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Alliance Spotlight - Achaean's League [ACHE]

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GM Cerberus View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10 Aug 2017 at 00:37
Congratulations go out to the Achaean's League [ACHE] on being our first Alliance Spotlight! We got a chance to interview the Council of Ache to see what the inner workings of a training alliance is like.

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[GM Cerberus]: Every successful alliance has a great origin story, how did ACHE get started?  Did you have a vision ahead of time for where the alliance was headed or did you just fly by the seat of your pants?

[ACHE]: ACHE was founded by four members from World’s End [WE] and was originally called WE Train [WET].  Three of us were Council, and one was the Executive.  He was our bouncer for times when we had difficult members. 

WET was to be the training arm of WE.  One of the four leaders had alliance leadership experience, but the rest of us were learning as we went.  (We missed by one day having the name Another World’s End suggested – that would have been AWEsome!!)

The original reason we decided to have a training alliance was because World's End was full and was the fifth ranked alliance; we could not fit any of the applicants in.  We had so many applicants that it seemed the natural thing to do. Within the first week we knew creating ACHE was the right choice... it turned out that our team of like-minded members all enjoyed training new players more than anything else in the game!
 
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[GM Cerberus]:  I get the impression that ACHE sees a lot of new players, walk me through what my experience would be if I had just joined ACHE as a fresh recruit.

[ACHE]: First, you would get a warm welcome in alliance chat, you will not feel nervous and new for long!  We would assess where you were in terms of building and knowledge.  You would get advice on what to build for general growth and anything that best suits your goals, if you have any yet.  You would get lots of beginner’s advice in chat, most of which is to concentrate on storage capacity, because you will generally be drenched in resources.  Then you would get mega resources sent to you, some randomly by members who happened to be on and some as a formal welcome package from the alliance.  Finally, you would get a very long letter (rivals War and Peace) with lots of advice and recommendations. 
 
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[GM Cerberus]:  Your alliance received an overwhelming amount of nominations, what sets your group apart from others?  Would you consider yourself to be the best training Alliance in Illyriad as your members have claimed?

[ACHE]: We are absolutely the best training alliance in Illy, hands down.  One of the things that sets us apart is our very active alliance chat.  Rarely is it quiet, and when it is a newbie can just shout out and most likely a veteran member will be lurking and come forward to help or to visit.  Our senior members are spread across several time zones, so there is almost always one around.  Not only do we give advice on what players need, but also on why they need them and how to make themselves self-sufficient.  We seek out quiet members and press them to ask questions rather than wait for them to want to talk. 

Another thing is the depth of our training.  Our graduates are always ready to Exodus and Tenaril to a new alliance location and have at least three towns, the third having been gotten by capturing an inactive town.  They are well versed in trade and crafting, and will generally have several well-started commanders who have experience with NPCs, inactive towns and, when available, tournaments.  We hold regular competitions on thieving and on timing exercises for armies. 

We keep members with us until they are fully ready for the Illy world, not just in our assessment but we also consider how they feel about being ready to move on.  Of course, it is always difficult and painful for us to nudge our fledglings out of the nest, but that’s the business of a training alliance.  It never gets easier though.  Our reward is seeing them continue to grow and prosper in the Illy community. 

Players grow very quickly.  We keep their coffers full of resources, provide adv res for army and diplo building.  Our unique method we call the Pipeline brings a player’s main buildings up to level 20 in an hour or two.  This readies them for exodus, military and trade research, and often gives them a level 20 Architects’ Office to move forward with. 
 
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[GM Cerberus]: The Achaean League has a council?  How does that work?  Have you ever had one of the council attempt to stay beyond his tenure and overthrow the rest?

[ACHE]: We communicate among ourselves in a Skype chat box where we discuss important issues, newbie progress, anything that needs full council approval before going before the general membership.  We have a separate chat box kept exclusively for voting so that the results are easily accessible and not likely to be lost in the chatter.  We have a great alliance forum with many spreadsheets.  And we are tooled up with forum links and guides written by other wonderful Illy players... we are so grateful to them and would like them to be acknowledged here with us! 

Not only has no one attempted to stay too long or take over, but we have recently had the council redesigned.  Originally, there was one leader and some subordinate council members, but we changed it to a rotating leadership so that no one person gets burned out on the toils of leading a large and active alliance.  Council has four members who are all considered Olympians, but each month a different one of those four is given the role of Oracle.  Two other council members are our Demigods. 




