The Art of Gaming

The Art of Gaming – The teachings of Sun Tzu and how they relate to multiplayer gaming

I am not going to relate ALL of Sun Tzu’s teaching in one go I thought I would have a brief shot and see what people thought if there is interest I can try and relate the rest of his teaching (of which there are a lot). The reason I decided to do this was when reading the works of Sun Tzu I was surprised at how relevant the tenets , laws and rules of engagement still were in regards to modern warfare and modern day online gaming so I thought id see were I could go with it , enjoy .

The art of war, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

Meaning : A basic set of Rules to follow for both Clan leaders and Clans before taking to a server to do battle.

These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.

1. Moral Law , Sun Tzu used moral law to signify harmony of purpose , In gaming terms it would mean both clan and clan leader are in accord as to the nature of there current league/cup/pcw campaigns.

2 Heaven , Sun Tzu defines heaven night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons. In gaming terms this could mean Time of day/night , maybe not an important consideration to most people but in the world of modern gaming can prove the decisive factor in winning an important game, an example of this would be a “euro” clan with members from across the whole of Europe with different time zones having to play on an American server , this i take from personal experience with my clan nobles playing in the wansanity tournament some members having to stay awake till 6am just to play as part of the squad. If your on the opposing team you could factor in this data in your strategy feeling quite justified in believing tired minds make mistakes (constantly cessing an area of a map until the team makes a mistake and moving in to take advantage knowing the other team is tired for example).

3 EARTH comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death. As may be obvious, Earth is a game specific tenet , signifying the importance of server choice and map choice , Force your enemy onto a server of your choice and play your home map first and you are near guaranteed the victory, unless of course the enemy has second guessed you and knowing full well your going to be “l33t” and choose a server to your advantage practises your home map and comes up with a strategy to overcome the ping differential.

4 The COMMANDER stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness. Not so easy to define in gaming terms , but could be related to the clan leaders temperament , say like sk.Stelem who would appear to have lead from the front keeping a tight reign on his team mates , keeping an even temperament in game and generally calling the plays until the game is over and victory gained (more often than not), this would countered by the flip side in say most Uk clan leaders nDc.stallone for example who also leads from the front , but hurls abuse at all team members in game in an attempt to force unity of purpose and discipline (see Heaven) when the strategy doesn’t go as expected, on the whole this approach only works (imo) 40% of the time , I know i fall under this category and it was never successful for me 🙂 (i lub you stal)

5 METHOD AND DISCIPLINE is to be understood as the marshalling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.

Quite easy to relate to gaming, though in terms of team morale and the picking of squads quiet the touchy issue especially with IRC being so impersonal, for example, you have 12 players in your clan , 5 players are of excellent calibre , 4 are pure team players 3 are good friends but hardly contribute to the overall goals of a particular campaign (see Heaven, Moral law) you have a really important game and just like buses all 12 members of the clan show up WANTING to play, pop quiz hotshot : as the Clan leader do you have the guts to enforce Heaven/Moral law and follow the rules of The Commander ? I know from experience that this is a most touchy issue that affects morale in a big way , you may be thinking “Bleh your talking crap, id choose the best team for the job” which is quite easy if you only have a squad of 5 but when you have more the group dynamic is as important to your overall goals (see Heaven, Moral law) as 1 single game. The rules are here if you have the guts to enforce them 🙂 politics be damned and all.

The rest such as maintenance and supply can be related to say Punk Buster , general PC health and Broadband , i.e. make sure PB is up to date before coming on server and being booted for violations , make sure your pc isn’t going to overheat midgame (unless of course you need that emergency timeout) and ensuring your connection is good to go.
Control of Military expenditure can be related to the new fad of sponsorship if the whole team has a homogenous hardware/connection base then all that remains is to practise enforce discipline and introduce purpose (see Heaven , Moral Law , the commander).

Sun Tzo expresses that these five factors should be familiar to every general, he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail. Quite self-explanatory I would say.

Thus when trying to decide who is going to win a particular match it is important to consider :

(a) Which of the two clan Leaders is imbued with the Moral law? [I.e., “is in harmony with his clan” ]

(b) Which of the two Clan leaders has most ability?

(c) With which clan and clan leader lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?

(d) On which clan is discipline most rigorously enforced?

Sun Tzo writes :

“While heading the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules”: At the risk of sounding unsporting , I take this to mean that any and all circumstances should be taken into account when trying to win a clan match (of importance) , such as the opposing teams “star” player is sick or unavailable , this is the most opportune time to play said clan and if you can you must use EARTH to your advantage (i.e. no star player, hi ping server , hopefully with PL, and at a time not good to the opposing side).

“According as circumstances are favourable, one should modify one’s plans” : No plan stands the heat of battle , this we all know you make strats and plans pre-game and only if the opposing team is very weak does all go to plan and victory achieved swiftly and with ease , but meet a strong team who is in congruence with Heaven, Moral law and The commander and plans have a way of dissipating like so much steam, thus it behoves the strong clan leader to change plans as the strategic situation dictates and if he has followed Heaven , Moral law and The commander he has a good chance of success.

“All warfare is based on deception” : Appear weak , while maintaining inner strength cast about false plans and strats protect your cherished demos of great victories.

“Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.” : Appear weak in one area of a given map and let your enemy come and take it then crush them in a trap , I have seen this done many times in games specially on dm14tmp and cpm21 , I’ve seen feigned disorder on cpm21 many times as well people appear to run away from quad to encourage the “chase me response” only to have the quad run into 3 armed with LG and be taken down in seconds , I am sure there much better examples but I am sure you get the idea..

“If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, so that he may grow arrogant”: See The commander , overall choose your opponent well in game this can mean taunting a player you know full well will go flying off half cocked (most 2nd/3rd gen players) mess with the opponents plan in an attempt to get the leader to fray you can then follow the above “holding out baits” to gain a victory either in real terms or under Moral law terms (affecting the harmony of a team purpose)

“If he is taking his ease, give him no rest” : If you opponent is relaxing or digging in on a certain spot on a map cess them until such time as they grow weak or the overall stratagem dictates that you stop, one must be careful here though as when cessing you are open to your opponent taking advantage of Heaven, Moral Law and feigning disorder .

“Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected” : Fairly self explanatory attack the weakest point then instead of digging in move to the opponents strongest point and attack, in terms of say a map with 2 small armour and 1 large armour , Sweep the small armours but instead of holding them piecemeal move to the strong armour as the opponent is probably thinking of taking back the weak armours and you may catch them in disarray.

“Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.” : Make your plans on IRC , make contingency plans and make more plans , yet in game be prepared to radically change plans as the situation dictates or the above rules become more apparent.

Hope you enjoyed it , if there is interest ill relate more of Sun Tzu’s Art Of War

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