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INTERESTING: Alliance Mentality - What is it and does it still exist? Phantom

Alliance mentality are two words that have been thrown about substantially over the last few years, but what does it mean? And more importantly does it still exist? In this article I will be looking to find out just that. But before we can, we need to look at what alliance mentality actually is and how it came about.

Crews have always looked to seek allies, whether they would just remain friendly or be fully fledged brother crews. However over the recent years, alliances and domination have become a key part of the modern day Bootleggers. My personal opinion is that while the game got older more key players grew bored of the format of an online text based game and ultimately left the game. This lead to one alliance gaining control which in turn lead to bigger alliances being formed to combat domination. The game changes and buffs to statistic crews that came in round 8 meant that Alliances could control the game with a term more commonly known as blanket shooting (shoot anyone who is unknown to you over and over again). It became a game of numbers, whoever had the biggest alliance could control all of the statistic gangs, crews and family spots while reaping the rewards, forcing the minority to play from behind and from a disadvantaged position. This tactic was made relevant in round 8, but for me that’s now how this started.

Round 6 is home to one of the biggest accomplishments in Bootleggers history, the manual reset. For those of you who don’t know or just don’t remember, the manual reset was a huge shooting in which an “alliance” of crews attempted to reset the game by shooting anyone and everyone. A reset was well overdue so some players took it into their own hands to hurry the process along. Even if this tactic was detrimental to the all round play of the game in what was its current form, it was long goal plan for the greater good attempting to force BSF’s hand into resetting the game, which he eventually would. The Manual Reset was spearheaded by three crews, The Family, Komodo and Event Horizon. One might call this an alliance.

Moving into Round 7, Event Horizon broke away from this alliance in an attempt to fight The Family and Komodo as from what I remember, they didn’t agree with the style of play that they were undertaking. Komodo rebranded as Asura and became a prevalent shooting force that round but these two crews weren’t alone. While crews such as Event Horizon, The Sacred Empire, Death Valley and The Black Horde attempted to fight the two power houses of The Family and Asura, they never really worked together as an alliance to reach their true potential. They acted more like stand-alone rebels. But what gave The Family the upper hand is that they were making friends and new crews would become part of their friendship group. Three crews came about in round 7 who would aid The Family & Asura in their path for full blown domination. An old crew that had been completely rebranded by Aaron named Most Wanted, Axteze and Enemy Of The State. While these crews all seemed to work together to achieve a common goal, the others did not which lead to an easy massacre of the entirety of the rest of the game. However, towards the end of round 7 even though the round over, a few old names from a crew named The Syndicate started to crop up and whispers began that round 8 may not be the same as the previous two.

With Round 8 we saw huge changes to the game which entirely shook up the fundamentals of Bootleggers. Crew spots had been completely revamped and for once statistic crews would have the upper hand on those who preferred to play underground, all sneaky like. Upon realising this and not to underestimate what The Family & Co were capable of, we seen the first “Mega Alliance” born. Crews such as The Syndicate, Event Horizon, The Sacred Empire, Death Valley, newly formed Dutch Inc and The Prophecy all banded together to control the statistics and stop the opposing sides domination. It was a white wash. While crews such as Most Wanted and The Company popped up to shoot every now and then, they stood absolutely no chance in this new meta style of play. But by combating domination with more domination the victors had become exactly the same as their predecessors with only a different path to domination being the difference. The mega alliance didn’t last long though, as with crews who have had a lot of history with each other over previous rounds, tensions were running high inside the walls of the mega alliance and it ended abruptly with both Death Valley and The Sacred Empire being banished, shot and left for dead with the other crews who could not compete on the statistics page.

At the end of round 8 and with no sign of The Family, crews who still wanted to fight decided that the way of the alliance was the way to go if they were to stand a chance in the upcoming round 9. In turn, the “Mega Mega Alliance” was born. You see where I’m going with this, right? The once banished Sacred Empire and Death Valley, joined forces with the crews who had stuck around throughout round 8 trying to dent The Syndicates alliance. The Company, Most Wanted and Enemy Of The State were three crews who were prevalent to joining in this new Alliance who were calling themselves the allies. The Vanguard also became a part of this alliance; however they preferred to claim neutrality in the beginning which turned out to be an excellent tactic as we will find out later in the story. So now we have two huge alliances going toe to toe with each other and the beginning of the round was absolutely brilliant to watch from a spectator’s point of view, lots of action, shootings everywhere and a desperate control for power would ensue.

