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Thread: A Guide to Alliance Culture

  1. #1

    Default A Guide to Alliance Culture

    Crimson Wolf's guide to Alliance Culture


    Culture, often overlooked, is a vital component of Travian. Each Travian alliance has its own culture, its own way of doing things, its own brand. People make assumptions of who you are depending on the alliances you have been in and the alliance cultures you have been exposed to.

    Travian alliances are very conscious of the issue of culture and cultivate it very carefully, some over a very long period of time.... Other alliances kind of stumble upon it and then formalise it. Other alliances fail to establish a strong culture and their members wander around, quit or leave as the alliance withers and dies...

    A deeper understanding of alliance culture enhances the gameplay of a newcomer, enriches the experience of an older player and informs any prospective leader of a future alliance. What I am going to present here is a classification of different alliance cultures, their characteristics and attributes.

    TYPES OF ALLIANCE CULTURE:

    1. The Mongols
    2. La Familia
    3. The Empire
    4. The M&P
    5. The Specialists


    THE MONGOLS
    (also the BIG BOYS; motto “my stuff is my stuff and your stuff is my stuff too”)

    We have all been there... You are building up your village, growing nicely your crops and troops, joining a nice top 40 alliance and then in disbelief within 3 weeks from the start of the server you have visitors! Hordes of rowdy Teuton maces, speedy gaulic TTs, and rather grim legs landing on your village. What surprises you most is not the number of visits (3-4 per day) but the number of troops (10-100 mace; 10-40 TT; 80-100 legs). You check the player profile and see they belong to a one word alliance (often one letter/symbol).

    On the alliance profile you notice the following:

    -The alliance has either no CPs or maybe 1 CP (often their training wings or the defence wing) and they do let you know explicitly that they do not do NAPs! Not now... not in a month... not in half a year... NOT EVER...
    -There is no forum link
    -The alliance profile is full of medals reminding you the united colours of Benetton
    -The wording is rather hostile to all non-members; classic expressions include “We have no pity” “we are coming for you” “thanks to all our farms” “aggressive”
    -The players are rather large pop players who also dominate the raiding, off/def charts of the server

    Characteristics

    You just met a typical representative of the Mongol culture. These alliances tend to be:
    -Teuton-heavy (with the exceptional Roman/Gaul added for variety’s sake).
    -Highly focused on raiding.
    -Very aggressive.
    -Full of players who play 24/7 (that is the only way you can be a top raider)
    -The management structure usually consists of the more competent raiders/players and is quite simplistic.

    They have many of the characteristics of the RL Mongols when they first expanded their empire: fast raids, quick demolition of opposition, highly competent members, quick establishment of communication lines, quick expansion with every newly conquered city becoming the base for the newer expansions.

    What matters when you are a member of that organisation is the size... of your army and the length.... of your village list. Discussions in chats and forums have a similar spirit behind them. Members continuously compare and challenge each other: who has hit the most villages (raiding), has had the highest number of village conquests, and was the smartest in getting lots of raiding in. No wonder it resembles the boyish cultures of investment banking.


    LA FAMILIA
    (also the Mafia; motto “you dare hurt my people!! I will take my revenge, burn your villages, kill your dogs, bury you deep and dance around your grave... twice...!” )

    There you are once again minding your own business... Of course as a member of a Mongol alliance your business is raiding your neighbouring villages (as you do). Then a village you have been harassing for some time suddenly has a very strong defence, obviously reinforced by their mates. Then you get a message from somebody you have never heard of. You check the player and you find is of respectable size and belongs to that same alliance. You realise that he/she is of the management team of that alliance and asks you to leave X member of the alliance alone in a polite yet firm manner. Of course two avenues are open to you: keep attacking or conform. If you keep attacking the case could easily be that you get attacked by almost the whole alliance.

