Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Modular Fleet Management.

Anyone who has some history with large fleets knows it tends to go roughly like this: "Everybody X up in alliance !"
…followed by the random shoveling of new entrants into whichever Squad/Wing still has some free room.
Much confusion ensues, and it can take a good long while before the fleet is seemingly ready to roll. Then you wait some more on some 20-odd guys who are taking a leak, eating or otherwise dropped afk because they got bored of sitting idle for an hour, etc.

The resulting fleet is usually not a pretty sight for the tactically-minded and/or Leadership bonus-aware player, but by then, the fleet has to roll, because people are about to lose it, or the window of opportunity is closing, and your fleet layout is unlikely to get any better from this point: you've just built another blobbish creature, and will have to herd it according to its natural limitations.

Enters Modular Fleet Management:

The basic idea is to allow Fleet Bosses and Wing/Fleet Commanders to invite/move/kick Squads and Wings as building blocks.

It then becomes possible for a Wing/Fleet Commander to invite an independent Squad/Wing-sized gang to merge into her fleet by sending an invitation to its gang boss/commander (skills allowing).


Fleet A is a 3-wings fleet, commanded by Admiral Custard.
  • Wing A1 (4 squads) is commanded by Commander Blue
  • Wing A2 (2 squads) is commanded by Commander Red
  • Wing A3 (3 squads) is commanded by Commander Teal
[I'd list all the Squad Leaders with other web color names, but you get the idea.]
Meanwhile Fleet B is really a Wing, led by Commander Asparagus, with Wing Command lvl 2:
  • Squad B1: led by Squad Leader Cheerios (8 members)
  • Squad B2: led by Squad Leader Cheetos (10 members)
Admiral Custard is just about to enter hostile space with his mixed subcapital fleet when he's informed Commander Asparagus' Carrier group just arrived in the area and is in fact in jump range of Fleet A.

After a quick convo between the two gang leaders, Commander Asparagus agrees to join forces under Admiral Custard's banner.
Lolita Janitor, Fleet A's Boss and fleet manager then creates a Wing A4 in Fleet A, looks up Commander Asparagus in People & Places, and right-clicks his mug: Invite to Fleet/Wing A4/Wing Commander/With group.

Fleet A is now a 4-wings fleet, still under Admiral Custard's command.
  • Wing A1 (4 squads) is commanded by Commander Blue
  • Wing A2 (2 squads) is commanded by Commander Red
  • Wing A3 (3 squads) is commanded by Commander Teal
  • Wing A4 (2 squads) is commanded by Commander Asparagus
    • Squad B1: led by Squad Leader Cheerios (8 members)
    • Squad B2: led by Squad Leader Cheetos (10 members)
[Note that the Wing A4 Squad Names, roles and layout have been imported along, making the integration of the Wing in Fleet a turnkey experience.]

Faster-paced action = moar fnu !

Gang Bosses, Fleet or Wing leaders should also have the ability to move (or kick) an entire Squad or Wing across (or out of) the Fleet as a group (including theirs), with the sole addition (from an UI perspective) of the '/With Group' submenu entry to every selection applicable to a Squad/Wing Commander in a Fleet.

If that feature isn't too tricky to implement, it could make a world of difference overnight.
Not only would it allow Fleets to be assembled on-the-fly from ad-hoc friendly gangs in the same area, but it would make fleet formation in general snappier, and much less of a showstopper in the way of players' fun.

Smarter play through usability:

The ability to assemble and organize fleet tiers in a modular way would also encourage and assist players into building fleets with sensible layouts, which could contribute to drive FCs away from mindless blob tactics.

Detaching a combat group to a different objective under current Fleet Management mechanics is often more than most big-fleet FCs can handle, as it requires a lot of shuffling around of pilots for the Wing to get ready, since the fleet got semi-randomly populated in first place — all of which is time-consuming and breaks the groove of fleet command.

Assuming a Wing could get invited piecemeal into a Fleet from its previously self-suficient combat group status, said Wing can still play its autonomous role inside the Fleet, meaning it's a simple move to detach it (without the Wing even leaving Fleet) and send this Wing on a sub-mission.


This is a simple enough feature to describe and understand, and in fact one that naturally comes to mind from the first time using the 'new' gang system… the only reasons I can see for it not being in game yet are:
- some arcane technical snafu that makes it difficult to code ;
- the people who designed the improved gang system don't actually play EVE in mundane fleet circumstances, and look at it strictly from behind a bulletproof glass window.

Short of the former proving overbearing, and with the latter objection solved by this crystalline description of why fleet tiers should behave as blocks across fleets, Modular Fleet Management seems like an obvious addition to the higher half of the ToDo pile.


1 comment:

  1. bon, je crois que ton blog m'est incompréhensible !
    J'arrivais encore à te suivre dans l'ancien, mais là j'abandonne ...
    bisous tout de même