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"Elite" vs "Mass" alliances

  

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I saw, in the recent surrender thread(s?), that the "Elite alliances are better than Mass alliances" argument finally surfaced again in our (read: your) discussions.


Apologies for (probably) not addressing this issue as it would deserve: I'm just not paying much attention to these forums as I used to. And I should be doing other things, actually.


My point of view is that (IC angles aside: "everything" is fine, IC-ly, to me) the entire antithesis doesn't make sense at all.
Sure, "elite" alliances are better for war (which "really" comes only once or twice per year for most people, anyway), and I guess that more activity per member can provide more fun (I've never been in an alliance I'd call "elite", thus I can't claim I know it).

On the other hand there are a lot of players that can't dedicate much more than a few minutes per day to this game; they can't/don't want to be on line at update; they don't enjoy sitting years on their hands (in-game) and they'd rather spend all of their money in fancy, shiny new toys for their nation ("preparedness" be damned); they can't bother, don't understand or simply can't properly cross some language barrier to get to appreciate lengthy nation building guides, to get their nation in shape; they don't even log in every day and they don't really get why one should spend all that time and effort to apply to an alliance, buy tech, get a job, have to do with CN politics (how to blame them) - basically "to play the game" as we forum junkies+government are used to. Some/many of these [i]were[/i] active (= fit for "elite" alliances), will [i]soon[/i] be active or will be active [i]at some point in the future[/i]. They're anyway now perfect for the so-called "mass alliances".

But, are mass alliances full of just this kind of players? Of course they aren't! Government members of these alliances usually "work" (if that makes sense in a game) probably as much, if not more, than any regular "elite" alliance member. I definitely know it, as I am one of those "unlucky" people! I can safely and proudly state that we absolve to the important function of introducing new people into the game, of showing them the ropes and of guiding them into becoming a successful nation ruler (well, more often than not we actually just gently accompany them to deletion, and generally sooner rather than later, but it's a dirty work and someone has to do it.)

To call any mass alliance "incompetent" doesn't thus make any (OOC) sense, and it won't bring anything good: "inactive" members won't even know that you spent your time airing that opinion (and, most of them, they wouldn't give a damn even if they knew it); active government members will know that you're wrong about their "competence", and they will opt among a range of possible reactions, that can go from ignoring you to trying to explain themselves, to even trying to use your words against you - all of these with various degrees of success (which aren't what this post is about, anyway).


For these reasons, I truly hope that the various "you should disband", "you're worthless" (and similar) comments are meant to pursue some obscure IC objective, and that they aren't just the result of an unchecked brain inadvertently connected with a keyboard (if that was the case you should really review your IC usage of the "OWF": it doesn't come for free and you should consider it an asset, not a relief valve for your internal pressure - but again I digress).

If "elite" alliances only had reason to exist, CN could host only a very few hundreds of players (at most): not everyone is committed to this game "full time", and bashing those that work to help the casual players to feel at home is below (most of) you.


Well, much more could be said, but I promised a [i]relatively[/i] short comment, so here you are. Discuss it, if you wish.

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I think both are important. Without GOONS, Umbrella couldn't do anything or pose any threat to a low tier based alliance. Vice Versa.

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I've never run a totally 'elite' alliance before, those I lead were always a combination of elite nation building but were always around 170-250 members so far. In my personal opinion it is less hard to lead an elite alliance than it is to lead a mass- or the in-between-form. People are more self-sustainable, smarter and that just reduces the time the leadership has to spend on actually guiding its members. I think elite alliances have more trouble making sure their members are happy because they will most likely be more informed, interested in the FA of the alliance and are harder to satisfy.

So I think Mass-alliances spend more time and effort on growing their alliance while elite-alliances spend more time explaining their FA actions (or inactions) to its membership. Overall I think the mass-alliances are harder to manage and thus it makes sense that mass-alliances don't have the quality of the elite ones. And they don't have to. Their strength come from their numbers not from their ability to play this game properly.

Both are equally important to have.