    On the alliance profile you notice:
    -Well written alliance presentation; dominant phrases: “friendly” “active” “well-organised”
    -Small management team
    -Forums often exist; a general message for all Travian visitors with clear descriptions of the contract you would sign joining this alliance
    -Size of members varies greatly;
    -Some medals; mainly Def and climber medals
    -A number of CPs (often one wing), possibly some NAPs but not many, no more than 5-6 in total as these alliances take their CPs, especially, rather seriously
    -Often proud of their history/philosophy they are not shy in their alliance pages about it

    Characteristics

    You just met a Familia alliance. Such alliances tend to be:
    -Balanced in terms of tribes
    -Well-organised and well-run though not as military-like as the Mongols
    -well-structured with dense communication structures
    -Often management focuses around a central figure or two who are charismatic and fundamental for the overall co-ordination (think Godfather...)

    If a member of such alliance you find they are run by a small, tightly knitted group of people. The atmosphere tends to be one of family, relationships among members are warm and communication and having fun together are quite important, sometimes at the detriment of what makes strategic sense or helps win the endgame. RL examples would include mafia organisations, or other code of honour cultures around the globe.

    Mongols and Familias often start wars because mainly of the Mongols’ insistence to keep raiding a Familia member. Once the war starts is usually the familia alliance that is much more committed to it than the Mongols.

    What matters in such an alliance is to get along, to make positive contributions and communicate with others within the alliance and to be perceived as a team member.

    THE EMPIRE
    (also the Old Timers; motto “We are legend; what the donkey’s hoove are you?”)

    There you are; sitting tight and ready to expand to your nth village. And so you do. And the moment you land there you find out you are under attack. You wonder; what is happening?? So soon? No warning? Where are they...? Cannot be that somebody is already there...? Surely you checked and the closest villages were about 7 squares away... The attacks come from multiple players, well-timed and in big numbers. You heard their alliance name before; again and again...

    You check the alliance page; there is not much information available there. You notice:
    -Well outlined management team
    -A number of wings all located in the same quadrant
    -No forum link (usually)
    -Little text; little advertising (they clearly feel they do not need to advertise themselves)
    -Medals are present but are not many (per wing)
    -Players are of variable sizes and strengths

    Characteristics:

    You probably just met the Empire. Characteristics of such alliances are:
    -Low publicity in server ranks and in their alliance pages
    -High number of alliance wings all similarly organised
    -High and intricate levels of organisation. They make compartmentalisation of information and activity a real art!
    -An external forum
    -Highly organised and ruthless off/def tactics
    -Calm and confident in decision-making

    The Empires’ culture is strong, their organisation is impeccable and the sheer atmosphere of quiet confidence and calm before the storm is seductive. This kind of alliance is different from the Familias and the Mongol alliances. First of all Empires are much less volatile, they don’t do things out of passion (whether of Mongolian aggression or of familial ties). They are methodical organised and they have a PLAN. No matter what happens in the short term they stick to the PLAN, even if they lose some villages on the side, enter short term wars and face adversity. Such alliances have a certain aura of purpose, a certain feel of confidence that they will prevail in the end. That kind of aura is impossible to imitate, is the aura of experience, the certainty that you are entitled to fight for the endgame, the Travian world OWES it to you... Modern Real Life equivalents could be found in very large and established corporations like IBM, General Electric or the large Petroleum companies.

    These alliances do nothing accidentally. If they engage in war they use superior numbers to overwhelm the Mongols and organised quadrant-wide attacks to take out the Familias. Very often they ally with one or two strong Familias, a potent combination; or use a Mongol alliance to subdue all potential enemies while they are simmering and preparing massive armies in WW sites for the endgame. The latter kind of arrangement is rare though; Mongol alliances tend to despise Empires. The organisation and single-mindedness of such Empires just ticks the Mongol tendency for anarchy, pillage and raiding. One of the most common warfare types in Travian is between an Empire and a Mongol alliance where, to everybody’s mirth, 200 to 300 players poise against max. 40 players. In the long run is usually the Empire that wins IF the players don’t lose confidence to the Empire’s leadership.


    MOM & POP alliances (M&P)
    (also the Lost Travians; motto “don’t know where we are going, don’t know what to do...”)

    You raid that chap for the 100th time and you notice he just entered an alliance. You wonder who would take a player who lost to you during the 2nd week of the server an approximate 10,000 res. They do have a funny name often quite long... Yes you nod wisely you know these alliances, seen them before, different names, different leaders but still the same kind of alliances! You just found a treasure; an alliance full of farms! With glee you prepare raids for another 10 players (the number of players in your “friend’s” alliance).

