"Arkheim: Politics of Realms" - A Guide to Diplomacy.



  • First of all i guess i can at least introduce myself, my nickname is Nekomata, I've played Arkheim from the beginning of Early Access 1 and i'm been a diplomat and then a leader from almost the beginning of it. Diplomacy is probably the field i'm more confident about in this game, so when i was thinking about writing a guide it was a natural choice of topic.


    This Guide is intended mostly for new/inexperienced players that want to know more about this aspect of Arkheim, hopefully even others can learn something from it.

    why is diplomacy important?

    Well, the answer is simple, it doesn't matter how strong your realm is, the number of warlords all players have at their disposal is limited to a maximum of 8, that limits the capacity of a realm to attack/defend. This makes alliances incredibly overpowered, which means is in the best interest of your realm to negotiate with your neighbors and negotiate to avoid being outnumbered, back stabbed or form alliances to defeat an enemy or defend from one.



    diplomat's position and responsibilities


    Normally all realms have a certain numbers of people that are tasked with diplomacy, they can be the leaders of the realm, or a member that decided to take that mantle, 2 or 3 people are ideal in my opinion. My suggestion is to add something along the lines of "contact (player_name1)/(player_name2) for diplomacy" to your realm description, if that's not the case usually people write the players wearing the crown in the realm they want to contact, but that often leads to loss of time since they might not the the one in charge of diplomacy.


    The role of a Diplomat can vary, the first most basic and important responsibility is of course to be in charge of the official communications between their realms and others. If the diplomat is not the leader of the realm it will be his/her responsibility to negotiate any kind of deal between realms.

    But the "true power" of a diplomat comes from their secondary role, they are basically a spy, information is VERY important in this game, and they often have a web of contacts in a lot of realms that lets them collect a lot of rumors and chatter from everywhere, they usually have a grasp on the relations on the map, who is friends with who, which realms hate each others, what they are planning and so on.



    the tools of the trade


    All of this means that a diplomat usually has conversations with a lot of different people and often also need to share images/screenshots, which makes it impossible to use the in-game chat for it (expect for some basic stuff). This translate to a first contact inside the game and then a switch to a discord chat. The first thing a diplomat will likely ask you is your discord name and tag. Probably the most useful way to deal with diplomacy is to create a "diplomacy" section in your realm discord, and create a separate chat for each realm u want to be in contact with, make specific roles for all of them and then invite the other realms diplomats in your server and gave them access to their respective chat.


    This means around 80% if the real work is "outside" the game, in discord servers and chats, the remaining 20% is about keeping up to date on realms and map situation.

    Honestly discord becomes your best friend really fast, since you tend to have a lot of conversation you need to keep track to.


    Some more crazy people have folders or screenshots and documents about all that they find useful, most people simply try to remember the important stuff. It's important to know that information from previous rounds can still be useful in future rounds, for example which player played where in the past can be useful to know possible connections and get an idea of that player's play style and character.


    trust is the base of diplomacy

    Since there is no current implementation of a diplomacy system or similar between realm everything is based on TRUST, it's the base of all current diplomacy in the game, every time you make a deal of any kind you are putting a lot of TRUST into the other party (as they are doing with you).

    So why should you TRUST them? well, you have to count on the fact that TRUST is the main asset of any diplomat, and if you break a deal with another realm people will remember it and the more you do it the more difficult it will became for you to actually do any real diplomacy with possibly serious repercussion on their game. And then of course there is the moral reason, a lot of people, me included, take pride in honoring their deals, and luckily i can say that almost everyone i have dealt with in this community hasn't disappointed in this aspect.

    Unfortunately sometimes deals are broken, and it's never a good thing, whatever the reasons behind it are, because the more it happens the harder it will became to TRUST other realm in the future.


    diplomacy 101

    So now lets get to the more practical part, talking and dealing with other realms and their diplomats.

    It kind of goes without saying but as in any interaction with another human being being polite and respectful is always a great start; it might seem weird at first but starting a conversation with another diplomat even in a formal manner can be helpful to establish you are there for business and to be taken seriously. Being clear about the your credentials is also very important, who are you? which one is your realm? even clarifying your own position in your realm can help making the conversation go smoother.

