Keep FitJeg Elsker
I’ve been in null-sec for a long time but always lacked the ability to think of fabulous and exciting new ship fits and fleet comps (I’ll leave that to the theorycrafters). On the other hand, I reckon I have an eye for looking at a typical null-sec fleet fit and quickly determining whether it is terribad or not. It never fails to surprise me how awful some alliance-dictated ship fits are. For every SlowCat out there (nice one Elise!), there is another 100mn AB Scimi straining at the leash, desperate to break the mould. Having flown it, let me tell you with utmost confidence that the 100mn AB Scimi is absolutely fucking terribad. Everyone knows this. Everyone who has ever had the misfortune of piloting one of those monstrosities knows they are a pig to pilot. But perhaps it has a place and a purpose?
I could start listing other examples – weird Tengu fits with unusual prop mods, Nado fits which completely ignore even a passing nod to the concept of ‘tanking’, et cetera, et cetera. The question is, why do alliance level leaderships and FCs put together such bad fits and expect the rank and file to suck it up?
There are a few reasons you may open your alliance fittings to see something you would have expected a three-month old noob to have puked out of EFT.
1) Alliance Leadership And FCs Know Better Than You
And a lot of the time this is true. Whether through beguiling tongue, great leadership qualities on the field, a genius head for spreadsheets and numbers or knowing the right people, these people are alliance leaders, not you. It’s not unreasonable to think they may coming from a position of greater knowledge or authority than yourself. So you should just assume that they know better and suck it up right? Well, perhaps. Sometimes. Of course, other times it is better to rely on your intuition. If you are opening a fit and your first thought is ‘what the fuck is going on here?’ it’s probably worth, at the very least, digging around for answers or some kind of justification.
Also, keep your ear to the ground with respect to comments on kill reports, #tweetfleet, forums, public channels, news sites, etc. When players from all the other major alliances are constantly taking the piss out of the fits your alliance has theorycrafted, sure, they could just be metagaming. Or they could have come to the understanding that actually there aren’t that many good Scimi (for example) fits out there and trying to change the status quo is an unnecessary risk. Pay careful attention to who from those other alliances is poking holes however – if the average grunt from your alliance isn’t in on the secret-awesome tech your FCs have put together, it is highly unlikely (but not improbable) that the rank and file from others have no idea what they are talking about either.
Course, when your super-secret fleet comp goes out three times, gets welped on each occasion and every other FC in the game is laughing at you, it’s perhaps time for a re-evaluation.
2) The Fit Is Specifically Tailored As Support For Another Fleet Comp
In the intro I mentioned the 100mn AB Scimi. I don’t think I am letting the cat out of the bag by informing you, gentle-reader, that this logi was designed to fly with the 100mn Tengus which SoCo fly often under the watchful eyes of Chairman Maku. Yes, taken out of context, it’s an awful fit for a Scimi but if you want logi support for a fleet composition which has seen some success (like him or not, Maka picks up a lot of kills FCing those fast Tengus), you have to be prepared to move from the norm. The only way Scimis can keep up with the Tengus is to take a large deviation away from the standard cookie-cutter fits and think outside of the box. With the correct skills and implants, these ships can keep up with the main DPS while still having a compliment of three shield transporters.
There are numerous other examples of support ship fits being heavily altered from what is considered ‘standard’ to support some key component of the DPS. You may open an alliance fit for a particular class of ship and consider it horrendous (and hey, it may actually be horrendous too) but don’t automatically write it off without thinking about why the changes may be in place.
3) The Fit Is Specifically Tailored To The Average Grunt In Your Alliance
You may be sat on 75m SP but the average PvP pilot in your alliance is sat at 15m. Conversely, you may have just joined an alliance, on a vouch from an real-life friend perhaps, and your 20m SP looks a bit daft when everyone else is 50m+. Alliance level fits will (well, at least should) take into account what your guys can fly. There is a reason Goonswarm love Drakes so much – you can get into one cheaply and with a very low SP requirement. Just because you can fly ridiclous blinged out fits because of your masses of skill points and expensive Snake implants, there exists the possibility that not only does the average guy who flys with you not have the same base skill set but doesn’t have access to billions of liquid ISK. Just because a fit is well below the standard you may be used to, it could be an aspirational build to the guy who has only been playing for a handful of months.
4) The Fit Is Shit
Because, sometimes you can attempt to rationalise all this stuff as much as you want but the fit is just fucking mince and should be immediately put to death.
So, next time you open your mouth to a corpie or on a blog post comment or in a forum or in a public channel or anywhere else about the worst fit you have ever seen AAA or Goons or NCDot or whoever flying, stop and think. Consider the possibilities above and don’t rule out the fact that rather than it being an awful build it’s just you being either a) dumb or b) a fanny.