Monday, October 21, 2013

Eve Online: Fleet Makeup

It's been a week or so while since I've posted, but mostly because things have been moving forward at a standard pace, with nothing truly exceptional to report on. I'm all settled in my new home now in NPC Null Sec, flying with a good group of pilots, making ISK, killing ships, and bashing POS' on occasion.

I think one of the best moves I could have made for my experience in Eve was to leave my old life and corp and fly with a new group. Not only because I got lucky and landed with a good group, but it allowed me to gain some perspective on how things are done around other corporations. Since I had flown with the same pilots and leaders since the beginning of my career all I knew was what they had taught me.

Many months ago I talked about training to various tech 2 ships and being excited about flying in a Tech 2 Cruiser fleet. Sugar Kyle commented on one of my posts a while back and told me that T2 ships aren't necessarily better, just more specialized. I took her advice to heart but since my old CEO was a HUGE advocate of getting everyone to fly tech 2 cruisers so that we could do T2 cruiser roams I still had to learn the lesson the hard way. We were so new to fighting and PvP that we almost always lost our shiny new toys, costing us tons of ISK.

The greatest thing I've learned from this new group I fly with is that a tech 1 ship can be just as effective, and sometimes more effective that it's T2 counterpart. One of the reasons is that when you are the most expensive ship on the field, you very commonly are called primary and die first, thus negating the benefit you could have brought to your fleet.

Before when I'd lose a ship, it would cost me around 150 million for the ship and all the fittings, now when I lose a ship it typically costs me between 5-20 million depending on what I'm flying. I still have all my shiny expensive ships, but they only undock when we have a very solid fleet composition and they are flying with everyone else's nice shiny toys, and typically in those fleets we know exactly what we are going up against and rarely lose more than a ship or two.

Having a plan and choosing specifically what types of ships will be in your fleet, and how they are fit is also extremely advantageous. We used to throw kitchen sink fleets at people and I can't tell you how ineffective those were in most fights. Everyone would fit different range weapons, different speed ships, and everyone would be buffer tanked but we'd only bring one logi, so when he died, so did everyone else. Now days when a fleet is organized for a specific purpose, everyone needs to fly a specific doctrine not only so that the Fleet commander knows exactly how to command his fleet, but also so we can be more effective in every other way.

There are good fleet doctrines and  bad fleet doctrines, but even a bad fleet doctrine can be more effective than a kitchen sink fleet. If you're reading this and trying to learn more about what type of ships to fly, there isn't a right or wrong answer, because every ship in the game is useful in it's own way. You just need to know how to fit it, and how to fly it, and when to fly it.

Everyone knows rule # 1 in Eve, which is don't fly what you can't afford to lose. I'd also like to add that even if you can afford to lose something expensive, doesn't mean you should be flying it and I don't mean based on your skillpoints. For example, if you have a fleet of T1 frigates, don't bring a T2 logistics ship to support 10 frigates, or a battleship just because it has more HP. Grab something more practical, because you'll just end up dying first if you don't mesh with the rest of your fleet properly.

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