Leadership skills and gang bonuses are quite possibly one of the most overlooked, misunderstood, and therefore, underutilized assets in the game. Anyone involved in PVP knows that in one on one and evenly matched fleet engagements, most of the combatants find their way deep into armor and in many cases even structure before the battle is over, and the smallest of advantages can mean the difference between a great kill story and the sullen and lonely flight home in a pod. What this article is intended to do is remove much of the confusion around how bonuses work in gangs, and what leadership skills, gang links, and mind links can do for your fleet.
Notice fleets were mentioned at the end of the last paragraph, and not pilots. The first thing to realize is leadership skills are meant to be, and therefore are only useful to, fleets. If you want to be a lone wolf, don't bother training leadership skills as they won't do you any good. If you are not in a fleet, none of the leadership bonuses will benefit you in any way. If, however, you decide to fleet up w/ a couple friends or corp-mates let's figure out how to set up your fleet and what skills affect the fleet.
Let's start from the ground up. Squad leaders are the lowest level of the command structure. In order for members of a squad to receive bonuses, the squad leader has to have an appropriate level of the Leadership skill.
Each level of Leadership (Lx) allows the command of 2 squad members and grants a 2% bonus to fleet members' targeting speed. So, at level 2, you would be able to push bonuses to 4 people and increase their targeting speed by 4%. In order to push bonuses to a full (10 pilot) squad, the squad leader must posses Leadership 5. If the squad leader only has Leadership 3 which would allow him to push bonuses to 6 members, and a 7th member joins the squad, NONE of the squad members will receives any bonus.
Each level of Wing Command (WCx) allows the command of 1 squad (regardless of number of members in squad), up to a maximum of 5 squads at level 5. So again, if your Fleet consists of a Wing Commander that has Wing Command 3 (WC3), he can pass bonuses to a maximum of 3 squads, but if a fourth squad is created and populated, no one under his command hierarchy will receive bonuses.
Each level of Fleet Command (FCx) allows the command of one wing (regardless of the number of of squads in the wing) per level. And again, if the FC has FC2 and a third wing is formed and populated, nobody gets bonuses that would be available from the FC.
From the EVE Wiki 
Leadership Bonuses are distributed among individual squads through squad commanders, wing commanders, and fleet commanders when pilots are in the same solar system as the squad, wing, and or fleet commanders. Pilots will not receive bonuses if they are in different solar systems than squads with fleet bonuses. Fleet bonuses do not stack and are not cumulative. In all circumstances, the fleet commander, wing commander, or squad commander with the highest bonus amount will be applied to the fleet members under them.
* A Fleet Commander will grant his leadership bonuses to all members in the fleet, including himself. * A Wing Commander will grant his leadership bonuses to all members of his wing, including himself. * A Squadron Commander will grant his leadership bonuses to all members of his squadron, including himself.
The "bonuses" referred to in the above wiki excerpt, are the focused leadership skills that are available to affect your gang's local tank, ship agility, and targeting range.
Focused Leadership Skills
- Armored Warfare – 2% bonus to fleet member's armor HP per level
- Information Warfare – 2% bonus to fleet member's targeting range per level
- Siege Warfare Link - 2% bonus to fleet member's shield HP per level
- Skirmish Warfare Link – 2% bonus to fleet member's ship agility per level
These bonuses from skills are not affected by stacking penalties assigned to modules. So if someone in a leadership position is pushing bonuses and has Armor Warfare 5 and you have a battleship w/ 50,000 armor HP, when the bonus is applied, you end up w/ around 55,000 armor HP. An extra 5k HP just for being subordinate to that pilot in the fleet hierarchy ?!?!?! You just added the tank of a base level cruiser... now that's leadership for you!
COMMAND PLATFORMS and GANG LINKS
There are modules in game that can be fit to battle-cruiser hulls. These modules are referred to as Gang Links. There are also T2 versions of battle-cruisers in game that are referred to as Command Ships. Command Ships have special offensive and defensive bonuses for themselves as well as being able to more easily fit the gang links to aid the rest of the fleet. The gang links are high slot modules which are able to push more specialized bonuses to the fleet via the command structure or by being assigned as the squad/wing/fleet booster. If the pilot is assigned as fleet booster, his (and if flying a command ship, his ship/links) bonuses will be passed to the fleet only if there is a fleet commander w/ the appropriate FCx skill to push bonuses to the fleet.
Command Platform Ships
First lets cover the ships. There are 4 types of ships that can carry gang links. They are Battle-cruisers, Fleet Command Ships, and Strategic Cruisers. Let's take a closer look at each of these classes.
Battle-cruisers are standard T1 ships, but have the unique ability to fit a gang link in the high slots w/ a 99% reduction in CPU need. Standard Battle-cruisers can only have one gang link active at a time unless the pilot fits a Command Co-Processor. For each Command Co-Processor equipped your battle-cruiser can actively run one additional gang link. The drawback is Command Co-Processors require a lot of CPU to fit (150) and as a result you tend to have to sacrifice either your weaponry or your tank in an effort to make the fitting work.