Round 9 was actually the most interesting of all these rounds as it was the first time that power would shift from alliance to alliance and the round, at one point, even had 3 different alliances all duking it out. The round went in favour of the allies early on and it seemed as though all was said and done when they took complete control of the game. But as we had seen in the previous round, working together with old enemies has its downside. The Vanguard through claiming neutrality had been left alone by the Alliance and was in the strongest position out of everyone else as a stand-alone crew. After a fall out inside the allies, Death Valley, The Sacred Empire and The Vanguard turned on their former allies and performed one of if not the biggest shooting of the round. So at this point we have three alliances, Most Wanted, The Company and Enemy of the state (alliance 1). The Syndicate, Event Horizon, Dutch Inc and The Prophecy (alliance 2) and The Vanguard, The Sacred Empire and Death Valley (alliance 3). With the latter currently controlling the statistics. With the mighty Vanguard at the helm of Alliance 3, alliances 1 and 2 needed to work together to overthrow Alliance 3. And that they did. However, considering these two alliances still considered their selves enemies, sharing the statistics page didn’t last long. Both Alliances planned on shooting each other but after a huge war both had limited resources. Alliance 1 struck first and claimed the statistics page for a long time. Alliance 2 and 3 sizzled out and it looked like all was well and done for Alliance 1, having recruited a few new faces to their alliance such as Friends, Ndrangheta and Rigor Mortis it looked like an easy cruise to victory. However that was not to be so, Axteze from round 7 had reformed and rebranded and looked to take on the Alliance. With the help of Friends, Ndragheta and Rigor Mortis who decided to turn on Alliance 1 we will now call them alliance 4, power shifted once again. However, once everyone had been shot and dealt with, Alliance 4 turned their sights immediately to Axteze who had strong ties with the remnants of what was Alliance 2. Some time passed and Alliance 4 needed help with the statistics page and keeping everything in check while continuing to fight off Alliance 1, they apologised to Axteze and asked them to come back in their Alliance, this would ultimately be their downfall. With revenge in mind, Axteze accepted and as soon as they were in a position to do so they shot the entirety of Alliance four. They then went on to hold the statistics page alongside Event Horizon and a soon returning Dutch Inc and The Prophecy.

Round 9.5 beckoned and alliances 1, 3 and 4 decided to go on and create the mega mega mega alliance to stop alliance 2’s tyranny. And although alliance 2 had the upper hand in the first 5-6 months of the round, they were overrun completely and lost everything. Which brings us to the now, round 9.75.

After a failed round X launch BSF reverted back to the bootleggers we know and love and promised to update the game accordingly. One of the major updates to try and combat alliance domination was reverting crews back to how they were pre round 8. Many thought that this would then give underground crews the upper hand but is this really the case? We are still very early into the round and we have seen crews such as Most Wanted go back to their more known underground state while other powerhouse crews such as Event Horizon and The Vanguard still sit strong on the statistics page. The difference is, these crews all have history with each other because of the last few rounds and if this was any other round, there would be a massacre. However people aren’t shooting at each other at the rate they would of done previously, there are a lot less crewless killings (at least up until recently) and the alliance warfare that we are so used to seems to have died down. I took some time out to speak to some of the crews who have been directly involved with alliances in the past and some who haven’t to see how they thought alliance mentality was coping in our new round 9.75.

