By Admiral Phobos Copyright 2009
- 1 Fleet Roles
- 2 Fleet Commander - FC
- 3 Executive Officer - XO
- 4 Electronic Warfare Officer - EWO
- 5 Scout
- 6 Skirmisher
- 7 Local
- 8 Scanning/360
- 9 Probe Duty
- 10 Drone Duty
- 11 Rear Guard
- 12 Gang Preparatory Check List
- 13 Being Appointed to, or Relieved of Duty
- 14 Use of the 'J-Word'
- Fleet Commander (FC)
- Executive Officer (XO)*
- EWAR Officer (EWO)*
- 360 Scan
- Local Watch
- Probe Duty*
- Drone Duty*
- Rear Guard*
Note that roles with an asterisk are optional and dependent on the size and/or purpose of the gang.
Fleet Commander - FC
The Fleet Commander is responsible for determining the mission, ship composition and movement of the fleet. He also defines the EWAR elements required. Perhaps the most important single role of the fleet commander is providing fire direction when in combat.
The Fleet Commander will develop a destination and routing (for roaming gangs) or simply a set of pre-arranged fire commands (for a gate camp). This advance planning should include alternative routings and an escape plan, if things do not go as expected.
Once underway, the FC will direct the fleet's movements, including such details as when to jump through or hold on gates. He will manage the fleet's scouts and skirmishers, and integrate data they and the fleet members in other roles collect. He will share command authority with his XO and EWO, as appropriate. A good FC will also stay flexible, to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. And, he will accept suggestions and other input from the other members of the fleet.
At all times, however, he will retain the authority to make the final decisions about all aspects of the gang's activity. In short, he alone decides when the gang will shoot, and when they will run.
Executive Officer - XO
The XO (eXecutive Officer) acts as the right hand of the gang leader, taking some necessary details off his back. The primary purpose of the XO is to make the gang leader’s task simpler. Every action that the XO takes should be made with this in mind. The gang lead should be free to concentrate on maneuvering the gang, confident that all subsidiary tasks are in hand, and that the gang is operating according to Agony methods and standards. In addition, if the gang leader goes down the XO may assume command and keep carrying the flag forward.
(Note that actual responsibilities assumed may vary according to gang size and the capabilities/wishes of the gang lead.)
- Creation of a fleet instance, gang invites, allocation of pilots to Wings/Squads, leadership roles
- Gang discipline and control (managing Vent chatter, communication of intel, tactics and behavior)
- Role assignment (see below)
- EWAR-O (EWAR Groups designation and management and EWAR target calling in the abscence of a dedicated EWAR Officer)
- In-gang pilot instruction, direction and guidance
The XO is responsible for assigning pilots to the 4 basic gang roles:
- EWAR Officer
- 360 Scan
- Local Watch
- Rear Guard
360 Scan The most difficult and important of the three remaining roles. Pilots in this role should be proficient with the ship scanner, have a good set of PvP Overview settings, and be knowledgeable about Probe use. They also should know when to be on watch for enemy Probes.
Local Watch All pilots should be capable of this role
Rear Guard A pilot in a fast ship, who should also be an experienced pilot where possible
Excluding EWAR Officer, the roles should be rotated every half hour, but this time varies with gang size and composition.
When the XO assigns a role to a pilot, he should type that assignment in gang chat: 'Pilot A, you're relieved. Pilot B, you're on Local'. When the pilot has acknowledged the assignment, the XO should confirm the acknowledgement in gang chat, i.e. 'Roger, PilotB on Local'. When a pilot is being replaced in a role, the XO should anticipate and ensure receipt of the confirmation of relief. Doing so is the only way to ensure that roles are not duplicated.
Electronic Warfare Officer - EWO
The EWO (EWAR Officer) is responsible for organizing and calling EWAR groups. The EWAR Officer role should always be assigned to an experienced pilot. It requires a level of knowledge similar to target calling. EWAR are organized into numbered groups and assigned a default behavior.
