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Unread 8 Feb 2010, 10:34   #1
Knight Theamion
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The Ministry Teaching Courses presents: Politics and Targetting.

Hey Class,

after the outstanding succes of our previous lecture we have decided to give you another class. This time the topic is 'Politics and Targetting', which also is a part of our grand theme of 'Competent Planetarion'. This time it is not about some mathematical exercise, but it is about the meta-game.
By now you should have understand some concepts of the meta-game. Planetarion is not about 'picking the best race and thus performing', it is often also the case of picking a strategy (race, ships and so forth) that makes you flexible (gives you a lot of potential targets) and at the same time unattractive to most of the universe.

A good example is Apprime round 34 where they almost always had their BS roiding fleets spare while 2 fleet defending, while Ascendancy, who was in a similar position, only had their CO fleets to attack with. This whole situation would have been different if the whole universe would have gone for FR/DE, then Apprime would've been forced to constantly keep Tycoons home and Ascendancy could've tried to dodge the FR/DE waves with their Fi/Co. How you influence this meta-game (if you can) can be critical for a round.

Now that the concept of the meta-game is fresh in your mind, we go to politics. As it is also competent to keep your options open for attacking, it is also with politics. You want to keep your options open. (f.e. Ascendancy's choice of round 34 by allying Apprime and fully integrating the channels/bots/bookings/intel with them was in that aspect a very shit move to make, as it limited Ascendancy's playing field for the rest of the round)

Lokken has stated it very nicely here:
Quote:
Another element is metagame (politics). In the past few rounds when JBG has been in charge, I'd say Ascendancy has pursued something that I would coin 'negative politics'. This has basically involved not hitting alliances who can't win but can block your path to #1 (DLR is a prime example), and to basically let your rivals do the hard work for you by upsetting them, even at the cost of a roid lead. If you're aiming for #1, going for alliances that aren't capable of finishing #1 while being a threat to you makes no sense. Never mind the fact that if your opponent X has been hitting alliance Y but you haven't, your negotiations with Y are a hell of a lot easier.

This has meant that politics usually ended up swinging naturally in our favour, with us having very few enemies except those who really counted, so they just ended up getting shredded. Under JBG's leadership we actually had very few titanic struggles, mainly because his strategy was so effective. Last round was an absolute masterclass by JBG - Apprime were shit generally but politically they were dead by the pt 400 to 500 period.
On targetting: Targetting is the policy of what targets you set or allow for your alliance. This usually is in the early stages of a round (nowadays tick 25 until tick 150 or 200) means for most alliances that members should just get their own targets and roid at will. During this period alliance defence usually is scarce too, as are people with the correct ETA. (A small hint to 'minor' alliances, try and find out how many planets in a certain alliance have proper travel time research and then notice that during the first week(s) they are so very vulnerable, especially if they have a lot of planets that are research hampered (Xan for instance).
Later on targetting becomes a choice of those running the alliance. This can be done by 'random gal raiding' as it is known, just pick a galaxy that has a lot of roids compared to its value and try and roid it. However as you pick targets, politics will start to shape. (You can imagine that if a galaxy with a lot of ziks is your preferred target due to the race set up of your alliance and alliance B is zik heavy, you inevitably start hitting them more then other alliances).
You can also focus on an enemy; Hitting galaxies that are dominated by alliance A. Or hitting galaxies that are dominated by your own alliance, but targetting only the planets of alliance A.
Later on you can go for 'Planet targetting' an alliance where you only put up targets that are in alliance A.
Hand-in-hand with targetting are those 'orders' or 'guidelines' that an alliance gives its members with respect to 'solo-ing'. The targets that should be attacked by those who did not get a target due to missing the 'target pick' or those that kept fleet home because they thought they would get incomings and so forth. When targetting a certain alliance (or group of alliances) it is wise to limit the group of targets for those soloing. Although Planetarion is all about keeping your options open, it is also about making choices.
When targetting a certain alliance it is very wise to let almost all attacking fleets focus on that alliance in order to:
  1. Deplete their defence pool (increase chances of landing; at some point defence just 'dries up' and any fleet launched on a planet then is 'through', unless his galaxy magically covers him)
  2. Lower their morale
  3. Exhaust those organizing defence
  4. Keep their fleet occupied (is somewhat correlared with (1))
But when do you stop targetting alliance A?
This is in military terms easy: When alliance A is destroyed or when a far greater threat emerges. A big but however does ring: You should stop targetting alliance A when politics dictate it. When you need alliance A, who has now been weakened enough not to threat you alone anymore, to take down alliance B could be a good reason. However the estimation of what alliances are capable of, we leave that to another lecture.

