Fleet was pretty quiet. We nabbed a couple of WAFFLES Fed Navy Comets in Hirri—I think they stuck around because they wanted to take on Budda, then the other fifteen of us showed up. We continued up the Tama circuit and got one or two small things along the way. We lost a Harpy to a camp on the NPC station in Tama (he had misheard my instruction to repair at GMVA citadels in Kedama and went to station for reps). Tried to take a bait Loki on the Tama gate in Kedama which was followed by a bunch of support showing up (a Gnosis gang, I think). The whole fleet got off OK.
We then tried the Mara run and burned some time trying to nab little things—we ended up trying to shotgun planets to grab a Caracal that was bouncing around—then headed back. Couple of repeats along the way as we tried to catch things. We eventually managed to get an Algos on the way back to Kedama. At this point, told the fleet that this was pretty much time to call if they wanted to live (we had been out for 1hr) then we headed into Tama. Tried to blap an indy cyno but it was bait and we lost a Kitsune and Svipul to the structure's fighters. Then back to Kinakka, traded an Ishkur for a Stiletto along the way, and finally called it.
Things that went well:
- Good formup, accessible doctrines, good role allocation. Felt very comfortable with the quality of scouts and that everyone knows what they're doing
- Fantastic scouting work by Apocrit, Budda, and Sid from the get-go plus others later on. It was great to have two "plus-one" scouts plus Sid just out there ahead looking for content. Although there wasn't much to be found, I think it was better to know that there's nothing ahead than to grind through. This meant not a lot of total "down time" for the fleet.
- I had much better control of the fleet than in previous fleets—by and large we didn't end up separated when it mattered, I had the whole fleet together for fighting time, etc. Very happy with this as it's something I've been conscious of and wanted to work on.
- I think we were very hospitable hosts and made a great impression on both our newbro and skilled guests. Particularly glad I called it at the hour mark when the Tama highsec connection was clear and levelled with everyone rather than dragging people around to fight an enemy that never showed.
- There were a couple of times where people lagged behind, including when we went off yellow brick road. This could have been prevented by being diligent about either using fleet warps or broadcasting align/jump. Also could have been keeping a closer eye on my watchlist to see who wasn't actually on grid. Finally, I should call combat comms more when scouts are talking as I think the barrage of system names confused people, especially those who aren't used to our route.
- We didn't really get any fairly-matched fights. I don't think there were any fleets that scouts found or we missed that I would've wanted to take, but it still would have been nice to get into a proper match-up. I'm not really sure what we can do about this except maybe tap people like Waffles etc. on the shoulder ahead of time?
- I need to be more deliberate about calling out who needs to do what—"Jim and Bob hold on this side" rather than "2 people hold"—and colour code my watchlist from the beginning cause sometimes I noticed that what I'd called for hadn't happened and had to then assign things.
- Need to be careful about which scouts are chasing which rabbits. There were times where I had fleet stacked on gate for one scout then another is calling potential targets in another system. I'm sure that's frustrating for the scouts too. Going forwards, I need to make sure I'm clear with scouts about where the fleet actually is and who is currently "primary" scout.
- Handhold the fleet through the first 5-10 jumps so I know if anyone is going to have issues keeping up
- Get a forward scout out to the hotspots ASAP so we can arrange some content if need be. As I get more experienced, I would like to be able to do this with my own alt. For now I am not comfortable dualboxing and FC'ing.
- Call people out by name. No more "2 Merlins hold here" or something like that. Just can't be sure it will be done otherwise
- Use x's in my own chat channel or an egg timer or something just to keep track of whether I our scouts are getting "tunnel vision" on a target and keep momentum going. Maybe give scouts their own Mumble channel so they can whisper and coordinate between each other.
- I should have used command channels to have a trusted backseat or two to speak to. E.g. when we encountered the Gnosis fleet and someone wanted to bait them with a Megathron, that's not really a discussion I want to have in front of the whole fleet—I needed to be able to get a sober second thought and just ask someone privately "Is this something that could work?". I erred on the side of caution and didn't take the fight and I stand by that, but the situation makes me appreciate having a command channel.