Thursday, October 12, 2017

Declaration of Sandbox Freedom

Greetings, cannon fodders.

Since Hathaldir borrowed the framework of the real Declaration of Independence, I was inspired to offer my own pointlessly long recanting of martial philosophy and the rights of Illyriad gamers. Read at your own risk, particularly if you have a tender muggle brain.

WARNING: This article is not the typical Warmongering guide to game mechanics. It is opinionated, political, and based on my own personal perceptions. 

A Discourse Most Lengthy

When, in the course of Illyriad gameplay, particular coalitions have risen to power and implemented a noxious stranglehold on the sandbox and the community, it is imperative upon the warriors of the game to act.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That the game of Illyriad is strategic in nature, and that this was fully intended by its designers and developers. That valuable resources and the very fabric of the map will compel alliances into conflict, and that these conflicts will be resolved by politics, by meta-gaming, and sometimes by troops. That these causes and effects are fully intended by the game's creators, planned for and even encouraged, and are not some abberation of unruly alliances. That these ever shifting tides of interaction are not a distraction from the game, but in truth are the very game of Illyriad itself, which we all play to varying degrees.

Further, we state now and forever for the permanent record, that the vitality of the game has been badly decayed by the stranglehold of particular Elgean alliances, exercised over the whole of their continent. That these old and corrupt alliances dominate tournaments, the main annual activity for many noble alliances, by crude and unsavory means. That the players of these offending alliances achieve their battlefield power, not through the clever management of resources, but rather through the collection and maintenance of several permasats each, often in repulsive excess of the game's published multiaccounting limits. Further, that these alliances have cluttered the map with their permasats, occupying prime real estate with dead accounts at the expense of truly active newcomers.

We allege that these alliances have, by accumulating detritus of a thousand departed players, fostered the growth of grief play and harassment over their digital debris. That they have maintained accounts long dead through the use of interminable holding sieges, blocking hundreds of excellent settlement locations across the map, to the benefit of a priveleged few.

That these decrepit confederations have plotted to destroy those who opposed them by treacherous means, have pushed an agenda of annihilation, have overwhelmed the weak using sheer size as a means of intimidation. That they have, in Elgea, crushed healthy PvP that includes both vigorous fighting and easy terms of surrender, and sought to impose such suffocation upon the Broken Lands. That their leaders have demanded that their players fight at fatal odds, while risking none of their own cities, purely for the sake of pride and politics.

We resist their portrayal of alliance size as the only relevant virtue, over activity or contribution to the game. We deny the validity of alliances who push an agenda of global domination and lawmaking, with the express intention of depriving a voice to small, new, and nimble alliances.

We allege that these alliances occupy prime resources, as if first occupation alone is justification for permanent ownership. That these alliances own a disproportionate amount of valuable rare resources by using permasats to occupy them. Worse still, that these players often decline to harvest the valuable resources in their possession, when newer players might use them profitably. That these alliances have crashed the trade markets by relying on permasats for supplies instead of upon commerce.

We express our outrage that these alliances have repeatedly accused their opponents in slanderous terms, when they have been afforded dignified discussion.

We allege that these alliances have abused the status of training alliance, once honored as a neutral service to the whole community, as a means of sheltering their permasats, possessing mines, herbs, and prime locations under false protection, and breeding malcontent by harboring players of ill will who neither seek training nor provide it to new players.

Of greatest offense to us is that these alliances have opposed the formation of true countries, occupied by their sovereign occupants, who are granted real citizenship in their own homeland. They have maliciously slandered the honorable efforts to establish these countries, the natural constructs of a geography-based game. They have made false and repeated claims against these new nations, of hysterical nature, not for the true interests of the community, but rather as a means to preserve their ability to insinuate hostile cities into the heart of alliances who would be free of harmful interlopers. We assert that breaching the borders of our sovereign countries is an act of infiltration and war, which has been used in previous conflicts with these very same treacherous alliances, often to destructive effect.

