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Basics of Military Gameplay

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Naivetry
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Basics of Military Gameplay

Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:15 am

I. Military Gameplay
A. Wait a minute. NationStates has war? >>>
B. How is "military gameplay" related to nation statistics or role-playing? >>>
C. Can nations or regions be destroyed in military gameplay? >>>

II. The basics of invasion
A. What is an invasion? >>>
B. Why is the World Assembly Delegate important? >>>
C. What if the region has a Founder? >>>
D. How do I become the World Assembly Delegate of a region? >>>
E. How do I get endorsements or endorse another nation? >>>
F. I'm the Delegate. How do I eject and/or ban another nation? >>>

III. Raiding and defending
A. What is raiding and why do people raid? >>>
B. What is defending and why do people defend? >>>
C. Are there different styles of raiding or defending? >>>
D. What are "warzones" and why don't people fight over them instead? >>>

IV. Regional Influence
A. Why does Regional Influence exist? >>>
B. What did Regional Influence replace? >>>
C. What can I do with Regional Influence? >>>
D. How do I gain Regional Influence? >>>
E. What are the Regional Influence levels and what do they mean? >>>

V. Tactics
A. Update
1. What happens at the update and why is it important? >>>
2. When are the updates? >>>
3. How do I find out when a region updates? >>>
4. What does 'I got caught in the update' mean? >>>
5. What does "WA update pending: nation has __ verified endorsements" mean? >>>
6. What are pre-endorsing and update surfing and how do they work? >>>
B. Puppets and switchers
1. What is a puppet and why should I use one? >>>
2. What is a switcher? >>>
3. When are switchers used? >>>
C. Refounding/region hawking
1. What is refounding? >>>
2. How do I refound a region? >>>
3. Why do people refound regions? >>>
D. Liberation (WA resolution category)
1. What is a Liberation resolution in the World Assembly? >>>
2. How do defenders use Liberations? >>>
3. Can raiders use Liberations? >>>

VI. Origins and implications
A. Where did military gameplay come from? >>>
B. Why is raiding allowed? >>>
C. What does this have to do with politics? >>>

VII. Terminology


After reading through the material posted here, please feel free to use this thread for any additional questions you may have about military gameplay.

This thread updates and replaces Military Gameplay and Game Mechanics - A Primer
.




Disclaimer: I am writing as someone with command experience in military gameplay as a defender, but I have tried to present the material as objectively as possible. I am happy to consider changes to wording and content based on feedback from others, especially those in the raider community.

Thanks to all the players who have helped clarify details, especially about griefing rules (Biyah, CrazyGirl), Influence (Sedge), verified endorsements, tied endorsement counts, and warzones (Dalimbar, Felasia, Spartzerina, and Whamabama), and instant jump points (Evil Wolf via LWU's training forum). Any errors which remain are my own.
Last edited by Naivetry on Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:40 am, edited 11 times in total.

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Naivetry
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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:15 am

I. Military Gameplay

A. Wait a minute. NationStates has war?

Yes! According to the FAQ:
FAQ wrote:There are, however, two types of wargame that have been developed by the NationStates community. One is regional invasions, where nations attempt to move into another region and topple the Regional Delegate; the other is an in-depth role-playing game that takes place in the International Incidents forum.


This thread deals with the first (Gameplay) sort of warfare: regional invasions. For more information about role-playing military conflict, please read the stickies in International Incidents.


B. How is "military gameplay" related to nation statistics or role-playing?

Military gameplay is completely unrelated to nation statistics and to the sort of role-playing which takes place in International Incidents. Role-playing is the collaborative creation of a story which has no effect on the way the game code represents nations or regions. Military gameplay is conflict between groups of players who are fighting for control over the World Assembly Delegacy of a region.


C. Can nations or regions be destroyed in military gameplay?

Individual nations can never be altered or destroyed in military conflict in NationStates, although they can be forced to move from their home region to The Rejected Realms. Regions can be destroyed if they are emptied of all nations (see section V.C., below).
Last edited by Naivetry on Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:16 am

II. The basics of invasion

A. What is an invasion?

An invasion is when nations move into a region in order to control its World Assembly (WA) Delegacy.


B. Why is the World Assembly Delegate important?

The WA Delegate often has access to Regional Control (visible to ordinary nations as "Administration..."). Regional Control allows the Delegate to make changes to the following:

  • The World Factbook Entry (WFE)
  • The regional flag
  • Display options for the Regional Message Board (RMB)
  • The regional password and its visibility
  • Ejections and bans
  • The ban list
  • In-game embassies
  • Regional tags

If the Delegate has access to Regional Control, they can also suppress (hide) posts by other nations on the RMB.

Regional Control was originally invented to allow Delegates to eject troublemakers from their region. Since the game cannot tell the difference between troublemakers and any other nation, however, this allows the Delegate to eject almost anyone, regardless of whether they have done anything wrong. If this power is misused, the mods will not interfere:
FAQ wrote:My region's WA Delegate is an evil dictator who ejects nations for no reason! Make him stop!
Delegates are elected: if you don't like yours, it's up to you to get him/her unelected. While in power, Delegates can use or abuse their powers as they see fit.



C. What if the region has a Founder?

Unlike a WA Delegate, the Founder of a region normally has access to Regional Control at all times (even after being banned or ejected from the region). The Founder can prevent the WA Delegate from accessing Regional Control as long as the Founder nation is located in the region. If the Founder does not allow the WA Delegate to have access to Regional Control, then even a successful invasion will not be able to accomplish much.

