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Suppose that you have a simple online browser based game* in which the characters are all landed nobles - Barons.

When the game starts all players are on relatively equal footing.

There is a game mechanic that allows players to swear fealty to another player. However, it's easy to assume that no amount of asking nicely will get another human player to swear fealty to you, especially since he/she theoretically has just as much muscle as you do.

So: war.

If you go to war with someone because you want them to be your vassal, what happens - realistically?

  1. You defeat them, and they acknowledge your superiority and swear fealty.

  2. They send you rage filled notes and continue to stubbornly resist, despite having no strength remaining to challenge you.

  3. Ragequit.

  4. Due to a coded mechanic, when their armies are defeated, they auto-vassal to you, and then ragequit.

My goal at this point is somewhat experimental: Can players create an organic hierarchy? Could a bunch of players haggle and battle and create a pecking order - whether stable or constantly shaken up?

*browser based game: more a PHP based role playing game with some management and activity actions, not a clickfest flash game.

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OK, I've supposed all that. The answer to 1,2,3 and 4 is "Yes." – Patrick Hughes May 21 '12 at 4:10
Where are all the "losing horribly" options? How can we even answer this? Yes, people can beat each other up and make them vassals, that's how just about every empire ever in history formed - even if they had different army sizes, since the size of your army doesn't dictate who wins - for a full list of what could be involved in a person winning, see Sun Tzu's Art of War. – doppelgreener May 21 '12 at 6:07
@jeremy what are you asking here? are you asking about implementation, feasibility, AI, or something else entirely? currently my vote is not real question. remember if closed may be re-opened if you show more effort. – gardian06 May 21 '12 at 6:14
Have you tried a ga,e called travian, its a lot like what i think you are proposing you may get some good info by playing it. its free :) – Skeith May 22 '12 at 11:00
Hierarchy is much more difficult to be accepted than a flat federation of voting members, which can choose a leader. – o0'. May 22 '12 at 13:20


My game Neptune's Pride is a super simple space strategy game.

The object of the game is capture half of all the stars in the Galaxy so you have to wage war on your neighbors to capture them.

The game gets interesting when you realize you aren't going to be able to take on all the other players without allies. You'll need friends to trade tech with and watch your back.

An organic hierarchy forms, as you put it, as players make and break alliances, attempting to hold onto that number one spot.

There is a lot of ragequiting in NP.

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