Monday, March 07, 2011

Eve Master Class: The Mechanics of Command

This is a repost of an Eve Tribune article I wrote. I am very happy with how it turned out and wanted to include it here for inclusion in my master class series.

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Leadership is a life skill that you either master or it masters you. Leadership in Eve is no different and the old maxim, "lead, follow, or get out of the way" holds very true. Fleet Commanders are made, not born. Sure, you might have some natural attributes that helps you master the art of leadership, but only in the forges of combat can a leader rise to its true potential.

This article has nothing to any of that. Go read Machiavelli or Sun Tzu. I'm going to talk to you about the mechanics of command, or more accurately, the mechanics of Leadership in Eve.

In a fleet pilots placed in leadership positions of the fleet hierarchy can boost the performance of pilots under their command. Shields, armour, electronic warfare, mining, etc. can all be improved by a significant amount if the skills and equipment of the Squad leader, Wing Commander, or Fleet Commander are up to the task. In this article we explore those skills, modules, implants, and ships so that pilots can begin to step into the leadership role with confidence.

Skills
Leadership / Wing Command / Fleet Command :
These three skills are the basic skills of leadership and allow for the control of more squad members, squadrons, and wings respectively. In addition, Leadership grants a 2% bonus to subordinates' targeting speed per level. Every pilot should train Leadership to level V so that they can lead a squadron of a full 10 members when called upon.

Note: when calculating the bonuses a player only receives the highest of the bonuses of the leaders above him. For example, if his wing commander has Leadership III and his squad commander has Leadership V, the pilot will receive the full 10% bonus from his squad commander and not the 6% bonus from his wing commander. This is true of all of the leadership bonuses we will discuss in this article.

Also note that bonuses only apply to ships in the same solar system.

Armored/Information/Siege/Skirmish Warfare:
These four skills are the base PvP leadership skills and grant the following bonuses:
  • Armored - 2% bonus to armour hit points per level
  • Information - 2% bonus to target range per level
  • Siege - 2% bonus to shield capacity per level
  • Skirmish - 2 % bonus to ship agility per level
Note that there is a subtle difference between Armored Warfare and Siege Warfare. The former grants hitpoints while the latter grants the extra space to get more hitpoints. This is an attempt to balance shield's natural recharge ability but can be an incredible pain for capital and supercapital ships.

Armored/Information/Siege/Skirmish Warfare Specialist:
The four specialist skills allow for the use of the warfare link modules of which there is three of each kind. We will discuss them in detail later on but basically they provide additional bonuses to pilots under your command when fitted and activated on your ship. They can only be fitted on ships with a special bonus and of those ships most of them can only activate one at a time.

The first level of the skill allows for use of the respective modules, and subsequent levels increases the effectiveness of the modules by 100%.

Example: the Armored Warfare Link - Passive Defence module gives a base 2% bonus to armour resistances of your boosted fleet members, but with Armored Warfare Specialist at level II it increases to 4% and at level IV it is up to 8%.

Mining Foreman & Mining Director:
Miners need love too and these two skills fill the same roles as the Warfare and Warfare Specialist skills do for PvPers. Mining Foreman gives a 2% bonus to mining yield per level while Mining Director facilitates the use of the three Mining Foreman Link modules which we will go into later in more detail.

Warfare Link Specialist:
Finally, we come to the Warfare Link Specialist skill which boosts the effectiveness of all Warfare Link and Mining Foreman Link modules by 10% per level.

Example: So back to our example Armored Warfare Link - Passive Defence module, if your Armored Warfare Specialist skill is at level IV it gives 8% bonus to resistances. If Warfare Specialist is at level I, it increases to 8.8% (i.e. 8% + 10% bonus) and if you get it to level V it increases to 12% (i.e. 8% + 50% bonus).

Note that this skill also works on the Mining Foreman Link modules.

