Leading Your First Gang

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(this is a work in progress article)

So you have finally dredged up the guts and courage to lead your first gang! This can be very intimidating, exciting, and nerve-wracking - but it doesn't have to be. The following suggestions are meant to help take some of the pressure off so that you can concentrate on the most important aspect of being an FC: Leading the gang and making the decisions.

Keep it simple.

  • Organize single hull type gangs (such as an all-Frigate gang), in particular, choose to lead gangs consisting of ships you are already very familiar with the abilities of.
  • Limit your gang to just one or two scouts/skirmishers. Data overload is real - you are more likely to freeze up because you have too many choices than not enough choices.
  • Move the fleet in a linear fashion. Set a destination that is in a mostly-straight-line from your current location and head there, avoid getting distracted by side systems. Then when you arrive (assuming you survived that long), head back the same direction. Hopefully, opponents have had time to form up to fight you on your return trip!

Delegate, delegate, delegate.

Anything that someone else can do, should be done by someone else. Your primary job as FC is to make decisions, if you are trying to scout, recon, send reinvites, and analyze the map all at the same time, you won't do any of it well. As FC, it is not your job to do everything. Ask for volunteers or delegate gang members to take care of the following administrative tasks for you:

  • Map Duty: Someone keeps maps open to watch for possible hot spots for fights (or places to avoid), plans escape routes, and generally keeps tabs on where the gang is in relationship to the rest of the region. This person may or may not make suggestions for scouts and skirmishers to check out.
  • Local Duty: Watches for local changes
  • Dscan Duty: Watches for changes in dscanner
  • Fleet Management: Fleet invites, reinvites, and general fleet organization. This is usually the XO but it can be anyone.
  • Broadcaster: One person who broadcasts all your orders, including target calls. This is usually the XO but it can be anyone.

Trust your pilots.

No one person can be an expert on everything, and this is even more true in Eve. You are not expected to know everything there is to know in Eve, nor are you expected to be an expert on what everyone else in the fleet should be doing.

  • Don't micromanage. As a first-time FC, the odds are high that most of the pilots in your gang know more than you do about their jobs. Trust that they know what they are doing, and let them do their job.
    • Good example: "Skirmisher, go +1 please."
    • Bad example: "Skirmisher, move ahead of the fleet by one system, and don't move to the next gate until we enter the system. Then don't go into the next system until we're in warp, be sure you don't break cloak until you have hit your dscanner when you hop into the next system, okay?"
    • Good example: "Jam those logis"
    • Bad example: "I want you to jam the logistics. Make sure you use the blue jammers on those basilisk, and don't start jamming until you are at 85km. Once you are at 85km, then start jamming. Only put one jammer on at a time. If that jam misses, then put your second jam on. If that one misses, put your third one on."

Don't over-think target calling.

It's WAY too easy to get caught up in wasting time picking the "right" primary, meanwhile, while you are fussing about trying to make the "right" decision the opponent is decimating your fleet. The following are some simple primary targeting philosophies that will rarely fail you:

  • If it is tackled, kill it.
    • It makes no sense to spend a ton of time and ammo on a big shiny target that can simply warp away at will, or to sit there not shooting anything while you wait for someone to get tackle on the shiny ship.
  • If it is easy to kill, kill it.
    • It is better to pick on all those easy-to-kill light targets first, then focus on the shiny big stuff.
  • If it isn't dying, pick something else.
  • When it doubt, pick whatever is closest.
    • It is better to pick something, ANYTHING, than to not call anything at all.

Keep it fun.

  • Set goals for the gang that are simple and fun, or at least have the potential to be fun. Maybe the goal is to see how deep into nullsec you can travel before everyone dies, or how many pirates in lowsec you can kill, or maybe we're just going to be hunting ratters today.
  • More often than not, the proper response to mistakes is gentle understanding laughter.
  • Never forget this is a game.