Saturday, 13 September 2008

'Why didn't you tell me there was a fight going on?' Or, 'Why we need voice comms'

I blooded my arazu yesterday. That I came narrowly close to not doing so, or narrowly close to losing it, and was relatively useless in the gang we were in is not lost on me.

Why so? We weren't on comms.

It was someone else's gang, they invited us in. Fair does, I'm always up for a run with good pilots. Mynxee was successfully baited - it was a very good bait trap set by a group of what I'm guessing to be either Dead Parrot Shoppe alts or isk farmers (not all farmers are clueless about pvp, after being preyed upon so much by players) - and lost her ship. So we went hunting. The rest of the gang was on their comms; Mynx and I weren't. She was alright, she just had to follow their lead. But I was in the recon, and from past experience, staying with the fleet leads quickly to a popped t2 cloaker - I've lost a keres and nemesis from sitting among Tygris fleets and getting trapped in bubbles.

So I held a bit apart, trying for range. As a result, I was left feeling rather like the last gooseberry on the branch and not really having much of a clue as to what was going on. At one point, I was all alone in a system with the gang we were hunting, the rest of the gang having gone into the next system and the gate was nowhere near a warpable object. Then the gang came back, and I watched them return to our base system. Not being in warp range, I had to hit the closest planet and come back at 0. I jump in and find myself in the middle of I firefight I didn't know was occurring.

[ 2008.09.12 16:07:58 ] Shae Tiann > oh holy fuck
[ 2008.09.12 16:08:15 ] Shae Tiann > what dio you want me on?
[ 2008.09.12 16:08:46 ] Shae Tiann > O\m at bad range
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:29 ] Mynxee > /emote grins
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:41 ] Shae Tiann > talk about a heart attack
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:42 ] Shae Tiann > christ
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:50 ] Shae Tiann > we need vent or something

Yeah, I was a little panicked, having materialised less than 9km from an enemy domi. I don't usually have such bad typos :p Finding myself in the middle of a fight I didn't know about really did scare the crap out of me.

Again, I don't like being in a ranged ship in the middle of a fight; I warped to the nearest marker and came back at 50 in time to snaffle in on the last raven kill as the rest of the targets ran.

Voice comms are essential in group combat situations. It's nice to know what's going on, where to go, who to primary... and a recon that isn't being used as a recon might just as well be another flimsy (albeit bloody expensive) cruiser. And I remember how fast my first celestis went down: I hadn't even had that thing in space for half an hour. I could easily have been sitting in that one system for the next hour if our gang hadn't come back through, because I had no idea where it was... or even how many people were in it by that point!

Not only that: it's not possible to type instructions - certainly not clear, concise instructions - when you're in the middle of a fight. I know a few people who are good at this, but that's due to having spent too many months playing without a microphone, and even then we've given them a hard time about it (right, Matth? -_^). Taking attention from the controls long enough to tap out orders, much less read the responses, is a fast way to die, and slows down communication within a fleet critically. In order to be effective as a fighting force, players need the speed and immediacy of verbal communication from FC to members - and from members to FC. Having been on the intel side and ordered to shut the fuck up by the FC when I'm trying to relay info they're not apparently reading in the channel is neither the best way to keep your scout in the fleet nor the best way to keep the fleet alive (yes, I did tell the Huzzah FC that I hoped they got their arses shot off before I left). There's a vast difference between 'Comms Silence' (i.e. no unnecessary chatter) and 'Nobody talks but the FC'. One works. One doesn't. Personally, I could do with a little nonessential chatter in my gang comms - it boosts cameraderie and makes everyone feel like a valued part of the team, rather than just tools to absorb dps. The best fleets are where everyone is relaxed having a good time, and feel free to broadcast laughter and comments over the channel.

But that may just be me - I didn't last long in nullsec because it was too serious and miliant for my lackadaisical piratical sensibilities. We're in it to have fun; where's the fun in being told to be a good little fleet drone and stfu? It's nice to hear the voices of the people you fly with; it's nice to get the feeling that you can trust them to watch your back as you're watching theirs.


Carole Pivarnik said...

In hindsight, you and I should at least have been on the Hellcats Vent together. Then, I could've let you know what was what as I atgempted to keep up with the main fleet (which was a challenge in itself, lol!). I jumped to that gate without too much thought--didn't have much to lose (flying a Stabber) and I'm trying to stop being so over-cautious ("No Guts, No Glory"). When I arrived at the mess at the gate, I figured I'd be done in quickly. Luckily, the Stabber seemed to catch no one's attention and I was never targeted. I kept my cool, took time to assess, and was able to orbit, think about what I needed to do, lock, and put some hurt on.

Despite the comms snafu, there were some positive outcomes: we learned more about how we prefer to fly together AND our targets got a good ass-kicking (thank you, Invicta.!).

Kirith Kodachi said...

I just read your blog posts, very good stuff. Keep posting :)

Ivanneth Maethor said...

Mynxee - yeah, we should have. But it was good to get a run in! I think I'm going to like flying the recon

Kirith - glad you like it ^_^

Anonymous said...

hey why not use the voice coms in the game? I like eve voice and it is built in.....
Oh and I enjoy your posts as well :)

Ivanneth Maethor said...

Well, not everyone can run EveVoice. There are some computers it crashes; there are also points where teh reception isn't so good, and controlling individual players' vloumes isn't possible (or it wasn't last time I used it on an op, which was admittedly a few months ago).

Spectre said...

Not to mention that if you leave fleet or your game crashes or you want to log onto a different character, you lose the Eve voice channel you were on. On top of that, Ventrilo has such a wonderful little app for the G15 LCD screen that I love using.

Eve Voice = Meh.

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