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NS History: You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers!

Talk about regional management and politics, raider/defender gameplay, and other game-related matters.
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Gig em Aggies
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Postby Gig em Aggies » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:09 pm

I know its probably no but..... is there anyway I can look up former puppet nations from way the hell back in NS time before NS2 started up?
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Postby Reploid Productions » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:21 pm

If you know the nation name, you can look it up in the Boneyard, but that only gives basic info about its size and when it CTEd (or got mod-nuked.)
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Postby Jar Wattinree » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:57 pm

Reploid Productions wrote:If you know the nation name, you can look it up in the Boneyard, but that only gives basic info about its size and when it CTEd (or got mod-nuked.)

And whether or not if it has dispatches and/or factbooks.
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Deutschess Kaiserreich
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Postby Deutschess Kaiserreich » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:14 pm

What is this Predator script I keep hearing about?
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Borovan3
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Postby Borovan3 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:16 pm

Deutschess Kaiserreich wrote:What is this Predator script I keep hearing about?

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=373231

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King HEM
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Postby King HEM » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:26 pm

Armaros wrote:Out of curiosity, what exactly was "the Commonwealth"?


I feel like I'm not really the person to be answering this, but nobody else has and it's a super important part of Nationstates history sooo, let me take a swing.

The Commonwealth was founded as the Kingdom of England by Verteger Andronicus, who today probably wouldn't be super well-known outside of Europeia, in 2008.

He was lucky enough to recruit someone who would later be known as "Charles". Charles was a real life developer, and coded a recruitment API script. At the time such scripts were totally illegal (and there were no stamps, manual only baby!!) and so the population of the region ballooned rapidly. At some point, they were caught in the act and given a slap on the wrist due to ignorance (pretty sure it was feigned, not actual ignorance, but really can't remember at this point).

In response, Charles created a new code specifically designed to get around the no-script rule. This code would be known as a "recruitment helper" which I'm pretty sure are still used by many regions today. If you aren't familiar, the basic idea is that it's a program that makes it super easy to send a manual recruitment telegram by queuing up recently founded nations.

If other regions had such a tool before, they mostly kept it to themselves, because word of this tool became gold. Thanks to my tight relationship with Verteger, Europeia was allowed to use it in exchange for helping to train The Kingdom of England in foreign affairs and military stuff.

At the same time, The Kingdom of England had decided that they could use their tool to build up multiple regions that would serve as a "confederation" of a greater inter-regional government that was branded the Commonwealth. I can't remember if this rebranding happened before or after Verteger was booted off the throne, but it was either right before or shortly after. To the best of my recollection, Verteger had some kind of dispute with Charles (who was heir apparent at that time) and Charles, having the political clout of the recruitment tool, and probably goodwill of the populace, forced Verteger to abdicate.

After that, my history of the Commonwealth was continually trying to secure access to the recruitment tool for Europeia. The tool (along with Pope Lexus X's ferocious recruitment using it) was pivotal to population explosions we had in fall of 2008 and summer 0f 2009.

The Commonwealth was plagued with internal problems and chaos and continually tried to renew itself by kicking out regions with declining population and founding new ones. Apparently there was also a lot of drama surronding the various regions being used as trophies, rather than them actually being growing, thriving communities of any kind. Eventually, the Aezaen Combine infiltrated the region (for god knows what purpose at this point) and threw things into even more chaos. Sometime after a year, a spinoff region called Audux was created where a notorious no-gooder named Lord Alphanesia gained some influence and caused a kerfuffle. The Commonwealth collapsed in 2010ish, and Charles as far as I know, vanished into thin air.

The Commonwealth was significant for a few things:

(1) Introducing the concept of a recruitment helper tool, which quickly became a search for gold for ascendant regions. This in turn, sparked a greater game-wide discussion on the use of scripts in recruitment. Eventually, in 2012 there would be a period where NS staff would throw open the doors to any and all scripts as a trial period, and then unveil the regulations we have today.

(2) The last real sighting of the Aeazen Combine. Can't even go into these guys completely, because there's a lot to say, but as far as I'm concerned this was a the final iteration of anything resembling the ancient Aeazen Combine.

(3) The last real sighting of Lord Alphanesia, who was pretty notorious in LKE-successor regions (The LKE, TNI, Europeia, Hampshire). I think he finally left the game after Audux died and his "daughter" Rose fell out of favor.

These historical takeaways are obviously Europeia-centric, and I hope others chime in. This post is based on memory and a VERY quick curosy glance through the Europeian forum archives. If people are interested I could try to dig more.
Last edited by King HEM on Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Armaros
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Postby Armaros » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:24 am

Thanks HEM! Whoa, that's quite some history. I remember reading about that early recruitment script. Might there be a link to their old forum still around, and what were some notable member regions? Sorry for all the questions, but it's an interesting topic in my opinion.
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King HEM
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Postby King HEM » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:43 pm

Armaros wrote:Thanks HEM! Whoa, that's quite some history. I remember reading about that early recruitment script. Might there be a link to their old forum still around, and what were some notable member regions? Sorry for all the questions, but it's an interesting topic in my opinion.


The first forum, which only really covers The Kingdom of England period and reign of Verteger Andronicus was Invisionfree and probably lost in the conversion mess. The second forum, and primary one for the region's existence was definitely lost because Charles hosted it on his own personal server.

Best we can probably do for the most part is secondary sources. Lots of people involved in The Commonwealth later joined Europeia and some wrote about it. Maybe if Europeian history is ever in a place I'm happy with I'll move on to The Commonwealth's history — though as I alluded above, I'd be learning much of it myself because I was only casually following Commonwealth politics to the effect it impacted Europeia's access to the recruitment helper tool.
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Frankland
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Postby Frankland » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:26 pm

Armaros wrote:Thanks HEM! Whoa, that's quite some history. I remember reading about that early recruitment script. Might there be a link to their old forum still around, and what were some notable member regions? Sorry for all the questions, but it's an interesting topic in my opinion.

The original regional directory can be some help. viewtopic.php?f=12&t=54

Looks like Nai noted which regions were Commonwealth. I had forgotten LWU worked with them. That tool was earth shattering when it came out. Everyone wanted to be their friend. They let a lot of people use it too - me for instance.
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King HEM
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Postby King HEM » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:56 pm

That directory is fascinating.