    On the alliance page you will find:
    -Fun graphics
    -A ridiculous number of CPs and NAPs; you would truly think that the world loves them...
    -Fun text; often incorrect grammar; hastily prepared material
    -The larger players are not part of the management team

    Characteristics

    To be frank I don’t know much about this kind of alliance. I never joined one nor I intend to... From word of mouth they tend to be disorganised and full of noobies. I have to mention them though as a great number of alliances in every server are not just any kind of alliances, they are M&P alliances .

    They tend to have:
    -Weak management structure
    -Lots of yellow dots
    -Inexperience in off/def
    Culture is weak or non-existent and little thought has been put with regards to the organisation of the alliance.

    I bet you all find them fun to raid...

    THE SPECIALIST
    (also the professionals; motto: “we do one thing and we do it really, really well”)

    Sometimes you are bored... There you are, raids are still not back (damn the rally point limits) and most of the alliance is not around, well at least the ones you would prefer to talk to. So you look at the rankings as we all do. And discover a weird alliance, very small maybe 6-16 members strong but when you check the stats they are good, sometimes impressively so. So you visit the alliance’s profile and the weirdness continues. On the profile you see:

    -Claims of a close knitted alliance; key words: “fun”, “old friends”, “long time together”
    -Few graphics and a small management team
    -Good members; some individual medals either off or def

    Characteristics

    It is hard to know much about such alliances. I was lucky that my alliance absorbed such an alliance once for a short period of time. Thus I had a brief exposure on how they were organised. The claims to old friends and a close-knitted structure are not to be taken lightly. Such alliances can be dangerous as their costs of co-ordination are very low (i.e. it is easier to organise 10 players than 50 or 200) and if they consist of experienced players they can inflict much pain, even to empires. In RL the equivalent is a small professional, innovative firm facing a large corporation. In Travian as in RL sometimes small and nimble is powerful.

    Such alliances tend to have:
    -Continuous communications
    -Very close connections and relationships among members
    -Low co-ordination costs and little need for formal managerial structures
    -Fast response times


    SO WHAT?

    I am sure you recognise most of these alliances. And you probably wonder what is the point ...?

    Broad classifications allow for comparisons. We do that kind of classification instinctively anyways. What I have done here is to give names and general characteristics. To know the general characteristics of each alliance type allows you to predict to some extent the organisational characteristics and culture of a Travian alliance when you first meet them as a new player or as an alliance player/leader in a server.

    On a single player level

    For a player a quick recognition of the type of alliances the players in their neighbourhood belong in helps in multiple ways. For example when you face a Mongol member any communication should be polite yet firm and respectful with a tad of arrogance (status is everything for them and arrogance is something they respect); at times you have to show teeth...

    If you face a familia member they tend to be quite respectful of decent folk and will respond well to a polite letter. They don’t like as much arrogance though (honour is important for them). If you face an empire well... “Resistance is futile”. They will negotiate only if the communication furthers the established goals. Otherwise prepare for assimilation or join a Mongol/Mafia alliance and start hitting them fast and hard. Different cultures, different approaches when you communicate with them, different ways to treat their players.

    On an alliance level

    At a higher level of gameplay it is important for prospective leaders to be aware of the kind of alliances they wish to create and how to manage their alliance culture and internal communications. This guide provides the first such guidelines on how to create an internal culture and management style that would be instantly recognisable to prospective recruits.

    Furthermore, for the discerning leaders out there this guide gives a first inkling on how to fight enemy alliances, militarily and diplomatically. It helps leadership teams first to understand themselves and second to understand the alliances around them.

    In war:

    1. If your alliance faces an empire: if both sides are equally well-organised the Empire will win any time simply because they have the numbers, patience and time on their side and they can afford to lose players and troops. In fact, the best way to win an empire is to undermine the trust Empire players have to the empire's leadership. This is done using IGMs and continuous harrasment tactics as well as making sure to damage key people in the empire's structure. Well organised defences and well-timed offences combined with propaganda and behind the scenes talk make the empire falter (think s1 Boom when it faced the OG in 2009; s4 WR when it faced HATE in 2010 etc...).

