Fundamentals of Reconnaissance

so much to say about scouting :) but yes clearly a lot of adrenalin when you track and find their fleets, even the hidden ones.. Cheers, Ektor, old director of GS Recons
Your example “Twenty Enemies appear to be in a gate camp in Old Man Star, from Shadow Cartel” is very poor intel. It lacks some of the most important things that the scout should have called: What ships are they in? How far are they off the gate?A 20-man lol-frig fleet, a 20-man sniper fleet at range, and a 20-man well executed gate camp with all essential ships may lead to completely different actions from your FC.I question your "six years in the army" claim. You wouldn't give that bad intel if you had any experience.
Good content, but a few grammatical errors that should have been proofed out. I enjoyed reading it though, and hope that people will be inspired!
Size:20 activity: possible gate camp location: old man star unit: shadow cartel time: now equipment: 10 nados,2 scimis,3 ceptors, 2 Huggins, 1 lach, 2 celestis
Who the hell gives intel like that? Have you actually ever heard such a rant on ts?
The fact that you see a gate camp is the number one priority. Giving fleet comps is very important, however not everyone can ID ships that quickly. While that would be preferred, it isn't always possible. In a full SALUTE report the E stands for equipment, where ship types would come from.However, I have found in my experience scouts try to rattle off ship names, instead of giving good intel. This is a waste of time and comms. This is why I advise in develop the situation rapidly, to use the D-Scan tool for a complete and accurate report.Report the people, get the d scan complete, get out. Build your full report and present it in warp. If you are good enough to ID the fleet just by jumping in more power too you, but often that isn't the case.Contact reports are short, and designed to give the command notice in the event of your untimely death. That's the reality of it. As soon as possible, you develop your report. In the military you have five minutes, in EVE I recommend 30 seconds.I appreciate your observations, however I do not appreciate your accusation of me lyeing about my service. The goal of the article was to open up a discussion about recon as a full time duty, instead of a side project for alts. I wanted to keep it pretty basic for that reason, and expose people to the fundamentals of recon.
If you give an example, give a perfect example."Twenty Shadow Cartel on Heyd gate in OMS, mostly Tornados and some assorted Recons (probably a sniping gang)"That's intel how I'd like to hear it. WHERE IN THE SYSTEM is a incredibly important part of that intel, your example just says gate. There is more than one gate tho. The part in brackets depends on the scout's experience. Additional information could be gate aggro, precise location on grid (pounce spot, in jump range, ....); drones out (instant aggro if you aggress, or out to catch cloakies), aligned/not aligned; which guns they have (you can get that via visual control), ........
PyroDanteThank you for your service sir.
If you get popped by the gatecamp you get all the intel inside your killmail :-P
I really enjoy the articles that have an RL connection to the topic, like this one as an army recon guy +EVE and the airplane pilot dude too.
I would call this a by the book report. This would probably be the optimal, but regrettably, it doesn't often work out that way in practice.
Exceptionally good point. I do plan to go into the difference between good and bad intel in a future piece. I will remember to discuss these things.
This is no where near true, but it does help paint a picture. Where are the logi, the bigger ships that didn't lock on fast enough, etc.
I have long ago suspected this to be true.
This reply made my day.
I would also like to thank you for your service, and commend you on a great article. Well done sir.
Dingo and the rest of TEST will be happy you linked their spying tool.
No they don't. They do a short range d-scan and link the raynor results. Then the fc knows the entire comp on the gate.
