The Hydra Principle
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- 1 Introduction
- 2 Selecting a Ship
- 3 Fitting Your Ship
- 4 Testing Your Ship
- 5 Overview of EWAR Modules
- 6 Accounting for Losses
- 7 The Optimal Fleet and Smaller Fleets
A Hydra frigate fleet is not simply a blob of people in frigates. Blobs are a disorganized, often poorly fitted mass of ships that rely on sheer numbers to win. This is a mistake in judgment made by many and repeated by those who have never flown in a proper fleet. The tech one frigate fleet, properly configured, would utterly destroy a frigate blob of the same size. The key to learning how to build a fleet and not a blob is to study the configuration of a Hydra frigate fleet.
In the PVP-BASIC class, our focus is on getting you into PVP in the easiest way possible. Since you will lose ships in PvP, the easiest way to get started at it is to fly a frigate. In Agony there are a number of experienced PVPers who actually prefer to PVP in smaller ships and not always T2. Even if you love that shiny battleship, it will go a lot easier on both your wallet and your ego if you lose 300-500K ISK ships instead of 50-200 million ISK ones.
Keep in mind that even if you're an expert PvP pilot in a frigate, that does not guarantee that you know how to PVP in battleships and vice versa. There are many dramatic differences between flying the two ship classes. However, there is a lot of generic PVP knowledge that you will acquire flying frigate class ships that you can later apply to PVP in larger ships.
This article will introduce you to selecting and fitting the right ship to meet the Hydra fleet requirements. Once you complete reading this article, you will not only know how to fit your own ship, but also how to fit out an entire fleet.
Selecting a Ship
For the purposes of PVP, T1 frigates can be divided into a five categories:
- Combat frigates
- Attack frigates
- Disruption frigates
- Astrometric / scan probe frigates
- Support frigates
Combat frigates are designed to inflict damage and put out as much firepower as possible. These ships are the Merlin, Kestral, Incursus, Tristan, Rifter, Tormenter, Punisher, and Breacher. These ships all have both decent firepower and hit points for their size along with several mid slots where they can fit electronic warfare and/or tackling modules. There is no "Best" frigate among these; each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The Combat frigates make excellent "chaser tackle" ships - ships fit out with scram/web and a small tank, able to hold down a target while dishing out damage.
Next up are the Attack frigates: Executioner (Amarr), Condor (Caldari), Atron (Gallente), and Slasher (Minmatar). These are the smallest and quickest of all frigates. With a base speed of over 400m/s, they can best give a simulation of interceptors speeds when fitted with a microwarpdrive, which will make them reach speeds of about 2,500m/s. Keep in mind though that unlike interceptors these ships do not receive bonuses that reduce signature radius penalty of microwarpdrives, although they all receive bonuses to a bonus to the capacitor usage of propulsion jamming modules. These ships are terrific for skirmishing, which is getting in range of a target fast and holding it down while speed-tanking it until the rest of the gang can arrive and destroy it.
The third category of T1 frigates are the Disruption frigates, which most people call Electronic Warfare (EWAR) frigates. These are the Crucifier with a bonus to tracking disruptors, the Griffin with a bonus to ECM jammers, the Maulus with a bonus to sensor dampeners, and the Vigil with a bonus to target painters. Vigils also receive a velocity bonus per level of Minmatar frigate skill, and as such can be used in a fast tackler role alike Rifters. We don't recommend flying the Vigil for our PVP-BASIC class, but the other three ships are great fun to fly and very effective in a Hydra fleet.
The fourth category of frigates are the "scan probe" or astrometric frigates. They are the Heron (Caldari), Imicus (Gallente), Magnate (Amrr), and Probe (Minmatar). These frigates are useful as cheap scanning platforms. If you ever want to practice some scan probing skills but do not have skills to fly a covert ops frigate, these are your best bet. They do not fare so well in comparison to other frigates in PVP, however. We do not use these ships in our PVP-BASIC class and Hydra fleets.
And finally, we have the Support frigates, which most people refer to as Logistic frigates: Tormentor (Amarr), Bantam (Caldari), Navitas (Gallente), and Burst (Minmatar). With the Retribution expansion, CCP repurposed these former mining frigates as shield and armor remote repair ships. We are very excited by the possibilities of what these ships will bring to small gang warfare, but at this time (December 2012) we have not integrated them into our PVP-BASIC class nor have we determined how to (or even if we should) integrate them into the Hydra fleet we fly with the PVP-BASIC class. We ask students to NOT bring these ships to class.
