As I made mention to in my first announcement post, I have been working on conceptualising an Alliance System in order to create a system for Alliances between organizations. This has been an ongoing and evolving project and has taken quite a bit of time to iron out and properly flesh out the idea. Below is the current and up to date idea of the alliance system, and we are looking for feedback.
As a preface, all syntax shown in this proposal can change at any time and is for example purpose only.
How it works
Alliances will be formed within the council chambers of cities and communes. An organization can only be a member of one alliance at a time, with a maximum of three organizations within each alliance. The commands required for forming an alliance will only be usable by the city/commune leader, however all council members and the Minister of Security will be able to see the status of the alliance. Each alliance will last a maximum of Lusternian 10 years before it will dissolve, however can be renewed at the 8/9 year mark if a new treaty is provided and signed (the below confirm step is not required in this case). The basic process of forming an alliance is as follows:
- An organization will initiate the alliance with ALLIANCE INITIATE <org>.
- The organization that has been offered the alliance must then ALLIANCE ACCEPT. This must be done within 12 IRL days or the alliance will dissolve.
- As the cap for each alliance is 3 organizations, the above two steps may be done again to add a third organization to the alliance forming process from the outset.
- Once the alliance has been accepted, a Treaty must be created and signed by all members of the Alliance. This is similar to the treaties that alliances have now, however with the alliance system it will be made into a new bookbinding replica (and accompanying skill) under AB BOOKBINDING TREATY. The treaty will be provided with ALLIANCE TREATY <item number>.
- Once the treaty has been provided, all organization members of the alliance must ALLIANCE SIGN TREATY. To sign a treaty, the signing member must be within the city/commune council chambers and possess a seal for their organization. The ‘signature’ on the treaty will be the seal’s stamp line.
- Once a treaty has been signed by all Alliance members, the leaders must then ALLIANCE CONFIRM. Once all members have confirmed the alliance, the alliance will be formed and active. Each city/commune leader will receive a copy of the treaty.
- An organization may leave the alliance after it has been formed
The use of the alliance system will require two cost resources, power and gold. A breakdown of the cost is below:
- Forming an alliance (Taken at the CONFIRM step): 125,000 power and 1,000,000 gold per organization.
- A yearly upkeep cost of 2,000 power and 200,000 gold per organization.
- A level up cost of 1,000 power and 100,000 gold per party (This will be explained below).
- The total cost for an alliance will be 155,000 power and 4,000,000 gold for the life of the alliance.
- If an organization is added to the alliance after the initial forming, the joining organization will pay the upfront cost, and the cost of any levels the alliance has purchased. The joining organization will not be required to pay upkeep costs for years that have passed, but will have to pay all future yearly upkeep costs.
Each alliance will receive 9 upgrade points to spend on any combination of skills from three different trees: Ideology, Military and Utility. These trees are vertical (leveling up from bottom to top). In order to unlock a higher tiered skill, the alliance must unlock the lower tiered skill first. A breakdown of these skills is below:
Level 1: Alliance members may now bombard on behalf of other orgs within the alliance (at 50% effectiveness).
Level 2: Alliance Herald - Announces conflict events and forwards org mob call of helps to the alliance.
Level 3: Alliance members gain 2% more exp per alliance member in the area, up to a maximum of 20%.
Level 4: Domoth blessings may now be targeted to the alliance instead of an organization.
Level 5: Increase Alliance Bombards to 75% effectiveness for other orgs. Bombarding for your own org will be 25% stronger.
Level 1: Village comm quests now give double commodities (2 instead of 1) per turn in [restricted to alliance owned villages].
Level 2: Celerity boost when alliance members are in the same area (+1 for 2-5, +2 for 5+).
Level 3: Alliance skill to offer summon to all alliance members (same plane only).
Level 4: Squads alliance members will generate more power based on how many members are in the squad (+5% 2-5, +10% 5-10, +15% 11+).
Level 5: Upgrade level 3 alliance skill to cross plane (10p cost) [Plane + 2 adjacent].
Level 1: Influencing with weaken within a village revolt will lower the opposing sides total points towards the revolt.
Level 2: Alliance members gain a +10% offerings boost when offering to alliance divine.
Level 3: Gain the ability to influence for other orgs in the alliance during revolts [also adds alliance influence skills depending on city rank in your own org] (at 50% effectiveness).
Level 4: Increase amount of change in village feelings per influence/murder/quest (both positive and negative).
Level 5: Increase alliance influence to 75% effectiveness when influencing for other orgs in revolts. Influencing for your own org will be 25% stronger.