Looks like Tapatalk is slowly deleting databases and ending forums' ability to convert, starting with invisionfree forums that never went to zetaboards. I'm starting to see this message more and more:

InvisionFree has now closed. All active forums were preserved, and all inactive/abandoned forums were granted a six month grace period to request a restore after the servers were taken down back in August 2018.
If you see this message, it means that you are attempting to visit an abandoned forum for which no restore request was made within the six month grace period.
Any forums not restored at this time, can no longer be restored.
Please accept our apologies for any loss of data this might cause.


Such a devastating loss of history.

For anyone out there: I would take this as a "last call" to convert any old forums to Tapatalk. My guess is that before the end of summer anything not moved over there will be lost forever.
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Klaus Devestatorie
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Postby Klaus Devestatorie » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:51 pm

Armaros wrote:Out of curiosity, what exactly was "the Commonwealth"?

As I was actually there (in fact, it was where I started out), and HEM got huge chunks of his post wrong, I'm going to take a better shot at this. Will post when it's done.
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Armaros
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Postby Armaros » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:15 pm

Frankland wrote:
Armaros wrote:Thanks HEM! Whoa, that's quite some history. I remember reading about that early recruitment script. Might there be a link to their old forum still around, and what were some notable member regions? Sorry for all the questions, but it's an interesting topic in my opinion.

The original regional directory can be some help. viewtopic.php?f=12&t=54

Looks like Nai noted which regions were Commonwealth. I had forgotten LWU worked with them. That tool was earth shattering when it came out. Everyone wanted to be their friend. They let a lot of people use it too - me for instance.

That's definitely interesting. But, I did note that there are 2 commwealths listed. Is there a big difference? Maybe a different incarnation?
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Klaus Devestatorie
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Postby Klaus Devestatorie » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:41 am

Update: I have written about 6 and a half thousand words on the topic of The Commonwealth, but I'm going to wait until I can get it all proof-read before I post it up.
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Armaros
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Postby Armaros » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:42 am

Klaus Devestatorie wrote:Update: I have written about 6 and a half thousand words on the topic of The Commonwealth, but I'm going to wait until I can get it all proof-read before I post it up.

Very much appreciated :)
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King HEM
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Postby King HEM » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:23 am

Klaus Devestatorie wrote:
Armaros wrote:Out of curiosity, what exactly was "the Commonwealth"?

As I was actually there (in fact, it was where I started out), and HEM got huge chunks of his post wrong, I'm going to take a better shot at this. Will post when it's done.


I started my post by saying I shouldn't be the person writing it. Looks like we found the person who should. :)
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Klaus Devestatorie
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Postby Klaus Devestatorie » Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:08 am

By the way, on the topic of forums: For Zetaboards, the text is...

All ZB forums were migrated to Tapatalk. To restore your forum, please send your board URL to support@tapatalk.com to request for a late migration .


It doesn't say anything about requiring ownership.

Just mass request every Zetaboard forum you know of and see what happens. You never know.
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The Blaatschapen
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Postby The Blaatschapen » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:01 am

King HEM wrote:That directory is fascinating.

Looks like Tapatalk is slowly deleting databases and ending forums' ability to convert, starting with invisionfree forums that never went to zetaboards. I'm starting to see this message more and more:

InvisionFree has now closed. All active forums were preserved, and all inactive/abandoned forums were granted a six month grace period to request a restore after the servers were taken down back in August 2018.
If you see this message, it means that you are attempting to visit an abandoned forum for which no restore request was made within the six month grace period.
Any forums not restored at this time, can no longer be restored.
Please accept our apologies for any loss of data this might cause.


Such a devastating loss of history.

For anyone out there: I would take this as a "last call" to convert any old forums to Tapatalk. My guess is that before the end of summer anything not moved over there will be lost forever.


Thank you for the reminder.

It seems that https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/beneforum/ works, nonetheless, I told the region owners here to update the WFE with the tapatalk link instead :)
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Klaus Devestatorie
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Postby Klaus Devestatorie » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:15 pm

Alright, the requested general history of the Commonwealth.

~

The Commonwealth of Regions did indeed start as The Kingdom of England, and after less than 2 months, the original founder (known as James Anacreoni or "Jamhug" locally, other names in other places such as the name HEM listed for Europeia) did indeed leave about a month after foundation. I was actually on holiday with no internet access at the time- I never knew for sure how or why that coup happened, but I do distinctly remember that pretty much everyone else stayed on.

The Kingdom of England (and associated regions) got access to some exceptional recruitment technology very early on through a member known as Charles Anacreoni - who was the guy to succeed James Anacreoni (known on this site as nation=Coffee_and_Crack). HEM is correct about what that technology initially was; his recruitment technology was not initially the PHPBB integrated list portal; it was actually an out and out script, and quite illegal at the time. The mod team naturally told us that this was not at all on, so the recruitment list-portal was born. If you've ever done recruitment using Yahoo pipes, that's the closest thing to what this tool was.

To explain why this list-portal was so important, and why it's the first thing to bring up whenever anyone talks about the Commonwealth; we first have to consider the fact that in late 2008, the game was at its absolute nadir. For general context, there was about 35,000 nations. There was only one update, and it happened at around 4am US EST, so there was next to no raiding or defending going on. We also didn't yet understand the actual maths behind influence growth or update times; these things were only discovered in 2013 and late 2011ish respectively, so it was all comparatively amateur and stealth based, not the precise science it's become today (which I must once again take the time to point out is boring as hell, please dear god somebody kill the activity feed and triggering so we can go old school again).

More specifically, there were far less nations being created (maybe 250 on a good day and 100-150 on a normal one), there were far fewer regions trying to recruit them, and most importantly, all of that recruitment had to be done manually. You had to watch for new nations (there was no global activity page); you had to send the recruitment messages one by one. In addition, there was a significant cooldown timer on telegrams (as high as 15 seconds between messages for brand new nations that slowly dropped to about 5 seconds once you got to 2 or 3 billion population), so sending those messages took time. It was also, just like now, against game rules to send more than one recruitment telegram per region to a new nation, so you had to manually keep your own lists of who had and hadn't been sent a message. This took time. All in all, manual recruiting back in the day was deeply miserable, soul sucking work.

