Disclaimer: This piece is in response to Xinke A.H Magnus’ “Future of the Military World”, if you have not read it yet, do so before reading this
First in response to each of some of the points Xinke brought up in his piece. I will explain my reasoning for all of these responses in my main point.
1) The disappearance of Auel (as well as many other senior officers) is unfortunately a much bigger deal than Xinke makes it out to be.
2) I wholeheartedly believe that unless Morzan is able to drastically change, the military world would be better off without him at first.
3) The amount of people going to college each year has been having and will continue to have a drastic impact on the state. The most experienced and senior level officers are also the oldest, and thus more disappear each year, and replacements are thin.
4) Yes, the junior officers are inexperienced, but experience was of little concern in the early days. Neither I nor Xinke, had any experience running a chain of a guild in the RG days, but we both figured it out as we went.
Allow me to digress quickly into something Xinke mention early on in this article, the effects of the War of Paranoia had on Imperia. The unfortunate truth of the matter is that the war showed its worst effects on Auel himself. Before the war, he still had a multitude of problems, but afterwards, he had changed, he became much less trusting of people, due to this, he also seemed much more distant and cruel to many. This is important.
There is an underlying cause to all the problems that the military world faces these days. That is that over the past three years, Auel essentially brainwashed all the military members into a certain states of mind. The interesting thing is that this is mainly split up into two main ways of thinking, dependent entirely on the person.
The two main types of people that Auel created with his influence after his disappearance are the vast number of people who do not believe that the military world cannot thrive without Auel. These people are complete devoid of hope since his disappearance. The tragedy of it is that in the current state of the militaries, these people are correct.
The second school of thought is still small, but much bigger than it should be, and these are the people that think they can take Auel’s burden upon themselves. There are a few problems with these people, first off, there are far too many of them, and for the most part each one of them thinks they are more qualified to lead than the others. This creates a divide in the military community. Second, the truly unfortunate fact of this situation is that none of these people have what it takes to become the next Auel. Sure, some of them might have some good qualities of a leader, some might make good officers in the next military era, but none of them have what it takes to lead. Xinke suggests waiting for a new Auel to surface, the unfortunate face of the matter is that this cannot happen until everyone else stops trying to become Auel. The military world cannot succeed unless these people learn to let go of their egos. This is why I stated that Morzan should be kept at a distance from whatever new military arises.
Onto the smaller issues, and what can be done. I believe that to fix the damage done by Auel, the military world needs to start fresh, I believe Xinke’s second suggested option for the militaries is a good idea if done right, allow me to expand on how exactly that can be done.
The inexperience of officers is certainly an issue, but they cannot gain the experience they need using the state model. The State is designed to handle rapid growth. Let’s think back to the Royal Guard era, at the beginning, there were two guilds, The Royal Family and the Royal Guard. The RF was ruled by the King, there was also a group of nobility who had no real power. Two things should be looked at from this era. The way in which branches were added, and the ranking system.
The Royal Guard had its Captain, many Knights, and Squires. Three Ranks. While some knights were regarded higher position than others (Captain Auel had his right hand man Troubadour), for the most part there was a large equality among the majority of the population of the non-nobility. This is something that should be considered, later iterations of the state had far too many ranks, and they were distributed very poorly. At many times in the state, over a dozen players would be online, but all or close to all of them would be officers. Sure you could have more people in lower ranks, but people’s egos in militaries are especially fragile, and many people are offended by low ranks and believe they deserve officer positions. Another issue with the system was how simple it was to climb to a low officer position. In seven different eras of the state, I successfully joined the state on an Alternate account and was able to make a low ranking officer position in under a month, I only helped myself with my main account once. A simpler, much smaller ranking system needs to be used if things are to succeed without Auel. Recommended: Central leader-Guild leaders- one Co-leader- Base Rank (Knight, Soldier, Etc.), Recruit Rank (Squire, Trainee, Cadet, etc.). With a simple ranking system like this, you keep the general population much happier.
