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BL Alliance Land Claims: An Early Guide

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Jejune View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Jun 2015 at 21:30
The recent launch of the alliance land claim experiment in the Broken Lands has led to several different claim types, and plenty of debate and conjecture about the idea itself. Proponents and opponents of the idea alike have agreed that some claims clearly have more veracity than others, and coming from my own personal perspective, I've seen a varying degree of care and planning put into all of the claims. Some claims have been painstakingly crafted over weeks and months, while others were "slapped up" on the map in a bid to share in the fun of experimenting with the idea.

In a sandbox game, players and alliances are free to do as they please, and if claiming lands enhances their gaming experience, then they have every right to do so -- even if their claims are not well-planned. That being said, there are consequences for all actions, and a poor claim may very well lead to negative consequences, both for the alliance and for the initiative as a whole. With that in mind, I thought it might be a good time to offer an early guide to alliance land claims in the Broken Lands. 

Until or unless the game developers deploy features in the game such as the Pathfinding package or other facility for claiming lands, there is no standard, recognized criteria for certifying or legitimizing alliance land claims, including the BL alliance land claim map. As such, the gaming population itself determines the veracity of a claim, which is only revealed by an alliance demonstrating two key elements: foundation and enforceability.

Foundation

For the purposes of staking an alliance land claim, the term "Foundation" refers to geographical and political justifications for the size, scope and policies that govern the claim. Alliances must discern the grounds for their claim carefully, since the rest of the global community will intensely scrutinize it (and rightfully so), playing a major role in the claim's acceptance and authenticity at the outset. 

There are two components to foundation: city concentration within the claim, and city potency within the claim. To date, there is no established math for how many cities within a certain block of squares would be compelling enough to stake a claim. Opponents of alliance land claims might suggest that cities must be necessarily concentrated so that the 10-square rule applied between them creates an implicit, de facto land claim. Proponents would argue that an alliance land claim can include tracts of lands where allied cities still leave gaps between the 10-square rule.

For alliances who are claiming lands that do not have the concentration of cities to implicitly warrant a claim, then does your alliance at least have enough cities -- or enough potent cities (cities with sprawling sovereignty for example, and/or demonstrative population and military prowess) to show a preponderance of justification for your claim? 

As an example, if Alliance A is claiming a tract of land and it has 7 small towns in it, and the same tract of land is also home to Alliance B who has 26 well-developed cities with sovereignty, what then is the foundation for the claim? How can Alliance A's claim be supported enough to be acknowledged? It likely will not, and as soon as Alliance B decides to ignore the claim and wantonly build within Alliance A's claim, A is then forced to concede their claim, since enforcement is likely impossible.

There are, however, exceptions to the rule that city concentration establishes the authenticity of a claim. As an example, if Alliance A had 7 cities with clear military sov and large standing armies, and Alliance B had 26 tiny settlements, in a case like this, potency may outweigh concentration.

There is one more consideration to Foundation that mitigates both city concentration and city potency: terrain. In the Broken Lands, there are wide swaths of land -- entire regions, even -- that are universally seen as "poor real estate" in terms of their food squares, sovereignty bonuses, poor defensive position, or all of the above. Other tracts of land are completely impassible and cannot be settled at all. Small alliances with small cities can conceivably claim foundation for their claim in "wasteland" regions that are sparsely populated and altogether undesirable, arguing that more overall land must be claimed to capture ample spots for future growth.

These are the considerations that alliances need to make when establishing Foundation for their alliance land claim.

Enforceability

The potency-related example in the section above transitions into the other key factor in establishing an alliance land claim: can your alliance enforce it? Explicit enforcement of a land claim requires a military force capable of removing cities and defending the alliance's existential right to make the claim if challenged. This is the first capability that an alliance needs to discern before deciding on a claim, as well as deciding the size of their claim. Again: a large claim with few cities can only be reasonably enforced if the cities have demonstrative potency to do so.

