In previous posts on the rise of TEst, I regarded TEst's paperless policy as political ingenuity. I still hold that to be true. However, the recent war and the dog piling against TEst merits some observation as to why the paperless system failed in otherwise a successful system. After all, this is the same paperless alliance that went from a small, insignificant alliance at the beginning of the year to the top alliance post Silent War, and at the end of the year is expected to be rolled back into obscurity.
What went wrong:
The paperless system was a flexible system that allowed TEst to dance between two blocs by a complex system of backchanneling that requires hyperactivity and charisma on part of TEst's leadership. But the paperless system thrives only in the context of two spheres who are locked in bitter combat against each other. The dissolution of the Rose sphere proved to be the end of the paperless system. TEst needed to present itself as harmless and innocuous, not as a potential second sphere. Failing that, TEst needed to form an opposition sphere against the Syndisphere. In both instances, TEst has failed.
TEst rolled any and all potential allies, thus alienating herself. Due to her "friendly relations" with the Syndisphere, TEst's targets were limited to everyone unrelated to the Syndisphere, ironically the same alliances which could have helped her in an eventual fight. TEst's aggressive actions also cemented in the minds of others that TEst is a powerful alliance worthy of becoming a new bloc leader, thus failing the need to present herself as harmless.
Paperless was a system that was good under a specific circumstance. Absent of that specific circumstance, and TEst is left without allies against the hegemon.
Why should TEst form a new sphere?
The system of PnW (and its potential flaw) is that it forces all the players into a realist paradigm (see "international realism") but forces the players to propagate the system willingly. The realist paradigm states that a closed international system with multiple alliances forces war upon one another until an eventual hegemon emerges. The collapse of the Paracovenant marked the rise of the Syndisphere as the hegemon, a natural conclusion to all realist paradigms. However, TEst, due to its paperless policy, was in the fringes of the sphere.
In a post on "Old FA vs. New FA," Pre posted
"You don't get to tell us how to play the game. You can't make us form a sphere to counter you. You can't make us stop fighting people who piss us off, even if you view those as wars of boredom. Enjoy sitting on top, we don't care that you're there."
and his reasoning, strictly speaking, is correct. The Syndisphere cannot make TEst form a new sphere to counter them. However, under the circumstances of the realist paradigm, if TEst is interested in maintaining its standing and its power garnered through the paperless policy during the Rose/Syndicate wars, she must do so to counter-balance the hegemon. If not, TEst risks the possibility of being a target of attack from a sphere several times its size.
TEst et. al. may be forced to abandon the paperless system and reach out to the alliances not affiliated with the Syndisphere. This would ironically require TEst to negotiate with alliances who only recently fought bitterly against the paperless hegemon in wars seemingly designed to flaunt TEst's power. Her negotiation will likely prove unsuccessful until those alliances face the brunt of the Syndisphere war machine themselves. It may be several months before another sphere may be formed.
There in lies the problem of games such as these: the game sets itself in the realist paradigm, yet has no means of naturally dissolving a hegemon from power without the conscious consent of thousands of players. TEst member posts argue (and rightfully so) that the hegemonic nature of the Syndisphere will eventually end the game (again, a natural conclusion to the realist paradigm). Therefore, one of two things must happen in the new year:
1. TEst manages to assemble a motley crew of everyone she rolled to counter tS in a new sphere
2. The Syndisphere needs to willingly break up to maintain the realist paradigm.
Both of which is highly unlikely. Though in this writer's personal opinion, the former may be more so.
TEst needs to make the argument to everyone she rolled that TEst is today, everyone else may be tomorrow (a very convincing argument, in light of Mensa's dire need to water their holy Dio tree with blood often).