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To @Buorhann's point, the micro mill dweebazoids are going to generally be low quality egotistical nutburgers just about anywhere they land, and there's always going to be a membership burnout rate regardless of how "good" alliances are. I'm not that convinced that that membership burnout rate is that highly correlated with the alliance choices individuals make early on. 

Also, generally speaking, if you're starting an alliance that exists as a social group and doesn't have some kind of mechanistic thought experiment behind it, you're really only going to drop off over time. Complacency kills "high activity, exclusive membership" models quickly, and the egos involved tend to not brook any kind of adaption once things take that course.

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1 hour ago, Auctor said:

Also, generally speaking, if you're starting an alliance that exists as a social group and doesn't have some kind of mechanistic thought experiment behind it, you're really only going to drop off over time. Complacency kills "high activity, exclusive membership" models quickly, and the egos involved tend to not brook any kind of adaption once things take that course.

^ This x100

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Most micros won't succeed and are harmful on an economic basis unless they have a dedicated government and core of effectively large nations paying into taxes (or donating) to invest in growing new players. 

This means splinters from the larger AAs are generally the best positioned to actually help the game, by establishing diverse and resilient communities, and testing the internal capabilities of the larger alliances they splinter off from. A lot of these fail because they are lead by idiots though, so it's a gamble either way.

Most micros are harmful though, because they simply can't offer players a rewarding and truly competitive experience. Not unless they seek out guidance and help from larger AAs via protectorates.

Larger alliances are mostly okay because they have the collective capacity to offer such experiences and resources, but if they don't have a strong community or vision, or lack good leadership, they'll give in to attrition or fatal mistakes given enough time. And some just don't do anything because they're timid about rocking the boat, which has a negative impact on the game.

It is a balance, really. I'd take fifty solid 20-30 member AAs over ten 100 member AAs any day. But it's hard to find enough competent leaders and players in a game this small to really see that happen, not without.a significant paradigm shift. 

Makes me wonder if a mechanic to deter alliances from having too many members would have a good effect on things, but honestly you'd probably just end up with divisions (Black Knights #1, Black Knights #2, Black Knights #3 etc). Could still end up generating drama though, I guess? 

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2 hours ago, Wilhelm the Demented said:

Most micros won't succeed and are harmful on an economic basis unless they have a dedicated government and core of effectively large nations paying into taxes (or donating) to invest in growing new players. 

This means splinters from the larger AAs are generally the best positioned to actually help the game, by establishing diverse and resilient communities, and testing the internal capabilities of the larger alliances they splinter off from. A lot of these fail because they are lead by idiots though, so it's a gamble either way.

Most micros are harmful though, because they simply can't offer players a rewarding and truly competitive experience. Not unless they seek out guidance and help from larger AAs via protectorates.

Larger alliances are mostly okay because they have the collective capacity to offer such experiences and resources, but if they don't have a strong community or vision, or lack good leadership, they'll give in to attrition or fatal mistakes given enough time. And some just don't do anything because they're timid about rocking the boat, which has a negative impact on the game.

It is a balance, really. I'd take fifty solid 20-30 member AAs over ten 100 member AAs any day. But it's hard to find enough competent leaders and players in a game this small to really see that happen, not without.a significant paradigm shift. 

Makes me wonder if a mechanic to deter alliances from having too many members would have a good effect on things, but honestly you'd probably just end up with divisions (Black Knights #1, Black Knights #2, Black Knights #3 etc). Could still end up generating drama though, I guess? 

 

On the contrary, I think the point of having Micros (or starting one), isn't to succeed. Micros ultimately only have two paths: transition into a mega-alliance, or to fail. The odds of the former happening is extremely low because it requires extreme amounts of discipline.

I don't think Micros are harmful at all, even if they can't award players a competitive experience. If you want a competitive experience, you'll join a larger alliance to compete for power. Most join micros because they either see some potential in the micro, or they're there to garner experience.

