Daily Archives: September 17, 2012

Traffic Control is Like a Hostile FC

Inevitably when we are sitting on a titan waiting for a bridge or on a red gate waiting, and the word is passed along to jump, I get to see this familiar message.

Ah, traffic control, why is it always me?

Masses of other ships jump off and I am left sitting there waiting to go.  The FC is shouting into coms to jump already, the titan pilot is reporting a dozen ships still sitting there, and I am just watching a little timer count down, letting me know I will be allowed to jump some time in the next three minutes.

It is always me there waiting.

It does not matter if I selected the jump command the moment the bridge went up or the gate was declared green, most everybody else goes and I get held back.

I have actually learned to anticipate traffic control.  I know if my modules turn off but I am still sitting there, I am in the queue and the traffic control message will be with me shortly.

My theory is that the traffic control algorithm builds a list, sorts it by name, and pushes people through in alphabetical order.

Which is remarkably similar to how fleet commanders, FCs, sometimes call targets.  And usually that is a good thing for me.

The FC will often have their fleets sort their overviews by a given pattern order to normalize targeting.  Generally the options are sort by distance, sort by ship type, and sort by name A to Z.

Sort by distance is a crap shoot, especially if I am in the blob of Drake fleet.  Sort by ship type generally targets high value targets like interdictors and logistics, with Drakes down the list.

And sort by name… well, if it goes A to Z then Wilhelm Arcturus is way down at the bottom of the list.  I think my fleet op survival rate, such that it is, is largely dependent on my ability to follow FC instructions and being down at the bottom of the target list.

I see corp mates with names that start with “A” getting blown up in every engagement while I am numbered amongst the survivors as often as not.

The only exception is when the enemy FC decides to sort Z to A.  I think the name of our own FC plays into this.  Following Zarks or Zagdul seems to increase my death rate.

But usually the sort position of my name has been something of a boon.  Except for the whole traffic control thing.

Still, it might be a fair trade.  Let those who are going to die first get there first or some such.  I will just be half a jump behind and trying to catch up as usual.