Diplomacy, perhaps one of the key roles of a leader. A player called Teyla perhaps once outlined to me how important it is. Teyla was one of the early giants of a female player in early TW. She co-created 6XIG6 (later became ROA) in world 3, which I was in and later in world 4 saw her create the tribe w00t, a name that gained success on multiple worlds and included such players as Litwol, Free-eek Alphabonkers, Matt- and Stonerbus. W00t was also the tribe that took down one of the most talented premades ever made, OA. Just a bit of description for you there, but she said to me, that whoever controls the diplomacy, controls the tribe. That, whoever does the diplomacy, is the leader. She said that diplomacy was all-important. Where maybe I would argue that issues such as recruiting are often underplayed, she brings up a big point. Diplomacy, is nearly always the main deciding factor in a tribe’s future.
What is Diplomacy?
Always remember that essentially, diplomacy is primarily a defence mechanism, a way of deflecting the blow a tribe may give you by giving them multiple enemies or quite simply, divide and conquer. Do not see it as an offence technique, it is a way of weakening your enemy or strengthening your defence, it will not grow your tribe, only your players conquering villages will do that, so never rely on it alone. Coalitions are useless to be in unless you are going to take advantage of the situation and go in there and do some damage, take some villages, get something for yourself.
Let's start with merging, it is to do with diplomacy even if not to do with your diplomacy list. Many people are opposed to merges. Why? Because it is a fast track option to more land, more points, higher rank. It seems like taking the easy option. First thing to say, don't be afraid of the easy option if it is the best option! But secondly, you must judge if it is the correct option, for it may not be that at all.
First thing that must be considered is do you need it? What will merging a tribe into you add to your tribe? What location do they hold, how good, active, and talkative are they? Some of the questions that you may want to ask yourself. For example, if you are a k44 tribe what will merging a K56 rank one continent tribe do? Will they really be able to support you? There are four occasions I suggest merging may be a good option:
1. When you control an area but barely, and do not have the player base and density in the area that you may need and may give you a weak spot as a result.
2. Manic inactivity. If you have a lot of inactivity and have a load of actives wanting to merge, then them joining should strongly be considered so that the burden of inactivity is relatively less.
3. Bringing in more experienced players to the fold if you have a lack and there are not so many good recruiting prospects, this is when merging is more like recruiting several players at once.
4. Last choice. If things are not looking so well, a larger tribe is gunning for war that you think you can't win, your tribe is dwindling in numbers and unable to keep up, you are losing a war and may need help. Merging could be an answer.
Merging as explained above can bring its advantages. But just remember its disadvantages:
1. Possible knock to morale. This is likely, to happen, since you may lose that community feel that you had before, which may take some time to get back as players don't know each other so well and feel less inclined to speak.
2. Disloyalty, some of those players you bring in may already be disloyal to their current tribes, nevermind yours, this is a risky move, bringing in players you have not built any kind of relationship with, loyalty issues will be present.
3. Leadership split. If you start bargaining for leadership positions, things could start to get messy soon, to an extreme length even a power struggle. Even if you are the one firmly in charge, barons may start to fight, it does happen.
4. Loss of credibility. You are likely to suffer a huge knock to your reputation if ever you had one, and tribes are more likely to look down on you, if it was a sizeable merge.
5. Increased inactivity as players begin to question whether they feel like staying as the tribe they were fighting for is no longer existing, it can take a lot of effort for some to join in with a new tribe.
6. The refugee problem. And not only that, possible diplomacy problems that may come with them, and issues others have with them.
Merging is risky business, but done in the right circumstances, and done correctly, it can work.
To NAP or not to NAP?
I will say, do not be scared of NAPs. Many put forward the argument that NAPs are useless because all you are doing is limiting your targets, where that tribe will not help you against an enemy. But as I said above, divide and conquer, is a very good technique. However small or big a tribe, there is no shame in putting them for later so that you can go after a tribe gunning for you in the present. You will be much more successful in war by taking one enemy down then another afterwards rather than taking two enemies at the same time. As the Native American saying goes:
“If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both."
