Fleet Op Basics
Part of a series on
My First Fleet Op
"Fleet ops" refers to situations where large numbers of goons, possibly with allies, are ganged together under one or more commanders with the purpose of destroying or driving off enemy players, for offensive or defensive reasons. It doesn't include your little mining or ratting gang that you form with your buddies.
This guide covers the basic etiquette and behavior expected of GoonSwarm members when they fleet up to fight the enemy, especially when our allies are involved in the gang, and especially when our allies are commanding the gang.
People are saying "Fleet Invitation" for an op in GSDef, you want to join in and kill stuff. GREAT!, but if this is your first op there are some things you must check before you x!
- Turn off your CSPA Charges. This stops the FC or Wing Commander having to spend money to get you into gang. You will not be able to join gangs unless you do this.
- Outfit a ship you can afford to lose like a T1 frigate fitted for Tackling.
- Make certain your overview settings are set correctly so as to avoid friendly fire and general embarrassment. This is very important as it will enable you to pick hostiles out quickly. You need at the very least to do the following:
- Turn off Corp/Alliance/Gang/Standings +5 and +10.
- Turn off Cargo Containers and Wrecks.
- Turn off Asteroids and other celestial objects that you don't need to see in combat
- Learn the Tactical Basics below and don't be afraid to ask how.
- Get on the appropriate Teamspeak server.
- Have fun as you gank faggots.
 Joining An Existing Gang
- GoonSwarm Gangs
When a gang starts forming someone will say something in a chat channel ingame, usually GSDEF along the following lines;
FleetCommander > GET IN GANG WE HAVE FAGGOTS TO KILL
FleetCommander > Fleet Invitation (Alliance)
The Trinity 1.1 Patch introduced the new Fleet system, which allows any member of a gang to send a clickable Fleet Link to any chat channel (amusingly, this includes Fleet Chat itself). Clicking the link lets you join the gang without being individually invited.
This system has limitations: The Fleet Link is only available to members of the same Corporation or Alliance as the Boss, which is often the person who formed the Fleet. Other fleet members may still send the links, but their own alliance mates will not be able to join. Similarly, if the fleet is full then the link will cease functioning until more space for new members is made.
- Allied Gangs
Occasionally you may be asked to join an allied gang, such as when we're fighting with our TCF or RA brosefs. When this happens, the gang boss of the allied gang will usually find one of our FCs to take command of a wing so that they can manually invite you to the fleet or else do it themselves. When this happens, they'll ask you to join gang without providing a link. To request an invitation, type an "x" in the text channel (usually GS&Red) with a way of identifying which gang you need an invite to and a 3-4 word summary of your role:
Right: Newbie > x KZF newbie tackler
Wrong: Newbie > x
Also Wrong: Newbie > z
Newbie2 > 0
Newbie3 > r
Generally, summarising your role isn't especially important, although it can make life much easier for the gang boss if the fleet isn't allowing you to move yourself (as if often the case in RA gangs, for instance). Simple identifiers are the best, and the most common ones are: "tackler", "sniper BS", "ewar", "titan".
 Forming a fleet
The Fleet Command System is badass, go read about it.
Trinity 1.1 saw a major overhaul of Fleet mechanics, thank christ. "Gangs" have now been totally replaced by "Fleets", which impose a fairly rigid leadership hierarchy that allows people with appropriate bonuses to give out some fucking amazing bonuses.
To form a fleet, start by right-clicking any player's name (including your own) and selecting "Form Fleet with Player". After a few seconds, several new windows will open. The very first things you want to do are:
- Find the "Fleet Window" (this one), and right-click the little white arrow to the left of the word "Fleet" in the title bar. From the menu that opens, select "Set Self-Invite Alliance".
- From the same right-click menu, select "Set Free Move".
- Now, find the row of text that says "Wing 1 (0)". Right-click it, and select "Create Squad". Do this at least twice, so that faggots trying to join your gang don't complain that it's run out of space.
Now, find a defence channel such as GS&Red, GFDefence or Smash Smash, and say one line of anything you like so that you see a clickable link to your name. Right-click that link, and select "Channel > Send Fleet Invitation".