Implants
If you are serious about being a booster in a fleet, having good skills and a command ship is not enough. There is an implant you can fit that will increase one area of leadership bonuses considerably but requires Cybernetics V and the corresponding Warfare Specialist skill to V as well. It takes some time but the payoff is worth it. They all use slot 10 in your skull so no mixing and matching bonuses I'm afraid.

Armored Warfare Mindlink: 50% increase to the command bonus of Armored Warfare Link modules and replaces Armored Warfare skill bonus (i.e. 10%) with 15% armour hitpoint bonus.

Information Warfare Mindlink: 50% increase to the command bonus of Information Warfare Link modules and replaces Information Warfare skill bonus (i.e. 10%) with 15% targeting range bonus.

Siege Warfare Mindlink: 50% increase to the command bonus of Siege Warfare Link modules and replaces Siege Warfare skill bonus (i.e. 10%) with 15% shield capacity bonus.

Skirmish Warfare Mindlink: 50% increase to the command bonus of Skirmish Warfare Link modules and replaces Skirmish Warfare skill bonus (i.e. 10%) with 15% ship agility bonus.

Mining Foreman Mindlink: 50% increase to the command bonus of Mining Foreman Link modules and replaces Mining Foreman skill bonus (i.e. 10%) with 15% mining yeild bonus.

Example: a pilot named Joe with Armored Warfare V and Armored Warfare Specialist V would get the Armored Warfare Link - Passive Defence bonus up to 15% extra on resistances. If he plugs in the Armored Warfare Mindlink the module now gives 22.5% (i.e. 15% + 50% bonus) and the 10% bonus to armour hitpoints due to Armored Warfare V is now replaced with a 15% bonus.

Modules
Now that we have covered the skills and implants the pilot must have/can use, let's look at the modules that you can fit on your ship to increase your subordinates' performance even further. Typically only one of these modules can be active at a time on a ship with certain exceptions. We will discuss the ships that these modules are allowed on in the next section.

There are 15 link modules, three for each of the types: Armored, Information, Siege, Skirmish, and Mining.

Armored Warfare Link - Damage Control: Reduces the capacitor need of remote and local armour repairers by 2%.

Armored Warfare Link - Passive Defence: Increases armour resistances by 2%.

Armored Warfare Link - Rapid Repair: Reduces the duration of remote and local armour repairers by 2%.

Information Warfare Link - Electronic Superiority: Increases ECM jam strength by 2%, sensor dampener targeting range and scan resolution penalty by 1.2%, tracking disruptor optimal and falloff penalty by 1.2%, and target painter signature bonus by 2%.

Information Warfare Link - Recon Operation: Increases optimal range of electronic warfare modules by 2%.

Information Warfare Link - Sensor Integrity: Increases ship sensor strength by 3%.

Siege Warfare Link - Active Shielding: Reduces the duration of shield boosters and shield transporters by 2%.

Siege Warfare Link - Shield Efficiency: Reduces the capacitor need of shield boosters and shield transporters by 2%.

Siege Warfare Link - Shield Harmonizing: Increases shield resistances by 2%.

Skirmish Warfare Link - Evasive Maneuvers: Reduces ship signature radius by 2%.

Skirmish Warfare Link - Interdiction Maneuvers: Increases optimal range of Warp Scramblers and Warp Disruptors by 3%.

Skirmish Warfare Link - Rapid Deployment: Increases the speed boost of afterburners and micro warp drives by 2%.

Mining Foreman Link - Harvester Capacitor Efficiency: Reduces the capacitor need of mining lasers, gas harvesters, and ice harvesters by 2%.

Mining Foreman Link - Laser Optimization: Reduces the duration of mining lasers, gas harvesters, and ice harvesters by 2%.

Mining Foreman Link - Mining Laser Field Enhancement: Increases the optimal range of mining lasers, gas harvesters, and ice harvesters by 4.5%.

These values may seem very low but you must recall that they are increased by the respective warfare specialist skill and can be enhanced by the respective implant so with perfect skills that 2% bonus can look like 15% bonus, and then up to 22.5% with the implant plugged in. And that does not even take into account a bonus from a ship.

