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Dealing with Gameplay and Raiding: An RPers Perspective

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United Gordonopia
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Dealing with Gameplay and Raiding: An RPers Perspective

Postby United Gordonopia » Wed May 20, 2015 5:44 pm

Authors Note: With the recent introduction of Regional Officers there will be some changes to this guide once I find the time, as it brings some major potential changes to regional security.



Dealing with Gameplay and Raiding: An RPers Perspective






Four years ago, the region of Haven was invaded. Many in the II RPing community expressed outrage over the move, seemingly pointed at roleplayers.

In Spring, 2013, RPers joined in Milograd's coup of The South Pacific en masse. For many, it felt like a way to 'stick it' to Gameplay after years of perceived abuse.

Last summer, the region of Ixnay was invaded and conquered by The Black Riders after a failed refound, while Mallorea and Rivea, a forum moderator at a time and longtime raider, submitted a controversial 'Liberate Haven' proposal in the Security Council.

In April, 2015, the founder of The Black Riders was hit with a delete-on-sight and deletion of all of his nations, leading to the fall of the region. Many of the WA nations that flooded in over the next day were roleplayers angry over seemingly unceasing tag raids by TBR.

These events are only a few of the recent chapters in the fraught history between the 'Roleplaying' and 'Gameplaying' communities of NationStates. Countless interactions preceded them, as both groups have been around since the beginning of the game twelve-and-a-half years ago, and various instances both big and small have occurred in the meantime. To call the relationship between 'RPers' and 'GPers' complicated would be a massive understatement. The divisions seemingly run to the very core, and it is hard to imagine any true cooperation or reconciliation unless one were to be stricken from the site entirely. Because that will not happen, one would not be called crazy for proclaiming that the fighting will never cease.

In my time on NationStates, I have played both sides. As United Gordonopia, I have built an extensive roleplaying history from the time of the late Jolt-forum era to today, though I am certainly not nearly as active as I used to be. My experience ranges from Global Economics and Trade, where I was the author of the subforum's first sticky and a substantial amount of 'research', to II, where I have been a longtime member of Greater Dienstad, to NS Sports, where I hosted two Baptism of Fire tournaments and was once in the top-three domestic football leagues. I have been an II Mentor since the start of the program, and I have seen countless changes in this community over the last seven years.

In Gameplay, I go by Kazmr. Though I had a couple brief interactions prior to taking on this identity, I have spent nearly two years with this name. I have served time as the delegate of Lazarus, published numerous articles, serious and satirical, through the Lazarene Gazette, and taken part in numerous defender operations as part of the Lazarene Liberation Army. So much time has been spent in this identity that today I consider it to be my 'second main'.

I have written this guide because I want roleplayers to be able to understand the other side, and how they can interact with it or avoid it. In the near future I intend to write a similar piece, to be published on the Gameplay subforum, telling the other side of the story. I do not think that the gulf is impossible to bridge, and so I end it with an optimistic note for how to get ones' self involved in the other side. I welcome any comments, criticisms, or additions you might have.


II - What is Gameplay?

To call this vast portion of NationStates 'Gameplay' is perhaps a bit of a misnomer. It implies that it is how the game is meant to be played, using some extensive set of mechanics created by Max Barry. Instead, much like roleplaying, 'GP' grew organically. Taking advantage of a handful of abilities in game, including the fact that the WA (then UN) delegate could modify the 'World Factbook Entry', a complex meta-game developed based around regional governments and organizations, and the interaction between them.

In a very real sense, Gameplay is a type of roleplaying. Different than that which fills NS' RPing subforums, but roleplaying nonetheless. The only positions in any region that are 'real' is that of the founder and the WA delegate. Thus, a 'Minister of Foreign Affairs' for Lazarus or a 'Chief Justice' in The South Pacific is taking on a role the members agree exist. With it comes various responsibilities to play the part, and all of these are often unified by a Constitution that is, effectively, an agreed set of rules for the region to play by.

