examples from last night's Talos fleet to illustrate what I mean.

1. Listen to the FC.
Like it or not, it's the FC who is calling the fight. If you want to be in charge, then form your own fleet.  Follow primaries. Overheat when asked. Suicide your damn ship if that is what it is going to take to achieve the goals, or conversely, make sure you survive, if that is what it takes to achieve goals. Largely, fleets have a support component and a meat-shield component.  Don't think for a second that Machs are comped to live, for example.  Support needs to live, front line needs to be effective.

Know when you are detached, and should explicitly NOT be listening to FC.  Anti-tackle following primaries when hostile tackle are on field is bad, for example.

2. Be good at combat meta.
Speak in third person. Report intel quickly, correctly, and thoroughly. Once.  Do.  Not.  Panic.  When the FC asks for a volunteer, speak up on comms, then actualize.  Kitaro is so good at this.  Be like him.

Understand Damage Types.  Firing on a Domi?  What ammo do I use?  What are his two biggest weaknesses, and are you betting he plugged his hole or not?

Understand ship combat ranges.  I'm in a Talos, ganking a Mach, do I engage with Null @20, or Caldari Navy Antimatter @5?

We have a hostile Mach sitting on gate with fleet at zero.  How do we INSTANTLY split fleet to grab him?

3. Proper Range Management.
Fleets will generally be brawling, or kiting.  You should generally know ahead of time how you will start the fight, by understanding the general comps.  This is a little bit covered in (2), but the REAL thing here is even understanding relative range advantages, YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO KEEP YOUR SHIP IN THE APPROPRIATE RANGE BAND.

Bouncing outside too long, or inside too long, is to the detriment of your fleet.

We tried to kill an Abaddon fleet with sniper HACs once.  Lexa was FCing.  Proper application of DPS required that we operate within a 10k range boundary to achieve optimal DPS while being effectively out of their range.  We failed utterly (luckily, we failed in such a way that we didn't suffer losses, but neither did we get the kills we should have).  There is a level of competence that allows precision in range management.  This is something I need to work on myself, in fact, many of us do.

4. Grid Assessment/Situational Awareness, generally.
Are more hostile logi hitting the field?  Is your logi not holding?  Is their fleet deagressing?  These are critical bits of information that the FC may need to know, and may not have his finger on at this second (due to target calling, etc.).

Basically, ALL pilots need to be looking for relevant intel, and relaying it at the proper priority.  ALL pilots need to be processing all intel, and deciding how best to react, even if this means preemptively changing actions.  An example here is last night, where we were best-speeding home, and we had two quick intel reports regarding different systems and different gates.  People didn't make the correct assessments, and I as FC didn't tell people what to do specifically because "kill all the things" is really the default position.  Intel was being relayed OK, but response wasn't optimal.

5. Hostile Fleet/Ship assessment.
This is a generalization of (2), (3), and (4).  At the drop of a hat, you should hear "Tengufleet" and know what ranges, DPS, tanks, and resist holes we are up against.  You should hear a logi count, and have a guesstimate in your head about how much they can tank.  You should know as soon as an Archon comes on field, whether we can break it or not. There is a reason I generally say, at the start of a fleet, what our comp is and what our rough DPS is.

If you aren't listening to the running scout/FC commentary, and if you aren't understanding the decisions the FC is making, [you're not being as effective as you could be].

The bottom line is that if you aren't getting A's on all those report cards, then you should not be complacent. Practice is good, but smart, directed practice is even better.  Focus on AAR, focus on performance review, and take the time to think about the roam: about what went well, and what didn't.  Even if we don't formally AAR the fleet, it's worth going over in your head: hell, post your own AAR so people can discuss. Feel free to generally ignore commentary from people who weren't there, they may or may not have a clue.

Anyways, this should be a reminder, nothing else.  None of this should be shocking to you.


  1. soooo can I get the answers to the questions?

  2. I like to do reports for myself after every fight I do. It's the one thing which started getting me kills in Faction Warfare. Essentially my blog is one long piloting professional development program!

    Speaking of which, I've just come up against the problem of range management. Any tips on how to learn this, or where I can read up on it?

  3. You're right. Awesome advice, and very informative about the Rote style.

  4. All this good advise, but what about people like me? People who turn into corpses staring at flashy lights under stress? Just in yesterdays fight I missed, like saw them but not realized, an entire sentry ship blob! I got ultra-killed because of that and it was completely avoidable. I can't for the life of me get my head around the layout of a fight under stress, it's usually OK'ish until the point when I have to compensate for client sluggishness. Then it goes downhill fast and hits rock bottom every single time. FML

  5. Going to link this in my Bio.

    A good single post source for everything I preach

  6. Were is a player to go to even find information like what a Tengufleets range,DPS, tank is.

    1. Download pyfa or Eve Fitting Tool. Gather fits from kill boards of the local groups and enter them with all skills at V. Should give you a good idea of what a fit can do damage and tank-wise.

    2. Unfortunately a lot of that is just down to experience. Fitting tools will tell you how much tank/DPS/range a Tengu has. You can make fits by experimentation, or by finding losses on the killboards (look for losses in fleet fights, rather than solo PvE losses)

    3. Try EFTing one up yourself. One that you'd use to PVP in. Consider how you'd fly it. And then consider what you'd also do to counter the same fit and pattern if faced against it.

    4. Anon, assuming you have little-to-no help, I would look for Tengu losses on a killboard, potentially looking specifically at corps/alliance kb's who would engage [with] Tengu fleets. Trace those individual losses to the whole battle to confirm that it was indeed a Tengufleet and not just a Tengu in a fleet. If it is, then look at a few of the fits and copy them into EFT or EveMon or whatever ship-fitting program you prefer. From there you should be able to get an idea of ideal range, dps, tank, and resist holes.


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