Hades Total War Series

Discussion in 'Articles, History and By-Laws' started by Hades, May 15, 2009.

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  1. Hades Lord of the Dead

    Introduction to "Total War"

    Introduction To Total War

    The purpose of this series is to provide the general public with the concepts and principles of something called "Total War". Total War is the ability to wage multidimensional war on your opponents that goes far beyond the simple mechanics of what happens on the battlefield. Over the next few weeks and months I will discuss many concepts that never change, regardless of what game you play.

    Past vs Present Games of the past (1992-2001) mostly focused on the individual player and small guilds that were able to have a large impact on their respective game worlds. Those games had loose rules where most or all of the game server was open to PVP, and some form of player looting was allowed to occur. In those settings, guilds often fought to the death and there were few activities that were considered "off limits" in order to achieve victory over their opponents. Games of the present and into the near future (2002 - Present) have mostly brought us static environments where you are fighting on behalf of a realm in settings that range from small instanced combat to large open frontier style PVP. This more controlled form of PVP has grown to be the generally accepted norm for games that offer PVP these days. DAOC servers and WoW PVP servers are prime examples of this type of play, but even in these settings guilds clash violently as they struggle for supremacy.

    Total War Concepts

    Here is a list of some, but not all, of the concepts you may see in the future:

    Organization
    Infiltration
    Teamwork / Group PVP
    Political Warfare Alliance BuildingTerrain Warfare
    Siege Warfare
    Resource Warfare
    Running a Mercenary Guild

    To provide a short overview on the concepts of total war, lets briefly discuss what they mean.

    Organization is the ability of a group, large or small, to plan their strategy and be able to adapt to an ever changing environment. Some obvious signs of organization are:

    Clear goals going into a game Creating an effective system of in and out of game communication The ability to keep their members informed on current events Documenting issues that will be known disadvantages and developing plans to overcome them

    Infiltration is the means by which you plant spies or moles into enemy groups in order gather organizational, tactical, property placement type data, or to initiate political warfare Teamwork is directly related to how well your group performs as a combat team. Time and time again, it has been proven that the group with the best teamwork will out perform opponents who cannot operate as a team.

    Group PvP Rules are the rules / tactics that your forces use when engaging an enemy in combat. This goes hand in hand with teamwork Political Warfare is the ability of a group to keep enemies diverted by breaking up enemy groups, pitting one enemy against another, and spreading misinformation through whatever means necessary to keep your enemies off balance to where they are not all focusing on you at one time Alliance Building is the ability to successfully incorporate other groups into your group and putting them to work so that they help you achieve your final goal.

    Terrain Warfare is the ability to use the existing terrain to your advantage and your enemy's disadvantage. Some things there are as follows.

    Using terrain to provide maximum defense for your forces Maximizing your kill zone for the best enemy casualty results Trapping or flanking your enemy Slowing your enemy down while awaiting reinforcements Ambushes Best results for area effect type damage

    Siege Warfare refers to your ability to take or defend a city, keep, or tower. Siege warfare is becoming quite popular in many of today's PVP games.

    Resource Warfare means that you cut off your enemy's ability to wage war by denying them the resources to materials needed.

    Running a Mercenary Guild refers to guilds that lend their services to the highest bidder. In many upcoming games that promote PVP, the services of a good mercenary guild can help tip the balance of power. This is just a brief overview of the concepts, and I will go into each one in more detail in the future. These types of concepts have been around as long as PvP has been an option in online gaming.

    The games may change, the interface may change, and some games may place more emphasis group warfare issues than others, but in the end the Principles of War never change. Organized groups know it and unorganized mobs probably never had to deal with it much, but how well a guild is prepared for PVP warfare in today's games is what separates the big names from the wannabes.
     
  2. Hades Lord of the Dead

    Organizing To Win

    Building A Successful Competitive Guild

    To build a competitive guild that can survive in nearly any PVP environment, your guild should have some basic organization capability. Games that allow smaller guilds to thrive while having a large impact on a gaming world can obviously get by with less organization, but games that require medium to large sized guilds to have an impact on the world require a decent amount of in-game and out of game organization.

    Leadership

    It all starts at the top with a stable leadership core that knows how to plan, develop a consistent set of standards, delegate and supervise to implement the plan, and to ensure that critical timelines are being met. Good leadership can make or break a guild as it tries to become a world power in a competitive game.

    A guild must also take the time to develop junior leadership that can quickly fill key roles in the event that a senior leader has to step aside, or if a senior leader has to be removed for other reasons. Guilds should have a good set of policies and procedures in place that allow for talented members to slowly ease into positions of escalating responsibility and authority. Properly trained and oriented junior leadership can be an asset to a guild, but poorly trained junior leaders can cause the guild to collapse from within.

    Policies and Procedures

    Believe it or not a set of standard policies and procedures can save a guild lots of headaches. I don't know how many guilds I've seen fall apart because members got special treatment, promoted, or disciplined without regard to any set standard. Standardized procedures are also a good thing. Having a common set of standards for certain activities that are fairly universal no matter the game can greatly assist your guild early in a game.

    In many PVP or other competitive games, the guilds that become early world powers are generally the ones who seem to be able to execute their game plans the best.

    Planning To Compete

    Guilds don't fall apart because they plan to fail, they fall apart because they fail to plan.We usually consider our setup phase of a new game to be the 45-60 day mark, and we plan certain milestones into that time period for where we want the guild to be by that time.

    We consider the operational phase to be the 60-90 day mark, and by the end of that period we want to have the guild engaging in its long term strategy for that particular game. In a sense you have to treat a guild like a business. You have to do your homework on the new game you are going to, create a setup plan, create operational plan to maintain after the setup is done, and then follow through accordingly.