    2. The simplest way to bring down mafias is actually by either killing off the core group that forms the Mafia's heart or convince that same core to join your alliance instead. Once the heart goes you can plunder the players and resources of the rest of the alliance. Unfortunately because loyal ties are strong in such alliances there are no simpler ways.

    3. The Mongols are very fragile, especially in the early stages of the game:

    a. Mongol alliances are offence oriented they have very few defence troops. If they go to war they often have to rely on defence from external alliances and often those alliances may well be far away. As a result their defences tends to be slow, cumbersome and costly.

    b. For Mongols their hammers are the single most important thing. Thus a Mafia/Empire should focus on creating good solid defences or on wiping out the origin villages of those hammers when the hammer is on the road.



    Follow-up

    If you wish to explore some of the basic rules of Travian communication which are particularly relevant to the culture and diplomacy of the alliance please do explore this fabulous communication guide written by Iwind (February 2010) that augment some of the points already made here about Travian communications and gameplay:

    http://www.travianstrategy.com/commu...on-in-travian/

    Good Gaming to All,

    CW
    Last edited by Crimson Wolf; 14 Jul 2011 at 01:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Self-professed Genius SummerMcLovin's Avatar
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    This was a pretty interesting guide, more to do with the perception of the game than how to play it. A nice change in my opinion, and similar in parts to the guide I have thought about writing on creating and running an alliance. Nice to see I would be said to run a Mafia-style alliance as well
    Good work!

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    New Poster Hopz's Avatar
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    This was probably the best thing i have ever read about traivan, loved it

    I am very interested in the culture of alliances and some people really do not realise the effect of it on other alliances and the members inside that alliance. Great work

    What i also like about this was that you gave the different cultures apprpriate names, for example: Mongol, the Mongols were massive hoards of pillages that on top of taking the resources of other nations managed to kill thousands and destroy so many buildings, all under the power of gengis kahn. Thank god persia new what they were doing and finished them off for good, anyway, this relates massivly to alliances like ASBO and there training wing.

    I am personally a La Famila player, every alliance i have created in the past that has succeeded has been exactly like this, if it didnt succeed it would obviously be a M&P alliance. But i think LF alliances are the best.

    Here is my Example of the alliances for S3

    Mongols: ASBO
    La Famila: NLG, NLG II
    Empire: The Coalition
    MOM & POP: H.O.W (Hogs of War)
    Specialists: ~WK~

    God dam it i love this guide
    ~ H0pZ

    Server 3: A Once Proud Member of N|G II (NLG II) Now a Member of TC CBC

    Sever 1: A Proud Member of an Alliance we have not chosen the name yet for

  4. #4
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    You should rename M&P alliances n00b alliances. You also missed them from IGM style, although I suppose you probably won't get any from them.
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  5. #5

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    Thanks for the kind words and being there myself I broadly agree with your classification of the S3 SE. ...

    With regards to M&P.. Well I liked the idea that M&P sounds like M&S; you know..:

    "This is not just an alliance; this is an M&P alliance "
    Last edited by Crimson Wolf; 18 Apr 2010 at 04:19 PM.

  6. #6
    Self-professed Genius SummerMcLovin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crimson Wolf View Post
    With regards to M&P.. Well I liked the idea that M&P sounds like M&S; you know..:

    "This is not just an alliance; this is an M&P alliance "
    The M&P alliance fits more with the others as real-life cultures, whereas a n00b alliance is a gaming culture. Good choice to make the M&P

    Any opinions expressed on this forum are my own, as my position does not force me to say anything.
    If I didn't support the crew before, I wouldn't have joined them to support you and the domain.
    After going through my own posts, I see the only award I got runner-up for (Newcomer) doesn't even apply to me...

  7. #7

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    One thing I find interesting about alliance members is how many people will stick with the same alliance server after server, and during conversation with them show complete and utter loyalty to them. Whilst this is nice, its weird, and (IMO) wrong that they shouldnt try other alliances to see different, (and better) ways of doing things
    I need help, not ridicule!