As an example:
I have 9 points for my alliance. My options for leveling up are Military, Utility and Ideology. I put a point into Military and unlock bombard, leaving me with 8 points. I put a point into Ideology and unlock Weakening and have 7 points left. I invest 4 points into Military and unlock Herald, Experience, Domoths and Improved Bombard, leaving me with 3 points. My options to level up are now Utility and Ideology.
When an alliance dissolves or is renewed, these 9 points reset and can be reallocated. This means that you can try new and different combinations each time the alliance is renewed, or new alliances are formed.
Other alliance benefits
Other additions for the alliances include:
- Alliance channels (not clans):
- A combat channel, specifically for combat calling and so on.
- A general alliance channel for alliance chatter.
- Alliance logs (READLOG ALLIANCE)
- Enemy/Ally lists
- The purpose of alliances with respect to ally and enemy lists is that all alliance members will inherently be marked as allies, and everyone else will inherently be marked as enemies.
- Ally/Enemy lists will not be removed from the game, as they will still be used for Arenas, and manse door permissions, etc.
- There is no decision on what will happen with enemy/ally list expansion runes at this point in time, as it is still something that is being discussed. A formal decision on this will be made prior to the release of the Alliance system.
Alliances and the future
Alliances are the first big step to balancing conflict and combat. By adding avenues to influence and bombard on behalf of other alliance members and with the ability to count all online members within an alliance much easier than we can now, the options for balancing based on alliance numbers becomes much easier to do and much more accessible. This includes revisions on raids (such as altering smob health/damage based on attackers v defenders, for example) and dynamically shifting difficulty of other things like aetherflares and revolts based on the number of players in each alliance. The things I have mentioned here now may or may not happen, and I am not promising that they will, however they are just some examples of what could be done with this system.We look forward to reading your feedback.
Making enemy/ally lists rely entirely on alliances would take a lot of personal player control out of the situation. What if a citymate or alliance member insults your mount and you want to murder-fy them? Or if you wanted to do a cross alliance hunt, you would be unable to keep your bard song or meld from hurting people not in your alliance. Or if you wanted to test something which requires enemy status outside of the arena? I could see it being a config or something, but definitely not the default and only option.
Personally, for alliances I would like to see something a bit more lightweight. Have an alliance clan and logs, and possibly a news board. Have some conflict events weighted based on alliance pops, or have smaller TQs which would only allow, say, three people from each alliance in at a time to allow for small-scale conflict. Maybe shift the domoth's lesser and major blessings from guild and city to city and alliance, respectively.
Perhaps an alternative Ideology level might be to allow campaign crusade/peace to benefit alliance member? In particular I am thinking of the bonus for influencing a villager if the room has been crusaded.
This path feels intriguing to me because of roleplay implications. Is this alliance close enough that we would speak positively of each other's ideals? Would the alliance Influence skill messages be affected by governance style or where points have been allocated in the alliance upgrades?
Edit: If upgrades must be part of the package, I think it might be nice to see lesser/simpler benefits and ones that perhaps interact with the governance style system a bit more.
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All we want in an alliance system:
combat balance around limiting numbers. If alliance A has 5 in area then allowed Alliance B in combat event also 5 end. (maybe not a direct 1:1 but you get the idea)
All the things we get out of a clan as a formal 'group'. Nothing more (outside using membership into that 'group' for balancing combat events)
You (admin) are making systems more complex than needs to be. You are trying to make reasons for something when simple and basic is better.
How is the power cost going to work when organizations are dead and have no people to generate power? That's going to suck up a lot of resources for the not-so-active organization. So the least active organizations are going to have to work even harder to keep it going. I'm not going to burn myself out for an organization. Been there, done that.
How is this going to force an alliance shake-up? What's going to stop people from continuing to use a clan for their alliance?
The influencing benefits? I don't understand, people just walk away from debates now, and no one sticks around for a debate or hides behind sanctuary. Does that mean sanctuary and crusade are going to be done away with and all revolts will be unpeaced?
While I understand there's a need for things to be balanced, I don't think it's fair to block people from events that give daily credits. A lot of people rely on daily credits. What will stop alliances from tossing their best people in while the others are locked out? I don't think there will be a happy balance here.
I can't say I know what the answer is but I don't think this is it.
Not trying to derail the conversation, but this new system will just make the already really small nations even smaller until they just disappear entirely. Then what?
This was not built around the concept of a power sink or gold sink.
The intenion was to create a system for player/org cooperation and being able to assist each other in conflict events (See: Influence/bombard/etc) and being able to use alliances as a way to balance things (See: Smob health/damage etc).