Finally, as I mentioned earlier most ships that are allowed to fit warfare link modules can only have one active at once. This limitation can be worked around if the ship fits a Command Processor module in a mid-slot. It has high fitting requirements (150 CPU and 50 power grid) and it is more logical to simply use one of the dedicated ships that are allowed to activate multiple warfare links instead.

Ships
Now we get to the meat of the subject, for everything else is for naught if you are not actually in a ship in space and in the right fleet position boosting your mates. If you are not using warfare links, then really any ship can work as a booster since it is only dependent on your relevant skills and implant. The bonuses are not very much and a real fleet booster can give tremendous gains with a properly equipped ship.

There are seven combat classes of ships that can fit warfare link modules, and the two ORE capital ships.

Battlecruisers: The 8 tech I battlecruisers are the poor man's command ships and rarely used to fit warfare links on as the they grant no additional bonus other than the ability to fit them and the link modules have fairly high fitting requirements (50 CPU and 200 powergrid).

Field Command Ships: These are the Amarr Absolution, Caldari Nighthawk, Gallente Astarte, and Minmatar Sleipnir. They are designed for up close and personal fighting while still supporting their fleet, and like the Tech I versions they can activate only one warfare link module at a time and have no bonus to their effectiveness.

Fleet Command Ships: This category is made up of the Amarr Damnation, Caldari Vulture, Gallente Eos, and Minmatar Claymore. They are primarily designed to support fleets through warfare link boosting and do not have the same fighting capability as their field command counterparts. They are allowed to have 3 warfare link modules active at a time AND get 3 % bonus to their racial warfare type warfare link modules per level of Command Ship skill.

The racial warfare types are: Amarr -> Armour, Caldari -> Siege, Gallente -> Information, and Minmatar -> Skirmish.

Example: Pilot Joe has Armored Warfare V, Armored Warfare Specialist V, and an Armored Warfare Mindlink implant. Using the Armored Warfare Link - Passive Defence on a normal battlecruiser he gives 22.5% bonus to all armour resistances to the ships he is boosting in fleet. However, the same pilot and module in a Damnation Fleet command ship with Command Ship skill at level IV gives a 25.2% bonus to armour resistances, and he could fit and activate two more warfare link modules as well.

Strategic Cruisers: The four strategic cruisers are normally not used for command purposes, but they can be if they fit the defensive subsystem Warfare Processor. This subsystem allows for warfare link modules to be fitted (but only one to be activated at a time) and gives a 5 % bonus to their racial warfare type warfare link modules per level of racial Defensive Subsystem skill.

Example: If pilot Joe trained up for a Legion strategic cruiser and fit his Armored Warfare Link - Passive Defence module on it with the Warfare Processor subsystem and Amarr Defensive Subsystem skill at level V, he would give a 28.12% bonus to armour resistances.

Carriers: Much like tech I battlecruisers, the four carriers simply have the ability to fit warfare link modules (only one active at a time barring fitting Command Processors) with no bonus to their effectiveness.

Supercarriers: The four supercarriers do not get any racial bonus to warfare link modules, but they have the ability to activate one extra module per level of relevant Carrier skill. This means with the Carrier skill at level 5 the ship can activate six warfare link modules. Typically it is not worth it though as you have to sacrifice many high slots for the mods and two cheaper fleet command ships can do it more effectively.

Titans: The four titans have the same ability as the supercarriers to fit up to six active warfare links modules albeit without additional bonus. It is typically not done for the same reasons as well.

Orca: The Orca acts like a Fleet Command Ship for mining operations. It has the ability to fit warfare link modules (which includes mining foreman link modules for the record) and can activate up to three of them simultaneously. On top of that it gets a 3% bonus to mining foreman link modules per level of Industrial Command ship.