Founders may, however, choose to give up their powers permanently when creating a new region. Founders (and Delegates) without access to Regional Control are labeled "non-executive" on the region page. If the Founder is non-executive, the WA Delegate will automatically be able to access Regional Control for as long as the region exists.

If the Founder nation ceases to exist (is deleted for breaking the rules or for inactivity), the WA Delegate will automatically be able to access Regional Control. Such "founderless" regions, as well as regions with non-executive Founders, are therefore the most desirable and the most common targets for invasion.


D. How do I become the World Assembly Delegate of a region?

You become the World Assembly Delegate by having more endorsements than any other nation in the region. This does not happen instantaneously, however. Twice each day, the game calculates who has the most endorsements in a region and updates the information on the server accordingly (see section V.A., below).

In case of a tie at update between the current Delegate and another nation, the current Delegate retains the position. Experts disagree on what happens when there is a tie and the current Delegate is not involved. Experimentation may be needed to pin down the criterion used.


E. How do I get endorsements or endorse another nation?

As discussed in the FAQ, you can only endorse another nation if you are both members of the World Assembly and you are both in the same region. If this is true, the nation you want to endorse will have an "Endorse @@NATION@@" button that appears on their nation page above the telegram box. For more on endorsements, see section V.A.6., below.

IMPORTANT: Each player may have only one nation in the World Assembly at a time. (You may have as many non-WA member nations as you like.)


F. I'm the Delegate. How do I eject and/or ban another nation?

Once you have access to Regional Control, you may eject and/or ban a nation from a region in one of two ways. First, you may enter a nation's name on the Regional Control and push either the "Eject & Ban" or the "Eject (No Ban)" button. Second, you may click identical "Eject & Ban"/"Eject (No Ban)" buttons on their nation page below their National Happenings. Whether or not you can eject and/or ban a given nation depends on your relative level of Regional Influence (see section IV.C, below).

Ejected nations are sent to The Rejected Realms, but are free to return. Banned nations are free to move elsewhere but cannot re-enter the region from which they have been banned until their name is removed from the ban list. The maximum number of nations that can be on the ban list at any given time is 200 (thanks to a former Delegate of The Pacific named Francos Spain).

You can ban a nation which has already left the region as long as its nation name still appears in the Regional Happenings list. Similarly, a nation cannot be banned preemptively (unless its name appears in the Regional Happenings).
Last edited by Naivetry on Wed May 18, 2011 9:46 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:16 am

III. Raiding/region crashing and defending

A. What is raiding/crashing and why do people raid?

Raiding or region crashing is when a group of nations invades a region in order to assert their own control over it. Control may be expressed by altering the World Factbook Entry (usually to advertise the group which carried out the raid), by changing the regional flag (usually to the flag of the raider group), by instituting a password, and/or by ejecting/banning some or all of the region's previous inhabitants. The first two operations (changing the WFE and/or the regional flag) are known as "tagging" the region.

NationStates players raid for a variety of reasons – most importantly, for the fun of it. Part of the fun comes from the thrill of accomplishment; part of it is the thrill of transgression (like trespassing on private property, skateboarding where it's prohibited, or going in through the exit doors at the supermarket); and part of it comes from watching the reactions of the people you've raided (and laughing at the defenders who tried to stop you).


B. What is defending and why do people defend?

Defending is when a group of nations invades a region in order to preserve control for or return it to the "natives" of that region. When defenders are trying to prevent raiders from taking over, the operation is called a "defense." When defenders are trying to return control to the natives while a raider holds the Delegacy, the operation is called a "liberation" (though some raiders prefer to call it "counter-invasion"). When defenders invade a region once the raiders have left in order to restore a World Factbook Entry to its pre-raid condition, the operation is called "detagging."

NationStates players defend for a variety of reasons. Players who choose to defend rather than raid, however, usually defend because they believe (at some level) that it's the right thing to do. While defending provides the same sense of accomplishment that raiding does, defending is ultimately a reaction against raiding; it appeals to players who care more about protecting other regions than they care about the sheer 'fun' of conflict. Defenders claim the moral high ground (with varying degrees of credibility), and take part of their satisfaction from the knowledge that they've helped other players preserve their freedom and community.


C. Are there different styles of raiding or defending?

Different groups of raiders operate by different working principles. Some groups are region destroyers/griefers; some are imperialists. Imperialists attempt to conquer other regions permanently and add them to their empire, usually by relying on passwords and/or refounding (see section V.C, below). Others are crashers, who come for a while and 'crash' the party, have fun thumbing their noses at defenders for a few days, and then go home, leaving a bit of graffiti on the walls for natives or defenders to clean up. Such crashers may see the use of passwords as a weakness and refuse to use them for that reason.

Defender groups differ more in their ideology than in their tactics. Some defender groups take the idea of a war seriously, and will raid or even attempt to destroy raider home regions. Other defender groups claim that raiding is always wrong, and may defend raider home regions (whether or not their help is wanted) - even against other 'defender' groups.


