What I learned on my excursion.

Trained Logistics IV a few days back and I head off to buy some tags to drag my security status back up to -1.9, allowing me once again wander all of high-sec without being harassed by faction police.

Then I went ahead and purchased  a Guardian (courtesy of the PLEX I won from EDU), and as I admired its glossy exterior, I decided to check out one of the best ways to make ISK in high-sec: Incursions.

I joined, admittedly, for the sole purpose of grinding out some ISK. What I’ve become interested in, though, is FCing in Incursions. Many people tell me from a PvP perspective that incursions are easy compared to fleet PvP. It’s kinda true; I’ve ran a few already and I was bored to death, and the FC rattled off a list of primaries that most of the fleet members already knew off by heart, tagged them, and away we went.

Then on my third day of incursions I accidently entered a site with a travel-fit Guardian. Instead of a 1600mm plate, I had an inertial stabiliser in.

You see, The Ditanian Fleet (the incursion fleet I am running with; The Ditanian Fleet is their in-game channel) has a standard for fits to be eligible for the replacement program. A 1600mm plate (Meta 4 or T2 which is replaceable on battleships with a clone that has a head full of high-grade Slave implants) and armour resistances that are >70% across the board.

I discovered why the hard way that day, when my Guardian limped away from that site at 20% structure. Thankfully, it was a training Vanguard fleet, which meant the trainee FC had to have at least three logistics on field, as opposed to the normal two. Without that extra logistics, my shiny new Guardian would be a wreck I wouldn’t get compensation for.

It really made me think, that close shave: The reason we can make ISK so easily is that the process to do so is so rigorously maintained, refined, and well-oiled.

Why should I trust the FC? Because within TDF, there is a training process all FCs undertake before being allowed to lead fleets, even for the fairly simplistic Vanguard sites. This means pilots flying under these said FCs can be sure they’ve undertaken a thorough and supervised training course, which also means that fleet pilots are eligible for the community’s SRP, since the Council (yes, they have a council) can say that the FC has passed all requirements to be able to claim compensation due to unfortunate mistakes, rather than a skill fault.

STRUCTURE. PvP groups may shun incursions as being full of stuck-up, elitist care bears, but there are things we can learn from them.  Years of refining the art of grinding ISK, of maximising ISK/hr, has led to a machine that is the center of a community that lives whilst less-structured player organisations fall all around it. Here are a few things I’ve learnt from the incursion community that I want to highlight, because they’re not hard to do, but very effective.

1. Fleet MotDs

Most new FCs underestimate the importance of these. Fleet Message of the Days are an FC’s sidekick. The one that never complains and does whatever you want it to do. Over time, it becomes a signature, a defining factor of your leading. How you set that MotD up can change how your pilots behave. Aside from comms details, you can include things like the purpose of the fleet, ships preferred to fly with, example fits, form-up systems, who’s the anchor and drone bunny (in larger fleets), etc.

These kind of things may seem like second nature to big null-sec bloc FCs, but since we low-sec dwellers are a little less structured, sometimes it’s easy for us to just ignore these basics. We shouldn’t; they can streamline our operations greatly.

2. Checklists

Training FCs in incursions need to know how to run through a bunch of things that newbies to incursions may want to ask. This may range from “How do I see tags on overview?” to “What is a cap chain?”.  There are also requirements for training FCs to be able to give a talk before taking the fleets through the first site, which include things like ensuring all pilots aren’t flying with active wardecs, the logi known what to do, everyone has their fits sorted, etc.

This results in notes and checklists being made by FCs (or at least me) to ensure they understand and have all the information they need on hand. Notes are notoriously underused or at least, not talked about. I try to use them but they’re a little clunky and most people seem to prefer to put critical information for themselves in their own bios rather than a note. What if we could share notes?

3. Fits and fleet composition

Mentioned the minimum requirements to be eligible for the SRP previously, but furthermore, the recommended fits and fleet comps for incursion sites are developed over months of fine-tuning. Whilst this experimentation is done without PvP, Incursion rats will utterly destroy you when you’re unprepared for them.

This is the kind of experimentation and trial-and-error all corporations should be going through for their own fits. I think this mentality starts to sink in over a while, but it takes a little bit of a push to get people used to it. Some of our pilots are starting to get it though, and may be heard saying things like “I need to lose this ship, it’s absolutely useless for hitting targets.” Whilst this may not be a good attitude on the surface, it indicates that pilot can identify a weakness of a fit. Initially, this comes through using the fit, but eventually, that will grow into knowledge. That is growth, and it is powerful.

4. Broadcasting and tagging

Here’s a super small one, but one I quite like. Rather than broadcast targets, the FC tags them. I really love this one, because pilots can see the tags even if they land on grid after tags are assigned, unlike a target broadcast, which is only displayed to those on grid at the time.

Furthermore, when broadcasting for reps, when the last person getting reps thinks that the enemies (in this case Incursion rats) have switched primaries, they broadcast “In Position”, and logistics can unlock them. Especially useful for larger fleets where logibros can’t have everyone on their watchlist, or have lots of vital fleet members (EWAR, FC, other logis) to lock up as soon as they land.

These are only a few little tips I’ve learnt. What I’m currently trying to get involved in now (if only we weren’t wardecced currently) is to become an incursion FC myself. I want to undertake their training process myself, hopefully document it, and try to adapt it for our alliance. Oh, and also so we know what to expect if we ever consider low-sec incursions. >:)


2 thoughts on “What I learned on my excursion.”

  1. Incursions are some of the best training people can get for fleet operations. I’ve been in null fleets that weren’t a fraction as well organized as Incursion fleets. Incursion fleets, especially the HQ sites, teach people situational awareness. Oh, and many, many, many of the people and FCs running the Incursion fleets are Incursion alts of players in null. So while the PvP groups may poo-poo Incursions, many of those same groups have lots of their players flying in Incursions 🙂

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