    Personnel 101

    While nice to imagine, it is highly unlikely that your guild will retain the same membership year after year and game after game. This is where planning, leadership, and policies all become critical because new members have to be recruited, trained and oriented, and brought up to a certain level of performance usually within 60-90 days.

    If you are still struggling with new membership training and orientation issues after the 90 day point, the odds of your success in that game go down considerably and it shows in your guild's overall game progression. After 90 days of retail release the playerbase on a server usually becomes mature, and it becomes harder to maintain continuous recruitment if potential applicants see your guild still mired in growing pains. Personnel activity is fluid though, and you always have to have a game plan to deal with normal attrition.

    I advise a continuous recruitment process, and recruiting what you need as you need it. Eventually though a game matures and a server matures to where recruitment becomes difficult, and at that point your leadership has to consider options such as server transfers or whether or not its time to move on to the next game. Once you lose the ability to recruit, its only a matter of time before guild effectiveness is eroded. If a guild waits too long to make decisions, it can lose its core members to guilds that are more proactive or guilds that are moving to other games.

    Communications

    In this day and age, voice chat is all the rage. Any guild worth its salt is going to have ventrilo, teamspeak, or some voice server capacity. Things happen so fast in games these days, that you just don't have time to sit there and type in text chat commands to people. For day to day coordination, it is imperative that you establish some sort of voice based communications capacity. On the flip side though voice chat makes people lazy.

    The guild leadership must take time to establish policies and procedures on its website or in forums, make regular news announcements, and ensure that their members are reading the updates. Otherwise you waste time and productivity with having to constantly explain what's going on to every idiot who's too lazy to take five minutes a day to check the forums. Voice chat is great for coordinating activities, but it sucks ass for long term planning and organization. Figure out what works for you, but beware of the trap that voice chat can create.

    Progression Strategy

    Whether its PVE or PVP, the leadership should have a strategy for guild progression. The strategy should be both realistic, and obtainable without requiring the membership to feel like the game is a full time job. It is also advisable to regularly check your strategies, and update them based on existing conditions. Establishing class leads, PVP coordinators, etc is very helpful to keeping the guild organized and to assist in creating optimal group configurations. With good coordination and communication amongst your leads or coordinators, creating optimal group configurations is usually not very difficult. Sure you can advance to the end game without an optimal group configuration, but you usually get there faster with the best group configuration possible.

    On a PVP progression related note, your guild should regularly schedule PVP days and times. Unlike PVE progression that has clear signs of advancement, a guild's PVP progression is harder to measure. Obvious signs of success are organized guild nights where your guild goes out, kicks butt, and takes names. It is also useful to have leadership make notes about things that didn't work out so well, and then discuss changes to strategy to ensure future success. PVP progression is a constantly moving target, and requires regular changes in order remain effective.

    Public Relations

    Public relations is very important in games that require guilds to work together, or in open PVP games where guilds need to project their power. There are two general rules to follow with public relations in competitive PVP games:

    1. # Make sure allies receive equal credit for successes
      # Make sure your enemy's humiliating defeats are known to the public
    By making sure your allies get equal credit for successes, you keep the alliance from fragmenting over ego issues. This keeps everyone happy most of the time, and allows all guilds associated with the alliance to rise together. By making sure your enemy's humiliating defeats are known to the public, you ensure that they lose credibility in the player community. When they lose that credibility they have trouble attracting allies.

    Member Discipline & Drama

    Last but not least we have member discipline. Most members integrate well, but from time to time there's always that one person who feels he's god's gift to your guild. This is gut check time because sometimes you have to boot that guy, and all his friends who came with him. Personally I believe its acceptable to suffer a temporary setback in order to remove a cancerous member and his supporters within the guild than to let them fester and grow. Games like World of Warcraft that require a perfect combination of so many people or so many of each class do make one hesitant to boot someone and their friends at times, but letting cancerous people remain in your guild can doom the entire guild.

    We have booted recruits, full members, and even Elders over 12 years when they got too big for their britches, but those things are required if you want to stand the test of time.

    Conclusion

    This isn't a comprehensive list, and some people can get by with more or less organization. However, I prefer to cover the bases so that my guild gets off to a good start in competitive games. The better your start, the more likely you'll be a top tier competitor until your guild is ready to move to the next game.
     
  3. Hades Lord of the Dead

    The Art of Infiltration

    The art of infiltration is an age old concept that has gone on in online gaming for more years than I care to imagine. Any group worth their salt has at one time or another attempted to infiltrate an opposing group in order to gather information or sew dissension in the ranks.

    Lets take a look at the benefits of infiltrating an opposing group.

    Intelligence Gathering

    This is usually the primary reason that people attempt to infiltrate another group. If you can gather the right information on your enemy, then you can learn their plans well in advance and find ways to thwart them. In the cloak and dagger world of spy warfare, knowledge is most definitely a form of power if used properly. What types of information should you gather or actions should you take?

    Group size because web sites can be very deceptive as to a group's actual active membership Identify the leaders, political and war leaders, so you know who to target in each arena when the time is right Identify any allied groups affiliated with your enemy and look for any weaknesses in their relationship that you could exploit to sew dissension between them

    Look for weaknesses and discontent amongst the base membership that you could possibly take advantage of in order to set off infighting

    Try to obtain as much tactical information as you can. Such things would include group movements, supply/resource areas, , location of their closest ally force, and their common fighting preferences

    Try to get on some type of mailing list, secure member area, or egroup type forum in order to get regular updates Be an ass kisser. Many people in the group you have just infiltrated will be more than happy to spill their guts to impress you with their knowledge if you make them feel like you worship the ground they walk on.