Combining politics and targetting we can come to a simple conclusion: They influence eachother, however politics should be in charge of targetting and not vice versa. This means that if you are pursuing some political goal (for instance the destruction of alliance A) then targetting should follow this. However, if targetting shows that 'the destruction of alliance A' is not possible, then those politics should not be pursued.

Now where are the dangers? What usually goes wrong?
One thing that we have seen in the last 10 rounds is that targetting and politics do not go hand in hand. A lot of alliances give their members a 'night of' or let them solo on planets while half-assed attacking 'Enemy A', this only means that Enemy A has a complete def pool for only half the incomings. Full defensive coverage and lowering of morale (willingness to attack Enemy A) is a logical consequence, while at the same time giving Enemy A to attack back with far more fleets. This gives away the initiative (or at least temporarily) and is a very bad move. Especially if you consider Enemy A to be more active and 'better players' than your own alliance.
This is what we would call a targetting error and is very easy to spot. It usually goes hand-in-hand with poor member discipline (soloing on 'newbie planets', poor attacking coverage).

On the other side is a political error. Forcing yourself in a position that you cannot move out of. The last two rounds have we seen Ascendancy making this error and the last two rounds we have seen Euphoria and DLR making this error. If you set yourself in a certain position where you cannot move out of then you also force the hands of other alliances. For instance this round early on P3nguins got forced to side with Apprime as DLR/Euphoria and at times CT and NewDawn teamed up again. The politics of DLR/Euphoria and CT/ND (DENC!) are in that respect made of failure.

The worst mistake however is to pursue the wrong political goals and at the same time not consequently targetting those you should target. Readers of this post should now be able to give examples of that themselves.
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Unread 8 Feb 2010, 12:45   #2
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Re: The Ministry Teaching Courses presents: Politics and Targetting.

Nice post theam but People in glasshouses shouldnt throw stones , doesnt your current ally contain a certain 2 members (lets call them R and E ) maybe you should ask them to read this
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Unread 8 Feb 2010, 13:36   #3
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Re: The Ministry Teaching Courses presents: Politics and Targetting.

What did Rember and eki do? :|
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Unread 8 Feb 2010, 14:02   #4
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Re: The Ministry Teaching Courses presents: Politics and Targetting.

This post would have been much better if you'd just quoted Lok and not written anything yourself.
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Unread 8 Feb 2010, 14:14   #5
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Re: The Ministry Teaching Courses presents: Politics and Targetting.

Ministry sucked, but not as much as your mum
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Unread 8 Feb 2010, 15:30   #6
Knight Theamion
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Re: The Ministry Teaching Courses presents: Politics and Targetting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gzambo View Post
Nice post theam but People in glasshouses shouldnt throw stones , doesnt your current ally contain a certain 2 members (lets call them R and E ) maybe you should ask them to read this
That is something for an advanced course:
'Why opportunism ****s over your alliance'
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Unread 8 Feb 2010, 15:59   #7
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Re: The Ministry Teaching Courses presents: Politics and Targetting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ellonweb View Post
This post would have been much better if you'd just quoted Lok and not written anything yourself.
This pretty much sums up any theamion post ever.
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Unread 8 Feb 2010, 21:33   #8
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Re: The Ministry Teaching Courses presents: Politics and Targetting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knight Theamion View Post
Hey Class,

after the outstanding succes of our previous lecture we have decided to give you another class. This time the topic is 'Politics and Targetting', which also is a part of our grand theme of 'Competent Planetarion'. This time it is not about some mathematical exercise, but it is about the meta-game.
By now you should have understand some concepts of the meta-game. Planetarion is not about 'picking the best race and thus performing', it is often also the case of picking a strategy (race, ships and so forth) that makes you flexible (gives you a lot of potential targets) and at the same time unattractive to most of the universe.
No, strategies are not about being flexible. The whole point of picking a strategy is that you generally stick to it and exploit its advantages for all they are worth. If you are playing with discipline, you'll be flexible in the sense that you'll be well positioned to overcome a lot of enemies.

Quote:
A good example is Apprime round 34 where they almost always had their BS roiding fleets spare while 2 fleet defending, while Ascendancy, who was in a similar position, only had their CO fleets to attack with. This whole situation would have been different if the whole universe would have gone for FR/DE, then Apprime would've been forced to constantly keep Tycoons home and Ascendancy could've tried to dodge the FR/DE waves with their Fi/Co. How you influence this meta-game (if you can) can be critical for a round.
Quite honestly, the only choice I can think of that destroys your chances of winning planetarion, it's going cathaar. Ascendancy were not in a similar position to Apprime, which is why you are still missing the point with round 34, which was very much a political defeat. When you sit there letting yourself get roided to shit while your main opponent doesn't and in fact decide to co-operate with them, of course you are going to lose. In my mind, this is gross overcomplication of the situation.