Therefore, we set forth the following principles, and call upon the able warriors of Illyriad to set them in motion upon the glorious map:

  1. That where alliances have gathered in such strength as to declare their homelands, that these boundaries should be respected as a sovereign nation, or else opposed upon the field of battle.
  2. That condemnation should be issued against all alliances who rely upon large rosters of departed accounts to supply gold, supply armament, occupy valuable resources, and otherwise deprive the active player base of excellent city locations.
  3. That especial outrage be heaped upon the leaders of alliances engaged in war, who compel their own players to fight, when they themselves sit back safely from the battlefields and risk nothing from their own accounts.
  4. That all alliances have the right for their voices to be heard, not merely based on bulk or age, but on the basis of their vitality, activity, and interesting endeavors.
  5. That the abuse of training alliance status should be met with lethal force, when players are found to have misused that privelege.
  6. That combat be viewed as an acceptable means of conflict resolution in disagreements, without the perpetual cycle of escalation, or calls for pile-on tactics.
  7. That alliances owning valuable rare resources accept the possibility of conflict over those resources, including the notion that infrequently-harvested resources would be better used by newer, more active players.
  8. That the practice of holding sieges be reviewed, and that accounts on constant life support should have their sieges broken so those dead accounts are finally allowed to expire from the map.
  9. That tournaments should be decided by the activity and excellence of the combatants in battle, and not by the outrageous abuse of permasats by the perennial winners.
In light of these tenets, we prevail upon the Illyriad community to embrace the strategic nature of this game, including the potential for conflict, the shifting possession of precious resources, and the establishment of real countries governed by their sovereign inhabitants. We denounce the idea that this game should be ruled by a select few, chosen by no other virtue than their ability to accumulate dead accounts in violation of the rules, who would govern this game and all its rewards to the intentional exclusion of the small, the active, and the new. It is to their defeat, and to a newly revitalized Illyriad, to which we pledge our swords, our prowess, and our treasured honor.

And With That...

To all good cannon fodders, I have only this to say:

Misbehave. Kill lots of stuff.

<^^^^^^^^||==O    Skint Jagblade


  1. That is too many lettaz too. I manged to beat the last two sentences in hope that expresses it all.

    Lucks and good hunting,

  2. "It is to their defeat, and to a newly revitalized Illyriad, to which we pledge our swords, our prowess, and our treasured honor."

    By revitalized do you mean some of the lowest user numbers in years after the bump from steam died out?

    All that the new methodology has done is decreased the amount of players who stayed in the game wanting a non-toxic community which GC has become from time to time, much more so than the past few years. If not GC then certainly the SINdicate slack chats are, which is where any player who wants to be competitive in PvP in this game currently ends up.

    1. Elgea is gridlocked. It has been for years. Players joining a strategy game want to feel like they can accomplish something relevant. Those Steam players arrived into a game where all the valuable resources were already garrisoned, where the old alliances had farmed untold billions of gold from dead accounts, and where the one community-scale event (tournaments) were dominated by alliances who farmed their way to victory. Those wanting some PvP were quickly discouraged by GC figureheads who deliberately misrepresent the game to newcomers. The lack of major updates has also been a cause for concern among new players deciding whether to invest money in prestige.

      War has not caused this situation. Wars remain few and far between in Illyriad. Nor is GC 2017 even remotely as toxic as 2012-2014, which was the golden era of GC.

    2. I wasn't around for the 2012-2014 era though it seems that many of the same players who troll now did so back then as well. I agree with you that the lack of updates is the main thing killing the game, most of the negative steam reviews pointed out this seemed like a dated browser game, which it is. Players should know that escalated conflicts will bring a more toxic community like the times you mentioned, it's an inevitability of this type of game.

      On the other hand the most frequently cheered thing about the game was/is the community and how welcoming it is. I doubt many players would have said that if at the start they log into the middle of complaining and/or arguing in GC or are immediately given a map of where they can not go unless they join these specific groups.

      A player joining Illyriad looking to be a PvP centric player,outside of small conflicts, will also need to learn to either be a cog in a machine or simulate middle management using spreadsheets and apps for troop counts and timing. Along with having the patience to build a month+ in advance, keep a constant balance of feeder account+trade to army upkeep just to see most of his or her troops wiped in one well contested siege. Looking strictly at this as a PvP game it's awful, from the build and march times to the simplistic mechanics.

      It's no secret that permasat accounts were and probably still are widely used on both sides of this argument, if the devs truly banned players who exploited this there would be several gone from each side.

      *Deleted the last one to fix an error in wording.

    3. "I doubt many players would have said that (the community is welcoming) if at the start they log into the middle of complaining and/or arguing in GC..."

