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[Proposal] Faction Gameplay

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Reventus Koth
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[Proposal] Faction Gameplay

Postby Reventus Koth » Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:55 pm

Hey everyone, Koth here. I have a proposal for NationStates Gameplay that is designed to be a fundamental overhaul to the way emergent political conflict works in this game by rooting it in mechanics that should already exist to support it. The problems with Gameplay in 2018 can be summarized in the following points:

  • Gameplay is mechanically basic and lacks complexity
  • Power has centralized around GCRs, leaving the UCRs mechanically and narratively uninteresting
  • R/D has become narratively bland, prioritizing quantity of raids and defenses over political intrigue
  • Gameplay is stagnant and difficult to make a splash in because of lack of avenues for conflict

My proposal seeks to address all of these points while not taking away from the cultural, mechanical, and political importance of GCRs, UCRs, and R/D. This system would exist on top of the current mechanics, and provide another level of in-game political intrigue that brings attention back to nationstates.net as opposed to off-site communication platforms that contribute the entirety of narrative development in Gameplay.

Let's call it Factions.

Right now, we can say that there are mechanically two levels of GP: the Nation and the Region. Players exist on the Nation level and contribute, via the World Assembly, to the mechanical power of the Region they reside in. At the Region level, WA Delegates and their endorsements form the basis of the Raider/Defender subculture, which was originally an unintended side effect but is now a bona fide aspect of NSGP. GCR culture is founded upon the necessity of securing their Founderless regions with dedicated WA nations endorsing their Delegate.

The crux of my proposal hinges on adding another level to GP: Factions (or alliances, or whatever you want to call them). They exist above the Region level, they are entities that will be comprised of Regions like Regions are comprised of Nations. Like regions, they will have additional game mechanics which add intrigue to the world of NationStates and provide for in-game methods of true warfare, which games such as [REDACTED] have had since their inception.

At the Faction level, regions act like nations, with their Founders (or WA Delegate in their absence) acting as representatives to the faction they are part of. Founders can also choose to delegate this responsibility to the WAD. The World Assembly system is used to determine a region's power within their faction. The region with the most endorsements on their WAD would become the Chair of the Faction, or maybe they're elected.

The Faction Chair is an incredibly important and influential role to play. It is expected that every feeder and sinker would inevitably be the Chair of their faction, because I can't imagine two GCRs existing in the same faction when, with the amount of endorsements they have, they could easily Chair their own faction and wield far more power over the game. A Chair region would be able to contribute a number of votes in the World Assembly proportional to their faction's overall power (which I'll call Impact later), much like how the WAD's power in the WA is equal to its endorsements. A Chair also has the power to rename their faction, appoint Electors, incorporate Territories into the faction, and utilize the faction's power on the world's scale in other ways I haven't thought of yet.

There are two types of regions that would exist within the Faction: Electors and Territories. Electors are fully fledged members of the faction that cannot be claimed by other factions as their sovereign territory. The amount of Electors that can exist within a faction is determined by the faction's overall Impact on the World Assembly. Basically, the more endorsements your faction has, the more regions within the faction are allowed to be protected with Elector status. Territories are contested regions that have been claimed by the faction and contribute to the World Assembly power of the faction, but without Elector protections can be disputed and claimed by other factions through warfare. I'll get into how later.

There are two ideas I have in mind for how you would go about creating the initial Factions in the game. I'm very open to any combination of ideas here.
    1. Create about 20 initial factions with generic names (Ex. The Dandelion Alliance) and distribute the most powerful regions between all of them, randomly filling in the rest. This would certainly generate some very interesting narratives and eventually balance out into a consistent meta, with the Chairs having renamed their factions, designated their favored Electors, and incorporated the territories they were interested in claiming.
    2. Allow factions to emerge naturally, providing mechanics to form a faction if a group of regions meet certain criteria (a combined 100 endorsements needed between all regional delegates, for instance). Regions are allowed to exist as neutral elements on the Faction level until they are claimed by a faction through Annexation or R/D.

"Warfare" exists as a consequence of Territories not being protected as well as the existence of R/D. How exactly it works I'm willing to argue about, but here's my current idea: Nations have Influence in a Region, and Regions generate what I'll call Impact for their Faction. Impact will be expended by the Chair to appoint Electors and to stake claims on Territories. Territories (and even Electors!) can also choose to switch factions voluntarily, which means one can bypass the Warfare system by raiding a region and changing factions like one would establish Embassies currently.

