Monday, December 31, 2012

Ganking 101: Fleet Commanding

If you're a Knight of the Order, you know how our gank fleets operate. You've seen the undock countdowns, the warping to insta undocks, and the Concord manipulation. You know most of what there is to know about commanding a gank fleet. However, many pilots are shy about taking responsibility for a fleet, particularly when there are murky areas of game mechanics that they haven't seen firsthand.

The purpose of today's post is to shed some light on what FCs see, that the other members of the gank fleet don't see. By removing a little of the mystery, hopefully more Knights will have the boldness to take a gank fleet out for a test drive. Remember, the more potential FCs we have, the more likely it is that at any given time we'll be able to field a gank fleet.

After undocking, the FC fleet-warps everyone to the insta undock bookmark. I like to have a few different instas in my collection, just in case one ever gets compromised. As you can see, the FC's warp interface is only a little different from the standard one. Just select "Warp Fleet to Location" instead of "Warp to Location". Yes, it's common for new FCs to accidentally click "Warp to Location" out of habit, which will cause the FC to warp off by himself. No big deal, just abort the mission and go back to station. Also, sometimes you may be Wing Commander or Squad Commander instead of Fleet Commander. Same interface, it will just say "Warp Wing to Location" or "Warp Squad to Location".

After landing at the insta undock location, the FC fleet-warps everyone to the warp-in. This is a little different: Instead of right-clicking in space, you right-click the member of the fleet that you want everyone to warp to. The options are nested under "Fleet". Select "Warp Fleet to Member" and you're good to go. Once again, don't select "Warp to Member", or you'll warp off without your fleet.

If your gank fleet is heading to another system, the fleet warp is performed as pictured above. That's all there is to it. From a game mechanics standpoint, this is the only special thing an FC does. Instead of waiting for someone else to fleet-warp you, you're the one who selects "Warp Fleet" from the menus.

A more important job for the FC is making the call whether to attack a particular target or not. Our scouts scan the fittings of Code violators and report what their tanks look like. Our Knights "x up" with DPS. Now you just need something to put those two things together.

I've previously written about EVE Fitting Tool (EFT), which can be downloaded at that link. If you load up a Mackinaw, Retriever, or whatever, you can set Character to "[All level V]" and see what the target's maximum EHP is, after plugging in their tank modules. But you'll want to set a "damage profile" by right-clicking where I put the green arrow. If you don't have one set up, click "Edit custom profiles..."

The damage profile I created is for Caldari Navy Antimatter, our standard ammunition. You can either put the numbers I listed, or just use 42 for thermal and 58 for kinetic. Our ammunition doesn't use EM or explosive damage. The reason damage profiles are important is that otherwise the EHP will be based on the four damage types averaged together. Also, our enemies often use tank modules that boost resistances specifically to thermal damage.

The target's "Effective HP" (next to the blue arrow on the earlier picture) tells you how many hitpoints the target has, adjusted for resistances. Now it's up to the FC to decide whether the gank fleet is likely to take down the target. Add up your fleet's total DPS (including your own). Then multiply it by 15, if Concord is pre-spawned. That will give you an estimate of the maximum possible damage your fleet will inflict in a 0.7 sec system.

For example, suppose your fleet has a DPS of 1,800. On paper, you can deal about 27,000 damage. However, that's on paper. If your target's EHP is near 27,000, you may not be able to kill the target; someone could accidentally forget to overheat, or have trouble locking the target, or miss the fleet warp, or go AFK instead of undocking, or have any number of problems.

I always like to leave some room for error. Besides, you'll need a little overkill if you want enough time left over to get the target's pod.

Bonus content! Here's some random tips that can apply to anyone, to reward you for reading this far. Remember how I mentioned Caldari Navy Antimatter? Well, for some reason, there's an ammunition not listed on EFT that's equivalent to it: Federation Navy Antimatter. It's often available when Caldari Navy is sold out, and it's usually cheaper, too. They inflict the exact same damage.

If you haven't saved fittings, do so. It makes refitting after your Catalyst gets blown up a lot easier. I have multiple fittings saved, including one that uses Prototype Sensor Boosters, since--like Federation Navy Antimatter--it's often cheaper and available when my regular option is sold out.

Another handy fitting trick: You can group guns while docked. Hold shift and drag a gun onto another gun. The "1" appears, indicating they're in group one. Drag each gun onto another gun with a "1" until they all have a "1". The reason this is useful is that you can load all the guns simultaneously with one drag of ammunition, rather than having to load X bullets into each gun, one at a time. Sadly, it's not possible to save groupings or ammunition in your fittings list. Get on that, CCP!

Lastly, saving your pod. If you know you're going to be Concorded, select a planet or customs office so that you can spam the "warp" button and get your pod out safely. This is easiest when undocking in a rookie ship to pull Concord. When you're in the middle of a gank and preoccupied with killing the target's ship and pod, it's harder. But if you remember where a planet is located on your screen, you can quickly click on it and start spamming warp when the police arrive. It's not possible to save your pod 100% of the time, but doing this makes it much more difficult for a vulture to catch you.


