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Do Meat shields help an alliance?


  

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This discussion popped in the MHA channel when MK declared on them and I thought it would make an interesting discussion on the forums.

Are Meat shields viable at all towards an alliance?

Main arguments seem to be:

Yes
- They use up opponents war slots therefore protecting the alliance's real members, enabling them not to be hit as hard.
- Bolster stats making the alliance look more bigger then it really is.

No
- Stat Wise - They cause a great difficulty in actually knowing exactly WHAT nations you have ready to fight. You are unsure who will be there with you in a time of war.
- Psychological wise - They tend to Surrender/Not fight. As they are inactive. Therefore, Alliance Strength drops rapidly, depleting morale within the alliance and causing pretty much a depression.


Please explain you decision of vote. I am really curious as to if I've got it wrong. I believe No, they do not benefit an alliance.

If you have any arguments for or against please post them.

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[quote name='OrangeBeard' timestamp='1324014781' post='2879659']
It's not nice but it definitely helps. If the general membership gets depressed because they don't understand how meatshields work, there's a bigger problem.
[/quote]

But then, how many meatshields would consider as a definitive help?. 5% of the alliance, 10%, 20%, 50%? or doesn't matter?

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I think allies who are meat shields have some value, but it is of course better to allies who are not. However, if you have nations in your own alliance who are meat shields, it sends members the wrong message, and just keep an alliance from having pride in its self. I remember last war MCXA had a very bad showing and a lot of people lefter after that b/c they just weren't thrilled to be in an alliance that fought that poorly. This time around we assessed ourselves and put a lot of work into being better prepared. Now even though we're facing a rather heavy amount of damage our members can still take pride in that we're so much better prepared, and doing a much better job.

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They are very, very little help. Sometimes I would say they are no help at all and are wasting what little strength they have.

UPN/Sentinel for example - they don't come anywhere close to changing the outcome of the war, nor will they any effect what-so-ever on the damage NpO receives. All results would have been the exact same as if they had no entered the war. The only difference is they hurt the allies of the Avengers just a bit, and got rolled hard in the process.

I think it's arguable they would've been a bigger help to NpO if they stayed out and prepared for the next war.

I might be making a little jab at Sentinel here, but really it is a good example.

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Yes, of course they are useful.

The best way to understand meatshields is to look at them as CN billiard balls. They won't (in most cases, can't) do anything by themselves, but the leadership alliance(s) can knock them into opposition alliances they don't want to touch. This damages both and keeps the leadership alliance healthy. Of course this provides benefit.

But, like billiard balls, once you stop providing them direction, some other alliance(s) will come in, fill the leadership void, and knock them right back at you. The meatshield alliances will, at worst, try and tell you they pull their own strings ... and at best, will try and pretend they are mercenaries (obtaining their own goals through their servitude), but the truth is they are sheep and they operate out of fear. As long as they are being pushed in a direction (and they can see other flowing in the same direction) they are going to roll that way, too. Loyalty becomes an afterthought because of this fear-based approach. That's why once you control a meatshield you have to constantly provide the pressure behind them and never allow a vacuum to occur; NPO demonstrated this constantly.

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Very important, IMO, but it depends. Most of war is about nukes. Meat shields lob nukes and they absorb/deflect nukes. Once you wear down the opponent's nukes early on, you get to that stage where you can't nuke daily, and most of the damage is done by ground and air. The meatshields determine how early your opponent's nukes wear out, and they later on soften the blows.

Wars in CN tend to be about pummeling each other long enough until gov of both sides decide that enough is enough. If it's about hitting you until you get a high enough NS drop, meatshields help there. If they don't care about the NS bottom line, a meatshield spreads out the damage from other 'more important' members as well.

Another plus is that meatshields are players too! They're just inactive. They can realize how the game works and actually turn into active players in the future. This often happens in war when the enemy chooses to send taunts or other insulting propaganda, and the meatshield is motivated into taking revenge.

A more complicated, but common issue is when some very good players actually appear to be meatshields. You'll find a LOT of very good players who simply don't give a damn about CN politics or whatever. They don't log into the forums, they don't ever check in. The only way to spot them is that they actually buy tech, sometimes have full slots of tech buying. If you bug them about being inactive, they leave and join another alliance. Yet these guys are monsters in actual wars. They play CN just for the wars, much like someone plays and arcade game.


