The Ultimate Leadership Guide~By Osl112
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Hey guys. Recently, on the questions forum there have been a number of posts reading "How to start a good alliance" and asking "How to lead". Well, I saw this and leapt at the oppurtunity in making a guide for how to lead, in depth. So, over the next week, I wrote this, hoping that my experiences in leading here (and on TW) would help those who are newer to leading out. Some people think being a leader can be learnt, whilst others think its a skill that you are born with. However, by reading this, you'll learn something. You may not agree with all of it, but its advice... You may not follow it fully, but try it.
- 1 Intro
- 2 Starting Off
- 3 Recruitment
- 4 Diplomacy
- 5 Internal Communication
- 6 The Member Base
- 7 Leadership
- 8 Public Image
- 9 Enemies and Wars
- 10 Recycling
- 11 Why Alliances Disband
- 12 Final Word
First of all, I would like to introduce myself. I'm Osl112, a Grepolis player from the beginning who has recently returned from a rather long break due to RL issues. I have played three different worlds on Grepolis, some for longer than others.
On world Beta, I had just joined on the borders of the core continents. This was my experimental world. I used it to get used to the game, learn strategies and discover different methods of playing. In some aspects, I could apply knowledge from similar games (Tribal Wars) to playing here.
On Gamma, my longest (and proudest) world, I was right in the center of the world. I quickly established myself on the empty forums and gained an invite to the non-MRA GrepoHugs. Inside GrepoHugs, I met many friends and learned a lot. I was "promoted" quite early on to being a council member in the leadership group. Here, I applied some previous knowledge (from TW) and learnt some new skills to leading an alliance. After a couple of fun months, I left GH due to real life issues and still regret leaving them to this day. As well as leaving allies behind who I had, and the whole tribe had got so close to.
On Epsilon, I shortly played in Omega Nu Sigma. From the start, I was promoted to being a leader and was constantly bombed with different requests. I throughly enjoyed it, again, gaining experience.
Now, from what I've learnt, I wish to help newer players to being good leaders. There are too many "MRAs" and so many nooby tribes, I cannot believe it. Its about time Grepolis had a guide to leading, and here it is. Sit back, this guide is rather long and attempts to cover all aspects of leadership. If you think there is something missing here, or something incorrect or even something that you don't agree with, please don't hesitate to post below.
First of all, question yourself. Are you ready to become a leader? Leading an alliance is not all fun and games.
Leading is a massive time commitment. You will need to be super active if you want to become a good leader. You will be overseeing actions within the alliance, sorting out requests, overlooking the forums, researching other alliances and dealing with opponents. Last of all, but by far not the least, you will be leading your alliances members.
As a leader, you are the "face" for the alliance. Therefore, you need to perform in-game. If you aren't playing well, or if you are not active, members will lose trust in you and lose morale. If you the leader isn't performing, you'll see that the rest of the alliance steadily falls apart.
See that an alliance is a model that has been homemade. The leader is the glue that holds it together. The weaker the glue, the less the "model" holds together. However, if the glue constantly performs (in-game and as a leader), the closer the model will be. This model will hold together if the glue is stronger and doesn't weaken over time.
If you feel that you are a good enough, experienced player as well as being active enough, it is time to plan your alliance. What type of alliance do you wish to create? How will it work? You have a number of options.
First, choose what type of alliance you wish to have. These options are key to how all works out in the end.
A premade alliance is a great idea if you are experienced and active on the external forums. A premade is where you recruit members before the world actually starts. This way, you will be able to organise the alliance before the world starts. You are also able to pick who you want before they are gobbled up by other alliances, able to recruit your friends and other experienced players. You can also set a criteria for recruiting (experienced etc, but you are unable to set criteria such as "only two members per island" or "other ### points please"). You won't have to chance it on whether decent members are in your area or whether anyone else joins, as you will already have an alliance before you start. Just don't forget to tell your members what direction the alliance will start.
+ You are (almost) guarranteed to have members you trust join. You can organise the alliance and plan with members before the world begins.
- If you all start in one key direction, you may end up with three, four or even five members on the same island as each other and may struggle growing later. Certain criteria cannot be set. No guarantee that all these pre-recruited people will join.
MRA (Mass Recruiting Alliance)
An MRA is where you go into a world and recruit everyone you can. When someone creates an MRA, there is often little, or no criteria whatsoever. Since an MRA may let anyone into an alliance, you may later find out some players lack fundementals, such as even being able to play or communication. As well as this, with a non-select bunch of members, not all of them will play with the alliance and many will drift away and won't help your alliance. Due to this, MRAs often fail or go "out of control". However, it may work if someone recruits according to a criteria. MRAs are often looked upon as nooby alliances.
+ Recruiting criteria may be fully set.
- MRAs often consist of 100+ players, leading and trusting 100+ players can get out of control. Recruiting anyone (as MRAs do) could mean recruiting spies or inactive players into your alliance, who won't help the alliance go further. No guarantee that anyone will join the alliance.
Set Criteria Alliances
Normal alliances often recruit people once in the world and have a set criteria. This criteria will often include a certain amount of activity or points, a membership limit and sometimes a communication requirement, such as having skype. This way, you will be able to control who enters your alliance more strictly, meaning that members you have should be better players and more trustworthy. However, if it is only you starting the alliance, you will struggle to find any other good players to join you (as players like joining alliances that already have some members behind them). I advise players who have some experience but don't have much exernal forum activity or achievements to start an SCA or a normal alliance.
