FULL DISCLOSURE - I AM A MEMBER OF ONE OF THE TOP 3 ALLIANCES, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIGURE OUT FROM READING THE BELOW. SO TAKE EVERYTHING SAID WITH A PINCH OF SALT.
The SW has become what many consider to be a classic Travian server scenario. 4 alliances [one declaring its ambitions outright with the capacity and skill to do so, one growing to an unmanageable size but managing to make headway due to its sheer numbers and two hovering in the wings, waiting to make their move] anxiously awaiting the inevitable war to come. The trumpets of war have not yet blown but the brass can be heard being polished, the clanging of steel is still just an afterthought but the forges run red hot all week long, and the screams of the enemies anguish has started to form in the mind of armies like a lost remembered song.
Before we get ahead of ourselves let us cast an eye over the main 3 main metas in the SW; UNP meta, IRCOB meta and 2.01 meta
Meta Name : UNP
No of players to points quality : 6/10
Quality of leadership : 6/10
Quality of players : 8/10
Strengths : Raiding, Aggressive, very strong sub alliance ; -UNP-
Weakness : Lacklustre top level management, easily swayed lower level players, difficulty recruiting solid middle level players
Summary : This alliance is an enigma. On the surface they are very hard working, with some very good players and organised middle management. However, it is the sub alliance, -UNP-, that is propping up the meta. Their sub alliance were the number 1 raiders of the server last week with only 1 player in the top 10, which shows that a lot of their player are out there aggressively raiding. This has allowed for significant growth in army sizes and they absolutely dominate the southwest raiding fields. Apart from the top management lack of will to clear enemy alliances head on, there is one issue holding this meta back from truly being great, and that issue is their 3rd wing, UNP-AG. Now, we all know many alliances have a wing they are not proud of, and which the consider a joke alliance, but UNPAG is just a joke, not an alliance. Their members range from inexperienced to outright stupid: some settle outside the quadrant, some have no armies, some settle right next a top player from the main wings and steal farms, the list of misdemeanours is endless. One cause of great laughter, anguish and despair was when this joke of a wing made an alliance with a wing of IRCOB, UN's main enemies. Yes, seriously. Until they address the deficiencies of UNP-Ag or cut them loose this meta might just combust from within.
Meta Name : IRCOB
Points : 83738
No of payers to points quality : 3/10
Quality of leadership : 4/10
Quality of players : 5/10
Strengths : some elite players, defence, adaptability
Weakness : Bloated, unorganised structure, lack of direction, poor recruitment policy in wings
Summary : This meta has carved a name for itself as the bane of UNP's existence. They harry and prod, annoy and vex, spike villages and farms, send fake attacks galore and when the opportunity arises attack with precision. However, UNP have destroyed and 0 popped many of their members, though war has not officially been declared yet. They raid effectively within these conditions and are able to hold their own when constantly attacked by UNP meta. Their leader is either does not have the ability to get a firm grip on the alliance or is not able to due to the constant attacks he receives from UNP members (his growing hammer in his second village was wiped out in 7 consecutive attacks). A change of management in the upper levels of the alliance may be imminent. And that speaks to IRCOB's main weakness, their size. Their size wouldn't normally be a problem, but it is the quality of their players that is a real problem. This meta seems to be so hell bent on trying to match UNP in firepower that they are recruiting all halfway decent players over 200 pop, many who just started the server, into their alliance wings. This is why 1/4 of UNP's raiding total comes from IRCOB. This meta needs to deal with the quality of players they recruit in order to survive.
Meta name : 2.01
Points : 67863
No of players to points quality : 6/10
Quality of leadership : 7/10
Quality of players : 8/10
Strengths : Good leadership, smart NAP's, a decent amount of elite players.
Weakness : stalled recruitment, inability to grow leading to lax recruitment criteria, not assertive enough
Summary : This meta will probably end up being folded into one of the man two above, probably the winner of any upcoming war. They are well organised and smart enough to stay out of the overall politics in the SW, negotiating smart NAP treaties. This seeming lack of ambition and wariness could backfire as the imminent behemoth of any aftermath may turn their eyes to this alliance next. They have solid players, and due to a lack of suitable recruitment prospects, have taken to recruiting promising low pop players and training them up as defence and support pools.They are currently proving their credentials in a war with NBK alliance, which has some of the biggest players on the server, so we wills the how that goes. Their future intentions are not clear as of yet.
One other alliance should be mentioned - HUNTERS. They have garnered respect with their effective raiding and smart recruitment policy. They have some good elite players and are making headways in small pockets of the SW not reachable by UNP and have settled in IRCOB mainstays, even forming NAP's with them. However, both of these big alliances are keeping a wary eye on HUNTERS and it has been a policy so far to not directly attack any HUNTERS members. They have strong armies and many croppers, and are well organised. Their future intentions are not yet clear and they do not look like an alliance that will happily fold into a bigger one. They are the main unknown factors in the upcoming war.
No alliance directly controls or owns a certain part of the mp, however UNP have started to formulate plans for a stronghold and were the quickest to act on these plans. They have now firmly settled into a small pocket of the SW that they will be looking to expand on. IRCOB are everywhere - ver unorganised and a pain in UNP's butt. 2.01 and HUNTERS have managed to sneak into small areas that UNP and IRCOB have ignored. every farm below 100 pop is constantly hit by UNP and IRCOB, with the other alliances either feeding off the scraps or focusing on big unaffiliated players. small players who have just started the server or inactive players are joining IRCOB in droves. IRCOB are just as easily dismissing small players who have become UNP farms so that they can raid them too. The battle for croppers is fierce and it has become an accepted and unspoken rule that if you settle in someones 7x7 you will be 0 popped, regardless of the situation. UNP players get messages every day from smaller players offering to be a submissive anvil or promising not to any them. UNP players always ignore these messages and continue with the heartless raiding. This means that it has been hard to grow as any new potential good player is catapulted straight away if they do not yield any resources. Expect to see big players form other alliances being poached.
War between UNP and IRCOB is inevitable. The arms race is heating up and the strategies on both sides is becoming apparent. UNP are leaning on the skill and strength of their players, hoping it can win out against IRCOBs vast numbers. IRCOB are starting to raid more aggressively and have been actively spiking farms to slow the progress of UNP. Still, UNP managed to be top raiders on the server last week by a margin of 1 million. IRCOB are proving to be very good defenders too, and have started to practice defending even their lowest pop players. War will indeed be tricky and a messy affair. What both sides need to consider is how they will play the HUNTERS and 2.01 angle. Both know leaving either of these alliances out of the battle will create a rod for their own backs and must decide how to proceed from a diplomatic perspective.
Most likely : UNP beat IRCOB, absorb HUNTERS and go to war with 2.01, become the dominant alliance in the SW
Less likely but very possible : IRCOB beat UNP and absorb 2.01, go to war with HUNTERS, become dominant alliance in SW
Unlikely, but still possible : UNP and IRCOB battle, leaving 2.01 and HUNTERS out of it. 2.01 pick off the winner of that battle and decimate them. 2.01 goes to war with HUNTERS.