Sometimes, downtime gets you. So it was last night as a batphone went out with an hour to go before the big bad DT, with a Thanny spotted in a C3 apparently blithely running sites on his lonesome, and a scratch armour fleet formed. 2 Guards (me, dualboxing), 2 Stratios, Devoter, 2 Arazu, shield curse (because), shitty rail Thorax. A few stragglers were apparently on their way, but we went in.
We held the Thanny, but there were losses. An Arazu on initial tackle; it's hard to get 2 toons worth of guardian reps on target with warp-in lag of up to 10 seconds (seriously, wtf), so that was a bit of a shame. Next the Devoter popped due to not cycling down his infinitpoint. Then we lost the Thorax (alpha'd by drones) and a straggler Cerberus which was just not aligned.
So, the way to kill caps is, work on the drones while you neut the shit out of the carrier's capacitor. No point DPSing the ship until it's cap is dead, and the drones are a threat (up to 3K DPS for a shield fit Thanny, which this was). When the carrier's mostly cap dead, you stress him, he caps himself out in short order, and then assplodes.
Or, with 10 minutes to go, his mates drop on field with 2 Chimeras. J130535, noted.
There's a few principles to batphoning properly, and I think it is high time to do an article on it.
"It's not a fleet if you don't go 20 jumps."
Here's the thing: since CCP fucked jump clone standings and rolled with it, you no longer need 8+ standings with a clone facility station to spawn a JC. So why the fuck do you not have 10 of the fucking things? At least have 5 clean-ish clones; one nearby each Trade Hub or in the hub itself. I prefer 1-2 jumps out because you may cop a war dec and your war targets will be on undock. If you don't have an insta undock, it can be a PITA to batphone during a dec.
You should have JC's. At least 3, it's like 30 minutes. If you have spare time, and really like to do PUG fleets, then you will want to train the second tier skill and get 10 JCs, and train the skill that lets you cut the time down between jump cloning. 18 hours is better than 24.
I mean, yes, there are drawbacks to jump cloning, and sometimes you can only take a fat implant-bloated clone (or have to sit it out if you feel it's suicidal or too expensive to risk). Your JCs may not stay in the same place for very long, necessitating a few clone jumps now and then to move them back to the staging posts.
Because there's no point jump cloning then spending 10 minutes fitting a ship, you should have a ship stash at the ready. it is well worth doing this if you like picking up batphones. Make sure you have, eg, an armour DPS-buffer ship, an Exequror or Augoror (dualprop, solo fit for both); a shield DPS-buffer ship and a Scythe logi cruiser, and a T3 Dessie or at the minimum a Maulus, Crucifier or a tackle frigate.
eg, I have a plated beam Harbinger, a Dualprop Execquror, a rail Ferox and a Scythe in Oursulaert. This means if the call is shields, I can do shields. If it's armour, i can do armour. If the PUG fleet is lacking logi, I can at least bring *something*.
It isn't hard to get this ready, and it's not expensive. It's quick these days now that you can buy a fit straight off the market in one click, and fit it with another.
FC is a myth. An FC is just a guy who sounds like he knows what he's doing. I'm not saying every ego-fucked American needs to try and rule the roost in every fleet with a swinging dick, but be prepared to FC the shamozzle - especially if your FC loses his Devoter and the brains of the operation has no comms and you've got a carrier tackled. Start talking. It's not too hard.
Also, be prepared to FC if you're the guy making the phone call. it's not too hard to get a phone into your chain.
Yeah, set blues and set the advert. Open up free move. Add a few squads to wing. Move the corp content wizards / FCs into squad commands and let them drag people in. Do not make the fleet invite confirmed. Srsly.
Set an MOTD.
Comms deets would be handy here, as would an idea of desto, fleet comp (armour/shield). We can all then add your TS3 details. Don't use mumble, it's arse. You're living in a wormhole, if your server tops out at 250+ and Mumble is required, move to fucking nullsec already or split your corp or alliance. Jesus, you blobbing faggot.
Bookmarks vs Shepherding
Getting a phone into the chain or getting yourself into the chain is always a tetchy and awkward thing. However, there's a few steps you can take to smooth this.
Firstly, if you're just calling someone else, get their FC (/content wizard) in a convo and relay the chain to him in clear terms.
Satalama - > FYF sig K162 -> C2 J135223 sig BYO -> C3. Target.
Simple. No BM's needed, a competent group will have the ability to bang a sig in 30s and be through a 3-4 jump chain in 2-3 minutes.
If you need to shepherd through, get an alt into k-space and sit on the hole. A can of BM's would be handy, too. if you can't leave it at the hole, closest planet. Even in lowsec, that's safe enough.
No alt, no sig ID's? Son, I am disappoint. At this point, you need to be telling the batphone well in advance to burn a prober and get as much info to them as possible, like is the in sig near the centre of the system, or the far planets? Shit like this happens. I've had to probe 3 holes deep, blind, to gank a carrier. I'll fucking do it, but every bit of info you can provide is handy.
Moderation and Balance
At some point, cut the fleet invites off. You'll get an never ending conga line of dildoheads straggling in, needing BM's and warp-ins and shit.
Forget about it. Cut the fleet at 20, I reckon, especially once you've got the obligatory 2-3 logis. Unless you really want to miss out on a fight, or you've got a guaranteed brawl of epicness.
There's a bunch of reasons why you shouldn't go overboard on the bathone.
Number one, and most important, is time. Assembling 20 randoms from all across new Eden is slow. Your opportunity window is narrow - carriers, for instance, do sites fast. You need to get shit together ASAP. You need to be prepared to deploy tackle and cement it in and assemble DPS later - 2 Guards, 1 tanky tackler, keep the fucker on field and dribble onto grid if you need to - but if you don't move, you lose. Remember - if everyone had a JC and a stash at every hub, you'd be swimming in gank Harby's, Brutixes, armour Canes in short order.
Secondly is the fact gigantic fleets are dumb and bullshit. If you can kill a lone Gila with 2 extra dudes, just take 2 dudes. Make them the closest dudes, get the guy killed, and make it a cleaner, more exciting and fairer fight. If the Gila has 10 mates in POS, sure, form a bigger fleet. But it is pretty fucking lame if all EVE turns into is dogpile-a-drake.
A lone ratting carrier can be killed by 2 Geddons and 2 Guards, so you don't need 20 T3's and 4 Guardians to gank it. You'll look seriously badass if you can do something amazing with small ships. OK, he SD'ed, but he was fucked given enough time. If you video it, you can look fucking badass as fuck. You drop 60 dudes on a carrier, nice padding, but meh.
The carrier we tackled last night got saved by downtime and having 2 Chimeras on call. Most Thanny's don't. So in other circumstances, we'd have killed it with 2 Strats, 2 Guards, and change on the field. Just making a small point here, guys.
Thirdly, PUG fleets can get unwieldy. A smaller group of guys who fly together and are tightly FCed will tear a huge disorganised blob apart. Yes, a good FC can keep a PUG fleet on target, but it's a game of averaging down not summing up. A kitchen sink fleet isn't as efficient as a proper doctrinal fleet most times.
So, that's my take on it.
Batphoning and PUG fleets are a classic and dishonorable/honorable way of getting wormhole content. But there's a lot that the average joe can do to not only lift their game, but make the whole thing go smoother, be more fun, and push and challenge themselves and improve their piloting.