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"Elite" vs "Mass" alliances

  

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Both are important. The evolution of the NS profile means that elite alliances' benefit is less important now than it used to be, because even 'mid tier' nations are still doing damage in a meaningful area, so every elite alliance with a big top tier needs a larger ally with a big upper-mid tier (50-100k roughly) to provide a useful team in war. (This didn't use to be the case when 'top tier' was 50k, because nations bashed down below their range are not important any more in terms of economic damage, and even more so back before the MP.) But the military performance of an elite alliance is far better and that can really make a big difference to material results and to morale.

I've done both types of alliance and I prefer the smaller, more familial community of an elite alliance. But I know lots of people who are having fun in VE and who would never enjoy or be able to fully participate in the Grämlins community, because they just don't care that much about CN. So there is definitely a place for both types.

In the IC forums though it is very easy to use the difference in military strength to score political points against enemies and I think a lot of what you see in there is simply that.

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[quote name='IYIyTh' timestamp='1325895850' post='2894374']On our planet all large alliance suffer from chronic underemployment, I've yet to meet an alliance of over 250 that can say with a straight face over half its members know 100% how to play the game effeciently and have a grasp on CN politics. Elite alliances have the advantage of A. Either having 5-6 individuals of having the authority to make decisions and influence other alliances that know their !@#$ entirely, or B. Focusing on nation building solely and relying on their strength rather than political influence. Mass alliances generally are more easily influenced than elite alliances. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but at the end of the day, elite alliances either have a more established pecking order or have members who can smell !@#$%^&* from a mile away, whereas Mass alliances' members are generally naiive, innocent, which is a benefit to its leadership who may want to play dumb and allows them to do a political 180 at a whim.

Historically, CN populations that have been subverted are mass alliances because turnover tends to be higher and internal dynamic/culture weaker than elite alliances.

One is not better than the other, there is just two different ways of doing things.[/quote]
Thanks. That's more or less what I was thinking.

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The game seems to have evolved from big alliances calling the shots to a more even footing between the big and the small. Now, we have alliances strong enough to be sanctioned, yet not big enough that have significant pull. These only have such pull because the big alliances aren't all that big these days. 400 members isn't all that many when put up against a force of 200 who are crazily active. Then after the large alliance gets walloped, they run away in droves and shrink to an inactive [i]and[/i] small alliance.

But the crucial thing is having raw numbers. Small alliances can be diplomatically powerful, but only when coupled with larger ones. When you and your 20-30 allies outnumber a group of say 10-15 alliances, you win your average war. I'm yet to see a large-scale war where the side that was smaller from the start has come out victorious in the end.

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

Well, there you go. My contribution to this thread, shamelessly stolen. You will have to tell me where you got your time machine from, good sir!

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[quote name='Cortath' timestamp='1325631584' post='2891709']
If you're in a mass alliance and you're "babysitting" "inactives," then you're doing it wrong. The key to success in a mass alliance is to create systems whereby your core players can get the most out of your less active players. What you lack in efficiency, you more than make up in volume. And the breadth of efficiency among different mass alliances I've observed is astounding. There's a lot of wrong out there.
[/quote]

I think this hits the nail on the head. Too many mass alliances try to force their less active players to become active. It's the main reason I haven't chosen an alliance to join yet. I just can't bother with the "you have 3 aid slots free, you're two days late, shape up or gtfo" mail. And that kind of drafted activity is even more prevalent among elite alliances, which is a major reason why I or many people don't join elite alliances.

A mass alliance is about numbers, about training people from being completely clueless. Their strength lies not exactly in their numbers, but in the type of people they attract. You will find that some of the most loyal, dedicated people stay in the alliance they were recruited into, until the alliance disbands. You'll also find that a lot of good tech sellers prioritize their own alliance first, meaning that the buyers in a mass alliance have a better supply of sellers.

However, I do agree that the bigger the alliance, the more bureaucracy it has. Smaller alliances are very quick to change policies, whether or not they're elite. Huge alliances have a hell lot of inertia. Heck, a lot of them still use banks. And there is always some babysitting, that is, making sure your > 50k NS nations have their tech supply.

As someone who has done IA/Econ for quite a while in this game, I can say that 90% of the work is finding trades/tech or newbie education/training, things that elite alliances don't need to bother with. Though on the other hand, that is a good part of the fun. I don't really find any fun in just buying tech and declaring wars that you can't lose.

So, on the big questions, I say it's the mass alliances that eventually train and 'feed' the elites, and the elites who do the top tier killing (which is where wars are won). You can definitely have an open alliance that can take on an elite one on one, but there's just not many good examples of this these days.

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The notion that wars are won at the top tiers of the game is a truism at best, bullcrap at worst. TOP are not beating Polaris with their famed top tier, they are doing nothing to win anything. The lower mid tiers of IRON have been doing what damage can be done in this war.

