Combat Philosophy Part One: Knowledge

To become a great pilot you need the best training, equipment, crews and above all, experience and luck. And the more experience you have, the less luck you will need. When all else is equal, as is so easily the case, experience will be the deciding factor in combat.

There is, however only one way to gain experience, and that is through the willingness to lose ships. Thus it can be said that the pilot who is most willing to lose ships, has the potential to become better than those who would rather not risk and not lose.

Experience essentially gives a pilot knowledge, knowledge of space, tactics and most importantly, experience is the only way for a pilot to understand his own capabilities and limitations in any given ship. To truly know, mere simulations are simply inadequate.

Through gaining this knowledge, you will also learn to understand the capabilities of other ships, and these together will allow you to achieve the ideal as expressed in the old adage.

If you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperilled in every single battle. – Sun Tzu


Capsuleer Mindsets: A look at the Mercenary, the Pirate and the Homicidal capsuleer.

There are many different professions in the universe, but one thing that ties most capsuleers together is that they are all involved in a type of warfare. Whether this entails securing the best resources to exploit, beating competitors with prices on the market or the more traditional use of force to attain your goals, everything comes down to competition where the strong and cunning are more likely to succeed.

This article does not aim to explore this interaction, but rather three of the more common mindsets many capsuleers inhabit who are involved in this ever lasting power struggle, we fill focus on pilots who rely on physical force, or guns and missile if you will.

First, we will look at the Mercenary. The term mercenary has through the ages been applied on all kinds of capsuleers. It has become somewhat of a catch all term, perhaps just like pirate, for anyone engaging someone for their own profit. However, this does not truly define the mindset behind truly professional mercenaries.

A mercenary is a professional soldier, albeit one that fights for money instead of an ideology. Mercenaries, however, can only be called a mercenary when they are engaged in a contract. These contracts will normally establish criteria of conduct and goals that must be achieved for them to earn their pay. Hence, a mercenary’s income depends on a set goal/s and the fulfilling thereof. This means that engaging against the odds, keeping a target docked in a station or even flying a few jumps as escort are all within the mercenary’s scope and all could contribute to fulfilling his contract and thus earning his pay because their income is target based instead of based on the value of enemy ships destroyed. They will also likely destroy any enemy vessels and pods, if this was stipulated in their contract because they are often hired to win wars, and breaking enemy morale is paramount in this endeavour.

Their flight time and performance is thus often unrelated to their actual income and they can afford to take whatever steps are needed to complete a contract. This attribute is of great importance to differentiate them from Pirates, whose income relates directly to the amount of time they spend in a pod and how successful they are at destroying profitable targets.

Pirates, although often professionally trained, inhabit a different mindset from mercenaries. As had been mentioned, they earn their pay based on the value of potential ships they destroy, or ransom for release. This means that time and money has a direct relation on each other. Unlike a mercenary, a pirate is unlikely to spend a day keeping a target docked, or even waiting to destroy them unless that target is guaranteed to justify the time though profit. Pirates are thus more likely to engage targets of opportunity, keeping in mind risk versus profitability. Losing ships is undesirable, because that is a direct loss in profit. But in the same trend, only a young or unprofessional pirate is likely to engage something where the ammo expended would not even be covered by the potential profit. There is also the added risk of becoming entangled in an un-winnable engagement every time a pirate enters combat.

A professional pirate can thus be identified not by the number of engagements, but by the quality of the targets destroyed. Understanding the relationship between risk and reward is key to ensuring an ever growing profit. Richer is the pilot who spends half an hour on the hunt and finds nothing profitable, than one spending two hours hunting something of questionable profit and missing out of true value or risking unnecessarily.

The final mindset being discussed today, because of its apparent relation to the first two is that of the Homicidal capsuleer. This term can definitely be improved upon, but for the moment it is acceptably accurate in describing this mindset.

The homicidal is someone who engages anything and everything that they possibly can. This does not mean they will throw themselves recklessly into any engagement, because they often have many of the characteristics that pirates have. However, unlike the pirate, the homicidal is unlikely to take into account the potential reward versus the risk of engaging. All that matters to them is the destruction of others, unlike the mercenary who is aiming to achieve clear goals through the destruction of enemy ships, and who also has clearly defined enemies most of the time. There is nothing professional in the behaviour of the homicidal, because it is based more on personal glory and emotion than on trying to have a successful career.

They are by far the most depraved and potentially dangerous capsuleer and they are often the very same kind that do not realise the responsibility they owe to their crews as has been discussed in the previous article. Incidentally, they are also least likely to consider the right ships for a certain engagement, relaying always on overwhelming firepower or numbers or simply trying to force their ship into every possible role as has also been discussed.

Even though there are some similarities between these mindsets, for instance the use of force and possibly motivation, they can be completely distinguished from one another based on modus operandi. Each one has distinct features, and though a pilot or corporation will often try and market themselves as a certain one of these, one has to take a clear look at how they approach situations before accepting their claims.