I'm going to use the region St Abbaddon to illustrate how the system would work here. Let's say St Abbaddon is a Territory claimed by the New Pacific Order faction. The Imperialist faction, having generated a certain amount of Impact, expends that Impact to contest the NPO's claim and forcefully Annex the region into their faction. St A's endorsements will now generate Impact for the Imperialists and push that faction further up the ranks. Alternatively, they could decide to use R/D to save on Impact and raid St A, forcefully applying the region to the Imperialist faction using WAD tools. The downside is that they would be parking useful endorsements in a single region they could be using to raid other regions.

I think it's important to illustrate that since this augments the current system, it still maintains the integrity of the "opt-out" options available to people who want to stay out of R/D. A neutral region claimed by a Faction using Impact is not mechanically or socially affected, which in a way makes it less disruptive than R/D to native regions, while still including R/D as a viable alternative. It also brings UCRs back into the meta (even providing a mechanical incentive to care about backwater regions with low endorsements) without changing the culture of GCRs and UCRs.

Please feel free to mutate this any way you wish, and help create a more interesting GP experience that the admins will never actually implement. I wrote this really quickly so I know I'll have to clarify some things.
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LiberNovusAmericae
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Postby LiberNovusAmericae » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:08 pm

Reventus Koth wrote:Please feel free to mutate this any way you wish, and help create a more interesting GP experience that the admins will never actually implement.

If you don't think that admin will implement your suggestion, then why create a thread?

Edit: It is a good proposal though.
Last edited by LiberNovusAmericae on Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Augustus Rex
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Postby Augustus Rex » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:10 pm

Good proposal. I look forward to it being relentlessly criticized by the admins and then nothing being done about it.
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Dyllonia
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Postby Dyllonia » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:12 pm

This is a very neat idea; it would be most interesting to see what would happen should this enhancement be enacted
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Reventus Koth
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Postby Reventus Koth » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:12 pm

LiberNovusAmericae wrote:
Reventus Koth wrote:Please feel free to mutate this any way you wish, and help create a more interesting GP experience that the admins will never actually implement.

If you don't think that admin will implement your suggestion, then why create a thread?

That's just my pessimism speaking, because changes to Gameplay come very slowly and in very small chunks. This level of overhaul to the system is unprecedented, so I don't expect the admins to take it at face value unless it gets tons of support. Ultimately, I was just being a dick by including that line :P

Obviously I would very much like to see this get implemented after a period of hammering out the details, and I'd even work alongside the admins in doing so if possible.
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Postby Ghostfox » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:14 pm

I really like this idea and think when hammered out it could 100% be utilized to enhance gameplay. I think that you might not get as much approval without a full opt out option, but personally I love it.

I hope it doesn't get ignored. >.>
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Postby Salvarity » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:14 pm

LiberNovusAmericae wrote:
Reventus Koth wrote:Please feel free to mutate this any way you wish, and help create a more interesting GP experience that the admins will never actually implement.

If you don't think that admin will implement your suggestion, then why create a thread?


It's called reverse psychology.




I like the idea for the most part. If we can incentive actually diplomacy and interaction between a multitude of regions; I think that will be a worthwhile boon to the game. Although I wonder how far this idea could go.

What if it was designed so only the WAD can join/create a faction. Founders won't be able to control it (unless they are also the WAD) and it'll force (minuscule) investment in a region (at least 2 WA members).

Nevertheless, good idea considering the confines within which it had to be created. Interesting to see how others respond.
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LiberNovusAmericae
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Postby LiberNovusAmericae » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:16 pm

Reventus Koth wrote:
LiberNovusAmericae wrote:If you don't think that admin will implement your suggestion, then why create a thread?

That's just my pessimism speaking, because changes to Gameplay come very slowly and in very small chunks. This level of overhaul to the system is unprecedented, so I don't expect the admins to take it at face value unless it gets tons of support. Ultimately, I was just being a dick by including that line :P

Obviously I would very much like to see this get implemented after a period of hammering out the details, and I'd even work alongside the admins in doing so if possible.

Understood. It is a good proposal; I will say that.
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Postby Benjabobaria » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:17 pm

This seems fascinating and exciting, and it seems like it would add a whole new level of awesome to R/D. Full support!
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Imperium of Josh
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Postby Imperium of Josh » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:18 pm

I rather like this idea, and it's certainly got precedent in the way many people have approached this game before. Inter-regional alliances quite often pop up (and inevitably collapse), and many of those have similarly internationally-federalist mindsets.

I recall my time in the USSD was largely spent on a thing called the Vanguard treaty which had a similar, if obviously not mechanically-based, concept to it. It was a lot of fun going into regions and messing with their internal politics to get them into our sphere of influence (waves at now-dead Norrland) in my noobier days, and although mainstream GP has had some interesting things to offer me, I don't think anything quite matched that approach.