Do not be afraid to use NAPs to your advantage, though obviously hide the craft of doing so, or you may not look so good on the forums. Though whether you say that there is a possibility of more than a NAP in the future or not, to be honest, a tribe is being foolish to think that you will never think of breaking that deal you have. How to break up a NAP? Well people normally come up with all sorts of excuses, sniping, recruiting refugees or just plain we felt like it. If a tribe breaks a NAP with you for some reason or another, don’t believe it because of that reasoning the likelihood is, they want your villages, pure and simple.
This is always seen as the big issue of diplomacy. How many, where, who, and what. My first bit of advice is that there is no perfect number, you could have one, you could have 4, it depends on your situation. However, do not get too many. For every extra ally you get, you devalue your other alliances. And devaluing alliances is never a good thing, you devalue them, and they become nothing more than glorified NAPs. And if that happens, they will be less likely to co-operate in your plans, and become increasingly unreliable. Do not let that happen. You need to know your allies plans, you need to co-ordinate your plans alongside theirs and you should often seek to give advice and help (without damaging yourself), for they will normally return the favour. Be your allies friends, and you will find a relationship of trust building up so that you are secure in that alliance.
Secrecy or not?
Many often ignore this issue, but I think it quite a large one. It is the issue of whether you make some of your tribe’s diplomacy known, or not. Now there is never much use in showing off your NAPs, but alliances is a different matter altogether. Some tribes often show their alliances, and this does have it’s advantages. If a tribe is going to war with you, they will be much less hasty about it, for they do not want to land themselves in a two on one scenario. However, as they say, knowledge is power, and to deny them that knowledge may often be held back due to not knowing your alliances. However, I suggest that most tribes will often lead with ignorance, or get some kind of backup plan should you happen to have any unexpected allegiances. But whatever you decide, remember, you are trying to use them knowing or not knowing in an attempt to put them off warring you. You will have the advantage by choosing your wars, not letting them choose them for you, so holding them off is often a better idea.
Coalitions and Alliance blocks
We seem them so many times. Mostly early in the game, against tribes that is taking over a continent, smaller tribes band together in an attempt to overcome that tribe through numbers. But as I explained earlier, diplomacy is a defence mechanism, to draw out fire. Since none of those tribes normally are able to give much damage themselves, the coalition usually fails due to them just being picked off one by one without much harm being given to the tribe being ganged up on.
But that is only the early example of a coalition, there are many later examples also. Though called coalitions, sometimes it turns into a bit of a world war. In an attempt to make sure they do not get outnumbered, a tribe may have a few allies, and are known publicly, so that tribes do not attack them since they know they will be taking on too much on. Though that then turns into the tribe wanting to attack only being able to, if they bring in a string of alliances so that you have alliance systems against each other. It is rare that this happens, for alliances often cross-over, but it is not totally unheard of. It will mostly happen if a sort of more than two alliance has been created, such as the CA (central alliance) in w3 or the LFKD alliance in world 5 and so on. Basically those tribes agree to only be allied to each other, which creates a series of ally blocks. Whether this is a good idea or not, it is up to you, where you will find much of the diplomacy job is already done for you, finding yourself on the losing side is never nice. But what it does do is put much more dependence on your tribes fighting skill rather than a leaders diplomacy skills, so do what suits your tribe.
Last tip on diplomacy, be nice. Be respectful, look to be honest, even if you’re not. In this game, people are not amazingly brilliant at thinking with their heads all too often. Give them a few compliments and so forth will often have them doing what you want. Present a positive image of yourself and you will find the deal you get for your tribe is a lot better. Do not let issues such as pride and arrogance get in the way of getting the best deal for your tribe.
Though don't be afraid to present a false image, be cunning, or whatever else if it comes to your advantage. But on the surface, observer the niceties.