The Art of War
“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness”. Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu is possibly the most over quoted ‘strategist’ of all time, but the irony of this statement as part of my Blog was too delicious to miss out!
One of my real interests in EVE is its unique rendition of warfare. I’ll almost certainly come back to this topic time and time again so it’s probably worth my while laying down a few terms and what I mean by them. Your interpretation is likely to be different, and I would hardly class myself as an expert on all things relating to the pursuit of warfare, so please drop in a comment if you have another perspective!
The ground is a term for the physical space where a conflict occurs, even if that’s actually on the water, or in the air. You could liken it to a playing field for a sports pitch for example. What the ground does is ‘shape’ the course of a conflict, just as the markings on a sports pitch direct how a game should be played and what rules should be adhered to.
Topography is obviously the nature of the terrain apon which protagonists might fight – by this I mean the folds in the earth, valleys, ditches, mountains and plains. EVE’s topography is pretty ‘flat’ for the most part; by which I mean there is precious little ‘terrain’ that protagonists can use to their advantage.
Im not referring here to the server ‘nodes’ upon which EVE runs on, but rather to the structure of the universe. Each System is a ‘node’, a single point, which is variously interconnected to other Systems by way of Stargates. Within each System we have a series of other ‘nodes’ – planets, stations, asteroid belts and so forth. These are static points that you can navigate between.
“Concentration of Force”
Remember the old ‘Red Alert’ games where you could ‘tank rush’ your enemy at one point with as much stuff as you could muster? Well that’s concentration of force (or rather the result of it). In EVE we have the ubiquitous ‘blob’.
When we use the term ‘manoeuvre warfare” we’re not just talking about the physical movement of force around the battlefield in space and time. Manoeuvre warfare is something that is slightly harder to describe but essentially means utilising your force efficiently and striking at the weakest point of your adversary – that might mean physically manoeuvring your force but you could equally do so through propaganda or bribery! It’s more an overall philosophy than anything else – and its direct opposite is “Attrition Warfare” whereby two opponents make no attempt to conduct any sort of manoeuvre at all and simply repeatedly hit each other until one exhausts the other.
Again this term is interpreted by different people in various ways. At its core is the use of small units, typically under the guise of a civilian population, to strike an opponent. Often employed by a protagonist who cannot, or will not, mass a larger force for more ‘conventional’ warfare the ‘Guerilla’ aims to avoid a battle of attrition at all costs. More recently this term has been subsumed by the concept of Insurgency based warfare.
In days gone by warfare was characterised by two forces facing off against each other on the battlefield. Asymmetric Warfare is the polar opposite to this meaning that the ‘enemy front line’ is everywhere, 360 degrees around your force and even within your own ‘front line’. The closest approximation in EVE is probably the ‘corp spy’ who’s busy passing intelligence to your adversary or stealing your stuff.
Note : “IRL” comparisons with EVE always break down at some point, but its hard to avoid them when we’re discussing the nature of warfare in EVE, but as long as we remember that such analogies can only ever be approximate it should be ok.
Next time – “The Blob!!”