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The Fundamentals of Alliancehood




I will be discussing things that are very obvious to me, yet I have not seen people spend much time discussing. Throughout my CN experience I've been very involved, at some points, in every aspect of the alliance except foreign policy (which I agree is a very important part). Thus you may see that my posts tend to shy away from mentioning any foreign policy, but they should offer a fresh perspective from someone who is less interested in interalliance politics.

In this first post we will discuss the fundamentals of alliancehood.

Fundamentals of Alliancehood

There are two values that members expect when they join an alliance. Since the collective goals of the members are more important than the goals of the alliance as an entity, an alliance's success can be measured by how much it adhered, both in attempt and in reality, to these values.

1. Membership Safety Net

The Membership Safety Net is the most important value expected of an alliance. It is the ability of the alliance to stand up for individual members, even when they make mistakes (in other words, the alliance breaks the responsibility when the individual does something undesirable). For example, in dealing with foreign powers, the diplomats seek the best interest of preserving all the members of his original alliance, even if this means asking other members to pay reparations. This value is breached when an alliance expels one of its own members for a reason other than to preserve the safety net over its other members. In other words, if there exists an alternative where an alliance can retain all its members, the expulsion of any member indicates a breach of this value.

This value is supplemented in most alliances by the forming of a community, in which each member becomes a unique character and valued as a member of the community. By tying the loss of a member with a loss for the community, the community's interests become aligned with this value.

2. Physical Protection

The alliance is expected to protect the properties of its members, including nation stats (like infra, soldiers, land, tech) and nation trades. If this is successfully achieved, an alliance's nations will grow. Alliances will do this in different ways. Some alliances seek to become the hegemony or to join blocs that maneuver themselves into hegemonic positions, because it is better for them to be on the winning side than the losing side of any conflicts. Other alliances may become neutral or maneuver themselves into blocs that are more defensive or stay out of radar, so that its members can grow in peace.

So, it can be argued that all things alliances are expected to do are a means of improving one of these two values.

By examining how well alliances prioritized these values (in their respective order), we can see how and why certain alliances failed in time (such as The Dark Evolution) and certain alliances have lasted and stood the test of time (such as GPA and TOP).



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Since the collective goals of the members are more important than the goals of the alliance as an entity, an alliance's success can be measured by how much it adhered, both in attempt and in reality, to these values.

What makes you say this? I won't argue that these values are normally important, but I know that I can cite at least one clear example to the contrary (Vox Populi) and several you could argue have set aside these goals, at least as they are presented here, for the sake of doing something else. And there are examples of alliances that more or less aim for these goals and yet still suffer - I'll offer up TDO as an example. TDO, at one point, had several hundred members. They have hovered between 100 and 200 for some time, while other alliances, such as IRON, MHA, and NPO have maintained much higher numbers. IRON and NPO both managed to keep higher amounts of members even during devastating war on more than one occasion, and even though MHA has lost a significant number of people in the last couple months, they're only just now sitting at the 400 mark.

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Hm in that case I'd argue that Vox Populi was not a successful alliance in the normal sense. Vox Populi was just an AA that people who chose to oppose NPO joined in. It was an alliance, but instead of existing to perpetuate the wellbeing of its members, it existed for a direct purpose/cause--it was there to destroy something else. Thus I believe that's part of the reason Vox Populi didn't last. Once the purpose was achieved or people became bored of the purpose, people left.

Also, I wasn't trying to correlate more (or less) members with better (or worse) alliances. By the first value, I meant how much the alliance values holding on to each individual member, not how much the alliance tries to recruit. For example, if a nation engages in an unsuccessful tech raid, the nation will probably be severely court marshalled by the alliance (and can be made to pay the reps), but a successful alliance will probably not let the nation be on its own in dealing with the raid. I'm not sure what you're trying to say with regards to TDO. What were they aiming to do, that made them hover at 100-200 members?

I guess another interesting thing to ponder about is, how do we measure how successful an alliance is? I realized my post may have been circular when I tried to define measuring success as measuring how well the alliances prioritized these values... but then we can also try looking at the consequences of alliances that prioritize these well.

I think a visible result/consequence of a successful alliance is that its core community lasted and remained together through time. So in a way the oldest surviving alliances today may be the most successful ones, although any alliance that is surviving today also has potential to be the most "successful". So this is the measuring tool I'm using. I guess if people use a different measuring too, such as whether or not an alliance achieves its short-term purposes, then Vox Populi might appear to be more successful than what I'm describing with my way of measuring.

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It wasn't because they were "bored" that they left Vox Populi. It was because they felt their primary objective had been achieved. Unfortunately the end result wasn't the 'utopia' the founders wanted.

Win some, lose more. vOv

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I've always looked at it like this - joining an alliance is agreeing to a Mutual defense and mutual aggression pact with all the other individual nations in the same alliance. No exceptions, no way to e-lawyer your way out.

I do have one question however. If these are the fundamentals (which to a great extent they are) - why are there so many alliances? One would think there would only be need of about a half dozen alliances to meet everyone's needs in these two categories. But the reality is there are way more - even if you cut out those that appear and then disband relatively soon after. Why is that?

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