However, there is more to enforceability than military might. Enforceability is implicitly based on policy, not military. So far in the Broken Lands' experiment with land claims, we've seen a broad spectrum of policy models developed, which give alliances different enforcement thresholds. Here are some of them:

  • SIN's claim only grandfathered in cities into its claim, which means that all non-aligned cities that appear are subject to the alliance's enforcement policy. This is perhaps the most hard-line policy, and one that would require city concentration, potency, and a full range of diplomatic and military assets to enforce the policy.

  • T-SC's claim grandfathered in players into its claim, and allowed players to continue to add cities, so long as they remain in an area local to their original cities. They also allowed for new players to apply entrance into the claim as well, making a decision on a case-by-case basis. This is a softer enforcement that mitigates confrontation with longtime inhabitants within their claims, but still puts a freeze on new cities exodusing or settling in.

  • TVM's land claim used a hybrid model that established a more traditional claim in its heartland, but allowed for a softer "no-claim zone" around it's claim, which is completely free for any and all players to settle or exodus into. The no-claim zone only prohibited other alliances from staking claims within it.

What is essential in enforceability is whether or not an alliance can enforce the policy. As an example, as alliance may be able to enforce a hard-line claim in a very small, confined space, but could never extrapolate that hard-line policy out to a claim 4 times the size. Conversely, TVM's "no claim zone" policy could be enforced in a much larger space, since it neutralizes the possibility of dealing with a multitude of individual claim violations and only enforces alliance vs. alliance claim issues.

The Role of Diplomacy

Finally, diplomacy is essential is establishing an enforceable land claim, both on the front end and back end of the process. For the front end, alliances need to identify the other stakeholders in their claim that are outside of their alliance or confederation, and seek dialogue to gauge the political climate surrounding their claim. It is well documented that several of the current claims have gone to great ends to ensure they had policies and boundaries in place that were acceptable to other stakeholders. Obviously, pleasing all of the people all of the time is an impossibility in the real world and in the world that our game comprises, but an alliance needs to make a good-faith effort to do everything it can to work with stakeholders and take their concerns into account when forming policy.

Once the policy is launched, alliances certainly are free to act on that policy in whatever manner they please -- this is a sandbox game, after all. That being said, to ensure the viability of a claim, alliances need to be able to engage a diplomatic process with claim violations, making involuntary removal a final course -- not the first.

Important Questions

To conclude, these are the takeaway questions that alliances need to consider before staking their claim:

1. Do I have grounds to make my claim? Do I have ample city concentration and/or potency to match the size of my claim?

2. Is my claim reasonably enforceable?

3. Does my policy reflect the size of my claim and my ability to enforce it?

4. Does my policy include a process that escalates towards resolution of claim violations?

5. Have I made a good-faith effort to contact and dialogue with stakeholders in my proposed claim?

It is my hope that these questions and considerations might help to further evolve the alliance land claim initiative in the Broken Lands toward the most inclusive gaming structure possible. For those who embrace and oppose the idea alike, I sincerely thank you for your participation in this new gaming dimension for Illyriad, and for helping to write what will hopefully become an interesting, new chapter in the evolution of the game.


Edited by Jejune - 21 May 2016 at 10:17

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Jane DarkMagic View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Jane DarkMagic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 2015 at 21:37
I think this is a great guide for anyone thinking about a land claim.  I hope future potential land claimers will take it seriously as well as those that might currently have indefensible claims.  Good work!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wartow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jul 2015 at 19:13
Feel free to move my response if there is a better location for this discussion... I only felt the answers to these question could help amend the above guide.

What does a land claim say about the resources of the claimed area?  Are they off limits to harvesting to others?  Or do the same accepted harvesting rules apply to all players?  The word harvest occurs exactly zero times in the original post and appears to be a concern that has been ignored when brought forward.

Does a land claim imply that the claiming alliance will ONLY expand within its claimed area?  Or can members of the alliance set up in other locales to maintain access to key resources (herbs, minerals, anatomies) not local to the claim area?