  8. #8
    Well-Known MemberWell-Known MemberWell-Known MemberWell-Known Member Cait's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizzy View Post
    One thing I find interesting about alliance members is how many people will stick with the same alliance server after server, and during conversation with them show complete and utter loyalty to them. Whilst this is nice, its weird, and (IMO) wrong that they shouldnt try other alliances to see different, (and better) ways of doing things
    I did my first 3 servers with the same alliance - a small alliance which would probably fit into the specialist or family type alliance ... I was fortunate on my first server finding them and them tolerating my constant inane questions... then as I learned stuff my constant nattering about the new stuff I had learned. Being part of that alliance hasnt stopped me meeting new people and learning from them - in fact it's made it possible - through the diplomacy necessary at end game I've made contacts and learned from people in other alliances - but always from the position of bringing something myself to the table - namely my very solid defensive alliance.

    Im going awol next server - with precisely the idea to play with some other people and learn new stuff. So I dont entirely disagree with you....

    But one of the joys of travian is forming close bonds of loyalty - over and above your individual account - not only is this a joy - but its ALSO a learning opportunity - HOW you play travian to a great extent depends on how well you know your co players and how much you can rely on them (and what their flaws and weaknesses are too)

    If you alliance hop you dont get that depth of experience in my view. Nor do you get the opportunity to work out dealing with people of different abilities and seeing them grow and improve in travian if your connections are broken up each server.

    If you alliance hop then inevitably your biggest committment is going to be to your own account .... This could potentially lead to a narrowers view as a player will potentially focus inwardly rather than outwardly if they havent developed long term trust and understandings with their alliance members.

    I *love* learning from the new people I meet along the way - but being in an alliance has actually created the opportunities for me to do that - not stifled it.

    Snofooz

    (edited for typos and pedantry about verbiage)
    Last edited by Cait; 18 Apr 2010 at 10:12 PM.

  9. #9

    Default NOOB allaince

    I enjoyed this guide.

    I have been in those empire allainces and I hated it. They played like it was a science. They took all the fun out of it. Worse was the monguls a bunch of around clock players with out a social life. The monguls are sad people. I feel bad for them.

    After playing in the Empire allaince I quit playing for six months. This is a game and should be fun. I find both the empire and monguls tiresome.

    The most fun I ever had was playing in a mofia style alliance the problem was there was a lot of noobs and didn't understand the game. But we pulled together a def. and fought hard to save the weak.

    This is a good resource and should be read.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by snofooz View Post
    If you alliance hop then inevitably your biggest committment is going to be to your own account .... This could potentially lead to a narrowers view as a player will potentially focus inwardly rather than outwardly if they havent developed long term trust and understandings with their alliance members.

    ....and other stuff

    Well, I guess by your definition Im an alliance hopper. Only had 2 servers under the same alliance and that was when I ran FAT. However during any particular server, Im fully commited to the alliance Im in. I find this allows me to see a wider range of playing styles, and I can still talk to people from old alliances. At present Im only in an alliance because the quests make it sensible to join one, (shhhh, dont tell them that) but I'll help them out as much as I can until they (inevitably) fall apart
    I need help, not ridicule!

  11. #11
    Junior Gaul Member Toby's Avatar
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    This is great

  12. #12

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    I think the kind of alliance hogsbutt is talking about is a mom+pop.
    the reason he has not enjoyed playing as a mongul is probably that he could not keep up with the pace...which as we know is fast and angry.
    I have played many styles.... I have won servers with Empires like Fusion and TST... been in mafia teams like Tempest... played mongul with ASBO ect ect...
    all I can say is no matter what the style of alliance you are with, you make your own fun with the game.
    at the moment playing with a team that is more of a cross between Mongul and something else and find this style of alliance the best... because Hogsbutt we all do have a life, that is why we have Dual's, and no it is deffo not tiresome...you must be a noob to say so.
    As for hopping alliances goes....if you are unhappy with the alliance you are with and think yourself worthy of a place in a better alliance then go for it...whats wrong with trying to better yourself....
    there is nearly always a few players that stay together server after server....but usually not always in the same alliance and sometimes not even the same culture style.... however Duals who have a great trust with each other will often play as partners for years whatever culture style'd alliance they choose to join.
    all these styles of alliance culture have thier pro and cons (except for hogsbutt's M+P style)and all should be tried and enjoyed to the full.
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  13. #13
    Carto-geek Roman MemberRoman Member Fhuaran's Avatar
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    This guide is fantastic, I only just noticed it - totally debunks all the baseless rhetoric you see on alliance front pages. Kind of tongue-in-cheek but I still think it deserves a spot on the approved guides forum.

