Good alliances provide some or all of the following: resources (for small members), hints and tips, mutual defense, a unified diplomatic voice, cooperation in tournaments and Mysteries, and a sense of camaraderie.
Bad alliances, of course, are different – they might promise much but give you nothing, order you around, drag you into stupid wars, and ruin your reputation.
So, getting into a good alliance is a great idea. Caution is needed, but you will get more out of the game if you join up with a good crowd.
But when should you join?
I would suggest that you get into an alliance as soon as you know what sort of play style will suit you, and, perhaps, where in the world you want to be based. Different directions will take you to different people. So, at time of writing…
- Want to be part of a geographically focused, single-race alliance? BSH (Orcs) or DLords (Dwarves) are worth a look.
- Want to be a peaceful trader? Someone like ITL might suit you.
- Want to exercise your military muscles in tournaments and tourneys? Then my Frost alliance would love to hear from you.
- Want to find the farthest and most desolate northern land you can inhabit? Then your neighbors may be in GRUJ.
- Want to get in with the in crowd? Toothless are the Ivy League / Oxbridge of training alliances.
- Quietly build diplomatic units? Maybe join Conclave.
- Want to be part of a huge collective? Try the various Crows alliances (nCrow are the small players / training wing).
- Fancy something more intimate? Several alliances, like Eagles Eyrie, are smallish groups gathered round a well respected leader.
- Want someone steady and established, with a peaceful track record? Invictus (and their training wing, Victrix) would fit the bill.
- Etc., etc. (A thread on the Forum has a range of alliances explaining their offerings.)
Jump too soon, before you know what you want, and you could regret your choice.
On the other hand, it is when you are at your smallest that alliances can do most for you, because you will be short of resources and established alliance leaders should be able to send supplies. So don’t leave it too long.
I’d suggest that you want to aim to join an alliance before your population reaches 450. Do it at population 50 if you really know what you want, but try to get your ideas straight by the time you hit 450.
The reason is simple. As alliances are increasingly geographically focused, your choice of alliance will strongly influence where you build your second city, and where you relocate your Capital to, and those are decisions you’ll be making when your population hits 450.