D. What are "warzones" and why don't people fight over them instead?

There are six game-created regions that were created to serve as zones of conflict for military gameplay:

Warzone Africa
Warzone Airspace
Warzone Asia
Warzone Australia
Warzone Europe
Warzone Sandbox

In these six regions, bans are temporary, ejections do not cost Influence, and the longest-serving Delegate is noted on the region page. The very fact that they are 'designated raiding zones', however, has made them unattractive for raiders (who thrive on the idea of trespassing). For the most part, the warzones have instead served as arenas for friendly competition between individual regions and as training zones. As long as they have no native inhabitants for raiders to alarm or for defenders to protect, the warzones will continue to play only a minor role in military gameplay.
Last edited by Naivetry on Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:19 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:16 am

IV. Regional Influence

A. Why does Regional Influence exist?

Regional Influence was introduced on April 11, 2006. Before the institution of Influence, the NationStates moderators were responsible for enforcing a basic code of conduct in military gameplay. While it was possible to invade a region and eject its inhabitants, such "region griefing" was also illegal; nations could be reported and deleted for such activities. This system was both complex and time-consuming to enforce, however. Influence was supposed to remove the need for moderator supervision by abolishing the griefing rules but simultaneously making it more difficult to eject nations.


B. What did Regional Influence replace?

Regional Influence replaced a system of rules against "region griefing" that distinguished between "natives" and non-natives or "invaders". A "native" delegate was allowed to ban other natives, to eject up to around 40% of the natives, and to put a secret password on the region. An "invader" delegate was not allowed to ban any native, could only eject up to around 10% of the natives, and was required to begin telegramming any password they put in place to the natives of the region immediately.*

For a delegate to be considered a native delegate, he or she had to have enough native support to remain in that position without the assistance of other non-natives. Whether or not individual nations counted as "natives", however, was always a subjective judgment call in the end. A nation that had resided in a region prior to an invasion was usually considered a native, for instance, unless that nation was the puppet of another military player. Some military players honestly felt that they were "natives" of more than one region, however, which meant that the gray areas were many and much-contested. The difficulty of enforcing the griefing rules consistently led to their abolition and replacement by the Influence system. This means that today, any military gameplay activities that are still possible are now also legal, no matter how distasteful other players may find them.

On the plus side, nations are no longer deleted for breaking any one of complex set of rules, and moderators are no longer harassed and accused of bias for or against a group of players for making such rulings. On the negative side, both the pace and the sense of urgency that once accompanied military gameplay have suffered; not only does it take longer for invaders to accumulate enough Influence to eject threats, but many players have been disillusioned by the legalization of behavior that was once considered unacceptable. Unfortunately, while objections to Influence are many, alternatives are few.

* At the time, ejecting a nation automatically added it to the regional ban list, so invader delegates were required to unban all natives immediately after ejecting them. Similarly, all passwords were invisible to nations in the region, so invader delegates were required to begin telegramming the password immediately to all natives in the region as well as to any natives they had ejected.


C. What can I do with Regional Influence?

WA Delegates must spend Influence in order to ban or eject other nations, or to set a password on the region. (Founders do not have to spend Influence in order to use their Regional Controls.) There are three things that affect how much Influence it takes to use Regional Controls in this way:

1. Secret/hidden passwords cost more Influence than passwords that are visible to the residents of a region.
2. It costs more Influence to eject and ban ("banject") a nation than it costs to eject them.
3. The more Influence a nation has, the more Influence it costs to eject and ban them.


D. How do I gain Regional Influence?

Influence is a hidden numerical value attached to your nation. While the exact formula behind Regional Influence has been deliberately withheld from the players, a number of things are known:

  • The Regional Influence label shown on your nation page is only valid for your current region.
  • The longer you have been in a given region, the more Influence you will have there; brand new nations have no Influence at all.
  • Nations gain Influence more quickly the more endorsements they have.
  • If you leave a region, your Influence in that region will begin to decrease (slowly at first, but more quickly the longer you have been outside of the region, according to [violet]).
  • If your nation ceases to exist for a period of time, its Influence will be lower once it has been restored and moved back, as if it had spent that time outside the region.
  • If you do not log into a nation for a week, that nation will stop gaining Influence.


E. What are the Regional Influence levels and what do they mean?

Each region has a label called "Regional Power" which represents the sum of the Influence of its nations. The label which appears on your nation page (e.g. "Minnow") represents what percentage you have of that total Influence pool.*

Safalra has compiled the following (unofficial) list of Regional Influence levels, from greatest to least:

    1. Hermit
    2. Hegemony
    3. Dominator
    4. Superpower
    5. Power
    6. Powerbroker
    7. Eminence Grise
    8. Enforcer
    9. Dealmaker
    10. Instigator
    11. Contender
    12. Negotiator
    13. Auxiliary
    14. Ambassador
    15. Diplomat
    16. Envoy
    17. Duckspeaker
    18. Handshaker
    19. Truckler
    20. Vassal
    21. Minnow

* Because Influence labels represent percentages of the regional Influence total (i.e., relative rather than absolute values), the "Minnow" label in a very large or very old region can encompass a wide range of Influence ratings. For example, consider a region where the regional Influence total is 100,000. If the Influence label "Minnow" represents a nation with 0-5% of the regional Influence total, then you may still be considered a Minnow whether your numerical Influence rating is 5 or 5,000.
Last edited by Naivetry on Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:38 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:17 am

V. Tactics

A. Update

1. What is update and why is it important?

"Update" is when the NationStates server recalculates and updates all information about nations and regions. Several things happen during update. In the list below, bold text indicates something which happens at both the major and the minor update (see below). All other events take place at the major update only.

  • National population increases.
  • World Census Reports are issued.
  • World Assembly resolutions finish voting and new ones arrive (at the beginning of update).
  • Nations receive new issues and issue effects are processed.
  • Influence increases (or decreases, for a nation that has left the region).
  • Inactive nations and empty regions cease to exist.
  • WA endorsements are verified and new WA Delegates are elected, if necessary.