What the list-portal did was not only generate a full list of all the nations available to be recruited, but it listed them in order of recent creation, kept track of how many telegrams each person masked for each region had sent for that region, and deleted new nations off the region list for all users after each telegram had been sent. It didn't remove the necessity to send those telegrams one by one, but it did handle all of the accounting work that needed to be done on the side. Most people used an external website that Coffee and Crack had set up for this specific purpose, but the Commonwealth instead directly built this into their forums; a new PHPBB forum hosted at ns-cw.com (now long gone). Recruitment messages sent were tracked for each user right next to post counts, and you'd be masked for a specific region's list-portal with the forum masking system for which region you came from.

The recruitment lists became a direct part of the regional government- if you wanted to run to become a member of parliament, for example, you needed to have met a telegram quota for that month. If you wanted to sign a treaty with the Commonwealth, it was usually for access to the recruitment system; and in exchange for that access, the region signing up would usually have to send 400-500 telegrams a month for one of our regions as well. They could have gotten around it by simply using the better known global tool, but that wasn't always online; it was certainly gone for good by the time the Commonwealth ended, and Charles shut it down temporarily at least once because he was angry with certain elements of the userbase that had developed a sense of entitlement to the tool.

With so little pre-existing recruitment going on, those who had access to the list-portal had a huge advantage. You might only send out 100, 200 messages in a decent sitting, but instead of the 0.5% , 0.6%, 0.7% success rate on those telegrams for an average region, you'd get 10 times that. So The Kingdom of England (and eventually, the Commonwealth) quickly ballooned, and in a game of 35,000 nations, the combined grouping of regions would have as many as 1,200 to 1,500 of them; on par with the feeders at the time. By the time James Anacreoni was replaced by Charles, there was already 7 member regions of "The Kingdom of England".

With the exit of James Anacreoni went 4 of those 7 regions; The Kingdom of England, The Kingdom of Scotland, a welsh themed one (I suspect The Principality of Wales?), and one more that I've forgotten. Remaining were Kingdom of Ireland, The Kingdom of Sparta, and The United Islands(?). The Kingdom of New England was founded soon after, as was Kingdom of Great Britain (no relation to the current region with a "The" in front of the name). This governed community, originally conceived as an empire-ish format region like the LKE, now had no logical capital; so instead of choosing one, it was decided that all regions would be equal, and thus the origin of the name "the Commonwealth of Regions". There was never less than 5 regions again until the end of the Commonwealth.

~

So, that's how it started. But for all of this power that we could have had, you've almost certainly never heard of us. This is because the Commonwealth of Regions lasted just 12 months before it was all over. Here are two reasons why it was eventually able to happen.

~

The first reason worth pointing out is a point that HEM made; there was instability among the member regions. This wasn't universal; Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland remained in the Commonweath from start to finish, the latter especially probably having the strongest cultural core of any group in the Commonwealth. But most of these regions simply did not have a strong "core" the way the others did. The majority of active players in "the Commonwealth" considered themselves member of "the Commonwealth" first, and their region of residency second, and in only a few cases of drama later down the line would loyalty to a specific region of residency matter. By the time a region was removed from the Commonwealth, it usually was little more than a themed name, a flag, and a recruitment letter that wasn't being sent much because the 2 or 3 people in the Commonwealth masked specifically for that region's list didn't care enough to send it anyway. In those cases, 99% of the active Commonwealth members that were in one of those ejected-for-inactivity regions would move on to a more active region (or even brand new one) of entirely their choice. The natural cycle of old regions being replaced with new efforts never caused drama; in fact, many members would be quite excited about the new regions going up, and sometimes a new region (such as Alteran Empire or Phoenix Empire) would become a near unofficial capital due to the percentage of the active offsite community calling them home.

The real problem with the Commonwealth having so many regions is in fact already quite visible through the formation of the Commonwealth in the ashes of The Kingdom of England- the founders of all these regions weren't centrally held. Initially I think Charles did hold most of them, but he deliberately divested himself of them because of ongoing fears about what might happen if his recruitment stuff was one day banned; obviously, losing the founders of all of our regions in one fell swoop would be cataclysmic. But the problem was that these regions were usually just given to the most active/trustworthy resident of that region, instead of some other central part of the Commonwealth's government. As a result, whenever someone got upset and left the Commonwealth, if they held the founder of a region? It was almost always going with them. This happened a lot. If you figure out how to get around this problem, you can create a quite stable federation, and several others did happen around that time frame. Unfortunately, even after Charles stepped down, the Commonwealth never took the step of reuniting all the founders underneath the control of the King or Queen of the region. Every time there was a big argument, there was a chance a region would leave, and in the case of the largest schism, causing the abdication of Queen Rose, the regions (but not the community) split almost down the middle. I can't think of any regions that left ever returning to the Commonwealth fold.

~

The next thing that eventually caused a lot of drama for the Commonwealth was the deconstruction of that new core of people around Charles. He was King, but he definitely interfered in domestic politics, which a King isn't really supposed to do in a constitutional monarchy. He campaigned fairly hard for his own preference of political party- made up of people such as Rix, Shadow-Bonzi, Henry and myself, and against the other side of domestic politics; featuring originally names like Lord McEntire, Viperlord, and eventually people like Oliver, rEVOLutionaire, etc. All of the princes were in the preferred party, all of the people who were particularly keen on raiding (that's another element for later), and I think the majority of people holding regional founder accounts were on that side of the pond as well, but not all of them; Terrance Rendoza (?) Held The Kingdom of New England, and almost everyone in Kingdom of Ireland was on the other side of matters. Rix in particular attracted a lot of drama for acts as Prime Minister, and was deeply distrusted by the opposite side. I was also not very well trusted, but that was less of being "part of the establishment", and more of me just being an immature little shit with anger issues that got into trouble (including at least one conviction of treason).

