Scouting is an invaluable part of running a fleet. In this guide we’ll go over what it takes to be an effective scout.
Suggested Scout Ship Fit
This Atron aligns in under 2 seconds, moves 4500m/s, warps at 7.85 AU/s, and costs under 5 mil isk. The cloak and MWD are important for not dying, the cap battery is for longer warp distances, the sensor booster helps to combat the drawbacks of the cloak, and the rep and gun are for occasionally scooping a payout with FC’s permission.
It takes exactly 7 minutes, 15 seconds for a site to spawn after a site goes down. If you are on grid as the site finishes (a tower dying in a TPPH/TCRC, or the final ship dying in an NRF) set a timer for exactly 7 minutes and 15 seconds for the new site spawn. If you are not on grid, the beacon may appear to go down a few seconds after the site actually went down, so you may want to set your timer for a few seconds less (7m12s is usually good).
Precise site timers that measure to the second will greatly improve both your ability and the FC’s ability to judge what the best course of action is for the fleet. Timing 7 minutes without seconds can lead to a large variance in spawn timers, as a site going down at 05:45 (minutes-seconds) would be timed as "12", when in reality it's actually "13". This can lead to the fleet sitting around doing nothing for an extended period, which is bad for everyone’s wallets and morale.
For timing sites, use https://www.online-timers.com/multiple-timers. Make sure your settings match these: https://i.imgur.com/OgdwmHu.png. It’s important to ensure you have "close after 30s" activated; manually closing them will bug out the website. You can also time sites in a private conversation (with the FC). To do this, ensure you have timestamps enabled and put a character in the chatbox (most people use a period) and base your timers off that.
As the scout, you will have the timers in front of you, and you will be responsible for informing the FC when a timer is coming up. For example, if the second TPPH gate is a few ships from spawning, and there’s a site spawn in 30 seconds, announce this over voice. Take into account where other fleets are in their sites, your fleet’s relative strength, the FC’s preferences and mood, and the potential isk/hr.
If for whatever reason you're off-grid then there are certain things to look for. In general, check for ship types, ship names, wrecks, and drones to identify which fleet you are scouting against and how far they are in their site. Occasionally there are salvagers that follow fleets around that will remove wrecks.
If you don't see drones, they're probably in the first two rooms or about to bounce. Most fleets drop little or no drones in the first two rooms of a TPPH.
There is one Deltole in the second room and another two in the third room on the second wave.
If there is 1 Mara or 3 Augas, they are at least in the second room.
If you see 2 or more Deltoles, they are at least in the third room on the second wave.
Arnon wrecks indicated they’re at least in the middle of the final wave, and likely on the tower.
If you see two Uitra wrecks, they are at minimum midway through the second wave.
If you see more than 2 Mara wrecks OR more than 2 Vylade wrecks, they are at minimum on the third wave. An NRF has between 2 and 4 Maras.
If you see any Intaki or Eystur wrecks, they are on the final wave. TDF kills Intakis first; shield fleets kill Outunis first.
If there are no wrecks, the fleet just entered. 5 Deltole wrecks / 2 Outuni wrecks / large amounts of drones out means they are on the tower.
As the site progresses, Niarjas will spawn (Beginning with 2 and spawning an extra one every approximately 60 seconds). You can count the Niarja wrecks to judge how long a fleet has been in a site.
Scouts should be on-grid with opposing fleets whenever possible. Scouts will use their cloaks, MWDs, and positioning knowledge to avoid taking aggro. Be aware that the beacon you land on will decloak you. There are significant advantages to being on grid: the ability to see what ships are left in a wave, what the opposing fleet’s drones are doing (are they out going towards other ships, are they coming in or are they literally just out and orbiting), and if the opposing fleet is aligning anywhere. All of this is vital information that can significantly impact the FC’s decisions.
Never deliberately pull aggro.
TPPH Room 1 & 2
Burn straight down and cloak once you’re clear of the ships. At that point you can align yourself with the next gate. Once the gate spawns, decloak and burn.
TPPH Room 3
Burn straight up and cloak. If you’re with the Dominix Boxer fleet, burn a bit further, as that fleet sits on the beacon, and the Sansha will come in to orbit and potentially decloak you. Once the tower spawns, burn at the tower and lock it.
Burn in any direction other than forward or back and cloak.
