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Direct Link To This Post Topic: the nature of the crows
    Posted: 07 Oct 2013 at 13:31

after the unfortunate gc events of 6-OCT, i am moved to explain a few things about the crow confederation, to which i have belonged for two years.  these are my own observations and conclusions.  mock, argue, criticise, doubt, as you wish.  they are posted here because it is the best way to disseminate this information across the illy public.  i am happy to respond by igm to honest questions about them, but the forum has not demonstrated itself as a welcoming place for reasoned discussion, so i will not feel the need to respond to posts here.


this may be long.  it happens.  if you're not that interested, don't read it.


for those who were not there, the crows specifically and large confederations in general were accused of stifling the diplomatic atmosphere in illyriad by their existence and very nature.  i expect to explain here why i don’t believe that announced, branded confederations (like the crows) have any effect on diplomacy that transcends the more usual arrangements between less obviously affiliated alliances, and to offer some basic information about the inner workings of the confederation that ought to allay some of the more fantastic fears i’ve heard.


i made an assertion in gc that the crows are different from other confederations in that "the crows" as an entity is not a military confederation.  each crow alliance, branding notwithstanding, has full autonomy.  participation in the crows is fundamentally not about military support.  we (the rooks) all understand that, as a practical matter, if we want the support of the entire confederation in a confrontation we will need to demonstrate that we have behaved responsibly; specifically, that we are in the right.  this has a very calming effect on traditional crow diplomacy:  one can be quite sure that an unprovoked attack on a crow alliance will be met with stiff resistance and confederation support, but aggressive actions by crow wings may not command the same response.  a crow alliance leader who wishes to take the crows to war must be both persuasive and competent, and have the best of causes.


instead, "the crows" is what i would call a cultural alliance.  we have some shared values.  i will try to capture a few:

  1. that new players are good for the game, regardless of the alliance they join
  2. that the game is made more interesting and more fun by the inclusion of casual players
  3. that inoffensive players ought to be able to operate in an atmosphere of relative safety rather than in constant fear of unprovoked attack, even after they are well-established
  4. that where force is necessary, it ought to be used commensurately and with discretion

thus the crows for two years and prior has been a haven for the casual and the quirky, crafters, traders, tournament players, etc., but not generally for those with an interest in PvP.  the crow philosophy simply does not offer those players the opportunities they crave in the game.

outside of the basic cultural tenets of the crows are the many differences that make crow alliances unique and different from one another, and which sometimes cause friction within the confederation.


for example, nCrow's Ursor Directive stated that they were prepared to defend beleaguered small alliances in the north from unwonted aggression.  this was an nCrow initiative, and not related to the confederation at large.  had the policy caused them trouble they couldn't handle, they might've requested assistance from the alliances of the confederation, but they would have received it at the discretion of those other alliances...just as they might have received it from any other local alliance.  eCrow was not consulted on the Ursor Directive, and did not comment; we did not need to be consulted, because nCrow was acting independently, as was their right.  that said, the policy was fundamentally contrary to eCrow's position that crow resources be used to defend only crows, so as to prevent the crows from stifling conflict between unaffiliated parties.  just as we (eCrow) value the ability to offer casual players a place to build in safety, there must always be a place for PvP players to find what they seek in the game.  nCrow knew our position, and would likely not have looked to eCrow for aid.


so, then, each crow alliance is an individual alliance, and we do not check our differences at the rookery door, but rather agree on some broad principles and work out the details as they become problematic.


someone will say, "yes, but Consone said the same thing."  indeed, and whether or not you believed it probably depends on what side you took in the war that caused its demise.  but consider that the crows do not create maps of their relative strength when compared to other power blocs, and we do not measure ourselves against them as Consone did.  we do not need to be larger or stronger than other confederations; our goals are defensive, so we only need be large enough to deter aggression, so that we might be left alone.  but since the predominance of crows are not military players, we must often be *significantly* larger to deter determined, militant alliances looking for a challenge than if we were composed of experienced PvPers.  the crows' detractors know how misleading population can be in assessing military effectiveness, particularly when a large number of casual players are in the mix.


there have been several attempts within the crows to specify, as Harmless? does regarding their confeds, what the confederation relationship means between crow alliances, and what exactly is being pledged.  all of these efforts have failed because above all the crow alliances prize two rights:  freedom of association and freedom of conscience.


there is no authority in the confederation that inducts a new member; a crow alliance becomes a crow alliance by acclamation and acceptance of each existing crow alliance, so alliances whose leaders who do not inspire confidence across the increasingly wide range of opinions and personalities are not accepted as crow wings.  it is not a centralised process, nor is it a process that occurs in a chatroom with two or three rooks making a decision binding upon us all.  this would seem to be fundamentally different from what i have heard of Consone.


