[AAR] Kiting Kestrels 2018.05.07 - The Kestrels and the Bees

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Harai Rex

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Post 2018.05.09 01:32

[AAR] Kiting Kestrels 2018.05.07 - The Kestrels and the Bees

Hey Guys! This fleet was my first time FCing an alpha doctrine fleet and it was ... messy. This fleet gave me a lot to think about, and part of the reason I took a few days before writing this AAR is I wanted some time to chew on what happened before writing about it. I feel its important to mention that NONE OF THE FLAWS IN THE FLEET I TALK ABOUT ARE DUE TO A FLEET MEMBER OR THEIR ACTIONS, all the shortcomings of this fleet either came about from my mistakes as FC or our plain bad luck in finding good content for this doctrine.

Roam Members (16):
SPOILER WARNING!
Analiese Aubernet - Scout
Budda Sereda - 2IC
Calder Ormand
Cysin
Gemma Solett - Scout
Hank Asanari
Harai Rex - FC
Kontxesi Buchanan - EWAR
Mauritun
Mols Halleck - EWAR
Satoshi Tomeii
Space Warfare Development
Staberinde
Wokum - Scout
Xafen Katapi
Zykey Jovakko


Note: I intentionally get remove the ships people were flying in this roam from the readout the FCC AAR tool gives. I think its far more important to know who was in what role than to know what ship they were flying.

"Storks and Eagles are mortal enemies...little know fact btw"
- Harai Rex, killing time before the fleet undocked

"podded before I freaking undocked"
- Kontxesi Buchanan, accurately assessing the impact of Calder Ormand's sick pre-fleet burns

This fleet was slower to get out the door than I would've liked. With only 9-10 DD, we were right on the edge of having enough Kestrels to make the alpha doctrine work. After killing time with an impromptu story of where babies came from, which sidetracked into the ancient blood feud between storks and eagles as demonstrated above, I called for kitchen sink frigs at 01:15. A few more people showed up during the newbro speech, so we now had enough people to run the doctrine and we switched back, wasting time as we set everything up. We undocked around 01:40, with 10 DD Kestrels for an alpha strike of 7k, just about enough to alpha T1 frigates and Destroyers.

We moved through Uphallant, Dastryns, and Ostingele quickly; Salty. were out in their big boy toys (Naga, Brutix Navy Issue, etc.) and I didn't consider engaging them a risk worth taking. Daniel Essig shadowed us in his BNI for a few jumps, but we didn't engage him, he didn't engage us, and he lost interest before long. Wokum, our +1 scout, became our first casualty of the night, falling prey to a recon trap in a medium plex in Agoze. There really wasn't any way he could've known about this, and I chalk it up as one of those wonderful, random, unavoidable deaths you have to deal with in EVE.

Incursus -10.54m

"shooting non-flashies/gates makes you go boom boom"
- Calder Ormand, summarizing gate gun mechanics

Things then became pretty quiet for the rest of our trip through Placid. Analiese found an Atron in Alsaivonon; after getting tackle, he discovered it was the LSC's favorite free killmail provider, Zlippery Pete! Knowing he wouldn't fight back, we used him as an opportunity to practice our alpha strike.

Tristan +1.39m
Capsule +0.01m

While the fleet was in Alsaivonon, one of our scouts found there was lots of content in Vlillirier, including a Raven. In my opinion, our time in Vlillirier was the low point of the fleet, and I'm going to dive into why at the end of the AAR. for now, our time in Vlillirier can be divided into two main engagements.

The first fight was against a Republic Fleet Firetail and a Hawk outside a plex. Our scouts got in and got tackle, and the rest of the fleet arrived pretty quickly. We killed the Firetail with little fuss, and then got to chasing down the kitey Hawk. We caught him, but didn't get a very coordinated alpha strike off, instead trying to burn through him with pure DPS. This was working, and we got him into hull before he got off a rep cycle and popped his Assault Damage Control. At this point, I called for the fleet to stop shooting, and load EM damage missiles, before counting down for a new alpha strike once his ADC wore off. After the fact, several people pointed out that reloading in the middle of a fight wasn't a good idea, and they're right. I was trying to be clever, using his 15(?) seconds of invulnerability to load ammo that would hit right into his resist hole, but there was too much delay and the fleet wasn't coordinated enough for the near-flawless timing this would've needed to work. The fact that we already had thermal missiles loaded, which do well enough against shields, further diminished the benefits of this idea. We lost several seconds of damage, waiting for our reloads after his ADC finished, and Satoshi died because of my call. This was a really weird strategy to throw at a fleet without prior discussion, and that showed. It also just wasn't a very good idea at all.

