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About Sarkin

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    The Dark Templar
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  1. Sarkin

    How is this place still alive?

    Everything Roq said is correct. I'm sure it's true that a few players who were already on the verge of quitting saw Oculus get formed and said "screw it, I'm done" a year or two earlier than they would have otherwise, but that's all. A few more were lost with MI6's death, but MI6's death was essentially an assisted suicide. Oculus wasn't a cause of the game's death; Oculus was evidence of the game's death. The game had gotten to a point where it was actually "winnable," and we and our allies won it. That wouldn't have been possible to do if there had still been a vibrant community or young growing alliances around. The game was basically dead well before 2015; we just planted a flag in the corpse.
  2. Sarkin

    A new power rises

    Bring Back Brookbank.
  3. Sarkin

    A Farewell to Arms

    I had a very poor first impression of Non Grata years ago, but I have to say that they were very good and honest allies in Oculus. We did indeed win the game together. What a ride! Sorry to see you hit IRON and Os on your way out, but I understand what it's like to have a thirst for vengeance that you never got to satisfy.
  4. Sarkin

    Pastoralis Praeeminentiae

    Three thoughts, two related and one unrelated: 1.) Gotta keep your scheming a little more subtle, Ghost. 2.) I'm always a fan of kicking the hell out of TTK. See you after the initial round of wars expire. 3.) Everyone who was so damn certain that Oculus would turn on itself inside a year, suck it. It's been nearly two years and we're still cruising. We didn't form the thing on a lark; we put in the work and made sure everyone was committed.
  5. No, it's not fun. But neither is vacuuming a carpet. That doesn't mean that you don't continue to vacuum the carpet. It's simple housekeeping that just takes a few minutes each week. A number of the folks in the Mongols, SPATR, NEW, Kaskus, and TIR grouping have said that they're done with politics and that they just want to permawar forever, similar to TPF. There's no reason for us to offer peace when the cost of the "war" continuing is entirely negligible and we know there are a bunch of permarogues contained in this tiny grouping anyway. If they ask for peace, they'll get it. If they get their house in order and distance themselves from the permarogues before asking for peace, we'll probably shake their hands, too.
  6. Let's not exaggerate the importance of whether or not this continues forever. Mongols: four in war mode, all between 18-36k SPATR: eight in war mode, all below 8k NEW: 12 in war mode, all below 20k Kaskus: four in war mode, all below 18k TIR: zero in war mode This isn't even a hassle, it's a rounding error.
  7. Sarkin

    Comic NAP fulfilled

    Pound-for-pound, Sengoku was one of the game's most impactful alliances in the past five years. Happy to have been a friend; enjoy Umbrella.
  8. Sarkin

    Announcement from MI6

    Nah, it's definitely someone else.
  9. Congratulations to you both, and best of luck to LoD and Jesse End in their new positions.
  10. Sarkin

    FTW Announcement

    Glad to see you're doing well, FTW!
  11. Sarkin

    Joint DOW

    Always love to see my friends at ODN marching into battle. o/
  12. Sarkin

    An Open Letter to Frawley

    I heard the same things in 2007 and 2008 before the Karma War. Everyone had their own little spreadsheet or notepad where they had done the math and it was clearly impossible to take down NPO. They had Continuum and 1V, who could possibly take them down? Most of the talking heads sagely agreed with each other that it couldn't be done and that the Pacifican sphere had to disband itself if the world would ever change. It required far-thinking leadership, effective long-term diplomacy, and capable alliance-building to do it. It wasn't easy; nobody shot a single proton torpedo and managed to blow up the Death Star. It required time, planning, and effort. MK lost two global wars before it, and if you count their LUE spiritual predecessors, four global wars. It was a challenge. Nobody got the keys to the kingdom by pointing out to the king it would be fun for someone else to sit on the throne; you're looking to influence the wrong people. I contend that if our sphere had kept our relationships decentralized instead of forming Oculus, the task would be far more formidable. It's similar to the last few global wars when so many folks repeatedly managed to delude themselves that Fark or whoever would totally switch sides. The informal nature of the web allowed you to lie to yourself about how easy it would be to conquer such-and-such sphere. By creating a bloc, we made the situation clear as day. Nobody can say, "Oh, you know, I bet we could swing Umbrella through TOP" or whatever. We set a core network of relationships in stone, and everyone knew who our friends were beyond the bloc itself. It's your fault if you weren't up to the challenge. Here's the thing, though: we're still around. You can take another stab at it and try a different approach; learn from your mistakes. My first post was long, so I'll repeat the parenthetical note from this relevant line: "Oculus has no interest in stopping its allies from starting wars (except against each other, obviously) or from pursuing their desired agendas." This would be a case of allies attacking each other. I'm not aware of any alliances or blocs in existence who want their allies to fight each other or who would encourage that. So, I suppose there's a caveat to my earlier point about wanting our allies to pursue their foreign policy agendas. If their agenda contains contradictory ideas, such as (1) we want to be friends with Oculus and (2) we want to roll an Oculus ally, we can't help them to achieve both things. It's incumbent upon every alliance to rationalize their foreign policy and to make value judgments and tradeoffs. As you said, you made a value judgement that although you would like to roll Valhalla, you would prefer to remain our friends. I'm glad you made that decision, it made sense and Valhalla ended up disbanding anyway. If you had picked a non-ally and really wanted it to roll them, I'm sure we would have found a way to make it happen. If you had taken a diplomatic approach with the Valhalla treatyholders and tried to get them to drop the treaties, it probably would've been extremely difficult, but it could've worked with the right argument and relationship. To answer the second part, I'll repeat this bit: "The problem is that most alliances just won't start wars anymore. They don't have the fire, the circumstance, or the membership to do it. They weren't willing to do it years ago and they aren't willing to do it now." The only difference between now and a hypothetical post-Oculus world is that maybe some allies of current Oculus members would think they have a shot at rolling other allies of current Oculus members. I guess that's a marginal growth in the possible number of wars, but why would we ever take action to encourage knife fights between our friends?
  13. Sarkin

