About a month ago, Repercussus left Violence of Action and joined NC. I was a little surprised. It's well known that NC. wants every player to have the ability to fly and live out of a capital. With some of RP's newer players, I wasn't sure it'd be a good fit.
But after a few weeks, I've been enjoying it so much that I've moved Talvorian back into RP. First impressions have been strong. On comms, pilots are cool and collected. The alliance flies the shiny ships that initially drew me to join TISHU last year, and has both the ability and interest in flying smaller doctrines. And when they do throw down, they do so with the support of PL and a robust capital SRP program. If I lose a dread, I can get back into the fight regardless of how much isk I have tied up. Suffice to say, I bought and fully decked out two Naglfars in the first week.
But that's honestly not what impressed me about NC. It's not the doctrines or the SRP, but rather the FC corps. These people know what they're doing.
And I've found myself increasingly wanting to be like them.
Recently, I've been a bit listless, shifting to various corporations in the search for a specific set of characteristics. I've wanted somewhere that provides a variety of content (both large fleets and small gang) with a strong (but not too strong) USTZ that has fleets that go out within a narrow window of time each day. All of the corps I joined met some of those, but often the fleets would head out an hour or half an hour too soon, which meant I just couldn't attend. They're all great groups... just not quite a fit for the limited time I can play.
My kids love the Kung Fu Panda movies. In the third one, the titular panda, Po, is pushed by his master to become a teacher as a way of stretching himself and deepening his knowledge of kung fu. It's a meaningful lesson, and my wife saw fit to apply it to my dilemma in her usual succinct way.
My insightful wife: "If you're complaining about fleets not going out at a convenient time, why don't you lead the fleets?"
Me: "Because I suck at FCing."
My insightful wife: "Then get better."
Yes, that's right. She pulled the HTFU card on me. And she's right. I can either sit here and complain about something or take steps to own it, internalize it, and immunize myself from a lack of content forever.
In the past, I've tried FCing. I get the "make a decision, any decision" rule to avoid paralysis. I stay calm during fights and don't forget the basic stuff. But my knowledge of the various fleet doctrines, counters, and abilities isn't anywhere near comprehensive and I have a terrible memory. I often check info on the ships I'm warping towards to refresh myself about all their bonuses and fitting layouts, just so I can prepare for likely tactics during that brief period before I land. I have a working sense of ship capabilities and doctrines, not a strong sense of them.
At the same time, I'm also a little daunted by the amount of preparation work and information that goes into leading fleets. I worry about how I'll find targets to engage to keep fleet members sated and engaged. It seems like a really complicated, opaque process. FCing really is a skill that benefits from mentoring.
So, taking my wife's advice, I want to learn to be an FC. I want to internalize content generation to the point where I don't need to sync up with other fleets, but can run my own.
Recentely, one of the NC. FCs caught a ratting super after several days of tracking it. We took a WH to nearby, logged in dictors, caught and killed it in a beautifully executed operation. It was done so well that it actually seemed easy.
"Seemed" is the operative word. It involved planting dictor pilots logged off in system, scouts to track its movements, scouts to find a WH chain near the target system, coordination of fleet boosters, members who had confidence in the operation, and an FC that could bring it all together. It was an incredibly complicated dance of functions and responsibilities that this group just seemed to understand. The operation emerged from the familiarity of years of reliably working together.
I had spoken about the next few weeks defining my time in Eve. I never considered leaving the game, but rather assessing what I could reliably expect to pursue with the amount of time I can play? After all, I have a wife, two kids, and a full-time job, all of which are a higher priority than Eve.
But, I can make decisions when I roam solo, and I'm comfortable working through the excitement of an engagement to think logically. That's a base to build on. But, at some point in our interactions with Eve, just participating doesn't satisfy anymore. It's not enough to stay as we are. We need to make the choice to either move to the next step or give up.
This game is filled with such infinite variety, because it involves human ingenuity. I can't give it up. So, I have to move forward.
I want to be responsible for those unlikely victories, for extracting intact after a surprise dreadbomb, for pulling off a super kill like that.