Editors note: this article was originally written and submittted by Ammzi
If you’ve come to learn how to FC vanguard fleets, or to improve on your current skills, then you’ve come to the right place. While most people agree that vanguards are the easiest incursion sites to FC (well, except scouts) it does take a great deal of experience to run them efficiently and achieve an income of 70-120 mil/hour.
Now this will be a rather extensive article, so make sure you have some time on your hands and keep in mind that this is EVE: most come here to relax and have fun, so lets try and deliver that to the incursion runners.
The job of the Fleet Commander basically boils down to keeping the fleet running smoothly, avoiding catastrophes and directing them to where most ISK/fun can be found. Part of that is finding a good location to stage the fleet and form up. Usually this will be at a vanguard system on a planet or another celestial that is easily accessible. Especially keep in mind of the amount of pilots in local, having more than 3 competing fleets in a vanguard system will affect your income. So pick a constellation/system with a minor amount of pilots and begin gathering your fleet there until you are ready to roll out.
Different sites and fleet composition
It goes without saying you must know all the site triggers, waves, etc by heart. I need to be able to wake you up 3 AM and ask about the site triggers of an NCO and you answering right away. So look at the walkthroughs of the sites and learn them. You will thank yourself later.
Now to the hard part: the fleet composition. OTA’s (long/short range) have battleships and cruisers on grid and are therefore great for fleets with a majority of battleships in fleet and less suited for lighter fleets. NMC’s (long/short range) have a lot of cruisers, but ton of frigates as well and the NCO’s (short range) are purely frigates and close range.
What you need to be able to do is perfectly balance out your fleet with short/long-range, webifiers, DPS, logistics. Make sure to read through the fittings of pilots before you invite them to your fleet. An overtanked ship is useless for your fleet if it has low dps and can’t contribute webs/painters/remote sebo’s etc.
The more battleships you have in fleet, the more webifiers you need added to be able to do sites such as the NCO and NMC that have a ton of frigates. Long range webifiers such as the bhaalgorn, loki, rapier and huginn are a great help to a battleship heavy fleet. Offgrid boosters with interdiction maneuver links will also greatly improve your fleet’s ability to handle frigates.
10-11 man fleets, 2-3 logistics?
When forming up the fleet you have a choice to run an 11-man fleet with a minor reduced payout. This can be an advantage and a disadvantage. Yes, you will have a reduced payout (750.000 ISK less per site), but on the other hand, you will be able to fit more DPS into the fleet and be able to run the sites a bit quicker, which could even that out. It is also an advantage if finding replacements takes more time than you’d like – you can run with 10 again while you find the 11th.
Now while I definitely recommend 3 logistics for armor fleets, shield fleet commanders have the choice of having 2 or 3 logistics when running sites. Personally I recommend 3 logistics.
- The issues with losing a logistic for a DC (disconnect) are greatly minimized when having 3 logistics in your fleet. With two logistics, if one disconnects and the other is primaried, there is no-one to rep him. Having 3 logistics avoids this.
- Pilots will be more willing to refit for a lower ehp fit with more damage modules in the lows and more e-war on the med slots.
- With 3 logistics you are able to blitz the OTA’s by only killing 2 augas, 2 tamas and 3 deltoles thereby ignoring and effectively tanking the remaining DPS, achieving a very short site completion timer
Nonetheless, this should not prevent you from choosing to have 2 logistics (as a shield fleet) if you are convinced the pilots do not have disconnect issues and are experienced and good logistic pilots. You can even have your basilisks setup a 5-1 setup (5 shield transporters and 1 energy transfer) if they are logistics V.
Use your fleet properly
Look at your fleet and learn how to use their advantages to make the sites run quicker. If you have long range DPS, kill the Mara Paleo in the NMC so it won’t RR Sansha. If you have ships with AB’s/MWD’s equip them with 255 unites of Lyavite and make them run for the asteroid colony so they can drop the ore in as soon as the Romi Thalamus of the last wave pops. If you have vindicators or similar webbing ships let them take care of the Tamas in the OTA and let the rest of your fleet focus at the deltole/augas. Make sure your logistics have remote sensor boosters or remote tracking links to boost the efficiency of your battleships.
In addition make sure your pilots have their EVE client set up according to what their task is. Logistics should keep everyone on watchlist. The FC should as well to see who is not on-grid yet and why that person isn’t. One of the most important factors is to have all DPS in your fleet add the velocity or transversal velocity column to their overview so they can read which frigates have been webbed and are ready to be taken down.
Make sure you have tagged the targets in the various sites (except NCO) so your fleet won’t have to wait for you and waste valuable time. For example, remind your fleet of locking up tamas when they appear in the OTA so the battleships won’t waste 10 seconds before they can start adding damage to those pesky frigates.
If you know your fleet can’t do the NCO’s quick enough because a lack of webs, then don’t do them. Do the sites that assure a smooth and easy completion. There’s nothing worse than having your fleet trying to take down the last Eystur in the NCO, but no one is able hit it…
Keep your fleet on the run
This is probably one of the key elements in a quick fleet. Keep your fleet moving! This will save you up to minute on each site if you have your fleet aligned and ready to warp as soon as the payout has been put out. Broadcast a site, tell everyone to align and pull in drones. Wait for the last few Sansha to pop and then warp when the “site completion” message pops up. Why would anyone ever want to sit and wait for people to pull in drones and align before warp? Screw that, keep your fleet moving.
This is particularly essential in the NMC. When your fleet lands in the site, make them orbit an anchor and let the anchor head for the spawn-location of the can. At some point halfway through the site, let the pilot with the Lyavite burn towards where the can will be and have them ready to dump the ore in. Get the fleet aligned once the Romi Thalamus and all the Tama’s are dead. With a balanced fleet NMC’s should take no longer than 5 minutes between payouts.
With a quick fleet the chance of warping into a site before the logis are ready / on-grid grows. Therefore it is a good idea to have the logis they an L, or “L-up” in fleet chat when they are on grid at the acceleration gate. You can also simply have them broadcast in position or similar when they are good to go.
Tell the pilots in your fleet to announce their departure 2-3 sites before they are leaving so you have enough time to find a replacement or plan a bio/break and keep the fleet at sufficient numbers.
To read more specifics on how to blitz each particular vanguard fleet, click here.