Author Topic: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion  (Read 429 times)

Constantine

  • Noble Lord
  • ***
  • Posts: 437
    • View Profile
Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Topic Start: May 18, 2019, 10:19:40 AM »
So this change was implemented a while ago and almost no one even noticed because it was not enforced on existing alliances. Until some existing alliances had to be reshuffled and it turned out that once enforced this change was a massive kick in the gut for many people.

Guys. I understand that realms gravitating to two huge blocs and engaging in massive wars South Isle style (which sorta happens on all continents atm) is not how the game was supposed to work. But I really don't think blunt solutions like simply restricting alliance size is the right decision here.
Just like simply cutting continents in half was not the right solution for player density issues.
The fact is that restrictions always detract from the game. Let's try something else.

There are just so many ways to keep the wars local and prevent neverending world wars. I don't think this should even be about alliance sizes. There have to be more subtle solutions.
Just off the top of my head - if a realm declares war on someone it does not share borders with or is just way too far away in general, hit their population with increased morale malus over time, causing unrest and forcing it out of the war eventually. This alone will prevent the "pile-on" wars.
Or increase the "fighting away from home" malus on soldiers/increase pay the farther the troops march from own realm's borders.

I just really think soft caps are better than hard caps. The game is alwats more fun when it's about decisions, not just restrictions. Arbitrary restrictions make people feel frustrated and leave, decisions actually make the game more challenging so even if some people do feel frustrated they at least don't feel powerless, they can still do what they want to an extent.
I don't want people to simply be unable to form whatever alliances they wish. I just want them to have to calculate how long can they afford to wage an overseas campaign to help their ally without destabilising their own realm, for example.

Let's discuss.

Foxglove

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 619
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #1: May 22, 2019, 05:36:41 AM »
Restrictions on alliance sizes make no sense what-so-ever in RP terms, historical terms (game history), or in any number of other ways. It's clear that a lot of people across the game on various sides of wars are pissed about this change.

I would be interested to know what it's hoped this change will achieve. The EC has been thriving for a long time now on the continental war between the southern and northern blocs. Dwilight was stagnant for years before its 'bloc war' kicked off. I'm genuinely interested in what the perceived problem is with wars between large alliance blocs, and why it's thought it would be better to encourage wars between smaller alliances.

Also, I wonder how the planned introduction of Hinterlands is going to work with this change. I thought the whole point of Hinterlands was to allow realms to control a larger number of outer regions and not be as bothered by the loss of hinterlands as opposed to fully productive regions. To me, it seems like Hinterlands and region-based restrictions on alliance blocs are going to work against each other.

Anaris

  • BM Dev Team
  • Exalted Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 8067
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #2: May 22, 2019, 05:52:52 AM »
I would be interested to know what it's hoped this change will achieve. The EC has been thriving for a long time now on the continental war between the southern and northern blocs. Dwilight was stagnant for years before its 'bloc war' kicked off. I'm genuinely interested in what the perceived problem is with wars between large alliance blocs, and why it's thought it would be better to encourage wars between smaller alliances.

The problem is more with peace with a large alliance bloc.

If there is a group of realms, that together make up enough of the continent that no possible coalition of the rest of the continent could hope to match them in strength, that creates a chilling effect on continental politics. Everyone else is essentially existing at the sufferance of the behemoth.

They may never exercise that power. Indeed, a given instance of this alliance situation may not necessarily give rise to the political situation I describe. But the possibility for it is completely unavoidable, in much the same way and for much the same reason that the threat of harsh punishment is implied when a ruler says, "I hope everyone logs in 10 minutes after turn change tonight to move to the battle."

Thus, for the same reason that the Inalienable Rights specify that even mentioning them can be treated the same as if you explicitly stated "everyone who doesn't log in 10 minutes after turn change will be banished, and executed if caught," it was decided that the best way to deal with this problem was to create a hard limit in the code.

Unfortunately, that does create a necessary transition period, where things that are going on will get disrupted. That's completely unavoidable with a change of this nature.