+ Recruiting criteria may be fully set. Stricter control on who enters the alliance. If you see that the members are growing, you can see that they are active before recruitment.
- No guarantee that anyone will join the alliance. People often go for alliances with more members, as they know that alliance is up and running, with some pushing power.
As well as this, you must decide how it will work. Three choices here, three that have been used throughout history as well.
Democracy in an alliance sometimes work, depending on the experience and trust of the members. Members have ideas, submit them and then each member has a vote to choice whether it should go ahead or happen or not. With democracy, the members near enough control the alliance so therefore, it is paramount that you trust the members as well as the members trusting you to pass down any ally requests or information. However, if members are untrustworthy, immature or inexperienced, some terrible descions may be made that make the alliance go horrible wrong. Sometimes advisable for premades.
Dictatorships, as you may jolly well know, are where the leader controls everything. From the way a member plays (defensive or offensive) to who comes in and out. It can be good, as you can strictly control what happens within the alliance. It works well if the trust between leader and members is good, but may fail if members feel that they are being bossed about too much. They could revolt. Especially if the leader makes an unpopular decision. Everything is in the hands of the leader. Recommened only if you are highly accurate, highly experienced and know what you are doing.
A mixed approach takes the best of both democracy and dictatorship. The best thing about it is that you can personalise it to your preference. I recommend leaving it up to the leader on diplomacy and recruiting, whilst ideas about the alliance or involving alliance members up to them. The most important thing though is that the leader makes the final decision.
Once you have planned this, you are almost ready to start leading. But before that, think about your objective. What do you wish to do and how do you wish to achieve it? As well as this, you may wish to think about a name. Try something not too cheesy but not too nooby. Simple names are usually best, as well as names involving famous latin quotes.
Who to recruit is up to the leader. The leader should always choose to create a criteria which must be met by the player to even consider his entry into the alliance.
Good criterias should be thorough and followed well except for certain cases.These exceptions could be that the you trust the player (played with him/her before) or that he is a friend of an alliance member. Decent criterias should cover most key fundementals, including communication, activity, location and loyalty. It can be seen as being a kind of contract.
Choosing the criteria is always the leaders choice. However, remember that the stricter the recruitment rules, the more control you will have over players entering the alliance and thus, the more trustworthy they should be. The more open they are, the more people you should expect applying for the alliance. Of course, you may choose not to have any criteria. But this means you have to go by your own judgement, which may vary upon day. The more requests you may have to read as well, as there is no way of eliminating a player straight off.
Criterias should be followed, yes, but never fully trusted upon. Sometimes players that may of fit the criteria at that moment fail and possibly hurt growth of your alliance later on. Therefore, you should research players as well before recruting them. With research, you can see how they are doing on other worlds, as well as being able to look at maps to see if their location may collide with members of your alliance currently. Only once you are sure that they will fit what you are looking for, then you invite/accept their request.
Remember to check and review your criteria regulary; you may wish to tighten it once or twice depending on whether you think you have enough members. Also, once your criteria has been updated, you may wish to review members of your alliance to see if they are up to scratch.
Now that I've talked about what you should look for in a recruit, I think I should go a little further into inviting and requests...
Players won't always start running forward saying they would like to join. First of all, you will have to hunt the good players down.
Start using the map and look for players in the same continent as you that look as if they are decent. If you think you've found a decent player, I advise noting his name and then continue looking. Once you feel that you have a decent amount of players to get the alliance running, do as it says above. Eliminate the people who don't fit the criteria (although you should not have included any who don't fit the criteria) and do some research into these players. Still fit? Now its time to invite them.
However, inviting them straight away is the wrong thing to do. That would be like giving a person a contract without telling them what you are giving him/her. A childish thing to do really. Before inviting, the best leaders always give the player a mail.
Giving a player a mail is a great thing to do before inviting them. You show interest in the player and the way he is playing. If the mail is written correctly, you should influence him to join.
Create a template for a general mail that could be sent to everyone. It should be clear that you wish to invite them, but that shouldn't be it. I recommend giving them some details, including the objective and how you are going to achieve it, whether it would be through strength, numbers or teamwork. Just remember to live up to this promise with everyone later, as you will need to help your members to make this happen later. Tell the member what support the alliance will offer, when the member requires it. Tell the member what the atmosphere is like within the alliance. However, don't overdo it or give away any secrets. If he wishes to oppose you later, he could use this against you.
Grammar, punctuation and style in this mail should be good. It may sound like primary/elementary school, but use full stops, capital letters and commas. If you don't, the mail will look immature or even sarcastic. As for style, it is your choice. You may choose to look formal, which will give a serious, firm look. Alternatively, you may decide to look informal and may start a conversation with a player. This will make the alliance look rather friendly, although it can look immature. I recommend using the informal approach only if you have gained a reputation as an alliance. However, there is a fine line between looking informal and nooby. Looking nooby is the worse thing you could do, as it could look sarcastic to the player you wish to join. Remember, this mail should be the introduction to the alliance and here, first impressions matter.
Before you send the mail off, tell the player to reply within a certain time limit, depending on how active you wish members to be. If he doesn't reply within that time, the player may not be that active or as active as you thought. However, if he does reply, and say yes, get ready to invite him. Don't take too long either, as if he/she feels that the leader is inactive, the player won't join.
Now relook at this mail. Its lacking a personal touch. This template will be sent to all of those you wish to invite and if they find out it was sent to each and everyone, it gives the feeling that you couldn't be asked. If it isn't personal enough, the mail will alienate the player. Make it a little personal, include the players name a few times and vary each mail a little bit.
