Our team was considering joining an alliance (like the larger multi team alliances) but I was a little confused about exactly what an alliance was and a fellow teammate did not seem to think of alliances in the same way I did. Are alliances more serious because my teammate was saying that it was really just casual. Just seeking some clarification. Turning Point was my first year of robotics. Any general information about alliances would help.
Not two team alliances the bigger multi team ones.
Not all alliances are created equal. The same things will not apply for every one.
Just keep this in mind.
The bigger alliances (like Blizzard, Vortex, Blitz, etc.) are what I assume you’re talking about. Yes, they’re casual, most people in them just talk with each other and become friendly. Some of the benefits of joining one include having a large group of people to reflect ideas off of, discuss robotics, and become friendly with. There is no requirement to pick each other or anything, so there are no requirements with them. Some alliances require applications, some are selective so you’ll have to find the right one for you.
TVA is really big too. Also, alliances are usually looking for teams that either show great competitive success, or a lot of potential to be a team of great competitive success (At least for the larger alliances). So be sure you fit this if you want to try and apply. I know that there are probably a few smaller ones that will accept almost anyone, but you’ll have to do some digging to find these, as they are not as public on the media as the larger, more competitive ones.
Yes, TVA is a big one. There are plenty of other alliances too like 6ix and DRow, and a ton that I can’t think of right now. Most of them require some application but I know that some don’t. DRow Alliance’s “application” is just sending a picture of your bot with a DRow for GDC sticker on it in their discord. I’m sure you could join now even if you don’t have a bot as well
True that the DRow one is easier to get into, but as a member I can say it does not offer even close to the same experience as other alliances listed. It’s mostly just about celebrating DRow and not so much about robot collaboration.
Some alliances are really intense and some are pretty casual. Like the short circuit alliance is very casual, we just basically bounce ideas off each other and help each other come up with brilliant ideas.
Of course. I am a (former) member of both DRow and Blizzard so I know what you mean. A general rule of thumb is that, the more competitive the teams, the more robotics-focused an alliance is.
SCA (as mentioned by @Xenon27) isn’t a traditional alliance. Instead of teams being members, individuals are members. Maybe that’s just 'cause it’s new and hasn’t had time to form completely yet, or maybe @Xenon27 and @Got_a_Screw_Loose have a different plan.
Are these alliances all purely online and do they mostly communicate through discord? Also do people join multiple alliances at a time? What percentage of team do you estimate are in an alliance and do you recommend joining an alliance?
I have been doing vex for more than 4 years now and I have not heard or know about this until this year.
Alliances are mainly online. Discord is a big one, but the Short Circuit Alliance is based mainly on the forum, just to try something new.
We are a handpicked Alliance that is really casual. We select some of the most different and innovative roboteers we can find, and then throw us all together to come up with amazing ideas.
Right now, we are small. And it’s supposed to be that way. We favor a more tightly knit group rather than (very) loosely connected young engineers. But we do selectively expand. Send one of us a pm to ask for more application details, which includes an interview process.
We don’t care how successful you are as a team. We don’t even look you up on RobotEvents, unless we have a specific concern. In fact, many of our members hadn’t even gotten to the State level. But a couple of us did go to Worlds (and do fairly well there, all considering), demonstrating our wide range in skill and experience.
Another benefit is an awesome logo designed by @Xenon27 , who did my new one, as well as the entirety of our Alliance. But that’s just extra.
Please, ask questions if needed. Or send a pm for more personalized, case-specific questions.
For the most part they are online and most are on discord. Some alliances let you join multiple, the competitive ones often won’t accept you if you’re already in another alliance and don’t allow you to join multiple (legitimate) alliances
To get into the SCA alliance do you need to apply? Or is it more informal?
We have an interview process. It’s pretty informal, but we are selective about who we take. We are built on originality and innovation.
DRow Alliance was actually just a scheme for me to get robot leekz. I found that the best 5-10% of team in the world are active in the community. DRow alliance won worlds, that’s all I’m saying…
Wall of text incoming!
Texas VEX Alliance (TVA) is mostly in Texas but expands worldwide. So our alliance does not just communicate through discord but many times we collaborate by visiting other nearby members.
TVA acceptances are similar to how colleges work, except we have later on discussed and agreed that we shouldn’t deny teams but rather more either put teams on hold or accept. Currently, there are 20 schools involved with TVA, and we are continuously expanding. Around 20-25 teams in TVA qualified for the world championship last season during Turning Point and one of the teams had a Round Robin showing as well. TVA is slowly expanding and becoming more competitive, and we never wish to accelerate too quickly. We believe a slow acceleration is a firm, consistent, and long-lasting acceleration of an alliance, and we have been seeing it pay off. We never wish to accelerate any team too quickly, but simply provide information for teams who wish to seek it.