Finally, either sort out gang bonuses using the information in The Fleet Command System, or find someone to take gang boss from you so you don't have to handle that bullshit. Right-click their name, select "Give Boss". At this point you've finished forming your fleet, go kill shit.
 Tactical Basics
These basic orders will be given a lot during fleet operations. You should familiarize yourself with the concepts below and practice them once or twice before you leave to join a fleet op.
"Aligning" means lining up your ship in the direction of the next warp point so that when your fleet commander gives the group warp command everyone will warp RIGHT THEN, as a unified group.
To warp, you have to be traveling toward your warp target destination at a minimum of three quarters your maximum speed. As of the Empyrean Age expansion, there's a fancy "Align to" command. No more double-clicking in space is necessary - you can right click on the celestial object and select "Align to", or just right click in space and select it from the drop-down menu! Yay!
At the beginning of an op, the op leader may set a destination system. Go to people/places and search for the destination system. Right click and set destination. The next gate will show up in yellow making it easier to spot. Keep in mind, however, that changes happen during ops - the yellow gate may very well not be the gate you will align to, so be sure to pay attention to your op leader.
After you are aligned and moving toward your intended location at full speed, the gang leader will gang warp everyone to the next position. He will have already indicated what you should do once you arrive. You should do one of three things once you come out of warp:
- Align on the next warp-in.
- Move to the position indicated by the leader (within jump range of a gate, at your optimal from the gate, halfway between the bubble and the gate, etc.).
- Engage the primary target (as directed by the op leader).
The moment you come out of warp you should make your move, as directed by the leader. If you have no order, you should ask in gang chat what you should be doing. Never assume you shouldn't be aligned on something. Unless there are hostiles in the immediate area (within shooting range), you should be preparing to warp to another location. Align yourself as fast as possible in order to stay with the fleet.
If your gang leader orders you to warp to a Covert Ops pilot, be certain you do NOT warp to him at zero unless specifically ordered to do so. That will decloak him, which is a Bad ThingTM. If you decloak Scavok I will fucking end you.
When warping to a stargate, your fleet commander will give one of two orders: Hold on gate (or gate is red) means do not jump through the gate when you reach it. Make sure you are within jump range of the gate, and be prepared in case of enemy ships appearing, but do not jump until ordered. The opposite order is jump on contact or gate is green, in which case you should jump through the gate as soon as you reach it.
Your FC may be busy talking on other channels with scouts, etc., and has not noticed that the gang has reached a gate. If the FC does not give an order, your default action should be to hold on the gate until ordered to jump, unless the FC has stated otherwise. It is also important to remember that other individuals within the gang may have orders different to yours (e.g. scouting ahead) - do not jump through just because someone else did, since this can cause a cascade of copycats (plus the fact that you shouldn't have done so in the first place).
Once you have jumped through a stargate, your ship will be cloaked and invisible for 30 seconds. If the FC says hold cloak you should not move, align, or activate a module (doing so will break your cloak) until the FC says otherwise. Again, if the FC does not give an order, your default should be to hold cloak until instructed otherwise.
Tackling is the process of nullifying an enemy's ability to warp away from the engagement. If you are flying a frigate, your primary objective in a fleet operation is to get within tackling range and lock down an enemy.
A good tackler will know how to position themselves to catch enemies jumping in or out. When using a 20km warp disruptor at a gate, orbit the gate at 2km or so. This will put anyone uncloaking in range of your scrambler; meaning they are dead as soon as you lock them. When using a 7.5km scrambler, orbit the gate at 13km so that you have the best chance possible of catching an enemy as they decloak. If you are just arriving at a gate with the intention of stopping someone coming through, it is expected that you will immediately head for your optimal tackling position.
Having a proper overview setup is extremely important for tacklers. Dicking around trying to select a decloaking enemy from your main screen wastes valuable time. You should select them as soon as they appear on your overview and start closing/locking them. When warping in on enemies as part of fleet, you want to have your mouse on the overview as you come out of warp and have them locked by the time you start moving.
For a more detailed guide, see Tackling.