    Are you there simply as a diplomatic emissary? Do you have authority to discuss and decide? Your "adversary" would appreciate to know if you can make decisions or you are simply there to relay and collect information, leaving things unclear can often lead to misunderstandings or bad feelings that can be very hard to clear afterwards.


    After introducing yourself you should of course explain why you reached out, this will depend on the situation of course and we will look at the most common types of interactions after.

    Every time you are proposing, negotiating or accepting/refusing a deal you should remember that you are giving away information, and the other party is too, you could say it's a special kind of battle, your are trying to read your "opponent" and they are trying to read you. why are you/they offering this deal? You can often try to lead the conversation in topics you are interested in, for example relationship with other realms, war intentions and so on. As before there is always a trade, it's impossible to not give away at least some information, the aim is to gain more then you lose, and to control as much as possible what information you are letting slip through.


    Probably the most annoying and difficult part to control about diplomacy is that with all the secrecy and hidden deals that go around, a lot of realms tend to act based on rumors that come from conversations between random people from different realms. Normally the best way to deal with this would be to contact the other party through an official channel to clear things up, but unfortunately often that doesn't happen or happens too late to resolve it without a whole lot of drama.


    Personally i think the best way to conduct diplomacy is directness, no stalling, no long conversations that often lead nowhere, you should go to the other diplomat make your proposal and negotiate on it if necessary. This game is very quick, u shouldn't lose time in diplomacy (unless you intend to stall your adversary through diplomacy, that's another topic entirely), since it would delay your other actions.


    Another thing that's important to remember is that people's memory of what they consider "attacks" or "insults" is VERY long, of course everyone would like to think that every round is separate from each other, but that's very much not the case, this doesn't always has to be a bad thing, friendships forged in our server can be very useful for the future of course. But it's mostly bad, old feeling of anger are often the cause of a lot drama and conflict both inside and outside a realm, you should always remember this and take it into consideration.

    It's honestly crazy how much can grudges from previous round influence future round.

  • deals


    So now you are finally talking with another diplomat, there can be a lot of different situations of course, but the most common types of deals are usually the same ones:


    • NAP (Non Aggression Pact): probably the deal that has been made the most times in Arkheim, it's as simple as it can be, but there are a few details that are always important to keep track while making NAPs. First of all "duration", how long will this deal last? Usually it tends to be a deal made for a specific island, so the duration is normally along the lines of "for the entirety of our stay on i1/2/3/4". Some NAPs can also include a break clause, that enlist the terms under which the NAP can be broken before it's intended end, it's usually a truce after notice of intent type of clause (after communicating your intent to break the NAP with the other party there are X hours of truce before any fighting can begin), but of course put other kind of clauses to it. The important thing is that it must be clear to both parties what you are agreeing to (this is true for everything);
    • DP (Defensive Pact): not very common but appears from time to time, it's a middle way between a NAP and a real alliance, a lot of alliances are in fact nothing more then a DP with at times some secondary deals attached. Honestly it's often not a great deal to make, in my experience it fails more often then not to accomplish anything useful.
    • Alliance: this type of deal can honestly vary a lot depending on the situation, but as the name suggests in the end it's a cooperation agreement with a certain goal, fighting against one or more enemies is the most common one, but there can be alliances that are born, for example, with the goal to climb together and helping each other succeed along the way. They are one of the most fragile deals that often lead to the most drama, since they require a lot of cooperation and trust to work, and they are often not that easy to achieve.
    • Coalition: a general term for a alliance that includes 3 or more realms that all share the same goal, if u thought that a single alliance can be a mess to coordinate coalitions are notorious to have an exponential difficulty to maintain and coordinate the more realms are part of it. They are usually born to crush a specific enemy, typically the first in the ranking. They are one of the most cruel type of alliance both internally and to their enemies, as I said at the beginning the warlord limit is very harsh, and any coalition of 4 or more realms can almost control the entire island they are in. But even with all that it has a lot of drawbacks, the most important ones are the fragility of it and the possibility of internal conflict, the usually unfairness of the deal, there is always someone that benefits from it more then others, and even if it's sounds weird, negative diplomatic backlash, that can alone cause the creation of an even bigger coalition to crush the original one.


