With all respect, I think that is overly simplistic. That is a realistic approach when you have confidence in your team and confidence that you will win. When you are not that confident, you need to fall back on diplomacy and recruitment. I don't think Inno expected alliance caps to have any impact until the end game from what I can see. Up until then, it's all about creating a team that can compete when the time comes. That includes increasing your alliance size and filtering out those who are not up to it.Merging is fine when you have the capacity for those players, but acads and pacts is what I have trouble understanding. This server was created with an alliance cap of 60 and that should be the maximum members on your team.
Otherwise, you would just have a small number (one in this case) of pre-made alliances that are already fit for the end game from the beginning up against a multitude of alliances containing only 10-20% of decent players with no reasonable prospect of success when they are divided.