"To You, To Me, To You..."

The ability to slot ones ship into a formation within a fleet is something I dearly wish was possible. At present there is no automated system to allow such manoeuvres making any attempt difficult at best.

Although there are no specific details yet on the subject CCP announced, during their Keynote Speech at this years Fanfest, their plans to introduce formations into New Eden.

This is a feature quite close to my blackened heart. For years the blob effect has made large engagements a melee of metal and missiles because the battlefield quickly becomes choked with vessels all carving their individual paths through laser flak and stasis wakes. Without any specific details it would be improper to comment on this new development but I’m absolutely in support of any system that imbues fleet combat with a construct.

Formations have been used for hundreds of years in traditional warfare with devastating effect. Any force in formation is greater than the sum of its parts because all the combat effectiveness is concentrated and the individual units contribute to the whole. An experienced commander can quickly identify where the battle is turning and which units are relative to assist. This is particularly effective on a two dimensional battlefield but there are concerns that such an approach would be unsuccessful or irrelevant within the three dimensions of space.

There is no denying that the structure of a fleet down to the ship types is an element crucial to victory but that alone does not guarantee victory. At its most basic level fleet combat is effectively the priming of a single target with the fleets combined DPS. To this end it would be an advantage to construct the formation such that the optimal range of any weapon medium within the fleet terminates on the primary vessel. This would maximise the effective capabilities of the fleet as a whole.

It is also worth noting that an experienced Commander could observe the formation of an enemy fleet and determine weaknesses within its composition making formations a disadvantage. CCP commented on granting formations with bonuses, the specifics of which are not known. This may be the key in helping to solidify formations as an advantage rather than a gimmick.

Whatever the outcome: at worst some incredible screenshots will be taken, at its best formations may become an essential part of any successful fleet. I’m looking forward to either outcome.

Related Links
EvE-Search - Formations
CCPs' YouTube Channel
EvE Online Forum Discussion - Formation Flying


Prod'eos said...

I heard this too when ccp anounced it. they must have some idea already, because it it wasn't feasible why would they tease? i just find it hard to apply to certain ship classes like interceptors because they would have to stay pretty flexible in moving around. time will tell i guess.