Last of all, try not to invite players already in alliances unless they ask you (which can still be dodgy). If you do, alliances can become aggrevated and may even start a war! Try to stay away from doing that.
First of all, requests should be written to the leader or recruiter. If not, it shows that the player trying to join hasn't been bothered to read the profile, or even been bothered to do his research (in return, it should be easily visible on who to request an invite from on the alliance profile).
Secondly, the mail should be well written. Below are three examples of different requests you may recieve during your leadership and what they represent in my eyes. Depending on your criteria and views, you may react the same/differently to these requests.
Example 1: "can i plz join ur alience"
Oh dear. This is pitiful and extremely nooby. This shows no information or experience and should never ever be accepted. It doesn't even show any interest.
Example 2: "I wish to join ur alliance. I have played on world gamma and theta so i have experience. I will be active and want to be a part of your allience."
It is up to you whether this player joins the alliance. It does show some will to join, as we as showing quite a bit of interest. It also gives the leader a little information about experience. However, the player hasn't taken too much effort getting all the grammar correct. This shows some immaturity. I would do some added research to see how he has done in the past and depending on how strict your recruitment policy is, accept or smoothly decline.
Example 3: "Dear Osl112, I see that your alliance is in my continent and recruiting, so therefore, may I join "Alliance 112"?
I have plenty of experience at Grepolis. On world Beta, I managed to get 6 villages and successfully got the place of Forum Moderator in "Alliance 113". I quite this world due to time issues.
I have also been successful in world Delta. I was a key player for "Alliance 114" against "115" in the war for Ocean 45. We were successful in the end, as an individual I managed to get to 8th.
I feel that I would be a key asset for your alliance, in communication and strategy. I feel that your alliance would be perfect for me. If you wish to contact me, my skype is "Player112".
- Please note, Alliance 112, Alliance 113, Alliance 114 and Alliance 115 non existant and just inventive names using the suffix of my name ... Same with the name "Player112" and his skype. Neither exist to my knowledge.
Just about perfect. A great application. However, before you accept it, do a small bit of research using external tools, such as GrepoStats. If he fits your criteria, accept.
But does the offer seem too good to be true? In some cases, spark a conversation with him/her before allowing the player to enter. By starting a conversation, you may see the players want to join the alliance, or a spy. As your alliance gets better, spies will want to get into the alliance to get all the information they can. If offers are too good to be true, they could be spies.
Other ways of telling a spy is if they suddenly jump ship from a top alliance to yours without much reason. Always be slightly skeptical of people jumping alliances, though 95% of the time they honest want to join the alliance as an honest member.
When you recieve a request which isn't up to scratch or doesn't meet what you are looking for, you will have to decline them. You could just leave it, but if you do this, you'll leave the player steadily getting impatient.
Leaders have to be friendly, approachable, but strong. You must have a sense of power to be a leader and musn't wimper under pressure. You'l see that these attributes must be used in many occasions through your leadership. This is where you'll need them.
Send a polite mail rejecting their request. If the player moans about it, it shows their level of immaturity and thus, more reasons why you don't want them in your alliance. However, if you send them a harsh mail rejecting the player, they would rightly get aggrevated over it. My advice would be to be strong, but not harsh. Remember your grammar as well.
So that is it to recruiting. You will have to look in the beginning, but later on, the requests should start flooding once you have established yourself. Don't accept all of them (unless you wish to, in which case I highly recommend you don't) and research each and every player to check their past. Maybe some have a hidden past, you'll never know unless you research.
First of all, diplomacy is not a way to go round and win Grepolis. You'll find out if you ally everyone, that some alliance will fall out with another and either find yourself split or waging war. Allying and NAPing are not always helpful, they can hamper. However, if you pick the correct allies, they may help you dozens. Therefore, you should always be careful picking them. In this section, I will go through three different relationships with other alliances and when they should be used or not used.
There are many things to consider when allying another alliance. Many things, including location, communication and what your members think. If picked incorrectly, they can even destroy your alliance. So lets begin.
Location is a key thing to note. If your ally is really close to your alliance, the more it may be able to help in certain situation but the less expansion room and area to move into you'll have. However, if you have an ally that is too far away, they won't be able to help you much but leave you plenty of room to expand. Keep this in mind when picking allies.
Think for the future. It can be good to have an ally that is in the continent next to you, but if that is where you want to expand in the future, it is not a good idea. You'll end up slowing each other down as you try to spread between islands trying to find new places to conquer. It will bring you to a dead end.
Communication is another key thing to note. Stay in close communication. If you don't, the alliance you have between your two alliances will become weaker and weaker, until it falls apart. A lack of communication can be deadly for the alliances as well, as if one person from each alliance wants the same village, but don't communicate between each other, they could start killing each other, starting a war.
Good ideas to keep the alliance between the two alliances together is to start one or two forums that include the both of you, so that both sides members may mix and become friends with each other keeping ties strong. Other ideas include creating a chat including both alliances (Skype or Chatzy recommended).
Allies must be real allies and truthful to each other. Leaders often make alliances between each other, but when they are called upon, they do nothing. You want an alliance where your alliance helps them and their alliance helps you. Where you have a certain amount of respect and loyalty for each other. Too often people rush into making allies, but they don't work for each other.
Don't make too many allies either. 1 is enough, 2 in certain cases. Having too many allies will seriously hamper expansion and eventually, you will have to face each other anyway as else, they'll be no way through. Too many allies will slow you down.