Republic Fleet Firetail +21.96m
Capsule +0.01m
Kestrel -12.69m
Hawk +48.72m

After killing the Firetail and Hawk is when things really started to get messy. There was a lot of stuff going on in system: the Raven was still here, a combat Malediction was flying around the Renarelle gate, and another small frig gang moved in. Scouts were warping all over the place trying to catch stuff. at one point, I warped the fleet to the Renarelle gate to try and alpha the Malediction. Things didn't go as planned, and a combination of the Malediction, the frigate gang, and gate guns killed a few of us.

Kestrel -9.05m
Kestrel -9.87m
Incursus -15.28m
Maulus -12.22m

A scout found a Punisher at a plex in Evaulon. Suprisingly, he was outside and not fitted with infinite warp core stabilizers. We went in and killed him quick. After that, someone else found a Condor at another plex, so we went and killed him too, so he wouldn't feel left out.

Punisher +10.45m
Capsule +0.01m
Condor +1.14m

" Leopard sounds like Jaguar ... They're both big cats."
- Harai Rex, after mistakenly ordering scouts to go for tackle on a fearsome Minmatar shuttle

"In case of slow align break glass."
- Mols Hallek, giving instructions for the Harai escape kit (context)

After jumping those poor frigates, we moved on through Nennamaila and Akidagi. We found an excellent callback to a previous fleet of mine and everyone got to watch me experience a brief case of big cat dyslexia, but we didn't find any content, so we went into Ichoriya for a bio break. After the bio, we headed back out but didn't find any content until Pynekastoh, where Analiese found a merry pair of frigates in a plex. Analiese got popped holding tackle for the rest of the fleet, but we avenged him with no further losses.

Slasher -8.75m
Atron +4.88m
Executioner +6.73m
Capsule +0.01m
Capsule +0.01m

As our scout Gemma jumped into Hirri, he ran into a flashy Gnosis on his in-gate. The Gnosis agressed back, and the rest of the fleet came in to try and burn him down. I coordinated an alpha strike when it became clear dps wouldn't break him, but the alpha didn't do much either, so I promptly called scatter. We lost 4 pilots in the fight, but I still count this engagement as a personal success, and I'll explain why at the end of the AAR.

Keres -43.52m
Slasher -6.38m
Incursus -11.89m
Kestrel -5.98m

"Gnosis 1, frigate menace 0"
- Analiese Aubernet, summarizing the previous fight

After disengaging from the Gnosis, we headed toward Tama. Our scout Wokum poked into Tama and found a Breacher and Atron outside a plex. We raced to try and save him, but were too slow. After that, we couldn't find anything else in system that wanted to play with us.

Incursus -11.78m

The fleet then turned back and headed towards home through the Abune pipe, where we managed to pick up a few more kills. The first was a flashy Hawk we found on a gate in Murethand. We got tackle and brought in the rest of the fleet. Having learned my lesson, I had the fleet load EM ammo BEFORE the fight, and things went smoothly.

Hawk +58.3m
Capsule +0.01m

We kept moving forward, eventually catching a flashy Hookbill on the Oueletta gate in Loes. Turns out the guy was a solo pvp streamer, and vented a little bit on stream about getting blobbed. I find his fit really interesting, and complimented him on it after the kill. If I ever get bored of traditional solo hookbill fits, I think I'll give this a whirl.

Caldari Navy Hookbill +26.44m

The fleet got back home with no more content after Loes. A few minutes after calling the fleet, Budda, Gemma, Analiese and I ended up skirmishing with Salty in cruisers in Uphallant and Dastryns. I'm not counting those kills for the ISK efficiency of this fleet because it came after I had called the fleet finished and the majority of people had left fleet, and also because I killed Analiese and I don't know how to count that. Kills and losses are in here for your reading pleasure and SRP purposes.

(04:01:10) Uphallant
Coercer +8.39m
Arbitrator -32.12m

(04:07:14) Dastryns
Thorax -40.98m
Thorax +35.25m
Kestrel -8.34m
Brutix Navy Issue -274.03m

Stats (UPH/DAS kills and losses not included)
ISK Destroyed: 180,052,555.02
ISK Lost: 157,947,298.93
ISK Delta: 22,105,256.09
Efficiency: 53.27%

This post-stats part is going to be longer than usual for my AARs, because I have a lot to say. This part is going to be roughly divided into 1. my thoughts on the fleet and 2. My plans for FCing in the near future.

This fleet was really stressful for me, but that was mostly by design. As I pointed out in my last AAR, one of my biggest weaknesses as an FC is tactical decision-making in a fight, and I chose an alpha strike doctrine for this fleet specifically because it's effectiveness is heavily reliant on the FC making sound tactical decisions, pushing me to improve those skills. For the most part, I think this stress led to me improving some of those skills, but I also let my stress show more than appropriate, and I did treat my scouts harshly during parts of the fleet, which I'm really sorry about. We also didn't really get the kinds of content I wanted us to find with this doctrine. The strength of alpha doctrines is in fleet fights against similarly sized ships, where enemy ships can be quickly destroyed before logi has a chance to save them. Unfortunately, we didn't find any fleet fights, and a lot of the content we did come across were larger ships that could absorb our alpha strike and then easily tank our meager long-term dps.

