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RHY's Takeover of TRI: A Case Study

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Jejune View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 Aug 2014 at 15:52
I think I've chosen the right forum thread to post this in, as I don't want it to disrupt other more crucial areas of the forum. This is nothing of great importance to the game, but I thought that some of the players might find it interesting.

Upon recently returning to the game, I began to recollect some of the history of the Rhyagelle Alliance (RHY), for which I was a member of for the majority of the my first stint in the game. There are some strong feelings about RHY on both sides, and I don't wish to prosecute them here. Instead, I wanted to present a bit of history -- sort of in the form of a case study -- of an audacious operation that we conducted months before Server War I, wherein we completely removed a largely inactive alliance from Lan Larosh and thus increased our presence in the region in the matter of a week.

I was appointed Rhyagelle's governor in Lan Larosh in the early winter of 2012. At that time, there were less than 5 RHY players in Lan Larosh -- the alliance's heartland was in Meilla. I positioned myself in the dead center of Lan Larosh, and directly to my east what a densely-populated, well established alliance called Triality (TRI)

The TRI alliance came to Illyriad en masse from EverQuest, during the "big Sony hack," as explained in an old forum post. While they were not officially allied with H?, they had very close ties.

As the new governor, I made it a project to familiarize myself with all of the alliances present in Lan Larosh, and TRI was geographically the most significant. I tried to reach out to their leadership multiple times, but they always ignored me. In fact, they never even opened my IGMs. However, over time, I also began to notice that their leadership's populations were not growing. At all.

A Wider View

The lack of activity from the leadership led me to do an audit of other towns in their alliance. Following a couple dozen towns, I soon noticed that none of cities were growing either. The only TRI player who was progressing in population was Joscelin/Acanof (who would later join RHY, and then H?).

Given the fact that I knew TRI had come to the game as a group, I began to suspect that maybe they had left as a group as well, but no one really knew about it. They had dozens and dozens of huge cities, which would be ripe for capture, and their lands were well-placed and strategic. By this time, RHY had moved more players into the center of Lan Larosh, and our capabilities there were growing. Here is an old map that shows RHY in green and TRI in blue, just to give you an idea:



I posed to Finrod -- at that time the leader of RHY -- a clandestine operation to completely scout the entire TRI alliance. It started to occur to me that RHY could completely scout the alliance, understand its defenses, and launch a coordinated invasion to siege literally every city all at once. It was a hugely risky endeavor, given how ultra-sensitive the Illyriad community can be, not to mention TRI's connection with H?, which at the time we had zero diplomacy with. However, if we had gone to GC and forums to ask permission, it would have been a feeding frenzy. If we pulled the operation off, RHY could completely redraw the middle of the Lan Larosh map in a fortnight.

Scouting & Planning

Surprisingly, Finrod gave his blessing for me to commence in scouting, and the operation remained unknown to the vast majority of the alliance. I scouted all 52 of the TRI cities, not including Jos/Acanof's. You can see the old scouting reports here.

Armed with this data, as well as proof positive that no on except for Jos/Acanof was active in the alliance, Finrod was convinced that it was an operation we could move forward on. Finrod reached out to Joscelin and asked him if TRI was active. Jos confirmed that they were not -- he had tried to get a hold of people in the alliance, but to no avail. Finrod confided in Jos our plans and invited him to join RHY. Jos accepted, and his acceptance proved to be critical in the success of the operation.

From this point, RHY announced the operation to the alliance and began to coordinate massive deployments of timed sieges on every city in TRI that was left.

Touch & Go

No matter how timed the operation was, such is Illy that we were never going to be able to overtake TRI without having to confront the community. As the sieges started to be announced in rapid succession on GC, there were a lot of question marks. Were RHY and TRI at war? What's going on?

As we anticipated, no alliance was more alarmed than H?, who had helped TRI gets its foothold in the game. from what I have heard, they were fully ready to break up our sieges. I can tell you that at the time, RHY would have been completely outgunned by H? -- even if we had sent full-on defensive forces to protect our sieges, H? could have completely squashed our sieges in one fell swoop and set the entire alliance back by months.

Fortunately, H? reached out to Joscelin first. Jos was able to explain to H? leadership directly that TRI was indeed inactive, and what RHY's gambit was. H? also managed to get in touch with Dhenna from TRI, who also confirmed they TRI was no longer playing the game.

A Realignment

It took about a week for the majority of sieges to complete, but it was about 3 weeks in total before the operation was over. By and large, it was a complete success: RHY captured or razed virtually every TRI city. There was one TRI player who came back and left the alliance in order to have his cities spared. Another player, Bobo the Clown also signed on and joined us, but never really picked back up playing. Jos went on to be a major player in helping to complete multiple sieges.

In the end, the operation redrew the central Lan Larosh map. This is more or less how it looked just after:



We continued to refer to the region that we overtook as the "TRI province," and the captured TRI towns retained their original names. 

I don't go back farther than August of 2012, but I would imagine that this operation was one of most successful that any alliance ever mounted in picking up cities, territory, and advanced res in such a short amount of time.
 




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Rill View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Aug 2014 at 17:06
Taking over inactive cities is not the same as taking over an alliance.  People other than H? did notice when you started taking over the towns, but since the players were long inactive basically decided it was none of our business.

However, I do object to the idea that taking a few cities is in any way similar to taking over an alliance.

For those who are wondering how this was possible, this occurred during a time before there was account deletion for inactivity, so these accounts were inactive for at least six months or so before the sieges started.

