Fleets are wonderful things in EVE. When PvP players get together, fleets are formed, fun is had together, people share their losses and victories, bonds are made (or broken) in the fiery aftermath of a fierce fight.
Fleets highlight the social element of EVE, and brings out so many interesting interactions between FC and member, FC and FC, and between your squad members. From heated discussions over topics totally unrelated to EVE to the most coordinated target-calling, the spectrum of conversation on comms when you’re in a fleet is almost always unique.
Knowing this, having experienced it in my own fleets, and in nearly every fleet I’ve joined, would I willingly divide a fleet?
I’m thinking with a mindset focused on faction warfare. You see, for us to take systems we need to run (com)plexes in that system until the system becomes vulnerable. What I’ve recently seen with plexing fleets is that one grows, and grows, until we over-saturate a system with pilots, and we have more than enough DPS to plex the whole system down, after which we roam around to other systems until plexes in our target system respawn.
Could it be that this is sub-optimal? Let’s look at what I personally think would be better.
I imagine a fleet of 20 assorted frigates/destroyers plexing a system. We split that fleet into two groups of 10, send one group to another system. Now we have 2 groups of 10 plexing two systems. Now we cover more ground, still have reasonable firepower to protect plexes within each individual system, and if shit hits the fan for one group, the other can come support.
That’s the dream, at least. There are lots of issues I’ve thought of that have held me back from trying anything like this thus far.
-Coordination/leadership between groupsTo split a fleet in two, you need to trust people in each group to be able to work as a cohesive unit alone. This means you go from one FC to hopefully two, but it may be the original FC stays with one group and sends a bunch of more independent or confident pilots off alone.
How will comms be organised? Groups get into separate channels? This might be important because engagements that happen in one system may confuse the other system, especially if combat breaks out in both at the same time.
Assisting each other could be difficult or assistance could be mistimed and come late if groups are separated even by a single jump. A gate camp could ruin our day. People might call for help late, especially if comms are separate.
-Loss of unity
The worst possible outcome from fleet division is losing that sense of comradeship that you generally have in a fleet. It’s not the right idea, of course, but it could happen. Members might not enjoy having their fleet split, especially the comms, dividing the leadership up could lead to conflict between the original FC and the ‘sub-leader’. One group getting kills might make the other feel left out, and conversely, one group dying while the other group survives or tries to help too late could lead to conflict amongst ourselves. It could get so bad, whenever we do a fleet, people ‘pick sides’ and stick with their friends and such.
With these problems in mind, do the benefits outweigh the potential disaster?
You see, what we lack right now is individual confidence. I’ve been searching, searching for the answer to the problem of having more ISK and bigger ships. Because the Amarr definitely have that, and it’s scary. Recently they dropped a Thanatos on a cruiser/battleship fight we had. A THANATOS! I wasn’t there, but I gulped when I saw the killboard. Today, they took back a system, more to hinder our progress more than anything, but they plexed it hard and took it anyway.
What this tells me is that they have some confidence in each other to do things, individually. Plexing is most efficient individually. I look at my idea of splitting a 20-man fleet into two 10-man fleets, and I imagine the true result of continuing down that path, of 20 people each plexing their own system, assisting one another when one or two people come to fight them off. Independent, but unified.
Sort of like the tribes of the Minmatar race. Hmm, I’ve definitely said this before. Oh well 🙂
Anyway, the Amarr are further down this road than we are. But if there’s anything that can trump their SP and resources, without training our own skills, it’s to build that confidence. I know I could do it, and I definitely remember fighting everything I could with little to no SP. Granted, I did start skilling straight into PvP. Many tell me they wasted their first millions on industry and mining and such. And how did I do it? By dying. A lot. I think the main issue with people is that they build a false belief in their own abilities when they win easy fights. If you assume you’re good, it hits a little too hard when you lose a fight. I need to bring a little humility into our pilots.
It means fighting, a lot. Dying, a lot. I learnt what not to fight by fighting the things I shouldn’t fight. Second-hand experience is not the same as having to go home in a pod because you bit off more than you can chew. It’ll be harsh. But people are daring to say I’m a good FC now. Between angling my fleets down a path of many whelps, and trying to split our fleets up, I’ll see whether I can prove them wrong.