I think the fleet's time in Vlillirier was when my FCing was at its poorest. The constant intel reports as content moved around system, coupled with the fact that the fleet wasn't together for much of our time there, overwhelmed me for a time. In addition, my bad call to reload in the middle of shooting the Hawk shook my self-confidence a bit. I think that I definitely lost control of the fleet during the engagement on the Renarelle gate. Scouts were making tactical calls, people were engaging before I told them to, and I didn't know where portions of my fleet were. Myself losing control probably played a big role in us losing four people on that gate with nothing to show for it. Fortunately, I recovered quickly, and felt completely in control again by the time we left the system. This is the second fleet in a row where there was a time I felt overwhelmed and out of control, which worries me. However, I think this will happen less and less frequently as I get more practice FCing in information-dense situations like this.

The fight with the Gnosis was ultimately unsuccessful, but I think it marked an important milestone in my growth as an FC. Historically, I've really struggled to call for the fleet to cut and run from a fight with nothing to show for it; I've found it very hard to make myself leave a fight without securing at least one kill. This fight represented a big break from that bad habit. I brought the fleet on grid, tried to alpha the Gnosis, quickly figured out that wouldn't break its tank and probably never would, and immediately called scatter. We did lose a few ships, but engagements like this have previously led to mass welps on my fleets, so I'm very happy that I was able to objectively assess the situation and save most of the fleet.

I'm going to end this AAR by talking briefly about my plans as an FC over the coming months. I will not be running any fleets over the next 2 weeks; I have finals this week and afterwards I will be on vacation for about a week and a half. I'll probably be online at some points during this time, but I doubt I'll be undocking and I definitely cannot run a fleet. Starting in June, I'll be back home and my schedule will calm down quite a bit. I'll try to run fleets once a week for most of the summer. Some people have asked me if I'd consider running two fleets a week: the short answer is no. The long(er) answer is I'm not a very productive or organized person, and running one fleet a week in addition to RL responsibilities already stretches me pretty close to the limit. If I ever get to a place where I can run fleets twice a week, it'll probably be a few years in the future, and I'm not even sure if I'll still be playing EVE, let alone be in the Uni, that far ahead.

Thank you all for joining me on my last fleet for a while! As always, feel free to add to my AAR and provide your own perspective on the fleet or my performance as FC below. See you all around!

happy hunting o7
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Satoshi Tomeii

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Post 2018.05.11 22:11

Re: [AAR] Kiting Kestrels 2018.05.07 - The Kestrels and the Bees

It was a great fleet. The Kestrels are fun to fly, but a bit weak on dps. Though I am still learning, I am sorting out which doctrines are my favorites - Kestrels are not at the top of the list. I would fly them again of course, but that is just because I love to fly.

I would point out that my death was also due to me getting excited, hitting Approach and getting too close. A little manual piloting/orbiting versus burning straight at the target would have helped a lot there. Second time dying in the same way recently for me. Lesson learned.

Always enjoy your fleets. Thanks for doing them!
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Budda Sereda

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Post 2018.05.12 16:49

Re: [AAR] Kiting Kestrels 2018.05.07 - The Kestrels and the Bees

Hey Harai, I mentioned to you and want to tell in public: you are too harsh on yourself.

Clearly you are learning, but overall fleet was fun, it was not boring, we had content and kills.

Each fleet you run will (and should) have something new and you will keep learning. Take it easier, consider that not as only obligation of FC to pilots to deliver content, but as a fun entertainment.


And separately about alpha doctrine. I wrote many times already, and will write again: for more than 2 years I saw NO ANY GOOD EXECUTION of alpha doctrine: we don't have enough members to make it work. And even we do... We meet bigger target where DPS matters much more than alpha.

And, a good reading about alpha doctrine: https://www.google.ca/amp/s/amp.reddit. ... firepower/
In short, alpha sucks

P.S. Written from cell phone, sorry for grammar
Join in-game "Budda's Fleet" channel for impromptu activities and quick updates on my future fleets.
My FC career: https://wiki.eveuniversity.org/User:Budda_Sereda
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Decklin Quark Reiger

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Post 2018.05.12 21:41

Re: [AAR] Kiting Kestrels 2018.05.07 - The Kestrels and the Bees

I have experienced a few good roams where we flew BLAP Talwars and BLAP Caracals, and skirmished well.

It *is* extremely SP dependent to get the range to make it work well, and if I'm not mistaken I think the EU time zone has more high-SP pilots at the moment, compared to the US time zone, so that's probably a significant factor.