      Let's be honest here. The complaining and arguing in Illyriad general chat is incredibly tame by most MMO standards. The public chat stream is heavily filtered for profanity, and actively policed by a living human being. It is sparkly sterile like a dinner plate when compared to the festering public urinals of most other MMO chat streams.

      If people can't handle a few mild verbal clashes between warring parties, then there probably isn't a real strategy game on the planet that can accommodate their desires.

      "...or are immediately given a map of where they can not go unless they join these specific groups."

      Every geography-based strategy game has alliance zones. Any time proximity creates advantage or danger, that's inevitable. The difference is primarily in presentation of that information to newcomers. Anti-claimers will go on a tirade about how many areas of the map are unsafe, which simply isn't true. New players making honest mistakes are helped to safely depart land claims in Illyriad. I would personally prefer land claims to be presented as countries. Fellandire is the country of the SINdicate and its allies. Mal Motsha is the country of The Colonist Empire. Windseeker Isle is the country of Slaves to Armok. People intuitively understand countries. Just as you said, people grasp that you cannot move to a country unless you join their specific group, or otherwise receive permission. That's how countries work.

      RE: PvP-centric players

      I agree with everything you said about warfare, except that this game is awful for PvP, or that it has simplistic mechanics. Illyriad PvP has many merits. First, it has no P2W mechanic where people can instantly build armies. That alone sets it apart. All power takes time in this game. Second, although the game commands are simple, the execution of a great military strategy is challenging. Illyriad PvP places much more emphasis on map position, military deception, planning, and teamwork. Many players enjoy an environment where these are the main challenges, instead of quick reflexes or simply paying to have the biggest armies or the mightiest mega-artifacts.

    4. I agree that it takes a lot of planning and teamwork to be a successful PvP alliance on Illy, that does not make it good, it makes it tedious (especially when spreadsheets are needed). I was focusing on the combat mechanics themselves where the losses can somewhat easily be calculated by the players. Even with terrain, commanders, gear, elites and different defenses against different troop types it just amounts to 1 number vs another plus the multipliers. Military deception is rendered pointless by the strategies being shared though members of the warring alliances which will happen in every drawn out war.

      In terms of biggest armies it's the SINdicate right now, which makes most players apprehensive about challenging any of their actions effectively killing all but one sided PvP. Mechanics and LC arguments aside, you've already won. I doubt there will be any new group in this game willing and able to fight all of SIN and friends that isn't an offshoot of SINdicate, you did it. Congrats.

      I would argue that if someone truly wanted to they could be more P2W than others in Illy. Between power building an alt to feed gold and selling prestige to maintain the troops. This doesn't have as much of an impact as it would in other games where you can essentially buy the troops but it is enough to allow a player to grow and regrow rapidly and not worry about the gold drain from troops and sov. That does grant an advantage over legit F2P players. We all know money doesn't make a good player but that applies to all games P2W or not, but it helps hide the bad ones.

      Looking at the LCs as countries is fine though nearly half of BL will soon be claimed through expansion of those claims and anyone who has a city in those areas has been warned that they need to leave. Aggressive expansion is another part of country building but it will also help in driving more players away from the game without enough new players coming in and staying to replace them. This also goes against the old concept of LCs where players were considered "grandfathered in".

    5. I actually doubt that the SINdicate has the largest armies. The SINdicate is dangerous because it has a core of players who are properly trained to produce and launch sizable armies according to a published operation schedule. The discipline to make this process repeatable is what enables SINdicate to fight effectively in long term wars. We are a war machine.

      I'm fine with a game where paying players receive significant advantages over free players, but there is no direct pay-to-win method for big spenders. A $50/year player will have a solid advantage over a $0/year player in Illyriad, but a $500/year player does not hold an insurmountable advantage over the $50/year player. That is very unlike systems like Game of War, where $$$ = power as a 1:1 exchange.

      I personally doubt that half of the Broken Lands will be claimed, or that everyone in those regions is being exiled. For all the complaints about the claimers, Illyriad has seen far more political and alliance activity in the past month than a very long time. Elgea seems far more engaged than it has been in years. I interpret that as a positive sign for activity on all levels, as well as a potential signal that people might start spending more on prestige, lifting the financial tides of the game.

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. "I actually doubt that the SINdicate has the largest armies."

