I want to say thank you to Caldak and the rest of the PVP University staff. I do not think I have had a more enlightening 8 hour period in EVE in the almost four years I've been playing.
PVP-ADVANCED is a two night, four plus hours a night, course in fleet PVP. First night is the concepts, a classroom portion. The second night is your hands-on class roam. We were 60 cruisers strong, maybe more at the beginning, as I joined late.
PVP-BASIC and PVP-WOLFPACKS are the prerequisites. In those courses, the students learned how to follow FC instructions, how to communicate on voice comms (and when not to-which is most of the time), how to fit for the hydra principle, how to be effective in a group without a whole log of isk involved, the importance of bookmarks, the importance of movement, and most of all, how to follow your FC and use the abilities of your fleet against the opposition.
PVP-ADVANCED picked up there and covered more advanced topics. We flew cruisers -- no T2 hulls allowed and we were encouraged to minimize our investment and to pay up our insurance. I have found that when I'm not worried about replacing a ship, I can lose it and the only down side is it takes a while to catch back up to the fleet.
I especially enjoyed the part of the class portion where we discussed how to choose primaries. The most dangerous and fastest to kill top the list. These include the force multiplier ships, jammers and logistics. Last to kill are the hard nuts like heavily tanked drakes and command ships. Intelligence, communications, independent action all play a strong part in the success of a fleet.
Independent action? Yep. You have to act within your role as best as you can in each engagement. The FC cannot and should not micromanage each pilot. Interceptors have to know to break engagement before they are destroyed once another pilot has the target tackled. Fast tacklers have to know to get that tackle and communicate it to the group. Jammers have to know that when a Falcon joins the field, htey don't need permission to switch to that Falcon. And if you're in a blaster boat and a Falcon decloaks next to you, close and kill. Orders not required.
Mostly I enjoyed listening to Caldak orchestrate his scouts. Sometimes multiple single scouts, sometimes entire squadrons or other small groups. Once I volunteered to jump through a gate and was told to turn around and burn back and jump through on contact. One of our group agressed without orders and was thus stranded on that side with the enemy. Turns out that we were bait. I figured that out as soon as I heard his doom announced by Caldak. Along the lines of you picked that fight, now you're stuck with it. The idea had been to look like we jumped in and turned around to run away when our scout spotted the main enemy force.
High point of the roam, for me, was when we heard about a 20 ship battlecruiser fleet lead by command ships. And here we were with about 60 cruisers. We kept hearing intel on them, with drones deployed, bubblers in position and everyone set up for a fight. He never said it, but I know Caldak didn't want to jump our fleet into such a setup. It couldn't work out for us. He kept getting intel reports and we finally got into position to attack them when they weren't fully prepared for a fight. And we did. We pounded that battlecruiser fleet. We lost many more ships than they did, and we left the field before they did, but we did kill an even value in ships. This was according to the opponent's killboard. Not bad for a bunch of students. Caldak even told us later that they wanted a rematch. By the time we re-shipped and headed back, they had moved on to re-ship as well, but we never found them again.
The only part of this particular PVP-Advanced class that I disliked was the timing. 2359 Eve time. Friday night, I finally put myself to bed at 0400. I got only 2 hours of sleep. I knew the price, and I decided to pay it, but if I'd had another class at a different time, I would have preferred it. Saturday night, I knew with Daylight Savings Time kicking in that I would be finishing at around 6am local, IF the roam was short. Not something Caldak's roams are known for. So I went to bed early, intending to wake up in time to join the class at 2359. Well, I woke at 3am local (0200 game time), which was really 4am and finally got into the game an hour later. I roamed with the fleet for 5 hours.
All in all, an experience I would repeat, gladly. With a bit more preparation in my personal schedule to make the classes early morning instead of late night.