The first round of drama was caused when Henry left this arrangement and formed a third political party. He had become a big name in the Commonwealth in his own right; he was the founder of The Kingdom of Middle Earth, a very active member region with a strong core of their own and internal identity. He wasn't initially campaigning against Charles directly or anything, but he married rEVO (NS marriage was a very common thing in imperialist/independent gameplay spheres back then) and there was some nasty OOC drama between Charles and rEVO; the kind that would get Charles into a lot of hot water if it happened today. The next Prime Ministerial election attracted nearly 80 votes; split very evenly between Henry's new party, Charles' favoured party (I was the candidate there for some godawful reason), and the traditional old opposition (the candidate was McEntire, I think?). Henry won- the poll was roughly 27 to 26 to 23ish, but within a few days, that drama completely blew up; Henry removed the lid on all the questionable stuff he'd been asked to do, quit as Prime Minister, and walked out of the Commonwealth with The Kingdom of Middle Earth and everyone in it following. Charles resigned, I somehow won the rerun election and became the worst Prime Minister the Commonwealth ever had (I resigned about a month in with a speech set to the tune of Bulls on Parade by RATM), and Charles' NS wife, Rose Anacreoni (née Alphanesia), ascended to the throne.

~

Now, those things alone did damage, but realistically, were fine, by themselves. The leadership was never truly incompetent, and creating new regions when recruitment was easy was child's play.
There are three more important things that caused the eventual end of the Commonwealth; but they can't be cleanly split into different story segments. In fact, I can't even really necessarily split one of them off from the previous chunk, but it doesn't necessarily make sense to bring it up until much later.

~

So Rose became Queen of the Commonwealth. In hindsight, this would have been a bad time to unify the founders underneath the control of the monarch.

There were some shady sorts of people floating around the Commonwealth of the time. Lord Alphanesia, for example, had already showed up at least once (but I can't, for the life of me, remember what his agenda was). There were definitely some other personalities that I don't remember; but the group of people that are going to matter the most are indeed "The Aeazen Combine"- which LA was a member of. For reference, Aeazer was already a DOS player; he'd been made DOS all the way back in pre-influence days, along with a large chunk of their organization and their O.G. leaders.

Aeazer should probably not have been allowed back into NationStates; but he'd been able to quitely return because Rose had given him one of her nations ("Alistair Ghent"). This account had been reported a lot at the time, but game mods said there was no problem with his presence in the game. They did not seem to remember that he was in fact DOS until, bizarrely, the Gatesville coup of Osiris in 2013, and then, to my extreme irritation, they claimed they'd never had any idea who "Alistair Ghent" had belonged to. The truth is, it was probably only in 2013 that Aeazer actually confirmed on-site himself that he was the player behind "Alistair Ghent", but it still seems a bit silly that he'd not been detected for so long; there was a boatload of evidence that would have probably been taken into account today.

Rose quietly invited Lord Alphanesia, Aeazer, and all of their friends to the Commonwealth on a more permanent basis; she also added Audux to the Commonwealth, the old French themed home of the wider Alphanesian family. There were definitely people in regions like Hampshire who issued warnings about this to us, but those warnings were probably blown off.

The Aeazen Combine made themselves at home; they weren't invisible, of course, but most members didn't really recognize them as "The Aeazen Combine" or anything (most of us had no prior NS experience before the Commonwealth, including me)- just friends of Queen Rose. Eventually, they decided to run for government, as one, and they did. They took all 8 of 9 seats in the House of Commons (more on that in a bit), and they also took the Prime Minister spot. They did this with the blessing of Queen Rose; they also involved people such as Rix who had been on the outskirts of Commonwealth society for some time. But there was one other big Commonwealth figure who found out- Charles, who was not participating much, but still respected as the root admin of the forums and the guy who allowed us to be so successful in the first place. At the end of the election, he blew the whistle, and exposed the whole thing.

The reaction, of course, was pure drama. Queen Rose abdicated. Rix was prosecuted and banned, everyone named in those logs was banned. When Queen Rose left, she took several of the Commonwealth regions with her, and everyone involved founded a second "Commonwealth"- the one listed on that old regional list by Naivetry as "Commonwealth (2)", under the Shady Industries forum host. It was generally known as the "Bizarro Commonwealth". The regions that left included Alteran Empire (controlled by Rix, and at the time the largest region in the Commonwealth); Audux (ofc), The United Islands, and The Isle of Malta. This also included The Kingdom of Sparta- which at the time, was controlled by me, and that'll take some explaining.

I was actually dead centre in the middle of this particular mess. While I wasn't exactly considered truly trustworthy or anything, I was working on being less of an utter shithead (episodes did occur), and I'd eventually grown the confidence to run for office at the time. When I'd won a position in the House of Commons, I was thrilled; but Charles showed me on the morning of the day he blew the whistle (night before, my time) that I'd only won because one of the Aeazen Combine agents had gone inactive (Kazaman). I was not a member of the Aeazen Combine myself (and they never would have let me in), but I was a member of the Alphanesian family- I got on well with LA, and Rose, and so on, and so they decided I was a safe bet for someone they could control, and they all switched their votes to me.

When the whistle was blown, everyone got very upset. I was not banned or prosecuted; in fact, I ran again. This time, I lost, and lost heavily, and I wasn't particularly willing to accept the fact that I'd only won because of foreign interference. There were a lot of people who didn't really believe I'd not been in on it; and while Charles had known for a fact that I hadn't been in on it, he didn't seem to let anyone else know, either. I had more friends with the faction that was departing; so after the election dust was settled, I said bye, and took The Kingdom of Sparta with me.

In the end, the Bizarro Commonwealth never went anywhere; we obviously did not have access to the fancy recruitment lists, and the recruitment tool someone was making to match the one made by Charles never arrived. A few months in, I believe a coup effort was launched against Rose, and she blew up and completely emptied the three regions she controlled (Audux, The United Islands, and The Isle of Malta). Rix went off to do his own thing with Alteran Empire, and I floated in limbo with The Kingdom of Sparta and did nothing. Sometime during this nothing, a player called Dream Killers showed up and asked me if I was interested in raiding with Unknown, and I did, and that's how that one happened.

Conversely, the original Commonwealth was fine; it chose a new monarch without any drama, it founded new regions to replace the old ones, and it continued to recruit at a blistering pace, just like before. I eventually rejoined the Commonwealth as a citizen; and most definitely was not elected to anything else ever again (The Constitution had been rewritten, and to be honest, I didn't understand the new one). The Kingdom of Sparta was never re-admitted to the Commonwealth.

~

Now, I'm going to jump back in time again and start on a second issue.