      Would highest military capability be a better choice of words? If not capability then active playerbase willing to fight? Most players willing to lose cities?

      " trained to produce and launch sizable armies according to a published operation schedule"

      I get the importance but this brings be back to the cog in the machine or middle management point from before. With the exception of the planners or coordinators this seems like it takes away a lot of individual skill and is simply "build x troops and send at this time". Please correct me if I'm wrong.

      The benefits of spending money do decrease as more is spent, though I would say the $500/year player will most likely be the type who has the 15+ city gold farm alt which the $50/yr player would most likely be lacking at 6 months in.

      Stating half of BL may have been hyperbole, there are a lot of bad areas no one really wants as well so looking at it as a land mass compared to "good" areas is a different matter of opinions. I was basing some of it on this map of the LCs and some of it on murmurs and rumors from both sides of the debate about more expansions to come. There are players actively being told to leave the expanded LC areas, though this may be on an alliance by alliance basis, it is happening.

      The political activity has been the same loud voices that have been in GC for years with the occasional new player thrown in. The not so loud ones who aren't as vested in the game are generally playing less or just quitting instead of having to deal with newfound drama whether it's external or internal. Any way you look at it the "active" GC numbers dropping into the mid to low 300's some nights are not a sign of improvement.

    8. Highest military capability, sure, that fits.

      I would dispute the cog in a machine description of team members. This blog should demonstrate that there is considerable individual planning in building good military cities and properly supplying them. In most respects it is more challenging than the ramshackle way that muggles build their kitchen sink cities. Frankly, I don't think you can accurately call people cogs just because they play on a team. Not all gamers seek the limelight. Many competent PvP gamers just want to surround themselves with good comrades and ignore the fickle attentions of the crowds.

      Likewise, leading a team isn't middle management. Teams do use spreadsheets, but those tools just support coordination among the team. The mission plans require extensive analysis and logistics. You could say that flying is just moving the levers in the cockpit, but if that were really true, then everybody could fly a plane. I've seen plenty of bad plans formulated and entered into spreadsheets.

      The battle strategy is the skill component; the numbers you enter into the spreadsheet are just the output of that process. The city construction, specialization, and supply chain choices are the skill component; the armies produced are the output of that process.

    9. I'm very happy we could agree on something, highest military capability it is.

      No team member wants to be referred to as a cog, I get that. I use it as a way to express my opinion of this playstyle, not to intentionally insult the players themselves. I have seen SINdicate team leaders refer to such players in the SINdicate as troop farms or meatshields in the past. Whichever name you prefer to use is fine by me but I feel cog best fits my argument.

      Leading a team is very middle management, it is the link between the goal of an alliance/leader and the normal players in a small group format. That involves coordination, communication and planning. I could have added synergy there to sound like a lame management training video. My main problem with the spreadsheet format isn't the use of it but rather it takes a lot of the skill away from players when it spoon feeds them launch times or how many of which troop they should make, making them more cog like. Plus they can be soul crushingly boring. Just for fun

      City construction and specialization are usually done just following some guides, either the great ones on here or some so so Illy forum posts. Most city formats are what I would call "cookie cutter" with essentially the same buildings in them just slight adjustments depending on the upkeep building, this goes for muggles and... death eaters? I don't remember the name you give your non-muggle, pure blood self so please leave it in the next comment.

      I would like to note there are players with very optimized well thought out cities but this is the minority.

      Supply chain skill is an interesting idea I hadn't considered. I could ask how much skill there is involved in power building an alt like "muggles" to maximize gold and gear? There are obviously guides on that as well with a couple "sweet spots" population wise. Gold is obtainable through smart trading or buying then selling prestige though the former will take more time out of your day and the latter be slightly P2W. I know the skilled players or permasat owners often feed the less skilled gold and such to help them along in war. That is not a bad thing, it just shows many run unsustainable accounts without the proper supply chain. What's the point of building an army if they implode from running out of gold?

      I have no doubt that your knowledge of Illys battle mechanics and ability to plan are top notch. The same cannot be said for all PvP players though, which often relegates them to be more cog-like, which is fine if they enjoy it, but does not change their role. The same can be said about peaceful city builders, sometimes the cities are garbage with no sense of purpose but they have fun building them.

