Sitting down with Cthulhu - Winners of Carby (S27)

Congratulations to the Realm Cthulhu for winning the s27 round of Carby!

We in the Arkheim team wanted to sit down with the winners for a moment and ask a few questions on how their game round progressed.

Are you the same Realm Cthulhu winner of Alvorsted, s18?

It is important to clarify, what it means to be "the same realm".

Realm names are sometimes reused and people constantly rotate between teams. Considering this, I believe that the Leader and maybe a few core members define the realm, the anchor so to speak.

Leader defines how realm will operate, and core players are reinforcing the strategy and playstyle.

In this sense, the answer is "yes". I led Cthulhu on s18 and s27 with the same small group of core players.

About your team, how much of it was formed before the game world started?

We started forming the team in late November, about 2 months before server started. It was a slow process, because I wanted to make sure that we have compatible team.

Many strong players were not invited due to compatibility concerns. You can teach people if there is lack of knowledge, but you can't change personality.

The last slot was filled just a few days before server started.

And despite strict vetting process we still had massive issues. s25 round was active at that time, and it was very dramatic. Problem was that Cthulhu players were in opposing teams, so we had to deal with serious internall stress, even before our round started.

How many players were Leaders in Cthulhu?

5 leaders and half of the team were sentinels.

Leadership worked in a way, where I would define the high level plan for the next several days. And then leaders could make independent decisions aligning to the plan.

We had 3 leaders available during EU daytime and 2 leaders during the night (including me).

Big challenge to me personally was that I live in Australia. I needed to sleep during EU evenings, which is most dynamic time. Having 5 leaders + sentinels allowed us to immediately respond to any changes on the map.

Worth noting the situation on i2.

We were operating on 1/3 of the map, trevel time from one end to another was 15 hours. We were engaging with 20 realms simultaniously (100+ goblin towers, close to 20 relics, and active wars simultaniously when you only have 7 WLs per player).

At this scale vertical leadership structure no longer works. You either need to reduce the area of operations or set a new management structure. We were considering splitting the map into zones and assigning 3-5 strike teams.

We eventually parked the idea till the next island where it wasn't used.

Were all players from Cthulhu experienced or you also had newbies playing with you?

All players played at least once before. However, like in real life you have schools and universities, you also have different level of knowledge in the game.

Our team explored every single aspect of the game for possible improvements.

I read corporate management literature to improve leadership practices. We had governance metrics, redundancies for every key position, workload planning. Considered cultural inclusion, language barriers, feedbacks. Purely technical aspects too, like unit research roadmap, artefacts composition etc. etc. etc.

It takes a lot more effort to making a strong team that just inviting strong players.

How do you organize communication and coordination within the Realm?

Discord, which was optimised for efficient use. We had the following structure:

Announcements: important, not urgent. High level strategy for a few days.

Tactical: important, urgent. Current objectives on the map.

Tactical discussion/General: just discussion.

Every player was expected only to read announcement and tactical, which were brief and clear. The rest can be ignored.

GIFs and images were forbidden, tagging @everyone and @here were discouraged, unless absolutely necessary.

This allowed for everyone to not be stressed by unnecessary pings, and to quickly come up to speed with what is happening.

Also using many map screenshots, communicating upfront what the priorities are, so people are crystal clear on what they need to do at every moment of time.

Was this a special round for some reasons?

For me it definitely was. I only played 6 times in total. This is the second time I am leading and I knew it would be my last game, because of good but significant changes to RL.

So I wanted to make sure I create the best eperience for my team, and the most memorable story for Arkheim community.

Carby Discord channel has been quite busy during this round, what was the main topic players have been discussed about?

I decided to avoid public discussion as much as possible. We had "no diplomacy" playstyle, and most players were upset with what we were doing in the game. So I didn't want to participate.

Some of our players did participate, on their own accord. Which I chose to ignore, because I had my hands full in our own channel, and public discord is not my platform to manage.

Is there anything you’d change from this round?

In terms of my own actions - no. I did everything possible at that time, and a lot more than I ought to.

Regarding other things - I would not puch Chillinger to i4 in devs position. The reasoning we got was "what is fair". But the last 2 weeks of i3 we stopped fighting key contenders, making room for other teams to fight for #1 spot on i3. We wanted to remove ourselves from the equasion and to go solo to i4. But now we have another realm on the second spot on i4, just for being present. That position is shallow.

How does it feel winning Carby?

It is not about winning, but rather "how". Surviving the war against 4+2 realms simultaniously, while going into offensive. Taking over the entire map and going pretty much solo to i4, drawing Cthulhu image with towers in the endgame. The story itself is what is interesting.

And I feel proud for my team, it took a lot of effort by everyone to pull this off.

Did you notice any special tactics or moves your competitors used against you?

Not really. Most moves were just blunt force with a little coordination. Frankly, I am disappointed by the lack of foresight of our opponents. There were 2 weeks on i2 to slow us down, and one week on i3, we were allowed to build defensive position and then it was too late.

When did you know you were going to win this round?

Annathy congratulated us on winning even before the server started xD

But seriously, after Doormat relocated we knew that alliance crumbled and we will pick apart everyone one by one.

Will there be Cthulhu next round?

This is the end of Cthulhu story.

If other leaders will replicate our playstyle, I trust they will select another name.

I do believe that realm name should follow its leader, and my journey takes me to another place.

Anything we forgot to ask, and you can’t wait to tell?

I would like to address one typical complaint.

Objectively speaking, Arkheim is the game. Developers are effectively the gods here, they created this world with their rules, they allow us to participate, but they don't owe us anything else.

We as players choose to participate with our own free will. We submit to the rules of "gods", but we don't owe anything to each other. We are free to do anything we want.

And as such, our team has no obligation to make this game comfortable for anyone. We play the way we want to, in line with the game mechanics.

We chose our theme, Cthulhu, the entity that persues its own needs, indifferent to everyone else. So this is how we played.

Lastly, I would like to thank the competition. We only had about 5-6 weeks of intense gaming, but it was certainly very interesting weeks.

And I am grateful to Cthulhu team, for the trust and commitment that you have shown. I am proud to have played with you.

Congrats Cthulhu! Thanks to Tackeshy for the interview!