The grandest example of a fleet strategy is arguably Ascendancy's mass Zikonian strategy (it may have been round 30) where we basically took any opportunity to steal fleet at base, in defence or on a catch. While we lost out to begin with, we ended up having the strongest fleets in the game and absolutely destroyed people as we were better players with better fleets.

Quote:
Now that the concept of the meta-game is fresh in your mind, we go to politics. As it is also competent to keep your options open for attacking, it is also with politics. You want to keep your options open. (f.e. Ascendancy's choice of round 34 by allying Apprime and fully integrating the channels/bots/bookings/intel with them was in that aspect a very shit move to make, as it limited Ascendancy's playing field for the rest of the round)
I'd say that was a mistake. But quite honestly from my observation Ascendancy could have had all the options in the world and not taken them that round.

With my post, I'd say it was valid but I was only talking about one particular situation. With targeting there are a number of strategies you can deploy, and they very much depend on a number of factors:
  • your political status (at war or not at war)
  • the spread of your enemies' planets
  • you and your opponents strengths and weaknesses (this includes activity and their level of burnout)
  • the capacity of your own alliance to cap asteroids

Put bluntly, a good commander generally adapts to the situation in deciding what attack strategy to deploy. This is why players like Agamemnon, Sid and JBG are among the finest players this game has seen, because they made good calls on a regular basis.

In a position of weakness, he might look to play percentages, pull out fleets all over the place, send fakes, try to contain the opponent to stop attacks coming his way and ultimately turn the war round as the opponent runs out of gas. This tactic was used very effectively by Ascendancy in round 32, where despite our numerical disadvantage, we had to be very smart to get round Apprime's obsession with prelaunch and hideous amounts of activity. In the end we turned round a dominant performance from Apprime, into a bloody conflict where they suffered quite badly and had at least one HC and a few major players fleetcaught. Apprime may have won r32 but it was a conflict in which they were painfully outclassed by a patient, smart and disciplined opponent. In my opinion the fact that Ascendancy can pull off a textbook performance like that in r32 (compare it with my other examples) is why they can be generally regarded as one of the great alliances with some legitimacy.

In a position of total superiority he might opt for decapitation to make the opponent lose heart and give way to a standard mopping up operation. Experienced players will know this to be a classic Fury tactic in their period of total domination. Find the people who instigated it and go straight for the throat to show that no such resistance will be tolerated. For example in round 7, my galaxy (Fury) was instructed to go straight for Tesla and the key ministry galaxy. Credit to the Fury commanders who chose us, as we were a fantastic choice. Up for a fight and not likely to quit or throw a paddy if the opponent threw the kitchen sink at us. Admittedly, while Xan and Titans were routed pretty hard, this particular tactic led to a conflict where Ministry were more processed than beaten.

You could of course be reasonably evenly matched, thus you need to optimise your roid intake compared to the other guy. A good way of dealing with this is by sending an attack at your opponents strongholds while focussing on their more vulnerable out of the way planets, and taking them out of the equation in the long run. Agamemnon used a version of this to spectacular effect in round 6, chipping round the skirt of Fury and Legion, leaving them with most of the top 20 galaxies (not a lot at the time) and pretty much nothing else. In the end it all fell down because they just ran out of support.

But for all this, a sense of bloody mindness and belief that in the long term your strategy will pay off, whatever the roid losses is important in all of them. As I said in the post you quoted, you have to keep the attacks relevant to your goal of winning and not piss off people you don't have to. Focus, patience and judgment is what makes targeting effective. I'm not even sure it can be taught to people very easily.
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Last edited by lokken; 8 Feb 2010 at 21:52.
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Unread 8 Feb 2010, 21:49   #9
Knight Theamion
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Re: The Ministry Teaching Courses presents: Politics and Targetting.

Obviously the Deus Ex Machina teaching courses should be presented!
Thank you for pointing out and improving some of the flaws presented in the original post and elaborating on the subject in general!
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Unread 10 Feb 2010, 13:26   #10
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Re: The Ministry Teaching Courses presents: Politics and Targetting.

You should mail this to euph ingame theam , seems their members think sending over 1 mil in fleet value to cap 60 roids is good game play
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Unread 10 Feb 2010, 13:55   #11
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Re: The Ministry Teaching Courses presents: Politics and Targetting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gzambo View Post
You should mail this to euph ingame theam , seems their members think sending over 1 mil in fleet value to cap 60 roids is good game play
Done. Also send the one about ROI to NewDawn.
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