      All that said I do agree there is skill heavily involved in successful campaigns against equally prepared and competent opponents. I simply think you either killed them all, either in game or in spirit to the point they won't fight. I feel that a dominant coalition has killed any hopes of players outside of that group being competitive in large scale PvP, again.

      Also if you can answer, why does it look like I double space if I have a string of short words?

    10. To Anonono: it looks like this because the text is adjusted on both sides.

      Skint, you're trying too hard to avoid the middle manager analogy by saying that essentially we know what we're doing. A good middle (or otherwise) manager has to know what he/she does, else they suck. Anono is not wrong here, the nature of what we do as alliance leaders with our spreadsheets and logistics and assigning everyone tasks is a simplistic version of management.

      In fact, the same is true for peacenik Illy alliances! The good ones have excellent pencil pushers on top. The leaders manage distribution of resources, inactives' cities, direct sieges for newbs, recruitment, resolve conflicts between between players aggrieved by bumped harvesters, and engage in inter-alliance diplomacy, which often amounts to writing exceedingly formal sounding IGMs.

      So yeah, Illy can be seen as an adult bureaucratic game. Excitement in it is a lot more subtle than in, say, Halo or Rocket League :)

      In fact if you get to know us bloodthirsty warmongers closer you will find that some of the most successful ones IRL have individual contributor roles on projects larger than one person, so we're more okay with being a bit like a cog in the machine to achieve a bigger goal. Each person still has an input in decisions and strategy, and makes an impact on the battlefield.

      As to your point about cookie cutter setups, I blame the simplistic game mechanics. I wish that there was more room for creativity and the combat was more sophisticated, but it is what it is. I still enjoy Illy, to me it's more like a team game of chess where you see your alliance's strategy unfold over a long period of time, but there's a whole lot more drama than in chess. Nobody called Kasparov a psycho, to my knowledge!


      Mrs. Voldemort

    11. I balk at the middle manager analogy for a few reasons. It implies at least three layers of hierarchy, which doesn't exist in our most successful setups. Two is probably ideal. The team commanders jointly plan strategy, translate their plans into an app/spreadsheet, and then lead their teams into battle.

      Also, middle management implies a certain boss-worker relationship. In my opinion, good battle planning is a service to the alliance. It has more similarities to leadership in a volunteer organization than a workplace. I view our warriors as my peers, and the role that you and I share as planners just happens to come with a fancy title. Perhaps others attribute more to that title than I do, especially muggles outside the PvP mindset.

      In that same regard, I recoil from describing our warriors as cogs. They might be cannon fodders, but so am I. We are all cannon fodders together. If that distinction seems too subtle, I would argue that it's still the one that distinguishes ineffective military alliances from true war machines. Cogs are useful as a whole, unimportant individually, and interchangeable. Our warriors all crucial parts in an engine of destruction. Remove a cog and it is easily replaced. Remove a key part of an engine, and it ceases to function correctly, and might cease to function completely.

    12. Chess on national level is heavily politicized with drama involved. Take the Iranian chess players banned for not wear a hijab and another for playing against someone from Israel. There is also some drama on "street level" such as the players in the parks in NYC.

      Onto the cog analogy, I can't understand your point here. There is no individual member of any alliance who is not replaceable, it would be arrogant for a player to think otherwise. That reminds me of people who work for large companies who think they cannot be fired. Removing a cog in a machine or a key part in an engine would have the same effect, the part gets replaced and everything moves on. Modularity exists in both examples.

      There is a boss-worker relationship in coordinated PvP in general. A leader chooses the target, decides when the attack happens, how many of the teams troops should be dedicated to attacks, blockades and sieges. A player who feels they will be an individual and attack this random enemy to lose all their troops, aside from being a bad cog in the cannon fodder, is detrimental to the alliance. A leader is the main gear spinning the cogs or the timing belt on an engine making sure everything runs when it is supposed to (I assume that is what it does but the cpu would be a better example).

      It's great you put yourself on equal footing as your team members, that is good leadership. It does not make it less of a leadership position though, they are all still expected to follow your orders. Dismissing the titles importance as something only muggles can see is somewhat insulting though, even as a non muggle. Without a leadership structure there wouldn't be a successful campaign due to how Illys mechanics work, unless there is just an overwhelming difference in ability.

      I still think there are three layers in your group, the main leader, team leaders and team members. I have seen several instances where team leaders lacked coordination with what the other was doing, so perhaps if you don't think there is a 3d top tier you should go find one.