Quote
Also, I wonder how the planned introduction of Hinterlands is going to work with this change. I thought the whole point of Hinterlands was to allow realms to control a larger number of outer regions and not be as bothered by the loss of hinterlands as opposed to fully productive regions. To me, it seems like Hinterlands and region-based restrictions on alliance blocs are going to work against each other.

Because the alliance restriction is based on percentage of human-owned regions on the continent, Hinterlands should not have any significant effect on it. None of these changes will in themselves change the proportional military strength of realms relative to each other, so after Hinterlands goes live, I expect that there will be a brief period of expansion into rogue areas, with the overall proportions of the continent controlled by each realm holding roughly constant.
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

Zakky

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #3: May 22, 2019, 06:28:31 AM »
How about a point system then?

Every realm having the same max points. Like 10 for example.

When you have one realm at peace with yours, each realm is using 1 point out of 10 they are given.

Forming an alliance = 3 points per realm. Federation = 5 points per realm etc.

Constantine

  • Noble Lord
  • ***
  • Posts: 437
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #4: May 22, 2019, 01:18:11 PM »
Why is this a better system, Zakky?

Zakky

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #5: May 22, 2019, 06:07:04 PM »
It will also put a limit to how many realms you can be at peace with.

De-Legro

  • Honourable King
  • *****
  • Posts: 3835
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #6: May 23, 2019, 01:59:09 AM »
As someone that doesn't play powerful characters, how much of a change is this making? How many power blocs need to be rearranged? How much smaller must they be to fit within the new criteria?
Previously of the De-Legro Family
Now of representation unknown.

Zakky

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #7: May 23, 2019, 05:22:18 AM »
As someone that doesn't play powerful characters, how much of a change is this making? How many power blocs need to be rearranged? How much smaller must they be to fit within the new criteria?

I believe it is 1/3 of human owned lands? For the Lurian Bloc, they are 7 regions over the limit.

On EC, the northern alliance I think is over 29 regions or something.

Anaris

  • BM Dev Team
  • Exalted Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 8067
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #8: May 23, 2019, 04:26:54 PM »
Since all this information would be easy to compile from public data given some time and math, here are the alliance blocs that existed at the time the warnings were sent (roughly, at least):

EC:

Alliance bloc above limit: Sirion, Caligus, Nivemus, Eponllyn, Shadowdale, and Redhaven
Regions: 69
Over by: 30

BT:

Alliance bloc above limit: Thalmarkin, Ar Agyr, Gotland, Grehkia, Shattered Vales, and Obia'Syela
Regions: 68
Over by: 35

Colonies:

Alliance bloc above limit: Lukon, Oritolon, Halcyon, and Portion
Regions: 23
Over by: 4

Dwilight:

Alliance bloc above limit: Madina, D'Hara, Astrum, Morek Empire, Arnor, Westgard, and Avernus
Regions: 64
Over by: 28

Alliance bloc above limit: Luria Nova, Swordfell, Sol, Luria Ferrata, and Tol Goldora
Regions: 42
Over by: 6
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

pcw27

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 918
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #9: May 29, 2019, 05:33:09 PM »
So this change was implemented a while ago and almost no one even noticed because it was not enforced on existing alliances. Until some existing alliances had to be reshuffled and it turned out that once enforced this change was a massive kick in the gut for many people.

Guys. I understand that realms gravitating to two huge blocs and engaging in massive wars South Isle style (which sorta happens on all continents atm) is not how the game was supposed to work. But I really don't think blunt solutions like simply restricting alliance size is the right decision here.
Just like simply cutting continents in half was not the right solution for player density issues.
The fact is that restrictions always detract from the game. Let's try something else.

There are just so many ways to keep the wars local and prevent neverending world wars. I don't think this should even be about alliance sizes. There have to be more subtle solutions.
Just off the top of my head - if a realm declares war on someone it does not share borders with or is just way too far away in general, hit their population with increased morale malus over time, causing unrest and forcing it out of the war eventually. This alone will prevent the "pile-on" wars.
Or increase the "fighting away from home" malus on soldiers/increase pay the farther the troops march from own realm's borders.