Excellent article!Reminded me of a passage from Fleet Tactics by Captain Wayne P. Hughes, Jr., USN (Retired):"The great constant of scouting seems to be that there is never enough of it. In the days of sail a line of frigates was thrown out ahead [of the battle fleet] to perform strategic search (in those days the great naval problem was to find an enemy at sea at all). ... Without enough frigates, fleets under sail could be caught in disarray. ... Naval commanders cried out in frustration for more frigates."I would like to see discussion -- though maybe this is not the place for it -- of making low-time characters more viable as scouts by letting the Prototype Cloaking Device I activate in warp, to be effective immediately upon landing, perhaps for low-firepower frigates only. Would that open a niche for low-time players as effective scouts? What would the costs be?
He's busy trying to figure out which way is north on his compass. Unfortunately he's trying to look at it through his CompM2. 3ACR vet here (former 12Z).
You could have given credits to who made the site *cough*.For the people below, the page is intended to be public and usable for everyone, its not a TEST page, its mine (hosted in my servers).
Well, go ahead and let Dingo know that I use it constantly, it's on my characters bio, and I advice people to use it in nearly every fleet I am. Thank you for making such a functional and useful tool!
Sorry Dingo, It is a wonderful tool. I will make sure to mention you and give you credit in my next article on this topic.
Great article! One thing that I think is important is to fight the temptation to get too excited. Take a moment and compose your thoughts first. Give a clear recon report, preferably using a standardized format, in a calm, clear voice. It is better to sound bored then to sound excited, even if your heart is pounding.
lol play eve more. ppl just give a dingo and there location in intel channels.
When I saw the image up top I said, "The author had better be a cav scout or that pic will make zero sense." Glad it made sense. I got a kick out of the compass comment (former 82C Artillery Surveyor).
Excellent article, highlighting most of the high points of scouting in EVE.For experienced scouts, knowing ship types is but the beginning. To become one of the elite scouts out there you will need to know the fleet doctrines, and ideally know which ones are commonly used by your likely enemies. Of course these are things the FC should also know, but the less work you give him the more he can concentrate on running the fleet to Victory.Case in point, you see 40+ zealots on d-scan, but what does that mean exactly ? If they have shield logistics and recons with them, then odds are for a long-range sniper gang (quite rare nowadays, but not extinct). Armor logistics and tackling strategic cruisers ? Then these are short-range Armor HACs... or medium range Beam HACs (even rarer). Only by getting in visual range from them will you be able to tell the difference between the latter two. Getting that information may take (valuable) time, but giving a FC the exact doctrine he will be facing is crucial for him to devise a succesful battle plan.There are many many other useful things a scout can do: knowing the enemy fleet commanders, parsing killboard while keeping an eye on an empty local to learn of the usual neutral cyno alts of his enemies, knowing his supercapital staging points and jump bridge network, keep notice of where PL is deployed at the moment, learn of the WH alliances as they can pop up uninvited in local at all times, I could go on forever. Your typical FC is often overworked even before the fleet undocks, and it gets only worse as time pass. A trusted veteran scout can be a tremendous help by giving a complete and accurate picture of the battlefield, suggesting possible routes both for your fleet and the enemy, and so on. A corollary is that, for alliances that want to train new FCs, it can pay tremendous dividends to provide them with the best scouts availables for their first fleets.One thing though you can never stress enough: if you really like to know what is going on, and even better what will happen in the near future, then scout is the way to go. In many cases, the only other person in fleet that know as much as the FC is his scout. For me, that is the thrill that kept me coming back after I was first drafted as a scout (for lack of a proper DPS ship !) more than 3 years ago.