  1. What an awesome post for the end of 2012.

    Loads of great information. The main reason people dont step up is through fear, with this elequently written guide the only thing holding you back is yourself.

    Take the plunge get on the test server if required I'm making a resolution right now to get in to pvp and making people interact wether they want to or not.

    Happy new year James 315 and all compliant Agents.

    1. Yes leading by fear, that's the real face of the New Order isn't it?

    2. Nope totally missed the point.

      Its fear that causes the rejection of change. Its fear of the unknown.

      Many miners have seen the light and embraced the emergent gameplay that James and the agents have introduced them to.

      It was always there, they just needed to be made aware of the benefits of interacting with other players instead of mindlessly afk mining for hours upon hours.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for the good info.

    You mentioned Sensor Booster for locking the pods. That's a dangerous idea since the SeBo-ed catalyst locks the ship faster too, opens fire before the others, decreasing their shooting time.

    There is an alternative that prevents that while increases locking time on pods: the other catalysts fit Remote Sensor Booster and while shooting the ship lock the pod-killer and RSebo him so he can instalock the pod.

    1. Although we want to be near-simultaneous in our attacks, it's not necessary to be quite that precise. The Concord squad that retaliates against Person 1 won't attack Person 2 unless Person 2 begins his attack after Person 1 has already been killed; otherwise, Person 2 has his own Concord squad on its own timer. In practice, this means that as long as Person 2 doesn't open fire 16-18 seconds later than everyone else, he'll get the full amount of time. Sensor Boosters may enable you to open fire a little early, but only a couple seconds at most.

    2. Due to the faction police interaction, pilots at -10 in Cats without sebos have less time to shoot. Once we land on grid most of us have a limited amount of time before the faction police start jamming, whether we've opened fire on the target or not. I don't see trying to coordinate the opening salvo as a viable option. At minimum we'd have to retool our fits to include ECCM and significantly bump up the coordination required when landing on grid, both of which I suspect would hurt rather than help overall DPS on target.

    3. "You mentioned Sensor Booster for locking the pods. That's a dangerous idea since the SeBo-ed catalyst locks the ship faster too, opens fire before the others, decreasing their shooting time."

      I believe this is true to an extent, though I'm not sure how big of a factor it is in most cases. Whenever I fit double-sebo, I always wait for the Criminal Actions notification from another ganker to appear on my screen before firing, because I know I lock faster.

      I also had the thought of using remote sebo (resebo), but never got around to trying it. Two resebos applied to a fellow ganker who is already carrying two sebos of his own should decrease their podlock time down to 1 second.

  3. The New Order is attracting people to Eve in droves, and this article is a good example of why. When the saviour of High Sec himself takes time during the operation of a gank to let players new to fleet operations practice undocking and instawarping fleet members, you know that the New Order is an institution that has the education of players solidly at it's core.

    If you're reading this blog and thinking, "That sounds like fun!" let me tell you from personal experience - it is. Jump in.

  4. Some great tips to be had in this article. Though I'm used to solo ganks with practice I am positive I can bring home the bacon so to speak as a FC.

  5. if you are considering actively counterfitting against catalyst fleets consider fitting an ECM burst I. a single burst has a 54.55% chance of jamming all targets within 5000m for 30s...which means they'll have to bring more than twice the amount they expect to if you land a successful hit.
    also, orbit while you mine. even if you are slow, there's a better chance that some of them will warp outside their 2500m blaster range.

    1. If your ECM burst hits any non-criminal targets in the vicinity, you will receive a visit from CONCORD.

    2. That is why miners fitting an ECM burst is such a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, they are unwilling to sacrifice a highslot for it.

    3. "ecm burst I" is a mid slot..
      considering that gankers could just hover a neut alt nearby it's safer just to have your own suicide ecm burst frigate at ready. the suicide ecms will linger just-off grid, aligned to the miner and traveling at 75% velocity so it can instawarp immediately.
      at base the ecm burst will take out 54% of the affected catalysts. with eccm-magnetometric on all catalysts, the burst will take out only 30%. this can be countered with more ecm frigs. 8 of them will net you a 90% jamming rate.
      the ecm frigs can be trial accounts trained for 16 minutes for Electronic Warfare I.

      tl;dr: even massive catfleets can be cockblocked with just a well tanked skiff and a few cheap ecm burst frigs

    4. So it is. The downside to ECM burst is it's based on chance which is a result of RNG. A 54% to jam everything could still jam nothing, just as a 1% chance to jam everything could end up jamming everything.

      Lets add in that by the time the ECM burst alt dropped out of warp, the miner would be dead.

    5. hence the alt has to be "just off grid" so that it warps less than 1 au. alternatively you could consider something fit with stealth and mwd but then it would be cheaper just to pay 10 mil

  6. has just put up an article on ganking exhumers, the New Order gets a mention in a couple of places, the writer also links out to a couple guides on the subject.

  7. Ganking: Otherwise known as Screaming in fits of Autistic rage while you and 50 of your Similarly Autist friends Descend on a Mining barge that was minding it's own business.

  8. For me this blog is great, this blog is moving very important issues.

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