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Only Elite alliances make sense

[b]This statement is wrong because no one type of alliance only makes sense[/b]

Elite are more important than Mass (please explain), but both are necessary
[b]
This is true because wars are won at the top.[/b]

Elite and Mass are equally important

[b]Not true, see above.[/b]

Mass are more important than Elite (please explain), but both are necessary

[b]Not true, see above.[/b]

Only Mass alliances make sense

[b]This statement is wrong because no one type of alliance only makes sense[/b]

Edited by Alterego

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Wars require both High tier nations and also the mass amounts of mid to low tier, no one can argue that having more nations on a side dosent help, it may not be the be all end all but looking at the past 3 wars the bigger number always wins. you need both because the top range has to be knocked down and staggered for the mid range nations.

Alliances like Avalon are a good example since they have a low NS but high nuke count which makes them a pain to fight if you want to reduce the amount of damage your going to receive in a 1 on 1 war yet at the same time sometimes just having enough bodies to throw at the enemy is enough, which is why we have these powerhouse blocs and not just a single AA ruling over all.

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This is something that has weighed on my mind for some time now and so I’m going to take the time to give it a lengthy response. The question of which is better can’t be answered (in my opinion) with a simple elite or mass, but at the same time it has to be answered. That may sound like circular logic and maybe it statement is, but hear me out first. There are three mean objectives of an alliance (once again in my opinion) Growth of the alliance and individual nations, create and interact politically (both internally and externally), and win wars.

I’ll start by braking those down into their individual topic subjects the first being, growth of the alliance and individual nations. The first priority is to the growth of the alliance, this is achieved in one of two ways, growing the individual nations or growing the total number of nations in the alliance.

Elite alliances seem to focus much more on the growth of individual nations, since the saying the top wins the wars; it’s the goal of an elite alliance to achieve victory in the upper tier. This increases their ANS, Tech, and nuke count (arguably the important stats). This is an effective way to grow an alliance as many of our top 25 nations are smaller in member count. In a world where smaller nations no longer exist or are much harder to come by, these alliances will be much harder pressed to get tech to maintain their elite status. On the other hand, activity seems higher in elite alliances in terms of getting things organized.

Mass alliances on the other hand seem to focus evenly between growing between recruitment and membership growth. While they promote individuals to grow their own nations, they also focus large amounts of funds toward recruiting new nations (I’ve heard of offers as high as 15 million for joining), and so this cuts back on the growth of the upper tier who could purchase this tech for longer periods of time, and at a lower price (3/100 instead of 3/50). This works well in a world where less emphasis is placed on top tier as it is mass numbers; however larger alliances (from my experience) have been less active in their active to total ratio.

Conclusion to this is that while there are still tech sellers, selling to outside alliances the elite alliance will grow the individual nation more quickly in the short run, in the long run if the trend continues these alliances may have to adopt different tactics for getting tech. As tech sellers become more and more scarce, I think you’ll see mass alliances adopt internal policies to ensure tech continues flowing and since internal status and prestige isn’t necessarily linked to the size of a member’s nation this is more acceptable.

Moving onto the 2nd point, interact politically (both internally and externally). I’ll answer this a bit differently. Looking at the world around us we find that both the elite and the mass alliances have no short supply of external politics (look at the treaty web if you disagree) I’ll leave this exclusively on internal politics.

From what I’ve seen of elite alliances internal politics is almost nonexistent. The amount of movement done within the government is probably what makes the elite in the first place (they know what to do, how it works and they get it done) good or bad this can and is discouraging. Knowing that regardless of what you do, you’re not going anywhere (for me) makes me less likely to compete with others. The drive to do better than someone else is diminished if there is nothing to be gained from it (tragedy of the commons/Glass ceiling) This may not be true of all elite alliances as I’ve not see a democratic elite alliance.

For mass alliances it seems different, having to please the masses comes a more difficult task if instead of pleasing 25-100 you’re trying to please 500-1000. And so the nature of government seems more fluid, working hard and being better than someone else seems to actually have a reward at the end. Now for alliances like NPO or NpO this isn’t the case (or maybe it is I’ve never been in either) it may not be as fluid, but it seems their lower elections have new faces more often than elite alliances.

To conclude this point, I think that if individuals are driven more by competition than a mass alliance is more effective, if they are driven by the end results than I think an elite would suit them much better. This is one area where Mass/Elite has less to do with it as does the alliance culture and government style.

