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.
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.