  14. #14
    Active MemberActive MemberActive Member Alex50036's Avatar
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    It's a great guide and a timely one to I am starting my own alliance and has given me something to think about
    The legend of Alex!



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  15. #15

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    So A.S.H. is a familly

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by hogsbutt View Post
    I enjoyed this guide.

    I have been in those empire allainces and I hated it. They played like it was a science. They took all the fun out of it. Worse was the monguls a bunch of around clock players with out a social life. The monguls are sad people. I feel bad for them.

    After playing in the Empire allaince I quit playing for six months. This is a game and should be fun. I find both the empire and monguls tiresome.

    The most fun I ever had was playing in a mofia style alliance the problem was there was a lot of noobs and didn't understand the game. But we pulled together a def. and fought hard to save the weak.

    This is a good resource and should be read.
    Nice guide. @ Hogsbutt it sounds like you was in an M&P alliance. Also your remarks are a tad offensive. In a Mongul & Familia alliance everyone is dead for about 8 hours away from you, therefore you CAN have a life without worrying about being attacked, because you have put in the effort to make your area safe. Some M&P alliance might take a pop at you but you already know you dont need to worry about them.

    Talking of sad, the GF was a bit annoyed with me, when on a 20 mile cycle ride I announced we had to stop so that I can feed my troops... I wasnt supposed to be playing! & she was even more annoyed with me when I announced a bit later that we needed to cycle back a bit to the last place I could find an internet connection in order to make my alloted attack slot!!! However she was placated when I let her go on FB to moan about me doing it

    So maybe I'm a bit sad for carting my laptop about with me, but it means I also have a social life, I got some funny looks when I logged on to Trav whilst watching Blink182 at Reading this year. So don't feel bad for me cuz I enjoy being high up in the rankings not getting attacked & having a social life even if it does mean I have to miss that dance with that pretty girl cuz she doesnt approve of me feeding my troops in the middle of the nightclub... obviously not the girl for me!
    Is the pub open yet ???

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ssscrudddy View Post
    Nice guide. @ Hogsbutt it sounds like you was in an M&P alliance. Also your remarks are a tad offensive. In a Mongul & Familia alliance everyone is dead for about 8 hours away from you, therefore you CAN have a life without worrying about being attacked, because you have put in the effort to make your area safe. Some M&P alliance might take a pop at you but you already know you dont need to worry about them.

    Talking of sad, the GF was a bit annoyed with me, when on a 20 mile cycle ride I announced we had to stop so that I can feed my troops... I wasnt supposed to be playing! & she was even more annoyed with me when I announced a bit later that we needed to cycle back a bit to the last place I could find an internet connection in order to make my alloted attack slot!!! However she was placated when I let her go on FB to moan about me doing it

    So maybe I'm a bit sad for carting my laptop about with me, but it means I also have a social life, I got some funny looks when I logged on to Trav whilst watching Blink182 at Reading this year. So don't feel bad for me cuz I enjoy being high up in the rankings not getting attacked & having a social life even if it does mean I have to miss that dance with that pretty girl cuz she doesnt approve of me feeding my troops in the middle of the nightclub... obviously not the girl for me!
    Fair play to you sah!

    except the Blink-182 bit! You were zoning out of the out of tune singing? How could you? Was one of the most fun nights there lol

    Although to be fair, my alliance sitter apparently forgot to log on whilst I was at reading, so maybe taking a laptop wouldn't have been such a bad idea...
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  18. #18

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    I was actually supposed to be working at the time, serving beer in the main bar near the stage. But I sneaked out (with 2 free pints) to watch them, & at the same time logged in to feed the troops... about 2 mins on Trav!
    Is the pub open yet ???

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopz View Post
    This was probably the best thing i have ever read about traivan
    Ditto :-) Certainly the best for a long time. Good combination of info and situations that are familiar to all. Nice work :-)

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