there is also no authority that can command a wing to war outside of its own leadership.  each alliance makes that decision for itself, in response to a request from another alliance within the confederation.  what is *not* being pledged is unconditional support in time of war--or, as H? puts it, "B shall not include or involve A when B are being jackasses".  the commitment between crow wings is considerably looser, in fact, than the agreement H? publishes as their confederation agreement, as any military assistance is always considered on a case-by-case basis.  the presumption is that assistance will be rendered, but that is based on the presumption of responsibility by the requesting alliance.


there is a third right that helps to explain one last aspect of the crows:  the right to fail.  this is why crow wings sometimes appear, languish, and disappear, and why we're not fussed about how many there are.  for many good players, founding or leading an alliance is a goal of their time in illyriad, and common to all of the crow tenets is that the game should be fun for each player.  as a result, crow wings are fairly regularly expanding, collapsing, merging, and recombining in various ways, to suit the number of leaders available and the current goals and understanding of the players represented.  there is normally much wailing about this process in gc (by one of three or four players, the same ones every time), but since the crow players involved are generally the same players before and after any split or merger (the recent creation of vCrow being an exception), i can't imagine why it would be important to anyone to restrict it, or why one configuration should seem to anyone more threatening than another.


there has been much loose and careless talk of late between the crows and our detractors--or, possibly, much carefully orchestrated talk that is the product of long-simmering  resentments and rivalries.  whichever, i don't think the idea that the crows ("large confeds") stifle diplomacy in illyriad by their structure has any merit, but if it ever did the information above ought to put it to rest.  if that charge is to be laid to the crows' account, it ought to be based on crow conduct, not merely on the crows' size and existence.


(edited to add a bit of whitespace to an otherwise very dense post.)



Edited by Angrim - 07 Oct 2013 at 18:14
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2013 at 16:13
I feel for the Crow Fed. Cry If the Crow Fed feels they will be attacked then past history shows that posts like this (however persuasive) will sway few potential attackers.  The only thing that will stop this attack and deter future attacks is a vigorous (and successful) defense.

If a serious attack comes, it will be an attack on the confederation system.  Just like the [attack on/defense from] Consone.  Nobody goes into a conflict of that magnitude for any other reason (despite the GC and Forum chatter).

The fact is, despite their differences both Consone and Crows were/are large confederations of alliances that did/do deter attacks (for legitimate or illegitimate reasons) from all but the largest, most well coordinated sources.  From the perspective of a small or moderate size alliance considering conflict, both the Crows and Consone were equally daunting and thus equally stifling.  The Crow's larger size would appear to make it more stifling (difficult to defeat), but it's less organized structure and more casual player base probably means it is less of a threat than Consone.  That is likely the reason Consone was [attacked/defended] first.  The more active Consone may have assisted the Crow Fed if the Crow Fed had been attacked earlier.  There are strategic reasons for this ordering.

Unless the Crow Fed coordination is much higher than I guess it to be (and this post indicated it is) I would advise Crow Fed members who believe an attack is coming and do not want to be attacked to leave the Crow Fed and join other alliances.  That is especially true for large players without large armies near the anticipated attacker (NC, H?, whoever else they are aligned with today) cities.  I do not encourage the weakening of the Crow Fed, but as the OP states, not all Crow Fed players are interested in war and those players poorly positioned will clearly feel the brunt of the Crow losses with little commensurate benefit for the group.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2013 at 17:09
Originally posted by Angrim Angrim wrote:

 this would seem to be fundamentally different from what i have heard of Consone.

From which side did you "heard of Consone?" Wink

Setting aside that point, I wonder what the philosophy of that statement is. Were you saying that consone alliances deserved to be destroyed because their leadership structure was different from that of crows? Ouch

Man if you fall, some people will treat you like doormat Ouch

Just kidding Wink

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2013 at 17:14
puke puke puke and more puke...winks at the cute guys in kcrows
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2013 at 17:25
by way of clarification, i am not attempting to dissuade anyone from attacking the crows (though i will not be opposed if the post has that effect).  i am attempting to answer a charge against the confederation system using the crows as an example, both because it was used as an example in gc and because i have some familiarity with it.

i do sometimes read the forums.  if i were to attempt to dissuade someone from an attack on the crows, i would certainly not do it by posting here.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2013 at 17:54
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2013 at 19:23
Group #1 is different from group#5. Group #3 or player can do are say what ever they want and the hole alliance is free . The truth is there all the same . You cant have your cake and eat it to . It's doesn't work like that. Anybody or group under them same name or flag is all one and the same . No such thing as separate. That's b.s. and dead wrong . Same with your confeds that's your ally and what ever they do it's on you too. [autonomy] sorry no such thing as a free pass in either case .