Dhenna was an awesome player, and her contributions to the game can perhaps best be seen in the quest guide on the forum that players still use.

http://forum.illyriad.co.uk/quest-guide_topic2064.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jejune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Aug 2014 at 17:22
Originally posted by Rill Rill wrote:

Taking over inactive cities is not the same as taking over an alliance.  People other than H? did notice when you started taking over the towns, but since the players were long inactive basically decided it was none of our business.

However, I do object to the idea that taking a few cities is in any way similar to taking over an alliance.

Many thanks for your contribution to the thread, Rill.

To both of the points above: admittedly, there's a lack of brevity in the topic headline because I couldn't fit a more nuanced descriptor. But you're right: we didn't"take over the alliance." We took over its cities, its treasure, its region in the game, and its remaining active player, but not the alliance. It isn't as if we subsumed an entire alliance, along with its players. And in this game, the player him/herself is the primary asset. 

As for "People other than H? did notice when you started taking over the towns," I think that point is implicit in my post above. I only highlighted H? in the recollection because they were the ones who were outwardly the most ready to get involved militarily. Perhaps other alliances were prepping to do the same, but we were never made aware of it.

Thanks again!



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anjire Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2014 at 15:44
Why this caused us(H?) some concern:

1) The profile of the RHY alliance stated that they were returning players with the specific intention of being militaristic.  
2) H? members, myself included, had worked very closely with Triality helping them set up in some prime locations in LL a number of the locations extremely close to a few of our members.  
3) Dhenna, the leader of Triality did not give any indication to any of her close Illyriad friends not just H? friends that anything was amiss or that they were leaving Illyriad. 

How H? handled the issue:

1) H? members that had a direct involvement in the issue (close city and/or ties) were asked to post in detail on our forums but to hold off on taking any action.  
2) Leadership of both alliances were contacted.   This did take a few days during which we kept on top of the issue and kept everyone appraised of the situation.
3) In contacting the leadership, the identity of the returning players - specifically the leader Finrod of Rhygelle - was disclosed.  I happened to have a very good prior history with the player that lead to a rapid de-escalation of the event and all the IGM's we shared with each other were still in my inbox.  (I made a habit of none deletion of IGM's up till the last war)
4) Direct contact with Dhenna was made and confirmed their inactive state.  

resulting in this message to Rhygelle and our members:

Greetings,

I have been in contact with Dhenna.  It took a lot of work but I managed to track her down.  Apparently, with the release of the latest EQ content expansion she has been too busy to deal with Illyriad.  Likewise most of their membership.  Since you have done your due diligence regarding tracking, I have advised our members seeking cities to contact and coordinate with you and your alliance to prevent conflicts.  If you have an problems with regards to dual claims please let me know.

I was good friends with most of Triality and I hope you the best with your acquisitions.  It was mentioned that anatheus was still active?  Perhaps this player can find a home amongst your alliance because I am afraid there is about to be a grab fest for any and all Triality players towns.

~Anjire

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jejune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2014 at 16:03
Originally posted by Anjire Anjire wrote:

1) The profile of the RHY alliance stated that they were returning players with the specific intention of being militaristic.

Many thanks for your contribution, Anjire, as it is interesting to get H?'s . I present this event just as an interesting operation, and one that doesn't occur very in the game. However, can you clarify what you mean by "militaristic?" Do you mean that to be simply an alliance that was not a training alliance, or an alliance that was designed to be overtly aggressive as a part of the game we played the game?

If the latter, then I would note that, from the time I joined RHY in the late summer of 2012 until leaving the alliance in the spring of 2013 during the war, the alliance profile never stated that we had a specific intention of being overtly militaristic. I don't have a copy of the old alliance profile to back that up, but I remember when Finrod updated the alliance profile in the fall of 2012, that it presented RHY as a dynamic alliance that certainly left military options on the table in the event of a conflict, but not one that was explicitly militaristic and sought negotiations to conflicts first. In addition, I think that Finrod himself, whom you mention having a "very good prior history with" was indeed a moderate who could work both the diplomatic and militaristic side of the game equally well. At that time, the alliance leadership was composed of both hawks and doves advising Finrod.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Anjire Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2014 at 16:51
I don't have access to any of my IGM's anymore to find an actual quote from the profle.   Additionally, none of the IGM's saved on our forum quote the specifics of the Profile either; however, the communications between a number of different alliance leaders with regards to the word choice on Rhygelle's profile at the time suggest a general concern around the "militaristic" approach as stated.    

Once I found out who the leader was, Finrod, the above issue became moot since I had a more solid basis on which to interpret the profile.   In fact, this prior relationship helped open the doors to a NAP and eventually a confed between Rhygelle and H?.
 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 2014 at 20:12
Ah yes, the infamous "secret confed."  But then that is another story.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GM Rikoo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2014 at 22:54
Moved to this sub-forum per OP request. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anjire Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2014 at 13:48
Originally posted by Rill Rill wrote:

Ah yes, the infamous "secret confed."  But then that is another story.

Some would refer to it as infamous - but since Jejune brought up the topic regarding Triality, I figured I would fill in some of H? perspective and rationale as to why there came to be a confed between our alliances.  The major reasons being the manner in which Rhygelle conducted themselves and my prior Relationship with Finrod.    

There wasn't a need to go public with the confed because Rhygelle was still growing and given the past treatment of Triality by a select group of players within the Illyriad community - it was deemed better to just keep the relationship quiet until Rhygelle became better established.  

If you want to delve further into history(in another thread) - I will answer as I have time.  



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2014 at 04:32
I think that the history of the secret confed has been adequately explored elsewhere, at some length.  Some might even say to a tiresome degree.  Thus my use of the term infamous.
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