Historically speaking, alliances in this game tend to collapse because they have no basis in hard mechanics beyond the usual agreements of mutual military support. They have also tended to require determined leader figures to galvanise them in the absence of fully tangible in game benefits. It makes sense to me that creating a mechanical basis, building on what mechanics already exist and the standing precedent that people do like to attempt this kind of thing, would yield better results.

I also doubt that anything will ever come of this, but it's worth talking about and worth serious consideration from people.

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Postby Miss Bad Life Choices » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:19 pm

Totally could bring some desperately needed excitement to this game :)

Love the idea of adding another group on top of regions. Could make it more competitive.
Last edited by Miss Bad Life Choices on Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Oppermenia » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:22 pm

Wow, this is actually a really good idea I think. It’s the most NS-like way to implement war
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Postby HerpDeDerp » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:30 pm

I hope the admins pay attention to this.
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Postby Benjabobaria » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:30 pm

I think my only issue with this is that it would likely centralize power around large regions. Other than that, I think it would be a good thing, but that side effect could be quite impactful.
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Postby Flemingisa » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:32 pm

I like the idea a lot. My one question is how does this change the current R/D meta and do you perceive this benefitting one side over the other?

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Postby Imperium of Josh » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:32 pm

Benjabobaria wrote:I think my only issue with this is that it would likely centralize power around large regions. Other than that, I think it would be a good thing, but that side effect could be quite impactful.

I don't really think that'll change much. Mainstream GP power is already hyper-centralised in this game. What this does is gives an incentive for those powerful regions to go and interact with the peripheral UCRs to gain more clout mechanically, so that will probably have a reasonably decentralising impact.

Plus, it'll likely help to civilise those places on the peripheries with questionable social standards... XD

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Postby Benjabobaria » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:33 pm

Flemingisa wrote:I like the idea a lot. My one question is how does this change the current R/D meta and do you perceive this benefitting one side over the other?

I really don't think it would change the current R/D meta an awful lot.
Raiding and defending in its current form would have little region to stop existing.
Trophy regions and empty regions that get passed around between fendas and raiders would hardly be affected at all.
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Postby Flemingisa » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:35 pm

Benjabobaria wrote:
Flemingisa wrote:I like the idea a lot. My one question is how does this change the current R/D meta and do you perceive this benefitting one side over the other?

I really don't think it would change the current R/D meta an awful lot.
Raiding and defending in its current form would have little region to stop existing.
Trophy regions and empty regions that get passed around between fendas and raiders would hardly be affected at all.


That may be true but they would have little importance in this system I feel. It wouldn’t stop it from happening but I think most R/D would be focused on contested territories which probably wouldn’t bother defenders unless it’s an active region

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Postby Benjabobaria » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:37 pm

Imperium of Josh wrote:
Benjabobaria wrote:I think my only issue with this is that it would likely centralize power around large regions. Other than that, I think it would be a good thing, but that side effect could be quite impactful.

I don't really think that'll change much. Mainstream GP power is already hyper-centralised in this game. What this does is gives an incentive for those powerful regions to go and interact with the peripheral UCRs to gain more clout mechanically, so that will probably have a reasonably decentralising impact.

Plus, it'll likely help to civilise those places on the peripheries with questionable social standards... XD

You make a good point. Power really is centralized already, and while I don't necessarily think that GCRs acting with peripheral UCRs would necessarily decrease centralization a lot, it surely wouldn't increase centralization, and it would make the game soooo much more interesting.
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Altino wrote:The number of "Benja this is amazing, I love it!!!" conversations and also "Benja wtf were you thinking, you're ruining my life" conversations we've had go so hard.

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Postby Benjabobaria » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:43 pm

Flemingisa wrote:That may be true but they would have little importance in this system I feel. It wouldn’t stop it from happening but I think most R/D would be focused on contested territories which probably wouldn’t bother defenders unless it’s an active region

I think some people would focus on the new faction-based aspects of R/D. However I don't really think that a lot of raiders doing tag raids and refounds and the defenders stopping these raids would stop doing what they are currently doing. Factions would bring new people into R/D, and more ways to play, but I don't think the current ways to play would be affected much.
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Zizou wrote:it's the natives fault for getting beat the fuck up by raiders because the founder cted or they were dumb enough to make the del exec

Altino wrote:The number of "Benja this is amazing, I love it!!!" conversations and also "Benja wtf were you thinking, you're ruining my life" conversations we've had go so hard.