For PVP-BASIC class you should pick the frigate that you are either most interested in trying out or have the best skills for. If you have a lot of gun skills, don't go with a missile boat. If you have a lot of EWAR skills you might want to choose an EWAR frigate. If you've always wanted to fly fast tackle, fly one of the attack frigates.
Fitting Your Ship
Once you have purchased your ship, set up your propulsion first. Having an afterburner fitted to your frigate is an absolute must - do not fit a microwarpdrive. A propulsion module will give you the fastest orbiting velocity that you can possibly achieve, thus ensuring improved viability for the ship. Some of you might be wondering why we don't permit students to fit microwarpdrives on PVP-BASIC classes. The reason is that while microwarpdrives are great for covering long distances quickly, they will light you up like a Christmas tree as far as the opponents guns are concerned. A frigate with the microwarpdrive running will have the signature radius of 150 to 210 meters, meaning that you will be as big as as battlecruiser while having the hit points of a frigate!!! If at this point the enemy guns or missiles hit you, you will die very quickly! Keeping your signature radius small is critical in ensuring the survivability of your frigate.
Another reason to fit an afterburner instead of a microwarpdrive is that often during 0.0 roams, the class fleet runs into stealth bombers. These stealth bombers will throw bombs at the fleet, which are an area of effect weapon that follows missile mechanics. Bombs immediately kill any frigates and destroyers that have their microwarpdrives running. And when you hear "bomb! bomb!" in voice it is difficult not to panic and hit your microwarpdrive in an attempt to run away; unfortunately any such attempt will turn you right into a wreck. An afterburner on the other hand allows you to escape such a situation quickly, while maintaining as low a signature radius as possible.
As such, the only real reason a frigate should fit a microwarpdrive is to achieve the initial tackle. However on the class you will be accompanied by Agony and alumni tacklers and interdictors in specialized ships who will take care of the initial tackle, so this is a lower priority and concern for students.
Tanking is the process of absorbing or repairing damage from an enemy. In a frigate fleet we rely on our speed and low signature radius to keep us alive. If the enemy can successfully hit you, you will tank for as long as you can sneeze, regardless of how much HP you've got. As well as this, many tanking modules such as armor plates and shield extenders actually have penalties to speed or signature radius, so you end up taking more damage!
For these reasons, we forget the conventional tanking modules and focus on the strengths of our ship class. Use your low slots to instead fit a better speed tank (utilize modules such as Overdrives and Nanofibers) or if you need them, fit engineering modules such as Micro Auxiliary Power Core (MAPC) that will help out with fittings for the rest of the ship. The only exception to this rule is the Damage Control Unit (DCU). We highly recommend fitting a DCU because it almost doubles your effective hit points, which will allow most all frigates to survive one or two bombs at a minimum. The Damage Control Unit is an active module so you will have to remember to activate it to receive its resistance bonuses.
Don't fit armor repair modules; If your ship takes armor damage, there will usually be several pilots in fleet with remote repairer modules or armor repair drones who will help you out after the fight.
Note: your speed will be your primary form of tank so if you choose to upgrade anything then a named afterburner and named speed-enhancing modules are a good starting point. Meta 3 or 4 named modules are typically very cheap (sometimes cheaper than T1!) and will give you much better performance than non-named T1 mods.
A frigate fleet should be treated like the many-headed Hydra of ancient Greek mythology. Cutting off the Hydra monster's head was futile, since two more would simply take its place. A properly fitted Hydra fleet can easily turn a battleship into one large wreck while not losing any ships in process. Especially by spreading out electronic warfare evenly across the fleet, even if one or a few ships are lost, the effectiveness of entire fleet is not diminished. The key to setting up the Hydra Fleet lies in the mid slots.
Let's think of a 20 pilot fleet. If we require all of our pilots to equip a warp disruptor then we can get 20 points of warp disruption on the opponent. For sure he won't be warping anywhere soon, or at least not until he kills every one of these 20 ships. However, we would be wasting some of these warp disruptors on this battleship because even a ship with a full load of warp core stabilizers (stabs) in the lows can have maximum of 8 points of stabilization. Therefore, if your fleet can muster 9 warp disruption points, then it can pin down anyone. In reality, encountering a combat ship with stabs is very rare in PVP, because stabs have significant penalties that impair the PVP ability of ships. Most stabbed ships you will encounter will carry only one or two stabs. However, equipping your fleet with only 3-4 points is also a bad idea because if you lose one or two of the pilots who have a point, then you are down to very few points. So what you want to do is hedge your bets. Have only 8-9 people in your fleet of 20 equip warp disruptors (i.e., no more than half your fleet). This will allow you to lose a few pilots and still be able to hold onto the target and other people in fleet can use their extra mid slots for other items, such as stasis webifiers for example. The pilots with the 8 stabs might be able to get away, but this is a such rare occurrence in PvP that it wont matter (and if there is an interdictor flying with the fleet their stabs won't help them!).
