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Players are encouraged to interact with other players in the same kingdom; each kingdom has a private forum that is accessible only to its members. Players that do not wish to remain in the kingdom they are assigned to can defect to another kingdom. However, defecting costs 15% of everything a player owns -- land, military, honor and resources -- and is generally used as a last resort. Players are limited to three defections for each Utopian age, and unused defections are lost at the end of the age.
One social aspect of the game which has made its way into play is the existence of alliances. Alliances are not officially endorsed by the game's maintainers and are often disdained by non-alliance players, yet are treated with a certain level of tolerance as an inevitability. Alliances form when groups of competing kingdoms decide to band together and operate as a group. The first organized alliances rose as defense against "unofficial" alliances (not public, just friends working together etc) or multies, but through the ages alliances have formed for a variety of reasons from almost purely social, often nationality-based ones, via educational ones, to defensive ones whose main purpose is to defend their members against "unfair play", and finally to offensive ones who actively use their alliance to gain advantages over others. They often employ tactics that single kingdoms can not use, such as overwhelming an opponent by outnumbering them. The basic structure of the game itself was not designed for these kind of groupings and Utopia gives few defenses against such strategies. Alliances usually coordinate their operations using non-Utopia forums and other non-sanctioned communication channels. In the past, there have also been Alliance Wars, where most kingdoms of one alliance fight other kingdoms belonging to an opposing alliance, recent examples include: ABS (Absalom) vs CoV (Covenant), NA (Nordic Alliance) vs NH (Nation of Hope) & OA (Order of Avalon); 9F (Nine Fates) vs Lotus; NA vs HaJ (Honor and Justice), Absalom vs BF (Brute Force). There have also been at least two wars that are known as "Alliance Vs Server" wars, where the entire or large parts of the non allied players warred against an alliance, e.g. HaLL vs Server War. Unlike the standard alliance war theses wars only usually only end when the age ends, attacks petering out but never really ending. Absalom is generally accepted as the best alliance in the game, with its kingdoms (Dragons, Equilibrium, Grace, Mercy, Rage, Sanctuary and Trinity) considered the seven best kingdoms in the game today.
Players also commonly use IRC, which has become a huge part of play within growing and experienced kingdoms, and has allowed players to interact like never before, channels have been setup for alliances, nationalities, kingdoms, strategy debate whilst also allowing for easy creation of new channels, as well as private messaging between any two users. Instant messengers are also used., such as ICQ, MSN, AIM and Yahoo Instant Messenger, to aid in communication outside the game. However it is against the rules to force other players to use these methods against their will.
Informal Relations within the Society
Mutual Assistance Pacts (MAPs)
Each MAP has it's own unique set of terms that are confidential between the two alliances, but in general, an alliance means that in an alliance war, we will assist, or be assisted by these alliances if needed. No aggressive actions of any kind are permitted between allied kingdoms.
Mutual Defensive Pact (MDPs)
Each MDP has it's own unique set of terms that are confidential between the two alliances, but in general, the pact means that in an alliance war, we will assist, or be assisted by these alliances if needed. Allows friendly exchanges and hostilities to exist between individual members and kingdoms, as long as an honorable code of conduct exists between both parties. Kingdom wars are allowed, only alliance wars are off limits.
Non Aggression Pact (NAPs)
A non-aggression pact is a weaker relationship than an alliance. No aggressive actions of any kind are permitted between NAP'd kingdoms, but no formal obligation to assist in an alliance war exists.
Diplomatic Assistance Pact (DAPs)
DAP status indicates a commitment on the part of the 2 alliances to provide diplomatic assistance to each other in time of need. Random attacks and 1:1 wars are permitted between members of the alliance.
Non Alliance War Pact (NAWPs)
An alliance war will never exist between the two alliances. Allows friendly exchanges and hostilities to exist between individual members and kingdoms, as long as an honorable code of conduct exists between both parties. Kingdom wars are allowed, only alliance wars are off limits.
Friendly status indicates a commitment on the part of the 2 alliances to work towards closer relations, and a preference to avoid conflict at the alliance level. At friendly level, random grabs and 1 vs. 1 kingdom wars of a duration lasting between 48 hours and a maximum of 54 hours are permitted. 12 hour hostiles with a max time of 24 hours are also allowed, as is limited duration random thievery and magic operations.