    You are grasshopper, and they are the master. Everyone wants to be worshipped so why not take advantage of it. Play meek, act impressed, let them think that you would be lost without them to show you the way. In reality, you are using them like a tool, and they are so blind that they don't even know what is happening to them.

    So, once you get all this juicy information what are you going to do with it? That seems to be the question many would be spies ask themselves because they didn't expect to get in that far.

    What's Next?

    There are several things that you can do. Selling information to the enemy of your enemy is the third oldest profession, and helps to bring even more chaos to the scene when they act on it. Here is an example: Fred infiltrates the guild known as "X" He learns some good stuff and sells the information to guilds "B", "C", and "D" under a bogus name. Those guilds turn around and act on that information which puts more focus on how those guilds figured out what was going on and at most guild "X" will only get the bogus name of the informant.

    Meanwhile, Fred the grasshopper is mooching off of his mentor and being model member who remains above suspicion. The "X" guild may tighten up security for a while, but if you lay low long enough without blowing your cover you will live to squeal another day.

    Now common sense must prevail here for would be spies. You have to prioritize information that you learn and also figure out how to make it known to others with the least risk of exposure. If you go around telling things that you know only a few people in the guild know, you run a high risk of getting exposed. Also if you release too much information too close together, then you run a high risk of alerting the guild to a spy in their midst.

    A good plan is to gather as much information as you can, and then suddenly have to disappear for a while because of some other outside issue. Once you lay low long enough to be safely forgotten, you can slowly start feeding out information to other groups.

    How Long Does This Last?

    Keep in mind that a spying mission is not a short assignment. Good spies will infiltrate an enemy group, go through the plebe stages, and appear to be a perfectly normal member.

    This could literally take months, but it will pay off big time. In a group that is always enlisting new members, when information gets leaked out its the newbies that are going to be scrutinized the hardest. Very little thought is going to go into a member of 6+ months being a spy, and they will actually end up losing some good potential recruits or newly initiated members if they go on an intensive interrogation spree looking for the spy.

    If that happens you've killed two birds with one stone. You have delivered them into the hands of their enemies and cost them potential members.

    Disruption

    If you cause the guild to realize they have a spy, but you avoid detection then you disrupt their peachy little world for a while. They are less focused on the outside world and more focused on rooting out the evil within.

    Tensions get high, people get falsely accused, and it causes some personnel to churn out. Oftentimes, personal rivalries that have been put aside for the sake of the group come to light and accusations fly. Between the internal fighting and the enemy guilds handing them their lunch with the nice tactical information you have passed along, they are reeling from all directions. You can count them effectively distracted and then your group is free to pursue their agenda with little interference.

    Triple Agent?

    Of course you can always play triple spy. Sell or give information to the enemy of your enemy, find out what they are going to do, and then sell or give the information to the enemy of your enemy's enemy. Guild "X" gets ambushed at their supply point by guild "B" Guild "B" gets ambushed as well by guild "C" who found out that guild "B" was going to be at a certain location in the near future. Or you could just be a silent mole and record everything you find out, tell no one but your real guild and make the appropriate plans to thwart the enemy.

    Summary

    There are more things the good spy could do, but those are pretty common. Just remember that sometimes, a determined person can do more damage than an army. Better watch out for those daggers aiming at your backs.
     
  4. Hades Lord of the Dead

    Teamwork & PVP

    We've always found that developing a written set of guidelines for PVP roles, coordination, and common strategies was a good thing. For one it helped us to quickly orient new players instead of having to explain the concepts over and over in ventrilo each time we added a new person to the guild.

    Secondly it allowed us to be able to develop a common set of guidelines that all guild members were expected to follow. We change this up from game to game based on the mechanics, but by developing these standards it does help guild members quickly integrate from one of our gaming chapters to another without losing much PVP effectivness.

    Below are two examples. One is from our time in City of Villains where we were one the 4 final nominees for 2006 Guild of the Year.

    Ok so the grammar isn't perfect, and I didn't want to waste a lot of time correcting it when most of it is shorthand for explaining PVP in those games. This is just an example of what we setup for each game we play.
     
  5. Hades Lord of the Dead

    Empire Building and Political Alliances

    Welcome to Guildmaster School.

    Your guild of 30,50,80,100 has played several games over the past few years and done well without having to deal with large alliances or world politics. You were a power unto yourselves in those games, where social and resource dynamics were so limited that your small force could keep your guild war machine running with little difficulty. You have planned your rise to power in your current PVP game, and you decided to adopt a go it alone mentality.

    Initially things are good, and your little hamlet is growing. You build your shops, city walls, and other items of interest while remaining oblivious to what transpires around you. After all, you've done well in other games and never needed to worry about politics and world affairs of other guilds. Life is good, and the purses of your city merchants grow fat with gold.

    It is then, that you are awakened to the harsh reality of a dynamic player driven world. Suddenly troops begin to descend on your city, and war tents and seige engines roll into view. Scouts report that all entrances and exits from your city and land areas are sealed by enemy forces.

    You and your guild members watch nervously from the city walls at the scene unfolding before you, and dig in for the long battle ahead. Defeat doesn't cross your mind because you've stood against greater numbers and won in games past. The battle begins as spells, arrows, and swords are unleashed against you.

    Siege engines crash into your city walls and buildings, but your defenses kick in to work on repairing the damage. Out of your membership you can rally perhaps half of them online at any given time, but the manpower is simply not enough to sally forth through enemy lines to destroy the siege engines destroying your city.

