Of late I have wondered what makes a good FC? When does one step into that? What ratio of losing your fleet for your own learning is acceptable and when does it become unacceptable? I don't have any answers. These are just some of the thoughts based off of interactions I have had and and my own thoughts.
I have a lot of respect for FCs. It is a weighty responsibility.
It isn't something I am trying for. At the moment, my desire to do so does not exist. However, of late, I have seen people discuss learning to FC when they are very new to the game. Very new. Only a few weeks in. It does not seem as if FCing is something that you try out like a shield or armor fit on your ship. The trust that MacG gives me when we go out and do PvE is amazing. Sometimes I live up to it and other times I fail cascade all over the place. While that is Fleet Commanding I don't consider it 'FC'ing.
I will blame CCP for this one. Fleet Command is one of the career paths that they say you can have. I guess it can be. I am sure that the large null sec FCs are coveted goods. I know that I love a competent FC and that not everyone is one. Just saying jump, hold, and don't bump the titan are not enough skills to be a good FC. My reaction is to automatically assume that it is not something someone dives feet first into on day one. Yet, reading some of the arguments back and forth on the forum in regards to letting new members fleet command, I think I may be a bit narrow sighted on the topic due to my personal feelings of what I think I can do vs what should be done. (I like long sentences as well).
Fighting in Eve is not a linear progress. It is fluid and interchangeable. Incredible things may happen or one may find themselves ROFL stomped into the ground. Bad and Good battle it out but they are affected by chance and probability and WTFBBQ. Even PvE takes a little bit of experience and coordination in many situations. Incursion fleets function like clockwork due to a very rigid command structure. Without it, they often fall apart and fail cascade the entire fleet into blingsplosions.
If I do not feel that I can properly carry the responsibility of others I am loath to pick it up. But, I admit, I am a cautious, practical soul with almost no spontaneity about me. Someone has to be boring otherwise the world would tip over. I can't see trying to fast track myself to leading fleets now much less so when I was a month or two old. "Everyone is ready to die," seems like an odd justification to me. I still wish to bring the chance of success.
"Would you fly if I was the FC?" I was asked by someone. He understands the caution in which I approach things. My instant response was, "Yes." I didn't hesitate. But that was because of who it was. It is a trust thing on many levels. It is how I trust someone to use me that dictates my willingness to fly in their fleets. I do not mind being used. I dislike being wasted. They are different things.
The fleet is composed of people. There are responsibilities from mentoring the newest members to reigning in the most impatient. Keeping people together, focused, listening, and calm are all as important as calling out targets. A fleet may or may not be successful without a fleet commander but a fleet commander is not successful without a fleet.
Because the idea has been wandering through the back of my mind, I've been watching various conversations I might otherwise ignore. One person who, to me, seems to want only to FC as their future in Eve seemed to have a hard time remembering that the fleet is composed of members. While his own knowledge and experience matters greatly he also has to take in the knowledge and experience of all of his members. As the conversation progressed it seemed as if he would forget that his 'fleet' was actually a group of people with a series of abilities and different pieces of personal knowledge.
This is where fleet types began to change. I do small gang stuff. I'm not going to rub my ignorance over large null fleets. In small gang things people have many tasks. While you may have a dedicated scout, scanner, tackle, logistics... so forth and so on... the various individualism need to know what they are doing and what they need to do. Tunnel vision is a problem. He had many ideas and thoughts but his fleet itself had no experience to support his ideas. And then, to test his ideas he wants to take his fleet in and throw them in and see how it works. "They know that they may die," he says. I attempt to understand that for some, that method works as I swallow my displeasure for it.
I think I prefer the entire fleet commander on probation type route. Where there is an experienced FC there to take over if shit hits the fan. I like a crutch, no lie. I find my confidence in others more then myself for these types of things. But that wanders back to learning styles. From the observation of others I will gather more information than from slamming my face into a situation and counting how many teeth I left on the floor.
But, despite my hesitation, I've had to take on more of a helper/teacher role as we absorb new members who are on in my time zone. Its good and bad I guess. It gets me out doing more then I might alone. It's bad because I worry nonstop. I've stated clearly that I'm not some solo badass that is going to go after everything seen for 'yay PvP'. They can find someone else for that.
There is always the whole, "You are taking this a bit to seriously," response. Thankfully, I can always answer, "Internet spaceships are serious business."