Of course, within the Gameplay community, no two regions are the same. Some may be very isolationist, preferring only to play amongst themselves. Others draw citizens from far and wide, many of whom are also part of one or more other regions. Some regions aggressively seek to impose their will on other regions, through invasions or more subtle means, while others work their hardest to prevent that from happening. Some regions are dictatorships, usually held together by a secure founder or delegate, others are liberal democracies.

It is even common for regions to have a 'theme', further enhancing the roleplaying aspect. Until recently, Lazarus flew under the red banner of a socialist theme as the 'People's Republic of Lazarus', and thus everything from titles to our news reports were flavored by this. You might find a region like Osiris with an Egyptian theme, or Balder which is flavored by Nordic trappings. These themes serve to both bring together players with a common interest, and in many cases to make participating in the region that much more fun.

III - What is 'Raiding and Defending'?

Raiding and Defending, or R/D, is a subset of gameplay otherwise describes as 'military'. Military gameplay takes advantage of the fact that one can take the delegacy of a region by having the most endorsements at update, and works to coordinate numbers to accomplish this. In a most basic sense, an 'invasion' or 'raid' is moving into a region some time before the game updates with WA nations from the outside and endorsing someone other than the delegate chosen by the natives. A 'defense' is preventing this from happening, while a 'liberation' is ousting a raided delegate.

Some do it for fun, some do it (usually defending) out of a sense of morals. What might surprise many RPers, though, is that not all Gameplayers participate, or even like, military gameplay. In fact, it could even be a misnomer once again to call it military 'gameplay' and in doing so link the part of NationStates I described above and R/D forever at the hip. Many, many Gameplayers prefer to avoid military gameplay, or dislike it altogether, and while it is true that many regions generally have a military, R/D could certainly exist without a regional government.

IV - How can I secure my region from R/D?

One of the biggest concerns for many RPing regions, at least in regards to Gameplay, is keeping their region away from R/D. In a technical sense, there is no absolute way to avoid it entirely. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), Raiding and Defending is here to stay. The actual act of raiding is just about as old as RPing is on this site, and the administration have said time and again that they have no plans to do away with it. Simply put, wishing that R/D will end just won't cut it.

Fortunately, there are a number of simple things you can do to minimize the risk of a raid substantially. The first and foremost is to always have a founder. Making sure that your region is foundered ensures that there is no chance of a raid being able to conquer your region entirely, as it is simply a matter of the founder stepping in and laying down the law.

These days, though, regions are also subject to what are called 'Tag Raids'. Although The Black Riders took part in larger raids as well, they were most infamous for their 'tag raiding' and their successors have carried it on. A tag raid is essentially aimed only at temporarily mucking a region up, including changing the World Factbook Entry, flag, tags, attempting to change the embassies, and causing a bit of havoc on the Regional Message Board. Even regions with founders are often subject to tag raids, and they generally happen in regions with only a handful of nations endorsing the delegate.

Setting your World Assembly Delegate to be non-executive, which can be done from the Regional Administration menu, is one quick and simple way to avoid a tag raid entirely. It prevents the Delegate from being able to make any changes in the region so long as there is a founder, and thus will make your region a worthless target for tag raiders.

Of course, if you don't have a very active founder or the delegate often assists in administrative tasks, that can be an annoying option. My own Greater Dienstad often sees the delegate handle various issues like booting out spammers, sending out region-wide telegrams, or changing the WFE to accommodate new announcements, so a non-executive delegate seat would hamper that. In this instance, then, you have a couple of options.

The first is to simply ask that everyone who is able have a nation in the World Assembly in the region and endorsing the delegate. These nations need not be their main nation; it is perfectly fine to create a puppet just for the WA if you would prefer to avoid it. Keeping your delegate at a healthy endorsement count will ward off tag raids, which tend to be very small.