Many active players have two accounts.  It is also commonplace for those two accounts to be in two different alliances.  Can someone operate a main/alt in a claiming alliance and yet the alt/main be un-associated or unaccountable in regards to the actions of the other account?  I guess the scenario that I envision again goes back resource access.  If the account in the claiming alliance is bound to the claimed area is the second account is free to establish elsewhere and can feed/farm for the first account?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Diva Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jul 2015 at 19:23
In my opinion.. Things might have gone smoother had LC's said homeland instead of Land Claim.. and not put up fences. And forced removal for future landings ... and all the terminology of what that meant. Makes land claiming look like the fences were impenetrable, no discussion about it, and that it excluded. Which in part, might, in the future,  castles are placed within the alliance, and including it's confeds and training and trading alliances for the land claim totally impart no room in the land claim area.

But there has never been even a vague harvesting policy for those not in the land claim (as in certain harvesting policies on alliance pages and profiles), yet some of LC's people are allowed to harvest anywhere, free lands of ILLY. And also have cities in Elgea (not land claimed) and other parts of Broken Lands not IN their homeland.

That, my friends, if homeland/Land claims hold true.. is the double standard and I am against it. 


Edited by Diva - 04 Jul 2015 at 19:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Han Dynasty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jul 2015 at 21:30
Originally posted by Wartow Wartow wrote:

Feel free to move my response if there is a better location for this discussion... I only felt the answers to these question could help amend the above guide.

Most certainly :)
Originally posted by Wartow Wartow wrote:

What does a land claim say about the resources of the claimed area?  Are they off limits to harvesting to others?  Or do the same accepted harvesting rules apply to all players?  The word harvest occurs exactly zero times in the original post and appears to be a concern that has been ignored when brought forward.

Unless its mentioned in the CL itself, it doesn't. If it is not mentioned in the LC then it should be reasonable to expect the LC alliance is not staking a claim on the natural resources within the area, rather only why they can reasonably occupy with their armies and whatever lays within ten squares of one of their towns. 


Originally posted by Wartow Wartow wrote:

Does a land claim imply that the claiming alliance will ONLY expand within its claimed area?  Or can members of the alliance set up in other locales to maintain access to key resources (herbs, minerals, anatomies) not local to the claim area?

LC alliances desire land to grow their alliance accounts. It is in their very best interest to settle within their LC, else the LC and all the negative attention they got from placing it comes as a waste. I imagine if we encounter LC alliances that grow beyond their original LC we may find expansions, but who is to know. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Han Dynasty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jul 2015 at 21:35
Originally posted by Diva Diva wrote:

In my opinion.. Things might have gone smoother had LC's said homeland instead of Land Claim.. and not put up fences.

You'd be surprised that some have considered announcing it as a declaration of Homeland. However, it would still be challenged, albeit is sounds less aggressive. While the LC themselves forbid settlement in the areas, I imagine you'll find special circumstances to settle allowed by the LC alliances. 

Originally posted by Diva Diva wrote:

 And forced removal for future landings ... and all the terminology of what that meant. Makes land claiming look like the fences were impenetrable, no discussion about it, and that it excluded. Which in part, might, in the future,  castles are placed within the alliance, and including it's confeds and training and trading alliances for the land claim totally impart no room in the land claim area.


But there has never been even a vague harvesting policy for those not in the land claim (as in certain harvesting policies on alliance pages and profiles), yet some of LC's people are allowed to harvest anywhere, free lands of ILLY. And also have cities in Elgea (not land claimed) and other parts of Broken Lands not IN their homeland.
 


I strongly believe that if a harvesting policy is not mentioned within the LC, then there isn't one. LCs for some are purely an opportunity to centralize and build up a core stronghold for their alliance, with minimal outside presence. That is how it is for Shu-Han, though it may differ to other alliances. I can see your concern however, and I hope that LC alliances that do intend on securing all natural resources within their LCs will clear up any confusion. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Diva Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2015 at 04:19
 
 
[/QUOTE]By Han Dynasty
  • I strongly believe that if a harvesting policy is not mentioned within the LC, then there isn't one.
  • though it may differ to other alliances. I can see your concern however, and I hope that LC alliances that do intend on securing all natural resources within their LCs will clear up any confusion. 
[/QUOTE]

The first point ... about the harvesting policy --- is that ALL of the LC's stance.. doubt it, and I can't come into LC and park an army on a mine nor herbal conquest can I? I can call it mine, until a LC decides to take me off, ON purpose because it's within LC territory. Best case scenario would be to claim that would happen in the free part of ILLY as well. Yeah right.. wink wink. But if I fought back for my claim, then I have the wrath of the state alliance upon me, yes, no? Perhaps saved by paying taxes??? or a portion of my harvest??? Extortion at it's best by a WHOLE alliance.

