Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Art of War for WAR, Part 1

Due to the limited nature by which WAR is a simulation of real life, not every aspect of the Art of War applies to WAR. HOWEVER, it should be noted that the commander that knows the basic tenants of strategy will have the victory over he who does not. So, while the actual Art of War contains much more than this, I will detail only the part applicable to Warhammer Online, so that you, the reader, may become an effective tactician and battlefield commander.

Part 1 of Sun Tzu's Art of war is laying plans. There are three parts of import to us: Earth, the Commander, and Method and Discipline.

Earth concerns the ideas of distance, of narrow passes and open plains, and of safety and danger. So, what we can learn from this is simple and practical:

1) Never forget the distance which your army must travel. For if you do not take that into account, the enemy shall take the keep which you had delayed defending (for a BO or some such), and turn the Advantage of Earth against you.

2) Let the size of your battlefield be proportional to the size of your army. A small force is best suited for defending a keep at a choke point, such as the top of the stairs or at the front door. A larger force is well suited for assaulting the enemy's line directly during a defense, and assaulting the enemy stronghold.

3) Make dangerous plans with risk involved only when you can afford for them to fail. If the enemy force is equal in power to mine, and is assaulting my inner keep, I can only afford to attack their lines directly if my warcamp is very close by. Otherwise, I risk not only losing the the assault, but losing the entire keep itself, by nature of Distance working against me.

The Commander
The Commander stands for wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness. To be the Commander, this is what YOU must be. But there are ways that you can show it...

1) Show wisdom by not attempting a keep assault with only two groups. It always astonishes me how many Commanders feel trapped by the fact that there are no more BO's in the area, and seem to think that they must now assault the keep. Flying is in the game for a reason.

2) Be direct and honest. If your soldiers think you're prone to joking around, they will think that your more subtle schemes, which require following strange orders, are just a joke. YES, leading a warband is fun and exiting, but save the laugh riot for later.

3) Don't bite the heads off people who have done incorrectly because of a mistake. At some point, a scout WILL give you information that is not true. Chastise him, and lose the scout. Instruct him and gain a better scout.

4) Be courageous on the field. As a tank, I can always be the first to attack the Lord of the keep, and the first to charge the enemy line. In fact, I would recommend that Commanders consider trying a tank class if they truly enjoy commanding, because, if they love him, the troops will follow their commander anywhere. But as a tank, I can safely lead that charge.

5) You must speak firmly, yet not harshly, against usurpers, dissidents, and the strategically challenged. You must clearly relate your disappointment when your warbands fail to follow your instruction. Conversely, praise them when they follow those difficult instructions, and when they show perseverance in the face of low rewards and great danger.

Method and Discipline
For the sake of WAR, the important part of method and discpline (besides what I mentioned under the Commander section) is marshaling the army in its proper subdivisions. Practical steps to acheive this aim are...

1) When you need a scout to stay at a keep to watch for the enemy warband, simply say so. The average player of Warhammer knows how best to get his rewards: if he's capped in influence in the zone you're going to, but still needs influence in the zone you're in now, he will offer to stay behind, because then the first 5 minutes of the defense will belong solely to him. Other scouts are simply scouts by altruism. They have a love for the commander, or simply a desire to help. Cherish these, and do not overburden or assume upon their willingness, and you shall have their aid for many battles to come.

2) When the first warband gets full, make sure you tell the others to make an overflow warband, and keep in contact with its Warlord. Since warbands can only be so large, sometimes you only know how half of your troops feel about something. It's important to be aware of the rest of your forces, lest they feel as they're being ignored and decide to abandon you.

Ironbreaker Insight: From a lower center of gravity, you can fling away the more unbalanced races.

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