Perennial question: can war be expanded? Many raiders feel the changes made to War and to Raiding have made both less interesting. I don't want to launch those debates here since it has been covered elsewhere (as well as being decided upon with seemingly minimal debate).
This round is interesting insofar as another alliance other than Shadowplay is in first place...and handily. TED is dominating thanks to their determination, high number of raiders, and a willingness to accelerate returns to maximize the number of raids. SP in second and then that's about it. Third place is far behind. Fourth place is exceptional (congrats Maddie...go for it!) and happens every four to six months as one raider tries to place 3rd by himself (alts, of course, as well). Then there is everyone else...which is to say almost no one else.
After all these years and all the discussions, we are still back at the same problem. War sucks unless you are in one of three alliances. And I don't even mean that because fourth place gets no fuel; I mean that there are generally three and only three alliances raiding seriously...perhaps a total of 40 raiders in all. Why can't we get more competition? What is keeping people from raiding?
First, alliances tend to dominate. KBF, SP, now TED (forgive me if I have forgotten the older top raiding alliances) attract the best raiders, have the best gear, and share the best information and training. If you are not in a top alliance, you can't learn much and will be come frustrated with endless raids which lead only to level gaps and injuries.
We need greater incentives for newer, younger alliances to participate. Prizes should be extended to the top five alliance, perhaps even top seven. Of course this means more prizes in the way of fuel or something else. Maybe keep the top three prizes but five fourth and fifth kits, rare LR's, or extra boosts of some sort. Or just more fuel for everyone! Yayy!
Second, many players don't want to raid or be raided. We have clearly agreed in the past that we can't force people to raid. But can we entice them to get raided if we take away the pain. Despite the arrogant and vociferous anti-PVE crowd out there who would like to eliminate the White Flag, most players respect PVE players and can't imagine forcing them to open their gates for incessant raiding. Instead, we could modify the WF to allow those players to be raided but no resources can be taken (including fuel) and anything that gets broken is automatically repaired (a one-click repair after the raid so the defender can see what happened). Points can be awarded for defense, as usual, and for success based on the gear, guns, and level of the defender. Ultimately his defense record should make his value change. I, and many others I have spoken to, would be happy to let raiders try out our awesome gear and guns...but only if we don't suffer in the process.
Part of increasing participation would also entail extending the number of players in an alliance who qualify for fuel (or some other prize). If we can increase competition, it will mean that wars will no longer be won by the top five to seven raiders but by 15 to 20 raiders in the alliance. Putting all that effort into helping your alliance win and ending up with nothing but a huge level gap is disincentive in itself.
Whatever has been done to raiding and war over the past four years has not helped. Quite the opposite. The tweaks and changes have been in response to exploits and bugs. We need to look at positive changes now. It would be nice if we could address something more fundamental: how to get more alliances and players involved in war.