Once you have determined how many warp disruptors you need, you will have some number of slots left over for various other modules. The most interesting modules to put in these slots are:
- stasis webifiers (webs)
- warp scramblers (scrams)
- tracking disruptors (tracks)
- remote sensor dampeners (damps)
- and electronic counter measure modules (jammers) - Griffins only!
Now fit a few of the remaining pilots with webs and scrams to hold down the fast targets, then have the remaining pilots in your fleet fit some form of EWAR in their mid slots, you effectively double, triple, or more the overall effectiveness of your fleet because each one of those modules decreases the effectiveness of your targets. By spreading EWAR amongst the rest of the fleet, a fleet of 20 frigates can easily take on another frigate fleet twice its size, destroyer fleets around the same size, large gangs of battlecruisers and many battleship gangs, because each one of those points holds down the target while each one of those EWAR modules diminishes or even neutralizes another target.
After you have fitted your afterburner, damage control unit, and electronic warfare modules, use the remainder of your frigate's power grid and cpu to fit weapons. You want to fit your guns out so that you have an optimal range of between 6km and 10km (i.e. no blasters), so that you can orbit targets fit with smart-bombs without taking any damage. We have a lot of smart-bombing battleships thrown at our fleet, so this is important!
If you have a utility slot - an open high slot that cannot fit a turret or a missile launcher - fit it with remote armor repairer if it will fit. You also have the option of fitting a nosferatu or energy neutralizer there, however, there are a few arguments against using these modules. Most targets will die before you can get within range where you will be able to activate a small nos or neut. In case of smartbombing battleships you won't be able to get into this range at all. And as far as larger targets go, a nos or neutralizers won't have a significant effect on their cap reserves. Being able to remotely repair your fleet mates after the fight is a much more useful function.
Since small rigs are quite cheap, many pilots choose to rig their ships, although this is not a requirement we do recommend rigs. If you choose to fit rigs, it is important to remember a few things:
- Avoid fitting rigs which compromise your speed or signature radius (armor and shield rigs respectively). While the extra HP may sound good, we rely on high speed and low signature radius to avoid being hit in the first place, and you will actually take more damage with these rigs fitted.
- Fit to your ship's strengths. Speed rigs are a great idea. If you are flying an electronic warfare frigate such as a Crucifier, fitting rigs which enhance the strength of your electronic warfare can be very effective.
For some example fits, see our Recommended Ship Setups for BASIC.
Testing Your Ship
After you have fitted all the modules on your ship, take it out to an asteroid belt to test it. Lock a rock and start orbiting around it. You will notice that you might be orbiting at a slightly greater orbit distance than you specified. This is because your inertia will always be putting your ship a bit off its circular path.
You should choose an orbit that is at least 6km from the asteroid but no more than 10km from it. The closer to 6km you can get, the better. However, you don't want to get closer than 6km or you run the risk of being killed by a battleship with smart bombs equipped. It's best to stay out of this range and let the battleship run out of capacitor and then destroy him. Pick your ammo accordingly.
Right click on the orbit button on the selected item window and set a default orbit distance that will allow you to fly at a 6-10km orbit that is as circular as possible (see An Introduction to Tracking and Orbiting if you are not clear on how to do this). When you are close to a target, you will be able to simply click on this button and your ship will get into its correct orbit.
You can also test out your ship on a friend or a corp mate. To test your ship with a friend who is not in your corporation, just jet an item in a can and let him pick it up. Then when he does this, he will be marked for aggression and should turn red on your overview. Shooting at him will give him rights to shoot back at you. Be aware that due to changes in Retribution, anyone will be able to attack you for up to 15 minutes after you "steal" your friend's loot! You do not need to do this with members of your corporation (careful! corporation does not mean alliance!). You can freely shoot at corp members forgoing the jet can.
