I love the idea of doctrines. Doctrines give an organisation (read: alliance) a template of fittings to make their members (read: idiots) train into to form a coherent and logical fleet configuration. This fleet configuration does several things, and these are in no particular order;
- unifies the performance of the fleet in terms of align time, warp speed, agility, MWD speed, etc
- provides a unified tanking strategy (and yes, mantanking philosophies exist) so a single logi type will work
- unifies the damage method to provide a uniform range envelope, damage type, etcetera
- often also unifies a single type of ECM philosophy
- simplifies the FC's workload because he can take all the above and know what is going to happen when he gives commands
- simplifies the logistics of (nullsec) alliances especially if there's a ship replacement program
Doctrines have funny names like Hellcats, Thundercats, Slowcats, etcetera. They also have their own drawbacks, namely;
- players devolve all fitting knowledge to a uniform fit, and hence don't really actively learn why this fit was chosen for 2 nanos over one and a DCU, for example.
- the philosophies are often heavily predictable, which lends to making the work of spies easier. Know your enemies are rolling Hellcats? You know the doctrine, and what works best against it.
- players must either devote time to fitting in with the FC's pet doctrines with skill training and ISK expenditure, or risk wrath and ire or totally missing out. Primarily this has regularly been Amarr and Gallente toons who haven't trained Guardian or Lachesis. Or, in wormholes, T3 cruisers.
The fighting style of various doctrines (and the metagame behind them) also influences the fleet or gang's preferred place and style of combat. Generally you don't try taking alphafleets on jumping through a gate with AHACs. You don't take on a proper Firewall with Drake blob. Etc. This also requires everyone in fleet to understand the fighting concept they are going for, and I've seen enough people botch this and enough arguments from people who were dense and stubborn and argued about how to run AHACs (eg, the famous Shadoo brainfart) and were just fucking wrong.
Doctrines have their place, especially with limited resources and training and inexperienced players and toons, but they only really come into their own when the third component - player skill, experience, knowledge - is properly addressed. The problem is, you can watch an R&K epic video and see 40 guys vape 120, but getting that right yourself takes commitment from everyone. Plus derptards to shoot, lets be honest.