    Your intel reports suggest somewhere between three to five larger guilds have allied to expand their mutual territory, and your city just happened to be in a prime real estate area. Even though you have the defensive advantage you are vastly out numbered, underpowered, and overwhelmed by the sheer number of warfare resources arrayed against you. Shut off from the outside world your economy will soon falter, and the money needed to continue to outfit your warriors will eventually dry up. Your best hope is to hope your city defenses, and a few guildmates can hurt the enemy enough to make them go away.

    Several days later the enemy is still camped outside and you can't abandon your holdings for even one second, or the enemy will lay claim to your assets. The gold has dried up, your equipment is breaking, your city walls are crumbling because you can't get the resources to repair everything as fast as its being damaged, and defeat is inevitable.

    You have no friends or allies to come to your rescue because you didn't bother to make any, and you've never needed them in the past. The only additional help you got during the whole battle was a few common folk who used your city as a trade spot or base, but they were not enough to turn the tide against the vast army preparing to storm your city.

    You watch in horror as your walls are breached, and the heathen enemy pours into your city destroying and burning. Your elite members run to the city's defense but disappear in a river of enemy bodies. The enemy soldiers secure the city, and you find a sword pressed to your throat demanding your surrender. Oh but the taste of defeat is bittersweet!


    Many guildmasters are reading this scenario saying "this won't happen to me", but in all likelihood it will happen if you don't stay involved in the world scene. This is not to say that every guild who decides to go it alone will be crushed, but rather that massive PVP warfare involves numbers and resources on a very large scale. Only by having numbers and resources close or equal to your enemy will save you from eventual doom.

    A quick recap:
    Remember that resource warfare is very important for long term success or failure. Just winning battles in PvP combat isn't enough to save the day. You can very well win the battle, but lose the war.

    Some of the tell tale aspects of massive PVP warfare that can be determinants of the final victor are:
    Gold / economy
    Manpower
    Allies
    Mercenary groups
    Regional neighbors
    PvP Battles

    Those are pretty much essential component variables at play in the larger scale of things.

    Building your PVP Empire:

    First of all, when we think about empire building the concept of a single guild comes to mind. Sure its possible to build a single guild membership into the hundreds or low thousands, but its a nightmare to try to manage all that. There will be a few guilds that will do this and even pull it off to some level of efficiency, but without good leadership that type of organization can easily be thrown into chaos in a large scale conflict.

    The flip side of the coin is to build an empire based on the guild alliance model. Here you have collections of guilds with their own leaderships in place, and a central leadership council that provides direction for the entire alliance. The leaders of each participating guild are then charged with upholding certain standards or achieving some common empire goal for their area. In times of trouble, they can call upon other cities/guilds in the empire to reinforce them, break a seige, or go on the offensive.

    The last type we will probably see are the reclusive types of organizations. They want their own little piece of the world and have little interest in dealing with others or their problems. Most would be unable to withstand conquering armies trying to expand their borders. Early in most PVP games, this will probably be the most common type of guild setup. Most will eventually become part of a larger group as they are gobbled up, form regional alliances for defense once they realize the danger of being alone, or they will willingly bend the knee to another group for the benefits of being under a larger power.

    False Security:

    Political alliances come in handy at the strangest of times and for the strangest reasons. In most pvp games, there are a variety of threats that can jeopardize you on many fronts. You may need allies to help you enforce trade embargos, defend mutual areas of interest, help you quell a civil war, fight off well provisioned invading armies, and to finance trade empires, etc. In the game of thrones, a smart leader will play give and take with other guilds or alliances so that they remain on good terms.

    How to make your group valuable to others:

    As a guild grows in size and power, its still a good idea to remain on good terms with other neighboring groups. You never know what you may need them for, so its a good idea to make sure that your neighbors have a good interest in keeping your guild around. Your guild may be the one of the strongest powers on the server, but if your guild is destroyed in a costly war then the weaker guilds might not be able to prevent another group from taking over the entire server.

    By keeping diplomatic channels open with others, those friendly groups could lend support in the form of resources and limited manpower in the event of a major crisis. Convince them that their fates are linked to your existence, and that is a good bargaining tool.

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend:

    By keeping up with world level events, you may find that your enemy has enemies of their own. Using diplomatic channels you could use this as a bargaining tool and perhaps turn the tide against your enemy. These are just a few examples, but they depend on an active dialogue with the rest of the world. None of this helps you if you shun people with an elitist attitude or xenophobic views.

    Beware the pride:

    Sometimes a guild's worst enemy is the guild itself. Especially in the case where there's just one large guild that's grown by swelling its numbers. When you have no military, economic, or other type of threat, then you must be wary on the home front. Even in the best of times, someone in the hundreds or thousands of your members is going to be plotting a break away plan and trying to enlist support.

    Typically those people think that their way is right and just, and that the leadership has lost touch with the masses. Large guilds and alliances will have to be very wary, and have good control mechanisms in place to avoid a civil war. Your enemies, long held at bay, would see your guild as weaker due to the internal fracture, and decide that its now a prime chance to attack you while you are distracted.

    These factors along with a lack of guilds on good terms with you could mean the difference between your guild being a great power today and a footnote of history tomorrow.

    Political Alliances and Public Relations:

    In PVP games political alliances will play a central role in which guild or alliance reigns supreme. Guilds that isolate themselves from the community by creating a negative public image for themselves will be at a severe disadvantage when playing the game of thrones. They will end up as outcast guilds and excluded from world shaking federations more often than not. What is public relations and political capital anyway?Basically guilds engage in public relations in order to expand operations by means other than pure conquest.