Within any military structure, there are superstars and unsung heroes. For every grunt in the army there are nearly a dozen support personnel, logistics, and troops in the background greasing the gears of war so that those in front can do their job. People write and read books and make video games about Army Rangers that deploy deep into enemy territory to complete strategic objectives, but few discuss the cooks that serve that soldier meals, the maintenance crew who keep their equipment working, or the finance personnel that make sure they get paid. 

EVE Online has unsung heroes too. In EVE, after every fight, pilots swap kill reports, slap each other on the back, and distribute loot to those who were lost in battle. Meanwhile the scouts remain vigilant, ever watchful to ensure that the team can regroup and celebrate their victory safely, and actively hunt for the next objective. 

I served as a 19D Cavalry Scout in the US Army for six years. I was trained in reconnaissance, and proper communication in a wartime environment. As part of my service, I have been deployed for fifteen months in Iraq, and during that time was able to hone my skills and provide intelligence to my command. All this time, the fundamentals of scouting were beaten into me, either by my chain of command, or by the experiences I underwent.  A scout must remain ever vigilant. A scout must be clear, and concise. A scout must be able to improvise in an ever-shifting situation. A scout must be patient. These pumped through my heart as I conducted my duties.

However, the importance of scouting in EVE did not occur to me until I spent some time living in Null-sec. I was new to the game, and newer to Null, when an enemy group was spotted at the choke point to our pocket. We mobilized and I hopped in what I had (which as I recall was not what was called for, but that's what you get for bringing a player with less than a million SP). We warped and landed outside the bubbles that surrounded the gate they were on. We were facing a group of twenty to our force of around thirty. The call to fire was given and I began moving into the bubble so that I could take a good shot.

“They are launching drones! They aren’t running!”, was called out over comms. The assumption was that our superior numbers would scare them off, and cause them to leave us alone. By launching their drones they demonstrated the will to fight. At that time we realized our mistake, and as the enemy gang began firing, the order to retreat was given. I was caught in our own bubble as another fifty ships came through from the other side and ripped apart all of us who were caught.

The other side of the gate was our system, we owned it. We had a jump bridge that led from the system we were in to the other system (so as to avoid the bubbles set at the gate). Yet we had NO ONE in the other system to let us know that this enemy fleet was waiting. People died that day because of a failure to gather intelligence on the enemy. Scouting, in EVE, was a matter of life and death. I started training Covert Ops the next day.

Scouting in a World of Stars

Fleets in EVE need scouts, but, as I mentioned earlier, it isn’t tremendously glamorous. You don’t show up on kill mails, you only get to hear about the fights, and most of the time players don’t think about you much, assuming most scouts are just alts. When you DO interact with your fleet, it is usually providing them a warp-in.. which often ends with some asshat warping to zero and getting you killed.

However, scouting and reconnaissance are invaluable to fleet operations of all sizes and compositions. The difference between a fleet operating with competent scouts and incompetent ones can be as great as an competent or incompetent FC. If your job is to be a scout, take it seriously, learn what it takes to be a good one, and FCs will fawn over you. 

The US Army has a book, called the FM 17-98: Field Manual for Cavalry Troops, or more lovingly called the “Scout’s Bible." Within this manual is a set of six Fundamentals of Reconnaissance that every self-respecting scout memorizes during his training. These fundamentals are obviously designed around a world with real terrain features, full chains of command, and a lot of other things that EVE sometimes lacks. However, the fundamentals can change a person from being just eyes in another system, to the most valuable asset in an FC’s arsenal.

Employ Maximum Reconnaissance Force Forward

“In reconnaissance, every pair of eyes makes a difference. Do not keep scouts in reserve. This does not mean that every scout should be forward in a strictly linear sense, but actively employed in the conduct of the reconnaissance.”

Scouts are a valuable commodity. One of the biggest mistakes many people make is assume that a good scout is better off bringing more DPS to the table. This fundamental states that scouts should be out there, doing their thing. Don’t keep them with the fleet, don’t leave them somewhere that isn’t needed, don’t ignore them. Maximize the effectiveness of your scouts.

Orient on the Location or Movement of the Reconnaissance Objectives

Within any battlefield, or area of operations, there will be holes in your knowledge. A scout’s sole purpose in life is to fill those holes with information. Scouts need to be ever-vigilant, and always watchful over what they are directed to be observing. A scout that lets something through without seeing is worse than no scout at all. When you are placed somewhere or given something to recon, your command is trusting you to give the best information possible.

Fail at this and people will die.

Report all Information Rapidly and Accurately

A scout is a source of information for the commanders. You are the eyes and ears of the command on the battlefield. The quality of the intelligence you give defines your worth to the fleet. All reports should be concise, as complete as possible, and delivered as soon as possible. As a scout your priorities should be in order as follows: providing good and useful intelligence > staying alive > assisting the combat effort.