Keep it up though - it's a really good skill to practice and learn :)
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Budda Sereda

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Post 2018.05.13 01:40

Re: [AAR] Kiting Kestrels 2018.05.07 - The Kestrels and the Bees

Decklin Quark Reiger wrote:I have experienced a few good roams where we flew BLAP Talwars and BLAP Caracals, and skirmished well.

It *is* extremely SP dependent to get the range to make it work well, and if I'm not mistaken I think the EU time zone has more high-SP pilots at the moment, compared to the US time zone, so that's probably a significant factor.

Keep it up though - it's a really good skill to practice and learn :)

But Caracals are not an alpha doctrine, not sure what you mean.

In fact, I admit I've seen 2 BLAP Talwar fleets with Eadrom that did well, though I would argue that Longbow Cormorant would do even better that time.
Join in-game "Budda's Fleet" channel for impromptu activities and quick updates on my future fleets.
My FC career: https://wiki.eveuniversity.org/User:Budda_Sereda
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Conci Furiram

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Post 2018.05.13 14:41

Re: [AAR] Kiting Kestrels 2018.05.07 - The Kestrels and the Bees

Budda Sereda wrote:But Caracals are not an alpha doctrine, not sure what you mean.

I was under the impression our BLAP Caracals are an adaptation of the Treblecats doctrine--an HML alpha doctrine. I wasn't involved in the making of BLAP so I could be mistaken.
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Decklin Quark Reiger

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Post 2018.05.13 15:09

Re: [AAR] Kiting Kestrels 2018.05.07 - The Kestrels and the Bees

The 'standard' BLAP Caracal uses RLMLs, and they can be swapped out for HMLs for specific operations (as they were for OP: Chorogon).

Even with the RLML fit though, if you compare the volley damage of a T2 Caracal (781 damage) compared to the sustained 180 DPS including reload, you can see how important it is to burst down a target before reps arrive. Compared to other cruisers, the RLML Caracal is extremely reliant on its high burst damage during a single clip.

I agree, it's not *quite* the same definition of 'Alpha Strike' from article that you linked, which is:

mukkbarovian wrote:To alpha strike a target, to ‘one shot' it, is to kill it before reps arrive.


However, like 'proper' alpha doctrines it is very reliant on focused, simultaneous fire from all pilots, especially in contrast to our more common brawling blaster fleets.

I think you're drawing a different conclusion from the linked article than what the author intended. In the article, the author explains how the Ferox:
- provides a high amount of 'pre first reps' damage (aka alpha strike), and
- is shield tanked, so the 'pre first reps' damage it receives is lower than an armour doctrine

In essence, the mukkbarovian is saying, "Feroxes are good because they do high alpha damage, and receive less alpha damage than armour BCs"

This is very different than saying, "In short, alpha sucks"

I think the reason we struggle in the uni to fly alpha doctrines (by MukkBarovian's definition) is actually more to do with the fact that we (often, not always) struggle to fly *skirmishing* doctrines. Skirmishing generally goes hand in hand with long range and high alpha strike. It also requires much more situational awareness and fleet coordination than brawling does. That's why I mentioned the BLAP Talwars and BLAP Caracals.

It's that skirmishing ability that we generally have room to improve on :)
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Budda Sereda

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Post 2018.05.14 12:03

Re: [AAR] Kiting Kestrels 2018.05.07 - The Kestrels and the Bees

I agree the article is not to confirm "alpha sucks", it is to give a good understanding of game mechanics.

Yet, if Ferox is better than a Cane in 'alpha-area', then ... what can do a really good alpha? And the most important, in E-Uni reality (at least during my fleets, where I either FC or joined in any role) I rarely saw benefits of alpha doctrine for the fleet mainly due to a low number.
Join in-game "Budda's Fleet" channel for impromptu activities and quick updates on my future fleets.
My FC career: https://wiki.eveuniversity.org/User:Budda_Sereda
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Harai Rex

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Post 2018.05.14 19:40

Re: [AAR] Kiting Kestrels 2018.05.07 - The Kestrels and the Bees

Hey guys, I'd like to keep this thread focused on the AAR and the fleet. We have separate forum boards for discussing fittings and doctrines. If you wish to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of fleet doctrines (or categories of doctrines) in the abstract, please move the conversation to an appropriate thread in FCC forums, PvP discussion, or somewhere else so that the discussion can be more visible and more focused.
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Decklin Quark Reiger

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Post 2018.05.14 21:04

Re: [AAR] Kiting Kestrels 2018.05.07 - The Kestrels and the Bees

Harai Rex wrote:Hey guys, I'd like to keep this thread focused on the AAR and the fleet.


Yep, sorry for side-tracking the thread :)

From your AAR, it sounds to me like you're pushing through a common challenge in terms of the information overload and tactical decision making. Keep it up :)
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