    A good trade agreement between fair and honest guilds might end up netting both guilds rich profits for their coffers. Likewise, a cooperative military agreement may help police a dangerous area of land and let each guild share in the manpower resources to keep the area clear. The more powerful, wealthy, and likeable a guild becomes then the more allies it will have as well as political clout in guild to guild negotiations.

    Also more guilds may be willing to merge into wealthier and more likeable alliances in order to benefit their citizens. Guilds that are well liked, rich, and well connected will be defended by their allies. Guilds that become stigmatized and branded as supporting low life's or outcasts organizations will be isolated and alone.

    Becoming a true PVP power goes beyond the confines of the game and spans into the public arena where message forums, news sites, and the rest of the public will learn about your group. Your image and reputation as a guild will attract people, repel them, or unite them against you.
     
  6. Hades Lord of the Dead

    General Guide to Siege Warfare

    Introduction

    Note: This is a general guide to large scale PVP games that involve Realm vs Realm, Faction vs Faction, Guild vs Guild combat on a large scale where there is an objective to take and hold a city, keep, or tower. Dark Age of Camelot (DAOC), Shadowbane (SB), and Age of Conan (AOC) have been designed around the central concept of PVP (Player - vs - Player) and GVG (Guild � vs- Guild) combat.

    One of the unique features of these games is the ability of guilds to create their own cities, or to build or capture Keeps and Towers in a PVP zones. Guilds generally use resources acquired in game to build, maintain, and upgrade their cities, keeps, and towers. Regardless of the game, there are a few principles that are applicable to most PVP situations that allow for siege warfare. Step One: Pre-Siege Prep Work

    Out of Game Activities

    1. Communicate with your guild leadership to plan some potential dates where a siege activity can happen.

    2. Post a guild announcement in your guild�s private forums with the following details:

    Date of the planned siege (or siege defense) Date of any pre-siege attacks, defense, or distraction activities Pre-Siege meeting location and a time for people to log on Announce the assigned siege leadership personnel Provide a list of materials and resources members are expected to bring​

    3. Coordinate with other allied guilds as necessary


    In-Game Activities


    1. Begin distraction activities (attacking resource points, disrupting trade, etc)

    2. Have guild leadership begin to organize the resources needed for the siege operation

    3. Coordinate with allied guilds as necessary

    Step Two: Initiating the Siege Effect

    For DAOC you can basically initiate a siege at any time if you have the people and the resources available. For Shadowbane and Age of Conan though, a siege is started first by constructing a siege initiation resource (Shadowbane = Bane Circle) or using a game interface to declare war (Age of Conan, etc).

    In recent games, once these two structures have been created and placed or a siege has been declared using another in game mechanic, a Window of Opportunity (WOO) can be set to determine the exact time and place for the siege. With WOO�s the defender usually is able to set the time and date to defend their City or Keep that best suits them. A countdown to the time and date of the siege is then initiated and, the siege will begin once the countdown expires.

    During this time there can be intermittent PVP activity around the city or keep as siege assets are built and placed by both sides.

    Step Three: Placing Siege Assets

    Depending on the game, siege warfare assets may be placed sometime in the days or hours leading up to the actual siege event. Here are some things that Guildmasters should keep in mind when placing assets:

    1. Place the siege initiation asset (Bane Circle/War Tent) in a location that is difficult for the city/keep defenders to train their collective firepower. Usually the siege ends if the siege initiation asset is destroyed. If possible make the city/keep defenders have to leave the safety of their walls to have to destroy the asset.

    2. Beware of any pathfinding issues related to uneven terrain. Siege engines usually cost money and resources, and some games do not allow them to be moved once they are placed. So a general rule of thumb is to try to use flat terrain as often as possible.

    Step Four: Siege Event Prep

    In the hours leading up to the actual siege event, both the attackers and defenders are usually very busy. Here are some general things that should be considered during this time frame:

    Attacking Force

    1. Give yourself and your allies enough lead time so that you can organize your forces and your resources prior to the live siege event.

    2. Establish a rally point for those who die, and have an effective means of getting them back to the site of the battle.

    3. Set up your optimal PVP groups so that you maximize your combat effectiveness once the siege begins.

    Some things to consider:

    AOE based groups perform best in close settings. Good spots for them are generally to defend critical siege assets, or they excel inside a city/keep where they can do lots of damage to clustered groups of defenders. Melee based groups are good for a variety of settings. They can be used as meat shields while using siege equipment, raw damage to punch holes through enemy lines, and to protect other critical people at various stages of the siege. Archers are great for picking off single targets, and some games even give them the ability to lay down some pretty impressive cover fire. In either event, you want to make sure your archers have a wide field of vision so they can find targets that maximize the attacker�s opportunities.​

    4. Make sure your siege equipment is properly protected and can be repaired during the battle. In many cases players don�t do much damage to buildings, and the entire siege can be lost if the attackers lose their own siege equipment.


    Defending Force


    It is usually easier to defend than it is to attack, and as the defending force you want to make sure you can survive until the siege WOO expires. Usually if the WOO expires and you still control your city/keep, then the attacking force is defeated no matter how many individual kills they got. As a defender you generally want to stall for time, and so your organization and tactics should revolve around that critical aspect.

    Here are some things to consider when defending.

    1. Make sure all your personnel and allies know what time to show up for the event, and that you have an effective means to get them there before the attackers show up in sufficient numbers that would counter any reinforcement efforts.

    2. Make sure you have stockpiled enough materials so that you can make any needed repairs to buildings or counter siege equipment. If you run out of resources during the siege, your chances to succeed will greatly diminish.

    3. Try to establish a counter attack plan that can distract the enemy and prevent them from sending their full force against your city/keep. If possible ensure the counter attack force is a legitimate threat and can cause mass casualties, or that it can destroy the attacking force�s siege equipment.