PS. This article is by no means a full study of all the different mindsets and motivations, nor is it a complete study of the ones mentioned. Rather it is aimed at being a starting point for further study by highlighting some of the often confused differences between these three mindsets, and showing distinct features of each.


A Question of Scale.

A good indication of how far we have gone from our human roots and formed our own little society of demi-gods is our disregard of crews and the roles they play in our daily lives. We prance around believing that we, and our problems, are the centre of the universe.

For instance, my current crew composes:

Ship and Hanger Personnel
37,122 Active Ship Crew
5,063 Reserve Ship Crew
21,450 Dock and Maintenance Personnel
257 Cleaning Crew

Ground Personnel
897 Medical Personnel
2,001 Administration Personnel
132 Intelligence Personnel
416 Communications Personnel
1,054 Part Time and Unofficial Agents

Security Forces
120 Kameiras
4,000 Caldari Armoured Mercenaries
3,229 Mordu’s Storm Troopers
512 Intaki Ex-Freedom Fighters
3,010 Thukker Freemen
7 Angel Cartel Advisors
1,500 Angel Cartel Security Personnel
12 – 100 Grenadiers

This means that I have nearly 80,000 people in my employment and dependant on me and this does not even include their families or dependants. We easily forget that we rival small corporations, or even small planets in some cases in terms of financial capacity and market power. My security forces are at Division strength, and my personal guard, chosen from the regular forces based on performance varies between 12 and 100, depending on the situation.

In my previous article I discussed the value of personal weapons. When looking at the number of people I am responsible for, I would have to be very self-centred and small minded not to take make a serious matter of my safety. Sadly, when I am surrounded by those guards, despite my personal capability, carrying a hand gun or similar becomes rather redundant and small minded. We are prime targets, and it is important to have top range security as such. I have been in my fair share of fights, so it is not a question of bravery, rather one of responsibility. It would be very irresponsible of me to throw myself in front of every bullet fired my way. There are simply too many that are dependant on me, and I on them.

Many capsuleers claim they care for and know their crews, a feat that becomes rather impossible when you have these numbers, at least in terms of helping them personally and knowing their names. When your dependants reach such numbers however, the best way you can care for them is by providing security. This does not just include their safety, but also job security, and for this you need to remain in a position where you can provide for them. For this reason, our personal safety becomes important to each member of our crews, and if we are not seen to take the necessary precaution, we are bound to end up with rather unreliable employees.

In conclusion, I believe it is important to keep in mind that we as capsuleers are trained to a much higher level than regular people. We are created to handle this responsibility and thus, if we allow what we ate for breakfast to influence our day, we allow something small to affect the lives of many others. It is of no use looking for, and creating issues where there are none. We are supposed to be the leaders of our species, perhaps it is time we acted like it. Perhaps then we won’t seem like the small minded, egotistical sociopaths that so many sees us as.


Weakness of Weapons.

((This is another idea shamelessly borrowed from the Takeshi Kovaks novels by Richard K. Morgan, however I feel it can be aptly applied to the Eve universe))

What is a weapon but a tool?

An engineer does not walk around with a force hammer simply because he is an engineer. The hammer is designed for a specific purpose, and is only useful in that purpose. It is the engineer who repairs or builds, not the tools he uses, and it would be a very poor engineer who is only able to use a force hammer.

The same case applies to weapons, they are tools of destruction, but they serve no purpose when they are not needed, nor when they are ill suited for the destruction that has to be wrought. As valuable as a force hammer is to a surgeon trying to revive a patient, so valuable is a sword to a capsuleer.

An Interceptor will do a poor job of taking down a pos, just like a Dreadnaught makes for a rather ineffective tackler and scout. These too are just tools in the arsenal of a combat pilot, and using the right one is essential. It is the pilot who is the destroyer and his value is measured in the tools he can use and their applicability to the situation.

There is an inherent danger in using tools not fit for a job, or carrying them without purpose. Firstly, a situation might develop where the tool is forced to fulfil a purpose that it was not designed for, or worse, a false belief that any problem can be solved with that tool. This is often due to the second inherent danger where a questionable, even dangerous, emotional attachment to the tool might be formed. When someone relies so heavily on a certain tool, that they feel naked without, or becomes blinded to the usefulness of other tools, that person becomes a danger to themselves and any team they are part of. Even more dangerous is when the tool is placed above that of the tactical demands of a situation, be it the survival or unfit usage of the tool. Lastly, a certain predictability is created, which might be exploited by observant enemies when someone is known to favour a certain weapon over others.

In the end, the capsuleer is whole, he is the destroyer, with or without his tools.

((Future articles will deal with the question of capsuleer self defence and further discuss the danger of seeing a ship as more than the tool it is.))