Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Learning Fleet Command - 1

Entry: seven hundred sixty-one.

Today one my corpmates with some connections to a Cascade renter alliance asked in comms if anyone was going to run a roam. I ended up answering a question about how they might perform given their null-sec experience and somehow ended up running a roam for them.

I suppose that works for me. I get to train with people not in my corp, and thus any mistakes I make won't affect them.

We had a small fleet of six: a comet, my Malediction, a Kitsune, one Zealot, a Ferox and a Harbinger. I set destination from 49- to HED-GP, assuming that, as in the past, HED- would be very active.

Mistake number one was not sorting out standings. Before we even arrived in HED-, due to a misunderstanding of orders the Harbinger pilot lost his ship. He managed to get away with his pod however, and I told him to meet us in HED-.

After sorting out standings with Legio, we moved onto HED-, where it turned out to be a sickening blue color permeating local. We spent fifteen minutes camping the Keberz gate while waiting for our Harbinger pilot to reship and meet us in a Retribution. Once he met us, we set destination for Doril.

The trip to was Doril was surprisingly fast up to Jamunda, where we were forced to turn back by an organized battlecruiser gatecamp. We were so close! I ordered the fleet back into the previous system and set our new destination for 9UY. It was along this route that we got our first kill. While scouting for the fleet, I happened upon a pirate in a Vengeance at zero on the gate I just came through. I quickly called for fleet to hold while I engaged him. Scram, SAR active, autocannons blazing Fusion, I waited until aggression was confirmed from him and called for fleet jump. "Jump in and nuke this Vengeance!"

Pirate mistake number one: Malediction with autos tackles and engages a Vengeance. That smells a bit fishy, don't you think? He complained later in local, "blob". I smartly replied to him in local, "it happens".

Knowing that local was most likely not blue to my gang, I ordered a quick warp-out, just in case. Looking back, I wish I had taken the time to loot the wreck myself. That MWD would have been very nice.

The locals quickly contacted us, and ended up sorting out blue standings with my renter-squadron with the promise of invitations to future fleets. My squad was riding high, this being the first time they've gone on a roam, killed something, and survived. I was determined not to let them down, and so we pressed on.

Some time later we found ourselves in 9UY, just a scant few jumps from Empire. A quick look at D-scan revealed an Abaddon towards the station and not much else. I decided to risk it, and warped to the station at zero. Abaddon at the undock, fleet holding just outside the system on-gate, I scrambled and orbited the Abaddon manually as a normal orbit would have resulted into smashing myself against the undock. I poured on the Fusion S.

He engaged! "Fleet jump jump jump warp station! Jump, warp station! Lock this Abaddon and MELT HIM!" A small local spike, and a minute later the fleet landed and went to work while the Abaddon continued to pound on me with drones, my SAR repairing the damage. I can only imagine how frustrated the battleship pilot was that his light drones weren't killing the frigates biting at his heels. He turned his guns onto the Zealot, taking it into half armor before the Zealot warped out.

In the end, the Abaddon pilot wasn't too smart, or was perhaps expecting help soon rather than not at all. We got a nice kill as a reward for his mistake with the accompanying loot.

Fearing the soon to come revenge fleet, I ordered fleet to warp to planet four, and then use as a rolling safe for a few minutes. I scouted the next system and ordered the fleet to follow me through. We made way for Dital, as I wanted to end the roam on the best note possible. The revenge fleet was jumping into 9UY just as I jumped out.

I arrived at KBP7- with the fleet holding in XHQ-. "Warp back to FWS0-," I ordered. "There's a small battlecruiser gatecamp here, we don't have the firepower to take this though." I'd seen a Drake, a Myrmidon, Rapier, Brutix, and Vexor. That pitted against my now four frigates, Zealot in half armor, and wasn't a situation I wanted to jump into. We played gate games for a good five minutes before we managed to mostly break through and get into Dital. We only had one loss: the Federation Navy Comet engaged the Myrmidon in XHQ- instead of jumping past it into KBP7-. He wasn't happy, but he didn't rage, blaming himself for not following the jump command I gave and instead engaging, which I'm certain he did because he was taking fire and under stress that was completely foreign to him. I don't blame him. We've all been there.

With that, I entered godhood for those few industrial pilots, getting immediate votes of confidence and promises that they were my men should I ask. It's a bit hard to breathe with all these high airs I'm getting and putting on.

Certainly I could have done a better job though. I know this, I told them this, but I think the adrenaline was strong with them still and it didn't matter to them.

I should have found a better way to determine where to roam to, as opposed to arbitrarily picking systems I've been to before where action usually was. I should have sorted out standings before the fleet even left. I should have told my new combat pilots to follow my orders despite what their instinct tells them about fight or flight. I should have been a little bolder, taking the few seconds to loot and engaging the final gatecamp, which crumbled at seeing our fleet land on KBP7- gate in a coordinated fashion.

Lessons to take home for the future for sure. I'll be looking to improve this in my next fleet.
Computer: terminate recording.

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