Rorqual: The mother of all industrial ships, the low sec / null sec only Rorqual can do everything the Orca can do in a mining operation in terms of fleet boosting, only better. It can fit and activate up to three warfare link modules and gets a 10% bonus to their effectiveness per level of Capital Industrial Ship skill.

Go Forth and Lead
So there you have it: the skills, implants, modules, and ships you need to increase the effectiveness of your gang considerably. You can make their defences much harder with raw hit points, higher resistances, and better repairers; you can make their electronic warfare have better range and more power; you can make their ships more agile and high sensor strength; and you can make their mining lasers burn through asteroids with the ease of a hot knife through butter.

7 comments:

  1. In a fleet pilots placed in leadership positions of the fleet hierarchy can boost the performance of pilots under their command.

    Any pilot can boost the squad, wing, or fleet, not just those in commanding positions. A squad/wing/fleet commander can relinquish his 'boost' and have it be given to a mere squad member instead. This way, a leader can still take control of the fleet whilst a pilot who has more skill training in the warfare skills can improve the fleet's performance.

    For example, if his wing commander has Leadership III and his squad commander has Leadership V, the pilot will receive the full 10% bonus from his squad commander and not the 6% bonus from his wing commander.

    In fact, he will receive no bonus. Wing Command has the pre-requisite of Leadership V, so with only Leadership III trained the wing commander would not be in a position to offer any bonus when in that position in the fleet. Moreover, the fleet would be invalid with a wing commander not having the requisite skill trained, and an invalid fleet gains no bonuses at all. I'm sure this is merely a theoretical working of numbers as an example, but without clarifying this it could be confusing, particularly as you don't mention requiring a valid fleet to gain any boosts.

    Actually, I'm surprised you give no mention of how to ensure a valid fleet composition and setting squad/wing/fleet boosters, especially considering getting both configured correctly is vital for gaining any of the benefits you list.

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  2. When I said "leadership position" I internally meant the booster positions as well, which I consider a leadership position. Sorry if that was unclear.

    The example was a poor one. I choose the leadership skill as it was easy to understand. Substitute any of the other warfare skills as you please.

    I avoid discussion of valid fleet composition as I felt that was another article with a different feel to it, i.e. more advisory and less factual/about the numbers.

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  3. Worth mentioning is the commonality of T3s as max-skilled, mind-linked multi-warfare linking ships, with command processors and un-probeable sensor strength. A maxed out Loki can provide a 42% bonus to tackle range, and all other warfare links can be raised to at least 28% with the appropriate mindlink and racial T3 cruiser. Tengus give massive bonuses to shield effectiveness (seriously, REALLY massive for active shield tanks); Legions can do the same for armor, and a Proteus can make your fleet nigh unjammable while able to ECM the very eyeballs off of the enemy fleet.

    I would say that the skill-based bonuses of the four Titans are also very noteworthy. For instance, the Avatar is like two free cap rechargers for every ship in the fleet, while the Erebus is like two free trimarks with no speed penalty.

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  4. "Note that there is a subtle difference between Armored Warfare and Siege Warfare. The former grants hitpoints while the latter grants the extra space to get more hitpoints. This is an attempt to balance shield's natural recharge ability but can be an incredible pain for capital and supercapital ships."

    Rookie question but why is it an incredible pain?

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  5. @Latro: If a Wyvern get 10% shields, it might gain 100,000 shield point capacity... but normal recharge rates. This can take hours to recover, and even boosting with a capital shield booster can take a long long time. So for all intents and purposes, it might never see the benefit of the boost.

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  6. In short, when you start getting bonuses, like a 50% shield amount bonus jumping into a fight where you have a Leviathan on the field, that extra 50% shields is gone and needs to be filled up by logistics or long recharge before it's any good. On a titan or a supercarrier, this can take tens of minutes, whereas an armor fleet gaining the same bonuses gets the benefits of armor amount right away.

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  7. Thanks for the article - it really helped me see how the skills boost fleets in real terms and it just added MONTHS to my training plans...

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