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Postby Kyrusia » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:50 pm

Reventus Koth wrote:I think it's important to illustrate that since this augments the current system, it still maintains the integrity of the "opt-out" options available to people who want to stay out of R/D. A neutral region claimed by a Faction using Impact is not mechanically or socially affected, which in a way makes it less disruptive than R/D to native regions, while still including R/D as a viable alternative. It also brings UCRs back into the meta (even providing a mechanical incentive to care about backwater regions with low endorsements) without changing the culture of GCRs and UCRs.

As a player, I will say I appreciate that this has been given consideration. Coupled with the fact that Electors/Territories could switch factions at whim, presumably based on some mechanic tied to the WAD (or Founder), I personally think that helps balance things out for those who do wish to opt-out without too much overhead on their part.

That said, I don't think everyone would see that the same way. Namely, some may feel being forced into a faction and being "claimed" by another region/faction implicitly undermines their "sovereignty" - in the sense that they don't even get to claim their community as there own, to put it one way. How would you go about addressing this concern? I see you propose the idea of faction creation in your second implementation idea; I could see this being done and used to assuage these concerns, but know that it is probable that a threshold of n-number of endorsements may simply be rejected by some due to the need to potentially "ally" with regions they do not personally approve of simply to "opt-out." Would you foresee the possibility of a true opt-out of factions, potentially at some cost to the region (say, the inability to have a delegate, ever, only foundership, if and until that founder CTEs)? Given many roleplaying regions have that situation as-is, would that be a sufficient way, in your view, to opt them out without bringing considerable detriment to R/D?

Keep in mind, these are just my thoughts as a player and random questions put forward for general consideration based on experience with many regions that do not desire, in any way, to be involved in R/D, and whom could potentially perceive this idea as "yet another way" of forcing them to. I don't necessarily, personally, agree with that, but am asking none-the-less.
Last edited by Kyrusia on Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Bdurham07 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:03 pm

I think this could turn out to be a really great thing, it might need a little work in the future but it's a great idea
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Postby Reventus Koth » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:58 pm

Kyrusia wrote:As a player, I will say I appreciate that this has been given consideration. Coupled with the fact that Electors/Territories could switch factions at whim, presumably based on some mechanic tied to the WAD (or Founder), I personally think that helps balance things out for those who do wish to opt-out without too much overhead on their part.

That said, I don't think everyone would see that the same way. Namely, some may feel being forced into a faction and being "claimed" by another region/faction implicitly undermines their "sovereignty" - in the sense that they don't even get to claim their community as there own, to put it one way. How would you go about addressing this concern? I see you propose the idea of faction creation in your second implementation idea; I could see this being done and used to assuage these concerns, but know that it is probable that a threshold of n-number of endorsements may simply be rejected by some due to the need to potentially "ally" with regions they do not personally approve of simply to "opt-out." Would you foresee the possibility of a true opt-out of factions, potentially at some cost to the region (say, the inability to have a delegate, ever, only foundership, if and until that founder CTEs)? Given many roleplaying regions have that situation as-is, would that be a sufficient way, in your view, to opt them out without bringing considerable detriment to R/D?

Keep in mind, these are just my thoughts as a player and random questions put forward for general consideration based on experience with many regions that do not desire, in any way, to be involved in R/D, and whom could potentially perceive this idea as "yet another way" of forcing them to. I don't necessarily, personally, agree with that, but am asking none-the-less.


Thanks for stepping up to represent that sect of the userbase!

After some discussion we were involved in on the NSGP Discord, which you helped contribute to, we figured this would be a good way to handle it:

There are two Game-Created Factions (GCFs), we'll call them Sanctuary and Neutral Ground. When a region is created, it can optionally choose to apply to any faction. If it does not choose any option, it defaults to Neutral Ground, a faction that has a Chair but no Impact, giving the faction zero advantage in the World Assembly. Neutral Ground has no Electors and so cannot protect their Territories from being claimed by User-Created Factions (UCFs). Neutral Ground cannot stake any claims on other faction's territories. Being Chair of Neutral Ground has no real purpose, but I'm sure a subculture would evolve in it anyway so it's better to embrace it.

Sanctuary, on the other hand, is an opt-in faction with no Chair. All regions that apply to Sanctuary are automatically accepted and made Electors, creating a true opt-out from Annexation. Regions in Sanctuary also generate zero Impact, and especially since there's no Chair, Sanctuary cannot stake claims either. Applying to Sanctuary costs 100% of your Impact, so it shouldn't be done lightly or as a temporary escape from a Territory claim. It's important to note that Sanctuary would not protect its regions from R/D. If a Sancutary region is raided, it can still be applied to a different faction.