I agree wholistically that larger alliances fail if they don't have strong enough communities, even with collective resources. However, that's why I think micros are such a magnificent part of this game - because they serve as an alternative to being directly in line in a mega-alliance. Instead, you have the opportunity to craft your skills in gov. and diplomacy or to master the elements of the game, while still having the same protective spirit (if you're a protectorate). 

Micros are also a good way to pump some beef into this game, lest alliances only bicker among themselves, unregulated by smaller, yet still present threats.

 

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21 hours ago, Sir Scarfalot said:

Well, the worst harm that they can cause is pretty much the same harm as the mass alliances can cause, which is to be so structured, defensive, and cautious as to give a completely boring and terrible gameplay experience to their membership, and thus turn otherwise promising players off of the game. We don't have nearly enough retention as it is.

"Completely boring and terrible" is a matter of opinion, as is the nature of a "promising player".

There isn't a single type of player, so there isn't a single "good" type of alliance. Mass recruitment alliances are essential for games like these to function because of the economies of scale inherent in their structure. They allow players to maintain nations at low or inconsistent activity levels, which is a democratizing feature that is provided primarily, if not exclusively, by large alliances.

Similarly, there isn't a single type of micro. Micros are good if they don't represent an obvious opportunity cost to the metagame. They don't have to be special or unique and they don't have to play by the rules of the current meta, but they should at least interact with it in a way that adds rather than subtracts. More players or a greater diversity of communities and alliances is good; social isolation from the main community is bad.

The fundamental question here isn't what kind of alliances are good; it's what kind of players are good. If the only people we want in the community or in the metagame are those who prefer smaller alliances, then large alliances are detrimental to the game. If incorporating new players of all stripes into the existing metagame is a priority, then micro alliances that make little effort to be a part of it are detrimental. If an alliance - micro or otherwise - facilitates a style that's "good", or at least acceptable, then it helps PW. If not, then it's harmful.

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I'm going to keep this open till next week - allow you all to share what you think, then I'll write up the rest of my article with ORB. 

Thanks again everyone. :D

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Micro is a nebulous term. While I think most people would agree the alliances within the top 30 are not micros, some people consider the alliances from #31 to #45 to be micros. If not them, then #46 to #60. If not them, then #61 to #75. Outside of the top 30 you have Camelot, World Task Force, Church of Atom, and Orange Defense Network. I don't think any of these alliances are strong enough to stand on their own and be a major player, but they're alliances that major players would like to have in their camp if they could. These are alliances that should stick around and that shouldn't be bullied.

If you go further down, you have The Hanseatic League, InfoWars, and The Underground. These are tiny alliances that alliances outside of the top 30 might want to have as protectorates to project power and have something to do FA wise. I think these alliances aren't the greatest, but they're bordering the line between the next category of alliances and the alliances I listed last paragraph.

From about #65 to all the way down the list, you reach what I consider to safely be micro territory. These alliances are bad for the game. They should be bullied.

Also, if all 32 of us that voted 'harm' got into a fight with the 33 that voted 'help', we would win.

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1 hour ago, Thalmor said:

Micro is a nebulous term. While I think most people would agree the alliances within the top 30 are not micros, some people consider the alliances from #31 to #45 to be micros. If not them, then #46 to #60. If not them, then #61 to #75. Outside of the top 30 you have Camelot, World Task Force, Church of Atom, and Orange Defense Network. I don't think any of these alliances are strong enough to stand on their own and be a major player, but they're alliances that major players would like to have in their camp if they could. These are alliances that should stick around and that shouldn't be bullied.

If you go further down, you have The Hanseatic League, InfoWars, and The Underground. These are tiny alliances that alliances outside of the top 30 might want to have as protectorates to project power and have something to do FA wise. I think these alliances aren't the greatest, but they're bordering the line between the next category of alliances and the alliances I listed last paragraph.

From about #65 to all the way down the list, you reach what I consider to safely be micro territory. These alliances are bad for the game. They should be bullied.

Also, if all 32 of us that voted 'harm' got into a fight with the 33 that voted 'help', we would win.

