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by The Questionable Existence of Your Imaginary Friend. . 102 reads.

The Lazarene Gazette New Year | *yawns and curls up in a blanket to read*


Issue 10 Squeaky December 2019
Contents: CEO LazART Endgame Benevolent Thomas Activity

Interview with LazCorp's CEO
Treadwellia interviewed by Imaginary

    My goodness, you've been delegate and CEO of one of the largest, most influential regions in NationStates for nearly a year now! How do you like it?

    It's similar to my offline responsibilities as an educator, in a way; I have to keep things running smoothly but need to know how to work in a team environment. Both jobs can be stressful in the amount of micromanagement for each, but both are ultimately rewarding and fun. It's enjoyable with minimal frustrations so far.

    How long have you been in Lazarus, and why have you decided to make it your home?

    The first one is a really good question. The oldest RMB post on the Laz board, for me, is 6 years, 282 days ago, and it states that I had been offline for "several years." I took off a week or so, I think, where I checked out a Christmas region as a visitor. I have been in Laz for the last 1,705.71 days--basically the last four years, eight months--uninterrupted.

    As for why I have stayed, even through all the STUFF in Lazarus prior to Imki's Anarchy Week, I have always liked the people and community here. I believe that Lazarus has a lot of potential as a positive force for NationStates. We do a lot of stuff right, I think, not getting hung up in drama and enjoying the fun of being a community.

    What's a piece of advice you'd give new players in the region who are looking to become a part of the community?

    Keep an open mind, and don't come in expecting the same, regimented hierarchies you might see in other regions. Most folks in Lazarus are here to have a good time and to take it easy, having dealt with more than enough drama already from being in Laz the last few years. Acting naturally and expecting friendly treatment without trying to force power plays will serve new players in Lazarus well.

    How would you like to see Lazarus moving forward into the new year? Is there anything you think we could particularly be doing better as a community?

    I'm always game for seeing folks actively participating. We have built up a massively involved RMB role-play session from nearly nothing in but a few weeks. Some favor chatting on our Discord server rooms or engaging in our various forum areas. It's good so far! To improve. . . .

    It's like I tell my students: "Don't worry about sounding 'dumb.' The only dumb question is the one you don't ask. If you are wondering about something, chances are half a dozen folks are, too, and someone is just waiting for someone else to start it off." So, if you want to get involved in Lazarus, take the initiative. Ask questions. Try something new and fun. See what folks resonate with, and try to make contacts. What's the worst? An idea fails to pan out? Try another!

    LazCorp's founder, Imkiville, recently ceased to exist. In conclusion would you share a few words about her and how she impacted Lazarus?

    Imki took a big chance in setting up to successfully one-woman-coup the former power structure. She cares deeply about folks, and she wants to be able to believe the best of them, but she can also not pull punches if she has to. Her whole Anarchy Week was ingenious; it was a radical test of the folks who were in the region, a way for her to see who could lead and, more importantly, who should. She never intended to rule forever; she was always thinking about the long game.

    I would say that Imki was quite possibly one of the best things that could have happened in Lazarus when she did. She wasn't in it for power. She was in it for Lazarus.

    Thank you for your responses!

LazART Endgame: Winners and Commentary!
organized by Leonism


This month's LazART event, hosted by Leonism, asked participants to share a beautiful screenshot from a video game. Please enjoy their pictures and the commentary of our judges, Leo and Imaginary!

1st The Nexus at Coldarra by Perchan (World of Warcraft)

    "This eerie blue-tinted picture captured this contest judge with its captivating display of an otherworldly, fantastic landscape. Who knew that so many shades of blue can make such a colourful work of art?"

    "Well that's just art."

2nd Doggy Temple by The Illusian Empire (Minecraft)

    "A wonderful example of the joyful creativity that few games but Minecraft permit to such an extent. An impressive tribute to 'man's best friend'."