It is important to know when a region updates for military purposes, because the risk of facing opposition or interference is smaller the less time you give your opponent to react. If you move into a region with less than a minute before the region updates, your opponent will have to work fast in order to stop you from taking the WA Delegacy.


2. When are the updates?

There are two updates every day: the major update (roughly 00:00-01:00 EST/EDT) and the minor update (roughly 12:00-13:00 EST/EDT).* Each update lasts for approximately an hour due to the sheer amount of processing time it takes for the server to update thousands of nation and region pages.**

The server updates the game by going through all the nations in a region before moving to another, so each region has its own individual update time during the hours in which the server is updating the game.

* EST (Eastern Standard Time) and EDT (Eastern Daylight Savings Time) have been used for convenience here. It is customary to use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) in order to facilitate communication between players living in different time zones. However, NationStates relocated several years ago to a server in Canada, and update times now change along with Daylight Savings Time there. When Daylight Savings Time is in effect, the update changes from 05:00-07:30 GMT (major update) and 17:00-19:30 GMT (minor update) to 04:00-06:30 (major update) and 16:00-18:30 (minor update). To calculate the update time in your time zone, try a time zone calculator.

** When this guide was first written, each update took approximately one hour to complete. After the addition of new features (charts, statistics, etc.) to NationStates, each update lasted well over two hours thanks to the increased number of operations the server had to perform. Since the move to new servers, update is now back to a little over an hour.



3. How do I find out when a region updates?

In order to find out when a specific region updates, look for signs that the update is taking place (nations receiving new issues, nations ceasing to exist, etc.). The time that a region updates is relatively consistent from day to day. There seem to be larger variations in time, however, between the major and minor update, increasing in severity the later in the update a region usually falls. This is probably because only nations which receive two issues a day are receiving an issue during the minor update, plus world census reports and population changes are not being calculated, so it takes the server less time to process. The two update cycles begin exactly twelve hours apart, but less work for the server means that the minor update cycle completes earlier for each region. The difference is barely noticeable early in the update, but the cumulative effect of the faster update means that late-updating regions may update 5-10 minutes earlier during the minor update than they do during the major update.


4. What does 'I got caught in the update' mean?

After your nation has updated once, its endorsement will not be counted again during that update cycle. This is true even if you later move to a region where the update has not yet taken place. You will be able to endorse nations as usual and your endorsement will appear as one of their "Endorsements Received", but it will not be verified by the World Assembly when determining who becomes or remains the WA Delegate.

This means that if you want to participate in a military maneuver in a region with a late update time, you must either keep your nation in a region that updates later than the target region, or move your nation to a region that has already updated while you wait for the target update time. This is known as using a "forward base" or "jump point". Alternatively, you may create a new region just prior to update to use for this purpose, since newly created regions go through their first update at the end of the update cycle before being assigned a regular update time. This tactic, invented by Lone Wolves United, is known as using an "instant jump point".


5. What does "WA update pending: nation has __ verified endorsements" mean?

The phrase "WA update pending: nation has __ verified endorsements" appears below the list of endorsements received by a WA Delegate when the Delegate has gained an endorsement that was not counted and verified during the previous update. A verified endorsement is one which has been checked by the game to determine that it comes from a WA nation which has not already updated in another region.

The list of a Delegate's "Endorsements Received" and the number next to it reflect up-to-date (but unverified) endorsement activity, while the "verified endorsement" count represents the Delegate's endorsement count from the previous update.


6. What are pre-endorsing and update surfing and how do they work?

The list of endorsements on your nation page usually includes all nations who have endorsed you and are in the same region as your nation. When you change regions, your list of endorsements will change to reflect this. However, the game does not actually remove the endorsements of nations who endorsed you in a different region until your nation has updated. If you are endorsed by another nation and move to a new region, the endorsement will at first seem to disappear. But if that nation follows you to the new region, their endorsement will automatically reappear on your nation page. This can be used in two ways: to "pre-endorse" another nation or to "update surf."

"Pre-endorsing" means endorsing a nation prior to an invasion. It eliminates the need to give your endorsement to that nation again after moving into the target region, thus saving valuable time close to the update.

"Update surfing" means changing regions in order to avoid the update. As long as your nation does not update, it will retain all of the endorsements it has received, even though the nations endorsing you have updated.


B. Puppets and switchers

1. What is a puppet and why should I use one?

A puppet nation is any nation you control which you do not consider to be your 'main' nation. There are two main reasons why players use puppets:

1. To conceal their identity and allegiance from their enemies. Puppet nations often serve as spies, sleeper agents, and decoys.
2. To provide greater mobility and flexibility (see switchers, below).

A nation which has participated in even one military maneuver is considered a "dirty" puppet, since it can no longer be mistaken for a casual or innocent player. Dirty puppets are usually discarded by raiders, since invasions with dirty puppets can easily be spotted (and thereby prevented) by defenders who are tracking them. Defenders tend to continue using dirty puppets, since they usually have no need for secrecy. The need for clean puppets in a liberation attempt is the main exception, though one which modern defenders often ignore.


2. What is a switcher?

A switcher is a puppet nation that has applied for membership in the World Assembly and has received the acceptance letter via email, but has not yet joined by clicking the link in that email. Before you click on the link, be sure to resign WA status on any other WA nation you may control. Because you are only allowed to have one nation in the World Assembly at any given time, you will not be able to join if one of your puppets using the same email address* is already a member of the World Assembly. In addition, the link that you clicked will no longer work and you will need to reapply. Unused WA validation emails remain valid for 28 days.

