As human beings, we do not deal well with isolation. We tend to ‘collect’ together (thus the reason we have cities with large populations) and we tend to have the need for leadership. You may scoff, and say it isn’t true, and I’m no psychologist. However, I do a lot of ‘people watching’ (and I watch a lot of tv.) A common line is “Who’s in charge here?” People expect someone to be in charge—to take responsibility.
In Eve, it is no different. There are a few loners, as there are always exceptions to the rule, but people tend to gravitate toward playing with friends, playing with a corporation, playing with an alliance. And pvping with an FC.
We’ve all been there—sitting in a small fleet as everyone twiddles their thumbs and waits for the ‘fc’ to log on. Or, the fc decides to go do real life stuff and the entire fleet disbands even though there is more to kill. People even deal with extremely horrible, mentally unstable fcs because they want—need someone to be in charge.
So it begs the question. Is pvping without an FC really efficient? If it goes against the grain of our human existence, won’t it always be a problem that we will just have to deal with?
Sure, 500+ pilots trying to coordinate in a fleet without an fc would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. We’re not borg after all and cannot tap into the collective mind to figure out what our primary purpose is at any given time.
In my corporation, we frequently fly fcless, and are quite effective at it. There are a few key ingredients that we have down pat that make this work extremely well for us. It is not a pvp style for everyone, and it’s not something that can be easily taught. Most often times where it does exist, it’s something that has occurred naturally
#1 We are small. The larger you are, the harder it is to coordinate fleets and the larger the need for an fc is. Our gangs run around the size of 4-5 pilots.
#2 We know what to expect from each other, and know each other’s capabilities. I know that when an enemy warps off to a safe spot, that I should pay attention to where he goes and align, for one of my corpies is probably half way done probing him out. I know that if an enemy jumps through a gate, that my corpy on the other side is going to try to catch him and that I should stay put in case he makes it back. I know that I should probably keep track of short scans because most of my corpies are too busy killing what’s on the gate to pay attention to a huge blob that’s about to descend upon us. We don’t really tell each other this stuff, it’s just unspoken stuff that we’ve come to learn by flying with each other.
#3 We trust each other. No, it’s not time for group hugs or Barney songs. But, I can trust my small gangs to do the obvious stuff and not be lemmings sitting in space waiting for orders. I’m not talking about suicide hero stuff where I know if I get caught that my knight in shining shields will come up on his white falcon. In fact, I trust that this pretty much will never happen because I know that they wont be stupid and try to save my 30mil isk ship with their 125mil isk ship. I can also trust that if I point something, they’re going to jump through and support me. Unless of course I was dumb and engaged something we can’t all take.
#4 We’re all skilled. Sure, some are more so then others. However, it takes skill to fly around fcless because you have to make your own decisions—you don’t have an fc to tell you when to warp away or when to engage.
#5 We all have guts. It takes guts to engage something bigger than you and just trust that help is on the way. It takes guts to make your own decisions and not rely on other people to be responsible. We all make mistakes and we’re all not the most perfect pvpers in every situation. There will be losses, but in the end, it’s just a game and we all understand that.