“A general levy of all the clans? During peacetime?” Karma resisted the urge to smile. She did not particularly enjoy antagonizing Irelia, whom she counted a valuable asset.
“During peacetime, yes. Or as I like to put it, before the next war starts.” Irelia looked down at her letter, now laying unfolded atop Karma’s lacquered table.
“It could be done, but there would be a cost.” Karma left the question of what might be worth such a cost unspoken.
Irelia answered. “When have non-Ionians meddling with gods and spirits ever made Valoran more peaceful?” She frowned, as though working a pebble out of her shoe. “You can keep costs down if you call it training. A general training summons to the capital. Coordination of forces. Review of new arcane methods. Call it preparation for the Mists if you want.”
That last suggested pretense led Karma to raise an eyebrow. “The Mists? Should I be expecting you to propose deploying Ionian soldiers to Bilgewater this year?”
A few years ago, Irelia would have scowled openly at this. Now, she held her expression carefully neutral…though there was a subtle twitch of her lower lip as she forced her mouth into a firmly expressionless line.
“No. Of course not. But don’t tell me you don’t have at least one advisor who’d be willing to say there’s a credible threat that Ionia will be attacked this time around. Say something about the flow of spirit energy or leylines. The new nexus. Nyroth. General DuCouteau sightings. There’s no shortage of ominous weirdness these days.”
Karma briefly indulged in amused reflection upon the idea of the young Irelia talking about “these days”. She smiled, with a gracious nod to her fiery but unquestionably loyal Captain of the Guard. “I will consider it. The situation in the Guardian’s Sea does concern me. I will make inquiries in the League.” Karma looked over Irelia’s letter, and nodded again. “You may go.”
Irelia bowed, and left.
Balance isn’t just for Ionians. Like matchmaking, Factions will probably never find true balance, and some might say that a totally balanced Factions mode would be a contradiction in itself, given that the mode is about factions battling it out to prove which is strongest. Still, we do try to keep things balanced enough to be fun.
To that end, after a great deal of discussion, I’ve drafted some balancing rules for this arc. You can read the rules and discuss them at this forum thread:
Link: July 13 Balance Mechanisms Draft (Factions forum)
I look forward to getting some further feedback from the community. Time pressures mean that I’ll need to lock this in very soon, perhaps within 24 hours, but I did want to present at least one last opportunity for discussion.