* In the past, NationStates would not allow you to use the same email address as a current World Assembly member to apply for WA membership with another nation. This meant that you had to create multiple email addresses in order to create switchers. You also had to keep track of your WA status at all times, so you did not accidentally have more than one nation in the WA at once ("multiing"). The system put into place in November 2012 is designed to keep you from multiing by accident, as long as you use the same email address for all your WA applications. If you choose to use different email addresses to create switchers, you are responsible for making sure that you do not multi by accident. Nations caught multiing are permanently banned from the World Assembly. Using multiple email addresses is therefore highly discouraged for your own safety.


3. When are switchers used?

Switchers are used to quickly switch WA status from one nation to another, usually in one of four situations:

1. A player's current WA nation has been banned from the target region.
2. A player has accidentally allowed their WA nation to update just before it is needed for a military maneuver. In this case, the player needs to switch WA status to a nation that has not yet updated in order for their endorsement to count.
3. A player wishes to participate in multiple military maneuvers during a single update.
4. A player wants to participate in a military maneuver, but does not want to move their current WA nation from its current region (for reasons of secrecy, security, or sentiment).


C. Refounding/region hawking

1. What is refounding?

Refounding is when a player deliberately creates a new region with the exact name of a region that has ceased to exist. The new region will have the same name as the old one, but none of the other information about it will be saved.


2. How do I refound a region?

In order to refound a region, the region must be emptied of all its inhabitants so that it will cease to exist at the next update. This usually requires the WA Delegate to eject any nations that have not left voluntarily, and to place a password on the region so that new nations are unable to move in. Once the region has ceased to exist, a new one can be created with the same name. It is important to refound as soon after the update as possible, because the first person who attempts to create a new region with that name will become the new Founder. Some players wait for regions to cease to exist so that they can refound them before the original inhabitants. This is known as "region hawking". For a detailed guide to refounding, please see Sedgistan's step-by-step instructions.


3. Why do people refound regions?

Players refound in order to preserve a region's name but give it a new Founder. Some regions decide to refound on their own when their Founder nation ceases to exist, in order to protect themselves from raids. Some raider groups refound the regions they have invaded in order to give themselves permanent control over the region.


D. Liberation (WA resolution category)

1. What is a Liberation resolution in the World Assembly?

A Liberation resolution removes the effect of a Delegate-imposed password on a region. The region's Founder may still set a password. The Delegate may set a password in Regional Control, but that password will have no effect on the ability of nations to move into and out of the region. The effect lasts until the Liberation resolution is repealed.

Prior to the advent of the Influence system, the griefing rules stated that no invader Delegate was allowed to place a password on a region without telegramming that password immediately to all of the natives. When the griefing rules were replaced by Influence, natives were no longer protected against invaders using passwords. Liberation resolutions were created to partially restore this protection.*

* For more information on the origin of Liberation resolutions, see the first suggestion by [violet], the invasion of Belgium, and the proposal debate thread.


2. How do defenders use Liberations?

Defenders primarily use Liberations to prevent raiders from refounding a region, since passwords are most often used to prevent nations from reentering the region while the Delegate attempts to refound it. Defenders may propose a Liberation independently, or at the request of natives of the region. Without the involvement of a region's natives, however, it may be difficult to justify bringing a Liberation resolution before the World Assembly.

Liberations may also be used by defenders as part of a larger strategy which aims not only to prevent refounding, but also to return control of the Delegacy to the natives. Once the password has been removed, defenders can attempt to liberate the region by replacing the raider Delegate. In some situations, even a Liberation resolution still in the process of voting may make a liberation possible thanks to the element of surprise, when defenders have been able to acquire the password prior to the passage of the Liberation.

Some defenders have also argued for the use of "preemptive" Liberations, to provide security against the possibility of regional destruction in a region whose Founder has ceased to exist. To date, this remains only a theoretical possibility.


3. Can raiders use Liberations?

Yes! While Liberations were introduced to correct an undesirable effect of the Influence system, raiders may use them in other ways – for instance, to remove the password of a region they would like to invade. This tactic may require a certain amount of preparation and deception in order to be successful, since defenders often check Liberation proposals to see whether or not the Liberation seems justified.

EDIT 2013-03-31: Sections on update and switchers changed to account for new WA acceptance email system.
Last edited by Naivetry on Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:46 pm, edited 23 times in total.

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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:18 am

VI. Origins and implications

A. Where did military gameplay come from?

When NationStates first went live on Nov. 13, 2002, there were no game-created regions besides The Pacific and no regional controls. Regional Delegates could change the World Factbook Entry and vote in an organization similar to today's World Assembly, but could not eject unwelcome nations from their region. This led to complaints about spammers and other sorts of invaders who would pile into the region, endorse each other, and take over the Delegacy. Individuals worked together in larger groups either to defend other regions or to invade as many as they could. Regions also banded together for self-defense, agreeing to send nations to support each other in case of invasion. Regional Controls were invented on April 29, 2003 to help solve the invasion problem by allowing Delegates to eject and ban such troublemakers from the region. Unfortunately, this also allowed troublemakers who successfully seized the Delegacy to kick out their opposition. After a few cases when invaders emptied entire regions, the moderators conceded that perhaps the new feature was not working quite according to plan. The griefing rules were developed to put a stop to the more egregious abuses, and continued to be refined until they were abolished with the institution of Influence.


B. Why is raiding allowed?

While military gameplay was not included in the original concept of NationStates, it has since become an accepted part of the game for two reasons. First, Max says so. Second, there is no way to prevent raiding by changing the code, because raiding utilizes only the most basic functions of the game: the ability to change regions and to elect a World Assembly Delegate by trading endorsements.


