What follows is a long and ramble'y post expanding on a previous idea about emphasizing alliances instead of cutting orgs.
As a preface, I think it'd be very important that cities could realign themselves with other cities. I know it's theoretically possible and folks like to talk about shaking up the alliance, but for all intents and purposes they're pretty set. Which is fine but I do want to leave open the idea of those staying mutable.
We could absolve city ranks all together (which would be hard and scary, I know! Hang with me!) and instead for unification everyone has the same alliance ranks. CR1 through 10 just like it is now, except you can also be awarded favours from people in other cities. For example, helping someone in your alliance secure a domoth for their city. Maybe favouring someone from outside your city reduces your favour weight to 75%. You could chose to live an entirely insular life, only work on your own Nexus for your own city, and do all of your political progression like you have been. Or you can continue to be the team player you've always been and now have the opportunity for more advancement/rewards.
What if you can jump cities within your alliance with org head approval at a 60% loss in rank? CR10 goes to CR4 which sucks, but hey, it might be a fun mechanic for folks who want to spice things up without burning any bridges. What if with org head approval, you could join guilds outside your city but within the alliance at a malus of never being higher than GR3 or GM?
We could look to extend family bonuses to folks married across cities within the same alliance. Sadly, the player base isn't large or constantly refreshing with new players. As an example of a small org, Gaudiguch is SOL when it comes to launching a new great family or even resurrecting an old one. We're looking at OOC months and months of seriously dedicated team work just to get on the bottom of the list. Which I think several folks are determined to make happen, but it's a lot more work than Mag has to put in since it already has 4(?) established great houses. If we could share family stuff to a diminished extent, it'd open up a lot of opportunities and encourage more cross-city cooperation. For example, let honour houses get some points for defending other planes within their alliance. Or, let your city earn some culture family score if you're married into a great house in another city.
For culture, some orgs are going upwards of 10 IC years without a single person touching the stage, and some orgs may have writers but nobody to edit their work etc. If we could work within our alliance and across cities, more writing/production could happen. Presently, all I stand from helping someone from another city is a malus to my own org. What if my backstage time in Glom helped both of our orgs? Tie this in to watching productions: let us continue to generate culture watching recordings on other folks's stages, but maybe send 30% of that bonus back home and 70% to the org with the stage. Send some of that theatre activity back home if someone acts in a production outside of their city. (These are arbitrary numbers!)
I think this would make for a convenient boundary on what classes you can bring from other orgs too. People keep classes that really don't belong in Gaudi only because we don't have a few skillsets. Maybe if cities could only allow classes from within their current alliance, it'd give folks more choices without having to blatantly harbor opposing skillsets. I'm sorry I only have a Gaudi example right now, I'm sure other orgs deal with mis-matching classes, I know Halli also doesn't have monks.
I don't know if everyone enjoys their current collegium setup, but maybe a shared CGT across the alliance would be nice. Between CGT, CT, NEWBIE, GT and any number of OOC clans there's more than enough confusing choices for new players to guess where to ask questions. Sharing professors across the alliance would be a big help too for situations where maybe a player's timezone is very different from a lot of the people in their city.
I still think we need to consolidate and remove several city positions too Maybe some aides/ministers could work across cities with limited privileges- librarians/aides could issue cards and catalogue, but not publish outside of their own city; power minister/aides could check logs but not connect portals; professors would have access to a shared CGT; culture minister/aides could add stage managers but not submit; and so on.
Please feel free to criticize and rip to shreds and build upon this! It's definitely a very rough idea, but it might be a direction that doesn't do things like smash orgs together that don't belong, or devastate the reasons why players are in those orgs to begin with, or require anyone going on the chopping block. Also if someone hates it, it could still provide enough space for them in their current org without paying attention to the alliance at large.
In Aet forums, there is a sub category just for starting a thread for each player to give RP feedback, comments, praise/criticism, etc. Maybe we could have one too? It'd make this more on topic for the folks that are displeased maybe? This would be a great first thread!