Now the guilds. As was stated, there was initially two guilds. As the guard began to gain moderate activity, Captain Auel proposed to King Harau Bascey a plan for a new branch. The Royal Army, to be led by Kentiman. Harau approved of the guild, and it was made. A young and power seeking Zearos saw this and a few days later asked Auel if he could make a branch, Auel was only the captain of one guild, and the decision layed out of his hands, only the King could order a new branch to be created. Harau turned him down harshly, but with a good point, “Does a tree grow a new branch when the ones it has can barely grow any fruit?” Although his analogy was slightly mislead, he is right in that no new guilds should be added to the base until the existing ones have success. If a successful military is to be started, there should begin with a minimal amount of guilds. When the existing ones become successful, the leaders of those guilds should propose a member from within their guilds to the central leader with a plan to create a new branch. It should be up to the central leader to decide which player (if any) is fit to lead the new branch, as well as if the plan for the new guild is likely to have success. In the same idea, it is up to the leader to cut off a branch when it is unsuccessful, but hopefully to do so in a way that does not cause the leader of said branch to rebel against him, as happened with Auel countless times. In these days, none of the officers had any real experience with leadership, some of us did very well, and others did poorly. Xinke’s first guild in the first Imperia did very poorly, but he eventually grew into one of the greatest officers the military community has seen, all because he was given multiple chances. Adding too many branches with too many leaders too quickly was one of the worst things Auel did in the State. As Auel is gone, the new military needs to take expansion slowly and very carefully.
In addition to this, it may be best if when a new era is formed, everyone started anew, regardless of past loyalties to the State or Imperia or whatever military, having everyone given a fresh start is likely the fairest way to begin a new military age. Do not despair at the loss of your power though, because if you truly possess what it takes to lead, than you can easily regain that strength with a mere amount of patience and respect.
Now, these ideas are probably the best way to create a new military age, and while the Royal Guard should not be copied exactly, the two things listed (Simple Ranks and Careful Expansion) are vital to creating a new military age. The two problems remain of finding a man to lead this new age, and fixing the mindset Auel has left behind.
As far as a leader goes, whoever leads at first doesn’t have to hold that position forever. When I first joined the Royal Guard four years ago, the guilds were centered on a different king, Harau Bascey. While Harau by no means was a bad leader, it was a large majorities opinion that Auel, captain of the royal guard, would be more suited to lead than Harau. Unfortunately, Harau did not easily surrender power, and this is what lead to the War of Paranoia, which was the main cause for the falter in the mindset of the military world. A leader should not be a man with a lust for power, the man who leads the military age should be someone who is genuinely interested in the better good, and one who is caring and loyal to his subordinates. The central leader should not be a man who wants to rule over people, but rather one who wants to help people. Most importantly, whoever is in charge must be willing to step down from power if appropriate. It is of equal importance for the leader to ensure that he is replaceable, whether they suffer from Auel style disappearances from time to time, or for some reason are too busy to continue their duties, need to have at least one person who can take their place. This is important for many officers as well. Just this year, nearly half a dozen experienced military officers began their first year of college. Nearly all of them were highly experienced and top ranks in their respective militaries. Now for some people, that may seem a far ways away. I believe I was just about to enter high school when I first became an Imperian officer. At the time college seemed an age away, and I certainly didn’t think I would still be playing the game so many years later, however, the time goes by much faster than you may think, and when it comes you will not have the time for Graal that you once did. By far the greatest mistake of those of us that have been around for that long was not preparing the next generation to take over when we left. It is due to this lack of preparation and training that the military has become the mess that it has today.
The unfortunate truth of it is that the military guilds are not the beacon of hope that they once were. There was once a time where the militaries were the greatest guilds in Graal, and while this is unfortunately no longer the case, it can be again.