The last point is pretty obvious, and that is for the alliance to win wars. International politics would be boring if there wasn’t a way to settle the issue (draw the line in the sand if you will). I’ll say it this way, in order of an alliance to be elite and not just a small alliance they would have to be able to win wars, however the flip side of the coin is that a mass alliance can walk away and still continue to exist as a mass alliance. If the upper tier of an elite alliance is destroyed it could take years for them to become elite again, so really this comes down to the question, “do you feel lucky” if yes Elite is the way, if no than mass.

To sum up this whole wall of text, basically Elite alliances dominate our world right now. When the norms change (and they will) the elite alliance may not be as popular or effective as they seem to be now.

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[quote name='kriekfreak' timestamp='1325584582' post='2891388']
I've never run a totally 'elite' alliance before, those I lead were always a combination of elite nation building but were always around 170-250 members so far. In my personal opinion it is less hard to lead an elite alliance than it is to lead a mass- or the in-between-form. People are more self-sustainable, smarter and that just reduces the time the leadership has to spend on actually guiding its members. I think elite alliances have more trouble making sure their members are happy because they will most likely be more informed, interested in the FA of the alliance and are harder to satisfy.[/quote]
What you've said here, kriek, is largely correct in terms of leadership - at least in my experience. Having led both a mass-member alliance (LUEnited Nations, 600+ members at its peak), and a smaller elite alliance (Vanguard, ~85 members at its peak), I'd have to say that the former far surpasses the latter in terms of time required from, and stress levels experienced by, leadership. Additionally, the extra time involved in a mass-member alliance is generally not going towards entirely productive tasks; indeed, a great deal of effort and attention is by necessity given to maintaining activity, order, and cleaning up after mistakes made by membership (from nation-building errors to diplomatic blunders). As such, a talented and politically-adroit leader of an elite alliance can wield as much - if not more - influence as his or her counterparts in the giant alliances. For instance, compare the political clout and initiative of Mushroom Kingdom, TOP, Umbrella, Vanguard, GOD, etc in their prime against 'giants' such as MHA, Sparta, IRON, and so on. That's not to say mass-member alliances cannot be the drivers in the political game - just look at LUE, NPO, NAAC, GATO, GOONS v1.0 - but it appears that age ended quite some time ago.

The only aspect of your paragraph there that I would disagree with is the final sentence. I must say, I've never come across a membership so difficult to 'satisfy' and keep in line than that of LUE, but then, that was also a strength of that alliance.

To answer the question put forth in the original post - both types of alliances are critical. Any leader worth their salt would recognise that, no matter the style and structure of their alliance, there are both advantages and disadvantages to the way in which his or her alliance operates. Elite and mass-member alliances complement one another.

Edited by Denial

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As somebody who has been in an "elite" alliance, a "mass" alliance, and now resides in one I'd hesitate to apply either description to, the only thing I can say on the whole matter is that there current argument has far too few variables to define even reasonably homogeneous groups that one could even start applying subjective "betterness" opinions unto. It's like asking which are better, men or women? Outside of anything inherent in the definition (men will be worse at giving birth) at best you start by arguing over stereotypes and it goes downhill from there.

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[quote name='Muddog' timestamp='1325597323' post='2891443']
This may not be true of all elite alliances as I’ve not see a democratic elite alliance.
[/quote]
TOP, Umbrella, and FOK! are all democracies.

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TOP is a disgustingly disgusting democracy.

Argent was a democracy for it's first 18 months as well, and half of the positions are still elected.

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[quote name='Baltus' timestamp='1325604669' post='2891500']
TOP, Umbrella, and FOK! are all democracies.
[/quote]

We're a different kind of democracy. We only elect the President who picks a Vice-President and its cabinet. Umbrella membership is divided in two tiers: regular members and parasols. Parasols are members who actively contribute for the functioning of the alliance in things that range from slot watching to Minister positions and as such are rewarded with the ability to vote on treaties and admissions.

However, Umbrella is a combination of well-informed players from the most different political quadrants (or some former political quadrants) of CN so we maintain frequent discussions about what happens in CN if those discussions are relevant to our interests - and of course we value our members opinion very much.