Overview of EWAR Modules
EWAR modules are perhaps the most important asset of a large Hydra fleet of small ships. They can help you turn that scary battleship into a paperweight and make all the difference between winning the day and losing the battle. The most important factor to consider here is proper balancing of the amount of EWAR modules. All EWAR modules have stacking penalties which means that after a certain number of modules being placed on the target, the benefit of each additional module becomes less and less.
- first module gives 100% of its effect
- second module - 87%
- third module - 57%
- fourth module - 28%
- fifth module - 10%
- sixth module - 3%
Stacking penalties apply per module, regardless of the pilot. In other words, one pilot using three tracking disruptors on one target receives the same stacking penalty as three pilots using one tracking disruptor each on one target.
Several electronic warfare modules, such as sensor dampeners and tracking disruptors, can be used with scripts. Scripts can also be loaded into tracking computers, sensor boosters, and warp disruption field generators (these modules are used only on heavy interdictors). When loaded into a module, scripts work to modify the effects the module gives. For instance, a basic Sensor Booster I gives a 25% bonus to both targeting range and scan resolution. Using scripts, you can make one of those bonuses be 50% at the expense of the other becoming 0%. A scan resolution script will give a 50% bonus to scan resolution but no bonus to targeting range. A targeting range script will act the opposite way. In PVP you should aim to bring both types of scripts for your modules (they are very cheap). In our Hydra fleet always load your electronic warfare modules with scripts. This is because for reason of stacking it is better to have two tracking disruptors, for example, applied to target with opposing scripts loaded into them rather than have two unscripted tracking disruptors applied.
Webifiers are essential to frigate fleets because they slow the opponent's sub-warp velocity. Without webifiers, it would be impossible to kill many targets because they would merely power up to the gate and jump out before you could break their tank. Furthermore, some ships will move so fast that many of your fleet members are unable to catch up, allowing them to pick off the faster ships while others are arriving. Webs allow us to slow down those fast targets so that the rest of the fleet can close in for the kill. Webs have a range of 10km (a bit further if overloaded).
Webifiers work by applying a velocity modifier to the targeted ship's maximum velocity. For example, the Patterned Stasis Webifier module slows the target by 55% which means it applies the modifier 0.45 to the maximum velocity of the ship. So a single web thrown on a target going at 1000 m/sec will slow down to 450 m/sec.
Webs are also subject to stacking penalties. A single 55% web will slow the target going at 1000 m/sec down to 450 m/sec. A second webifier applied to the target will be only 87% as effective. This means it is not actually a 55% web anymore but a (0.55 x 0.87) = 48% web. Additional web effects will get applied to the target's remaining velocity of 450 m/sec. This means that it will now be going at 450 x (1-0.48) = 234 m/sec.
A Vagabond heavy assault cruiser is able to reach speeds of over 4000 m/sec. A Vagabond webbed with three patterned stasis webifiers will be doing: 4000 x (1-0.55) x (1-0.55x0.87) x (1-0.55x0.57) = 644 m/sec - our afterburning frigates will easily be able to catch up to it at this speed.
Referring back to stacking penalties it is clear that there is really no need to apply more than 3-5 stasis webifiers on a target, as the 6th module will give only 3% of its effect.
Warp Disruptors and Scramblers
Warp disruptors and scramblers destabilize the warp core of a target ship making it unable to enter warp. Each warp disruptor destabilizes the warp core by 1 point. Each warp scrambler destabilizes it by 2 points. Scramblers also have another important ability: they shut off microwarpdrives and make your target unable to re-activate it. Since most pilots fit microwarpdrives on ships larger than frigates, this leaves most targets dead in the water; that Vagabond that was flying at the speed of 4000 m/sec will suddenly be going a mere 400 m/sec after being scrambled. Add webifiers to the mix, and he isn't going anywhere!
Warp disruptors have an active range of 20-24 km (or more depending upon bonuses), which is about twice than that of warp scramblers. However, they consume much more capacitor than warp scramblers (running one warp disruptor is equivalent in capacitor usage to running one 1MN microwarpdrive) and do not deactivate microwarpdrives. However, the extra range is excellent for achieving a fast tackle. Attack frigates and Interceptors receive a bonus that reduces cap use of these modules enabling them to run cap stable setups with a warp disruptor.
Warp scramblers have an active range of about 8-10km (can be further if the module is overloaded).
Tracking disruptors have modifiers that apply to the tracking speed and/or optimal range of an opponent's turrets. This makes it much more difficult for an opponent's guns to hit you. However, tracking disruptors only work to cut damage of ships that rely on turrets and do not affect missile ships or drones in the slightest.