And if you decide you don't need an alliance anymore and break it, you'll be frowned upon. You'll be looked on as a backstabber and you'll find it hard to get new relations. People will think you'll have no respect for other alliances.
Use these tips in making allies. One last thing is how to go about requesting an alliance and dealing with requests. Don't go straight into making people your ally. Only when you finally feel you respect each other and feel that you trust each other, then you may make the alliance. Have long, hard conversations with them (no "thats what she saids" please) and discuss various topics, including each others alliances and expansion tactics. Trust them fully before making an ally.
Good requests should not go straight into the alliance. They should do it progressively, steadly. If they go straight into it, its not worth it, though it is good to say that they wish to ally and to show their intent. However, if they go straight into it and you accept straight away, it will never work.
NAPs (Non-Aggressive Pact)
Let me get to the point, I hate NAPs. Lets be honest, they don't help much at all. The only thing they are useful for is that they will create a ceasefire so that you (or they) don't get attacked. They should only be used to prevent war if you aren't ready for it.
So if they stop you from getting attacked, why not use them? Expansion is the key issue again. If you are unable to attack strong players and conquer them, how else are you able to expand?
NAPs are always temporary. They are very easily broken, as you have no/little links with the alliance on the other end. Therefore, never trust an NAP. Always be ready for what might happen when the NAP is broken, as if you aren't, you and your members are dead. See it as a pending threat.
Don't always use NAPs to stop getting attacked or as a ceasefire. It will make you and your alliance look weak. Try to finish them off.
Finally, requests. You shouldn't need to request an NAP unless you really need it. In which case, follow the same rules as before, write a well written letter with the conditions you wish for. Once completed, you may need to negotiate. Always use the correct grammar and punctuation, as well as being polite. However, once its agreed, thats it! However, remember that since you don't have many/any ties, it is easily broken so prepare for the worse.
Really think when you recieve requests for NAPs. Do you really need is; will it help you at all? It is all your choice when it comes to NAPs, but remember the key facts.
Merging is where you merge with another alliance to make a larger (and if done correctly, a stronger) alliance. Merges are rarely used by anybody and should never be done straight away.
I recommend only merging after your alliance has been an ally with theirs for quite a while and when trust between you is at a maximum level. Then you may choose to merge to form a larger, stronger, almighty alliance. Just don't forget the rules I've stated for allies, they apply here as well.
There are two main methods of communication around your alliance, forum and chat. However, first of all, I will ramble on about how key communication is.
Communication between your alliance is probably my key fundemental in Grepolis. Especially if you consider how important the alliance feature is in Grepolis. Without communication, your alliance will have no chance of survival. If you don't let your alliance know whats happening, they will steadily drift away and the whole thing will drift apart.
However, if your alliance does have good communication, completely the opposite will happen. If you do have good communication, relationships in the alliance will be excellent and by the end, you'll make so many friends. And if you do have good communication, the closer together the alliance will be. If the communication is good, you will all work as a unit.
So, what should you try to achieve? There is a kind of responsibility. Members should be responsible and read the forums, as well as access the chat. If they don't, they will not be kept in the loop and drift away from the alliance. They won't be useful to the alliance, or any help to others in the alliance. If this is so, the layer is not worth having. In alliances I've been in, leaders don't kick those who are under performing as much, but those who are not in communication with others. Without communicating with each other, the whole thing will collapse.
As a leader, you must keep communication going and be on the chats, on the forums updating everything and seeing how things are going. If you don't see members on the forums or on the chats, find out why! You have to encourage communication between each other, otherwise all will fail.
As said before, there are two main methods of communication around your alliance, forum and chat. If these are set up corretly so that they are hassle free and friendly, members will converse with each other. If all is set up correctly, everyone should know whats happening. Lets go through each with some tips on setting things up correctly and successfully.
The chat feature is new to Grepolis and formerly I would ramble on about how chatting is key and that you must use Skype or Chatzy. However, if the feature is their, why leave it?
Chat is key in the growth of your alliance. Your members will get to know each other better using chat and will gel together. Talking to each other is key in keeping the alliance afloat.
Make sure everyone knows about the chat feature and regulary remind people to keep using it. Use it yourself as well, get to know your members better, create friendships. If everyone uses the chat and talk to each other, the alliance should gel together. Make sure everyone is included in the chat as well, involving everyone. You are a team, after all.
A problem with the chat is that you cannot see if everyone is using it. There is no possible way that you could be awake 24 hours on Grepolis to see if everyone uses the chat (through the timezones) and if you do, you need a pat on the back. That is a disadvantage.
Another thing to remember is that when important things that everyone should know about are mentioned or discussed about on the chat, not every member will be online. Members will need reminding as well. That is what the forum is for, so leaders should post key points of chats on forums. Also, ask members to post their key ideas in forum posts as well, as you cannot be their all the time to see them. Remember the chat feature, as members may want to speak to you personally instead of waiting for a reply to a mail sitting in your inbox.
Last thing, as I said with diplomacy earlier. Use it with allies as well, keep in contact.
The forum is the "noticeboard" for your alliance. Make sure the alliance know whats in the forum and keep them up to date using the forums. Let your members know whats happening all the time through the forum. And encourage them to use it to its full extent.
My first tip is that you should keep the forum friendly and accessible all the time. If its unfriendly and rather sour in the forums, you may need to consider cleaning it up and sorting members out. The alliance's insides should be kept nice at all times as you should invite all alliance members to read it. Make it inviting, constructive but not sour.