TCRC, when you can enter with the fleet
Wait until the fleet has taken gate and warp in with them. Burn to just before the spot where the DDD normally sits, cloak, and stop your ship. Sansha sometimes choose the fastest moving ship as their target; cloaking will remove you from the aggro table until you decloak. Once you see aggro switch to someone on the tower, decloak and lock the tower. At this point you can stay still or keep at range on one of their boosters. Do not bump the boosters.
TCRC, when you cannot enter with the fleet
Burn in any direction other than forward or back and cloak. Moving too fast will most likely get you blown up. Watch for drones starting to come in to judge the status of the tower.
There are visual indicators you can use to determine roughly what the health of the tower is. There will be shield effects for when it still has shield left. Strobe lights will flash when it's in hull. Lack of both the shield effect and strobe lights means the tower is in armor.
If you cannot cloak
If you are locked by a member of the fleet you are scouting, you won’t be able to cloak. In this case, anchor on their primary booster to ensure you don’t get aggro. Also inform your FC that you’re being locked and who you are being locked by.
Communicating with the FC
Open a private conversation with the FC. Use this to relay the compositions of other fleets. https://dscan.info/ and https://adashboard.info/intel are both fine to use. Make sure to include with the link the number of marauders and the number of ships in the fleet.
Timing is also important. The FC has a lot they have to focus on; try not to overload them with information at a time where they’re already calling things. After the start of a wave or nearing the end of a site is a more appropriate time. Try to avoid talking over the FC or others.
To preload a TCRC, take the gate. If the fleet is with you, make sure to voice that the gate is red as you’re going out so no one follows you. If there is another fleet in system, only preload sites when asked to by the FC.
If you warp in and the site is already preloaded, communicate this to the FC and booster, especially if the Outunis are within 25km of the beacon. This may affect how the fleet enters the site.
Optional (for Advanced Scouts)
If you feel comfortable with preloading, consider doing the initial tagging for the site. As you land, use your tagging hotkey to tag respawning Schmaeels and the Auga. Warp out or cloak immediately. The respawning Schmaeels are circled here: https://imgur.com/a/p5iQgQW
Identifying Other Fleets
This is the main armor fleet you’ll see. Look for Eoses and Nestors. They need at least 3 Nestors to take a TCRC; if they have 2 or fewer, relay this information to the FC.
Look for lots of Dominixes. They usually stick to TPPHs, but will steal the occasional NRF. They cannot do TCRCs.
Another shield community, you can look for Basilisks. Many of these ships will also have Cyrillic names. They also tend to carry several Rattlesnakes, while WTM does not. Make sure it’s not your own fleet that you see!
Another armor fleet with a very similar comp to TDF. Look for lots of ships with Chinese names. If you can get on grid with them, many of them are in the corp “ss disintegrator” with ticker “[ss-p]”.
This fleet will run nearly all marauders and have only Lokis for logi. They also do not run very often.
Tagging Site Beacons
Sites with fleets in them should be tagged with a letter to indicate which fleet is in the site. Do not tag a site until the fleet has taken the gate.
D - TDF
X - WTM
B - Multiboxer
G - NGA
Z - Chinese Fleet
Y - Candeeze
J - Don't go here (Kundalini, Wormholes, Observatory, etc)
For unoccupied sites, tag them with a unique number. Do not use “8”, as it’s too visually similar to “B”. Having unique identifiers for sites will help you talk to the FC intelligently about where the fleet should go or where another fleet is heading.
If a fleet abandons a site after partially clearing it, leave the tag as-is and let the FC know.
Working with Multiple Scouts
If you’re fortunate enough to have multiple scouts, make sure each scout is following a different fleet, sticking with that fleet as closely as possible. An additional scout can tag sites and preload TCRCs. If you are the first scout in the fleet, you will be responsible for assigning roles to scouts that come later. Only one scout should be assigned to preload sites.
Scouting when WTM is Alone
Sometimes WTM will be alone in the system. In this case, having a scout is still useful. Continue to keep timers, tag sites, and preload TCRCs as normal. Keep an eye on in-game channels of other communities to see if they’re forming.
TDF - "TDF-Official"
NGA - "New Galaxy Age"
Your directional scanner should be set to scan at 1AU, 360 degrees. It should match this image: https://imgur.com/a/5DHltiv. For an overview, make sure you have a tab where you can see beacons, and another where you can see ships, wrecks, and drones. You should use the latter for d-scanning.