Edited by GM Cerberus - 10 Aug 2017 at 01:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GM Cerberus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2017 at 01:26
Continued...

The Oracle role is not so much a position of power as one of service.  The holder is a lightning rod for outside contacts and often acts as a chairperson for the Skype room.  The Oracle will delegate to the other Olympians and the Demigods as best suits their abilities.  (The threat of being elected permanent Oracle has been used when a whip is needed!) 

Council is a family.  We are a well-rounded team that works together for the benefit of the alliance.  No need for infighting or coup d’état. 

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[GM Cerberus]:  Does ACHE have any political aspirations in Elgea or the Broken Lands?

[ACHE] We seek only to be an excellent training alliance.  We don’t want to conquer the world.  Our politics include only maintaining good relations with others in Illy, as well as a knowledge of what’s happening among the rest of the alliances.  We hope that through our training focus to reduce some of the anti-training alliance sentiment in the game.  We take our roles seriously; we are not a place for hiding gold farms or hiding from others. 

Due to our contacts in other alliances, we are very qualified to recommend permanent alliances to our graduating members.  One of our members has visited several alliances and is very good at pairing graduates with an alliance that fits their personality.  Since we are an independent alliance, there are no preconceived notions of eventual playing style.  Players can graduate to any alliance that suits them.  We hope this makes us an asset to the players and the other alliances. 


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[GM Cerberus]: As a training alliance you have a lot of influence on the way players play the game, do you encourage any specific play styles or diplomatic mannerisms?  What is your opinion on the diplomatic state of the game?

[ACHE] We are a non-aggressive alliance, as all training alliances should be.  When conflicts arise with players outside ACHE, we resolve them with diplomacy whenever possible.  We involve our player directly in the diplomatic negotiation and this is usually all that is needed.  In a very few cases we have had to counter-attack, but this is generally diplo or magic first.  Counter attacks are never done without council involvement and approval, and they are at a level consistent with the original unprovoked outside aggression. 

New members who have serious military aspirations are trained as all others, but their goals are considered when moving them along to a permanent alliance.  We give them advice and help them level up commanders, but they are not permitted to be aggressive towards any active players.  On occasion, we have brought in experienced players temporarily to give seminars on military play and we have teamed with other alliances to have mini-tournaments for experience. 

We try to guide people through the basic foundations of gameplay and do not encourage or discourage any specific play style.  The style they develop is up to them.  As the players grow and get more cities, they are encouraged to find the path that appeals to them best, whether trading, crafting, diplo or military, and start to specialize their towns accordingly.  One of our biggest messages is patience and planning.  A player with a good plan is well down the road to being successful and having fun.

Illy has changed an awful lot, many more members are leaning towards PvP.   We do not always agree, per se, with all alliances stance and how they go about their game, but if it fits a member to go in that direction - we will set them up to chat with a leader of a PvP alliance and yes we have graduates in Loki too! What we do encourage is to check profiles of players and alliances and instill the illy way of avoiding sov and harvesting within five tiles etc. We believe the polite manners that ACHE members learn early on, go a long way to a long happy life in the game. It never hurts to send a mail. Even if you think you want to raze a neighbour to the newb ring as soon as you leave us! 

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[GM Cerberus]: All great alliances have a fun theme, what's yours?  Do you have a mascot or any imagery you feel represents the Achaean league?

[ACHE]: ACHE has lots of exuberance.  We pride ourselves on our fun and inviting active a/c.  We have mature themes in ACHE and require all members to be at least 18 years old.  The talk in a/c can get quite bawdy at times.  We have a tradition of Pants-off Friday when everyone reports to a/c appropriately unattired and can air their “differences.”  We meet in the virtual fountain at the center of one member’s town and make merry.  Often, we will add day-long themes of making Illy-based memes, trivia questions and limericks.  We always encourage our members to go into battle totally pants-free! 

We also have an event called the Pipeline.  Every new player receives one free Pipeline.  We provide alliance prestige and speed resources to new players when they have high enough levels in a few crucial buildings.  They then instabuild these buildings high enough to unlock several important researches including Exodus and Siege Encampment.  This is a very popular event and is a wonderful thing to experience.  Members, old and new, who are not participating in the Pipe often grab popcorn and a beer and sit quietly in a/c to watch. 