There used to be a time in the militaries where the soldiers and leaders cared for their fellow men. There was a sense of humanity, the people in the militaries felt like brothers rather than competitors for the highest rank. Unfortunately the militaries have lost their way. Greed has poisoned the minds of the military personnel. Where once the militaries fought for the greater good of Graal, fighting corruption, babies, and poor administration, now the only thing that the militaries fight is each other. We have lost the way. Greed has poisoned the soldiers and caused hate that has led militaries into a cut throat formulaic competition for power. Hacks and off mapping that give immense power and activity has only lead to bans and greater greed, yet many eras of military have become reliant upon them. Our knowledge and experience has caused for us to be cynical and untrusting. More important than success and power is humanity, kindness, brotherhood and care. The ever growing greed has left misery in the wake of the disappearance of the dictator Auel. However he is gone now, and the power that he horded can be returned, the greed and competitive mindset he created can dissipate. People no longer act out of respect or morality, but rather selfishness and greed.
Members of the military should want to help each other as well as help the rest of Graal. The military life can be a beautiful thing if the correct path is forged. No longer should we be focused on power and conquering, but rather the greater good of Graal. Do not give your allegiance to fools such as Morzan or Peter Rhodes, men who promise these things but have no true humanity left in them, men who view their soldiers as slaves, not as humans. These men are only interested in power, they hate and do not trust, instead find a true beacon of humanity to unite under, do not give yourselves to the power obsessed. Do not forget that the true power of the military lies within the people. From the early Imperian Eras all the way to some of the early states, I was an advocate of democracy, an embodiment of the belief that the people should hold the power. As time grew on and the formula for the military changed, the idea of democracy became much less applicable to the State, for leadership had become corrupted, and with that democracy at the time crumbled. It can rise again though, if not forever for a brief time until a new foundation of military standards are set. The people who make up the militaries are the true ones who hold the power, so we should the decisions all be made by some well-spoken power hungry fool who cares not for his fellow man? Take back the power that is yours, lead the military into a new age of liberty and humanity, do not listen to the lies of the men who do not deserve the power they currently hold, they seek to gain power for themselves by enslaving the people.
There was a time when the entirety of the military was content sitting around in the castle of the throne room, guarding the King, disposing of any intruders who entered. This was a time when the men respected the King, and the King respected his men. The men that have risen to power cannot be that sort of king. There was a time when leaders of guilds would actually train their men to become better fighters and better men, not in how to form simple shapes and lines with their bodies. This was a time when the bond between military men was like that of Brotherhood. I have an infinite amount more respect for people of that era than many of the brutes who have gained power in the state in the recent years. Players such as Kentiman, Occido, Xinke, Kycle the Great, the Wandering Troubadour, Link, Griff, Jade, Ryzallion, and many more were some of the finest people I have ever met, and although it’s been years since I’ve even seen any of them, I would still take any of them over the leaders that I have grown to know since then. Even people of that era that lost their way such as Zaer were still better people than the likes of Morzan. It has been a long time since the leaders and members of militaries have had the levels of humanity, loyalty, and respect that there was back in those days, but they can return.
I am not saying here that any of us were better leaders or had a better military, there were certainly many flaws even back then. Recreating the Royal Guard is not the answer to the problems, neither is another Imperia, nor another State. I am attempting to lie out the primary problems currently facing the military world and picking some of the small bits and pieces of these eras that worked so that they may be used as a point of reference for those looking to create something new.
People leave, that is a fact, but more will always come, do not rush into anything out of fear of losing members. There’s been easily over a thousand people have cycled through the militaries the past four years. For the military to succeed, you need to have a certain level of caution, but do not let that caution impede on your trust, for trust is the foundation of what the militaries should be.
Xinke was correct in his article that you military members have two options.
You can continue to mindlessly follow the unjust that have risen to power, to spend your days idly sitting around the train station with the exception of an occasional “training” session where you practice your geometry, waiting for the day where the current military collapses just for another exactly the same to rise up within a week.
Or you can unite. Unite to raise the standards of Graal militaries to what they once were. Unite to once again to have the militaries be at the best guilds in Graal, to become the true home for many Graalians that the many of the modern militaries were meant to be.
Choose carefully, and remember not to let your passions overly impede on your judgement, and be cautious not to be led into folly.
tl;dr: Militaries have fallen into an over complicated greed filled cycle. If militaries are to be relatively successful again, simplify the guild structure and ranking system, expand carefully and only as needed, ensure activity (that's not just geometry training) , and work to create an environment that's fun to be a part of rather than a cut throat competition for higher ranks.