In all democratic societies, you have your main party. You also have the main opposition -- the party who tries, in everything they do, to topple the stranglehold of the party in power.
Comparisons can be drawn between this phenomenon and the way we have typically seen unfold on Bootleggers rounds of late.
Last round for example, the likes of The Family, Enemy of the State, Most Wanted and a few others formed the main party, with the primary opposition coming in the forms of crews such as Event Horizon and The Sacred Empire.
This round, however, seems to be taking a different path. The alliance who, in so many rounds before, have found themselves providing the opposition now rule the roost.
But who opposes them? Nowadays, there seems a lack of competition to topple those who currently boss the game -- certainly more-so than in rounds past.
So who provides the opposition these days? You? Me? We spoke to BettyB, Boss of Event Horizon, Daltonnnn, Boss of Dutch Inc and VooDooDoll in order to hear their views on the game's current state of affairs.
Domination, in the context of Bootleggers, can be defined in a different way by each person you speak to within the game. To some, domination is when the others users within the game cannot go about their daily business without the intervention of the dominating party.
For others, it simply entails the party perceived to be the strongest or richest. With Daltonnn offering "No comment" to a request for his own definition of domination, and with VooDooDoll wanting to "stay out of politics" on Bootleggers, it appears each individual will have to define the word as they so choose.
It can be said that perhaps users will define domination differently depending on how they feel the effects of it -- that is, if it is present at all. Very often one might find that the perceived dominating party or group will play down what domination means, whereas the opposition would be far more vocal in raising the issue.
The real question though is: Why the lack of opposition? In past rounds, there had been much more noteworthy challenges for the throne.
I am not for a moment saying that the alliance between The Prophecy (who had seemed a bit uncertain over the past couple weeks or so, but is reportedly back to being a solid part of the alliance now), Dutch Inc, Event Horizon, The Syndicate and a few other associates have come to a position of being virtually unopposed.
The lack of opposition to the ever-so-powerful alliance raises the question: To what extent have the updates of the round changed the landscape of the game? Is this how the game will play from now on?
We do see the occasional cull of visible Boss+ accounts shot through the statistics that are presumably at the hands of this supposed counter-alliance. So what differentiates those who form this opposition from the likes of that seen to win last round?
We put this point to Daltonnn. What makes the alliance between his crew Dutch Inc. and the other families different from that of the great crews seen in previous rounds? He responded, "People may think of us in the same way as they thought of The Family and co; I don’t see ourselves that way. We are merely trying to protect our position to the best we can given the features and opportunities (presented) by Bootleggers itself. I honestly think we go about in a very different manner than other 'dominating parties' would have."
Though members of The Family would probably have said the same thing of rounds past. What is protection when it becomes aggression, and where must one draw that line?
As with anything, different users harbor different opinions on the subject, and they are usually influenced by the impact opposing parties have on them as players.
But what exactly defines a successful crew these days? There is no doubt that fresh updates to gameplay ultimately dictate that crews must regularly adjust their stratagem in order to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, whether or not there is any benefit to being an underground crew nowadays will have to be proven.
We asked BettyB for her opinion on what makes for a strong crew.
"I can only comment on what makes (Event Horizon) successful, and that is the bond the members have formed. The members are friends first and foremost; they don't let little things upset them, and they are here to enjoy each others company and play a game together. That is why EH can keep returning," BettyB explained.
To complement her input, Daltonnn explained, "Loose lips sink ships."
In recent days, it has been rare to witness members of either Dutch Inc, Event Horizon or any of their affiliates running their mouths on the forums or involving themselves in any sort of degrading activities. This trend could very well be indicative of their continued success.
In recognizing their success, other crews strive to be apart of the alliance too. For example, Fortis et Liber has reportedly negotiated their safety from the alliance in exchange for having a few members from alliance crews join their ranks. Part of this agreement dictates that they are not allowed to have any members wielding guns or possessing high quantities of bullets.
Should this behavior continue to be the primary method of all crews to effectively preserve their health, it could easily call for a painful round for anyone who feeds on action and unpredictability.
An interesting twist could occur with the quick rise of another powerful, stats-based operation. But, for now, the Alliance sits pretty.
Where are The Family and other crews that formed the alliance last round? Who knows.
The anonymization of the Users Online page has certainly brought about a previously unknown element to the game that has kept users on their toes. But whether this update and others will change the current competitive atmosphere of the game remains to be seen.
What do you think? What will you do? Only time will tell!