So, I have been asked several times, by several folks to do this again, it has been... 18 months, or so? since my last edition. With war breaking out all across Planet Bob, now is as good a time as any. So... here goes...(neutrals will be excluded.)
IRON - When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. IRON made plenty of lemonade between last war and this war. They were, for all intents and purposes, intentionally set up to fail post-war. But, the best laid plans of our would be masters(the winners of the last war), were as abject and abysmal a failure as their (the winners of the last war) post-war FA efforts. IRON did not get bailed on by everyone. They worked hard and received a 1-UP from all of their allies, promising to make the changes that were needed to prevent them from being used to create their own demise again. When mere survival seemed to be the best IRON could hope for, they received support from their allies and thrived. The coming months will determine whether the gamble taken by allies and allies of allies was the right move, but to IRONs credit... they were supposed to be the ones getting rolled now, and , here they are NOT getting rolled. So right now its IRON: 1... Those who set up IRON: 0
NPO - Nothing but absolute love for these guys. With the target forever on their backs, they show an organizational ability like no other to thrive under pressure, and to ALWAYS rise back to the top. The results of the last war SHOULD have broken NPO, but failings by those who won the war, let the sharper, brighter, more active minds in NPO turn the gambit totally around, and now stand on the precipice of the title of "Most Powerful Alliance" (at least IMO.) Kudos to you my friends.
New Polar Order - For the umpteenth time in Planet Bob history, the world was theirs for the taking. There is not one person who can objectively look at the last year in CN history, and give NpO any grade other than an F. They made no FA Moves to secure their alliance, they made no FA moves to secure their allies positions, they made no internal moves to put someone in charge of some aspect of FA , who might even give off the slightest indication that they care. Congratulations NpO, you have been held back again, by your own selves.
SNX - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. When you combine poop with poop, you get poop. The end.
RnR - Not just me, but nearly EVERYONE in the world wondered when you would break out of the shadows of SF. Seriously, long after SF abandoned, people still viewed RnR as the silent member of SF who really make no moves of their own. Not anymore though. A few subtle moves by R&R were important to forging the path to this current war, whether they realize it or not (I think they probably know though), it is, literally, the 1st time I can recall in RnR history where they actually forged their own path. Kudos to you. You have some great great FA guys, you could conceivably take on a much broader role in world politics, I hope you decide to give it a try, because everyone should try at least once when they are in the position. Do your members and yourselves a favor, try not to spend the next few months (when the current war ends) trying to soak up honor by simply being well-liked. You can be well-liked AND a player. Try being a player, I think it would be fun to watch. Good luck.
ODN - If ODN has one weakness, it is that they try too hard to explore EVERY possible FA Move. They play the game far more real-politik than ANYONE else. It serves them well, it just seems to me like it might be more fun to once in a while dive blindly into something. CN is a gaming experience, I think the current ODN tries way too hard to be way too careful. All of that being said, some of my most favorite people in CN are in ODN. I have a long-standing love affair with them, and that will not end any time soon. If you(the reader) or your alliance do not have a relationship built with these wonderful folks, you are missing out on some of the greatest social interaction, and useful in-game insights that are available to the world. Did I mention I love ODN?
Sparta - Over and over you try. And you fail. But you get an A for trying between these last 2 wars. While so many of your allies and tertiary allies stood pat and did nothing, you guys saw the need to expand your reach, and you did try. Sadly, you also were faced with the realization that proximity to some of your current allies really do limit your options, as very few alliances really seriously considered even touching you. Whether it be due to your past branding as whiney to an extreme, or incompetent, or just plain apathetic, who knows. At least, for the 1st time since I have know Sparta, they showed a spark of life and effort. Do yourself a favor and build on it. The game is more fun when you can move freely about.
Umbrella - Let me be clear, I HATE the last minute side change(and lets be blunt, that is what it was), but this is a Roquentin-led Umbrella, and the move made total sense. It is not a move I would have made, but I can objectively look at it and see WHY they made it. There is a common ground among the Platysphere allies towards one group in particular, yet the core will not extricate itself from that group. Umbrella extricated itself. There is a lesson for all of those in Platysphere leadership to learn there. Will they learn? Who knows. As for Umb themselves, I have no love lost for them, my allies iN NPO have asked me to show faith, and so I shall. I withhold my judgement on them, and will address them when I have had more time to observe.
