I read an article which really Gandered my goat a little while ago. It’s a subject which has irritated me for a long while now, like the errant grain of sand stuck in a sandal. The Article is on the subject of “Fleet Bears” by Gevlon, and discusses how close to PvE, Fleet PvP is in eve. The main purpose of the article is another of Grevlon’s hair brained schemes to try and prove his significance in anything that isn’t simply grinding cash via the eve equivalent of rubbing your face on a cheese grater and selling the result as stem cells: the money is good, but its not worth the grind.
The premise of creating a “Fleet Bear Corp” is so comedic that it’s not that which greases my cake-tin. No what does that is the underlying perception that all you have to do in a fleet fight is press F1 (by the way, even if it were true, “Fleet bears” still wouldn’t work for social psychological reasons, but I digress). That concept, held by so many ignorant people, who are looking to degrade others who they know nothing about, urks me to a fair degree.
Now let’s not go too far on this one, I accept that there are a fair number of F1 warriors out there; who do turn up to fleets with the express purpose of mashing a pudgy finger down on F1 when the FC commands it. Unfortunately that is likely the same member who asked at the start “Can I bring a drake?”. These are not the majority, and they are certainly not the average. They are the low outliers in the chart, the anomalies at the bottom of the grid. For every F1 warrior in the fleet, who flies while resisting the urge to lick the nearest window, there is another extreme: The skilled players. They are working to ensure the fleets success, they are the specialists providing essential skills. We all know them, but lets look at a couple of examples:
Logistics. It’s the obvious one I know, especially as I am known to have a soft spot for these priests of space (commonly being one and all). Logi pilots need to be constantly on the ball, predicating primaries, prioritising reps, all the while ensuring they stay alive long enough to do their job.
Tackle. Without a good hold on the enemy, you’re not going to get many kills. Hictors, Dictors, intys and frigs. These pilots need to be shit hot, on the ball and fast, so fucking fast they arrive in among the enemy before or at the same time the damage starts coming down. Most of these pilots only get one or two shots per fleet to do their jobs as they will likely die in their success; by my gods do they make it count.
Oh Hark, you say, Tackle and logistics are only a small part of a fleet, and even including other examples of high player skill pilots like ECM and Firewall pilots, you still only account for a small number! What about the rest? That’s true. But like I said about the “Turn up and press F1” crowd, these are outliers, these are the few dots at the top of the graph showing us all what heroes they are (excuse me while I jump back in my Scimitar and pat myself on the back a little more). So let’s talk about the middle of the pack, the group of core pilots who make a fleet work.
The average line pilot doesn’t Just turn up and press F1. Firstly before they can even arrive in a fleet, they have to prove their metal by simply existing in 0.0. Living in null is a lot harder than many give credit for. You have to understand the subtle laws of Nullsec, and indeed Lowsec to keep yourself supplied with ships and equipment. If I had a million isk for every Carebear who has joined a null sec alliance and sailed into null sec with a hauler filled with “pvp gear”, Or the Nullsec industrialist who has tried to ship their goods out via realspace, I too could attempt to buy my way into the upper echelons of Test Alliance (actually I think the price of that has dropped a bit now). The average Nullsec pilot is self-sufficient, and although their alliance might help them out (via SRP and a transport backbone) they can and will in a pinch supply themselves with little to no fuss. A Highsec PvEer by comparison only knows the way to the nearest trade hub.
But let’s talk about the fleets themselves, what makes a average line member stand out from the fellow mouth breathing on his voice activated microphone? What are they doing other than pressing F1? A good fleet member is managing their overheating, watching for the optimal time to take the drugs (and getting ready to mitigate some of the side effects that might cause). They are checking to see if they are tackled, and watching for opportunities to clear tackle off the fleet. They are also ready for the unexpected, if a bubble suddenly goes up on the fleet, they are ready to MWD out. If the FC calls a route, they know how to escape without orders. Ok so the average member likely isn’t doing all of these things, but the majority will be doing at least a few. I dislike the idea that a fleet is like a hive mind, with drones just following what an FC says. The fleets I have participated in during my Null career have been more like a pack of hyenas. Individuals under a clear leader, working as individuals towards a common goal (and laughing like crazy men while doing it).
Another theory which sprouts from this same growth of thought (as mentioned by Grevlon) is that “Your skills don’t matter in a fleet”. To which I laugh Heartily. I love sheer stupidity of this statement, it’s incredible. Because it relies on the fact that the fleets collective skills will dwarf your own and this make them insignificant. Which works fine when convincing yourself that you’re good enough for a fleet. But when you are applying that individual logic to every pilot in the fleet. “If my pilots skills don’t matter, then no ones do”… Tosh. A minimum skilled pilot in a Rokh does 410 DPS with blasters, whereas a well skilled pilot like my own does 579 DPS, a difference of 169. Yes a single player could hide in a fleet of well skilled pilots and it likely wouldn’t matter. But it only takes four minimum skilled pilots, before you are effectively a man down. A hundred man fleet of just-above-minimum-required skilled pilots will have the same DPS as only 82 well skilled pilots. If they were to bring equal numbers to the low skill fleet, they will have almost 10k extra DPS easily enough to make the difference between coping, and broken logistics.
Now you may try to tell me that I am taking the average of “elite” PvP
groups and applying it to all of Nullsec, but if you check my history I’ve served in elite, average and what many would consider the pubbiest of Publords (or whatever your colloquial term is), they have all to a lesser or greater degree had more than just F1 mashers filling their ranks.
So here is the meat of it. Yes there are people who turn up to fleet and just mash F1, but they are not the average. Yet Highsec Denizens, who are eager for reasons to not be in Nullsec, love a reason to down play their Nullsec cousins. Of course its popular to say “skills don’t matter” or “all you have to do is turn up and press F1” because it makes the people too scared to join Nullsec feel better about the fact they haven’t tried it. You can just picture it, out on a mining opp the corporation pvp pilot is guarding the miners from gankers. One of the miners asks “hey xxxkiller99xxx why have you never been to Null? Being so amazing at pvp and all?”. He laughs at the ignorance of his mining friend and sets his navy Raven to orbit the orca at 10km “don’t be silly friend, they just turn up and press F1”.
Any yes people like Gevlon, who do “just turn up” will always be trying to project their own shortcomings on the entire group, as they desperately attempt to justify their existence (although they generally have the decency to do it quietly). But all they are really doing is fooling themselves into projecting their own weakness onto others. You show me a Mission runner who exerts the same amount of effort in his average playtime, that a Nullsec fleet participant produces just to live in Null even before a fight starts, and I will show you a liar.
I leave you with a final proof of the idiocy in this belief of low skilled (real and sp) fleet members. If Fleet PvP is the same as Running a mission (or incursion as mentioned by Grevlon) why have we never seen any PvE alliance convert into a Sov holding alliance? Why is: Mission Running > incursion running > Nullsec Sov not the natural progression of an alliance? Why do evicted Nullsec alliances go to Faction Warfare or Lowsec to recuperate rather than practicing their fleet action running Incursions. Why do we infact see the opposite where high grade PvP alliances rest upon their laurels, and become soft and complacent running plex’s? Why? Because the supposition that fleet PvP is just like PvE is pure A grade Bullshit.
Fly hopping on one foot trying to clear the sand from your shoes,