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If we want to change the direction the game is headed in, then we need to make actual changes to the game, not just put syntax and a cost around the current makeup. Make a 2-org alliance system. Make it cost significantly less or, better still, follow a common business model when you want to attract new clients and give the benefit without cost at least for a while until the value is built. Or, produce active conflict.. have the Supernals march on over to Nil occasionally and stir things up. Not only does it drum up interactions, it makes sense given the dynamic.
It sounds like the smallest set of changes (for alliance channel communication) without cost might be desirable? If people were automatically inducted into them based on their org, it'd be a little less overhead for players to manage compared to current clans. Maybe it'd be a roleplay setting to hear alliance Gods or nexus keepers interact?
I think some of the smaller benefits to an alliance might be interesting ways to support activity. And I think being able to hear each other's NPCs call out might be interesting for a sense of Basin-wide activity during say, Ascension events, which is often when our game population jumps up.
What if the cost were their choices in another system? If the branches are 3 levels deep, and instead of paying in gold/power, it could be what the involved nations have chosen as governance styles?
Ex. If you have three orgs and they're all conquest, you get the military benefits. RP-wise it suggests alliances have a cultural exchange and share their ideals.
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The purpose of this was for feedback, nothing more, preferably in a positive manner.
In relation to some questions:
The forcing of an alliance shake-up is impossible for us, short of telling you who to ally with and when. That is not something for us to do, that is a player responsibility, as having us mandate it for you would remove a lot of cross-org roleplay relevance.
In terms of the power cost. A lot of you are saying it is too much and too heavy. I provided these stats on the Discord thread, but I will post them here as well.
Hallifax: -577,757 (Raised VA on 19 Decemer, still up power)
Celest: + 859,478
That's over a (just under) 4 month period, which is roughly how long an alliance will last. Hallifax is at a negative due to raising a VA in the middle of that four months, however they still have a positive power gain.
Sure, I agree. Lower org members across the board will mean lower power, yes. But these values, because this is a proposal, are not set in stone and can be dynamic in nature as well.
Restricting participation of some conflict events would be a discussion for another time, however we can include instances of current things (like timequakes) to have a cap on how many people per 'side' so to speak can participate, however the issue there becomes players missing out (Yes, I acknowledge that in a 15v5 example where players don't want to participate and some miss out that they still do) and we will have to work through that separately to this.
While I like the basic idea of this, if people think the costs are not worth the rewards, as seems the case, there's no incentive to use this over just continuing with our informal alliance stuff. Perhaps, consider having the basic version of an alliance be free, to encourage people to use it instead of our current methods, but have the upgrades require a recurring power and gold cost, so we can choose whether to just have a basic alliance for free, or to invest in the upgrade buffs.
In addition to the alliance channel and logs, the ability to make and edit 'alliancehelp' help files would be very useful, as we already use our alliance clans help files for this, and I think this should replicate that.
I do like the idea of the automatic enemy and ally lists, it makes things far easier to manage for classes who rely on the status. But if it's done that way, I would ask that a way be added (or expanding of the lust mechanic or something) that makes it possible to do certain things with people from the other alliance without our stuff just automatically hitting them (eg I sometimes go hunting with a family member from Celest, and the Gaudis have been running Grimkeep with Glom despite being on opposite alliances).
I am hesitant about the weakening buff, if feels a bit off to me, but I'm not sure why.
I’ll admit if the state of the game was in a better place I would be able to look at this proposal with clear and open eyes. I can’t.
The forcing of alliance shake up - you’re right it’s not your full job to do. Maybe more like half. Without the continuing of the story of Lusternia, world event, or something changing on the game.. That falls to the admin/producers. We, the players, can’t do that. Without that we have no reason for alliance shake ups.
The alliance system is good, however, it is being overshadowed by the steep forming, upgrading and upkeeping costs. Why?
1. Cost: Considering the numbers provided by Ealix, it shows that if ever a lesser populated org decided to descend and ascend a VA, we can expect that they are going to have a hard time to restore their power reserves. Also, what if the org decided to quit the alliance, are they refunded of their initial expenditure?
2. Perks: Admit it or not but players including me are driven by self motivation which "could" be seen in orgs. We need to answer questions such as are the power and gold costs worth the benefits we would get from joining the alliance? Or perhaps, for orgs that can theoretically stand alone (I know there's one!), what do they get from joining the alliance aside from politics? Another question was already asked, are the perks appealing enough to warrant the cost of the alliance to put aside the existing alliance clans?
3. Requirement: I understand that the alliance system is grounded on the fact that it is purely optional to avoid unnecessary costs. However, because of the low playerbase, most orgs cannot afford to stay independent to the point of even sacrificing the balance between RP and game competitiveness. This alliance system is also a way for the game to formally and officially recognise alliances.