Tracking disruptors are affected by stacking penalties just like stasis webifiers are. The more tracking disruptors you put on a ship, the less of an the effect each additional tracking disruptor will have on the target ship. Having 5 tracking disruptors on a ship will mean that it probably can't hit a planet at point blank range.
Note that the stacking penalty can be circumvented by having fleet members use different scripts in tracking disruptors. Half the fleet can use optimal range scripts and half can use tracking disruption scripts, as these effects do not stack with one another.
Related skills: Weapon Disruption, gives 5% reduction to capacitor need per skill level, level IV needed to use T2 tracking disruptors; Turret Destabilization, gives 5% bonus to effectiveness of tracking disruptors per skill level; Long Distance Jamming, gives 10% bonus to optimal range per skill level; Frequency Modulation gives 10% bonus to falloff per skill level.
Remote Sensor Dampeners
Sensor dampeners make it more difficult for enemies to target you. Firstly, they apply a scan resolution modifier to lower the scan resolution of target ship; the lower the scan resolution, the longer it takes the ship to target you. Secondly, they apply a maximum targeting range modifier to your opponent. This will make the target ship unable to lock you from a distance.
Sensor dampeners, just like tracking disruptors and stasis webifiers, are also subject to stacking penalties. This means that having more than 5 damps applied to a target will have a very negligible effect on it (the 6th module will only apply 3% of its effects). This also means that you will not be able to cut a target's targeting range beyond a certain range. All of the frigates in our Hydra fleet should be configured to orbit at 6-10km, so they will be well within the locking range of great majority of ships even with multiple range-cutting dampeners applied to them. The targeting range script is still useful however when fighting against multiple targets, where one or more targets are sitting and firing from range (i.e. sniping Tier 3 battlecruisers, sniper Eagle, Cerberus, Muninn, or battleship). However frigates have targeting ranges of about 30-40km and will not be able to lock any snipers from that distance. Targeting range scripts are very useful against target logistic ships (such as Oneiros, Scimitars, etc) and EWAR ships (such as Blackbirds and Falcons) that like to stay at long range from our fleet.
For close range fights involving Hydra frigates the sensor resolution script are very useful, as they greatly increase the time it takes larger targets to get a lock on us.
Related skills: Sensor Linking, gives 5% reduction to capacitor need per skill level, level IV needed to use T2 damps; Signal Suppression, gives 5% bonus to effectiveness of sensor dampeners per skill level; Long Distance Jamming, gives 10% bonus to optimal range per skill level; Frequency Modulation, gives 10% bonus to falloff per skill level.
Target painters increase the signature radius of the target by applying a "tag" to the target that makes the target easier to track. These modules are most important when engaging small ships with larger ships. You can think of a target painter as making it easier to follow someone in the woods because they have been hit with a yellow ball from a paint ball gun. The increased signature radius means that guns targeted at the painted ship hit it more often; instead of glancing blows and misses, they will score perfect and excellent shots more frequently. The target will also receive more damage from over-sized missiles being fired at it. This increases the damage per second (DPS) output of the larger ships firing on the painted smaller target.
Also keep in mind that everyone firing on the target benefits from the effects of the target painter, not just you. However, target painters are nearly useless for a frigate or a destroyer fleet because small turrets and launchers already have very good resolution and most of the targets we will be encountering will be larger ship classes. For this reason, we advise students to not bring target painters to the PVP-BASIC class.
Electronic Countermeasure Modules (ECM)
ECM prevents your opponent from locking you at all and breaks any locks they already have. These modules can literally turn a dangerous pilot into a spectator. However, ECM jammers are virtually worthless on ships that do not give bonuses to them. While you can fit ECM modules to an unbonused ship, it is generally not advised for this reason. One useful point to note is that unlike webs, tracks, and damps, these modules do not suffer from a stacking penalty, so there is no upper limit to the number of ECM modules a fleet can make use of. Also unlike other EWAR modules, jammers are chance-based. Only one Tech 1 frigate has an ECM bonus: the Caldari Griffin.
There are two types of ECM modules in game:
- multispectral jammers have jam strengths that are equal across the racial ships, but lower than racial jammers
- racial jammers each have a higher jam strength against specific racial ships, but poorly against the three others
Each race in EVE has its own kind of sensor. Racial jammers hit one kind of sensor more than the others, while multi-spectral jammers hit all 4 sensor types equally. Following is a list of each race's sensor types and the corresponding ECM jammer type.
