In a not so surprising move, HERO has announced a hastily organized move to take part in the Delve conflict. I say “hastily organized”, as it would not have been hard for them to engage with the logistics ahead of time to handle some of the legwork beforehand. As it stands now, a lot of people are panicking until blue in the face about this move. But they’re not wrong to do so, to a point.
The HERO SOTC was released on Reddit on the 27th, and as a result the news has broken that HERO is moving out to fight. Aside from the point that the first part of the SOTC was a copy paste of a fake SOTC from PL FC Elise Randolph earlier in the month, there was little more than an overly verbose deceleration of intent to deploy. The SOTC was in effect an admission that PL grinding down Catch has done quite a bit of damage to HERO as a group. Especially in terms of their psychological will to fight. And for me, this deployment sounds like a rushed attempt to try and rally the troops and encourage them to play more by fighting someone new. Never mind the fact that the CFC fight a couple nights ago was a pretty good glimpse of the kind of hell HERO is about to suffer.
I don’t to talk too much about the individual, granular aspects of this deployment. This post will be more of an examination of the higher-level of strategy and operational organization that will be essential for HERO to succeed in this war.
Not all aspects of strategy can be predicted or computed.
There is an element of unknowns that must be planned for, but paradoxically it can never truly be countered only limited. The only way to avoid the unknown as best as possible is to get correct information. Part of that in EVE is intelligence. HERO does have spies, but do they have the network that they need to gather the information that will allow them to outpace the changes that will occur in fights. Hard to say for sure, but I doubt it. Especially given the constantly showing lack of competence and management that has caused quite a bit of drama recently. I will admit that there has been quite a bit of exaggeration.
On that same point, never expect all plans to go well. In fact, having contingencies for at least the major plans is a must. There should be something in place to allow for the flexibility to take place on an operational level. Flexibility is one of the bigger strengths HERO could leverage if done properly. Their reliance on Ewar can both be a strength and hindrance. A lot of the lower skill pilots can really only use a few doctrines, and will have trouble adapting and reacting to a changing tactical situation. This could also play against them given that their numbers are not as effective when outside of the doctrines the newbies can use. So HERO FCs need to plan for that, rather than just applying the usual “Oh well, let’s just go die gloriously” mentality.
Select and maintain overall operational aim but, never lose sight of the strategic aims of individual organizational cells. The planning that HERO does will be crucial to not only getting things going in the war, but holding momentum once they gain it. There would be nothing worse than this deployment having the opposite than intended effect and burning out more pilots. Now when I mentioned operational aim, some of you no doubt scratched your heads. In strategy, the operational aim is the overall goal of your organization. For HERO, this could be one of two things. Holding SOV or teaching newbros and then pushing them out into the wider game. HERO’s rhetoric of “we’ll just wait for Fozziesov.” will come back to bite them. EVE is a game that has to be played actively if you want to succeed as a group. Apathy is not an acceptable choice; everyone else will just see this as a weakness and roll over them. According to the SOTC, raiding supply lines and being hired to meatshield for capitals will be the order of the day for HERO. Which on paper, isn’t a terrible idea for a way to throw newbros into the meatgrinder. HERO can however turn this into an advantage, their numbers give them the means to be unrelenting with enough motivation. That needs to be utilized in these fights.
HERO can gain a great advantage in that they can know themselves better than anyone. They know how they want to fight and what they want to fight in. And if they know what they want to do, they can plan that against their intel on their enemies for a successful war.
Identify the “center of gravity” of your opponents. (The one key point that will destroy your opponent) HERO has to find the weaknesses of the enemies they fight. This makes intelligence paramount. But they also have to be careful to verify information they’re receiving. A spy reporting some embellished target may make them look good, but it hurts the coalition. Problem here is, there aren’t many effective ways to do this in EVE aside from spies. And I don’t see HERO getting some revenge for BoB by disbanding the GSF. The only other ways aside from fighing (Reputation or economic warfare) are again not easy for HERO.
Intelligence has to be used in the planning and execution of a war. A war that’s won quickly, cheaply, and effectively if a perfect war. There are no perfect wars in EVE, but it feels like HERO failed to use their intelligence effectively.
BNI/HERO has a lot of weaknesses that are well-known to most EVE players:
Lots of low skill pilots
Everything we do is public information
Open and easily infiltrated by spies
Lack of public confidence (People are starting to ridicule BNI/HERO to the point that they’re reputation is being affected)
How HERO can mitigate these weaknesses is a tough question. And one that may require a substantial shakeup at the organizational level, or maybe just lighting a fire under them. Which seems to be what leadership is going for. I’d like to raise on final crucial point here. There is a tendency among here FCs to copy each other, and often fail to innovate on their tactics enough to be unpredictable and effective.
Military doctrine cannot be static, it’s very likely that one deployment will need a new doctrine from a previous one. BNI/HERO cannot fall into the trap of copy-pasting strategies and tactics from fighting PL when fighting the CFC or N3. All these groups have similar doctrines, but they are human and are capable of adaptation. HERO cannot be caught out in the cold having to constantly react to their enemies. This type of mentality has been fairly common among the coalition, and it always puts them one step behind. HERO needs to change things up, but I’m not sure this deployment is the way to do that.