This also shifts my design for Regional Impact to being a commodity generated on a per-region basis. If Nations have Influence, Regions will have Impact that they contribute to their Faction, but the faction doesn't own it. This opens up a lot of other interesting potential for Impact that has been discussed on the NSGP Discord and I'm sure will soon find it's way here :)
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Kyrusia
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Postby Kyrusia » Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:06 pm

Reventus Koth wrote:
Kyrusia wrote:As a player, I will say I appreciate that this has been given consideration. Coupled with the fact that Electors/Territories could switch factions at whim, presumably based on some mechanic tied to the WAD (or Founder), I personally think that helps balance things out for those who do wish to opt-out without too much overhead on their part.

That said, I don't think everyone would see that the same way. Namely, some may feel being forced into a faction and being "claimed" by another region/faction implicitly undermines their "sovereignty" - in the sense that they don't even get to claim their community as there own, to put it one way. How would you go about addressing this concern? I see you propose the idea of faction creation in your second implementation idea; I could see this being done and used to assuage these concerns, but know that it is probable that a threshold of n-number of endorsements may simply be rejected by some due to the need to potentially "ally" with regions they do not personally approve of simply to "opt-out." Would you foresee the possibility of a true opt-out of factions, potentially at some cost to the region (say, the inability to have a delegate, ever, only foundership, if and until that founder CTEs)? Given many roleplaying regions have that situation as-is, would that be a sufficient way, in your view, to opt them out without bringing considerable detriment to R/D?

Keep in mind, these are just my thoughts as a player and random questions put forward for general consideration based on experience with many regions that do not desire, in any way, to be involved in R/D, and whom could potentially perceive this idea as "yet another way" of forcing them to. I don't necessarily, personally, agree with that, but am asking none-the-less.


Thanks for stepping up to represent that sect of the userbase!

After some discussion we were involved in on the NSGP Discord, which you helped contribute to, we figured this would be a good way to handle it:

There are two Game-Created Factions (GCFs), we'll call them Sanctuary and Neutral Ground. When a region is created, it can optionally choose to apply to any faction. If it does not choose any option, it defaults to Neutral Ground, a faction that has a Chair but no Impact, giving the faction zero advantage in the World Assembly. Neutral Ground has no Electors and so cannot protect their Territories from being claimed by User-Created Factions (UCFs). Neutral Ground cannot stake any claims on other faction's territories. Being Chair of Neutral Ground has no real purpose, but I'm sure a subculture would evolve in it anyway so it's better to embrace it.

Sanctuary, on the other hand, is an opt-in faction with no Chair. All regions that apply to Sanctuary are automatically accepted and made Electors, creating a true opt-out from Annexation. Regions in Sanctuary also generate zero Impact, and especially since there's no Chair, Sanctuary cannot stake claims either. Applying to Sanctuary costs 100% of your Impact, so it shouldn't be done lightly or as a temporary escape from a Territory claim. It's important to note that Sanctuary would not protect its regions from R/D. If a Sancutary region is raided, it can still be applied to a different faction.

This also shifts my design for Regional Impact to being a commodity generated on a per-region basis. If Nations have Influence, Regions will have Impact that they contribute to their Faction, but the faction doesn't own it. This opens up a lot of other interesting potential for Impact that has been discussed on the NSGP Discord and I'm sure will soon find it's way here :)

Personally, as discussed on the Discord, I very much like these sort of options. I think it's a rather elegant way of handling things, and providing an opt-out for folks who truly don't want to be involved in this segment of play.

As is being discussed on Discord, though, this does bring into question how Regional Impact might be accumulated/generated. As I mentioned: potentially it's generated by regions based upon Influence cut as a ratio between the number of nations that are in the World Assembly, and those who are not in the World Assembly. This could potentially serve as a counter-balance to inhibit GCRs from so immediately holding command over the faction-based political landscape by such a large margin, which would be a good way to keep things fresh. As you said yourself, paraphrasing: it means GCRs need the UCRs to be of long-standing importance under the proposed faction system.

That's just one idea, and admittedly, I am not an expert on the influence system we currently have (not particularly my realm of Moderator expertise), much less how that could be coded by our Tech-experts. Regardless, something in that vein seems intuitive to me, which I think is an important thing to keep in mind with proposals such as this: they need to be relatively intuitive to the players to understand. A higher level of intuitiveness, matched with an incentive for involvement, is what will increase player participation and excitement; it is also what can help players from different parts of the community, outside of gameplay, to become involved in new aspects of the site - something the faction system (even with the Sanctuary opt-out option), I personally feel, could go a long way to accomplishing.
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Wallenburg
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Founded: Jan 30, 2015
New York Times Democracy

Postby Wallenburg » Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:10 pm

I'd rather we didn't screw up the WA voting system more than it already is.
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