Conclusion I: Problems
I’d like to begin by thanking General Kanabis for his contributions to this particular post, which is a collection of many of the points raised by myself and others. I also reached out more broadly to various government members and will give some small summaries on additional areas of concern. Some additional special thanks need to go out to those that I've discussed these problems over the years. (Lord of Darkness, Lowsten, Alexio15, Canik, Lord Windmark, Osravan, Mergerberger, Dre4m, Greywall, and many many others who will remain unmentioned so as to not make this post too silly). I’d also additionally like to apologize for the delay here, the real life has been busy.
The Case Studies I laid out discussed a lot of the contributions to political stagnation – and there are certainly others to consider. (I had thought about creating both a Polarsphere and Doomsphere case study but then decided against it ultimately)
I’ll summarize the problems I’ve identified in the creation of these various blog posts:
From Case Study: Oculus:
“Victory and the conditions which allow for continued victory”
“[T]hey care about their community and winning”
From the Comments:
“[T]he same power players from seven years ago” - Lord Hitchcock
From Case Study: RFI:
“Treaty bloat and compounding issues that occur due to the nature of blocs”
“[P]erpetuation of the ‘old guard” and “jaded leadership”
“RFI does not exist as an independent sphere outside of its direct members”
“They have too many merger AAs.”
“[T]heir political power is also unclear
From Case Study: Cobrasphere:
Apolitical activity: “Activity is not politics”
Disagreements on traditional diplomatic approaches.
Negative environment of the OWF.
“[P]ublic relations” related to “coalition building”
From the Comments:
“A vast majority of the player base is concentrated in the mid-upper level and they are slow. Real slow.” - General Kanabis
“Ever building up for a war that will never happen”. - General Kanabis
Historical tensions created and proliferated by mergers - General Kanabis (paraphrased)
“‘Waste of Time’” style OWF posts - General Kanabis
“the lack of people who they (the poster) had been building up to hit one day.” - General Kanabis
From Case Study: Ex-Moralists:
“waiting for the lights to go out”
And so on.
Some Areas to Touch on:
Foreign Affairs leadership (and the lack thereof). A glance over the top twenty Alliance Affiliation Leaders includes (to my knowledge) only four people who have been primarily Foreign Affairs Players (That would be myself, Osravan, Lowsten, and Keysariyt Hanssen. There might be a couple tucked in there that I've missed too, but they have been in executive leading roles far, far longer than FA roles at this point.
How could this make the game staler? Well most all of them were either Internal Affairs or Defense Ministers. It’s important to stress those to aspects. Internal and Defense. Internal ministers are about what is inside the alliance, and thus they don’t necessarily care much for the externalities of the political game. Defense on the other hand, focuses essentially on defensive maneuvers. Aggressive warmongers are rare among them as well, since they primarily protect the alliance. In both cases, these are individuals who didn’t start wars. Most of the best wars that were started in the history of the game (and nearly all of the global ones) were as a result of an FA minister’s direction or an FA-directed players’ desires. The people who seem to complain the most about stagnation also tend to be the defense-style players, who are not adept at creating wars, and instead just prefer to fight them. The painstaking work that goes into building a coalition to actually roll someone requires persuasive ability, and “I wanna fight cuz the game is boring” is not a battle-cry people are willing to rally behind today. They want to gain something, and the IA-led alliances are more concerned with their internal cultures.
The above problem wouldn’t really be a problem if the game mechanics encouraged political activity. Almost all politics are player-driven in this game, which means that most of the time, they aren’t happening. I have spoken at length with several alliance leaders about this issue over the years, and ultimately there is little to no reward for declaring wars, but also for signing treaties. What do you really gain these days if you go to war and demolish an alliance? You probably risk more than you gain. What’s the deal with color sphere politics? They are only rooted in miscommunication for the most part, and it would be shocking to see an alliance actually pursue an agenda (like supporting high-tier only) on a color sphere. For that to even happen, it would have to be created by the players.
A lot of problems stem from momentum and lack of it, that is central to Planet Bob. It requires a battle against entropy to get much of anything done and I can say that from experience. Did you know it took months for CnG to disband? RFI’s formation took another half dozen of months. The hatchet being buried between Polaris and Pacifica started between Dajobo and Brehon but didn’t end up amounting to much of anything until much further down the line. There are countless examples that can be cited, but those are a few that jump out to me. Fighting inertia is something people are generally unwilling to do.
It is this very lack of desire to resist inertia that inhibits some people from being dramatic enough. They do not act out in the way that they perhaps need to, if their aim is to actually free the world from its seemingly monopolar state. A whole lot of people are willing to silence idiotic or aggressive ideas for this reason (including many of my own) strictly because deeply ingrained inertia acts against these plans.
I am responsible to the Global Alliance and Treaty Organization. And I owe nothing to any of you who are not my allies. It isn’t my job to figure out the treaty web cypher that you need to solve. It isn’t up to me to save the game with a persuasive post. This translates to a tendency to support the generally good position of my alliance. I’m not going to do something that is objectively good for the game if it sacrifices my alliancemates in the process. And the expectation that others should act in the interests of the greater meta-political-game is illogical. Different motivations bring different players together and most alliances are doing nothing to expedite, but also nothing to impede the stagnation that has settled into most of the corners of the web.
One area that can be improved upon is extra-community activities. Alliances with active memberships and internal activities should consider sharing their activities outward. This is probably not enough though, since these activities are very unlikely to relate to the situation on Planet Bob itself, and will not likely mobilize members who were otherwise doing nothing. There are exceptions though. Perhaps there will be a RFI-hosted mass chess tournament eventually, although the RFI one hasn’t been the most successful due to time zones.
We’re doomed, aren’t we?
In seriousness I would like the initial conclusions to be a discussion. This is a synthesis of the points that have been raised thus far, with the addition of a few. What do you think, do you have any solutions in mind?
Edited by Tevron