Secondly, keep it clean. Grepo's internal forums aren't that good at handling too many threads, so clean it on a regular basis. Including this with where I said that the internals should be inviting, you need sections. You must section your forum out well, as otherwise the forum will be messy and uninviting. You don't want too many sections as otherwise the information that the members will want will be spread far and wide. You don't want too little sections either, as all will get seriously messy and it will be hard for members to find what they want. You want your sectioning to be clear. Below I have listed a number of different sections that you may wish to use and what they should do.
Announcements- An announcements forum is the place where the leadership announce certain things. The leader should use this well, alerting members about new updates to telling people to support a player to members taking new positions. I like to keep it so that only leaders are allowed to post here, but its your choice.
News- Similar to announcements. This is so that people can discuss the latest announcements, say about news around the alliance to telling each other about "undercover research" they might have done.
Co-Ordinated Attacks- Members may wish to get a group of members together to complete co-ordinated attacks. This would be the forum to do it. Use walls here.*
Support- If people require support, this is the place where members could declare that they have attacks incoming and from where. You must make sure people read this forum, as if they don't, it could be the end for some members. Use walls here.*
Reports- If you/other members have walls* that might be some use to other members, post them here. This however, is a bit blank. I only use this during wars, where each members of the enemy alliance has a post and where people post espionage/attack reports for that enemy player. Members may also discuss if they are taking that player out. This is so that the whole alliance work together in taking down players of the enemy.
Conquer Claims- A section for claiming villages to conquer. If this is not used, two members may go for the same village and it could cause an argument. Strict rules and formatting should be used here to make everything clear and fair. Use walls*.
Guides- A guides section to look upon if someone is unsure about something and needs to look it up.
Suggestions- Suggestions to improve the alliance... simple!
Off-Topic- Spam section, great for making new friends and getting members closer to each other using different topics. Random conversation section :p
Continental Discussions (new section for each ocean)- To be used if members are spread across three/four sections so that they may team up in their own individual section and discuss other alliances etc.
Remember, don't use too many sections, but don't use too little.
Some of these sections may require guidelines so that they are kept clean and easy to use. Using guidelines also makes sure that information gets included clearly into posts. When creating guidelines, don't make them too complicated. Make them simple to remember. Also, when creating guidelines, request the opinions of other members so that they think that they are fair.
Notice that the * is used above in some of the sections mentioned. There is a reason for this. All of these sections may require members to post walls (or reports) of attacks and defenses. Be very careful when posting them up. This is because of spies.
However tight your recruitment policy is, spies may sneak in or untrustworthy members may give away information. If you find whoever it is, kick them out straight away. Back to the point of walls... Just in case of a spy, tell members not to post the amount of troops they sent/had. If they do, the spy could give the amount of attacking/defending troops away to other alliances so that they know the force that player has. Even if it is the alliance's internal forums, stuff may still be leaked. If a member really needs to know another members troop count, it should be done by mail.
As the alliance's noticeboard, it is pivotal that everyone reads it. If they don't, they will drift away. Luckily, unlike chats, there is an easy way of checking forum activity. Warn members first of an activity check soon, and then, later that week, post a thread named "Forum Activity Check". Give members a certain amount of hours (24 hours minimum due to time zones) to reply "Hi, I'm here". Once that time is up, get a list of all the alliances members. Tick off all the ones who have replied and you are left with a bunch of players that didn't check the forums in that certain amount of hours. Depending on how strict you are, give them a second chance or get rid of them, but before getting rid of them, make sure their wasn't a reason for it.
The Member Base
You have members, yes. But there is a bunch of things, some of which should be made more clear to you as a leader.
First thing to learn is that members of your alliance are not robots. They don't have to respond to your every command; they have their own thoughts and feelings. And if they don't have your trust, they won't listen to you. You need to gain your members respect.
You can earn their respect and trust through different ways. First of all, listen to ideas from members. By listening to what members have to say, you will gain their loyalty and trust. They will believe that you will point everyone in the right direction.
Supporting a member and helping them is what every leader should do. But by doing this, you will also gain trust. He/She will believe that you will help everyone in need.
Another way to gain trust, but more loyalty in this aspect, is chatting. It doesn't require much effort, but talking (even if its casually) is a great way to gain loyalty. It may not seem much, but soon you'll begin to build relationships between you and each member. Just remember that, as you'll soon find that members you have a relationship with are more loyal and respectful than those you don't have any relations with.
Once you have gained their respect, you are not far away from being a great leader. However, remember who you're members are. By this, I mean whether they are experienced, elite or new to Grepolis. By knowing this, you'll be able to adapt yourself towards them.
For example, try teaching newbies a little more, while elites or the experienced won't need as much nuturing. However, remember to still have trust/respect between all of you.
You are the leader. But as you can already see, these jobs are quite a task for just a single person. You will eventually want to recruit more leaders, recruiters, diplomats and council members.
This heavily depends on how much time you have and confidence in your ability to lead. If you have plenty of time, or wish to be in control of most things, you will only choose to promote one or two people up to being recruiters/diplomats. These two people should have the upmost confidence in you and you should have upmost confidence in them doing the correct job.
However, if you a restricted on time or are unsure about some aspects of leadership, you may wish to recruit some leaders. No ones perfect, including yourself. Everyone has their strength and weaknesses. Try to recruit people who have had experience or expertees in the specific areas you may not be so good at. By doing so, you'll be strengthening the whole alliance and improving the effiency.
When you feel it is time for bringing in a council, note your strengths and weaknesses. If you are good at recruiting, but weak at keeping hold of the forums and co-ordination, note that. You will want to fill in these weaknesses with others who are experts in these specific areas. Look for these experts within the alliance. Ask for people who have had prior experience of doing that specific job.