- Primary, Secondary, Tertiary: Group Applies EWAR to gang lead’s called targets
- Reserve: Group applies EWAR as directed by EWAR-O target calling
- Discretionary: Group applies EWAR using their best judgment
- Call/Don’t Call: Determines whether the EWAR group calls its EWAR on Vent
Note that if a pilot is unable to maintain applied EWAR, through voluntary removal to conserve cap or due to warping out/ship destruction, its removal should always be called.
EWAR should be set-up before the operation begins, through use of the Fleet Management tool. When setting up a 'Hydra' pack the EWAR-O should be doing so with a view to his EWAR Groups.
EWAR ships are assigned to groups. Group 1 will usually be assigned to primary, Group 2 to secondary, and so on. Where possible the EWAR-O should keep a reserve group to deal with unexpected targets, and or to back-up assigned groups. To reduce Vent chatter, and keep target calling simple, single ships are assigned to the same group across EWAR classes. For example, a tackler (with a damp) assigned to Tackle Group 1 should also be assigned to Damp Group 1.
EWAR Groups should be established using the gang chat channel, though where possible the EWAR-O can use Vent to make adjustments, he should confirm changes in gang chat ASAP.
- Tacklers: 1-2 points per group. No limit on Webs¹
- Damps: 3-4 Damps per group
- Jammers: 1 Ship per group²
- Tracks: na³
- Webs are either applied against fast targets, in which case it is up to pilot discretion, or against a target heading to a gate/dock or escaping a bubble -- in which case you cannot have too many.
- Jamming ships need to be able to jam at least one target most of the time, therefore they are assigned individually.
- Tracks are usually applied at pilot's discretion, this is to avoid overloading Vent - therefore they are usually restricted to pilots with a thorough knowledge of ship classes and likely fittings. However, a group can be formed and called by the EWO.
The EWAR-O should consider the roles pilots are likely to fulfill as well as their ship type. He should also be aware of cap issues, e.g., a fast tackling frig pilot carrying three points is unlikely to be able to maintain cap. During a fight pilots will inevitably need to remove points for various reasons. The EWAR-O should plan for this and have reserves available. EWAR mods should be fitted to complement each other's range and the range of a ship's weapons. Snipers don't need webs.
As the Operation develops, and Intel changes, the EWAR officer should be fine tuning his groups and their behaviors.
For example: You have a damp group on primary, a damp group in reserve, and one tackle group with 3 points on primary. The gang is waiting for a scout to scan out two battleships believed to be ratting in a belt. The EWAR Officer removes all but one damp from his reserve group and assigns them to secondary. He then removes one point from the tackle group and assigns it to secondary. This reallocation of resources is essential to maintain EWAR effectiveness as the combat situation changes.
When calling targets and assigning EWAR it is vital that EWAR superiority be rapidly achieved and maintained. Therefore hostile EWAR ships should be neutralized as a priority (Blackbirds for example). If the Primary/Secondary etc., are covered, and the EWAR-O has a reserve group available he can use this group as his EWAR superiority group. Where DPS is required on opposition EWAR, it is the EWAR-O’s responsibility to ensure the gang lead is aware of this requirement.
Ventrilo and Support Officer Roles
Both XO and EWO must keep Vent chatter to a minimum, and be aware when is a good time to break silence. Vent hierarchy is:
In general the best time to talk is during long warps, or quiet moments when you are confident that the gang is safe. If a Recon report is pending, or the gang lead is reorganizing things, keep quiet.
I find it useful to maintain a table of assigned Roles and EWAR groups – I do this using a pencil and paper. For roles this should note time, role and pilot name. For EWAR Groups it should include Group type, EWAR strength, default orders, Call/non-call and pilot names in group.
This role locates targets but does not engage. See Skirmishing and Scouting.
- Commonly a covert–ops ship.
- Locate target through scanner, eventually using probes to scan out the enemy. Warp to location cloaked, have gang members warp close by (but not to 0 so the covops isn't decloaked) and engage.
This combat role stays a jump or two ahead of the gang, locates, aggresses, and holds target in place until the gang arrives. See Skirmishing and Scouting.
