An Early Look at the Alliance Landscape

With the alliance update coming next week, the guild activities in the official forum and behind the scenes are getting more and more serious. Several alliances have already been formally formed. I want to look at the action that already happened as well as generally talk about the alliance system as a whole.

For those that somehow missed the news: Neverwinter will get an alliance system next Tuesday that will allow up to 13 guilds to team up in a hierarchic system, share their marketplaces and playerbase and run the Dragonflight event together. There are three tiers: Helm, Sword and Gauntlet. Any alliance can have one Helm guild, three Sword guilds and nine Gauntlet guilds. Helm guilds get a structure discount based on the combined level of all Guild Hall’s in the alliance, Gauntlet guilds mainly an XP bonus and Sword a mix of both.

The Theory

I think most players, based on the comments in the feedback thread, were a bit surprised that Helm guilds, which should be the most advanced guild in the alliance anyway, get the biggest structure discount. After all it’s the small guilds that struggle to upgrade their Strongholds and could use a discount more than anyone. I do however agree with the dev that small guilds already get a significant upgrade in being able to run Dragonflights with the alliance and the shared marketplace. That means they don’t necessarily need a great bonus on top of it.

But I don’t think Helms need that particular discount either. It’s sort of a strange design decision anyway. The system really only works if one or more guilds are maxed and have to spend resources elsewhere to create Guild Marks. Otherwise the incentives to share resources with another guild in the alliance are low. That’s a bit unfortunate, because I was hoping for a system that would allow guilds to work together in order to achieve individual goals faster. It’s not the case although everyone of course passively benefits from being in an alliance.

I like the proposals that want to give the Helm wealth in some shape or form and Gauntlets the best structure discount. It makes more sense in many areas. A higher alliance level directly transfers to more ADs for players in the Helm guild, which creates a competition between donating to your guild’s coffer for guild progression and donating to the alliance for personal progression / wealth. Also the bonus doesn’t disappear when maxed like a structure discount. Gauntlets and Swords would still want to eventually become a Helm guild whenever they feel they’ve progressed enough and want more wealth for their members.

Speaking of leaving alliances to rank up: I’m not sure there will be much movement within alliances. Neverwinter has a limited playerbase and a moving guild would need to find new partners that offered more advantages for them at Helm than their established alliance at Sword or Gauntlet. It’s not an easy task once the active guilds have found their spots.

One thing I’m interested in is whether alliance chats might have the power to overtake the reign from the private ones. Next to item level restrictions the channels have the advantage to group like-minded players in chats that aren’t limited to a guild size. The biggest ones unite 1000+ players and have 200-300 online at any time. Alliance chats could potentially reach those numbers as well.

Overall the system has pretty strong pros and cons. I think it effectively prevents a situation where the big guilds just band together, create the one alliance to be and call it a day. But it doesn’t naturally encourage cross-donations and small guilds, that are just looking for like-minded partners, don’t get a whole lot out of the system as well.

The Reality

Relentless: This is an early frontrunner for the place to be in terms of PVE progression and overall alliance size. A whopping alliance level of 185 (~14 per guild) out of the gate is probably not something Cryptic envisioned when building the system. But since the alliance completely ignores the ranks and simply focuses on creating a dominant force of equal partners, they have guilds that could probably take a more prominent spot in any other alliance. Unholy Crusaders and Elite Mercenaria are Swords that could be Helms and Myrmidons at GH14 and maxed members a Gauntlet that could easily be a Sword. Same with Valaraukari Ascension that operates at 124 accounts, more than some Helm guilds.

The Tyrs Fellowship: The 30-60+ year olds guild is taking quite the opposite approach and is handpicking its members with a focus on camaraderie, fun and long term relationship. It looks to be a multi-step process with a personal talk between leaders to make sure the goals and attitude align.

The Tuxedo T-Shirt Alliance: Tyr might be focusing on fun, but the TTA is all about fun! With the Boozers at the Helm a wild ride is guaranteed and a trademarked kolat gif says more than thousand words:

It’s also nice to see that a lot of small and casual guilds are included. All jokes aside: Boozers are a progression-minded guild at GH16 and probably could have gotten a few more prominent partners. The setup could be difficult for those that expect a little bit more out of an alliance in the lower tiers, so I hope they are able to find the right mix between fun and progression.

The Synergy Alliance: While TTA might be a bit thin at Sword and Gauntlet, Absolute might not generally be the best fit for a Helm guild. Make no mistake, they are elite at GH19 and one of the top-notch PVP and overall guilds, but they are comparably small due to their specific recruitment policies. Other guilds however might be mainly looking to extend their player pool through alliances and a capped guild at the top is what most other alliances have to offer. But if the Swords and Gauntlets follow their Helm, this should be one of the more dedicated and confident alliances out there.

Vermillion: The roster is not yet complete, but it looks promising. Seems to be a mature and focused bunch in both PVE and PVP. EoA has lost some of its dominance over the years, but as one of the oldest elite guilds it’s still a place you can blindly trust.

Greycloaks: The Cloaks are accepting smaller and casual guilds. If you are searching for a place without any requirement, they still need to fill two Gauntlets at the time of the writing. The same applies to the official Legit guilds, which are specifically trying to acquire guilds that might not be able to get a spot somewhere else.

