What it Means to You
Posted by Corelin
This is a response to two similar pieces. The first is The Mittani’s Painful Lessons – How the South was Lost, the second is Mord Fiddle’s Carebears Triumphant. These two writers are among the elite in EvE. Their acumen and ability to communicate really is top-notch. They look at the big picture. They see that the North crushed the South again. They see that the organizational abilities of the CFC/DekCo/HBC/Random Alphabetsoup Coalition trumped any difference in individual pilot skill. They state it as such. They don’t dig, they don’t explain.
Mittens and Mord are talking at the top of the top level. They are going WAY up. Any idiot knows that HBC has moved in to the south in a big way. What Mittens and Mord are talking about is interesting, and incredibly insightful, but what I feel would be most USEFUL is an explanation of how some of these organizational tools work, and why things fell out the way they did.
Initiative is control over the tempo of the fight. One side taking the initiative means they are generally setting timers, they are calling operations and achieving at least some level of surprise in their operations. The Mittani comments on how
At one point the SoCo mustered 700 pilots to destroy a SBU – a strategically trivial task best suited for a mop-up crew – yet when their main conquerable staging system, C3N, was assaulted, they couldn’t find more than 400 for its final timer.
Like neither side planned it that way. Sure SoCo didn’t need 700 people to kill an SBU, they might have done more with those numbers depending on the situation, but it’s what they had and they rolled with it. The final timer for C3N is a horse of a different color. CFC controlled the when of this fight to a much larger extent. They had advantages in morale, in leadership, and they knew when things would be happening and could time it so they would have more people available. They set the tempo, and they set it for a day when things worked in their favor.
A lot of things have to happen for an organization to work. I could link you to a wiki for the General Staff system and talk through how to adapt it for EvE. It’s not terribly difficult. I could even talk about some alternative systems. Making them up is easy. Making them work isn’t. Egos can run over, people don’t want to cooperate, or they do, but not with person X, communication channels can be poorly managed. Key diplos or relays can be missing when needed resulting in information not being passed on in a timely fashion. Ornery people sometimes just want to pick a fight over some utterly trivial thing when they should be burying the hatchet (ideally in the opposition’s skull.) A good organization is built around selfless people. Yes egos get involved in an Alliance but, as an example, I know I have a huge ego at times. When I’m dealing with someone else I prefer to work with less confrontational mediums, and ones that allow for better records. I would actually rather convo someone I have an issue with over using voice comms. I do this for two reasons. First, I have to type everything I “say” and often reading it tells me just how bad of an idea it is, second I know that everything is going on record no matter what and chat logs are much harder to misinterpret than remembered or even recorded voice chat.
Of course better still, I hand off anything likely to be fractious to one of my selfless minions, who recognize my weaknesses and are happy to use their strengths to cover them. Having a prima-donna diplo is a bad thing.
Losing sucks. If your guys have even an inkling they are gonna get smashed it’s not easy to get them to undock in shiny stuff. In fact most will load up their alts and go run some level 4s or whatever. Morale can be leeched by a lot of things. Bad propaganda (yes it has a purpose) Obvious penetration by spies that hurts fleets, poor leadership; which can be apathetic to their losses, not participating heavily, or plain making bad decisions, whelping fleets and the like.
I consider myself an above average communicator. Sometimes I can really nail a message and clearly and elegantly present a case to convince people of the necessity of accepting something genuinely unpleasant. Sometimes I drop the ball explaining why it’s important to tie your shoes as well. If leadership develops the most perfect, brilliant, unstoppable combination of Fittings, Doctrine, staging, and reimbursement it doesn’t matter until and unless it is communicated in such a way that it can easily be implemented by the drunkest, most drug-impaired brain-dead maroons in your alliance.
Leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Decisions are influenced by a lot of factors even after they are made, and what makes the current reigning emperors of New Eden so successful is every bit as much an understanding of these factors as it is the actual organization that they run to begin with. TEST will likely win out in the end against -A- but it isn’t the members, the FCs, or the leadership organization, but the knowledge of the game, the understanding of what it takes to get that machine to affect the players and the outcome is their biggest advantage. Goons have long since mastered the meta-game, and TEST seems to have learned their lessons well.