First off I spoke to Yeti who is currently holding the spot for Event Horizon. I asked him if he still thought alliance mentality still existed on bootleggers, he said, “Right, offcourse I'm not sure the whole of EH supports my opinion but here goes: In the past different alliances held stats for a long period. With that current gameplay - layers - spots were more valuable as you could layer casino holders/shooters/bullet factory holders. Meaning enemy shooters would have to research structure + need alot more resources to get to the 'top dogs'. Nowadays every account can be shot without layers/backfire/etc. to protect them. This makes the spots less valuable to me. Offcourse being out there and having a spot is always a given. Does this mean alliances are gone? No, people are creatures of habit and will still seek alliances with the people they used to work with. This does mean the significant presence from alliances is less, some spots atm are owned to crews we had wars with in the past.
If you go on an open war with a bigger crew you'll need alot of shooters to try and get their spot to drop. Asking your allies for help in this might be the key this round.” I found this particularly interesting, the fact that he thinks alliances will still play a key part in the game in the long run but wont be as significant as they were in previous rounds. He also acknowledges that the changes to the game are the reason for this. I went on to ask him about EH’s current stance and if indeed they found them self currently part of an alliance, he responded with “Obviously people will keep working together. If this is under an alliance flag or under mergers/no shoot truce or something else is up to them.The changes do encourage crews to fly a more solo course. As for EH being involved in an alliance, who knows... ” It seems as though Yeti didn’t want to give too much away.

We moved swiftly on and decided to tackle a crew who we presumed was quite new to the game. Boyka boss of Arab Inc was happy to speak to us. I asked him how a new crew such as himself had managed to stay on stats for so long, if he was allied with any one and if he was could he share with us who his allies were? He told us, “Yes we are, Regarding alliance its still around but not in an official way, we are friendly with most of crews and we got no enemy , about our shooting today it was just helping a friends. Weve been around since 2004 but we had some issiues and we solved it and now we play finally as a crew.” So it would seem Arab Inc had been around a long longer than some of us had initially thought. We brought up that shooting for another crew was alliance like behaviour and we then probed to find out if he was indeed part of an alliance. He was quick to respond with, “You can consider that as an alliance maybe our second alliance as we are already allied with TSE and friendly with axteze and EH” So it looks like Arab inc have their feet placed firmly in a lot of buckets and they are even willing to shoot at their friends enemies to prove their loyalty.

We decided our next target would be a crew who hasn’t been around for a while but had indeed played a huge part in the alliance meta previously. MWO from The Sacred Empire wanted to share his opinion. I asked him if TSE were a part of any alliance or had any crews in which they were friendly with? He told us, “Well, you are right, we've been away for almost 3 years now, Aburagheb & I left the game half way through round 9 i believe and we handed the crew to our Underboss back then Kauffman, but things didnt go well for him and he ended leaving the crew for Axteze. Regarding our relationship with the current crews, things are bit complicated, to be honest, a lot of new crews that we've never ever dealt with, we're trying to establish a friendly relationship with everyone at this point, we've made peace with our enemies from previous round (EH,AXTEZE and DI), we're on very good terms with the vanguard, Ndaregeta and TDP bosses were Ex-TSE members, TRF are also old friends, Hawaii and I go way back, i would also consider arab inc a friendly crew.” He did also mention a super secret underground crew of The Sacred Empire which I have been sworn to secrecy about, *cough* The Senate *cough*. Such sneak!

Looking at MWO’s response it looks like they are playing friendly right now which could prove to be a really great strategy moving forward with the remainder of the round. MWO then went on to say, “we're not part of any alliances at this point, and we're not looking to join any at least for the near future.” It looks like The Sacred Empire are against alliance mentality. We wanted to find out if MWO thought alliance mentality would continue to play a big part in the game and more importantly the remainder of the round? He answered, “well its obvious to me and I'm fairly new to this round that there's a big alliance between most of the major players, but from what I've learnt from all the experience i had with the previous alliances that these sort of big alliances don't tend to last, usually the majority of the alliance would turn against the biggest crew/group, it happened with us in our first alliance with EH/DI/TS and it happened again in round 9 with MW/ETS/TC. the game is to a certain extent is one-sided, the majority of the crews are playing along and eliminating the rest, so i would see one of two things happening,its either all the other groups would unite to form a counter-alliance, or this current unnamed alliance would turn on itself wrecking havoc on its members.” We have indeed seen alliances implode on themselves in the past, but we wanted to know who he thought the game was currently leaning towards when he mentioned it being one sided, he told us, “well from what i can see, Ndargeta,TDP,EH,DI,AX,AI,TS,TP are all working on the same side, i dont know if they consider themselves an alliance or not but they're definitely one side” So it would seem that there is definitely a side who are remaining friendly currently but whether or not they are a full blown alliance is a different story.