However, it is very, very important to think to yourself before promoting the member.
First of all, how new is the member? Although newer members may be good at the job, you should really aim to fill these posts with members who have plenty of experience.
Secondly, have you done your research? Research the member to see what posts he/she has filled before and how well he/she has done previously. See what type of alliance it was, how well it did and what the policies were for that alliance. Also, try to talk to the leader of that alliance, get a reference for the player.
Third, how active is the player? If you promote an inactive player, he/she won't do the job as effectively or efficently. You'll be finding yourself waiting around for him/her.
Lastly, but defienetly not least, how much power is he/she getting and will he/she use it responsibly? This is by far the most important question of all, as this power could be used against you. Too many a time, a nooby (although top) alliance promotes a member to leader to quickly without thinking and soon after, its gone. If you promote a member too quickly who doesn't trust/respect you or the alliance, they can easily disband it with the new power. Therefore, it is key that you find out how much they trust you. How much do you talk to each other? Questions like this can be answered by a quick look back at chats and forums. For this reason alone, I tend to recruit members closer to me to become leaders.
Look for these people around your alliance. It is also important to post that you are looking for a new recruiter etc. in the forums, to see what interest from what people you recieve.
Once you have given those who you have promoted their new powers, you need to train them. Now this sounds stupid, as some of them who have done that job before will know what to do, but by training them I mean telling them your policies and criteria. Do this by simply mailing them about the criteria, how strict it currently is and what does the player/alliance have to do to pass it. Also say a limit, so the council member knows how many. Keep your leaders up to date as well. If you are loosening criteria or changing policy, do not forget to let them know.
You will need the other leaders to report back to you and you to report to them on a regular basis. They will also need to get your decision on a regular basis. For that reason, you will need good communication to other leaders. I recommend setting up a forum for this so that everyone may refer to each other and so that you can get everyones thoughts on a certain decision. Don't forget to make it hidden, for council members only.
I also recommend chats. Your leaders will need to urgently contact you, so I recommend making a Skype chat so that if an urgent something appears, you may rush to the situation. It is also to add more loyalty, though the leaders should already trust you and you trusting them, of course.
If a leader goes inactive, you will need to replace him/her or have a word with him/her. Same if you feel that he/she isn't as efficent as they should be. Just have a word. Efficenty is the whole reason you should have recruited these leaders in the first place.
However, I will repeat this. You must have your leaders respecting you and you must respect the other leaders at all times. If not, a disaster is just waiting to happen.
Your public image is quite key here. You should never judge a book by its cover, but too many people do. If you have a bad public image, people won't want to be in your alliance or ally it. If you have a strong public image, people will want to flood in and you'll be the talk of the forum.
When someone looks at an alliance, the first thing they see is the profile. therefore, you need a profile that gives a good image of the alliance. This includes a decent CoA (Coat of Arms) and clear text. Let me go further into what you should have and what you must avoid.
Simple point first. Never put ASCII swords on your profile. Many elite and good players look at them straight away and think no. By putting ASCII swords on your profile, you will look like a nooby alliance. Don't bother. This is the same for all ASCII designs, whether it would be some knight or skull and crossbones. They are just incredibly nooby.
One don't that I notice more on Grepolis is where an alliances allies are written on the front page. Why? It is absolutely stupid. Allies and NAPs are meant to be kept between your alliance and theirs, not everyone. They are meant to help you, support you but definetly not meant to be shown to everyone.
But the do's... well there are quite a few. Make sure you have the correct people to contact for another person's enquiry written clearly on the profile. This is so all the right mail goes to the right person and that the player isn't put off making his/her request because the name of whom to contact isn't clear.
Keep it short and simple is the next. A harsh reality is that many people do not wish to read long paragraphs. If you keep it to a simple phrase only on your profile, you'll get much more interest than a long winded piece of text (like this guide).
Get the grammar right. The better the grammar, the less nooby you'll look. Same with punctuation. If your spelling isn't right, people will think you are nooby, immature or underage. And trust me, you don't want to look like that.
In your profile, include a coat of arms (or CoA). The phrase "a picture paints a 1000 words" may sound stupid, but it really does here. If you get it right, it really does make an impact and attracts attention. I advise getting on that graphics editor to make a good CoA or getting a good graphic maker to make one for you (eg. Aicy, Anmolr, Benvolio or Carf). Last thing with the CoA, keep it relevant.
The external forums is often the place where alliances get critiqued and discussed. It will be the main place of discussion for your world. If you wish to get recognised by the community, this is the place to come. If you also want to get more into your Grepolis world, or learn the news, come here.
Members of your alliance may already be on the forum. First thing to do is to tell them that they are representing the alliance on the forum, same as you are. Don't be idiots, act responsibly. Also, don't forget your grammar (it makes a big difference). If you do this, I'm sure you'll be fine. Below are some tips for you whilst on the externals.
First of all, gain a little reputation. Do some small, constructive posts in your world forum and you are sure to get more and more known, as well as gaining some rep.
Whilst gaining some rep, take advantage of some of the forum games usually circulating. Someone usually starts a "Rate the Player Above", "Ally, War or Disband" or "Rate the Alliance" thread (usually me), so don't forget to take your turn and get your alliance rated! One by one, people will begin realising about your alliance.
Use the signature feature as well. Often people have snazzy graphics in their signature advertising their alliance, so use this to its advantage. Again, get on that graphics editor or ask one of those trusty sig makers to make you one in return for some rep.