The other option is to implement a password. This is already fairly common in roleplaying regions as a way to control who is a part of the community, but it also works as a security measure against raids. If you choose to implement one in the future, make sure that it cannot be seen by current residents. Furthermore, when you have a password, ensure that you change it whenever you let in a new nation, or the hidden password will be undermined. When you do this, ensure that the password was successfully changed, which will be noted in the Regional Happenings, or you may end up in the same situation as Paradoxia. Any large, open region is bound to have a few nations in it that you don't know, and there is always a chance that that nation is a raider 'sleeper' puppet lying in wait for an opportunity to be the vanguard of a raid.

V - What should I do if that fails?

So your founder has CTEd, your region has been invaded, or you think that's about to happen. What now? When the above security measures fail, all is not lost.

If you still have control of your region, as in the delegate seat is still controlled by a member of the community but the founder is gone, the all-around best option if you wish to keep the name is to 'refound' the region. This means clearing out the region in a controlled manner, letting it cease to exist, and refounding it with a new nation under the control of someone in the community. Once this is done, you will have a region that is just as secure as it was before, and perhaps even with a more active founder allowing the delegate to be set to non-executive. There are, of course, downsides to this method: it can take a bit of time, you will lose RMB history (although that can be backed up), and there is a small chance (miniscule if you do it right) that the refound could be stolen by someone with malicious intent.

If you chose to go through with a refound, it is vital that you do not do it alone. The process can be a bit complicated to pull off, so contacting a group like TITO from 10000 Islands, or the Founderless Regions Alliance (contact info at the end) who have the numbers and experience to conduct a long-term refound, is a must. If you panic and try to pull it off alone, you may end up falling to the same fate as Ixnay.

Another alternative is to move to a new region. Many of us are no stranger to RPing regions splitting or being succeeded by another, and if you are willing to leave behind your old name, creating a new region is another good option that eliminates the risk of a refound.

If neither of those sound like a great option, or you have been invaded and want to fight back, there are still a few paths you can take.

One option, though I don't highly recommend it, is to preemptively work with invasion groups. This was a proposal some time ago, and a handful of RPing regions signed on to provide support for invaders in exchange for a promise not to be invaded. The reason I don't advise this route is because the raiding world is simply too spread out. Guarantees from one or several groups won't necessarily stop the next one from jumping on the opportunity. The one time this has been tried, for instance, it proved to be fairly ineffective in the long term and only bolstered the forces of those who perpetrate invasions in the first place.

Another recourse is to maintain contacts with defender groups. Various defender organizations work to both organize and stage liberations, and may also be able to inform you of a liberation before it happens. I will include an appendix with contact info at the end of this guide.

VII - How about building ties with Gameplay regions, or joining them myself?

Here is where the gap can be bridged for the future. While securing your region is undoubtedly important, I see no reason why two of NationStates' most active communities should remain forever splintered.

In fact, on an individual level, there is a certain level of 'cross-membership', so to speak. Notable roleplayer over the years have played a role in Gameplay, such as Milograd, Solm, and myself. As I stated earlier, Gameplay itself boils down to a different style of roleplaying, but many in the Gameplay community actually express an interest in the type of roleplay that takes place in International Incidents or Portal to the Multiverse. It is quite common for gameplay regions to have a 'roleplaying' subforum, and some are even fairly active. Some individuals even take part in RPs on the NS forum.

As an individual, it is always possible to try out Gameplay. Some of my best time on this site have been spent working to build up Lazarus as a strong region, and many of my closest friends on the site come from my time there. For someone good at writing, there are numerous opportunities to find a place, from Gameplay journalism to helping draft laws. You can even parlay some of your experience in a Gameplay focused region to help 'back home'. I have used my experience several times to aid GD or give advice on times where we have interacted with Gameplayers, military or otherwise.