- Battle-cruisers by race
- Amarr - Prophecy & Harbinger
- Caldari - Drake & Ferox
- Gallente - Brutix & Myrmidon
- Minmatar - Cyclone & Hurricane
Field Command Ships
Field Command ships are meant to be on the field of battle fighting alongside the rest of the fleet. They get impressive local tank resist bonuses, and can fit gang link in the high slots w/ a 99% reduction in CPU need for the gang link. Due to their nature of being battlefield combat capable, they also receive an offensive bonus specific to the ship. For each Command Co-Processor equipped your Field Command Ship can actively run one additional gang link. The drawback is Command Co-Processors require a lot of CPU to fit (150) and as a result you tend to have to sacrifice either your weaponry or your tank in an effort to make the fitting work however since Field command ships receive increased CPU availability fitting them is somewhat easier.
|RACE||SHIP||CSx SKILL SHIP BONUS (per lvl)||BC SKILL SHIP BONUS (per lvl)|
|AMARR||ABSOLUTION||5% MED ENERGY TURRET ROF AND DMG||-10% MED ENERGY TURR CAP USE, +5% ALL ARMOR RESIST|
|CALDARI||NIGHTHAWK||5% HVY MISSILE EXP VEL AND KIN DMG (SCOURGE)||+5% ROF ASSAULT, HVY, HAM LAUNCHER, +5% ALL SHIELD RESIST|
|GALLENTE||ASTARTE||5% MED HYB TURRET DMG, +10% MED HYB TURR FALLOFF||+5% MED HYB TURR DMG, +7.5% ARMOR REPPER AFFECT|
|SLEIPNIR||SLEIPNIR||5% MED PROJ TURR DMG, +10% MED PROJ TURR FALLOFF||+5% MED PROJ TURR ROF, +7.5% SHIELD BOOST AFFECT|
Fleet Command Ships
Fleet Command Ships can be on the battlefield but typically are utilized in a safe spot or a POS to pass bonuses to fleet in system. Fleet Command Ships have the ability to simultaneously run 3 gang links, and more with the addition of command co-processors. There is also the ship bonus that adds 3% effect to specific groups of gang links.
|RACE||SHIP||CSx SKILL SHIP BONUS (per lvl)||BC SKILL SHIP BONUS (per lvl)||LINK GROUP +3%/lvl|
|AMARR||DAMNATION||10% LOCAL ARMOR HP||10% HVY AND HAM MISSILE VEL, +5% ALL ARMOR RESIST||ARMOR|
|CALDARI||VULTURE||10% MED HYB TURR OPTIMAL||5% MED HYB TURR OPTIMAL, +5% ALL SHIELD RESIST||SIEGE|
|GALLENTE||EOS||+15M^3 DRONE BAY CAP||5% MED HYB TURRET DMG, +7.5% ARMOR REP AFFECT||INFORMATION|
|MINMATAR||CLAYMORE||+7.5% MED PROJ TURR TRACKING||5% MED PROJ TURR ROF, +7.5% SHIELD BOOST AFFECT||SKIRMISH|
STRATEGIC CRUISERS - need some verification yet
Strategic cruisers can use gang links by equipping the ship with the "Warfare Processor" defensive subsystem. The Warfare Processor subsystem allows a 5% bonus per level of defensive subsystems skill to the racial specific gang links. What this translates to is a Strategic cruiser hull can actually out boost your Standard Command ship bonuses. Again, fitting multiple gang links will require two command processors and thus will be a difficult fit sacrificing tank and or DPS.
As mentioned earlier, gang links are high slot modules which affect specific attributes of fleet members ships. When you are setting up your fleet, if you want to utilize these links, you need to determine what is the priority for the squad/wing/fleet. Frequently if you have a larger fleet with tackle fittings, you will want to boost their tackle range and/or their speed so they can close the distance to targets and lock them down before they can warp off. If you are hunting fast movers or cloaking targets, you may want to also consider using links that decrease lock time. Or, if you have a bunch of bloated signature radius ships, perhaps a link that reduces the signature radius of all ships would be a better choice. It all comes down to what is the biggest benefit to the fleet for the particular mission.
To use gang links, you need even more additional skills under the leadership category. Remember those focused skills mentioned earlier? Well, those skills have more focused 'specialist' skills which allow the use of the gang links. The specialist skills follow the focused skills of armor, siege, information, and skirmish warfare, and being the creative bunch that they are, CCP named them Armor Warfare Specialist, Information Warfare Specialist, Siege Warfare Specialist, and Skirmish Warfare Specialist.