C. What does this have to do with politics?

Military gameplay led directly to the development of regional politics within NationStates. Since players are limited to one WA member nation each, military success has always required cooperation with other individual players. The threat of invasion provided the motivation for players to work together, to create leadership positions and hierarchies, and to reach out to other regions. Over time, this led to the development of many "off-site" regional forums, created and controlled by the players, so that they could better organize their activities. Governments, embassies, and alliances sprang up between these regional forums, and very soon a large portion of the NS world consisted of a far more complicated political simulation than anyone could have anticipated. This is the world referred to as "Gameplay." While the vast majority of regional politics today have nothing (or very little) to do with military activity directly, the potential use of military force still forms an indispensable backdrop to politics within and between regions.
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VII. Terminology

The following is meant as a brief guide to common terminology for players who have not participated in military gameplay themselves. A word of caution: many of these definitions are controversial. Often players attempt to use terms such as "griefing" or "native" in different ways, because each term carries good or bad connotations after many years of use in arguments about ethics. I have tried to use definitions consistent with historically accepted usage. I take for granted that readers will have a basic understanding of NationStates and its terminology (Delegate, Founder, WA, etc.).

For ease of reference, all entries below have been given anchor tags. To link directly to a definition, use the following URL, where "term" is replaced by the word or phrase you want to reference, without spaces (capitalization matters):
Code: Select all
[url=http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=4941662#term] [/url]


banject - to eject and ban a nation from a region.

counter-invading or counter-raiding – attempting to gain control of the WA Delegacy in order to prevent another group from invading. Many modern defense missions would better fit this category.

crasher – see region crashing

CTE – to "cease to exist", normally due to inactivity for a period of 28 days or more in the case of nations. A region CTEs when no nations are present in it at update.

defender – someone who invades in order to preserve or return native control.

defense – an invasion which attempts to prevent the WA Delegacy from changing.

detagging – restoring the World Factbook Entry and/or the regional flag to its pre-raid condition.

endoswapping or swapping – giving your endorsement to another nation in the hope of receiving a return endorsement.

endotarting or tarting– giving your endorsement to another nation along with a telegram requesting a return endorsement.

feeder – one of the five game-created regions in which new nations are created: The Pacific, The East Pacific, The West Pacific, The North Pacific, and The South Pacific. Often used to refer to Lazarus and The Rejected Realms as well before the creation of additional sinkers.

feederite - a player whose primary home in NationStates is in a feeder or a sinker.

fenda – mildly derogatory term for "defender" most often used by raiders.

forward base or jump point – a region used as a gathering point prior to an invasion.

founderless region – a region without a Founder, either because the Founder has ceased to exist, or because the region was created before the invention of regional Founders.

GCR - game-created region which was written into the game code by game administrators rather than created by players. Feeders, sinkers, and warzones are all GCRs.

GHR - Getting Help Request. A way to report illegal in-game activity (multiing, spam, etc.) to the moderators.

griefing – any one of a set of actions formerly prohibited in NationStates by the griefing rules, including any exertion of control over the movement of natives into or out of the region.

IJP - instant jump point. A newly-created region used as a forward base/jump point during the first update after its creation.

Influence – a hidden numerical value attached to your nation which affects how WA Delegates can use Regional Controls. Influence appears on your nation page as a label such as "Minnow", which reflects your Influence relative to the Influence of other nations in your region.

invader – one of several terms referring to a non-native nation. Often used synonymously with "crasher" or "raider" by older players.

invasion – the movement of nations into a region for the purpose of controlling the World Assembly Delegacy. In the past, "invasion" was often used by defenders to refer to any military action perceived as hostile to natives, and most defenders still avoid using the word "invasion" to describe their own activities.

lead or point ("native lead", "raider point man" etc.) – the nation intended to hold the WA Delegacy by an invading group.

liberation (1) – an invasion that aims to return the WA Delegacy to the natives.

Liberation (2) – a World Assembly resolution which removes the WA Delegate's ability to place a password on a region.

multi ("multiing/multying," "they're all multis", etc.) – to control more than one nation in the World Assembly at a time. Highly illegal; will result in your nation being ejected from the WA and banned from rejoining.

native – a nation which takes up residence in a region without the intention of furthering the goals and aims of a foreign force.

pre-endorse – to endorse the lead or point man prior to invading the target region.

puppet – a nation owned by a player who uses a different main identity in-game.

raid – an invasion which attempts to change the WA Delegacy.

raider – someone who invades in order to exert their own control over a region.

refounding – deliberately creating a new region with the same name as an old one.

region crashing – raiding which does not intend to achieve permanent control of a region. The term dates to before the invention of Regional Controls, when the lack of an eject function made permanent control impossible.

regional destruction – the ejection of all of the natives of a region by a Delegate whose actions are not supported by said natives.

region hawking – refounding a region in order to prevent someone else from refounding it.

Regional Happenings spam – caused by nations moving into (and often back out of) a region in order to fill up the Regional Happenings. Illegal; may result in warning or deletion of the offending nations.

regional sovereignty – the collective right of natives to the administration of their region.