I read it more as do micros in general cause harm, but depends on the micro; as you gave some good examples.

Another way of looking at it is do micros harm the game from progressing how I’d like it to? Depends on the micro, just as with bigger alliances.

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1 hour ago, Thalmor said:

Micro is a nebulous term. While I think most people would agree the alliances within the top 30 are not micros, some people consider the alliances from #31 to #45 to be micros. If not them, then #46 to #60. If not them, then #61 to #75. Outside of the top 30 you have Camelot, World Task Force, Church of Atom, and Orange Defense Network. I don't think any of these alliances are strong enough to stand on their own and be a major player, but they're alliances that major players would like to have in their camp if they could. These are alliances that should stick around and that shouldn't be bullied.

If you go further down, you have The Hanseatic League, InfoWars, and The Underground. These are tiny alliances that alliances outside of the top 30 might want to have as protectorates to project power and have something to do FA wise. I think these alliances aren't the greatest, but they're bordering the line between the next category of alliances and the alliances I listed last paragraph.

From about #65 to all the way down the list, you reach what I consider to safely be micro territory. These alliances are bad for the game. They should be bullied.

Also, if all 32 of us that voted 'harm' got into a fight with the 33 that voted 'help', we would win.

Of course you would, you'd have best micro (me) on your side. :P

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Personally I think Camelot stood out as good for reading situation & striking first without needing asking. Ability for micros to attack more freely is what makes them most useful versus merging in.

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I'd like to add something, if I may.

I think micros are good, and I believe it's never the alliance's member count or size that is what harms the game; it''s always the leader. I suppose you could liken the statement to "It's not guns that are the problem, it's the people behind them".

Also micros are an essential part of alliance growth. Did the big, good alliances just get made at #1, or best at the game? No, they grew first. Kinda like how people named Bob were, as unlikely as it may seem, not born 40 years old. They grew first.

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As I've said on other threads, Micros are good for the game. It keeps politics from getting stale because a small fraction of the micros will succeed and form new political groupings. The same people fighting the same people ad infinitum (IQ vs TKR-sphere over and over and over and over) is boring, and bad for the game. The best way to stop political consolidation is through the addition of new political groups with a lack of pre-existing grudges.

 

I'd also state that raiders LOOOOOOVE micros. Especially bad micros. Why? Because good alliances will beat the shit out of you if you raid them, or at least force you to pay reps. Bad alliances, on the other hand, can be threatened off. The more micros there are, the more fodder for raiders, and the more activity you'll see in the game.

Edited by A Boy Named Crow

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4 minutes ago, A Boy Named Crow said:

As I've said on other threads, Micros are good for the game. It keeps politics from getting stale because a small fraction of the micros will succeed and form new political groupings. The same people fighting the same people ad infinitum (IQ vs TKR-sphere over and over and over and over) is boring, and bad for the game. The best way to stop political consolidation is through the addition of new political groups with a lack of pre-existing grudges.

 

I'd also state that raiders LOOOOOOVE micros. Especially bad micros. Why? Because good alliances will beat the shit out of you if you raid them, or at least force you to pay reps. Bad alliances, on the other hand, can be threatened off. The more micros there are, the more fodder for raiders, and the more activity you'll see in the game.

Except they... don't?

Micros that grow up dont usually form new groupings at all. They follow their protectors into their MDoAP sphere. See: Camelot, Afrika Korps, literally my future. Big alliances protect micros for political reasons and it's usually to invoke a Europa Universalis style vassal swarm tactic. You can go down the list of the top 50, even as far as the top 60 and nearly every single alliance is just part of one of the larger spheres. 

The only remotely unique ties between moderately powered alliances was Vanguard, and even then your problem is that VG was mostly lead and pulled by Polaris, who is basically just honorary IQ at this point. 

You could bring up KT/TGH but they weren't protectorates. Because being a protectorate kind of seals your fate into 1 of a few options. 