The truth is you win a war wherever your opponent's strength is centered.

If I wanted to win a war against GOONS then I would be wasting my time having a massive top tier, I need nations where they are. If I want to beat TOP then I need nations where they are (which is why you use a whole coalition to take them down). There is no single alliance that can withstand an onslaught from even a loose coalition of motivated opponents.

Wars are not won with nations in any event, regardless of size. Wars are won with diplomacy and projected power, something elite alliances should be excelling at by virtue of their composition. The days of mass alliances are over because there simply isn't the masses to fuel them. I recall there being several alliances with 800+ members, with the erosion on the game there is not too many with even 400 now.

In an ideal world there would be a whole lot less alliances, a whole lot less treaties that spanned across multiple spheres and a lot faster reaction. We would be grouped tighter together in single alliances rather than dozens of alliances tied by treaty to everyone else.

As an interesting aside (not motivated by the current war at all) for their supposed elite status TOP took two years to attack Polaris. Hardly the actions of an elite alliance with massive political clout. Polaris has not been in favour since Bi-Polar days, why does it take so long? You can not be an elite alliance and work at TOP speed, to be elite you need to be able to move as the winds blow.

Mass alliances have their place, as do the so called elite alliances, I however see very little elite about most of them.

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[quote name='AlmightyGrub' timestamp='1328001715' post='2911464']
The notion that wars are won at the top tiers of the game is a truism at best, bullcrap at worst. TOP are not beating Polaris with their famed top tier, they are doing nothing to win anything. The lower mid tiers of IRON have been doing what damage can be done in this war.

The truth is you win a war wherever your opponent's strength is centered.

If I wanted to win a war against GOONS then I would be wasting my time having a massive top tier, I need nations where they are. If I want to beat TOP then I need nations where they are (which is why you use a whole coalition to take them down). There is no single alliance that can withstand an onslaught from even a loose coalition of motivated opponents.

Wars are not won with nations in any event, regardless of size. Wars are won with diplomacy and projected power, something elite alliances should be excelling at by virtue of their composition. The days of mass alliances are over because there simply isn't the masses to fuel them. I recall there being several alliances with 800+ members, with the erosion on the game there is not too many with even 400 now.

In an ideal world there would be a whole lot less alliances, a whole lot less treaties that spanned across multiple spheres and a lot faster reaction. We would be grouped tighter together in single alliances rather than dozens of alliances tied by treaty to everyone else.

As an interesting aside (not motivated by the current war at all) for their supposed elite status TOP took two years to attack Polaris. Hardly the actions of an elite alliance with massive political clout. Polaris has not been in favour since Bi-Polar days, why does it take so long? You can not be an elite alliance and work at TOP speed, to be elite you need to be able to move as the winds blow.

Mass alliances have their place, as do the so called elite alliances, I however see very little elite about most of them.
[/quote]

Wow, really?

Does this mean NpO is winning?

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[quote name='AlmightyGrub' timestamp='1328001715' post='2911464']
The notion that wars are won at the top tiers of the game is a truism at best, bullcrap at worst. TOP are not beating Polaris with their famed top tier, they are doing nothing to win anything. The lower mid tiers of IRON have been doing what damage can be done in this war.

The truth is you win a war wherever your opponent's strength is centered.

If I wanted to win a war against GOONS then I would be wasting my time having a massive top tier, I need nations where they are. If I want to beat TOP then I need nations where they are (which is why you use a whole coalition to take them down). There is no single alliance that can withstand an onslaught from even a loose coalition of motivated opponents.

Wars are not won with nations in any event, regardless of size. Wars are won with diplomacy and projected power, something elite alliances should be excelling at by virtue of their composition. The days of mass alliances are over because there simply isn't the masses to fuel them. I recall there being several alliances with 800+ members, with the erosion on the game there is not too many with even 400 now.

In an ideal world there would be a whole lot less alliances, a whole lot less treaties that spanned across multiple spheres and a lot faster reaction. We would be grouped tighter together in single alliances rather than dozens of alliances tied by treaty to everyone else.

As an interesting aside (not motivated by the current war at all) for their supposed elite status TOP took two years to attack Polaris. Hardly the actions of an elite alliance with massive political clout. Polaris has not been in favour since Bi-Polar days, why does it take so long? You can not be an elite alliance and work at TOP speed, to be elite you need to be able to move as the winds blow.

Mass alliances have their place, as do the so called elite alliances, I however see very little elite about most of them.
[/quote]
While TOP may not be able to smash your <40k NS nations into even smaller pieces, we are able to effectively cap your nations' growth to below that marker. Meanwhile, TOP's upper tier are able to grow exponentially and there isn't anything Polaris can do to stop them (militarily, at least).