    4. Inside the city/keep ensure that you place traps that can kill, stun, or slow or that you have specialized PVP groups with AOE roots, stuns, sleeps, or slows. This will inhibit enemy movement once they breach the walls, and perhaps allow you to mow them down with concentrated damage.

    Step Five: Siege Event Goes Live

    When the siege event �goes live� you have entered the attack or defend phase, and what you do will decide who wins or loses. There too many situations that could occur during the this phase so I will not even attempt to cover them all.

    Instead, I am going to provide some general rules and advice from both perspectives: attacker and defender.

    1. Coordination is the key to victory or the path to defeat. If you have coordination you will usually win. Keeping the members of your guild and its allies in line and focused on the goal at hand is very important. This can be accomplished in many ways. One, which I strongly recommend for PVP games, is voice communication. Teamspeak or Ventrilo are both easy to use voice chat programs.

    Whether it is through voice chat or in game chat channels, you need to appoint a central leader. The leader is responsible for making all siege decisions. It is very important that the orders issued by the leader be followed immediately and without question. Unnecessary questions or complaints can affect morale and result in defeat.

    2. Scouting is important. If you do not have people to scout the battlefield, then get some because you need to know what�s going on outside your city/keep walls. The ability to obtain real time information around the battle field is vital in acquiring information about enemy numbers and movement.

    3. Being buffed is important for survivability. This may sound dumb, but in all those PVP groups you put together I hope you worked in buffing classes. Buffs provide extra damage, defense, resistance, etc. The most common mistake people make in siege situations is they don�t rebuff on a regular basis, and then their combat effectiveness significantly decreases.

    Notes for Attacking Forces: Your first objective will most likely be to tear down walls or a keep door to get into the city/keep. You also have to protect the siege asset (bane/war tent) from being destroyed. If you place your siege equipment near the siege asset (bane/war tent), this makes both tasks easier, because you can have your entire force in one place.

    It is often best to use a mix of melees and casters when sieging a city/keep. The defenders will usually try to take out the siege asset (bane/war tent) and siege equipment first, but they have to defeat the force guarding those assets. Make sure the enemy is forced to engage your casters first. This ensures the enemy does not mow down your tanks while your casters cannot reach them. The melee should remain near the siege equipment and siege assets until the enemy tanks rush. Then the melee�s job is to protect the casters, once close quarters battle is engaged. Snares and stuns are very important so make sure you have plenty of classes with access to those powers in your caster group.

    Have a method to quickly summon back your dead as soon as possible. Some fights can last a long time and become a game of who can summon back the dead faster. Do not lose the opening battle. If the siege asset (bane/war tent) is already active and you lose the initial battle to maintain your attacking position, you will most likely not have the time to get everyone back in time.

    What will happen then is that the defending force will sally forth to destroy all your siege equipment and siege asset (bane/war tent) while you don�t have the manpower to prevent it. When possible destroy the defender�s siege equipment before you start destroying their walls (or other structures). This is important because the defenders can use their siege equipment to destroy your siege equipment, or more importantly they can destroy your siege asset which could end the entire siege if its destroyed.

    Once inside the city/keep walls see if you can place additional siege equipment on the ground inside. This allows other members of your force to continue doing structural damage, or place some anti-personnel siege equipment that will help you do additional damage to players. As your forces breach the keep, coordination and group synergy will either push you towards the final win or see you routed in defeat.

    All of your PVP skills come into play here as you focus on dealing direct damage to the enemy, keeping yourself alive, and moving towards your ultimate goal. In DAOC you will begin to turtle your way to the Keep Lord, in Shadowbane you will begin to kill players and put pressure on the Tree of Life, and in games like Age of Conan you are trying to destroy enough structures before the siege window closes.

    Notes for the Defending Forces:

    Defenders have an extreme advantage over the attackers. You will always have the protection of your city/keep to regroup if you lose a battle. Additionally, you can reform and rebuff quicker than the attackers. This can benefit you because you might be able to attack the enemy right after a large battle before the enemy is prepared. City/Keep defenses are also available to assist you. In DAOC, Shadowbane, and Age of Conan there are guards to help augment your forces. In most games there is counter siege equipment as well as access to other city/keep assets that can help the defending forces.

    Find out what these things are, and use them to the maximum benefit. AoE groups are your friend and they can cause massive damage to enemy forces right outside your city/keep, but they are especially deadly if the city/keep is breached because the enemy will be forced to fight in tight quarters. Try to protect your siege equipment as much as possible by keeping them repaired. This is where having resources on hand can be critical. The walls and ledges of the city/keep are very important, so use them as often as you can.

    Make the enemy struggle to see you and get to you, and pepper then with ranged damage. Finally, be persistent! A good defending force can wear down the enemy until they fold. In today�s games the defending force simply has to survive until they destroy a siege asset, destroy the opposing force completely, or survive until a siege timer expires.

    Develop your strategy around the game you plan to play, and then put the things in place that you need to win. Good luck, and may the best general win!
     
  7. Hades Lord of the Dead

    Terrain Warfare

    Posted by Waylander (Hades) at SB Warcry on 8/6/2001 ​

    There is almost always some sort of terrain advantage that can be exploited at someone else's expense which will give one of the groups an edge over the other.

    To explain that, lets go back to our quick list of some of the most common factors found in terrain warfare.