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Except that the more independent alliances there are in a sphere, the more unwieldy it is and the more likely it'll break up. In another game, we observed than MDoaP blocs of 5 or more alliances were usually defensive spheres, given that it would take far longer for the bloc partners to reach a consensus on an offensive strike. 3 or so alliances were usually offensive, on the other hand, as it was easier for the core bloc to make decisions. Likewise, we saw the recent dissolution of Vanguard as a formal bloc. Even if a micro were to become part of an existing MDoAP bloc, it's no guarantee that it would stay within the MDoaP bloc indefinitely.

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2 minutes ago, A Boy Named Crow said:

Except that the more independent alliances there are in a sphere, the more unwieldy it is and the more likely it'll break up. In another game, we observed than MDoaP blocs of 5 or more alliances were usually defensive spheres, given that it would take far longer for the bloc partners to reach a consensus on an offensive strike. 3 or so alliances were usually offensive, on the other hand, as it was easier for the core bloc to make decisions. Likewise, we saw the recent dissolution of Vanguard as a formal bloc. Even if a micro were to become part of an existing MDoAP bloc, it's no guarantee that it would stay within the MDoaP bloc indefinitely.

No you're right, it would just go to one of the other blocs. Still not creating unique and new relations and spheres. 

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Put another way, they'd have new and unique relations with their own existing sphere.

 

The point is, the more (active and at least semi-competent) gov types you have, the more egos and arguments you get. In my experience, a lot of former protectorates end up hating their former protectors. The deepest feuds are often the ones between former allies.

 

The benefit is more that by making a sphere more "top-heavy', the sphere becomes more liable to break apart. And that's the most common way to form a real new sphere; i.e, TGH-KT bloc didn't come from nowhere, it's essentially a splinter of Syndisphere.

Edited by A Boy Named Crow

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16 minutes ago, Akuryo said:

Except they... don't?

Micros that grow up dont usually form new groupings at all. They follow their protectors into their MDoAP sphere. See: Camelot, Afrika Korps, literally my future. Big alliances protect micros for political reasons and it's usually to invoke a Europa Universalis style vassal swarm tactic. You can go down the list of the top 50, even as far as the top 60 and nearly every single alliance is just part of one of the larger spheres. 

The only remotely unique ties between moderately powered alliances was Vanguard, and even then your problem is that VG was mostly lead and pulled by Polaris, who is basically just honorary IQ at this point. 

You could bring up KT/TGH but they weren't protectorates. Because being a protectorate kind of seals your fate into 1 of a few options. 

>moderately powered alliances

>Vanguard

>unique ties

You mean they were literally IQ puppets and the "Vanguard" title was just a faux name to entice people into taking them serious.  They've had at least 3 opportunities that I know of since their creation, under their own "pursuit" (Or so they came off as), to break off on their own or join up with other allies.

Anybody who took them serious throughout the years are, or continue to be, morons.

3 minutes ago, A Boy Named Crow said:

TGH-KT bloc didn't come from nowhere, it's essentially a splinter of Syndisphere.

That is completely false.

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I'll leak information. According to IQ sources, TKR-sphere was apparently successful in getting Vanguard to stay neutral in this war through diplomatic entreaty. Likewise, Vanguard was not actually an IQ puppet and, while closely linked to IQ, there were elements that wanted to go their own way.

Edited by A Boy Named Crow
grammar
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5 minutes ago, Buorhann said:

>moderately powered alliances

>Vanguard

>unique ties

You mean they were literally IQ puppets and the "Vanguard" title was just a faux name to entice people into taking them serious.  They've had at least 3 opportunities that I know of since their creation, under their own "pursuit" (Or so they came off as), to break off on their own or join up with other allies.

Anybody who took them serious throughout the years are, or continue to be, morons.

That is completely false.

I said they tried, nothing more. The word remotely was inserted into the sentence for a good reason, you see the word remotely implies that something tried to be X and only in the most vague and rudimentary of ways achieved it in any sense at all. 