    13. Elite warriors are a precious commodity in Illyriad. The term cog implies ease of replacement. A truly excellent teammate takes forever to replace. If we got 3 per year out of Night Squires, that was a banner year.

      If you are complaining about team leaders lacking coordination, then you aren't talking about 300. We have only two planners, and Tink and I talk almost every day.

    14. Just to note, I wasn't complaining about coordination. I was making an observation about a specific time period from widely shared chat segments from your slack.

      I was referring to the SINdicate as a whole, more specifically SIN during the Unibrow and TUF wars. Either you or Tink are enough to plan a successful campaign without the other, along with being good enough leader to at least teach players how to build troops well enough to be cannon fodder. I could see having two leaders/planners there as a redundancy thing but not as a necessity for such a small group as 300. It's still arrogant for an individual player to think things wouldn't move along just fine without them.

      It would be a stretch to call 7 players an alliance, rather than just a team, in anything other than a technicality. Sure if you lose 1 or 2 out of 7 players that is a significant impact but 1 or 2 out of 100 is not as much. To make this more clear when I refer to your group I view it as the SINdicate coalition. In such a group the loss of one player, no matter how good, is not the end. You may present 300 however you like but at the end of the day most know your confeds will lead to a pile on if one group gets in over its head. Not to mention everyone uses the same main slack chat instead of in game, making it essentially one alliance with varying groups.

      Elite warriors are rare most likely because the game mechanics are so basic that a lot with the potential to be great or that enjoy that playstyle know to quit ahead of time. I made that decision very early on in Illy when I saw how bad the mechanics were. I understand the mechanics, planning and all of that and I am certain I could be an "elite warrior" but the effort to reward is so low taking into account the time for building and actual fighting it was not appealing to me personally. Especially compared to other games I have played. PvP centric and slow game progress often conflict when it comes to the type of player who enjoys either. You can enjoy both but the majority will not. The rarity is not because Illys military style is so complex and takes skill, it's because it is slow and lackluster compared to the numerous other options out there using the same style of game but more PvP oriented.

  3. Skint: "War has not caused this situation. Wars remain few and far between in Illyriad. Nor is GC 2017 even remotely as toxic as 2012-2014, which was the golden era of GC."

    Hell yeah. Remember Kumo back then?

    I am a tournament player. Before I moved to H? to semi-retire I have been in small alliances, and I can tell battling the big teams could be frustrating, although when winning a sq gave an even bigger satisfaction.

    On PvP, I have an issue. I have the military strength (although not the time atm) to go head to head with most military players my size. But if I'd do that I would still be ganged up upon.

    For me, the term PvP is a player thing by definition. Otherwise, it would be called AvA (alliance).

    So most of the people (not you) advocating PvP are actually doing the same as the old power blocks. Just on a smaller scale.


    1. A Google search for "define PvP" brought up multiplayer games, where the term is contrasted against PvE (player vs environment). I have always felt the term PvP included both single and team gameplay in competitive scenarios.

      Illyriad is a team game, at both the alliance and the political level. That seems inherent to the game design itself. I would point out that there is currently a solo event running, and that players have historically run solo tournaments like the Thunderdome Deathmatch event. On the battlefield, I think it's very reasonable for people to form teams and political arrangements to engage other player groups in large-scale wars.

  4. Also, some military players in the new order have farm accounts as well to finance the big armies. Although I am rooting for taking out permasats, those accounts are often hiding in peaceful alliances, some of which call themselves training alliances, which makes them the similar to me.

    What are your thoughts on that?


    1. Some? Based on the many opponents we have fought over the years, the levels of gold supply and troops suggest that most players are supplied by multiple accounts, each with many cities configured for gold and advanced item production. Farms are a fact of life in Illyriad, as they are in all strategy games where resource production is a bottleneck to military power. In Illyriad, the practice is particularly frustrating because in other P2W games, players generally have to pay in-game currency to convert the resources into armies on any reasonable timescale. Here, the army production of the playing field is completely level--being based completely on build time--which makes the multi-accounting particularly noxious. Permasitting removes a major balancing factor from the battle system, which is why the devs specifically prohibit the practice. Unfortunately that is hard to police, and also puts their business objectives (sell prestige) directly into conflict with overall game balance (force people down to 2 accounts each).