    Terrain Warfare is the ability to use the existing terrain to your advantage and your enemy's disadvantage. Some things there are as follows:

    Maximize defense for your forces
    Maximizing your kill zone
    Trapping or flanking your enemy
    Slowing your enemy down
    Ambushes
    Best results for area effect type damage
    Open PVP server/instance resource warfare

    There is also the factor of the game NPC's to take into account. In some games from the past, using the local area NPC's was a strategy commonly used because they could essentially do your killing for you if used properly. In more modern game however, NPC's were no more than a minor annoyance unless attracted in large quantities.

    2012 Note:

    DAOC, GW1 Arena PVP, GW2 Arena and Word vs World, etc allows for the strategic use of NPC's as offensive or defensive tools. Used properly they can be leveraged for a great advantage!!!

    We must not take the NPC manipulation factor for granted. Lets take a quick look at how NPC's can be used before moving on to the other terrain items.

    NPC Utilization

    The NPC's, over time, have demonstrated a few levels of awareness that should be considered.

    Short Awareness Radius allowed players to successfully lead NPC's around in battle for the purpose of dumping them in the midst of their enemies. This was primarily prevalent in turn based games such as Neverwinter Nights (NWN)

    Permanent Awareness / Sticky Monsters came about as the newer generation of online games entered the stage. Monsters here basically stuck to one person as long as that player remained in the area (dungeon, region, etc). To effectively use NPC's in this type of setting, you had to know the layout of the area very well. If you did, you could force your enemy into areas where they would become "monster magnets". If that happened, then your enemy would get swarmed and had to make a fast decision whether or not to fight you or try to clear out some of the monsters. Luring your enemies into monster pits was a good way to distract at least a portion of the enemy group and cause enough confusion to disrupt their teamwork.

    Semi-Sticky Awareness was a little bit less intense than sticky monsters. Here the monsters would stay stuck on one player until their slow witted AI figured out that they were taking a majority of damage from somewhere else. Only then would they change targets.

    Based on the types of NPC monsters a game had, guilds could gauge their NPC Utilization strategies. The only real difference in using monsters against your enemy was that you couldn't not lead them to your enemy's doorstep. Instead, you had to lead your enemies into monster mobs.

    Knowing a little of how NPC monster AI's work and how they have been used against enemies in the past should help you plan for the "NPC" factor if Shadowbane decides to use NPC's as a battlefield factor.

    Now, back to our regularly scheduled program with more discussion on the other terrain factors.

    Smart commanders who plan to to wage long wars of attrition against their enemies should know they terrain types they will be fighting on. Most people discount terrain as a factor in combat, but in reality it can be one of the most IMPORTANT factors. Lets take a closer look.

    Terrain influences battles in a few key ways.

    Line of Sight - most melee and magic distance affected
    Line of Movement - close combat/leashing/hit box radius
    Avenues of Approach - i.e. bottlenecks, etc
    Areas of Defense - places to make a good last stand
    Areas of Offense - max effect killing ground
    Areas of Ambush - gank your enemies, slow them down
    Freedom of Choice - multiple choice options

    Every single combat system out there uses some sort of line of sight mechanism for determining the chance for a distance attack. Some games have been more sophisticated than others, but any game that allows distance attacks uses this system. To determine the line of sight, generally the game decides whether or not you have a clear shot on your enemy. Some common barriers to line of sight are:

    Buildings and other man made structures

    Trees
    Rocks
    Hills
    Valleys
    Animals
    Other monsters
    Other players

    The older games did not count monsters or other players as actual barriers to line of sight, but the newer games are finally starting to take that into account. Those that don't still generally limit your attacks based on terrain factors.

    Line of Sight

    When planning an attack, you always have to take the distance factor into account. How many forces can you afford to lose before you engage in close combat with your enemy? A careful study of the terrain you'll be fighting on may help you determine that. Knowing how much cover the terrain will give you will help you determine the path of approach that will result in the least amount of casualties.

    Line of sight, ranged attacks, are the primary open PVP method of attack until you get to a siege or extreme defensive situation.

    Line of Movement

    The same factors we just saw in the line of sight also apply to the line of movement. The difference between the two is that by the time the line of movement really becomes a factor, distance attacks are generally not the primary methods of engagement. Instead its a close combat melee brawl 85% and around 15% generally holding back trying to pick people off from a distance.

    Once things move into a close combat melee brawl, you want to be careful not to allow your enemy to withdraw enough to level their sights back onto your force and use distance attacks once more. Here is where your ground forces must know how to steer the enemy away from areas where they have a wide range of running movement. You should push them closer and closer together, limit their ability to escape, but maximize the ability of your forces to be able to attack them on more than one flank.

    In short, use ground forces to box in or trap your enemy so that they can't get out of the reach of a sword and limit their ability to mount any distance attacks on you.

    Avenues of Approach

    Always know how many directions your enemies can attack you from, the disadvantages that attack would force upon your group, and make contingency plans in case that ever happens.

    One way of planning for this is to get an accurate survey of the land and figure out what terrain elements block player movement entirely. If you know that a group cannot come charging across the river, ocean, mountain, or whatever then that is one less front you have to defend. Concentrate on the areas that you know the enemy can cross and attack you. Analyze the line of sight factor, line of movement factor, how much will using distance attacks help you before the enemy is able to engage in close combat, and how much manpower it will take to block off that avenue of approach.

    When you know all of the offensive and defensive advantages or disadvantages for each avenue of approach, then you can make the judgment call as to whether or not it would be worth it to engage in battle in that particular area.