~

The Commonwealth was a raider region. Today, it'd be fairly accurately listed as an "Independent", although I don't think either The New Inquisition or Europeia were ever particularly fond of it. We did not raid to deliberately be evil, or based on any kind of ideology (which was the norm of the day among raider orgs); we did it because we felt like it. In fact, the main reason why we went for raiding over defending was because the main person from the defender side of affairs that was trying to woo us was Falconias, and we could tell that a; he was simultaneously being dishonest and trying to set up spies in the Commonwealth, and b; whenever we raided, he got mad about it, which was funny. So we leaned towards raiding. We sometimes worked with The Dominion and Unknown, sometimes with Europeia and The New Inquisition, but most of the time we were just doing our own thing. Sometimes, we'd even both raid and defend in the same update; we were messing around with what would now be called "switchers" well before anyone else ever bothered.

The large size of our community meant that we were able to do some cool, long forgotten stuff. For starters, Lazarus had repeatedly been subjected to coups over the previous few years and had been held by Killer Kitties for some time. But Lazarus did not have the ability to eject nations at the time- so 8 or 9 of us endoswapped up to challenge Killer Kitties, and eventually Charles pipped him with the puppet Razril Island. Killer Kitties agreed to make no contest out of the matter if we granted his raider org access to our recruitment lists, and we agreed; and that's how I met the guy behind Killer Kitties- Evil Wolf. Lone Wolves United became a member of the Commonwealth (for maybe 4-5 months), and Evil Wolf agreed to lead our military. Lazarus was restored to the Emerald Republic (eventually- I think at one point, Charles literally gave Razril Island to Rose for a birthday present), and we moved on. This was well before Charles quit as King. In addition, underneath the governance of Queen Rose and the assistance of The Dominion, Europeia (and to be fair, about a dozen members of the Aeazen Combine), we were able to launch a full emergency countercoup of The West Pacific and return into to ROLHEATH, who as I recall, was notable for exclusively communicating in haiku. The TWP operation involved about 40 Commonwealth endorsements. Doesn't sound like much, but remember again- the game was less than a quarter of the size it is now.

If we go back to the thing with Charles favouring one political party over the other, well, one of the reasons why Charles favoured that party is because he wanted to raid; and the party was full of people who did want to raid. The other party weren't quite as hard core about it. They raided, but they had problems with, for example, "griefing". After the end of King Charles, and the end of Queen Rose, the majority of established people in the realm were from the other party, and suddenly, they were in control of the foreign policy of the Commonwealth.

The biggest raider org in operation at the time was Unknown; but the relationship became adversarial between some of the new Commonwealth leadership and Unknown itself, due to exactly this attitude about "griefing". Kazaman in particular caused a big problem when he tried to push the original Archemperor, Gerzam, into launching a coup against Savaer, the new and current Archemperor. Kazaman also personally caused me problems, a rather new member of Unknown, by trying to have me banned from Unknown and The Dominion for being an Aeazen Combine spy. I wasn't; and frankly, unless he was the one who blew the whistle on the Aeazen Combine rigging the election under Rose, I'd be forced to conclude that he was one himself. Kazaman also actually shows up very occasionally, so maybe he could shed some light on that.

Further drama between the Commonwealth and both a former leader of TBOB (Station Man/St Mason, who had just founded Grand Central at the time), and OOC drama between a then rising star of Unknown's legions (rEVOLutionaire, known as Lyncaenia in Unknown and later LWU) and certain other members of the Commonwealth closed that working relationship for good.

At one point, the Commonwealth chose to invade Iran. The region had specifically pissed us off; I think it was because they'd been causing trouble in one of the newer Commonwealth regions (I suspect The Archipelago of Seychelles, but I'm not really sure). We went in cleanly, we took the place outright and held it for as long as we wanted; but my buddy Steph Hate who was the point man made one mistake. Seems like a non mistake these days; wasn't at the time. He put in the WFE that the Commonwealth was "liberating" Iran.

This is a problem, because back then, there were some interesting people in the establishment of the raiding world. Here's a screenshot of how one of them reacted.

Image


It's worth noting that back in the day, the majority of raiders bought into this kind of stuff. When Sedge and CrazyGirl were first made moderators, for example, it was an enormous shock- these were two of the most important figures of the FRA suddenly potentially getting full access to our IP addresses on the game forum, and a lot of people up top freaked out. Standing orders in Unknown, for example, were to no longer touch these forums without a proxy.

So suddenly, most raiders are no longer working with us. Lone Wolves United was still a "member region" of the Commonwealth, but Evil Wolf wasn't recruiting for it or anything. I don't recall us ever working with The Black Hawks on anything, you've just seen the reaction of whatever passed for the existence of DEN, and I already covered Unknown in more detail.

~

There was one other group that took an interest in these affairs in the Commonwealth, and that was the Aeazen Combine. They considered themselves all sorts of things, but one of those labels was "raider extremists". They looked at this ongoing drama about interpretations of words such as "griefing" and "liberations", and decided that there was a good chance that we were going to go defender and needed to be stopped before all of that recruitment technology was handed to groups such as the FRA or XKI.

The Aeazen Combine didn't really have any spies in the Commonwealth at this time (that I know of, anyway). They also weren't exactly welcome, of course- they'd caused quite the mess several months back. But they'd been friendly with people like Rix, and sort of friendly with Charles, and so on, so they'd gleaned some important bits of information in that time. The most important thing they knew was that Charles had a few tricks up his sleeve to help him "guide and manage" the region. One of these tricks was already fairly widely known; it was a single PHP page, not even any CSS styling or anything. It was hidden under a few folders of urls in the forum that wasn't protected by a login requirement, or a .htaccess file or anything. This page displayed every single direct IP match that ever happened between multiple accounts. A few spies were caught that way, and a few conspiracy theories started, too. It even caused a few funny moments; everyone in the establishment knew immediately when Falconias was spying on us, because we had the direct IP match on Champagne Jam before the end of 2008.

But there was a second PHP page that was also hidden. This page was far more dangerous. When you opened this particular PHP web page, it would print every single private message that had ever been sent on the forums. Plenty of forums will give administrators access to PMs now; a paid subscription to Zetaboards would give you that ability. Jcink always has, as does MyBB and IPB. But those are all through ACP access only. This was an entirely unprotected webpage. Anyone, literally anyone with the URL, even those without an account or banned from the forums, could see the contents of this page.