I just really think soft caps are better than hard caps. The game is alwats more fun when it's about decisions, not just restrictions. Arbitrary restrictions make people feel frustrated and leave, decisions actually make the game more challenging so even if some people do feel frustrated they at least don't feel powerless, they can still do what they want to an extent.
I don't want people to simply be unable to form whatever alliances they wish. I just want them to have to calculate how long can they afford to wage an overseas campaign to help their ally without destabilising their own realm, for example.

Let's discuss.

I definitely agree with this sentiment. More population control effects are a good idea. As we see in the real world excessive international commitments can lead to a nationalist backlash. If we want to explore the idea further and make it even more player oriented, perhaps large alliance blocks can facilitate the abilities of diplomats and priests (and we should give infiltrators this ability too) to lower opinions of allied realms.

I remember the Northern Astroist Federation a few years back seemed unassailable, yet ultimately political factors caused it to break up. I was in that block playing a character who was in favor of it and yet looked forward to its eventual downfall. There's even a forum thread I started on here "101 Ways to Destabalize the Northern Astroist Federation". If we could make that happen with no new rules to facilitate the process surely we can come up with something better than just an arbitrary limit to keep realms in check.

Zakky

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #10: May 29, 2019, 08:44:25 PM »
I actually like this alliance limit.

It took way too long for the astroist alliance to break up. People will always look for more allies. It is better to force them to choose their allies carefully by setting a limit.

Abstract Logic

  • Knight
  • **
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #11: June 04, 2019, 03:06:55 PM »
I like the alliance size restriction as well but there are negatives to it. The primary negative is that this restricts player agency. Another is the fact that this, currently, only applies to forming an alliance. Once the alliance is formed it can still grow beyond the limit and make for the same situation that is currently had. Which means either a new form of automatically enforcing this will need to be implemented or an occasional manual enforcement. Otherwise, the limit will actually benefit the alliances that grow beyond the limit by weakening their competition.

An alternative idea would be to allow however many alliances people want but instead make penalties (which is what OP mentioned with the topic of soft cap vs this hard cap). For example, once over the limit, all realms in the alliance bloc would have a decrease in acceptable baseline tax rate proportional to how much over the limit they are. Along with that add in some negatives to region morale/loyalty/control and a limit could be more "naturally" enforced. The question would be what would the effective limit be at this point. If the penalties kick in at 33% then when do the penalties become enough of a detriment to break the alliance (50%?) or weaken it enough to allow others to realistically challenge it.

Another alternative is to do a combination of both. A hard cap at say 50% of the island and then a soft cap (start of penalties) hitting all realms at 25-33%.

Zakky

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #12: June 04, 2019, 08:12:32 PM »
Maybe instead of region count, limiting how many players can be in the alliance might be better?

GoldPanda

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 552
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #13: June 06, 2019, 08:44:40 AM »
Alliance bloc above limit: Sirion, Caligus, Nivemus, Eponllyn, Shadowdale, and Redhaven
Regions: 69
Over by: 30

Quote
Your alliance bloc consists of Eponllyn, Caligus, Sirion, Shadowdale, and Nivemus, and in total, holds 67 regions. Your bloc as a whole is currently 30 regions over the limit, and if any realms leave the bloc, they will not be able to return.

Did the limits change again?
------
qui audet vincit

Anaris

  • BM Dev Team
  • Exalted Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 8067
    • View Profile
Re: Alliance Size Restrictions Discussion
« Reply #14: June 06, 2019, 02:19:26 PM »
Did the limits change again?

The limits are, and have been from the beginning, dynamic. They are not a specific number of regions: the limit is 1/3 of the currently human-owned regions on the continent.

So if you just let a few regions go rogue, chances are, you'll still be (roughly) the same amount above the limit, because you will have reduced the number of human-owned regions too.

It can be a reasonable thing to do if you're just a few regions over the limit (though since this is a specific intervention due to grandfathered alliances, that will be effectively irrelevant in the future), but it's never going to get you anywhere if your bloc owns 2/3 of the continent already.
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan