Sunday, June 16, 2013

Can a pacifist corp win a war?

Isn't that an interesting question. In New Eden, where 'might makes right', and disputes are settled at the end of high-powered ship weaponry, one might ask, how can pacifism succeed when war has been declared?

I think it can, and while it might not be easy to fulfil, I think it's easily possible. It would require adherence to some basic concepts, however.

Sun Tsu's The Art of War is something I'm quite familiar with. Many years ago, when I was active as Black Claw, I wrote a series of guides called Black Claw's Art of War in Eve Online. I became almost famous for it when did an article about it: Eve and Sun Tzu's Art of War

I also created the Art of War Alliance to hopefully one day start teaching member corporations how to operate according to the Art of War, and how to win wars. But life has a way of changing one's best laid plans, and I ended up giving the alliance to the administrators I left in charge of OUCH.

But the principles of the Art of War have stayed with me, and I believe that many of its principles can still be applied to a pacifist corp. I'm going to outline here which of those principles I believe applies, and why.
"Therefore, to fight and conquer in all battles is not supreme excellence. Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without actually fighting."
- Black Claw's Art of War
Notice that? Without actually fighting. If you can break the enemy's resistance without even fighting, you've already won.

The trick, of course, is how to break the enemy's resistance.

There are strategies that can succeed without combat. You can imagine that a corporation of pacifists would not be very good at PvP in the first place, and would do their best to avoid it, which is why a pacifist corp appeals to them.

So in any war, the enemy will always be stronger than the pacifist corp.
"It is the rule in war:
  1. If our fleet is ten to the enemy’s one, surround him.
  2. If five to one, attack him.
  3. If twice as numerous, divide the fleet into two.
  4. If equally matched, we can offer battle.
  5. If slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy.
  6. If unequal in every way, we can flee from them."
- Black Claw's Art of War
Rule #6 would therefore apply in this situation - If unequal in every way, we can flee from them.

Black Claw also said:
It amazes me how many people think that 'real PVP' is all about fighting losing battles against overwhelming odds.  You're not a real PVPer unless you repeatedly engage ships you can't win, and you avoid using ships or tactics that will help you win because you believe that doing so is 'gay'.  They're the ones that call you 'gay' or 'faggot' because your single frigate runs away from their fleet of battlecruisers.
The truth of the matter is, every competitive interaction in Eve is 'player vs. player' interaction. This includes trading, marketing, etc. And it includes avoiding combat.

If you can avoid dying vs. those that want to kill you, then you are succeeding at PvP. 

Even fleeing from a superior enemy and surviving is as valid a PvP outcome as fighting them and winning. Either way, you've won and they've lost, because you have gained an outcome you desired, while they gained an outcome they didn't want.

The only people that would disagree with you are the pilots who want to try and convince you through psychological manipulation that 'staying to fight, even knowing you'll die, is better than fleeing the battlefield like the coward that you are'.

It's in their interest to encourage you to stay and fight. It's not in your interest as a pacifist, or when you know you'll lose.

This idea that 'good fights' is better than 'surviving' is just stupid, and is propaganda coming from the mouths of those that want an inferior opponent to stay and die, to add another 'trophy' to their killboard.
"There are five essentials for victory:
  1. He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
  2. He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior fleets.
  3. He will win whose fleet is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.
  4. He will win who, prepared, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
  5. He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the civilian leadership.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, you will gain as many defeats as victories. If you know neither yourself nor the enemy, you will always fail."
- Black Claw's Art of War
Rule #1 applies to pacifists. Knowing when not to fight is a pathway to winning, when the mark of success is your survival.
The highest form of leadership is to prevent the enemy’s plans. The next best is to prevent the gathering of the enemy’s fleets. The next in order is to attack the enemy’s fleet in space, and the worst policy of all is to besiege stations.
- Black Claw's Art of War
Think about this - the highest form of leadership is to prevent the enemy's plans, followed by preventing the gathering of the enemy's fleets.

What does the enemy plan? Ultimately, they plan to attack the pacifists, who they know won't fight back, allowing them to achieve easy victories against the weaker and non-resisting targets.

Therefore, the way for a CEO to prevent the enemy's plan must be to help the pacifists avoid fighting. The CEO of a pacifist corp must teach their pacifist members tactics and strategies on how to avoid fighting.

A corp that wants to declare war on a pacifist corp is a corp filled with cowards and bullies. They want easy kills for their killboards, but all they are saying is that they are too weak to look for real fights out there.

They will use the mechanics of an in-game wardec to protect themselves from combat not of their choosing.

Which is why fleeing into nullsec is an excellent way of moving the battlefield to one where you have greater freedom, and where the cowards will refuse to go. And while down there in nullsec, IF the cowards should venture there to try and find you, your nullsec blues can be waiting for them. And good fights will be had by all! Except for the losers, which you want to make sure is the ones who declared war against you.

So can a pacifist corp win a war?

Absolutely. By using the following:

  1. Avoid fighting. This is the first rule for a reason - you're pacifist.
  2. Ignore (block) any attempts at provocation - they'll try to taunt you into responding.
  3. Remain cloaked or docked if the enemy is in your system. Be patient.
  4. Don't travel without using alt (out of corp) scouts - if no scouts, just don't travel. The enemy will be waiting for you.
  5. Move into nullsec where the war enemies will not go.
  6. Establish friendships with nullsec locals so that they can provide scouting, intelligence, or protection. Or simply be waiting for the war enemy to enter their territory.
Members of a pacifist corp must learn the arts of stealth and evasion in order to avoid engaging with an enemy that wants to kill them.

And by succeeding at spoiling the enemy's plans, and evading their attacks, you win.

An enemy that can not achieve a victory, will instead suffer a loss. You win, they lose. Voila!


  1. This is reminding me of a scenario in the book "Foundation"; a weaker force had been completely spherically enclosed, and had 0% chance of a tactical victory, but they simply waited it out and survived.

  2. Convo in work chat just now regarding our general way of life:

    (08:09:32 PM) Ouroboros: if you're trying to kill us... but we get away........... we win :)
    (08:10:34 PM) DonFlamingo: true but it makesme want to chase them to end of space
    (08:10:49 PM) Ouroboros: :)
    (08:11:20 PM) Ouroboros: that's the trollol about it for me. the wake of pirage i leave behind me
    (08:12:01 PM) DonFlamingo: you disgust me.... i mean that in the nicest way