- Speed tanked ship with point, relying on high speed and staying outside of web range to stay alive, usually an interceptor, interdictor, electronic assault frigate, speed fitted heavy assault ship, or force recon ship.
- Locate target through scanner, then warp to location and engage.
This role alerts the FC to any changes in the local situation, essential for managing both targets and the safety of the gang.
- Watch and report ANY changes on local. (This is a judgement call. For instance, when there are 30 people in local, an increase of 1 doesn't matter so much, but an increase of 8 ships does. However, if you're in a system where there is 1 in local, then you should report every change).
- If possible, report name & alliance of new addition to local.
- Report any non-notified (i.e. “friendly in”) gate activation whilst gang is at a gate.
This role detects and reports on emerging threats to the gang. Its importance cannot be overstated.
- Watch and report anything that is on 360 scan and is potentially an active enemy ship. Click on ‘scan’ every few seconds, as the situation can change any second. When you do have ships on scan, try to narrow the scan down so you can see if the ship is at any celestial object or at a POS.
- TIP - make notes (mental or on paper -- but NOT report) of ships on scan that are at a POS and are presumably not piloted. This way when more pilots enter local, you know which ships were already in-system. This makes identifying the new ships and pilots much easier.
This is a specialized supplement to the 360 role. In some cases the FC might ask an additional person to perform dedicated probe duty.
- Remove “show overview settings” tick from scanner.
- Repeatedly scan system at maximum range and report any probes that are detected.
- For alphabetical sorting: Scan probes will appear on the scanner in the "Type" column with their name (e.g. Fathom), and in the "Name" column under S as "scan...".
- TIP – most commonly used when at safe spot and there is a risk that the enemy might probe you out.
This combat role ensures that drones are targeted during an engagement.
- When entering combat, apply E-war to the primary target (or as directed by your FC or XO)
- Apply a web and all DPS to enemy drones to decrease targets overall damage.
- This can be important, especially in a gang consisting of frigates and destroyers.
This role enables the FC to move the gang at maximum speed whilst keeping the gang together.
- Watch local until all gang pilots have left system.
- Immediately jump through gate.
- When your ship appears cloaked on screen in new system, say “all through”.
- This way the FC knows when he can gang warp everyone.
- TIP - make a mental note of the total number of pilots in gang. This way you can account for all gang members in local, minus any skirmishers or scouts who will be ahead of the main gang.
Gang Preparatory Check List
Consider these questions in your planning when putting together a gang.
- What's the purpose of operation? Examples: station camping, bubble camp, light roaming fleet, dual logistics gang, etc.
- Who is the XO for the fleet? If FC goes down, who will be calling targets for the fleet?
- Do we need additional fleet leader positions, such as EWO?
- Who has highest leaderships skills to be squad boosters?
- Does the fleet have enough squads so that if new people want to join in there is space?
- What is the current fleet capabilities? Create a fleet instance to estimate this.
- Is the fleet balanced in light of the proposed course of action? What capabilities are still needed in fleet?
- What's the most likely enemy course of action? And how might we counter it?
- Who has local, 360, probeduty, scout, skirmisher and rearguard duties? Make gang members post in fleet chat that they have these roles once they have been distributed.
- Do members of the gang, especially scouts/skirmishers have maps open for regions where fleet plans to travel?
Being Appointed to, or Relieved of Duty
Standardized Vent calls simplify role rotation in a gang.
- When allocated a role, confirm by typing in Fleet channel: “Confirm <NAME> on <DUTY>“.
- When relieved of a role, confirm by typing in Fleet channel: “Confirm <NAME> relieved of <DUTY>”.
- Always be sure the role is covered. If you have been asked to stand down from a role, make sure the other guy confirms his/her assignment to the role before you acknowledge standing down.
Use of the 'J-Word'
Avoid saying the 'J' word while in a gang.
Improper use of the J-word could result in confusion, at best, or many unnecessary losses in the worst case. Its use is reserved for the FC and, in some instances, the XO.
There are many good alternatives, such as gate activation, entering new system, etc. Always think before speaking -- good advice in any context on Vent, but especially important in circumstances where you might be tempted to say the J-word.