So I just realized it has been over two months since I published an article. Two months. While I have been writing in the State paper and have made my return to the WHPR, a part of me thinks that this isn’t enough. So I have decided to write upon a topic I have been contemplating for quite some time. In my foreign affairs work, I have taken the time to see the strength and weaknesses of the current major alliances, TWO and CoT.
I know what you’re thinking, CoT is losing the war, how can TWO have weaknesses? Where are CoT’s strengths showing through right now? My thoughts don’t totally deal with the military aspect. To deny TWO’s numeric advantage is foolish, and I’m not going to dispute their power on the battlefield. However, I have been taking issue with their structure for quite some time. Most people assume TWO is one giant bloc, but it would be more appropriate to call it TWO/ACT. TWO is only seven countries, whereas ACT is composed of 12. They also have weighted voting: TWO nations get one full vote in decision making while ACT nations only get half a vote (totaling 6 full votes). But I’m not here to complain about a lack of democracy, my complaint is on the issue of clientelism.
Given the structure of TWO, the top nations supply damage for ACT nations, while ACT nations contribute damage to major TWO campaigns or cooperate on military goals (invading countries when requested, providing passage for TWO nations, etc.). This creates a system where ACT countries stay in TWO not for the relationship, but exclusively for the damage. I have no doubt there are sincere connections in TWO (Spoland, SerHun for example), but to a large part it is a business relationship between TWO and ACT countries. These countries collect “debts” that TWO can use to bargain with, and other countries seek to enter TWO not for friendship (countries like Romania, Argentina, and Ukraine are regularly slighted only to continue asking for “friendship”) but solely for the security and damage. Damage should remain a calculation in deciding partnerships, but it shouldn’t be the only reason. It makes the game less about social interaction and more about output and results. It makes the game static and lose an important aspect to its structure. It’s boring, and I am not here to get the highest pay off or deal completely in numbers.
TWO is forgetting what drives the game, and that’s people, not numbers. I could be totally wrong in this critique, but I have never strived in this game to seek returns on investment. TWO is dominant, no doubt, but I worry that this attitude trends towards the demise of the game. I’m not saying that TWO winning kills the game (I don’t lend much to the back and forth of war), I argue that the strategies of suppression and damage output kill the game. Continued wipes, on any side (TWO most guilty), force declining communities into further decline. Killing communities has now become a commonplace strategy in eRep wars. I understand strategy, and that TWO is doing what is in its best interest, but we have to be careful not to make this game more of an Eastern European sandbox then it already is.
But I’m not only damning TWO in this critique. While TWO shifts away from relationships too much, I accuse CoT of shifting too closely. Too often, CoT is controlled by personalities, personal commitments, and partnership. Our success totally depends upon the motivation of our HQ, and its commitment to coordinate nations on military goals. I have seen CoT strong and I have seen CoT weak, and it often lies with a group of 3 or 4 people that change month to month. As the war wages on, we continue to lose committed people motivated enough to run the alliance and keep things together. Over the course of half a year, we have only lost one member from lacking damage (New Zealand and Lithuania left earlier due to TWO commitments), meaning the rest have stayed despite being wiped, attacked, and resisting always. Indonesia and Chile remain our most intact countries, while the eUS, Macedonia, Russia, and Bulgaria have been wiped regularly. Countries stay because they have nowhere else to go. EDEN countries found new homes, mostly in TWO, but now the current makeup prevents us from seeking new waters.
Many decisions made by CoT in the past have been made with consideration to relationships and opinion, and not so much realpolitik. I accuse TWO of being too calculating, but CoT could certainly learn from this. Due to the voting composition of CoT, the smallest countries get the same say as the largest, which is both a blessing and a curse. It prevents one country or a group gaining superiority and imposing the clientelism I mentioned earlier, but it also prevents the larger countries from leveraging their influence. Only recently has CoT been making the kinds of decisions governed by reason rather than feeling, but we are still catching up to the master. We have reached the point where we have lost much of our bargaining power and rely solely on mistakes TWO makes to create openings. This makes us weak. It makes us dependent on our enemy and less upon ourselves. TWO is strong because of its organization, members don’t step out of line (sometimes to a fault), while CoT countries all pursue independent courses half the time.
I realize I’m getting contradictory. TWO is too much of a business, CoT is too much of a party. We could both learn and gain a lot from seeking the middle. I don’t care who wins the war, who comes out on top, or what alliance is “better”. I care about the game remaining viable, and this static back and forth and new diplomacy isn’t allowing the game to grow anymore. I realize there are complaints with administration of the game, but it is also up to us to keep things going if we actually value what goes on here. So ends my rant I suppose. Give comments and thoughts, most of this was stream of consciousness and not edited heavily.
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