    "You think it's cute but then you see the lit fires inside...O.O"

Tied for 3rd and 4th

Greedfall by Hraban

    "Hraban shows us a tranquil picture of the night sky, with a sleeping city in the background and an intriguing figure in the foreground. Clothing style and architecture of the buildings are not obvious enough for me to discern time and setting of the screenshot, but that makes it all the more interesting to look at."

    "The stars are so beautiful ;-; Lovely scene!"

Minecraft by Mzeusia

    "This tranquil screenshot from this contest's favourite game, Minecraft, shows a well-built house with a church-like architecture that looks a little bit lost in the vast nothingness of a plain creative map at night."

    "I'm not sure I want structural lookin shrubberies in my house but you do you<3"

No Man's Sky by Roboponainia

    "A mystical picture, almost like someone took a caleidoscope and looked at space with it. The technological marvel of the spaceship in the foreground contrasts nicely with the marvels of the stellar background. Is the object at 10 o' clock a planetary body that works like I gravitational lense or merely a light effect? I don't know but it looks cool."

    "'Your Destiny lies in the Beyond'... well isn't that nice. :) I like the shapes but the color all feels the same and meh."

City of Heroes, starring Tubbius by Treadwellia

    "This might not be the first picture everyone has in mind when imagining the mighty Tubbius of Treadwellia, but then again why isn't it? A rotund Santa flying towards you with the full speed of his super powers...who wouldn't duck instinctively when looking at this? Mmph!"

    "Impressive that he learned to fly without reindeer!"

Fallout's "The Unstoppables!" are Fighting the Good Fight by Lugmeltistan (XCOM 2: War of the Chosen - Shen's Last Gift D.L.C.)

    "I've played quite a bit of X-COM in my time, but never seen something like this. Still, these exotic warriors looking at the distant horizon, their eye's unseen to us, make for a picture that shouts "action" out loud.[/i]"

    "I love Fallout Boy but I don't recognize these people from the band. :P Great hair on the left tho."

Payday 2 by Metal cybersnake

    "A composite screenshot from the "heist simulator" Payday 2 shows us the enormous riches the player has amassed through crime: over 8 trillion dollars. "Dope" (imagined in Homer Simpson's voice, as per the masked figure above) is probably an understatement to such an achievement."

    "Creeped out by the characters, but kudos for the double-shot! ^-^"

Cookie Clicker by Fluffiness

    "The only submission that left me somewhat disappointed for its mundanity. My original interpretation still stands: It must be a reference to the advent-time cookie cravings of the mighty Tubbius. What else might the author have wanted to tell us through his submission?"

    "What on earth are those thingamajigs around the cookie? o.o Thumbs up for bizarre factor!"

League of Legends by Your Imaginary Friend

    "Ironically the highest resolution screenshot from all submissions (as a side note, I was surprised that nobody submitted a screenshot from a modern FPS with jaw-dropping graphics to show off their powerful gaming system), this colorful rendition of League of Legends shows us an action packed scene that probably requires some knowledge of the game to interpret properly...which this contest judge is sadly lacking."

    "IM THE LEONA Q'ING UNDER THE TURRET AT THE GAREN (we won this game :D)"

screenshot of a beautiful sunset in Minecraft by Leonism

    "I will shy away from rating my own picture, which was merely meant to serve as an example anyway. If only the real oceans were transparent enough to see a sunset even while the sun is already "submerged" into the water..."

    "Looks a bit vanilla ;)"

View Original LazART Dispatch Here

PRIME MOVERS: Benevolent Thomas
Benevolent Thomas interviewed by Marcus Vespasian (Zapatian Workers State)

    ZWS: Hello there

    Benevolent Thomas: howdy

    ZWS: Are you up for a brief interview for The Lazarene Gazette?

    Benevolent Thomas: Sure.

    ZWS: Alrighty then.

    Q1: I've heard from reliable sources that you were an instrumental figure in developing the techniques of defending which are currently widely used across NationStates. Can you shed a little light on what first motivated you to get into defending and give us a few highlights of your defender career?

