FC school did not prepare me for this

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Xana McBash

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Post 2017.08.25 18:51

FC school did not prepare me for this

So, yesterday's US fleet almost ended in tears:

During our second site, an OTA. About 2000 pilots randomly lost connection to eve.
First one of our pickets DC'ed and called it on comms.
While I was trying to get Gavel Rin (our replacement picket) in mumble, I get hit over the head with a logi disconnect.
Comms got a bit hectic, somewhere in there the 2nd wave spawned and an additional DD disconnected as well.
Tristle had to hit me over the head to run the logi drill. So I called to abandon drones and set our logi bots on our remaining scimi, Logan.
Once we got down to the last ship, a deltole, I called to hold dps and align out to the station, my plan was to pop it and immediatly warp the pre-aligned ships to safety.
Just as I was about to do it, Lucius, the logi DC, said he was logging back on, so I told the fleet to ctrl space and cancel align. I did not want the disconnected pilots logging back alone to an unfinished site. Turns out the servers were still a bit wonky, and his client was only showing a loading screen.

So, instead of sitting there dying one at a time, I asked logan if thought he could tank the last wave. He said yes, so I called to resume damage on the deltole. We ran the OTA'ss final wave. One of our DDs, a mach if I recall correctly, hit deep armor, but Logan managed to hold him.
Site finished, fleet docked, we took a 30 minute break to calm down and talk about the situation while pilots relogged.

Comms discipline was bad, and people kept talking over each other, but some of the things said were good suggestions that probably ended up saving the fleet.
Between dcs, confusion, a short window of no-boosts, and me FC'ing at 4 in the morning, it's a miracle we didn't lose a single ship.
Mostly came down to divine providence and Logan being able to hold everybody up while taking damage himself.

---- Part 2: Electric Bogaloo ----

After the 30 minute break, I stepped down as FC, with the Eve issues and random DCs I did not feel comfortable continuing the fleet. Zurian volunteered to take over so we reformed and got running again.

Troubles were not over yet though, after 5 sites we ran into a issue, somehow one member in the fleet managed to get a weapons timer (?), flag quickly propagated and one of the logis earned a suspect timer for repping.
Call was made to go yellow safeties, we finished the site, docked up and folded the fleet.

That should do it to get the discussion started, sorry for the wall of text, I know some of you have a lot to say as well about the whole run.
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Kontxesi Buchanan

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Post 2017.08.25 19:03

Re: FC school did not prepare me for this

I wasn't there for this fleet (thank god, it sounds like?) but just a note about the comms discipline:

I have noticed this being a big problem this week in general, and I'm sure it was exacerbated by the panicked situation last night. I'm exactly sure what has changed recently, but a big part of the issue seems to be the number of new pilots. The newbros themselves are not the problem, but there are a LOT of people trying to be helpful and answer their questions. At the same time. During the Wednesday night fleet, it felt like there wasn't a single minute that past when there weren't at least two, usually three, people trying to talk over one another. It was madness, and contributed greatly to the bad attitude from me that I'm sure people noticed.

I strongly recommend that in fleets with new players, the FC delegate one pilot to be in charge of answering new pilot questions (unless he/she is comfortable doing it themselves, of course). It doesn't help the new guy to have to fight to hear the answer to his questions. I know that on my first fleet, any sort of unnecessary chatter was incredibly distracting.

I also second something that Logan mentioned in Mumble a few minutes ago: we need to push for more proper use of comms, speaking in third person and whatnot. Too many people saying "I" and "me" last night really added to the confusion, from what I understand.
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Analiese Aubernet

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Post 2017.08.26 01:36

Re: FC school did not prepare me for this

The third wave of an OTA is one of the most dangerous waves in vanguards. I'd highly advise not taking it with logi + dps missing.
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Rikki Bigg

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Post 2017.08.26 17:08

Re: FC school did not prepare me for this

I was in this fleet. Some things went well, others did not.

Picket diconnected: this was the first thing that happened, and I feel was something that was not respected adequately in the decision making process. I explained my position to the members of the fleet after it happened, but repeat it here for the sake of discussion.

With the picket gone, the fleet is vulnerable. Every single person in the fleet with an IVY/Uni tag is vulnerable. The entire reason we have a community to fly incursions, and keep our alumni and veteran players on alts coming back is to support the ability to let uni pilots at war learn/participate in incursions. If I want to make isk, I can go fly public, and leave the Uni folks out to dry.

The primary decision making process at that point in time, when a picket is down/gone is to get the fleet safe. The simplest easiest way to do so is to extract and dock up, just as if actual wartargets had been spotted by pickets. From my perspective, a picket disconnecting from fleet and coms with no response should be treated as severely as an actual wartarget, as this is Eve, and there is always the possibility that the picket is an alt of a wartarget setting up a trap.

Setting this bit aside for a moment, the response by the fc was handled well, he held the last Deltole in the first wave, had us align out, so that after we spawned the second wave (that starts far enough away as to be unable to scram and hold a fleet member on field initially) he could fleet warp us to safety. At least that was the plan, then it wasn't followed.