For example if you jump into a gate camp. REPORT THE GATE CAMP! Hit d-scan, THEN try to get away. If you try to get away first, and are popped and podded, you lose all that valuable information to the void. The intelligence you give is far more important than the ship you are in. If this is not true, you need a new scouting ship!

When making a report to the FC, remember: time is of the essence. You want to report the most meaningful information first. If there are ten bad guys on gate, don't start by talking about what's in local. You want to front load the most important information first at all times.

In the military we have what's called a SALUTE report, but many shorten it to a SALTT report. SALTT stands for:


So, for example: “Twenty Enemies appear to be in a gate camp in Old Man Star, from Shadow Cartel.”

You may not be able to provide all that information on the drop, but with a little practice, and a well set-up overview, you should be able to work up this report, get a d-scan, and warp off before your cloak is lost.

Another key part is understanding the ships you find in space. You do not need to memorize every single ship in the game, but there are a few that you should be able to id on sight. Logistic ships, backbone combat ships such as the Drake or Abaddon, and other key ships. This is a matter of experience, however, having a "cheat sheet" handy could help you greatly.

It's okay if you don’t have all the information at first, but be clear that you are shaky on the intel, developing the situation comes later.

Retain Freedom to Maneuver

The second priority of a scout is staying alive, and staying alive means staying mobile. You want to be quick, and slippery, and stay one step ahead of the enemy. You also want to almost never be sitting still (unless you’re watching from a perch). If an ally warps into you, you want to keep moving so as to not be decloaked. To a scout, mobility is life. In EVE this is relatively easy, so at this point I will just throw out there that you should know you combat zone, have plenty of bookmarks by which to operate, but there are plenty of guides written on this subject by the EVE community already. Just know it's 50 times as important for a scout.

Gain and Maintain Contact with the Enemy

This one should be pretty straightforward. Your job is to find the enemy, and once you find them, don’t lose them. One concept used in the Army was the handoff, if you see the enemy moving to an area that another scout is screening give them a heads up. “Heyd scout, you have target fleet jumping into your system now, despiking.” then the other scout responds “spike in heyd from abune, eyes on”. If you DO lose your eyes on the enemy, do everything within your power to regain contact - WITHOUT ABANDONING YOUR OBJECTIVE. If your job is to observe a set area, do not forgo that to chase squirrels.

The usefulness of d-scan cannot be overstated. D-scan can be used as a record to be referenced later. If you do not know where enemies are in system you can d-scan while in warp, once you catch the majority of them on it, you can make your report at your leisure, once you have gotten to a safe place.

Develop the Situation Rapidly

Once initial intel has been given, you should work up a real report in a timely manner. Never just start rattling off ship types in comms, it clogs it up and ends up being useless information long before you’re done talking. Rough estimates of numbers and types are acceptable, but longer reports should be typed into chat to be referred to later.

Better yet, should be your new best friend. Grab a d-scan, drop it into there, run it and hand the result to the FCs they will LOVE you for it. (Sidenote, they made a local tool too:

Remain up-to-date at all times, and report things worth reporting. Again, you do not want to clog up comms, so be concise and only report the most important things over voice. The rest can be dumped into intel channels, convos with the FC, or fleet chat.


Scouting in EVE is a "soft skill" - the in-game skills are not as relevant as for some other professions. Only patience, time, and practice will make you a good scout, and thus, one of the most useful resources on the battlefield.

When I joined EVE Online several years back, I remember a discussion with my friend about how I was longing for the feeling I got when I was behind enemy lines, the adrenaline of danger combined with the rush of being the linchpin between success and failure of an operation. I told him that if EVE could give me that feeling again, then I would play it for years. And here I am.


I have been playing the game *terribly* for right around two years. After a brief time in null, and longer stay in high, I have now entered into Gallente Faction Warfare and somehow landed a job as director of Aideron Robotics. I am still terrible.