However, never create your own thread in the world forums just about your own alliance. These "We are the Knights of Narnia and we are gonna rule" posts look so nooby and you'll find that the forum will soon hate you for it. If you do that, you'll be putting a target on your head. However, saying this, you may still tell the forum about you're alliance if you are in something big or have some big news to tell (eg. War against top 10 alliance). For this, you'll need to create a PnP.
PnP (Politics and Propaganda)
To be successful, you wil have to PnP on the forums. Propaganda is used to influence other people to have the same opinion as yours. In Grepolis, propaganda is our media.
It is key that you get PnP's just right. If you get it right, it will have so many benefits from simply making the alliance look more attractive to even winning a war. However, get it wrong and it could be terrible.
That leads me onto my first point, the "Why use PnP?" question. Well, you can simply win a war using it. Alliances can get publicly ridiculed using it and may disband because of it.
It also leads me onto the second question, "Are there any dangers?" Yes. If improperly used or if you don't back up claims with evidence, you could be ripped apart in seconds. Same if their are any loopholes in your PnP. Some witty person will soon expose it turning an angry bunch of loonitics on you.
So, creating good PnPs. Its quite an art to be honest and will take plenty of time. It also depends what type of PnP you are creating, depending on if its a declaration of war or exposing an enemy secret. It is an important skill to learn.
So, lets say you wish to expose an enemy secret. First thing to do is to gather the evidence. This may include various mails and internal forum topics (in theirs, of course). Print screen it all. And if you are getting it from another source, please make sure its reliable and tell people that you got it from a reliable source.
Now you have to write a post exposing the enemy secret. Just remember though, the audience are hear for entertainment, not political jargon (although some of it is bound to be).
Write firmly, strongly but add a little comedy. Don't add too many funny pictures, but if there's some that really are relevant, use them. Also, (I know I go on but really...) make sure you use correct punctuation, grammar and spelling. If you don't, you'll look really immature and in this case, no one will take you seriously.
However, don't overdo the comedy. Make sure your argument is a sturdy, well constructed argument, not a useless but funny one. Make sure your PnP has a point. And as I learned in school, use PEE (Point, Evidence, Explain). Miss out the evidence and the whole thing wil go to pieces.
Once you have written your PnP, don't forget to check it yourself, as well as getting some of your alliance members to check it. It only takes one person spotting an error for the tables to be turned. This is the same when someone has written a PnP against you. Find one point wrong and that step forward will soon change to 10 steps back. Only once you are fully sure, then post.
With war declarations, you get more of a blank pad to do what you want with. You may also add a little more pictures if it makes it more entertaining. But at the end of the day, your point must be clear. Why are you declaring?
Enemies and Wars
You are bound to have enemies on Grepolis. And you are bound to have wars... how else are you going to dominate?
You may gain enemies for different reasons. From arguing to farming each other to a disagreement. Enemies will try to sabotage and destroy you, using forum banter at first but gradually building up.
First advice would be to always be ready. Never sit back and relax because on Grepolis, war may happen at any moment. If you aren't ready, you'll be stuck in the corner as soon as the war starts. Make sure your members have troops and often it is good to know what offense/defense they have and what type of villages they have (eg. Offense, Defense, Purely Naval, Siege etc).
However, remember this. War may be declared at any time and more often than not its not an enemy who declares it. Other alliances will want to expand in your direction. And if you are in their way, they will need to get rid of you to expand there. Therefore, I advise looking at nearby alliances expansions, see where they recently conquered villages and if they are heading in your direction, tell your members.
Once the war has been declared, the loyalty you gained earlier will really come to good use. Same with the trust and respect. Your alliance will need to work together as a unit. If they do not, you are destined to fail.
Create that report section I said earlier. Have a post for each member of the enemy and stick all the walls and conversation over that enemy player in that post. It will form a directory, so that members may access information about that member easily.
Let your members know whats happening and co-ordinate. Get your members to co-ordinate together and work together. By doing so, you'll be sure to bring the alliance down. If you don't co-ordinate, efficiency will drop and you will start seperating.
Support as well. If a member requests support, give it to him. By doing so, other players will follow your actions. Request via mass mail for support as well. By doing so, you'll get that village supported and stacked. Please note that it is also a good idea stacking villages that are at high risk first.
Try to keep it a 1 on 1 fight. If you require allies, ask allies and use allies. But by doing so, public image decreases and you'll be seen as an alliance who can't fight its own wars, a title not to be proud of. However, don't threat to tell allies that you have enemies and that you have a war or few going on.
Use propaganda to your advantage. Use the tips in section 08c to your advantage. However, do not publicly declare on the forums if that alliance "rules" the forums as they will hammer your reputation, even if you win.
Final tip for you is to stay in contact with the enemy leader. It may sound stupid, but it really isn't. It shows you are gracious and although you may not be remorceful in battle, you are reminding yourself that its just a game. Also, don't be sour to the enemies in conversation. After the wars over, you'll look back on your post and will be quite unimpressed with yourself.
Use these tips throughout the war to succeed. But one important lesson yet to be learned is the time to declare war. As if you aren't ready for war, it could be a run through for them.
First of all, war should never be started before conquer ships come out. It does nothing as you can't take their villages and all it does is slow you down. You can't do much damage if you are unable to take villages as well. It is pointless.
Never declare war on an alliance that is too far away (eg. 3, 4 continents away). They are hard to fight in and harder to win. In the end, it just ends up dull and wears your members down.
