Analysis / Alliance Meter

How the Alliance Meter can be used to reinforce or weaken the feeling of choice.

The Alliance Meter, when used right, can be either a good way to make your player feel like their choices matter, and when wrong, feel like a cheap trick to give the illusion of choice. Gray and Grey Morality or Morality Kitchen Sink can be used to really make decisions feel difficult. Black and White Morality doesn't usually mix well with this trope because it can make it feel like the obvious solution the good route, and the evil one just something put there to make an illusion of choice. A good video about this is this video by good ol' Extra Credits.

The Alliance Meter can also be used to reinforce a game's themes of choice or struggle between various ideals. Why not make a game where you choose whether you want to fight on the side of The Empire that wants to bring order to a Crapsack World After the End, the La Résistance that wants to try and reunite the world through The Power of Friendship (which may or may not actually work), or the Crazy Survivalist faction who just want to survive no matter the cost?

On the other hand, maybe you want to make the player feel like their choices don't matter. How about a game that, at first, presents itself as Lovecraft Lite, but then subverts that and becomes full-blown Cosmic Horror Story. There are different factions dedicated to trying to fight off the Eldritch Abomination, each one with very different ideas of how to do it, but at the end of the day, humanity just isn't able to fight back.

The Alliance Meter can be used to reinforce a game's themes when they relate to the idea of choice, and when used right, can result in a game with a very solid theme. When used wrong, it can just feel tacked-on in a lazy attempt to make the player feel like they have choice, but is really a calculation.