I'd learned of the page myself from Henry, sometime after I returned to the Commonwealth after the Bizarro Commonwealth business. Being me, I obviously immediately did the worst possible thing I could have done with it, despite being specifically warned to not do exactly this. Share it with others, you ask? No- I hit Control+F and searched my own name, and immediately got to discover what a whole bunch of people really thought about me. See, while I was really trying to not be a little shit, I still was. It hadn't clicked yet that most important people in the Commonwealth probably still didn't trust me, and never would again, and that got rather forcibly clicked in the hard way, by being an idiot and reading the PM page.

In addition, think of all of the personal, private crap that winds up in the private areas of a forum; not just in-context stuff. Someone, for example, got pulled out of the closet due to the existence of that page. There was also quite a bit of cybersex in there, because apparently 2009 was the olden days when people still had to pretend to fuck each other by internet snail mail instead of just use MSN messenger like normal teenagers.

Members of the Aeazen Combine knew about this PHP page with every PM ever sent on it, and camped it, and eventually they got hold of something valuable on it. Two members who did not know of the existence of this page used a Commonwealth forum PM to make a transfer of the founder account of Kingdom of Ireland- Tir Eogain. It was sniped, and for 48 hours, the Commonwealth lost control of the region while it was paraded around under an Aeazen Combine banner. The region was returned, through the power of good old social engineering- Rix asked for the account so that he could "take revenge" for us banning him, and promptly returned it. Good on ya, Rix, wherever you are.

But this left a mysterious question for the Commonwealth government- how was the Aeazen Combine able to steal the founder account of what was then the oldest region in the Commonwealth? Both of the members involved in the transfer were trustworthy, and had been present since the reign of James Anacreoni, long before the Aeazen Combine had ever taken an interest in us in the first place. The Aeazen Combine, of course, put out the idea that they were 1337 h4ckz0r5, but plenty of people weren't quite inclined to believe that they'd just flat out cracked the server. But eventually, I was told by a member of the Aeazen Combine what had happened- so I let someone know in the Commonwealth government that was prepared to listen to me about the existence of the PM page, along with the same warning that Henry gave me for good measure.

What happened next was a mad scramble amongst the Commonwealth government and admin team (Charles was not active at this time) to figure out how to get rid of the thing. Unfortunately, they were only administrators of the PHPBB CMS itself; not the actual web server it was being hosted on. So they chose to download the forum and try to upload it somewhere else, and hope that the custom PHP page didn't come with them. Unfortunately, there was a disaster- both the downloaded forum database and the database on the live forums themselves were corrupted. The contents of the ns-cw.com forums were lost, and had to be abandoned. They were then replaced with a new PHPBB forum elsewhere, with hosting organized (but not owned) by Shadow-Bonzi.

The change in forums had two very massive and immediate impacts for The Commonwealth. Firstly, the recruitment tools weren't coming with them. They had access, but then a deeply unexpected wildcard happened- Charles, for god only knows why what reasons, chose to hand the tools to Grand Central, who themselves were in the midst of building a copycat Commonwealth style federation. For the brief back-story on this, Grand Central had briefly joined The Commonwealth some time previously, right as they themselves were starting out; but Station Man was... difficult. Grand Central retained their own forums, and there was often drama between the not-particularly connected communities. Eventually, it blew up when I dumped a bunch of screenshots about what Station Man and Aegara had been saying about us in the privacy of their own forums, and they were ejected from the Commonwealth. Station Man demanded that he get access back to the tools and got particularly shouty when we didn't give it to him. This led to an odd little cold war that I could probably make a fairly extensive post about, but I don't want to disrespect the dead here. (Gee, if only a certain other player would do the same thing).

The second impact, and one that mattered just as much, IMHO, was that the Commonwealth also lost access to all of their IP address records of members. That meant that they had lost their primary defences to protect them from, for example, a reinfiltration by members of the Aeazen Combine. This is exactly what happened, and at this point, the Commonwealth of Regions had just 2 months to live.

The new forums of the Commonwealth were attacked and wiped clean about halfway through this final period. To be honest, I don't actually remember the specifics of that one; just that it pissed everyone off. But we were determined, and we started again, once more. Into the picture re-enters Lord Alphanesia, and Lord Alphanesia proceeded to perform what remains, to this day, the single ballsiest undercover operation I've ever seen anyone do.

The Commonwealth's 5th Monarch, after James, Charles, Rose, and a guy named "Deyan" that I remember absolutely nothing about, was Dave. King Dave. Good guy, everyone liked him, never particularly embedded into politics which is why he got the job. But unfortunately, he had to retire fairly early into his reign, and I honestly don't remember who had the role after him (maybe Shadow-Bonzi?). But one of the things that Lord Alphanesia knew about Dave was that Dave was from the same part of the world that Lord Alphanesia lived in- specifically, no more than 10 to 20 miles away. Dave was also inactive, and hadn't been seen in some time. Lord Alphanesia then showed up to the forums, claiming to be King emeritus Dave- with a new nation, and new MSN account, of course, because he'd "forgotten the passwords" to his old ones. "Dave" made himself indispensible around the re-reconstruction of the Commonwealth, and when the current monarch predictably had reached his point of no-longer-caring from having to lead the re-reconstruction of the Commonwealth, "Dave" was the obvious and natural choice to become King once more.

King "Dave" reigned for just two weeks. I remember figuring out who he might actually be about an hour before the forums were deleted once again, but I was at school- the final year of high/secondary school, at the business end of the final semester. I was also in a lab with Macintosh computers with controlled installation permissions (so no MSN messenger), and I neither had a smart phone, or anyone's number to SMS, or even the ability to log into the boards. So instead I was just in time to watch those boards get completely wiped, again, and this time by the monarch of the Commonwealth himself, "King Dave", aka, Lord Alphanesia.

Lord Alphanesia unmasked himself, at this point; and made a fairly simple and blunt announcement to the rest of the community. This cycle of forum destruction was now the existence of the Commonwealth, and the Aeazen Combine was going to make it normal. Every single time we rebuilt, they were going to wait until we'd finished all of the rebuilds and were ready to commence once more, and then they were going to knock our offsite-property-sandcastle over again, and again, and again, until we gave up. Or, alternatively, we could sign articles of surrender, dissolve the Commonwealth, and the surviving constituting regions could go their separate ways, with no further trouble; so long as they never tried to reform anything that even remotely smelled like the Commonwealth again (and they gave warnings about potentially violating this to people, even years down the line). With no friends or expertise to help us prevent it from happening again, and no real spirit left anyway, we signed the surrender, and the Commonwealth ended, roughly 12 months after The Kingdom of England was first founded.