 
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[GM Cerberus]:  Do you have any big success stories of players going on to do great or nefarious things in the world of Illyriad?

[ACHE]: We have had some members that came to us and just plain would not listen or learn. This is partly why we have a minimum age here now. One member we had to ask to leave early.  He made his own alliance and pretty much became a laughing stock.  We would like to think that did not reflect on ACHE though.

Success? Yes... every graduate that moves on to a permanent alliance and continues to play is a success story! We are proud of them all!!   A few of our trainees are so successful that we keep them for ourselves so that ACHE continues to be the best alliance ever!


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[GM Cerberus]:  One of your players mentioned the sheer amount of time you spend answering noob questions on an admittedly complex game, how much of your time do you donate for the betterment of other players?  Do you guys take shifts?

[ACHE]: There are no dumb questions.  Players are highly encouraged to ask in chat knowing that others probably have the same question but are too shy to come forward.  We discourage private chat on subjects that are of general interest. 

The amount of time the council spends in chat will vary, but it is not unusual for them to be online for 12 or more hours a day, often much more.  The council members each do what we can, but we do not do it alone.  We have many other permanent members who contribute in the education and support process.  They are invaluable.  Whoever is in a/c will answer any questions that are asked, or if they don’t know the answer, they will find out and get back to them.  If the questioner is not online any more, the answerer will usually mail them a reply. 


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[GM Cerberus]: If I wanted to join ACHE how would I go about doing so?

[ACHE]: We often spot possible members in g/c.  Any council member or selected senior member, can invite a new player if they show potential.  Some recruits are neighbors or others found through private interactions and recommended to council.  Anyone can write the Oracle and apply.  We ask that they tell us a bit about themselves, such as other games played, specific Illy goals, RL interests and age. 

Potential recruits go through a bit of a vetting process to see if we are a good fit for each other.  We may write back and forth a couple of times before we decide.  Few are rejected, but we look for maturity and interest and intelligent questions. People may notice we are one of few alliances that often have recruitment status set to "Not recruiting" We admire those that try anyway, and often make room for them! 


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[GM Cerberus]: If you could only impart one piece of wisdom to players, what would it be?

[ACHE]: We got input from all six council members, so there is more than one response to this one: 

Ask questions!!! 

Ask lots of questions!  Everyone was a newb once.  Don’t be embarrassed to ask. 

Have fun.  If you are not having fun, you are just wasting your time. 

Have fun.  There is plenty of room for all types of players in Illy.  Figure out what you want to be and go for it. 

Knowledge is power... even if you are not one for chatting in GC, take a look now and then... and click names! Read profiles, check out the alliances, check out the diplomacy pages of the alliances, see who hates who, who likes who, laugh at the drama, educate yourself with folks real life stories, get a feel for the people you are playing this game with. But know when to take a break... illy burn out is always a painful thing...  and RL and family come first!

Finally –

Always go pants-free on Fridays! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eresh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2017 at 00:04
Congrats to ACHE! :) I'm a little jealous of your shiny new bling though... lol
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ten Kulch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2017 at 14:21
Great interview! ACHE does a lot of good for the game.
Check out my blog, Warmongering in Illyriad for self-defense techniques, military city construction, and PvP strategies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lord Stanley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2017 at 06:53
Thank you Eresh and TenK as well as all of you who have congratulated us both publicly and privately.
We do try our best to contribute to the game by providing basic training and resources for growth for new players.  Our greatest reward is when they can then go out and conquer the world either through diplomacy, military expertise, or the mighty coin. We hope we can continue our mission and continue to be an asset to the Illy community for many years to come

We look forward to many other great alliances being celebrated in the future.

Our Best,
The Council of ACHE

Oh and Eresh, Keep your grimy little paws off our medals.
LS
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gragnog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2017 at 19:04
Congratulations to ACHE. Good to see you guys getting some recognition. Those beginning days were fun. Loki is jealous but we know you guys have always been active and doing the good things. Kaggen has mumbled some apologies as well for hitting ACHE sieges in BL but he thinks its good training for you guys as well.
Kaggen is my human half
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