There are many diplomatic doctrines in EVE. The most popular is “NBSI” or Not Blue, Shoot It. But there's also “NRDS” or Not Red, Don't Shoot. And then there's the much less used, much less diplomatic “NPSI” or Not Purple, Shoot It. Which means, of course, that if it's not in your fleet, kill it as fast as you can and damn the diplomatic consequences. Many groups run occasional NPSI fleets, but a new group has come into existence that is all about NPSI. They are Spectre Fleets and they're probably out killing someone right now.
The spark that started Spectre Fleet can be traced back to the cruiser and medium turret rebalance from Odyssey 1.1. The FCs from the corporation Sanctuary of Shadows decided to test out the suddenly effective T1 cruisers, but this quickly grew to a desire to test them with larger numbers of people and share what they knew would be enjoyable. However, their corporation was too small to do these things alone. Luckily, they were quite active in the “open fleet” community and knew there were others from around New Eden who would be interested in trying out something fun, with no politics or ulterior motives beyond the joy of PvP. They simply needed a neutral point to let those pilots converge on in order to make these fleets a reality.
The first fleet was led by Jayne Fillon. With over 100 pilots showing up and participating, it was a great success. The four hour roam saw them fight everyone from Brave Collective to TEST alliance. All of the engagements resulted in victory for the ragtag group of pilots in nothing but T1 cruisers, with the overwhelmingly positive results convincing them to continue the fleets.
Today, Spectre Fleets are run frequently from the in-game channel “Spectre Fleet”. Players simply join the channel and either organize or join up with a fleet that's being put together. There are no API checks, interviews, or previous experience required to join. When an FC decides to start a fleet, they advertise in the channel what type of doctrine they want to use and where they're going to look for fights. Anyone who is interested simply x's up and they'll receive a fleet invite.
The scheduling and running of the fleets is sporadic, but regular. Fleets are rarely announced more than 24 hours in advance. They've since expanded beyond their original T1 cruisers, but they remain a favorite. The majority of their fleets are accessible to low SP characters on affordable and easily-insured T1 hulls.
While the concept of “open fleets” is not new to Spectre Fleets, their frequency and size is a fresh breath. The most popular open fleet is RvB Ganked, run by CSM8 chair Mangala Solaris, which only runs once a week and regularly brings in hundreds of pilots. Spectre Fleets, meanwhile, rarely go above 50 except on weekends, which gives pilots a more active role in a fleet and encourages other groups to engage more often.
Despite its infancy, Spectre Fleet has already developed a strong, passionate community. As long as capsuleers continue loving making each other explode, it'll continue to grow. Due to the NPSI nature of the fleets, they sometimes see mortal enemies and even war targets on the same side of killmails.
It might be expected that such a fleet would cause diplomatic headaches for the participants. After all, if you fly into a friend's territory along side a bunch of neutrals or even hostiles and start blowing things up, there might be problems. However, there haven't been any issues thus far. In fact, most of the corporations and alliances they visit to find fights have come to know Spectre Fleet and form a fleet upon their arrival if they haven't already. This is one of the benefits of having fleet members from all over; everybody knows somebody and somebody always wants to fight.
Of course, when encountering someone who is unfamiliar, the lack of corporation or alliance ticker among ships can be confusing. This happened once during one of the first Spectre Fleets, when they went to Providence. The Provi FC messaged the FC after the fight and, after hearing an explanation of who Spectre Fleet was and what they did, offered a standing invite to come back any time and meet on equal terms.
Despite being only a month old, the Spectre Fleets have had several moments of note. During one of their first public fleets, they found a corporation baiting with an Archon. Knowing they needed help against the Archon's 30-man T3 fleet, a member of Shadow Cartel was kind enough to provide the Spectre Fleet use of its capital fleet. Only frigate losses were encountered on the Spectre Fleet side, though a Moros did leave siege mode at 15% structure.
On one of their joke fleets, flying nothing but the racial rookie ships, they came across a small group of pirates flying cruisers with logistics support. Against all odds, the rookie ships managed to break the reps of the gang, destroying four of their ships. Shortly after, the Spectre Fleet was completely destroyed by disastrous fleet warp to a smartbombing battleship.
Very early on, a mixed fleet of armor battlecruisers and battleships headed to Providence. At just over 70 members, with a dozen logistics and assorted tackle, the fleet was met by a defense fleet. As soon as both sides had committed, Spectre Fleet cyno'd in two triage Archons, to the surprise of everyone... including most members of the Spectre Fleet. In the end, ProviBloc managed to rout the Spectre Fleet and downed both Archons.
Not much of a memory, until a little later, when one of the Spectre Fleet's Dragoon pilots mentioned he had never been to nullsec before. In the middle of the fray, he had been saved by the Archons' powerful reps and could not have been more excited about the entire experience. To provide that unique experience to a new pilot was considered well worth the sacrifice of two capitals.
There are many individuals who FC the Spectre Fleets. There are three main ones who run fleets most often and are guaranteed to find a good time.
Jayne Fillon is the founder of Spectre Fleet, writer for TheMittani.com, lover of all things NPSI, and CSM9 candidate. He started off learning how to PBP in open fleet communities just like Spectre Fleet and now runs a small corporation of dedicated FCs and black ops pilots. Out of game, he is an engineer and proud member of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Nonnak Severin co-founded Spectre Fleet along with Jayne. His preference is on covert fleets and those organized around time-sensitive intelligence. While not serving as the diplomat for Sanctuary of Shadows, the main Spectre FC corporation, he engages in corporate espionage.
TheParadine leads covert gatecamps and hotdrop fleets, but most of his time goes to helping new players or players with little experience in PvP. He leads classes and training fleets, focused on covert ops warfare, where he talks about the ships, modules, mechanics, and tactics that are used in fleets. When not playing EVE, he is currently studying environmental sciences at university.
If you're interested in Spectre Fleets, have never PvP'd before and want to check out a mid-sized, stress-free introduction, or are just looking to blow up anything and everything, you can come and say hello in the “Spectre Fleet” channel. Join a fleet, ask a question about PvP, or just hang out and get to know the community.
Anyone with questions can either ask in the channel or direct their inquiries to Araneatrox.