And, yes, moderately powerful. TUE isn't and i'm fairly certain there are alliances a fraction their age that could absolutely wreck house on them. I'd also consider Solar Knights, OWR, Polaris, House Stark, etc as moderately powerful. TFP, UPN, DB, Yakuza, WTF i'd consider little better than TUE, while alliances like TGH are in the "Deceptively strong" category if comparing actual strength relative to their spot on the leaderboards, which you may have noticed is mostly comprised of alliances whose strength is at best "Moderate", an pretty apt for their position on the leaderboards. 

They're not below the top 30 which is largely home to stagnation, mediocrity, dying, rolled or the occassional growing alliance with promise. They're also not in the top 15 where most alliances there are considered powerhouses of some kind in some way (Even if TCW for example is only economically), and they're not the singular outlier to this basic rule generalization (again TGH) where you'd expect them to be relatively equivalent to AK but are actually alot closer to KT. 

So yeah, i think it's a perfectly appropriate definition. 

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16 hours ago, A Boy Named Crow said:

I'll leak information. According to IQ sources, TKR-sphere was apparently successful in getting Vanguard to stay neutral in this war through diplomatic entreaty. Likewise, Vanguard was not actually an IQ puppet and, while closely linked to IQ, there were elements that wanted to go their own way.

I know several alliances in Vanguard had declared on Arggh together with TKR previously; so there might have been some friendly relations to make them stay out. Also having them ready to counter another sphere like TGH-KT if they attacked during the war I could see strategic benefit in, which is likely what TGH-KT sphere viewed them.

Although personally I have no idea how much them staying out had to do with not being needed versus wanting to avoid it.

Edited by Noctis Anarch Caelum

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Micros are basically unavoidable without a significant portion of the game committed to rooting them out, so it's not as if we are likely to run the counterfactual here. It's true that it's exceedingly unlikely that any of them will bring something new to the table, but it only takes one to make the best of a fact of life.

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Here it is!

This was shaping up to be a damn book, but I picked a few things y'all said and from discussions I've had with people throughout the community and we produced a pretty good piece here.

Micro Alliances? Help or Harm?

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On 2/28/2019 at 3:23 PM, Noctis Anarch Caelum said:

Also having them ready to counter another sphere like TGH-KT if they attacked during the war I could see strategic benefit in, which is likely what TGH-KT sphere viewed them.

Well, hell, if I knew they were on standby to counter us - I would've pulled that trigger.

Otherwise, no, TKR and Friends needed to get hit.  Oblivion and Empyrea did, afterall, assist the coalition.

The only thing I didn't expect was the length of the war and the craziness around the terms.  I figured it'd be a "nut check" type of war.

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They harm it.

Micros suck potentially good people into their vortex of incompetence and then spit them back out dead from getting rolled by pirates or with completely inaccurate views of how the game is played, which they then transfer around with them until someone corrects them, which often never happens, and they teach a whole bunch of other people dumb shit too. As a result they lower retention rates for players in the game and spread stupidity around making the entire player base more incompetent, which has a snowball effect.

Add to that the fact they have a 0% chance of success from the very beginning. You only have to look at the history of the game to see that basically no micro alliance has ever achieved success past the first wave of alliances that got their start when the game began and everyone was on an even playing field of ignorance.

The path to success for new alliances is people joining an established alliance, growing their nations, making friends and connections, learning how to play, moving into a low or high gov position, learning how to govern, then breaking out on their own, splintering from their original alliance, taking a decent sized group of friends with them. If you can't get at least 20 people in your new splinter alliance, you should just be more patient and work harder to get more people rather than going ahead and making it.

Way too many leaders of these small/medium sized alliances are just decision makers who rely on the expertise of others to prop up their existence since they were too impatient to learn the mechanics or methods to run even a single department in an alliance. Every leader worth their salt should have at the very least a solid grasp on FA, as well as recent FA history, and know the basics of running each department so they can advise the people in charge of them and ensure they haven't appointed an idiot. Its a bit hard to know if your econ or milcom guy is a moron who has no idea what hes doing, if you yourself have no idea what your doing.

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