RMB - Regional Message Board. Once used interchangeably with 'Civil Headquarters'. Changed to 'Regional Message Board' on region pages when post suppression was added in February 2011 (by popular demand).

script - a program used to automate or partially automate in-game tasks via computer code. Must follow NS rules for scripts. See NS API thread and page if you are interested in making your own, and be sure to check the Technical Forum for rules changes and discussions that have not yet made it into the rules thread.

sinker – an increasingly common term referring to the game-created regions Lazarus, Balder, Osiris, and The Rejected Realms as opposed to the feeders. The term is derived from the role of Lazarus, Balder, Osiris and The Rejected Realms as regions which receive nations from other regions, either when a nation that has ceased to exist is revived (Lazarus, Balder, and Osiris), or when a nation is ejected from a region (The Rejected Realms). Nations may not be banned or ejected from The Rejected Realms.

switcher – a puppet nation which has applied and been approved for membership in the World Assembly, but which has not yet joined the WA.

tagging – changing the World Factbook Entry and/or the regional flag to advertise your organization.

UCR - user-created region. Any region created by an individual player, as opposed to regions written into the game code by game administrators.

update – one of two times each day when the NationStates server updates information on all nations and regions in the game.

update surfing - moving a nation from one region to another in order to avoid the update.

userite -a player whose primary home in NationStates is in a user-created region (UCR).

warzone – one of six game-created regions where bans are temporary and the longest-serving Delegate is noted on the region page: Warzone Africa, Warzone Airspace, Warzone Asia, Warzone Australia, Warzone Europe, and Warzone Sandbox.

WFE – World Factbook Entry.
Last edited by Naivetry on Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:12 pm, edited 14 times in total.

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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:19 am

Reserved for possible expansion.

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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:19 am

Reserved for possible expansion.

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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:19 am

Reserved for possible expansion.

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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:20 am

Reserved for possible expansion.

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Postby Sedgistan » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:05 am

Very impressive. A couple of points:

In these six regions, bans are temporary and ejections do not cost Influence.

Influence does apply in Warzones, so that last bit is incorrect.

invader – obsolete term for raider.
invasion – the movement of nations into a region for the purpose of controlling the World Assembly Delegacy. In the past, "invasion" was often used by defenders to refer specifically to raiding, and most defenders still avoid using the word "invasion" to describe their own activities.

I thought that 'invasion' was a catch-all term used to describe any attempt by outsiders to take over a region. The term 'raid' is generally used to refer to a 'short-term' invasion (as against an invasion carried out to re-found the region) - so would be the same as 'crashing'. Not particularly important, but I wouldn't say that the terms 'invasion' & 'invader' are obsolete.
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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:39 am

I've only set foot in the warzones once, and that was very reluctantly... I know that Influence is still calculated there, but I thought it had no effect on the cost of ejection. So I guess "The WA Delegate may eject nations as it pleases" thing refers to the griefing rules? Thanks for the catch.

RE: Invasion/invader - that's one of the trickier points and probably does need fixing. It's hard to pin down definitions for invading vs. raiding vs. crashing, because they're so often used as synonyms, and because people have used them in different ways over time. I only included "invader" (as opposed to "invasion") in the list in the first place because historically most players used it as a catch-all term for any military player who wasn't a defender. But the griefing rules themselves didn't distinguish between defenders and raiders/crashers/imperialists - they all got lumped together under the label "invader". I'll see what I can do to tweak it.

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Postby Unibot II » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:53 am

AD gave me these definitions a while back...

Invaders - is a general, blanket term to describe anyone who is not a native who takes over a region for their own fun. Raiders, crashers, griefers, they are all invaders.

Raider - is a term that refers to a specific group of invaders that obey the laws of 'Raider Unity'. The term 'Raider Unity' came into vogue in 2005 and 2006 and was especially associated with some of the older groups like DEN. It has since fallen out of favor and out of memory with the demise of those old groups. 'Raider Unity' refers to a doctrine that raiders will work together and not invade each other, and many of those who call themselves raiders also follow several guidelines set during a conference with defenders that said they will not grief regions, hack forums, or attack players (check with ADN folks like Sir Lans if you want more detail). In other words, they hold themselves up to a higher standard.

Crasher - the term was more widely used in 2003 and 2004 to describe groups of nations that move from region to region to 'crash' (i.e. take over delegateship) back when you can update several times each update. In more recent years the term has taken a more negative meaning, and sometimes used to describe griefers (see below).

Griefer - the term describes invaders that invade with an intention to destroy regions by kicking out natives and passwording or refounding.


I disagree with the Crasher definition, as a newer player, I've never used Crasher as synonym for Griefer, I've used it to describe a blitzkrieg type of raider (or simply put 'a raider that defenders like'). Raider is a term I'd use for someone who takes specific opposition to defenders, and partakes in invasions, because there is cultural element to the word -- it obviously have nothing to do with Raider Unity anymore, raiders are the people who defenders point and say "bad guys", and sometimes vice versa. I find it curious that there is so many words for Raiders (or Invaders? --> a term I never use *shrugs*), but almost none for Defenders. Because raiding has become so extreme since influence has been implemented, 'griefer' seems like an obsolete word, now we have no problem acknowledging that your friendly neighborhood raider could commit region grieving -- it doesn't ostracize him into a new category of "BAD BADDER raiders".

A lovely read, Nai, I even learned a thing or two.

National population increases.
World Census Reports are issued.
The 'elected ___ days ago' counter goes up by one for current Delegates. <---- I always got told not to follow this.
Nations receive new issues and issue effects are processed.
Influence increases (or decreases, for a nation that has left the region).
Inactive nations and empty regions cease to exist.
New World Assembly resolutions arrive from the queue or finish voting at the beginning of update.
Compliance Commission telegrams from the World Assembly.
World Assembly applications are processed at the end of update.
WA endorsements are verified and new WA Delegates are elected, if necessary.
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Postby Sedgistan » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:01 am

Unibot II wrote:The 'elected ___ days ago' counter goes up by one for current Delegates. <---- I always got told not to follow this.