On the other hand, a non-nuclear meatshield is definitely a liability, makes the enemy grow.

The problem is that meatshields lose stats rapidly. And when you lose stats, you have to justify to your own members why you're losing stats so much. They make up a large portion of war surrenders, and even one surrender is a large morale drop for your alliance, and a large morale gain for your enemy, who can then rally more attacks on your lazy alliance. This can create a sort of avalanche effect, even more so if you lose or pull out of the war later and are viewed as a bad alliance.

I don't know why the hell anyone would see "bolstering" stats as a positive; often allies serve more as a deterrent than stats. MHA, NPO, NpO or Legion's stats were not deterrents.


You just have to treat your meatshields with respect, show them their contribution is appreciated. You have your elite warrior knights and your multitudes of slave spearmen. They work differently. Even with no caste system, players will create their own castes out of activity. Your inactives will rarely turn into gov-active high nobles, you have to learn how to make the most of what you have.

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Yeah, they do help. You're a moron if you say otherwise.

If you need psychological motivation in a text-based clicking game there's something wrong with you.

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War competent alliances (like Valhalla, MK, BAPS, an active FOK, the old Athens etc) might be valuable, but against significantly superior numbers they aren't hugely effective. In a short war, meatshields aren't useful. But in these grudge match wars we now have we need numbers and warvchests to help extend the war (and therefore the negotiating).

Alliances like IRON and the ODN are probably the best war machines *overall* because of their size, even if they have a greater share of inactives than smaller, elite alliances.

Edited by Banksy
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[quote name='Unknown Smurf' timestamp='1324015423' post='2879664']Best thing is to just put all your meet shields in a different alliance affiliation [b]like the Gremlins did with MHA when Harmlins was around[/b].[/quote]
[img]http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd295/jerdge/jerdge/Really_Tommy-Lee-Jones_2.gif[/img]



[quote name='Krack' timestamp='1324015906' post='2879668'][size="1"][snip][/size][/quote]
[quote name='Banksy' timestamp='1324021665' post='2879721'][size="1"][snip][/size][/quote]
I think the OP is about "meatshields nations", inactive nations of an alliance, not about "meatshield alliances", aka vassal alliances.



[quote name='MrMuz' timestamp='1324020424' post='2879710'][size="1"][clever][/size][/quote]
Very clever post! Well said, everything you said.

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[quote name='Aeternos Astramora' timestamp='1324021940' post='2879724']
Losing war: Helpful as they soak up damage.

Winning war: Hurt because they don't take assignments or, if they do get in a war, take up slots that could be used by active coordinators.
[/quote]

This doesn't make sense.

You wouldn't assign a ghost offensive war slots or expect them to attack, in fact, it's a bonus if they do.

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No, absolutely not. I can tolerate having inactive players in an alliance that don't log in every day, so long as they are willing to throw a few nukes and aid packages when they are around. Purely defensive meatshields are an entirely different story. They create a false impression of strength that would lead to a loss in an evenly matched war. They put a greater burden on active players to pick up offensive war slots, which in turn means your best fighters take the most damage. Absorbing nukes seems like a useful contribution to the war, until you realize smart enemies will just keep tech raiding and looting $2 million a day.

Inactives willing to do an occasional attack, yes. Meatshields, no.

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If they're inactives that come around for war, no problem. If they're people that catch the dove or don't fight, no. Getting rid of the inactives in our alliance is the best thing we've done for morale, among .gov and the general membership.

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[quote name='asawyer' timestamp='1324071488' post='2880097']
No, absolutely not. I can tolerate having inactive players in an alliance that don't log in every day, so long as they are willing to throw a few nukes and aid packages when they are around. Purely defensive meatshields are an entirely different story. They create a false impression of strength that would lead to a loss in an evenly matched war. They put a greater burden on active players to pick up offensive war slots, which in turn means your best fighters take the most damage. Absorbing nukes seems like a useful contribution to the war, until you realize smart enemies will just keep tech raiding and looting $2 million a day.

Inactives willing to do an occasional attack, yes. Meatshields, no.
[/quote]

How do you figure this?

You think that a nation who is being attacked just rebuys troops and doesn't launch any CM's, nukes, et al?

And that ghosts/inactives have great warchests?

Edited by IYIyTh
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They are somewhat useful in that they absorb some of your opponent's offensive capacity. If the war lasts long enough for all your nations to get hit to a full degree that's only a temporary benefit.

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