    Benevolent Thomas: The first region that I got involved in had embassies with both the Region of Reunited Muslim States and 10000 Islands. My region watched, with sadness, the destruction of RORMS while the natives of the region pleaded for aid. Before the destruction of RoRMS, I had no awareness of the invasion game, which came as quite a shock to me as my region was founderless as well. We received regional updates from 10KI which mentioned the activities of TITO. I decided that it was time I joined the fight in order to protect my region and all others like it. I created Benevolent Thomas and moved right into 10000 Islands with the sole aim of joining TITO. My proudest moments are the refoundings of Australia and Hogwarts and the creation of both the Fort Triumph Marshal Service (currently disbanded) and The Order of the Grey Wardens.

    ZWS: Q2: From your experience, is there a marked difference in psychology between raiders and defenders, or are both mostly motivated by the thrill of defeating one another in the field?

    Benevolent Thomas: There's a fundamental difference. Invaders find joy in NationStates at the cost of other people's enjoyment of it. Defenders are natives that have decided to take a stand against these groups. The Grey Wardens and several other groups like to payback the favor of invasion when the opportunity arises.

    ZWS: Q3: In all your time as a defender, who would you count as your closest ally in your mission and why?

    Benevolent Thomas: Deadeye Jack. They've been a close friend for nearly a decade and the player I trust the most. They support my endeavors and keep my more reckless impulses in check. FTMS, Hogwarts, TGW, Jack is the glue that held and continues to hold everything together. I'm happy to see that the world at large is experiencing how wonderful they are.

    ZWS: Q4: On the flipside, is there one raider that you believe is heinous above all, or who qualifies as your personal archenemy?

    Benevolent Thomas: No. Its the griefer ideology that I hate, not the people. The individuals that I grow to loathe usually find themselves DoS sooner than later for reasons we all agree are intolerable.

    ZWS: Q5: What is the largest and most impressive military action gameside that you personally coordinated, and when did it occur?

    Benevolent Thomas: I was part of the coordination for the liberation and refounding of Hogwarts. The region had been taken by LWU and I believe refounded by them. I had two native nations in the region that I had moved back after LWU had refounded it that had amassed quite a bit of influence. I was WA-immobile at the time iirc and passed the nations off to TITO and the FRA (1 each). I got everyone on board with taking the region over once LWU's founder in Hogwarts had CTE and watched in awe as they conducted the mission perfectly. We then sat on the empty and locked region for a bit and we decided to pull off the refound on Xoriet's birthday. She is a big HP fan and also a member of LWU. It was a coincidence, but I like to think we did it to tease her. I forget which defender it was that was the one to found the region once it CTE, but they gave the pw to Jack and I and we established a roleplaying community there with a few gameplayers that were also fans of the Magical World. This was 2015. Hogwarts late-summer.

    ZWS: You've been a great interviewee so far, but I promise this is the last question

    Q6: In addition to being the founder of The Order of the Grey Wardens, you were also once the Delegate of Lazarus at one time. Can you recount some of the major events which occurred under your Delegacy and give our readers an impression of what the responsibility of the position was like?

    Benevolent Thomas: Nothing happened under my delegacy. Many would call it a failure. I got hit by a massive hurricane just after the election and I was without power for several weeks. When I finally was able to log in again, the region had stagnated once again. The hurricane had caused major disruptions in my life and I had grown jaded with my experience on NS, so I resigned all my positions and walked away from the game. I wouldn't return for about half a year. This is actually the most active I've been since then (Nov 2016).

    ZWS: Wow. Well, um, this has been a great interview. I hope to see it published. Thanks for cooperating and best of luck to you.

    Benevolent Thomas: Thank you. Good luck with the Gazette

Activity for a Better Game Experience
by Imaginary

Last year, a lot of focus was put on making on-site Lazarus a more welcoming place for the newcomer. For the sake of this game itself, I think it's very important that those in GCRs try to make their regions engaging so that, whether folks stay in the region longterm or leave for another, they will know that the game really can be a blast. Sinker regions particularly have been given a very special opportunity: those who had lacked interest in NationStates returning to give it another shot. But what exactly are we to do with this opportunity?