On a regional level, I believe the easiest starting point is through RP. One example of how this could work can be found in Greater Dienstad, where we are building ties with The East Pacific and perhaps other regions. Through connections that emerged from the NS World Fair, we are setting up joint roleplays intended to allow us to get to know TEPers and of course have a good RP. These sorts of cultural exchanges, in my view, could go a long way towards ending some of the widespread animosity.

Militarily, RPing regions could also take up arms themselves, or join an inter-regional organization to aid in that. Joining the Founderless Regions Alliance, for instance, would offer a region both resources in case of, and to avoid, an invasion, and an opportunity for any members who want to defend regions in a similar situation to their own. An independent military could also allow an RPing region to forge contacts and gain experience in the military side of the game which could be invaluable in the event of a crisis.

VIII - Conclusion

Gameplay and Roleplay are divided, but they do not have to stay that way. For RPers, the first step to ending the divide is knowledge. Knowledge to secure a region. Knowledge of what Gameplay is. Knowledge of the people who inhabit its regions.

I hope that you have found this guide to be, in some way, useful. Feel free to ask any questions that you may have and will do my best to answer.

IX - Resources

Defender Regions and Groups
The Founderless Regions Alliance - I would advise contacting either the Chief of Defence Forces Dyr Nasad for military matters or Regional Liason Officer Libetarian Republics if you are interested in joining the alliance
  • "An alliance of regions dedicated to the protection and stabilization of founderless regions across the NS world."
  • Notable member defender militaries include the Lazarene Liberation Army from Lazarus (contact me on this nation or Kazmr), the Rejected Realms Army from The Rejected Realms (contact Guy, Frattastan II, or Wopruthien)
10000 Islands (TITO - 10000 Islands Treaty Organization - Contact Grub, 3lit3, Louisistan, or Klopstock
  • "We stand against the bullies and thugs of this game."
  • Solid experience with refounding
The United Defenders League - Contact Ravania Ultra
  • "We aspire to be a benevolent body of people that are here to assist natives with the security, protection and promotion of native sovereignty in their regions at their request."


An Un-Comprehensive Alphabetical List of Possible Gameplay Regions for Interested RPers
  • Albion - A friendly, active region with a medieval RPing theme
  • The East Pacific - Tends to be the most active GCR for RPing
  • Taijitu - A large region which does a lot of high quality RPing
  • The Independent Order - Another region with a strong RPing background that focuses more on that
  • The Rejected Realms - Not a lot of RPing per say, but hosts the largest newspaper in Gameplay and thus a great chance for writers to take part

Helpful Tools for both General Use and Recovering from Raids
Last edited by Kyrusia on Sun Nov 06, 2016 4:39 pm, edited 11 times in total.
Reason: Unstickied thread.
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Funkadelia
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Postby Funkadelia » Wed May 20, 2015 6:08 pm

This is a pretty comprehensive guide for this field. :)
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The Macabees
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Postby The Macabees » Wed May 20, 2015 8:27 pm

Great guide. I think the distinction you make that GP is really RP is an important one.

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United Gordonopia
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Postby United Gordonopia » Thu May 21, 2015 7:53 am

The Macabees wrote:Great guide. I think the distinction you make that GP is really RP is an important one.

Yeah, thanks, that was ine of the asoects I tried to highlight the most.
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Postby Tancerlo » Sun May 31, 2015 5:40 pm

A very interesting read. :)
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United Gordonopia
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Postby United Gordonopia » Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:28 am

I've made a couple of edits regarding the recent actions in Paradoxia, but will be making a more extensive one to represent the experience from that in the near future.
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Fin Dovah Junaar
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Postby Fin Dovah Junaar » Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:09 pm

Oh yeah, I remember this thing.

Good times.

I was wondering when something like this was gonna show up.
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Postby Elves of Kingdoms Past » Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:02 am

Very descriptive and not easily confused. what caused the deletion of The Black Riders?

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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:38 pm

Fin Dovah Junaar wrote:Oh yeah, I remember this thing.

Good times.