The Deadly Black Sheep: The alliance completely formed behind the scenes and went out in the open with a full roster minus one Gauntlet. Might be wrong here, but this is looking like a mostly EU-based alliance?

Others: Two prominent names that have yet to announce their rosters are Black Lotus and Gutbusters Brigade. The recruitment threads are empty, but maybe the two elite guilds prefer to finalize their alliances behind closed doors? As I’ve stated there are only so many reasonably sized and active guilds out there and if some of the big players are already having trouble to fill spots, it might be a chance for smaller guilds to get a really strong partner.

Have you been able to find a home or is the alliance system not really benefiting your guild? Share your thoughts and impressions in the comments or visit our forum!


j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

10 thoughts on “An Early Look at the Alliance Landscape

  • June 2, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Im in THC and the relentless alliance (kudos) to the officers and guild leader for putting such a strong lineup together, we will have many new playmates and friends.

    Any guild that needs AD/ certain gifts, will get a truckload from us, many of us have hundreds ! hundreds of AD vouchers ready to pour into alliance coffer on day 1.

    THC and TUC are really one guild btw, it was split for mod 6 purposes and the guilds and guild officers do a really bang up job in keeping the two fairly close in terms of build time, we will hit r19 in both guilds soon. We already had a alliance channel to communicate between the two guilds and only would use guild channels, EVER for influence farming or dragonflights.

    What alliances means to me, is hopeful having a good group of people online at one time, who want to progress in game (AKA grind).

  • June 2, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I’m with Greycloaks 🙂 We’re allied with other like minded guilds who want to help build up the community at large. We pride ourselves on putting people first. The Cloaks have two guilds active right now. Greycloaks and Blackcloaks. Greycloaks is level 13 working on 14 and Blackcloaks is level 9 working on 10. We treat them like one big guild as well. It’s not too shabby considering that we’re casual and don’t require any donations or really anything other than not being a Jerk.

    Thanks for the mention! 😀

  • June 2, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Vretzen here, one of the leaders of Valaraukari Ascension and proud member of Relentess. We’ll hit 13 over the weekend and could’ve been a Sword or possibly a Helm if we really, really wanted to, but we had our officers vote and it was an overwhelming majority who wanted to join in a massive Alliance. We felt that having a very large player base to pull from and being aligned with more guilds who saw the importance of things like consistent Heralds and Tiamat runs to help fill the large number of Tyranny in the coffer, sellable loot, an abundance of RP stones and just running content as often as possible instead of sitting around waiting for things to happen was too good of an opportunity to pass up. We also knew that just because we would be a part of a massive Alliance didn’t mean we had to change anything we had been doing and that none of our lower geared players would get left behind or left out of runs. That was the biggest thing for us in joining an Alliance, that everyone would be included in everything they could run.

    Very much looking forward to next week and the months ahead!

  • June 2, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    I am in Vermilion alliance, we try to form alliance with guilds that are like minded, with similar structures and management, experienced guilds that last long. We want a solid base of helm and swords to be able to help the gauntlets. As the system offer a pyramidal system, we are going to ignore this and will work in an equality system, a council of all guild leader who will decide all together for the Alliance.
    We try to cover all time zone: asian, euro, and US so members of alliance can play at any hour.
    Guilds will keep their inner rules, independance and donations to other guilds are to player’s appreciation or guild’s decision.

    Some ppl are spreading false informations about Vermilion to convaince gauntlets to join their alliance, that EoA will force other guilds to farm for them and will kick if you refuse to follow rules. Please report this to any vermilion members if anyone tries to discredit again.

  • June 2, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    I’m Dani, leader of Fair Dinkum – we’re going to be a Sword in the Greycloaks alliance and we have one Gauntlet place still to fill. We want to help other people develop their guild and community. As long as you’re actively working on your stronghold and memberships, and seem like a fun crew, I’m interested in hearing from you.
    In terms of the alliance we chose, we’ve had a number of guilds approach us and excepting one case they’ve all been very courteous. Like Vermillion, we had an unpleasant experience with a recruiter who slandered the Cloaks. I hope nobody would be inclined to join a group who bad-mouths other guilds as an incentive to join.

  • June 3, 2016 at 1:39 am

    Gutbusters are currently designing an Alliancebanner. Im no official speaker but proud member. So we do plan having an alliance. Most structures are Lvl 10 except pure PvP-buildings. In fact we can freely decide on who to join with. Said, i suppose us to be Helm. On further Information contact Leader (@sparhawk) ingame

    • June 4, 2016 at 9:21 am

      not sure how you can be proud of that group. I’d hang my head in shame

  • June 4, 2016 at 1:17 am

    I still don’t understand how Lia and Lazalia are in an alliance together (with the Crusaders being alpha too), I thought they hate each other. Seems rotten.

    • June 4, 2016 at 9:23 am

      I think they are a good fit. They fill entirely different niche’s with Laz tailoring to the hispanic community and Lia on the english side. They both have reputations for stringent guild participation and rules. They are both are well known GWFs who aren’t afraid to share their knowledge. Seems like a logical association if noone cares about being the helm or the particulars of the bonus.

  • June 5, 2016 at 2:58 am

    As a member of one of the smaller guilds that found a home in Greycloaks alliance I have to say they rock!

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