TOP - If NpO got an F, TOP gets an F-. Why? Because TOP has far more proven FA-enabled minds than Polar has, and those minds have (or had) deep sentimental connections all over the map of Planet Bob. So how is it that they completely failed to land even ONE significant tie between the last war and now? Oh yeah, it would be because they essentially stabbed their entire tertiary sphere from the 2 years prior, square in the back. The quote "C&G is expendable" was used often by me as a rallying cry to warn anyone remotely in C&Gs tendrils as to how disposable certain tertiary ties are to the mental giants in TOP. And those sentimental ties? All of those MK people? They chose to stay in an alliance that viewed their most historically loyal allies as expendable, as they were CALLING us expendable, then had the nerve to actually act surprised that we did not embrace the King Brandon's of the world when they came calling based on longstanding sentimental friendships. Sorry former MK-ers in TOP, I love all of you, but you CHOSE this, and you CHOSE for us as well. Time for some big boy panties if you want to fix anything going forward. But as of this moment, your entire alliance has earned the pox on you that prevented anyone from wanting to touch you.
VE - Everything I said about Polar applies to you as well. While you didnt exit the last war with the political clout that Polar did, you spent the entire year seeing the way the winds were blowing, knowing standing pat, and basically doing nothing. Its just easier not to dislike your inaction, when the inaction of much stronger alliances politically so far outweigh your own, and if you are content staying where you are, that is fine as well, I am content seeing you there.
DT- The sleeping giant. I look down the roster, I see so many folks that I worked with in old-school C&G and GR specifically, yet I feel no real kinship, and that makes me sad. That being said, you guys certainly did not stand pat and make nothing happen. Despite perceptually being a passive alliance, you made meaningful moves that cemented not only YOUR security, but the security of your bloc. It was very reminiscent of old-school C&G, and tugs at my heartstrings. You MAY come out of this war as one of the top 3 strongest alliances politically, so the NEXT year, for those like me who are watching you, will be FAR more interesting than this past year.
Fark - Only you know the truth. But you have a reputation on the Doomsphere side of the web of being the member of XX who wishes they were not a member of XX, not because of anything that you find particularly distasteful about the XX members, but their tertiary connections, you loathe them. Like I said, only you know if that is true, but it is a prevailing opinion on this side. You are active, capable fighters, and you send out some good recipes(2 wars back I made an all Fark meal for my family from hand picked recipes sent to me). As for how I will judge you, right now your hands are tied, I will judge you, and the validity of the rest of the worlds opinion , in the months following this war. Make no mistake though, this is no slight on your alliance, you guys are capital, and well-organized, and should be proud of that, regardless of future FA.
NATO - You remind me alot of Athens. Loyal almost to a fault. Be wary though, that same loyalty can break down an alliance, and it is a slow and painful breakdown. Like many other alliances on Planet Bob, you appear to be an alliance that is content to stand pat and soak up honor. It would be fun to see you throw some honor aside, alas, I do not think you have it in you. This is not a knock on you, most alliances do not have that in them. It is more of a symptom of what we sow by throwing words like honor around for 8 years.
I will edit in DBDC and the rest of the top 30 tomorrow.
DBDC : Lots of familiar faces there, few familiar personalities. Listen, the reality is, these guys are playing a different game (tier-wise) than the rest of us. They are basically untouchable, but they have found unique ways to make their presence felt on the global stage. Like it or not, they should receive kudos for that. They also do not come without an upside. Their presence alone, in a coalition can cut down on a significant portion of down-declares at the top tier of a coalition. Cuba seems to have an "end-game" goal in mind. People who dismiss this alliance as niche, are fools, and in many cases, are the same fools who celebrated them as a splinter group in another day and age (funny how that works, is it not?) Like it or not, these guys change the game with their presence, and in war-time they change both coalitions(the one they are in and the one they are fighting.) These guys 100% completely and totally out-played the powers-that-would-be between last war and now. They are not going away any time soon, get used to them.