Coms were messy, a Logi disconnected, a dd disconnected, people were talking in coms about logging back in, or rushing to get back on grid...

Now I'm just as guilty about trying to offer advice when I'm not FCing in a fleet, to try to help relieve pressure from the FC. I call drones in/out when I am DDD. And I am at times too soft when I am FC, not demanding absolute control over coms when other players are being helpful. It seems this is a mindset we need to reset, for the sake of our community. In a unrelated fleet, I had logged on to coms after attempting to communicate in the incursion channel with no response. I experienced a scout taking a gate as they announced they were taking the gate. Then several seconds later the fleet showed up on the gate.

There is no independent action in a fleet. Everything you do is with the blessing of the FC. Some of the roles are inherently granted permission (like dd, as an example) but are still to be adjusted via FC command. There is no reason for anyone to ever announce they are taking a gate, when they should be asking permission. Under combat coms (ie after being told to shut it) no one should be making statements, they should be asking permission to speak. The only time there is an exception is when a picket encounters wartargets, who can speak over with break break and their issue, but that is explicitly granted by the FC via the role and supported in the literature on the Incursion wiki.

...so now we are back to the server instability, everyone was scrambling to get back in game to help. The logi that disconnected was in good faith trying to get back into game. Other players had it in their mind that it was the best case to get themselves back into game. All of those little things added more variables to an uncontrolled situation. It sucks to be the one to tell a player not to log in until after downtime because the fleet extracted from an active site, and if they do they will likely be blown up. But that situation controlled, the fleet that extracted is safe, the player logged off is safe. It sucks to leave drones behind on field with no way to recover them until after the same time period, but it is a calculated loss, and minor to the loss of a ship. I was surprised when we pushed the second wave and didn't warp off. It is unreliable to extract between the second and third wave of an OTA. As Analiese said, it is dangerous to run the third wave of an OTA short logi and dps, but in this case we had no choice: our options were to sit on grid holding the second deltole and hope wartargets didn't show up while we were blind and exposed as we waited for the servers to become stable, or to push the third wave and try to complete the site.

I do have to commend Xana and the remaining logi for triaging the situation the way they did, and had we not been down a picket the issue would not have been so potentially severe. But the decision making process should be based on how to keep what little control over a bad situation that can be held, rather than to add more variables and chaos. They did state after the fleet was safe, that the loss of the picket had been put on the back burner after the logi disconnect, it was deprioritized. I hope that everyone involved (especially the players that were simply line members of the fleet) can learn from this situation how easy it is to cascade a string of errors into a catastrophe.
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Logan Zauber

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Post 2017.10.05 18:06

Re: FC school did not prepare me for this

I agree with Rikki very much.

From my perspective as Logi- it was one of the most experienced, strong and stable logi pilots that disconnected. The guy I ask questions to.. so when he was lost, I wanted him back! I was also pleased I had that Pithum-C AIF although it was not overheated. LogiBots did well by me. I did forget I could overheat my reppers- next time I will be more prepared.

We did fumble at not abandoning at the first wave of the OTA. Being in the second wave and having cleared it easily with solo logi I felt that fighting through the 3rd wave was safest. Abandoning at the second wave of an OTA has extra hazard as every ship that spawns can scram and they all drop right on top of you. Not good. No picket, I would have finished the site from first wave. We believed Logi was inbound. When Logi was locked out in second wave, we were committed to finishing the 3rd wave with solo logi. Well, nobody died. Interesting data point.

It's one of those situations where I got to smirk. The week before I had the privilege to fly with the "go fast" fleet and they were all yucking it up about how tanky the Uni fits are. Well.. those guys would have lost a lot of ships. We slugged it out. I don't think it was luck, it was preparation. Also I learned that our site times are not that much slower than theirs- they do fly between sites much faster at considerable cost in ISK, tank, and concentrated attention without much time for relaxing.

With BAD luck compounding our initial bad luck, we could have lost a couple of ships. As it was, our ship doctrine assumes that we intend to survive common disasters. We did, and our FC did fine. I completely understand needing to step down as FC after such an event because it'll get your adrenalin flowing for sure! Yep... we stood there, close to the edge and fought dragons.

Losing the picket started things rolling and put us off balance. In general, I feel that the risks of a mid-OTA extraction are larger than the risk of completing the site without picket. Hopefully site times are under 6 minutes then run safely to station. I'm open to correction on this. Not having done a lot of practice on abandoning an OTA.. I really don't know how well I can do it.

summary- our doctrine works, our FC did fine, our fleet needs to work on combat comms, I learned a lot, and yeah- what Rikky said.
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Tansarii Kashada

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Post 2017.11.12 16:04

Re: FC school did not prepare me for this

+1 to getting Unistas off grid the second you find out your picket is lost or dc'ed. No picket, no fleet.
+1 to comms discipline, especially combat comms.
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