As TVA is continuously growing, our rules are becoming less strict, but the only thing that is certain to stay strict is that teams must have respect, good attitudes, be able to provide something to the plate or be able to take from the plate of the alliance in a manner that contributes to the alliance. We encourage social outreach and collaboration with both alliance and sometimes non-alliance members, so we can take in and learn from others. We keep track of region performance/competitiveness, and we share knowledge on coding, build quality, and we even have our own personal memes . A lot of times we voice chat each other and play games (Such as Rainbow 6, Skribble.io, UNO, CS:GO, PUBG, etc.) and have fun together when on break, and we are hard working and collaborative when serious. Our alliance shares thousands upon thousands of messages every single week with codes, robot pictures, links, and videos. We have an easy communication system, with specific roles that you can mention to get quick and responsive help from teams who have the knowledge of that specific topic. Many TVA teams go around the community helping with editing reveals, creating logos, and much more.
So what exactly defines an alliance?
An alliance, simply put, is a group of people who come together, have fun together, and collaborate together, despite being part of a different team or organization. An alliance is a fixed and established outreach with a a range of teams, who decide to trust each other for the betterment of themselves and others. Alliances should not be to just help your team, but to help the community within the walls of the alliance. By joining the alliance, you become part of a body which is manually sustained. If there is only one team contributing and everyone else is not, then the entire alliance will be poisoned by the weight of the teams who don’t contribute and eventually fail. I have seen that happen twice, and I don’t wish to see that a third time. It’s sad to have an image saved in my pictures of a logo of an alliance that no longer exists because of the separation of trust between teams.
What should you do as soon are you are in an alliance?
Make sure that alliances have rules that are enforced, otherwise the alliance will likely fail within a couple of months. Collaborate a bit, gain trust, and slowly incline with your information if you see equal contribution from the other teams involved. If you do not see teams collaborating much, I would suggest leaving the alliance, either because the alliance is not for you or the environment is failing.
If I want to create an alliance, how do I start?
Start by creating a discord server, then go on power point and make your logo with simplistic shapes. The logo doesn’t have to be perfect, and it can be changed over time. Few people know that every single TVA logo was made in PowerPoint. Change the name of the discord server, establish ground rules (And not just ctrl c and ctrl v from the Unofficial VEX Server, actually put thought into making the rules). Make the rules neat and organized, and maybe even spice it up with images of text of a specific font matching the color scheme of the alliance you made. Establish verification structure, create a staff system with a bot to log chatting (The chat was able to help us once in a very important situation), and be creative. Our alliance has categories with emojis so they are easy to recognize “ Main Channels” We have multiple VEX bots to receive information such as the one from the Unofficial VEX Server, the VEX prediction bot, etc. I would suggest starting the alliance off with the Dyno bot, as it has good fundamentals and is capable of doing a chat log. When your server is made and you are satisfied with it, spend a good 30 minutes to an hour making a nice and clean application form on Google Forms or from Wix (Add pictures, change the scheme and/or fonts, etc. Make it professional to show that the alliance is serious). Stickers. Stickers Stickers. Spend a bit of your money buying stickers from Vistaprint, as they can provide a lott of stickers for a low cost, especially if you can find a coupon code which they appear frequently. Place a sticker on your robot, start accepting teams, etc.
How should my #rules work for my alliance?
If your alliance is new, I found starting off with extremely strict rules to filter the determined and more-collaborative teams from the others. You should only have a maximum of 4-6 organizations in the alliance after filtration. Those teams, you should cherish and they should be the “Regulars” of the alliance, with high trust. This first process was the entire first year of TVA, take it slowly. Afterwards, make the rules a bit more elastic, and then you should be able to make an Instagram and YouTube for the alliance that can earn followers and gain reputation quickly. Accept a bit more teams, in which they will adapt and collaborate with the “Regulars,” in which this would eventually create a chain reaction of a steadily increasing alliance, which the second year the alliance should eventually grow large and successful.
Hopefully this helps
#tva-rules-announcements : Contains the rules, bot commands, server link, link to buy jacket, tutorials, coupon codes, and the server’s google drive for easy-to-reach images and documents
#tva-automated : With webhooks, posts are made here whenever a TVA team posts a reveal or teaser, whenever a TVA team will be competing using a calender of information, and whenever TVA is livestreaming
#tva-announcements : assumed, except we allow everyone the ability to post in the channel
#tva-logos : This is where teams post their latest team logo, so teams can use it as a resource
#tva-designs : Robot pictures, website updates, etc go here, in which discussion upon the pictures happen in #tva-general. This is so things are easily searchable and easy to fins
#tva-general : Basically the robotics chatroom, except renamed to be a bit more elastic on the rules
#tva-lounge : assumed
#tva-digital : Coding, website development, video editing, logo creating, etc. Discussion
#tva-brainstorming : This was recently created by an admin so we can discuss freely of the TT game in an organized location
#Voice Channel : assumed
#rt-music : Hundreds of songs get posted here, as a resource for teams to find reveal songs quickly (This is public, even Non-TVA can use it if they join the server)
Great overview and resources @Connor !
I would like to add that although alliances have been memed a lot in the past, they’ve actually done quite well this year. The Vexu world champion is from Vortex, the HS world champions are from Blitz, and the HS excellence award winner is from Blizzard. Joining an alliance, especially a big one, is very hard but could elevate your game to a whole new level so they’re definitely worth it.
Don’t forget, the MS winners were from the DRow Alliance.