MHA - Literally, you are MHA. I cannot even troll you guys anymore, because when I got to you on the list my only though was, "wow, they are still this high up? I hear literally nothing from or of them anymore." The consummate "soak up honor" alliance.
Valhalla - An alliance with no direction. Content to meander between the lines of both sides even as they get more clearly drawn. I get the feeling that nobody there really cares. Much like my alliance, it appears that Valhalla is a retirement community. I honestly expected them to play the game much more after their reformation, instead, they went the easy route (get in position to roll NPO, then stand pat.) In some ways though, they earned the right to their own apathy, because they DID make things happen once, and perhaps they believe, as I and so many others do, that it is time for others to make things happen.
NEW - Seriously, as long as they have been around, I really know next to nothing of them. I heard on 467354 different occasions that they were going to rogue out, or disband, or both, and yet there they sit. Kudos to them on survival, it cannot be easy, as anyone who has dealt with them knows, the language gap can be maddening.
GOONS - My how times have changed. So many people there that I love, but they have changed. Sardonic has become mostly detached, Ken, while one of the nicest guys in all of CN, really is naive on the political landscape. They went from an entertaining collection of top-notch guys to an alliance whos most vocal public face and voice the last 18 months, has been Marx. Marx and his "NPO MUST ALWAYS BE THE ENEMY" rhetoric. A part of me feels bad for the position GOONS is in, and a part of me realizes they chose this route. Either way, they are right where they WANT to be, so good for them I guess. I WANT to be angry with GOONS, but I have too much history and sentimentality with them to be truly angry. That being said, I would never trust them again.
Non Grata - Just a fun bunch of folks. Loyal almost to a fault, but they are developing a little bit of what ODN has (over-analysis of ALOT of things.) They are politically astute though, much moreso than most people give them credit for. They are still my favorite alliance in this game. They have almost as perpetual a target on their back as NPO does in this day and age, yet they thrive in the environment. If you have not taken the time to get to know this fine bunch, and just base your opinion on OWF rhetoric, shame on you.
GLOF - If DT is the sleeping giant, GLOF is the awakening mammoth. Personally, I find it embarrassing that I know as little about these guys as I do, and before I do another of these blogs , I will try to take some steps to rectify this. I really cannot comment at all on GLOF, I know nobody there. You know, when I looked and saw MHA, I was like..."wow MHA is still pretty high up statistically, lol, but still MHA".. when I saw GLOF I was like "wow, where did THEY come from." I will do my homework on GLOF, and have a better picture of them next time.
FAN - They do their own thing, which inherently makes them better than most of us (seriously). I think , though, in regards to the game itself, they are detached and irrelevant, AND, they are satisfied with that. They did the work long ago, and earned their respite.
Legion - I know nothing of the current Legion, but they are still Legion.Historically they have not had one saving grace, and I feel like that is probably still true today.
Nordreich - Damn but that kingzog is one handsome guy. In all seriousness, the last nail was in the coffin of this alliance like 2 years ago, wasnt it? The one AA splintered from them, massive internal strife, the whole world hedging on NoR disbanding. Whoever stepped up and held them together should get some sort of a medal. Not only did they survive, they thrived. Much to the chagrin of many folks (and I dont like the chagrinned folks, so I salute NoR for surviving.) In regards to the current game, NoR is trying to forge lines and paths that put them and their allies in better positions, not bad for an alliance that was written off.
Mi6 - Goals Chim told me he had for MI6.... 1) Hyperactive alliance with bustling membership (success). 2) Play the game differently (miserable failure)... 3) Be kings and not kingmakers. (failed even more miserably.) Look, congrats on the activity levels, that is not easy to sustain. But lets be honest about the GAME of Cybernations. YOU are the toxin. YOU are the reason NOBODY will even entertain TOP and Polar overtures. Proximity to your alliance is an UNDESIRED position by 70% of the planet. There is a REASON for that. Alliances are often accepted for being smug pricks, but in EVERY instance, the smug prick alliances have at least freaking accomplished something worthy of the smug prickness. You guys waltzed in, assumed the mantle of smug prickness, then were all SHOCKED when nobody would touch you. You are not kings, you are not kingmakers, but you are INDEED, thronebreakers, only you broke the throne of those alliances whom you purport to be friends with, simply by showing not one modicum of respect publicly or privately to ANYONE outside of Platysphere. Lesson to be learned: Do something to EARN your rep before you flaunt your rep.
