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 (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 open frontier style PVP, and massive castle and naval battles. This more controlled form of PVP has grown to be the generally accepted norm for games that offer PVP these days. Make no mistake though these settings see 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 Building Terrain 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.