Netgaining is the holy grail of Earth Empires. The general goal of netgaining is to end each reset with the highest networth. Strategies are available to help new players as well as advanced players attempt to achieve this goal. However, countries and alliances have used netgaining as a method of having stronger countries available during wartime, usually with a degree of uncertainty of whether or not war will actually come. This method of netgaining is referred to as 'wargaining'.
Netgaining will almost always involve some sort of military action, whether it be simple landgrabs, killing other countries to keep them from crippling your own, using subterfuge to manipulate the public market, or simply exploring to acquire more land. Whether or not you decide to take up arms for the benefit of your own country, keep in mind that others have already made the same decision, and will also be looking for easy targets.
In alliance-based servers, netgaining is generally measured by three criteria--Total networth (TNW) of the clan, Average networth (ANW) of the clan, and top finishers, either in the Top 10 or Top 100. The number of countries (membership) in each tag is also measured, but is regarded of low importance compared to the other two methods. Total networth refers to the sum of the networth of all countries in an alliance. Average networth is the total networth divided by the number of countries in the alliance. An alliance netgains with the hope of obtaining an imaginary 'crown' at the end of a reset. A crown is simply used as 'bragging rights' for an alliance to carry on into the next reset. For example, an alliance that has the most average networth at the end of a reset is said to have won the average networth 'crown'. Up to three crowns may be won by a single alliance in a single reset, based on the earlier three measurements--TNW, ANW, and membership. For example, if an alliance ended a reset with the highest TNW and the most members, it is said to have won a 'double crown'.
Some alliances consider winning average networth more important than winning total networth, mostly due to the fact that their low membership count normally keeps them from being able to win TNW. Be sure to do research on alliances that are busy recruiting new members, to see exactly which method of winning they consider important.