Never declare an unwinnable war. Unless you are planning to fail, don't do it. Its pretty much suicide. Yes, you could be odds against but never declare an unwinnable war.
And as said before, prepare for war. Make sure you are ready as you don't know whats coming. Whether its pure nukes or tactical play, prepare for it all.
In your alliance, there will be members who don't perform as they should. Nine tenths of the time its inactivity. In case you didn't guess, inactivity is where a member isn't active anymore. This is often disasterous for an alliance. There are other reasons why a player doesn't perform, but mainly its inactivity.
Check for inactive or under-performing members regulary. Do this by not only looking at your alliance member lists, but also GrepoStats and GrepoWorld to find how much they have been growing (if anything at all). If you are sure that he is inactive, try to grab a word with him/her. You'll have to deal with him/her someway. You can either kick and recruit or take and replace.
Kick and Recruit
Kicking and recruiting is the first method. As the name suggests, you kick the inactive and replace him by recruiting a new player. However, this has more drawbacks than people think. Let me go through the advantages and disadvantages of doing this.
First of all, the most obvious advantage, it gets rid of the inactive and brings in fresh blood. You will have a new, active, enthusiastic player and get rid of the weight that was holding you down before. This also leads onto the second advantage. As they've tried hard to get into the alliance, they will put a lot of effort in the alliance and try to prove to you that they are worth it.
Last advantage is that you can recruit them specific to location (eg. you can recruit them on your weak flank). And the inactive accounts villages can simply be conquered by your alliance, so there is no need to worry about losing villages and positions.
There are some drawbacks though. You are recycling members. This will damage tribal communication and damage atmosphere in the alliance, with members losing ties with that player. It is worse if that member was one who'd everyone liked or if he/she was their for a long time.
The other drawback is where most the advantages are, the player. The new player may not be up to the standard of the old player, or as alliance-orientated. It is always a risk when recruiting new players.
Take and Replace
Take and replace doesn't have a so obvious title. By taking and replacing, I mean that you get the accounts password and pass it onto someone else, most likely a friend. However, this also has its advantages and disadvantages.
The advantage is that you don't have to dismiss the account. You will bring in a new, active, experienced player who is bound to keep the account running well. And as you know him/her, you can trust that the account is in good hands.
Again, drawbacks. The disadvantage is that the player you gave the account to is probably not attached to the account as they didn't bring it up themselves. Imagine the account as a baby. The member nutures the baby and loves it as it is his/her own. However, this player has only just adopted the account at the age of 2/3/4. Therefore, this new owner may not be attached to the baby fully.
A drawback similar to one of the drawbacks for kick and recruit comes in. The fact that it may cause a break in the atmosphere in the alliance. For one, a player everybody would have known's gone, then secondly a new experienced player comes in. People may be a bit iffy at first about a better player joining.
You will have inactive players, I guarantee. But the way you go about them is your choice.
All account hand-overs must be done in the correct manner. You (the owner- and it can only be the owner of the account) must submit a support ticket and say that you are intending to give up your account to another player, you must specify which one. The in-game moderator who responds to your ticket will help with the hand over.
Why Alliances Disband
I have now gone through just about everything you need to consider whilst being a leader. And I think you'll be glad too, several thousand words is a lot to read. However, let me go over finally why alliances disband and some tips on how to stop these problems.
The first would be the sneakiest. Disbandment from infiltration. This happens you give someone powers you might trust. However, instead of using them as you wish, they imediately start kicking and eventually, the whole alliance is gone. You can never guarantee this will not happen, but if you promote carefully and people who are loyal to you, this shouldn't happen.
Inactivity is another, a large killer of alliances in mid/late-world. People just can't be bothered after a while or may have to disappear due to time. This is to be expected in every alliance. However, can be solved relatively easily. Recycle the members. Just don't do it too often, it does break communication ties and can stiffen the atmosphere in the alliance.
This leads me onto another reason of disbansion, lack of communication. As said many times throughout this guide, losing communication will mean that no one has any idea on whats going on and mamebers will start to drift away. The way to solve this is to make sure that every member is involved with communications and make sure the chats and forums are read.
Another one is disagreement. I've seen it quite a bit in alliances outside the core. If people don't like a decision, they leave. Therefore, it is always nice to consult members for ideas and gain reasons why not.
War is one that may not be your fault. However, you can help to reduce the chance of disbansion due to war. Make sure everyone is ready and make sure the support gets where it needs to go.
Last main one would be lack of loyalty. If members aren't loyal or don't trust you, they will also drift away. Once they are in disagreement with you or don't trust you at all, they will leave or go inactive. Therefore, you need to gain loyalty, from many different ways, from striking up a convo to sending them support.
There are many others, but these are the ones I see most often.
You are never going to be guaranteed successful as a leader. However, following this advice above and you are sure to improve. If you have any feedback or anything you feel should be added, please do post below and say where. Without your help, I won't know what I've missed! Also, please don't hold back if you disagree with some of it
Some people feel that leadership can be learnt. However, some feel that people are born leaders and that they have instinct. I will say, that you aren't guaranteed to be successful if you follow this guide. But you'll be somewhat improved.
Oh, and another thing. Everyone has a different leadership style. I know this. I have tried my best to adapt this guide so that it should give something to all leadership styles.
Please do give this a rating out of 10 and why (you may do this on the wiki on the talk page for this article)... How much has it helped? And if anyone is wondering how long this guide and post is, well its 10,700 words long approx (not including the title)! Anyone wish to count?
Thanks for reading