As the alliances of Illyriad march to war, a few people are going to enjoy this. And many more are being dragged in, whether they like it or not. What of the others? What can a new or medium-sized player to Illyriad do in this war?
Priority: duck and cover! As a new player, if you don’t have to get involved in the fighting, then don’t. This is a war where the big players will throw around 5,000+ troop armies without a second thought – if you aren’t big enough to compete on that scale, then don’t try. Stay out of the way.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get involved less obviously.
There is a long tradition of profiting from war. In the last few days (presumably as those planning the war were buying up livestock to make armor and saddles) the volume of trade in cattle has increased, and today, as those surprised by events reacted, these trades have increased further. If fighting increases and this becomes a war of attrition, then the combatants will need weapons with which to rebuild their armies. Volumes of trade, and probably the prices, are likely to increase for cattle, saddles, chainmail, and perhaps leather armor, plate, etc. So, it’s a good time to be a trader.
While the big alliances battle (both Valar and Harmless? describe themselves as military in nature), it’s possible that they will be in need of military intelligence. Most of the combatant alliances will have prioritized armies over diplomats. And they might pay for that intelligence. A player with a large force of Advanced Scouts or Advanced Spies might be able to Scout or Spy on the combatants, and sell the information to their enemies.
Those two options are both fairly safe. But if you feel like taking a risk, you could hire out more direct services: you could consider sending Saboteurs for a fee, for example, or providing defensive garrison troops, or offering to act as a bank/storehouse for peoples’ valuables (assuming they trust you to give them back)…. But be very careful about these more direct interventions: if you get caught, you will have made powerful enemies.