Leading From The Front

I found a comment on a corp-mate’s blog asking me about scouting. (S)He said:

Great blog btw! It’s interesting to hear about your roams and gleen information on how you go about FC’ing.

Would be cool if there was an account by Easley of these fights as he seems like an awesome Scout to learn from.

I’m a FC myself, and between the two of us, “PK” and I currently lead the majority of -MVN- corp ops. It was in my absence during most of our time in IT Alliance that Perseus stepped up to take regular command of corp ops and he has done extremely well. His previous FC experience with the corp came from flying in my  infamous low-sec gangs and some Atlas fleet ops.

I’m not always in the mood for it, but when I have another FC in gang that I can trust, I often choose to “take point” in my own gangs. There are very few people who can find targets as quickly as I can, and nothing frustrates me more than relying on a slow scout who will miss target after target for hours on end.

I have a great deal of solo experience hunting for targets and my instinct is usually to lead from the front where I can see the field and make choices without waiting for another person to relay intel. In this situation, command of the fleet is shared between myself and the FC who is with the main fleet.

Typically I will be in command of all fleet movements, and the FC with the main fleet will simply supervise the execution of my orders. However, if hostiles enter their system or the situation around the main fleet changes in any way I am not aware of, that FC will either ask me for my opinion or he may choose to instead take immediate action and issue orders to the fleet without consulting me.

I actually have a bad reputation of soloing targets, before the gang arrives (on accident of course) and that inside joke is actually the basis for the name of this blog!

On a serious note, leading from the front gives me the ability to make split-second decisions about engaging without any lag or mis-communications in the intel being shared with me. However, this method does not work when I am the only FC in fleet because there are too many risks associated with leaving a gang unsupervised. Someone has to be there to make the life-or-death decisions  independently if necessary.

As for scouting tips, I will write other posts on that subject at a later date, but there are 4 fundamental things to focus on:

1) SCANNING: You must pay attention not only to what ships are on scan, but also to the celestial objects that are in scan range. You must keep this in mind and scan constantly when you jump in, when in warp and even when in a safe. When CCP introduced a short “scan delay” between clicks I was furious because I really do click more often than the game now allows me to scan.

If you haven’t mastered narrowing-down targets with directional scans while in warp, do so immediately, it will bring you more kills than anything else I can recommend. Often I take a guess on warping to a belt cluster and land on my target only after a SECOND warp, just in time to make the tackle. If I had waited to land in the first belt before narrowing my scan, those kills would never have happened.

2) LOCAL: You need to study the pilots in local. Their corp, their bio, their age, their language..  EVERYTHING about them that you can pick up while multi-tasking. Read their local chatter, read their profiles and – in cases where have you extra time – look them up on battle clinic or their own kill board to get an idea of what they fly and how they fit ships. Knowledge is power in Eve!

3) MAPS: The layout of each system can be determined with the solar system map. Use this tool to plot your warps around the system for for best directional scan coverage.  If you have a second (perhaps in a long warp) bring this map up for a quick glance at the arrangement of celestial objects in the system.

It goes without saying but you also need to have the route for your roam planned well in advance, along with a couple options for branching off along the way if possible. Some scouts prefer printed maps, I tend to use the in-game map more than anything else, but some people prefer to consult sites like evemaps.dotlan.net during roams.

4) The clock is ALWAYS running. The longer you spend in a hostile system, the less chance you have of catching anyone by surprise, and – in most cases – the more danger your gang faces.

Hope this has been helpful! If anyone outside -MVN- wants personal lessons in scouting, feel free to contact me to discuss it. I have provided training in the past for ISK, and would happily do so again. Typically my advice is 100% free, but I will ignore you if I’m in a fleet, so please do not take offense.

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3 Responses to “Leading From The Front”

  1. Titus Loken Says:

    I renember one gang when you tried to solo a cane in your vaga, he refitted and popped your ass just as we landed on grid. Solo Fail.

    I agree that scouting takes more skill than the average lemming to do, I enjoy your’s and PK’s opps – although you should both try to be more european with your timezones 😛

    Fly Safe,
    Titus Loken

    • Haha I’ll never live that one down…

      Truth was I called for the gang to jump shortly after he aggressed me. I knew it was a risky situation, but he wouldn’t agro without me being in web range. It was my first Vagabond and I over-estimated how long I could tank his cane.

      I thought with a falcon in gang my buffer would hold long enough to get jams, but clearly it was a miscalculation. Not one of my best moments.

      In my defense, the pilot that popped me is not exactly a slouch as pvp goes, Shiroi Okami is ranked #234 on battle clinic and is a very dangerous man.

  2. Whatever Titus, I stay up until like 4am USTZ. Thats got to be like EUTZ.

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