Knowing the costs dissuade the players from joining the alliance system, I think it would be better to keep the process of initiating and forming the alliance but either remove the costs or reduce it to figures that are not so burdensome (probably 100k gold per org?). Forming an alliance would still give the benefit of alliance channels and logs instead of relying on clantells. Then it is up to the alliance if they still want to upgrade theirs and pay the costs. Alternatively or additionally, reduce the initial, upgrade and upkeep costs to levels. I understand the planned costs are based on data from a set period of time but working for that gold and power for "membership" perks and continually subscribing may not be sufficiently motivating to many.
Going to perks, there are many interesting bonuses and features that can really Lusternia as a whole. Overall, I like the concepts but I have a few concerns, so just a quick rundown:
May I suggest to swap level 1 and 2? I think having that the announcer is a basic yet vital feature particularly the one that will announce conflict events. This benefit affects down to the org level and not just the alliance.
For level 1, I suggest to replace the village comms to faster teleporting to alliance members (perhaps similar to the ASHOP44)? This is because I think the enhanced comms generation will only boost the alliance with more village controlled.
I think Level 1 will only prolong revolts, which are already arduous enough. If the intention is to provide a counter or give chance for the other side to compete, then probably something that would allow one chance of removing the influenced state of the denizen per player? It would be then independent from the mask ability. My problem with reducing the total points is with sufficient number of people, they can potentially lower the points of the opposing side and that opposing side can lower the points of the other side, causing to delay the completion of the revolt to different possibilities.
Other alliance benefits
Personally, I will have to strongly reject making alliance members to be allies inherent and permanent allies and the opposing as enemies, with reasons outlined below:
1. This heavily restricts the dynamics of RP and the game as a whole. The way I see it, the alliance stems from mutual treaty agreement rather than an organisation by itself. They may or may share a common belief (or conflicting for that matter) but at the end of day they are only bound by a consensual agreement.
2. This will also affect combat like forcing someone to do commands relating enemying/allying or maybe other things I do not know about.
However, I understand the importance of unified enemying and allying in combat. What if there is a way to give option for the player if they want to ALLY/UNALLY ALLIANCE to ally all alliance members and ENEMY/UNENEMY ALLIANCE to enemy anyone outside of the alliance. Or maybe a toggle to switch it on or off like a config? If done, the alliance members won't show in allies list but will be understood to be allies for whatever purpose it may serve, same with the ones outside of the alliance as enemies.
There is a mechanical way to make alliances inherently unstable - and that is to put an increasing cost on maintaining it. So the long you're allied with them, the more it costs the org, and the more they want to break the alliance. But people have already said they don't want even a flat cost to alliances, so a system that mechanically encourages alliances to change is difficult to do, and would likely be rejected by the players.
What is the goal that the system is meaning to accomplish? Is to shake things up? I don’t see coded systems doing that. If it’s to help with population issues, I think new content people can engage with to retain playerbase will do more to help that than some minor buffs.
As an aside on I’m really not keen on the idea of one alliance city/commune influencing/bombarding for another. Not being able to do that is actually an interesting dynamic for tension between allied orgs.
Alliances should natively provide:
- ACT for ALLIANCE CALLS TELL and ALT for ALLIANCE TELL for coordination in the same way Shadowlight and Trasto function or IHC and...whatever IHC's non-callout clan is.
- ALLIANCELOG or ALOG that records domoth, revolt, wildnode, timequake, and flare participation
- Corresponding WRITELOG privs for CR6 people in each alliance.
- AHELP with associated edit privs attached to...let's say CL, GLs, and one of the ministries
- The ability to propose and ratify an alliance name, unless the admin want to come up with clever names for all...35 possible alliance permuations present from the 6 available orgs.
- The ability to propose and ratify a treaty.
- A way to directly trade gold, power, commodities, anomalies, assets (villages, bubbles, etc)
- A way to cede any of the above.
- An avenue for allied org's melders to bond with each other's melds (without raising cross-org effects, that would be a balancing nightmare)
- The ability to place guards in allied org territory
- Permissions tags (ALLY OF HALLIFAX, EXCEPT ENEMY OF SHADOWLIGHT)
- Each org that enters an alliance is already going to have a governance style. Eliminate whatever bonuses they were previously giving, or spread them out as baseline benefits to having a village, and instead let each governance style gives a pair of possible perks.
- Commerce orgs could either duplicate their commodity tithes to their allies or passively generate extra credits for their allies
- Military orgs either reduce the cost of guards for their allies or increase bombard strength for allies
- Religious orgs either increase village influencing strength or cause bards and scholars for allies to be worth more power, etc.
- Each org chooses which perk they give, based on what style they had set on Estar 1 of that year.