~

The Commonwealth was largely forgotten within a couple years, arguably even less; for all the influence we arguably had with that recruitment tool, we didn't use it. We didn't really have any agenda or ideology to push.

Certainly none of the regions, individually, ever made any future impact in Gameplay again. Kingdom of Ireland made a proper independent go of things, but the general community and the founder and root admin (Amalric Richardson, also known as Macwick) of the new Kingdom of Ireland forums had an adversarial relationship, and he eventually brought up virtually the entire regional community on trumped up charges in a court room in front of alternative identities of himself. We were almost all found guilty, and Kingdom of Ireland, too, was all but gone within another year past the end of the Commonwealth.

Kingdom of Great Britain, too, was never refounded and retained a small casual community for as long as 5 years into the future, and I was still chilling intermittently with friends in The Kingdom of Sparta until just a couple years ago. Akeroyd, our US Marine delegate, reached 3rd on the unofficial leader board for longest standing WAD streak, behind just NationStates and Forest (about 7 years)- but eventually the last WA endorsing him was his own RL wife, and they didn't have separate computers anymore, so she was kicked from the WA and that was that. Alteran Empire has also made occasional revival attempts. Some other regions have been retried by communities reusing the same name with no knowledge of the former's existence, such as The United Islands, and Phoenix Empire was a similar case with some raider kid using it as their puppet dump, presumably never knowing that it was once the most populous UCR in the game. I have slowly taken control of almost every former Commonwealth region, but there's a few I'll probably never get back, and I've no interest in the outsiders that only briefly became members such as Grand Central and Lone Wolves United.

As for the general members of the Commonwealth, everyone just kind of went their separate ways- to Europeia, to Unknown, to The Dominion and to other places. But no Commonwealth members named in this story ever made any big impacts again. Of all the names I've mentioned, Shadow-Bonzi quit the second the Commonwealth collapsed. McEntire has been in and out of Europeia for a long time since the end of independent Kingdom of Ireland, but only in domestic affairs. Viperlord, too, went to Europeia, but retired within a year or two. Charles went on to found Region Inc, which was a nice region but never particularly relevant, and he hasn't been spotted since the end of 2015. Dave, of course, was already retired and gone. Rix floats around under other pseudoisms and occasionally half heartedly reboots Alteran Empire, but his real passion is Nation RP. Caninope went onto haunt NSG for 4-5 years or so, but he seems to be gone as well. Henry went off the deep end, and was made DOS in 2012. rEVOLutionaire moved onto LWU and Unknown, but utterly vanished overnight in... disquieting circumstances in early 2010. Steph Hate stuck around in the orbit of Unknown and The Dominion and continued to raid for a couple years, but he graduated from University with an in-demand STEM degree (Chemical Engineering?) and got on with life. I've done some bits and pieces and been around the block, but in Gameplay politics, I can't honestly say that I've been someone who "matters". The most notable career by far would be that of Oliver, who spent time in Unknown, Europeia, The Rejected Realms, and eventually became one of the first delegates of Osiris.

I am, of course, forgetting about all sorts of other excellent people that haven't gotten a mention; United Ohio and NKY, Vario Marx, Telthas, Toadawhopper, Bronx Bandit, The Regional Mafia, Mamut. Eruestan, I believe, got his start in The Kingdom of Middle Earth. Comaack was probably much better known over on the nation RP forums for being one of the worst RPers of all time, and if you do remember him, I feel ya- I had to share borders with that particular 10 year old kid. Scouring MSN logs, I also see names that I've forgotten, such as Deyan and Shralldonia, and when I say "forgotten", I literally forgot every single thing about them. I do have a bullet proof option for finding damn near every single person who participated in the community, but I'm loathe to use it.

The postscript for the recruitment lists tool was that after Charles got sick of Grand Central, he handed the entire former Commonwealth forum site to the FRA. I honestly don't even know if they used it much, but you can imagine the kind of advantage they could've gotten if they did. The entire thing was offline by the end of 2011, and it was somewhere in late 2012 to early 2013 that the recruitment rules were suddenly and unexpectedly opened up to all scripts with no restrictions, meaning that the recruitment lists tool immediately became obsolete. I distinctly recall Charles having his original script gleefully switched on for Region Inc within about 15 minutes of the announcement.

~

The Aeazen Combine, contrary to HEM's statements, did not vanish, but chose that moment to mount a significant revival, even building a region or two underneath their own name via manual recruitment. They didn't really "fade away" until the end of 2010- even though it was definitely a small operation compared to their old school days. I expect HEM is considering them to be "no longer existent" compared to the old school Aeazen Combine because they really didn't trouble Europeia.

I understand that their main goal in this era was actually to recruit people to participate in the Sixfold Union, the name of their much larger organization over on a game called Second Life. Their other main goal was to just troll a lot, which is why there's so much confusion on whether or not they were even a real thing at the time; they might have been trying to take over the world, and they might have been just completely screwing with people, and this in and of itself was something they were deliberately trying to sow confusion about. But either way, there were several acts of forum destruction directly attributed to them and people involved with them, so it would be wrong to say that they were truly "gone".

In addition, Lord Alphanesia most certainly did not end his career in NationStates when Rose quit; he remained participating in Gameplay until at least 2012 in places such as the New Britannian Empire, where he notably trolled Halcones into blowing up and defecting to start his own defender region, which was highly amusing.

~

Thanks for reading, folks. There's no TL;DR.
Last edited by Klaus Devestatorie on Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:31 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Wabbitslayah
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Postby Wabbitslayah » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:54 am

Some members of the FRA did use it, including me.

Wop was the founder of Principality of Wales, and he had the region since at least 2009 iirc.
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King HEM
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Postby King HEM » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:16 pm

An amazing history, really an invaluable resource. Thanks for putting that together.