As Wartow also brought up, most people do have two accounts.. not all.. and because the game mechanics and personal options say you can do anything you want with it.. it does bring up the double standard again... or split personalities within the game. (Main or alt not in LC alliance) One that is free to feed the LC alliance, and you know it will happen, denial is a river in Egypt, and of course the LC account. And I don't have a valid reason to know anyone's alt/main should they not declare it, it can't be policed, obviously a WIN WIN for LC's.

Stop pouring muddy water on me, trying to convince me it's rain.. from 'You' by Bill Withers

Now we have a beginner's guide to Land Claiming... chortle, snort, smh


Edited by Diva - 05 Jul 2015 at 04:32
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Raco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2015 at 08:54
In case of doubt, just ask to alliance leaders about havesting policies.

Also remember that there are other alliances cities inside claimed territories, and as far as I know, they can harvest with the same problems as if they weren't in a claimed land.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jejune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2015 at 10:49
Originally posted by Wartow Wartow wrote:


What does a land claim say about the resources of the claimed area?  Are they off limits to harvesting to others?  Or do the same accepted harvesting rules apply to all players?  The word harvest occurs exactly zero times in the original post and appears to be a concern that has been ignored when brought forward.



I think that's entirely up to the alliance that is enforcing a claim, since the creation of the claim policy would dictate this. I cannot speak for other land claiming alliances, but for SIN, we don't even address it in our claim. Players are free to hunt and harvest on squares in our land claim; for us, the policy is about settlement.

Originally posted by Wartow Wartow wrote:


Does a land claim imply that the claiming alliance will ONLY expand within its claimed area?  Or can members of the alliance set up in other locales to maintain access to key resources (herbs, minerals, anatomies) not local to the claim area?


I think that in all land claiming alliances, there are cities outside of the claimed areas. New players who join a claiming alliance, for example, often remain in the n00b ring for a time. Other players might keep one large city in Elgea for trade purposes. Sometimes a claiming alliance picks up a new player in another region, and he/shae has7 or 8 cities that need to be exo'ed into the claim.

My personal opinion, however, is that it is dangerous for players to not be inside their alliance claims, since it exposes them in times of war.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Diva Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2015 at 16:04
Originally posted by Jejune Jejune wrote:

 

My personal opinion, however, is that it is dangerous for players to not be inside their alliance claims, since it exposes them in times of war.

Really? I agree with it whole-heartedly, but realistically, would someone want to war (another alliance) with your homeland? That is bring the war to you? Now you have a base, why would LC war with anyone? 

How many PvP would bring a number of troops to attack someone in their homeland, reinforcement is predictable on a grand scale to make the effort to TRY seem like a suicide mission, or rage quit.. rofl

Now I really don't get the point of homeland. Other than you become the peaceful, farmville, trader nations that LC abhor in Elgea.

Other than planned pvp.. what friction is there for LC? At least having cities elsewhere people could interact on a more fair basis.. I agree siege is hard on a player seriously invested, but not a chance with LC alliances, too much back up exists in clusters of the LC for anyone to try that suicide mission.

And as to harvesting.. great, hope they all have that mission statement, but you all won't be alike,.. and perhaps you are overstating atm, their intent. Not all will enjoy or accept the enter at will if it minimizes what they can harvest.

The only reason there is a war atm from outside alliances .. is the challenge to not agree with it. As yours is to support it, some act on opposition to it. But it is somewhat VERY challenging to oppose it with STATE clusters as mentioned above.

I'm still shaking my head as to the point of what LC is doing ... becoming exclusive, reclusive and sedentary is not something I look forward to. 






"Um diva.... you are sort of acting like a .... diva...." - PhoenixFire
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