Second Life: Art of War - MLT Style

By Xah Lee. Date: .

By Drakona Lewellen, inspired by the work of Sun Tzu (Last Update on 26-Feb-2008)

“Only the dead have seen the end of war” - Plato

Chapter One; Preparedness

Do you see what I see?

One of the biggest contributors to lag in Second Life is the client's computer. This means you. First of all, any laptop by definition is NOT a gaming machine. Integrated graphics in your store-bought desktop will NOT hack it. Libraries can be written about the finer topics of computer hardware, and the kinds you should and should not use for gaming and Second Life in particular. Instead here I will focus on things that all users can adapt to fit their own unique computer setup. First of all, open your preferences… Ctrl+p or [Edit ▸ Preferences] from the drop-down menu.

Network Tab

Graphics tab

Chapter Two; The Essential Duality

The Most Dangerous Weapon:

Do you know what it is? In any fighting game, in every RL conflict; the most dangerous weapon any force can have is Communication. It's stronger than any bow, sword or spear. Without it, everything goes to hell. Communication allows for so many things to happen, and it enables the most important tactic that can be used in a battlefield: Teamwork. To have one, you have to have the other. If one fails, so will the other. Make sure you keep your teammates alert to your location when you have to…call out new arrivals into the sim…and sound off when you spot dangers and traps, escape routes and targets. There is no need to write out long diatribes in combat…that will get you capped quick. Don't worry about sounding corny either, it's a fight. Keep your Communications short, concise and easy to understand.


A well oiled team is a dangerous foe to face. A smaller, well-trained and cohesive unit that knows how to work as a team is more deadly than a disorganized force twice it's size and firepower. And also a lot more effective. Now there is no need to train to become the Gorean Sea Air and Land team, but a few combat tactics must be observed to work effectively as a single unit. All teams should have (in theory) three parts. These parts are:

Chapter Three; General Combat Tactics

Common Weapons and Tactics:

The weapon you will encounter the most in SL Gor is the bow, and/or variants of this weapon. While there are many versions of this, the main tactics with it remain the same. Arrows cause splash damage, and it works both ways. Learn to use this to your advantage, and keep this in mind when seeking cover. For this reason (splash damage), the following are the basic tenants a fighter must hold themselves to:


Always aim for the feet…where-ever the avatar makes contact with the ground. Even if you miss a little to the left, right, behind or in front of the target, the arrow striking the ground will cause “splash” damage which will radiate out and hit the target assuming it is within range of the splash damage. You will be surprised how forgiving the splash damage radius is to your aiming when firing onto a target.

Arrow Types

There are usually two different combat-arrow types in every bow. These are “short” (or “normal”) range, and “long” range. The short/normal ranges will arc and fall to the ground after traveling some distance, while the long range has either no arc (fires completely straight) or a very subtle arc. For the majority of situations that occur, a fighter will want to have “short/normal” ranges enabled onto their bow. This is because of several very important reasons:

Positioning and Taking Cover

The ground you stand on and the surrounding structures will have an enormous effect on the outcome of any conflict, even if only by determining how the splash damage of arrows is affected. Keep in mind the following:


Jinking means to move erratically. Try to anticipate the movement of the enemy, but also try to fool the enemy in turn. Don't just run in circles around the enemy; present your movements as unpredictable as possible. Go this way…then quickly go back in the other direction for a few steps…then turn back the other way..FAKE! turn back around and go back again….this is what you have to do to keep the enemy on their toes and make it as hard as possible to keep their aim trained on you at all times. If you change your course too many times too quickly, however, you will just spin your heels on the same spot of ground. Be sure you take a few steps in any direction before changing it, and faking movements helps a lot. Also expect your enemy to know this as well, and do their best to confuse and confound you.

Set to Run

This almost shouldn't be listed, but it has to be. Before engaging in a fight, set your avatar to “Run”. This is toggled with “Ctrl R”, or the slower *menu* way is to go [World ▸ Always Run] from the drop-down menu.

Check your bow before fighting

A lot of things can mess up the way a bow fires. You do not want to get caught in a situation where you run out into the field from the safezone with a glitched weapon. Not only will you look foolish, but you will feel a collar snap around your neck faster than you can blink. While any scripted object (like your bow) can glitch for no reason at all, certain things seem to elicit such naughty behavior more often than just bad luck. These are:

If you encounter or must encounter any of the above situations, it is good practice to re-draw your bow before you discover if it has glitched. Some bows, such as the iPwn bows, require that you Sheath first and then redraw, as they will still be glitched if you redraw without sheathing first. An ounce of prevention is worth a fuckton of cure, so always be on the safe side. Even if you get capped and released on non-GLM meters, it's still wise to reset the bow by sheath/redraw. And after re-drawing the bow, always fire a test shot. If it doesn't shoot, and/or the arrow doesn't rez (regardless if it made the noise and did the animation), you should detach the bow and re-wear it. When all else fails, then clear your cache and reloging.


Mentioned earlier, TIPs stands for “Target of ImPortance”. TIPs are called out by the Combat Leader. In any fight, it is better for group-led “focused fire”…when the entire combat unit engages the same enemy combatant to take him/her down quickly, while mainly ignoring the other enemy fighters. This is because fighting two enemies at full health is better than taking on three at half health each. The first enemy that should be brought down first is always their best fighter, because you will need all the help you can get, so it's best to do it before you start losing team mates. Afterwards you should work your way down their ranks, from Toughest-to-Weakest, this way it only gets easier as you go along, as you will have less health to deal with the final enemy combatants as well. If you do not know who is tough vs weak, then you will want to attack the enemy with the lowest health. Remember, work either Toughest to Weakest, or Lowest Health to Greater Health. Sometimes you will need to adapt and change things up as the fight commences. Always keep on the same target if you can, and avoid switching targets constantly, as that only spreads your damage out too thinly and does not cause a lot of harm.

Chapter Four; Mindset of the Champion

Pride and Fall:

No matter how good you think you are, there is *always* someone better. No matter how good you fight, you can *always* fight better with more practice. If you do become a great SL combat fighter, never ever EVER allow that to cloud your mind with arrogance and an inflated ego. That is just the precursor to epic failure, even if judgement isn't swift and immediate. Eventually, you WILL be beaten, regardless how good you are. Do not allow this knowledge to also depress you so you don't try. Always give it your best; just do not delude yourself and become an ass about your skills, and learn to be a good sport when you do get beat.