I sincerely had no idea LA was still around as recently as 2012. Reading this definitely reminded me of some things, but I also think I underestimated how insular the dynamic, toxic politics of Europeia had driven me from 2010-2012. After that, of course, I went to University where I was too busy to really "catch up" on anything except stuff that was immediately relevant to Europeia.

Caninope was active in Europeia for some time, and posts from him and McEntire basically formed my elementary understanding of what happened in The Commonwealth after I tuned out. I need to re-read them in more depth and see if there's anything they could add to this understanding.

I'm also trying to figure out exactly the life story of Audux, which appears in this narrative. It was originally founded in early 2008 and gave Europeia a deal of trouble with nonsense controversies long before it appeared in the Commonwealth. Not exactly sure how that line was drawn.

Anyway, fascinating stuff.
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Cormactopia Prime
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Postby Cormactopia Prime » Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:21 pm

King HEM wrote:I sincerely had no idea LA was still around as recently as 2012.

He was in Empires of Earth in 2012 for the attempted reboot during that time period. I was very new to the game and had no idea who he was or what he had done in NationStates at first, and when I found out I started quietly distancing myself. But yeah, he was a legislator there, and did some other stuff.

The history of the Commonwealth was an interesting read about an organization I knew very little about. Thanks Avakael.
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Armaros
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Postby Armaros » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:29 pm

It's definitely an intriguing read. It's also kind of a sad story. Thanks for putting it all together!
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Klaus Devestatorie
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Postby Klaus Devestatorie » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:54 am

Wabbitslayah wrote:Some members of the FRA did use it, including me.

Wop was the founder of Principality of Wales, and he had the region since at least 2009 iirc.

Whatever Welsh themed region was there was gone by the end of September 2008, so it could be possible.

Cormactopia Prime wrote:He was in Empires of Earth in 2012 for the attempted reboot during that time period. I was very new to the game and had no idea who he was or what he had done in NationStates at first, and when I found out I started quietly distancing myself. But yeah, he was a legislator there, and did some other stuff.

The history of the Commonwealth was an interesting read about an organization I knew very little about. Thanks Avakael.

I definitely remember being in EoE with him in 2012 as well.

In addition, many thanks to Sarah of the Empire of Mare Nostrum for helping me proofread, and if anyone has any questions, I'll answer as best I can.
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Postby Eluvatar » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:13 pm

King HEM wrote:If other regions had such a tool before, they mostly kept it to themselves, because word of this tool became gold. Thanks to my tight relationship with Verteger, Europeia was allowed to use it in exchange for helping to train The Kingdom of England in foreign affairs and military stuff.

I developed such a tool for the Lexicon in late 2006. Initially the "Endo Toaster" (named for the most innocent interpretation of "tart"), I soon came up with and developed recruitment features. When rejuvenation of the Lexicon led to renewed internal conflict and most Lexis left to found Taijitu, it became Taijitu's recruitment tool. We largely kept quiet about it, though I'm sure it was an open secret. Taijitu grew to be the largest UCR by mid-may 2007 (albeit Gatesville still had a few more UN member nations). The region was "neutral" in the sense that it didn't profess invader or defender ideology, but in reality the Taijitu Army of the day worked exclusively with invaders like Evil Wolf, Meridianland, and Of Crazed. This culminated in the July 2007 invasion of the Rejected Realms through mass ejection of Taijitu nations (and, of course, the loss of diplomatic relations with Equilism). The region recovered, but became more insular. The history of Taijitu after it's refounding in 2011 is not germane to this particular discussion.

In late spring 2008 I became active in The North Pacific again, and applied the Toaster first to telegram campaigns against Lewis and Clark (of the Crimson Order) and then to inviting nations to the offsite forum after the Crimson Order's fall. I may also have shared it with some in the resistance in the East Pacific against the Empire later that year (but that may be a false memory). What definitely happened is that Tresville asked me to share it with Gatesville as part of Gatesville making peace with The North Pacific. I did so, reluctantly, but didn't give much tech support. :p

Taijitu wasn't very active by the end of 2008, so I imagine the Commonwealth regions didn't face much competition for recruitment from it.
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Zaolat
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Postby Zaolat » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:11 am

Eluvatar wrote:
King HEM wrote:If other regions had such a tool before, they mostly kept it to themselves, because word of this tool became gold. Thanks to my tight relationship with Verteger, Europeia was allowed to use it in exchange for helping to train The Kingdom of England in foreign affairs and military stuff.

I developed such a tool for the Lexicon in late 2006. Initially the "Endo Toaster" (named for the most innocent interpretation of "tart"), I soon came up with and developed recruitment features. When rejuvenation of the Lexicon led to renewed internal conflict and most Lexis left to found Taijitu, it became Taijitu's recruitment tool. We largely kept quiet about it, though I'm sure it was an open secret. Taijitu grew to be the largest UCR by mid-may 2007 (albeit Gatesville still had a few more UN member nations). The region was "neutral" in the sense that it didn't profess invader or defender ideology, but in reality the Taijitu Army of the day worked exclusively with invaders like Evil Wolf, Meridianland, and Of Crazed. This culminated in the July 2007 invasion of the Rejected Realms through mass ejection of Taijitu nations (and, of course, the loss of diplomatic relations with Equilism). The region recovered, but became more insular. The history of Taijitu after it's refounding in 2011 is not germane to this particular discussion.

In late spring 2008 I became active in The North Pacific again, and applied the Toaster first to telegram campaigns against Lewis and Clark (of the Crimson Order) and then to inviting nations to the offsite forum after the Crimson Order's fall. I may also have shared it with some in the resistance in the East Pacific against the Empire later that year (but that may be a false memory). What definitely happened is that Tresville asked me to share it with Gatesville as part of Gatesville making peace with The North Pacific. I did so, reluctantly, but didn't give much tech support. :p

Taijitu wasn't very active by the end of 2008, so I imagine the Commonwealth regions didn't face much competition for recruitment from it.

You used the toaster for Osiris didn't you? I can't remember.
Former Delegate of the Rejected Realms - TRR Forum | Pharaoh Emeritus of Osiris - OFO Forum
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Max Barry on The Legend of Zelda
<Zaolat>: maxbarry: Have you played any Legend of Zelda video game?
<maxbarry>: I have NEVER played Zelda, I know that is shocking
Victim of the Flag Thief

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