    An Open Letter to Frawley

    I'm no longer a member of the Oculus leadership, so feel free to discount this, but the single largest frustration I had over the past year was the unwillingness on the part of virtually every alliance in the game to have a proactive foreign agenda. This was a problem long before Oculus came into existence. The old grudges are simply too old to still bear fruit, and new grudges have not arisen (except on the micro level) to spark new global conflicts. To be honest, this was mostly true for us, too. Everyone chattered away about an "inevitable" Oculus vs. Doom conflict being the next global war, as you can see from R&R's comments in the logs, but it never happened because there was no grudge. Most of the various alliances that constituted Oculus have spent years working closely with DBDC. We set up an entire global war on behalf of Doom Squad so they wouldn't get rolled for hitting Invicta. DBDC had been enormously helpful to us many times. Outside of a couple of individuals in DK who apparently got bored with the relationship and wanted a change, there was never anything concrete to motivate a war between Oculus and DBDC. I think we've been great allies to each other; we've had fun and we've benefited each other tremendously. Why would we want to fight each other? Some third-party being bored isn't a good enough reason. We were both already on the top of the world, and we had reached that point as a team. Here's what kept happening: we would go around to our allies and say, "OK, what do you want to do?" They would tell us that they didn't have anyone they wanted to roll. If we threw out some options of the folks we knew were out to get us, the ally might say, "Well, not Alliance X. I guess Alliance Y would be okay, but we don't want to be involved unless you get countered." Nobody would come to us and say, "Hey, we want to hit Alliance Z." It just didn't happen. After the Doom War, everyone complained that the annual global war was stagnating the game and that we needed to get back to smaller-scale conflicts. We set the stage for just that and wanted to enable it, but alliances have refused to take the opportunity. I don't hold this against any individual alliance leader in the game. If your membership isn't interested in taking out such-and-such alliance or improving its position in world affairs, there's not a lot you can do about it. The reality is, however, that if everyone operates that way, you may as well put the coffin in the ground for this world. I'll point out an exception to the general rule, out of fairness' sake. In the last global war, every Oculus alliance was on one side and the New Polar Order was on the other side. There were extremely few positive feelings between our alliances and NpO. In the year following the war, however, Polaris put their nose to the grindstone and did something about their situation. They changed leadership and foreign policy strategies. They ended some ally relationships that were no were longer substantive or beneficial. They conducted an honest-to-God long-term diplomatic outreach to several of their former foes. They rebuilt into a real power. As a consequence, the New Polar Order is once more one of the foremost powers in the world. They've taken advantage of the current world order to actually pursue their foreign policy agenda. This is something that all of our allies could be doing, if they had the interest to do so. As hartfw noted, Oculus has no interest in stopping its allies from starting wars (except against each other, obviously) or from pursuing their desired agendas. The problem is that most alliances just won't start wars anymore. They don't have the fire, the circumstance, or the membership to do it. They weren't willing to do it years ago and they aren't willing to do it now. The creation of Oculus could have been the big wake-up call for everyone outside of that sphere to say, "Oh, dang, I guess the state of the world's treaty web is crystal-clear now. I can't fool myself into thinking that my friends and I are in a better position than we actually are anymore. If I have something I want to see in this world, I now have all the information I need to make a plan and I have a boogeyman I can rally folks around." I won't say nobody has tried (MI6 attempted it immediately, a few other alliances have tried it more recently), but nobody has done it well. We've done our best to shake things up from the all-consuming complacency we saw in the aftermath of the Doom War. The existence of Oculus and its willingness to aggressively promote its interests and those of its allies should be enough to spur real action both inside and outside of the sphere. That said, we're not actually going to shove a pistol in our own mouths and curl your finger around the trigger; you have to do some things yourself.
  14. Right, let's drop this. Evilest is right that there were individuals who wanted us dead from the beginning, but nothing solid came of it and no alliance put their weight behind those individuals' sentiments. We're talking about events that are more than seven years old. Our feuds with Monos Archein and affiliated alliances lasted maybe a few months after we split off. There's a reason it received only a slight mention in the announcement; this was a long time ago. The only alliance Aurora Borealis ever truly hated was GOD, and really, it was just Xiph specifically. Even those events are nearly seven years old. As we said in the announcement, we are grateful to those in the Karma coalition and outside of it during that time who advocated on our behalf and ensured our survival. These many years would not have happened with you.