Edited by st aug - 07 Oct 2013 at 19:57
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2013 at 20:32
Lots of interesting info here - thanks for posting.

I"m gonna start by saying that I have a lot of respect for the crowfed and many of it's wings. It's an interesting model and one that seems to work well. However I do disagree with some of the statements made above

Firstly, to claim that being large is not intimidating is blinkered at best and disingenious PR at worst. In reality there is no way an individual alliance can fail to consider that if things go south over an incident with someone it might involve their entire set of confeds. So whether you like it or not there is intimidation which colors diplomacy with large confeds.

Secondly, even if being large in itself did not cause intimidation there are always specific instances of more direct intimidation - hence the disagreement on Oct 6th you mentioned.

Thirdly, it matters not whether a group of confeds consider things on a case-by-case basis if the information provided in a specific case is biased/twisted to begin with. Most folk in this game have the ability to describe situations in the most favorable of terms (an some in outright fantasy terms) which means confeds can find themselves in a war they think is just when it really isn't and there's nothing the victim can do about it.

FYI - I'm not saying that H? doesn't have the same "large" problem by being #1 and having a reputation for military competancy (although I bet there are better alliances out there pound for pound). But it's something that we explicitly acknowledge and try to mitigate.

Edited by KillerPoodle - 07 Oct 2013 at 20:33
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2013 at 23:45
obliged, and acknowledged.

if being large were not itself intimidating, crows would not bother to confed at all, so if i've overstressed that aspect of the argument allow me to acknowledge it.  the argument was made that the structure of a large confed is bad for the game; i am not arguing that a large confed could not be bad, or chilling to Elgean diplomacy, but rather that it need not be; that the crow structure, philosophy, and composition have some specific features that ought to deter that effect; and that the actual threat achieved by a large confed is no more or less than that achieved by a single competent alliance with many good relationships.

regarding specific instances, i hope the OP is clear that they are well worth discussing in their contexts and not at all addressed here.  i am not in receipt of anything that i know to have provoked the 6-OCT discussion, so i can only assume they do not involve eCrow.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Oct 2013 at 00:15
I see the point Angrim is attempting to get across in this thread and assuming everything disclosed about the way the Crow Confederation is organized is accurate, I accept it. A group of alliances tied together in name because they have a few common ideals is fairly innocuous. I do believe there is a "chilling" effect, as some have stated but that seems to me to be the actual point of a confederation anyway.

I have no reason to doubt what Angrim says about how the separate Crow alliances are governed. I've spoken to more than a few Crow members in the 2 years I have been here, from all levels of power and from multiple alliances. None of them have even eluded to any sort of dictatorial presence in any of the alliances much less in Crowfed as a whole.

I suppose this post will give the impression of me being a Crow apologist. I do have some friends who happen to be Crows. I also know some other Crows who are just nasty people and I know some who fall in between these two extremes. Crows are indeed "everywhere". It's hard not to know a few Crows. Hell, my second account WAS a Crow for a little while.

I think that may be the issue many have with Crows. That is that they are so numerous. They could, indeed completely control the game should they want to. That type of power in the hands of a few malevolent players has previously wreaked havoc in Illy. In the case of the massive Crowfed, it could literally destroy the game, however I don't believe that can happen. The Crow Confederation is just nowhere near centralized enough.

One of the examples Angrim mentioned to illustrate the differences within the confederation was nCrow's Ursor Directive. To me, it seems like it would be right up Crowfed's alley. Small, unaffiliated players getting harassed by bully alliances will be protected by nCrow. Pretty straight forward on the face of it but apparently some Crows disagreed. Of course, nCrow never presented it as a Crow directive and Angrim explained why his own alliance disagreed with the policy.

Certainly, if there were a central power in Crowfed, such a policy would have been unnecessary for nCrow to articulate. It would have been Crow policy long before TRIVIUM was formed. If it were not Crow policy, nCrow would have been unable to create their own, independent policy being a member of a centralized Crowfed.

I know that is a rather simplistic way to look at it but I believe it is pretty accurate. For a member alliance to feel it can freely implement such policies at will, the control the confederation has over its members must be fairly relaxed.

Well, there you have it. I'm a Crow lackey. wonka's gonna overthrow me. Anyone looking for a rhetoric spewing warmonger to add to their alliance roles?
Bonfyr Verboo
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