I was wondering when something like this was gonna show up.

Thanks!

Elves of Kingdoms Past wrote:Very descriptive and not easily confused. what caused the deletion of The Black Riders?

Several of their leaders, including a founder, knowingly worked with a 'Delete on Sight' player (someone who has broken the rules so many times they aren't welcome back on the site) to obtain raiding technology and other stuff. When this was uncovered, they themselves were deleted as they had been doing it for a very, very long time with the full knowledge of who the individual was.
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Postby Jakurahta » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:01 am

A good policy against raiding is to never let anyone you don't know IRL, or from a Social Networking Site into your region.
My region is comprised entirely of IRL and Facebook friends who frequent Teamspeak together... So... Yeah.
Last edited by Jakurahta on Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Fin Dovah Junaar
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Postby Fin Dovah Junaar » Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:48 pm

United Gordonopia wrote:
Fin Dovah Junaar wrote:Oh yeah, I remember this thing.

Good times.

I was wondering when something like this was gonna show up.

Thanks!

Elves of Kingdoms Past wrote:Very descriptive and not easily confused. what caused the deletion of The Black Riders?

Several of their leaders, including a founder, knowingly worked with a 'Delete on Sight' player (someone who has broken the rules so many times they aren't welcome back on the site) to obtain raiding technology and other stuff. When this was uncovered, they themselves were deleted as they had been doing it for a very, very long time with the full knowledge of who the individual was.

Oh wow, who would have thunk it! Not the Black Riders, who knew raiders were not very well respectable in their practices!
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Postby Nova Haiti » Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:24 pm

That was a great guide, especially for someone who just signed on like me.

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Postby New Chilokver » Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:32 am

"you will lose RMB history (although that can be backed up)"

And how do you do that?
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Postby Ghant » Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:36 pm

New Chilokver wrote:"you will lose RMB history (although that can be backed up)"

And how do you do that?


If you use NS++ then you can have the entire RMB history displayed on your screen, and then you can select all text, copy and paste into a Microsoft Word document.
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Postby The Macabees » Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:53 pm

Ghant wrote:
If you use NS++ then you can have the entire RMB history displayed on your screen, and then you can select all text, copy and paste into a Microsoft Word document.


Is NS++ secure now?

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Ghant
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Postby Ghant » Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:15 pm

The Macabees wrote:Is NS++ secure now?


It's been working for me, or at least the RMB feature has been.
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Postby Kraslavia » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:41 pm

One thing to prevent rides by securing founder position - make it puppet and give password to it to more than one person of regional administration - so it will never CTE as someone will just log in. My RP region done that and it works just fine. Biggest problem ever we had was trolls.
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Postby Kringalia » Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:06 am

You'll need to be aware of the potential risks of nation sharing.
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Postby Bears Armed » Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:59 am

Kringalia wrote:You'll need to be aware of the potential risks of nation sharing.

Pick your people carefully enough and that 'shared founder' concept does work, though: The IDU has operated on that basis, with none of the password-holders getting into enough trouble for this to roll over onto the others, ever since its foundation in 2003...
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Postby Kringalia » Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:03 pm

It's definitely feasible. My point was more in the sense that one does need to be aware of the risks in order to understand why trust is so important. It's not a matter of just sharing the password with lots of people without proper vetting, after all.
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Postby Kyrusia » Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:33 pm

Posting this here as it is generally topical. Link!

More or less, the proposal in question could go a long way in potentially adding another significant layer of security to regions which do not wish to involve themselves with raiding/defending gameplay: the new ability to appoint a successor to the post of Founder, in exchange for said region not gaining the potential benefit of having new nations spawn there (something which does not currently occur, but if implemented, would mean aside from feeders - regions like The North Pacific, The West Pacific, etc. - user-created regions could potentially have newly-created nations spawn within them).

To discuss this topic or add input, please do so in the thread linked above. Roleplayer input would be greatly appreciated.
Last edited by Kyrusia on Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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