If your definition of military victory is continuing to smash your opponent while they sit at ZI, ZT, etc...then yes, TOP is unable to defeat Polaris. By that definition I don't think anyone has ever truly won a war, though. While this stalemate continues however, the gap in strength (and relative strength in particular) increasingly sways in TOP's favour over time.

Not to mention we can effectively finance IRON's war against you through aid to those nations that are in range of your non-PM nations.

I agree with you that wars are won primarily with politics, but your underestimation of the effect of nation building may go some way to explain Polaris' long history of military incompetence.

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[quote name='enderland' timestamp='1328018519' post='2911515']
Wow, really?

Does this mean NpO is winning?
[/quote]


No, it just means we aren't fighting TOP. We are fighting IRON, and it seems both IRON and NpO are having fun with it. I know I'm having fun.

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[quote name='Blue Lightning' timestamp='1328026111' post='2911552']
While TOP may not be able to smash your <40k NS nations into even smaller pieces, we are able to effectively cap your nations' growth to below that marker. Meanwhile, TOP's upper tier are able to grow exponentially and there isn't anything Polaris can do to stop them (militarily, at least).

If your definition of military victory is continuing to smash your opponent while they sit at ZI, ZT, etc...then yes, TOP is unable to defeat Polaris. By that definition I don't think anyone has ever truly won a war, though. While this stalemate continues however, the gap in strength (and relative strength in particular) increasingly sways in TOP's favour over time.

Not to mention we can effectively finance IRON's war against you through aid to those nations that are in range of your non-PM nations.

I agree with you that wars are won primarily with politics, but your underestimation of the effect of nation building may go some way to explain Polaris' long history of military incompetence.
[/quote]

I'm pretty sure the only alliance that cares about TOP's upper tier stats is TOP. I've intentionally not grown past 70k for the past 2 years because above there just isn't fun for me. I encourage TOP's upper tier to keep growing until your opponent pool diminishes to the point where there is no one left for you to fight. You Win!!! Yay!

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[quote name='enderland' timestamp='1328018519' post='2911515']
Wow, really?

Does this mean NpO is winning?
[/quote]

Only a moron would read all of that post and get that answer.

The NpO lost this war before it ever began. This war was lost when you sucked long enough and hard enough and the powers that be granted you absolution and a treaty. Your nation building skills have absolutely nothing to do with anything other than your love for big numbers.

The point is too simple for you, I understand that, but you can not fight an alliance when you are not in range, big or small.

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The only kind of alliance I don't care for is the useless micro.
[img]http://meru.xfury.net/images/aeris/aerisdisL3.jpg[/img]

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[quote name='AlmightyGrub' timestamp='1328043494' post='2911741']Only a moron would read all of that post and get that answer.

The NpO lost this war before it ever began. This war was lost when you sucked long enough and hard enough and the powers that be granted you absolution and a treaty. Your nation building skills have absolutely nothing to do with anything other than your love for big numbers.

The point is too simple for you, I understand that, but you can not fight an alliance when you are not in range, big or small.[/quote]
If you insist with this style people will never discover how you're actually nice. That said yes, your (interesting) post obviously wasn't about NpO "winning", I fear you just bit ender's bait.


The issue of top layers becoming separated from the rest of the game should probably make the game designer(s) think of some way to get around it (capping things, for example).
In the context of this thread it shows how "elite" alliances can't really do without the other ones. Or rather, they can, if they plan on going completely neutral: in that case they wouldn't need any political reach to maintain a capability to hit the lower layers, as they couldn't have any interest in hitting anyone.

[spoiler]It's only a matter of time before we fall in a new dark age of neutrality! Neutrality Menace ITT... :v: [/spoiler]

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[quote name='Beefspari' timestamp='1328052963' post='2911897']
The only kind of alliance I don't care for is the useless micro.
[img]http://meru.xfury.net/images/aeris/aerisdisL3.jpg[/img]
[/quote]


Frankly, I hate this (popular) sentiment. It is poisonous. People should feel all right playing the game however they see fit. Don't like micros? Don't join one. Don't like neutrals? Don't be in one. Obviously some people like those things, and we're better off having them here instead of playing farmville or something.

If an alliance is entertaining people inside the alliance then it is a "good" alliance. Nobody is here for YOUR entertainment: they are here for their own. I bet the people in those alliances could really give a [darn] whether you think they are worthwhile or not.

Edited by sammykhalifa

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[quote name='sammykhalifa' timestamp='1328108079' post='2912543']
Nobody is here for YOUR entertainment: they are here for their own.[/quote]
Oh, some of them are. Whether they know it or approve of it or not. Sometimes I even get to express my disapproval for micros in a more direct way than just talking about it.
[img]http://meru.xfury.net/images/aeris/aerishehL7.jpg[/img]

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