      I have no problem with people safely holding their farms in neutral or peaceful alliances. However, I find it reprehensible when farms are hidden in training alliances. The Illyriad community has granted special protections to training alliances, with the understanding that this helps new players to grow their accounts correctly and learn the game faster. When I see a training roster that has 30 big accounts and 2 tiny accounts with no growth, that just aggravates me. While I helped to run a training alliance myself, I would have no reservations about directing firepower at enemy farms being sheltered illegally in training alliances. Training alliance protection is really meant for students. That Illyriad custom doesn't exist to shield instructors from the consequences of their political involvement, nor should it enable people to mark big accounts as protected simply by changing their alliance tags.

    2. We are on the same page here, but you probably already knew that. I made a post in the forums a few years ago saying Training alliances are void, and trust me, I got heavy flak for that ;)

      But, next question, do you think hitting gold accounts in war is a valid tactic to hurt an opponent? There comes the alliance thing again ;)

    3. That is a very broad question, and it's impossible to give a definitive answer. Some players would be very upset to have their gold farm(s) targeted. Others wouldn't care, either because they have deep pockets or redundant supply accounts. If you felt you could achieve a strategic advantage by targeting the farm, it wouldn't surprise me to see people attack them. I wrote about that in Yellow is the New Red. The most likely scenario is if the farms were on bad terrain, in a weak alliance, and the owner was likely to waste troops trying to save those cities.

      That said, you're taking a big risk any time you escalate a conflict, even if you think targeting a specific account is a legitimate move. That player might have friends in the second alliance, or there might be additional parties waiting for an excuse to enter your war. Overall I don't see much advantage to targeting alts and gold farms. Most attacks seem to arise out of frustration or trolling rather than a realistic opportunity to inflict significant damage to the enemy's gold production.

  5. To give some clarity (not to you, Skint) on training alliances, many years ago some big alliances started training alliances, with the idea of training players for the big Team. I led and co-lead a few of those myself, for EE.

    Then the Consone war happened. I can say a lot about that war, but I will stick to training alliance things. There were two currents going on at the time.

    One was that training alliances made a pact to help each other. That was my initiative, but LadyLuvs (then leader of T?) pushed it. I was in FF then.

    The other was that the leader alliances were placing injured players into the training alliances. I had a problem with that kind of action, but I was told to my face to just shut up and train people. Most people know how I would react to that.

    I do believe that there are some good training alliances left, but I share your opinion on how some alliances use the training as a shield. And that annoys me too.

    1. I remember well that FF/ETW was used to shelter vulnerable EE accounts. Also that EE mines and herbs were transferred to FF/ETW alts to protect them from changing hands. Abusing training alliance status was a common practice among the big alliances of that era. Today, I think the community is much more aware that gold farms and valuable resources can be tucked away in training alliances, and there is less outcry when those assets are targeted in precision strikes.

  6. As a small and inexperienced player myself, after reading this entire blog, I came to the conclusion that all the problems here originate in the same issue: multiaccounts. Whether it's people building a somehow legitimate seconday account for farming purposes or abandoned accounts that are kept alive by sitters and sieges in order to be farmed, the issue is the same.

    Just imagine how intimidating it is for small players to see that, while they are struggling with one or two cities, there are warmongers to not only have 9 fully built military cities but also another account with 9 cities continously producing gold and items for the main account. And then to find out that, at the alliance level there is probably a ratio even worse than 1:2 between actual real players and fams is horrible.

    You said that the military player will always strike that bottleneck of resource production and this justifies one or more farm accounts to keep growing. I disagree. I think skill should be measured in how well you can manage your sole account while struggling with those restrictions rather in how many simultaneous accounts you can manage in order to grow the main one.

    This is no so different thatn P2W games. The main difference is that in those games, players use their own real money to gain an advantage. Here you need to use more real life time rather than money in order to grow more secondary accounts and thus support your main one. It's still a race of who is ready to invest more in a game rather of who is more skilled to get the best value of their limited resources.

    This comes down to the devs. As long as they permit it, players will always try to exploit such windows and grow. I was shocked a few weeks back to read about terraforming and this wasn't reading some obscure blog, it was on the official forum. If that's not an exploit, I don't know what is. Yet it's somehow allowed to happen over and over because nobody from the officials takes any action against it.