|SPECIALIST/GROUP||SKILL BONUS||LINK NAME||LINK AFFECT (per lvl)|
|ARMOR||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||DAMAGE CONTROL||-2% CAP USE FOR LOCAL AND REMOTE ARMOR REPAIR MODULES|
|ARMOR||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||PASSIVE DEFENSE||+2% TO ALL ARMOR RESISTS|
|ARMOR||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||RAPID REPAIR||-2% CYCLE TIME FOR LOCAL AND REMOTE ARMOR REPAIR MODULES|
|INFORMATION||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||ELECTRONIC SUPERIORITY||+2% ECM AND TARGET PAINTING STRENGTH, +1.2% TRACKING DISRUPTIOIN AND REMOTE SENSOR DAMPING|
|INFORMATION||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||RECON OPERATION||+2% RANGE FOR ALL ELECTRONIC WARFARE (ECM, TRACK, DAMP, PAINT)|
|INFORMATION||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||SENSOR INTEGRITY||+3% SENSOR STRENGTH (JAM RESISTANCE/SCAN STRENGTH)|
|INFORMATION||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||RECON OPERATION||+2% RANGE FOR ALL ELECTRONIC WARFARE (ECM, TRACK, DAMP, PAINT)|
|SIEGE||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||ACTIVE SHIELDING||2% CYCLE TIME ON SHIELD BOOST AND SHIELD TRANSPORTERS|
|SIEGE||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||SHIELD EFFICIENCY||-2% CAP USE FOR SHIELD BOOST AND SHIELD TRANSPORTERS|
|SIEGE||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||SHIELD HARMONIZING||+2% TO ALL SHIELD RESISTS|
|SKIRMISH||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||EVASIVE MANEUVERS||-2% SIG RADIUS|
|SKIRMISH||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||INTERDICTION MANEUVERS||+3% RANGE FOR ALL PROPULSION JAMMERS (DISRUPTOR, SCRAM, WEB) EXCEPT WARP DISRUPT FIELD GEN (HIC'S)|
|SKIRMISH||+100% LINK AFFECT PER LVL||RAPID DEPLOYMENT||+2% SPEED BOOST OF AFTERBURNER AND MWD|
Gang links do suffer from stacking penalties with local modules on your fleet's ships so if, for example, your SC were a max skilled command ship pilot piloting a vulture and using the Siege - Shield Harmonizing link, and you were flying a ferox.
|MODULES ACTIVE||EM RESIST||THERM RESIST||KIN RESIST||EXP RESIST|
|LINK + t2 em resist amp||64.9||50.3||62.8||69|
|LINK + t2 em resist amp + t2 invuln||72.5||64.3||73.2||77.7|
|t2 em resist amp + t2 invuln (x2)||74.7||69||76.7||80.6|
|LINK + t2 em resist amp + t2 invuln (x2)||76||72||79||82.5|
|LINK + t2 invuln (x2)||65||72||79||82.5|
|MODULE||BASE RANGE||OVERHEATED||BASE + LINK||OVERHEATED + LINK|
|WARP DISRUPTOR 2||48||57.6||60.4||70.9|
|SANSHA WARP DISRUPTOR||60||72||75.5||88.7|
|WARP SCRAMBLER 2||18||21.6||22.7||26.6|
|SANSHA WARP SCRAMBLER||22.5||27||28.3||33.2|
|STASIS WEBIFIER 2||10||13||12.6||15.9|
|SANSHA STASIS WEBIFIER||15||19.5||18.9||23.9|
As one can see, if the pilot were to couple link bonuses with ship bonuses and skills, the results become a very formidable opponent. Think about this example and consider your fleet has just jumped into a cruiser/battlecruiser sniping gate camp. Ranges are frequently at 50-80 km. Imagine the surprise of that Navy caracal not being able to warp away when he sees an interceptor bee lining for him because your fleet's arazu has an 88km point range. The psychological effects alone are worth considering these fits and tactics.
Some suggestions for what links work best in what positions in fleet are as follows:
- Boosts Best Fit in Fleet Commander or Wing Commander positions
- Armored Warfare Link – Passive Defense
- Information Warfare Link – Sensor Integrity
- Siege Warfare Link - Shield Harmonizing
- Skirmish Warfare Link – Rapid Deployment
- Boosts Best Fit in Squadron Commander Positions
- Armored Warfare Link – Damage Control (Logistics and Remote Armor Repair setups)
- Armored Warfare Link – Rapid Repair (Logistics and Remote Armor Repair setups)
- Information Warfare Link – Electronic Superiority (ECM)
- Information Warfare Link – Recon Operation (EWAR Centric Squads)
- Siege Warfare Link – Shield Efficiency (Logistics and Remote Shield Repair setups)
- Siege Warfare Link – Shield Active Shielding (Logistics and Remote Shield Repair setups)
- Skirmish Warfare Link – Interdiction Maneuvers (Skirmish squad, also GREAT for small gang pvp where everyone is carrying some kind of tackle)
- Skirmish Warfare Link – Evasive Maneuvers (Bomber and other Frigate Squadrons)
Notice the Boost relegated to tanking and speed should be placed towards the FC and WC positions. Boosters specific to tackling ships, jamming strength, and other EWAR are more squad specific. Note: there is ALWAYS an exception to the rule and themed fleets often can make VERY effective use of a specific boosts so BE CREATIVE!
We at Agony Unleashed hope you find this article informative and useful in your PVP career. This material is covered lightly in our Wolfpacks class and also touched on during our Fleet Command seminars. We encourage all pilots to attend our classes and public roams and see how some of this information is put into practice.