 Etiquette and Discipline
Staying focused and aware is how fleets win battles. Don't get distracted and follow these guidelines to make yourself as effective as possible on PvP operations.
 Shut Up
Get on teamspeak in the right room, but don't speak unless you're spoken to or you have an emergency report. An emergency is not when you get left behind unless you are flying the gang's only battleship. An emergency is not when you stub your toe on a loose toolbox and can't get out of the station fast enough. You can catch up. An emergency is when a previously unknown fleet jumps into system behind the gang and you're the only person who can see what kinds of ships they're flying.
If you have anything to talk about that isn't an emergency then type it in gang chat. DO NOT type anything frivolous in gang chat. Filling up the chat window with crap causes other people to miss things they need to read. If you have something frivolous to say, take it to the FaggotGBS channel. (FaggotGBS is password-protected, with the password changing every so often. It is permissible to ask elsewhere for the password.)
 Pay Attention
Don't miss a command. Follow the commands you get to the letter. The fleet leader needs to know that the ships he has will be where he wants them when he wants them. If you get an ambiguous command (e.g. "stay on the gate" when the fleet is split between two gates) ask for clarification by typing in gang chat. Pay attention and the commands will usually not be ambiguous.
 Follow Orders
Following orders given by the leader of the op is the key to winning. The op leader has more information about the enemy and situation than any other member of the op. Follow his orders and trust his judgment and the op will be successful.
 Do what you are told to do.
- If you are ordered to get on a gate then get within 2500m of it as fast as you can. If you are told to jump through, jump through immediately. If you're told to align then align immediately.
- When the fleet leader is calling targets locate them in your overview, target and orbit them and attack them. Do not just pick your own targets. The fleet's firepower must be concentrated on one or a few targets at a time.
- Always be alert for commands and follow them as quickly as you can.
- Observe OPSEC while in gang, unless the FC tells you otherwise.
 Don't do what you are not told to do.
- Don't warp to any gang member unless specifically told to. Ops have been set back hours from people doing this.
- Don't jump through a gate unless told specifically to do so. Teamspeak is often difficult to understand. Do not jump if you are not sure you have been ordered to. When in doubt, ask in gang chat.
- If you are told to be somewhere, don't wander off. The fleet leader needs to know where the fleet and its members are.
- Do not loot cans unless you are instructed to. Distribution of loot is up to the fleet leader. If you loot without orders you may be blown up. This is especially true for capital wrecks.
- Don't attack pods while there are actual enemy ships around unless you are told to.
- Don't chase the enemy unless you are told to. They may be leading you into a trap. They may be trying to break up the fleet. The movement of the fleet is up to the commander.
- Don't take orders from people who are not FCing the op. That means you should not warp to any random goon who starts spamming the channel with "WARP TO ME!" unless the FC specifically tells you to do so. AKA: Don't listen to any order Godolphin gives if he's not in command
- In general, do not take the initiative. Wait for orders or volunteer requests.
- Don't tackle or bump friendly capital ships
 Don't Argue
Most of the people leading you will be vets with many months or even years experience. They will also often be members of allied corps that are part of the reason GoonSwarm can even exist. Do not piss them off. Do not debate their calls. If you know something they don't know about the situation then give them that information in gang chat and let them think about it. Don't assume that you know better.
No ops are mandatory, but if you are on an op and absolutely can't stand the person in charge, don't argue, don't storm off in a huff, just excuse yourself in gang chat, leave the gang and head back home. Absolutely do not blow your stack on teamspeak or fuck with the op in any way.
 Get in the Fight and Stay in the Fight
Goonfleet helps finance new members for PVP through the mentor program. Don't flee the fight because your T1 frigate is on its last legs. Stay in there, do some damage and if you get blasted go and get another ship (or better yet have one ready) and get back to the battle.
Remember not to fly anything you can't afford to lose. Initially T1 frigates will be your main PvP vessels but as you get richer and more skilled you will be able to buy better ships. For PVP always pick a ship you can afford to have blown up. Don't spend your last ISK on a battleship only to have it creamed by a pack of interceptors.