Correctly, because that isn't changed when the region updates, but rather at intervals of 24 hours since the delegate was elected. That means that if the delegate was elected a year ago at an update time of 17:05:00, it'd change at that time every day. However, the region's update time may have changed completely.
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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:20 am

Ooh, nice detail. I'll edit to include once I finish setting up the internal links.

Yeah, the definitions are problematic, because they get their meaning entirely from player usage. And the way people use them is always to make a rhetorical point, which means the words take on or lose various connotations over time as the discourse changes within the game. While some of the folks we call raiders now may engage in what was technically considered griefing pre-Influence, for example, "griefing" remains a really bad word for most players, and so people like to reserve it for instances they find particularly objectionable.

I was debating whether or not to include a glossary at all, but I figured there were so many specialized and semi-specialized terms floating around that people who weren't involved could use a bit of a guide to it all.

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Postby Ananke II » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:56 am

From my experience crasher, invader and raider tend to mean the same thing more or less. It's just changed through the years, which one people preferred. I tend to associate "crasher" with oldtime defenders, e.i. those who started defending before regional controls were introduced, so back in 2002-2003. When ADN was big in 2004-2005 "invader" was the term mostly used, while "raider" seems to have taken over these days.

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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:41 am

*nods* I grew up in Equilism hearing "invaders", but a number of players I ran into (PRP/NPO and Taijitu come to mind) used to accuse defenders of being "invaders" too, from a strictly technical perspective. I'd heard "raider" as an alternative term, and I figured that better described the difference between "invaders" and defenders. So I made that distinction in the first version of this thread, and because that has became the term most often used on these new boards, I think it has gradually replaced "invader" as the more common word, especially for newer players.

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Postby The Murtunian Tribes » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:54 am

There all pretty much interchangeable, an it's pretty much a matter of personal preference. I never did like the term crasher. The only one with a major difference in definition is griefer.

I prefer these definitions:

Raider/Invader/Crasher: A member of a group which works to seize the WA delegate position of founderless regions for various purposes, most notably to be a jackass.

Defender: A mysterious creature which fights against raiders by moving to threatened or captured regions and either endorsing the native delegate or a defender delegate; a nuisance.

Native: A long time member of a region who is not associated with the invader and/or defender forces occupying said region; a frequently belligerent creature created to amuse raiders.

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Postby Unibot II » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:42 pm

Heh... from a dictionary, I'll probably never finish since my deletion...

Updater
1. n. a semi-nocturnal, devoted creature who scans the recent events of the World Assembly during update on a regular basis in an attempt to spot an invasion or at the very least, exhaust their insomnia. SEE ALSO: Invasion, Update, World Assembly;

Grieving
1. v. to destroy a region without being a native. SEE ALSO: native;
2. v. to resurrect an issue that one feels threaten by because it is an argument they know they cannot win. SEE ALSO: Rule IV;
3. v. to recover a quotation from a historical or otherwise recent period that makes one look bad or hypocritical. SEE ALSO: recent;

Invader
1. n. a blanket term for any nation that isn’t a native of a region but nonetheless assumes the delegacy of said region for the fun of it. SEE ALSO: native, raider2,WA Delegate;
2. pejorative. n. a blanket term that raiders use to describe a non-native that assumes the delegacy for any reason—the usage of this particular meaning is mostly for the fun of watching a defender try to refute the claim. SEE ALSO: Defender, Raider;

Crasher
1. n. an invader who doesn’t bother staying in a region long enough to lose the delegacy at the hands of defenders. SEE ALSO: defender, invader1;
2. n. a synonym for griever, in some circles. SEE ALSO: griever;
3. n. an invader who is relatively polite to defenders. SEE ALSO: defender;

Raider
1. arch.n. an invader who vowed never to invade their fellow invaders. They would also agree to defender’s terms to not grief regions or hack forums. SEE ALSO: Crasher3, Defender, Grieving1;
2. n. an invader who likes to brag of their invasion accomplishments or otherwise is relatively impolite to defenders. SEE ALSO: Defender, Invader1;
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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:51 pm

Heh, nice, Uni.

I didn't specify that Compliance Commission telegrams get sent out at update, since that can be considered part of the conclusion of the vote. Added in your other points, though - thanks. :)

Tweaked a few of the definitions to reflect comments here.

Everything should now be properly linkable and cross-linked where appropriate. If you find something that's broken, please let me know!

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Postby Ballotonia » Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:21 pm

From my perspective, "invader" and "invasion" are the correct terms. At some point invaders decided to start using the term "raider" for themselves, for what I perceive to be propaganda reasons. To me, anyone using the term "raider" is an immediate suspect of BEING an invader.

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Postby Naivetry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:18 pm

Heh. It always has to do with propaganda of one form or another.

I found it really interesting that the griefing rules thread from Jolt called everyone "invaders" indiscriminately. (I should put that in a zip file sometime and re-upload it, now that they've taken down the old NS forums...) That was the other reason I started using the term "raider" instead.
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Postby Unibot II » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:54 pm

Ballotonia wrote:From my perspective, "invader" and "invasion" are the correct terms. At some point invaders decided to start using the term "raider" for themselves, for what I perceive to be propaganda reasons. To me, anyone using the term "raider" is an immediate suspect of BEING an invader.

Ballotonia


By that logic, most defenders from my generation and onward are invaders.
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