Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Yellow is the New Red

Greetings, cannon fodders.

I usually don't write about Illyriad politics, but I wanted to address a growing trend in Illyriad warfare: the clash of neutrals. This is a departure from the historical lines of inter-alliance warfare, and one I believe is here to stay.


The Old School

The traditional Illyriad war model has been predictable: assemble your allies, declare war, siege your opponents, one side surrenders (or both sides agree to a cease fire), conclude peace. This method of warfare dominated all the major server wars. In many ways, it's similar to the European method of musket warfare. Two clearly delineated sides line up in neat formations and start blasting away at each other. This is not to say that traditional Illyriad wars don't involve clever maneuvers, a shifting political landscape, or deception and even betrayal. It's just that the lines are typically drawn at the alliance level and formalized by a system-supported war declaration.

One major feature of old school Illyriad warfare was that known alts in neutral alliances seem to have been left in peace.

The New School

The present geopolitical situation in Illyriad has challenged the traditional warfare model.

The last server war revealed that several powerful alliances depended on rampant multi-accounting. People have fully grasped the danger of attacking only the battle accounts, while leaving the farms untouched. Is this dangerous? Unquestionably. With an alliance supplying basic resources and one good city, an experienced player can build a 7 city, fully weaponized military account (300-350% sov, all cities, 50% cost reduction) for the $75 prestige package in under three weeks. The only thing missing is the gold supply and the advanced resources for troop construction.  Trying to fight the battle account without eliminating the farms is like fighting the Hydra. It will never run out of heads.

Another major influencing factor is the intercontinental distance. Wars between Elgean and Broken Lands alliances are extremely slow. Spending five days moving troops against an enemy cluster with properly placed cities is a suicide mission. The distance puts time squarely on the side of the defenders, assuming they know how to prepare their defenses. Farm and social accounts might be much closer, isolated, and in siege-friendly placements.

Finally, there are political reasons to decline a war declaration. The moment you declare war, that turns an entire alliance of people red to your team, and vice versa. That is a much less controlled situation than a precision strike against a single neutral target. All your soft spots are officially declared as fair game to the enemy. A war declaration also brings allies into play. Some confederations will accept individual players sorting out a contained problem, even with siege camps. Once that war declaration goes up, the pressure rises for more alliances to join the war and escalate things even further. There have been many forum arguments about whether siege breaking is an act of war, or whether it is something that allies can do without formally declaring their support, or getting declared upon in retaliation. This is precisely because people perceive the value of making a focused strike against a yellow army on the map that is attacking a green friendly city. All of the benefit of mutual defense, none of the downside of getting dragged into the official war.

It's Officially... Unofficial?

I firmly believe that the traditional model of war has grown obselete for specific situations, and that focused yellow vs yellow battles will become accepted as a valid alternative among the community. The formal declaration of war will be reduced from a perceived requirement for sieges. It will become just another tool in the political and game mechanics toolbox, to be used specifically when it suits the clashing alliances. Going forward, I believe we might see more alts and farms dragged out of neutral alliances, upon threat of war, and the once-mighty community uproar will be far more subdued.

Yellow is the new red, my fellow cannon fodders.

Misbehave. Kill lots of stuff.

<^^^^^^^^||==O    Skint Jagblade

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