Fleet Commander tips: Moving your fleet:
While a small gang can get away with clambering to their destination as a rough mob, a larger fleet is typically composed of a number of different types and sizes of ship and has to be a lot more organised to stay together and ensure nobody's left behind. Warping your fleet to a location such as the next stargate on your route is split into two separate orders. The first order is for everyone in the fleet to align to the target.
The "align" feature replaces the "approach" button when an object is far enough away to warp to and will make your ship fly toward the target at full speed. This means when you engage your warp drive, you'll be perfectly aligned and fast enough to instantly enter warp. Once sufficient time has elapsed for even the slowest members of the fleet to align, the commander can issue the command to warp.
The commander has the option to warp his fleet to the target himself, which will initiate warp for all of his fleet members simultaneously. Assuming everyone is aligned to the target correctly, the entire fleet will warp as one entity using the warp speed of the ship in the fleet with the slowest warp drive. With some practice, fleets can move quickly using this scheme and never leave any ships behind where they could be attacked by pursuing enemy gangs.
Fleet Commander tips: Disambiguation:
When using voice commands to issue orders, it's very important to be as precise as possible. Commands like "Don't jump" are frowned upon because some people will hear the "jump" part and act on that. Instead, potentially ambiguous commands are replaced with clear-sounding alternatives. For example, "Don't jump" and "Don't warp" are replaced with "Hold" or "Hold position".
Fleet Commander tips: Commands:
In addition to issuing the align and warp commands when a fleet is moving to their destination, a fleet commander's main role is to issue orders to his fleet in a combat situation. This is where a fleet commander's decision-making and communication skills are really tested as a fleet can lose to one half its size if the commander gives bad orders. Commands are usually issued over voice comms like Ventrilo or Teamspeak, though the integrated "EVE Voice" service has become increasingly popular.
The main orders given in a battle situation will be target-calling, naming the enemies you want fire to be concentrated on and those you want electronic warfare to be applied to. As communicating this quickly is essential, the EVE community has developed its own shorthand notation for calling targets. The target you want immediately killed is called the primary target and calling "Primary" followed by the enemy pilot's name over voice indicates to your entire fleet that they should lock and fire on that target. Additional calls are often made to put electronic warfare on separate high priority targets or those with high damage potential.
For larger fleets, it's necessary to call secondary and tertiary targets that pilots can begin locking while the primary target is going down. This helps avoid a scenario where the primary target is dead before most of your ships have locked and they waste time without someone to shoot at. In addition to calling out the target's names, the EVE fleet interface includes a broadcast option to let the fleet commander link the name of the target to all fleet members instantly. Training your fleet to use this function might just give your fleet an edge over corps using only the traditional name-calling method.
If fleet warfare sounds like your thing, the best way to get involved is to join a corp that's based in 0.0 space and focuses on territorial warfare. If you fancy trying out the role of fleet commander, my advice is to run some smaller gangs and practice issuing fleet commands. Once you're confident in your ability to command others and make the right decisions, try leading larger fleets. In next week's final part of the PvP Masterclass series, I get my hands dirty as I delve into the underhanded world of corporate infiltration and piracy.