NADC - I really know little of NADC, but they are still NADC... so PFFT.
FTW- I know a decent amount of FEAR, although I n ever really was close to them. I knew next to nothing about Wolfpack (I think was who merged with them.) So it would be grossly unfair for me to comment on these guys right now. Much like with GLOF, I will do some homework and get back to the world on these folks.
TPF - Like TLR, mostly a retirement home now, not really much to say.
GATO - The leaner GATO is something I like to see. I think they will see it this war as well, the bloated numbers of being too large makes it really hard to manage. Still though, these are the most loyal guys in all of CN, bar none. They dont really cause trouble for anyone (except for electing max to gov) and they are always their when their allies need them.The one thing I would like to see is for a GATO AC to step outside the box and try to stir the pot a little. Like I said a thousand times in this blog, EVERY alliance should try this at least once, GATO are no exception. Make magicninja AC for 2 terms and see what happens.
Knight of Ni! - I raided you guys once.
STA - Solid, loyal allies. Mostly extremely nice folks, but, moreso than ANY alliance on Planet Bob, they are the most content to be "honor soakers." Please never ever fight on both sides of a war again, it is dumb, and you are NOT dumb, so do not do dumb things(I know it was long ago, but I dont have a relationship with you to draw on to write this so I needed more words to fill to look like I made some effort here )
More to come: TTK on down through where I decide to stop. Maybe tomorrow.
And let us continue....
TTK- I am actually ashamed that I do not know these guys better as my allies have steadily become more enamored with them. I blame it mostly on my laziness. That being said, I have a few friends there. Historically, a very quiet alliance, almost too quiet. Same advice I have given so many others... try really stirring the post, I promise it will be fun. Also, you have been warned, expect me to stop by your forums for a short visit.
NSO- I am almost ashamed to type this. I look down the NSO roster, and I see tons of people that I am quite fond of. Then I look down the gov, and I am like .... I really do not know all of these folks. Look, NSO play this game for all the right reasons. Their members and the enjoyment of their members for playing the game, is their top priority. They are big on politics, but not on real-politik, and I mean this to be a compliment in the highest order, more people should forego the notion that they must always perfect politics. I have gone from hating these guys to being very proud to be allied to these guys... and THEY have not changed much... and I have not changed much... if I were to ever leave my alliance.. NSO is so high on my short list of destinations. (I imagine they are praying at this point I never leave my alliance.) NSO learned what so many of us so quickly forget... CN IS A GAME. Learn from them the rest of you.
Invicta - Puppets with delusions of grandeur. Nothing more. Never once making their own path, never once standing up to an ally, they simply lay down before the enemeis of their allies.
The Seven Kingdoms - These guys make me laugh. Not because they are funny, because they are inept. They were inept as HB, they are inept today. They have meandered through the treaty web in search of a successful combination of allies (read this as "always looking for the next winning side") and as soon as they find it... their allies crumble. Protip guys: Do not count on your allies for your FA.
RIA - Like R&R, they are still widely viewed with the SF tag. Unlike R&R though, they are having trouble finding their way out of that type-casting. That is not to say that they do not have some capable leaders. Despite my clashes and interactions with their leadership over the years, I have found them to be able politically and militarily, the only issue is they seem to be afraid to lose "honor" (God the concept of honor really does ruin this whole game.) People think that losing honor means acting with dishonor, when it really does not. Honor is fleeting. Major props to RIA for their war stats program. Seriously, I would hug each and every one of you (even Ogaden!) for that. I literally begged for something like that for YEARS. It created whole new levels of propaganda possibilities. I see RIA as an alliance ready to shed the honor-soaking, but unsure of how to actually proceed. Here is my advice guys : Talk to your allies in NSO. You dont have to be like NSO, but aside from the "we are good friends and allies" with NSO... REALLY talk to NSO. I promise you you will have more fun in CN if you dont put the fake "honor" within a GAME above everything else.