We have three ways to immediately approach a returning individual: Telegrams, the WFE and the RMB. Throughout this article I'll explain some ideas I've tried or considered for all three, and share my views on their effectiveness.

Telegrams

Newcomers are bombarded with so many telegrams as they return, it almost seems a waste to throw another lengthy explanation of how great their spawn region is at them as well. And yet, Balder has the highest retention rate out of any of the sinkers, mainly due to its proactive telegramming regimen. Combining welcome, API and regional telegrams, it's not uncommon for Balderans to receive 5 telegrams in a week. But do newcomers find this fun? Many in Lazarus have mentioned that they really appreciate not receiving so many telegrams asking them to join the WA, citing it as a main reason they stay around and participate.

I think in an ideal automated situation, smaller nations that presumably don't have as much game experience are sent multiple consecutive telegrams as they arrive (maybe 2 days apart) explaining different parts of the region and game. Larger nations are sent one telegram to tell them where they are and let be; they know how to check out things for themselves and usually have a broader purpose than "oh let me pile up on this random delegate"

While automation gives your region a constant presence, not everyone has the resources to create a system like that. Although a more demanding alternative, I find that personalized telegrams often work the best at instigating action from new nations, so if you're online anyway I think they're very much worth the effort. Ask them how they came up with such a bizarre name as LittleGoatistania (are you really into goats or something?) or if their currency is actually real live trees (dude, how do ur citizens carry their dough around lol). When I was the founder of a UCR, this method was far and above the most effective recruitment method. Normal tgs would bring people in, but letting them know they were specifically noticed helped make them a part of the region.

World Factbook Entry

As far as WFEs go, people find different things appealing. Some might be intrigued by this kind of Lazarus:

Or this:

Or this:

You find yourself surrounded by beautiful lilac shrubs and the scent of wintered spruce trees...

Is this the Land of Lazarus, the place you were seeking for? Will the rest of your tribe be here to meet you?

Many years you wandered through the glories and faults of the world, thinking your kindred and friends slain at the hands of strong men of little character. Finally news had come.

"Meet us in the land of the undead. Meet us in the Land of Lazarus."

Wind brushes against your cheek and kites your horse's tail in the air behind you. Smoke creeps into your nostrils.

It's really difficult to decide, but since WFEs are the main aesthetic of a region, it's important to design them to cater towards the areas of NS that you'd like your region to focus on so that your region attracts people who are interested in doing stuff in that area. Many more successful regions tend to utilize a "news" list in their WFEs to communicate to all about past, present and upcoming events in the region. Once I figure out a unique way to present it, I'd like to have one of these in Lazarus as well because they seem to work well.

Regional Message Board

Noobs will be on there asking which hand is their right hand, old turds will be wandering around sipping tea and discussing their nation leader's daily routine... Oh, and the occasional insane person will spam a few pages with the alphabet. Put your shoulder to the grindstone though, and the norm culture of this crocodile swings its head from side to side.

In early May of 2019, I started the Laz OS (on-site) program, facing a very slow moving message board that lacked in quality. Several main things caused increased RMB activity (as described on the graph below): the LazMAP, which helped encourage RPers to interact with each other more; daily-ish questions, fluctuating between OOC and IC topics; and also just more region-fellows taking the time to be present and agreeable. With the third way, a single random person, drawing no oh-im-setting-this-thing-up attention to themselves, can drastically transform a region's RMB culture for the better.

It feels weird to be the first one to post something for 12 hours... creeps the new guy out. So post something that won't creep em out before then!

I'm pretty happy with our on-site RMB activity now, but there are some aspects of what kind of activity that I think still need consideration. Do we really want most things on it to be roleplay, or would that be better shifted somewhere else so normal personable conversation can be the main gator? I personally think having a healthy mix of both is preferable so that the both the person interested in RP and the wanna-talk-about-my-day dude can feel like they're in their element together.

Thanks for reading. If you have any ideas about this topic that you feel like sharing, please do so somewhere that I'll see it because I'm interested in it.


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