We were grateful to speak with Phuzz from Most Wanted and we wanted to know about their stance on alliances currently. He told us, “ As for allies, we’re alone. The minute we saw this round and the updates/changes that followed, Most Wanted removed itself from any political sheningans and went straight back to our roots. We never, ever, wanted to be a statistic crew and have the responsibilities that followed. We never want to “win” a round, or to “dominate”. We genuinely play this game with each other, for each other - and shoot people we dislike at the same time. We’ve had the same enemies now, round after round. It’s a bit repetitive - it’s stagnated the game and we’re not fond of that - so we’re all appreciative of the changes KyleKroff has made to allow groups like ourselves to go back to play the way we want to, not having to play a certain way because we have to.” A strong and exciting statement from Phuzz seemingly happy to be done with Alliances and playing the game the way that they want to play without having to conform to the meta of an alliance.

With the Vanguard once claiming Neutrality and ending up being a part of an alliance, we wanted to see what their take on the current alliance mentality was. We spoke to Butters who is currently holding the spot for The Vanguard. We asked him if he thought Alliance mentality still exists on the game and if The Vanguard were a part of any alliance or friendly with any other crews, his reply was short and straight to the point, “TV currently does not belong to an alliance but I'm sure the mentality still exists in other crews.” We already knew that The Vanguard is friendly with some crews, but we wanted to know if they would go as far as retaliating for them if they were ever shot. Butters told us, “It would only be for ourselves. I don't see a reason I would be in favor of retaliating for anyone, regardless of previous round friendships. Our friends are big boys, they can handle themselves..” So it looks TV isn’t prepared to step in to any wars that may unfold with their friends to remain out of alliance territory. We then asked Butters if he thought that alliance mentality would play a predominant part in the remainder of round 9.75, he replied with, “I think the game has been put in a place where RNG starts to play a role. You never know when that search actually comes in or how long your attack is going to last. You might just waste a lot of money for that last kill because one of your shooters was found. Then again this is bootleggers and who am I to say. I just hope it won't happen. Alliances were horrible and had a disgusting way of being on top. It's a disrespectful way of playing even tho i have been on the contributing side.” An honest answer from Butters.

Finally we approached Dalton, boss of Dutch Inc and asked him if Dutch Inc still continued to play with an alliance like they had done in the past, he told us, “To say that Dutch Inc is still a part of an alliance like it has it the past, it is not. The game was different back then, as were we.. We were protected by Goosy. We have all matured and don’t wish to play as we once did. We rather play casually now than go at it 24/7 - turning everyone into an enemy. Although I can’t deny that after 15 years of game play, friendships have formed and cooperation between crews is possible in certain cases, like performed this evening.” It seems like even though Dutch Inc is remaining friendly with old alliance members they are looking to take on the round with a different perspective of playing. We asked about the shooting and said that by shooting for another crew it can be seen as the work of an alliance, we wanted to know if he agreed. He did to an extent but also went back to his first point, “Perhaps alliances are still around but if I speak for Dutch Inc, I can say we are not a part of an alliance like we were before.But yes, friendships exist. I believe an alliance is a group of crews who don’t take a shit without the other ones knowing. Helping out a friendly crew because it has strategic advantages at that point in the round, wouldn’t necessarily mean there’a an alliance between them.” We then went on to ask him if he thought that alliances still had a pivotal role to play in round 9.75, to which he said, “Alliances were destroying the game. I believe Kyle realised this and has made changes to the game which ensures for a more even gameplay. I hope he will continue to do so in the future. So no, I don’t think they will.”

We did try to interview more crew bosses but some didn’t reply and some we didn’t get around to contacting so we tried to get as broad of an opinion as we possibly could.

With my closing statement I will say this; reviewing the opinions of others it seems to be that the majority of crews understand how and why alliances were hurting the game. As far as alliance’s ceasing to exist and if they will prove to be the power that they once were is still a huge mystery because of how early we are into the round. I think every one hopes that alliances will die down and we can go back to individual crews showcasing their power and making the game a lot fairer for every one without a "join a side or die" attitude. However it is extremely hard to break old habits and with the alliance mentality spanning over a period of more than 5 years, real friendships are built in that time and they will be hard for crews to turn their back on people they have religiously played the game with for so long. Only time will tell.