Friday, February 07, 2014

Know Thyself

"Gnōthi Seauton" - Know Thyself

As I get more and more practice as a fleet commander I can start to see my personal strengths and weaknesses reflect on the experience.

I'm good at spatial problems and constructing images in my mind, so that as intel comes in I can picture the various moving parts and how they are interacting. I'm good at reading people, even just through the tone of their voice, and I'm good at teaching and guiding people as I'm patient and tolerant of mistakes, so I can take a newer pilot and talk him through being a scout in the next system. I have a good memory so I can remember most of EVE's mechanics as well as ship type names and their typical loadouts and abilities.

On the other hand, I can panic easily and can freeze in such a spot. The panic comes from situations where I don't know what to do off the top of my head, and my mind races to find a reaction and seems to freeze in the process like a computer program in an endless loop that can't find the exit condition.

Knowing I have this weakness is one of the main reasons I avoided trying to be an FC for so many years; I'd rather have someone else take the pressure and tell me what to do. But since I have finally decided that excuse was insufficient and it was time to push myself in a new direction, I've tried to work around those weaknesses as much as I can.

At first when I started FCing I was extremely cautious as my anxiety of my spastic-ness was very high, but after a while I finally decided that losing was a part of trying and to let go of the fear of loss. Fear is the fun killer, so put it aside.

Next I made sure to practice practice practice... to the point where thinking for the basic things like giving orders and calling targets do not require thinking, and to make sure I constantly am speaking to the fleet to instill confidence in them and prevent general fleet paralysis. FCing is a lot like learning a physical task; if you practice enough at the basics, your "muscle" memory will take over and react faster than your conscious brain can think and react.

Now that I'm getting better at the basics with small gangs, I need more practice with the larger fleets with more dimensions than just tackle and DPS, hence the open fleets with logistics, e-war ships, etc.

Finally, I need to be more careful of the ship I choose to FC from. As mentioned earlier this week, I made a mistake last Friday by trying to FC while flying a tackle interceptor. Bad idea; I was often distracted on getting/keeping the point and not focusing on the battlefield as a whole. So going forward, knowing my strengths and weaknesses, I'll keep to the simple DPS ships that require less thought so I have more cycles for the bigger picture.

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