    Areas of Defense

    Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. Knowing your terrain intimately helps you determine the spots that will provide you with the best protection but also provide maximum offense across one major avenue of approach. A good example is some sort of a pass that is narrow and doesn't allow a larger enemy force to simply overwhelm you with numbers. In order to move through the pass, the enemy has to drop down and attack you with less numbers at once. That narrow pass limits line of sight, avenues of approach, and line of movement so that pass becomes a meat grinder for the attacking force. In order to get to you, they have to run through that meat grinder and take massive amounts of casualties. If you keep your attack concentrated on that narrow opening, you can drive up their casualty rate until they try some bum rush tactic to try to really overwhelm you or they decide to leave because they can't take the losses.

    This is just one example but a good defensive position can easily be used to hold off a larger force until reinforcements arrive, or to drive up higher enemy casualties in a "stand and die" type maneuver to buy other forces time.


    Areas of Offense


    When deciding on an area of offense, you are looking for two major things.

    ---An where were you can use any or all terrain features to your advantage for the maximum killing effect.

    ---The least amount of structures or other obstacles that the enemy can use for cover or mount a successful defense.

    Positioning yourself from a place of cover and concealment, with your enemy approaching from a relatively wide open area, and few areas to get out of the line of fire is ideal. It allows you to fully utilize your distance attack factors and whittle them down before engaging in close combat.

    Areas of Ambush

    Areas of ambush are basically areas that allow your forces to severely or totally wipe out an unsuspecting enemy force, but they also allow you a means to swiftly withdraw before enemy reinforcements arrive or in case the attack turns sour.

    Without a hiding type skill, the inclusion of player radar screens has seriously curtailed the chances of getting jumped by an opposing force.

    Freedom of Choice

    When choosing your battlefield, and regardless of what anyone says the large nations will have to "plan" ahead and create battle fields instead of spontaneous random encounter type battles, you should try to select the terrain model that allows you to exercise most or all of the options that we've talked about.

    The more options you have at your disposal, the more flexible your battle can be. Short of a total unforeseen slaughter you, should train your combat forces to be able to react to your battle plan so that they can switch gears quickly and give you total route of the enemy or save you from utter defeat.
     
  8. Hades Lord of the Dead

    Total War - Resource Warfare

    Posted by Waylander (Hades)on 8/23/2001 ​

    Resource warfare is the most defining aspect of long term Guild Vs. Guild, Realm vs Realm, etc type warfare. Battles are always being won and lost, but eventually one guild will emerge as the clear victor in any guild war. To ensure that your guild ends up the winner in a long and drawn out war, you must create a strategy to control the resources of your nation as well as the resources of your enemy. Failure to do this will ultimately spell your doom.


    Is resource warfare a new concept? Wtf?

    Resource warfare has been around since guilds began to play in MMORPG's. The problem has been that the types of resources needing to be controlled have constantly changed. A general rule of thumb though is that the game with the most dynamic setting typically has the most resources for use by players.

    By protecting your resources and denying your enemy access to resources, you eventually wear them down. Once they have lost their ability to make war, they must flee to an area with resources, disband, or join another group.

    What types of game environment supports resource warfare?

    Mostly in games where the following elements are common:

    Good battle equipment isn't found at an NPC/GM Town store.

    Weapons, armor, battle equipment can be broken due to wear and tear.

    Games where money is important, and not easy to get.

    Games where player NPC's/Vendors sell the best loot/gear.

    Games where prime real estate is limited and can be taken by force.

    Games where travel is restricted to roads and passible land blocks.

    Siege Warfare type games


    Those are just naming a few, but you probably get the picture. Essentially it takes players interacting with the world by gathering the resources needed to produce weapons, equipment, potions, etc. Waltzing into a static town that can never be destroyed or NPC's slain like in AC/EQ/WoW is not the same.

    Ok so what resources are really available?

    There are several types that could be important in games:

    1. Guilds and People - adding new people to share work or defend
    2. Non-Guilded people - can help or hinder you
    3. Other Realms/Servers - can also help or hinder you
    4. Areas near good monster spawns for gold
    5. Weapons - creation commonly funded ultimately by gold
    6. Armor - creation commonly funded ultimately by gold
    7. Player buildings, and level of item quality produced
    8. Player vendors, and level of skill of the NPC
    9. Other cities that produce goods with a customer base
    10.Uber monster spawning areas
    11.Good mercenaries for hire
    12.Defendable terrain around your guild assets
    13.The need to acquire gold for war, defense, or growth

    There are many more, but these 134 items should give you an insight into the many possible resources you'll have to manage. We don't really have a clue how the magic or resources needed for magic really work at the moment, so I won't even go there right now.

    So how do I use these resources to my advantage?

    Out of the resources I listed above, one thing should really stand out. The need to acquire gold and its impact on a guild/realm/server. Without a steady and reliable source of income, a guild/realm/server will eventually stall out.

    Ultimately, any guild that can force their enemy to bleed red ink (lose more gold than they earn) will come out on top. A guild that cannot afford to pay vendors to produce weapons, armor, goods, mage items, maintain buildings, etc won't last long in the face of constant warfare.

    You don't have to be the next Sun Tzu on the battlefield to bury your enemy in a sea of red ink. Resource warfare can happen on so many fronts, that the battlefield can be the least of one's worries.

    What do you mean warfare on many fronts?

    Well, lets think about it for a second. We can take lessons from past world history, or from the corporate world on how to bleed your competition dry so that you can move in for the kill.

    Lets use Gold as an "Example"

    Burning Money

    The first thing you would have to do would be to cause your enemy to increase their spending. You want them to increase their spending in areas where they won't see an immediate return on their efforts. Such example areas may include:

    Buying/repairing extra Armor
    Buying/repairing extra Weapons
    Building Fortifications / city walls
    Maybe even building siege equipment or heavy weapons


    Its real simple, make your enemy burn money faster and longer than you and you will eventually grind them down.
     
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