Friday, September 1, 2017

All Muggles Must Die

Valar mug-hulis, cannon fodders.

All muggles must die.

It seems harsh, doesn't it? Maybe even a little cruel. But your personal feelings don't really matter--Illyriad has entered a new era. The harvesters of carebear tears have descended in force upon the server, and it is entirely likely that the muggle style of gameplay is near an end.

Glory vs. Grief

I would define three main types of PvP strategy gamers:
  • Defenders
  • Glory seekers
  • Harvesters of carebear tears

Defenders are easy to understand. They make strong fortresses and alliance cores for the purpose of mutual defense. Defenders tend not to seek out conflicts, but they have carefully prepared so that their cities are not vulnerable to attack. You can tell a defender alliance by the adequate troop counts, mostly active roster, acceptable city placement, and neutral stance on most issues.

Glory seekers are sometimes called "big game hunters", but this is actually a metaphorical misconception. There is nothing that a glory seeker values about shooting a lion or elephant with a high-caliber rifle. It is a one-sided fight, which eliminates all the challenge and danger, and therefore all the glory. Glory seekers desire to meet equals on the battlefield and clash in an intense test of strategy and willpower. Some glory seekers will accept a confrontation with a much larger adversary that has inferior military skills, but these wars can be easily seen as tedious and protracted. In case it isn't already obvious, The Phalanx [300] is predominantly composed of glory seekers.

The third category of PvP gamer is often called a "grief" player. Also known as harvesters of carebear tears, these gamers value strife over challenge. Griefers are different from defenders in that they proactively attack; griefers are different from glory seekers in that they intentionally target the weak, not the strong. The main goal of a griefer is the indignation and protests of their prey, the carebears. The more the carebears struggle, curse, lament, sulk, cry, and fight among themselves, the more their feeble antics amuse the griefers. It is a housecat playing with a mouse, purely for entertainment.

The Reason is <Insert Reason Here>

For years, I have been baffled by the Illyriad fascination with pretexts. People seem to believe that wars require elaborate explanations. This is not to say that wars don't have reasons, I'm just bemused by the notion that these reasons must be explained at great length to the general Illyriad populace.

Let me be clear. Defenders typically have one reason for war: they are being attacked. Glory seekers might be legitimately angry over some rationale, or they might just think you would be cool to fight. Griefers probably just see carebears who are likely to squeal in an amusing fashion.

If there is no reason, the reason will be invented. You can't stop that process. With the rise of grief play in Illyriad, all muggle alliances must accept that hostilities might arrive on their doorstep at any moment, with a very weak trigger (or without any valid trigger at all), and might proceed with all the cruelty of a coyote pulling apart a baby bunny nest.

Zombies and Museums

Contrasted against the PvP player types, several factors define a muggle alliance.
  • Declaration of muggle-hood
  • Carebear roster
  • Corresponding lame troop counts
  • Terrible city placement
  • Many dead accounts

Illyriad has been in decline for several years, especially after the devs stopped running their own tournaments. Rather than give up old accounts, players have simply handed the keys over to their fellow players. The result is alliances where half the roster is players who haven't logged in during the past week. Many times these accounts are used as alliance farms, or as bulk troop mules for tournaments. Both of these situations can present hazards. To glory seekers, an alliance supporting visible troop counts in tournaments is a signal that they are active and might be interesting to fight. To griefers and scavengers, an alliance filled with barely active farms can signal cities full of loot. The timid coyotes will rifle through those cities anonymously with thieves; the brazen will simply siege them, loot the contents, and destroy the empty husk.

While it might seem unfair that predatory players will take these prizes, there is an argument to be made that active players deserve the loot. Zombie accounts contribute nothing to the game. Likewise, museum alliances devoted to storing dusty unused accounts are just taking up space. I don't really buy either of those arguments myself, but that's exactly the point I'm making--unless you are going to oppose people with troops, your opinion is largely irrelevant. In fact, if you are a muggle complaining about injustice in GC, that's probably signaling the griefers that you would be fun to target just for giggles.

Declaring your peaceful nature is a signal to griefers. Having bad city placement is a signal to griefers. Having controversial players in GC is a signal to griefers, particularly if your troop counts are obviously insufficient. Holding valuable assets without real military power is a signal to griefers. An alliance with multiple accounts showing dead growth is a signal to griefers.

While all these behaviors were commonly accepted in prior Illyriad history, they are now the equivalent of a wounded fish flopping in the water. Flop long enough or loud enough, and the sharks will begin to circle.

I do want you to understand, you don't need to be flopping in order to draw attention from a shark. Depending upon the breed, they can transition from scavenger to predator very quickly. The only real defense is vital accounts, placed correctly, with sufficient troop counts to repel attacks.

Be Your Own Rescue

A final thought before this article is over. Many muggles want to believe that they can prevail upon others to rescue them. For people thinking along those lines, I would ask them to consider two factors.

First, the distances on this map are enormous. Even if an ally decided to save you, could they really reach you in time? Probably not. Even then, your friends aren't going to send troops to die on non-plains squares. If you lack even basic city placement, you have an anchor tied to your feet, and you cannot expect even a powerful ally to rescue you.

Second, the server lives in dangerous times. Just because a loyal friend could save a carebear from the griefers, doesn't mean that it's a good idea. Alliances stepping into conflicts are by definition escalating the conflict, and that instantly generates a reason why they can be opposed. New alliances can enter the battlefield to confront the saviors, turning it into an even uglier conflict.

The best policy is to be your own rescue. All muggles must die, but defender muggles will live a lot longer.
  • Place your cities cleanly.
  • Keep your armies in good repair.
  • Cleanse your roster of dead accounts.
  • Minimize troublemakers.
  • Keep a low profile in GC.
  • Do not claim what you cannot reasonably defend.
  • Befriend worthy allies.
  • Understand the constraints upon your confeds.

If you haven't done these things already, then like it or not, you have already begun making delicious little ripples in the water.

Valar mug-hulis!

Misbehave, kill lots of stuff.

<^^^^^^^^||==O    Skint Jagblade

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