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Author Commissariot

Stories : The Art of MMO War

Star Wars The Old Republic tale by Commissariot, 2010-08-13T22:35:00.0000000. Reads: 798
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Because I have been reading Sun Tzu's Art of War, I noticed that his basic principles are not only useful in traditional war, but also in most games. This particular "story" will apply his principles into a reasonable guideline for any pvp or pve-centric player, and especially for any guild leader in any position. Enjoy.
(still under construction, please be patient)

Chapter 1

Throughout I will try to simplify the sayings of the legendary tactician, while trying to apply them to MMO's without taking away any of the substance. To this end, his words will be normal text, mine will be Italicized.

"Warfare is the greatest affair of state, the basis of life and death, of survival and extinction, it must be thoroughly analyzed.

"Therefore, structure it according to [the following] five factors, evaluate it comparatively through estimations, and seek out its true nature.

"The Tao, causes the people to be fully in accord with the ruler. [Thus,] they will die for him, live with him and not fear danger.

"Heaven encompasses Yin and Yang, cold and heat, constraints of the seasons.

"Earth encompasses far or near, difficult or easy, expansive or confined, difficult or tenable terrain.

"The General encompasses wisdom, credibility, benevolence, courage, and strictness.

"The laws [for military organization and discipline] encompass organization and regulations, the Tao of command, and the management of logistics.

"There are no generals that have not heard of these five, those who understand them will be victorious, those that do not will not be victorious.

"Thus when making a comparative evaluation of estimations, seek out its one rue nature, ask:

Which ruler has the Tao?
Which general has greater ability?
Who has gained the [advantages of] Heaven and Earth?
Whose laws and orders are more thoroughly implemented?
whose forces are stronger?
Whose officers and troops are better trained?
Whose rewards and punishments are clearer?

From these I will know victory and defeat!

It is a rather simple checklist to implement. Evaluate that which you want to accomplish, with that of what you have and what your enemies have. Thankfully in MMO's it is fairly easy to assess certain aspects. Lest take a game of WoW's Warsong Gulch as a example.
The first question. Which rule has the Tao?, is rather easy to find. In a team set game your group leader is normally the one with the Tao,  whether it will be enough is followed by the next question.
Which general has the greater ability?, normally in mmos its easy to tell who is leading. it will be the guy in front. (in MMO's people have a bad habit of following the group because there is strength in numbers.) now whether or not he should be leading will be distinguished in whether or not he can counter their flag carrier attempts while supporting your flag carrier in the process.
Who has gained the advantages of heaven and earth? Thankfully, the elements do not play a direct role in this example, but might in planning. For example, during winter and autumn months most people have other obligations to them, so likely hood is, the best team you want to take into WSG will not be available when you want or need them. Terrain on the other hand plays a major role. everyone knows there are two entrances and essentially 3 exits to warsong gulch bases. which you take in and out will often decide if your flag makes it to your own flag room. Which is why allot of the time the tunnel isn't the best spot, its confined, and easy to be ambushed in.
Who's laws and orders are more thoroughly implemented? Though it can be forgotten in pvp, since most of the time the goal is always the same, so I am going to switch examples to a instance group. Everyone knows the tank that cant handle the threat, the healer who cant or wont heal to the best of their ability, or the dps that pulls early. The importance of law and order in a instance group is obvious. Just one in-calculation can lead to a wipe or disillusion of the group.
Who's forces are stronger? A easy one, obviously, if your group isn't twinked and leveled to the top of ability, likelihood is, the other is, which will mean your likely to lose. With some exceptions.
Who's officers and troops are better trained? The only real exception to the above rule in MMO's. Though it has been rare, on some occasions of WSG if you have a group that knows pvp well, and the map they are on, they will pull off the win regardless because they simply out maneuver the juggernaut twinks.
Who's rewards and punishments are clearer? This applies the the above example in one way, the flag carrier stalemate. If both sides have the flag, and you are up two points, then dropping the flag and organizing a timer run out in your flag room is the obvious tactic of choice. Why? Well they want the point more than you, which will likely mean they are going to zerg rush. They zerg rush, they may win or may lose, but one thing is for sure, if you lose they will have runners just waiting for your flag to spawn again while your on res timer. Which could well mean two points for them, forcing a tie. whereas dropping their flag and letting them get the cap will make them feel a bit better, make them relax and try the tactics that do not work while your consolidating in the flag room. Everyone wants to be the hero that caps the flag, instead, try being the hero that wins your side the game.

Warfare is the way of deception. Thus although [you are] capable, display incompatibility to them. When committed to employing your forces, feign inactivity. [When] your objective in near, make it appear as if distant; when far away, make it appear nearby.

Display profits to entice them. Create disorder [in their forces] and take them.

If they are substantial, prepare for them, if they are strong, avoid them.

If they are angry, perturb them, be deferential to foster their arrogance.

If they are rested, force them to exert themselves.

If they are united, cause them to be separated.

Attack when they are not prepared.

Go forth where they will not expect it. 

These are the ways military strategists are victorious, they cannot be spoken of in advance.

This is rather simple as well, use every dirty trick and con you can to get your advantage. After all there is no fair in love and war, and there certainly isn't in World of Warcraft! (or any MMO for that matter, it just sounds better stated that way.)

Chapter 2

Chapter 2 of the original art of war was about how to keep a army moving, how equipment, transport, food and other such things can quickly turn a wealthy state into a poor one if concentrating on providing all their troops with at home product.

"One who excels at employing the military does not conscript a people twice or transport provisions a third time. If you obtain your equipment from the state and your provisions from the enemy, the armies foodstuffs will be sufficient."

"Thus the wise general will concentrate on procuring provisions from the enemy. One bushel of the enemies foodstuffs is worth twenty of ours; one picul of fodder worth twenty of ours. "

An important view for any leader to consider. But in MMO's you do not need to worry about your troops food or otherwise. Most of the important stuff only your troops or the game readily provides. But, there are things a guild master has to consider considering what game he is playing.
I am going to use WoW as another example. Yes, all your equipment, all your food and transport the game should provide, especially if you have the strength to provide a protracted campaign. (either against another faction or say, a raid.)
The most important is repairs. Ask any reasonably geared 80, they -hate- to die any more then once on any raid, non bg pvp, group because they know the repair cost will be more than they will want to pay. But! if the guild supplies their repairs, you will have a raid that will likely not end until they get to the end. This is a hard thing to do, often enough, for a guild to get the money to do that it means forcing your members to put money in, which might demoralize them more if say, they miss the raid or cant go because it is full. Instead, try getting the auction house on your side. Every guild has a ton of supplies they will never use. Sell them. It is always better to have a fat wallet and empty bank compared to a full bank and empty wallet.
In the same example, steal your enemies supplies. In WoW, the only real Horde/Alliance supplies you can steal are their abilities. Raiding Orgrimmar? kill the flight master, destroy the npcs that repair, get a small group to tap their graveyard. Take from them everything and leave nothing for them to use. Yes, many consider this cheating or "griefing",  But not doing it will often lead to a counter push that can expel you before you get Thrall. Being called a cheater is better then being a factual loser.

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