    A few special and particular types of deals are also:

    • Orbs Farm: a realm that sacrifices their orbs to another in exchange for something, usually peace with that realm and possibly some territory when the other realm ascends.
    • Puppet/wing: a realm that is playing for the benefit or another, often without a benefit for themselves, it can be more or less explicit. Lately a lot less common, was more present when players slots unlocked with realm levels, and that required a wing realm to grow the members that would later join the main realm.
    • Hegemony: a particular kind of coalition, one where all the members expect one are usually some kind of puppet realm, and their objective if the success of the leader of such coalition, with the hope of other members to be able to profit from it. They can be more or less official, sometimes Hegemonies can be kind of naturally formed around strong realms without much input or work by said realms.

    All these deals need one thing to work well, clarity, and the best way to achieve it is through a well written agreements that includes all the details of it and the obligations asked to the participants.

    It's often not enough to simply say "we are allies now, nice", it's better to agree on specific terms, the more comprehensive the details are the better you will sleep at night. And of course the most complicate types of deal require even more "paperwork", i can share from my experience that when we participated in a coalition we spent around 2 days writing down a 2 or 3 pages ToS (Terms of Service) agreement that we asked everyone to "sign" before starting to do anything else.

    Usually the most important points are: "how will we decide something if we disagree on it?", "orbs/ascension order/ascension gate?", "how to divide supplies?"

    Failure to be able to resolve or have ways to resolve these issues will sank most agreements.


    Another important point is to agree on a duration and the possibility or not to break this deal with certain conditions, usually 95% of all deals are limited to a certain islands and expire the moment one of the 2 parties ascends. Conditions to break certain deals can be extremely important since you can then be way more flexible in your play style, they are hard to propose at times since it can feel like your making that deal only to then break it. And of course any possibility to break a deal means the other side can also do that as well so it's a double edged sword.



    final considerations

    The more time passes the more it seems people start to notice how important politics can be, from when i started playing the number of alliances or coalitions have skyrocketed. And it's a very delicate subject, since they can alone ruin the whole server for everyone playing in it. The main problem with it is that there is no current way to balance this inside the game, any balance change to numbers of troops, orbs, moon phases and so on won't have any effect on the diplomacy game. So how balanced a server will be mostly depends on who the player base will approach it.


    I personally like diplomacy, when it's not full of drama, because it's very intense and can give you a lot of satisfaction when done the right way. I like talking with a lot of different people and plan with or against them, try to convince then to join our side and in general to sway them in the direction we prefer. But we all need to try to avoid creating too much drama and salt while doing so, too much server diplomacy spills into discord server and tends to last for way longer then it should be. This is usually caused by a lot of rumors going around and not enough people actually checking them before acting on them.


    I've very thorn about the possible introduction of a war/diplomacy system to the game, as a general idea i really like how free the current "system" is, i mean there is no system right now. Now we need to see if this much freedom is something we deserve and know how to enjoy it or if we'll exploit it to the ground. Only time will tell, but i must say i'm not too optimistic about it.



    end


    P.S: If u have read everything till here you i'm gonna apologize to make you read such a long and boring wall of text, i hope it's been an interesting read overall even if some of the stuff is pretty basic. I didn't want to go too much into details or examples since it would have become a book. If this "guide" gathers enough interest i will try to make a second part or write about something else entirely to keep boring you people like this.

    I also want to apologize for any grammar mistake i may have made while writing this that i didn't find, English is not my first language so even if i tried my best it's very possible that something slipped through.


    Any comment and discussion is welcome, i will gladly talk about it in more details with whoever wished to.


    (I will note that i'm posting this in a period of this server (EA3) that has been very volatile especially in the diplomacy field, but this project was started way before any of it began, and it's the result of about one week of work by me so i'm not about to delay it or scrap it simply because of drama in the game. And for the same reasons you are welcome to discuss it but I ask some respect for the amount of work that went into this and not to correlate it to anything happening in-game at the moment of this posting, since it has nothing to do with it.)


    Thanks again,


    -Nekomata.


    :3


    (had to divide it in 2 posts because it was too long :P)