- Amarr - Radar - White Noise ECM
- Caldari - Gravimetric - Spatial Destabilizer ECM
- Gallente - Magnetometric - Ion Field ECM
- Minmatar - Ladar - Phase Inverter ECM
Racial jammers have better optimal range than multispectral jammers. They also have lower fitting requirement and consume less capacitor than multispecs. However multispecs are statistically better to bring to small scale fights where 1-6 enemy ships might be involved or where you have very few jammers available, while a rack of different kind of racial ECM modules does better in medium to large scale fights where there is a good chance that you will encounter ships from each race.
For PvP-BASIC, we prefer that students bring racial jammers rather than multispecs.
As was stated previously, ECM is not susceptible to stacking, however, it is a chance-based module, which means that unlike other EWAR modules it will not work 100% of the time within its optimal range. The calculation for chance to jam a sensor is fairly simple: the strength of the jammer for a particular sensor is divided by the strength of locking sensors of the target. For example, a jammer that has a strength of 6 would have a 6/14 x 100% = 40% chance to jam a ship with a sensor strength of 14. Therefore, the stronger the jammer is, the higher the chance is that it will jam the ship. When ECM strength surpasses locking strength of the target, the target will be permanently jammed.
ECM is especially powerful when combined with Sensor Dampeners loaded with scan resolution scripts. ECM will cause the target to drop lock, while sensor dampeners will prolong its re-locking time.
Because ECM is chance based, you should not be overly reliant on it in PVP. When it works, however, it certainly adds a nice surprise factor as well as considerably cuts the dps of the enemy ship (along with irritating the hell out of the pilot!)
For a more in-depth look at electronic warfare, including the calculations it involves, see our EWAR Guide.
Accounting for Losses
Inevitably, you will suffer losses. At some point it could be that your losses become a detriment to the configuration of your fleet. For example, if you lose 2/3 of your ships with stasis webifiers, you may find yourself not able to slow down targets enough. Thankfully, by distributing your EWAR across the fleet as per the Hydra principle, your fleet gains an element of graceful degradation, and becoming crippled in one particular area is unlikely without losing a significant portion of the fleet.
In order for you to be able to easily rebalance the fleet, your pilots should train all the skills required to fit each of the EWAR modules that you can put in the mid slots, at least to minimum levels. This is really not that many skills to train up so it should not be a problem for any pilot who has been playing the game for a few weeks.
The Optimal Fleet and Smaller Fleets
Now that we have gone over all of the principles, let's put it together to figure out what the optimal size of our fleet would be. We need the following modules, minimum, in the fleet to be effective against most gangs we'll run across:
8 Warp Disruptors
4 Warp Scramblers
8 Stasis Webifiers
8 Tracking Disruptors
8 Racial Jammers (varying types)
This sums up to be 54 mid slots. Assuming 2 to 3 slots per ship, we need 18 to 27 pilots to form an optimal Hydra fleet. In fact, a frigate fleet of this size would pretty much blow anything out of space.
However, you don't always have 18 pilots available to fly with you, so sometimes you have to make do with less. Also, you may not always have characters trained in ECM in your fleet to run the jammers. In this case you can make up for lack of ECM with additional sensor dampeners.
5 Warp Disruptors
2 Warp Scramblers
5 Stasis Webifiers
4 Tracking Disruptors
This is a grand total of 30 modules which means 10 to 14 pilots - a much easier number to manage and is quite workable in situations where you are fighting close to home and pilots who lost ships are able to refit and be back in the action quickly. This number of pilots could still destroy most battleships or even a small gang of T2 ships.
If your fleet is rather small, you should try to keep a balance of the modules and tailor it towards what you anticipate fighting. If you have just 5 pilots and intend to hunt interceptors then make sure you don't skip having enough scramblers and webifiers. If you intend on fighting battleships then you should aim to have some ECM, dampeners, and tracking disruptors. If you are the gang leader, have your fleet members list out their mid slots (the offensive modules only) into gang chat and ask them to refit if needed before you go out fighting. Also keep an eye on what you are losing either from people losing ships or leaving fleet. You should generally be able to tell a pilot that just logged on what he should fit before he joins in your gang.
If you follow these principles, ships will die fast at the hands of your frigate fleets and blobs of ships will die even faster in the disorganized mess they are in. In the process you will have loads of fun and inflict a lot of damage to the enemy.