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Both cater to different types of players.

Most of the people posting here probably are the type of player an "elite" alliance would more cater to. But for the majority of CN players - in terms of actual nation counts - a mass alliance makes a lot more sense.

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I think having lots of inactives is a burden rather than a benefit. Most of the mass member alliances actually comprise of an active core of competent members (akin to that of an elite alliance), they just waste their resources babysitting nations who contribute next to nothing for the cause. So it is natural that the elite alliances (who don't have such burdens) prove more capable.

If someone allows themselves to be so inactive that they become a burden to their alliance, they don't deserve to be a member of it. When I lost most of my interest in actively playing this game, I started sending aid and tech to my alliance-mates. Over the past year and a half or so I've spent virtually no time on my nation but have still contributed several hundred million dongs and thousands of tech to my alliance.

I also have a funny picture thread which I think is the only reason why TOP keeps me around these days.

Edited by Blue Lightning

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[quote name='Baltus' timestamp='1325604669' post='2891500']
TOP, Umbrella, and FOK! are all democracies.
[/quote]

Interesting, I'll have to add one of them to my list of places to visit before I die(leave cn).

Edited by Muddog

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[quote name='Blue Lightning' timestamp='1325606011' post='2891510']

I also have a [u][i]funny[/i][/u] picture thread which I think is the only reason why TOP keeps me around these days.
[/quote]

I am not sure this word means what you think it does.

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[quote name='Muddog' timestamp='1325607129' post='2891519']
Interesting, I'll have to add one of them to my list of places to visit before I die(leave cn).
[/quote]

As head of admissions for Umbrella, I can tell you that with this attitude, you will not be admitted to Umbrella. Also you need to be dutch (or Antoine Roquentin) to join FOK!

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I put both important, mass more so. Elite alliances feel more special when there aren't as many of them. By definition, most players will be in mass alliances, so they have to get the nod. Both are important though, and I'm sure glad I'm in an elite alliance.

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I think it's possible to lead an elite sanctioned AA too tbqh.

AAs like FARK, NG, MK, and TOP have all fit this bill imo. MK and TOP being the most proficient though.

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[quote name='Zoomzoomzoom' timestamp='1325613507' post='2891555']
I think it's possible to lead an elite sanctioned AA too tbqh.

AAs like FARK, NG, MK, and TOP have all fit this bill imo. MK and TOP being the most proficient though.
[/quote]

I wouldn't call FARK and NG an elitist alliance. If any, we are a hybrid form between the mass-alliance and the elitist. As long as you have people under 50-60k you can never call yourself elitist in my opinion.

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[quote name='kriekfreak' timestamp='1325613636' post='2891556']
I wouldn't call FARK and NG an elitist alliance. If any, we are a hybrid form between the mass-alliance and the elitist. As long as you have people under 50-60k you can never call yourself elitist in my opinion.
[/quote]

Then we have no elite alliances.

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The distinction can't really be made statistically, it's a style of functioning thing. Mass alliances would be the ones that put more effort into recruiting than growing the nations they already have, elite alliances generally do not recruit and spend lots of effort on growing the existing nations. Mass alliances are usually open to anybody who isn't a complete $%&@up, while elite alliances are more selective on who they admit. Elite alliances have small nations, mass alliances have large nations.

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[quote name='Alterego' timestamp='1325588299' post='2891401']
Only Elite alliances make sense

[b]This statement is wrong because no one type of alliance only makes sense[/b]

Elite are more important than Mass (please explain), but both are necessary
[b]
This is true because wars are won at the top.[/b]

Elite and Mass are equally important

[b]Not true, see above.[/b]

Mass are more important than Elite (please explain), but both are necessary

[b]Not true, see above.[/b]

Only Mass alliances make sense

[b]This statement is wrong because no one type of alliance only makes sense[/b]
[/quote]

Wars are won along diplomatic cables, not on the battlefield.

I have designs for an elite-style alliance that would remain politically neutral except possibly for a temporary protectorate agreement with a larger alliance. I believe that the certainty of ease of management far outweighs the possibility for morale issues, especially with the model I have created.

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