CCC- I really do not know anything about them, except that they willingly throw themselves to the wolves as Polar meatshield every single war. CCC is probably the 1 alliance in all of CN whos FA has made zero movement in 6 years. I mean not one iota. You know what that says? They soak up honor. Sigh.
TLR- Home sweet home. Look, we are a retirement community. We enjoyed our prominence, we have no desire to re-attain that prominence. We are perfectly content to let others take the lead. Like the TPFs and Valhallas of the world, we have earned our respite. Maybe , some day, I will get interested enough, or Kestral will, Or Elly will, or heaven-forbid, AirMe will... and we may get involved, but here is a protip... Do not hold your breath. Troll away at us, the truth is we have accomplished more that 95% of you could have ever dreamed of.
Atlas - The world is starting to take notice of you. This is both good and bad.You are that make or break moment for your alliance in terms of legacy. Watching where you go with it will be fun. Something else for you guys to fear, you are ALSO on my short list of destinations if I ever leave TLR. Fear that and pray. Seriously though guys, enjoy the moment at hand, and do not fear directional decisions going forward. Mistakes do not wreck an alliance's legacy nearly as much as doing nothing wrecks it. Survey the world, look for your spot in it, then go take your spot. I wish you all the best, sincerely.
AI- Retirement home. They cannot beat us in Shuffleboard though. Most because we cheat. The way I see it... AI formed with 1 purpose. They may not even know that they had that purpose when they formed. They fulfilled the purpose, and pretty much just stopped. History will decide if their respite was earned, I wish there could have been more though.
Sengoku - For all intents and purposes, Sengoku are weird to me. Their FA seems haphazard at times. They also have a brief history of thinking they are more important than they are on the FA stage... and then... suddenly they make you question if maybe they are not smarter than we all think they are. I am admittedly curious now, and I think the next year will bring many many answers as far as Sengoku is concerned. It may just be that I have been wrong about these guys all along. Remember that next time I make this blog... because it will be addressed with much more knowledge.
INT- I still adore these guys. They still are the source of my largest CN headache ever. Yet chock full of people I count as friends. I think INT is largely intentionally keeping a low-profile. I think they know their FA is like a meandering fish in a strong current. 2 years ago I could have wrote an entire diatribe on INT, now I am just studying, looking for what their intentions are. Little do they know though... they make my short list as well (My short list is really 7 alliances.)
DoD - Went from fighting them 9 months ago, to fighting alongside them now (Thank you TOP-Polar incompetence). I was largely neutral on them back then, largely neutral on them now. What they are is competent fighters. What they are not is political movers and shakers. Think NEW minus the language barrier 4-5 years ago.My opinion on DoD will be created over the post-war era, because they (and their allies) will have difficult choices. So make a mental note of this for next time I do this. I will be paying much more attention to DoD.
Argent - Janax is back.. Omni is out... they can ONLY get an A+ from me. They would get that A+ even if they were squarely on the other side of me this war. Seriously, Janax is somewhat a CN legend, and among the people in this game that I respect the most. Much like TLR, the whole world though a y ear ago, that Argent would not exist today. Suck it world. Can Argent's future be as bright as its pre-Omni past? Who knows, but I would not bet against them. They have some smart players. If they can maintain their interest (which requires others to help to create interest), they can do much pretty much anything they put their minds to.
Doom Squad- Widely regarded as MK 2.0, you would all be wise to stop thinking of them in that regard. Lots of MK faces? Sure. But this group plays the political game a little different. Subtle and effective, not the "in your face" style of the old MK. However, they have the same level of effectiveness. It is like their kinship with DBDC makes up everything that made Doomhouse right, while shedding all the political albatrosses that Doomhouse had. Keep an eye on this alliance, because their stock is rising.