Using the Art of War to Succeed at EVE Online

EVE Online, the very popular science-fiction MMORPG casts players as ship captains in a universe containing thousands of star systems, and tens of thousands of other players-all locked in economic, political, and military conflict. The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, was written 2,500 years ago in ancient China and laid down the precepts for all warfare.

At first glance, the two of these would have nothing in common. Science-fiction roleplaying dusty, ancient Chinese philosophies could not be more different and yet, understanding the concepts in the Art of War can help you become a better EVE Online player, and have more fun gaming.

One of the more famous quotations from the Art of War is:

“So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss. If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.”

Since a lot of the activity in EVE Online is conflict-whether it is fighting against pirates, or commanding star fleets locked in massive battles, or trying to outmaneuver an opposing corporation in a grand alliance, understanding this passage is one of the first steps in dominating your opponents in the game.

Broken down to its basics, the passage means if you know what you can do and know what your enemies can do, you can make decisions that can help you to victory. If you don’t know what your enemy can do, you have no assurance of victory in any encounter. If you don’t know what you can do, or what your enemy is capable of, then you are just meat being led to slaughter.

Most new players, on logging in to EVE Online for the first few times, will be in the latter category where they don’t know what their ship is able to do, and what any enemies they encounter can do. As a new player, one of the first things that you need to do is learn everything you can. How fast is your ship, what’s its DPS (Damage per second) rating, how much of a pounding can it take before it gets turned to scrap?

And then learn the same stats for the potential enemies in your class that you’ll be fighting.

Note that I said in your class. A starting player is not going to be able to take down any ship much larger or better armed than a frigate, so if you find yourself in a fight against a bigger ship-run.

You will face a learning process when it comes to EVE Online-this is part of the game and you will (if you’re lucky) run with your tail between your legs or (if you’re not) you’ll get your ship reduced to floating scrap more than a few times. Each encounter gives you a chance to learn from what you did wrong and what you did right.

Fortunately, the learning process is more than just on-the-job-training. There are a lot of resources out there to help, from the EVE Wiki to forums, to strategy guides, and so forth. As long as you keep working towards knowing your enemy and knowing yourself, as Sun Tzu teaches, you will start doing better and better in EVE Online.