Card “Raiding”: Death of the Late Game | OPINION | WRITTEN BY Bormiar | EDITED BY Toerana; Editor-in-Chief
Defender Security Council Voting Blocs: Future of Failure? | OPINION | WRITTEN BY Agalaesia | EDITED BY Bormiar
Ha Ha... Courting | SATIRE | WRITTEN BY The Church of Satan | EDITED BY Editor-in-Chief
The East Pacific Election Overview | NEWS | WRITTEN BY Toerana | EDITED BY Editor-in-Chief
Return of Ranking the GCRs | FEATURE | WRITTEN BY Glacikaldr | EDITED BY Editor-in-Chief
Much of my time on NationStates has been used in playing the card trade game. While I can no longer tolerate the work, I understand the hours spent doing the same repetitive tasks, itching for a legendary card to add to your ever-expanding pile or cleverly sell off to make even more bank. Collecting legendaries is rewarding, but it’s also clear that traders wanted cards even more exclusive. As seen in cards such as Queen Yuno and Farrakhan, raw inflation of normal cards never worked. The cards’ inflated values would slowly return to normal if not maintained by the inflating party. We found CTE cards, or cards where the nation has ceased to exist, to be the perfect target. They only spawned while at auction (i.e. while a player is purchasing the card), which made them excellent transfer cards (cards with very few owners used in transferring bank) and extremely hard to obtain. Cards of notable players who had ceased to exist became extremely expensive, such as Tupelope, Anime Daisuki, Pergamon, HMS Unicorn, Improving Wordiness, Punk Reloaded, Renaissancistic People, Frattastan II, Nastic 2, Soops, and Mindless Contempt. Traders would save up for months to obtain these tantalizing cards, occasionally liquidating their decks for them. They would save up thousands of packs to be spammed in the moments where the cards would go to auction (an extremely successful technique). The ownership of these cards carried immense weight, admiration, and prestige. They were our late-game goal.
Unlike many card traders, I did not join the cards game in an advantageous time. I have never seen a card game where 5 bank was a lot and legendaries were sold for next to nothing (to later be worth thousands of what they were), or a game where now-CTE cards could be pulled normally (because the nation would not have been CTE). I still obtained one of the top 50 decks in the world in a matter of months, and have obtained the (once-)nvaluable CTE cards of Pergamon, Nastic 2, and Sentimental Journey. Thus, I can attest to the mobility of the cards game, and the ability of any player to earn these high-valued CTE cards.
Regardless, a highly successful pull event (a scheduled player-made event where a CTE card can be pulled) of Pergamon via a card I lended resulted in the spawning of dozens of Pergamon cards, instantly diluting the value of the card to virtually nothing. It was discovered that placing multiple bids with small differences in amount can lead the card’s chances of spawning to become ridiculously high. A greedy cards community blindly pounced on this opportunity like a glutton unaware or uncaring of the health effects of McDonalds. The price of your average Pergamon has crashed from over 1000 bank to a pitiful 100 bank, a mere 1/10th of the original price. The average player has 3 Pergamons, and there are 175 copies. The card is essentially worthless in every metric other than market value, which will continue to go down.
The fall of Pergamon is among every single other high value CTE card. Due to this same tactic, Soops and Mindless Contempt have fallen from thousands of bank each to merely a few hundred-- for both. Improving Wordiness, HMS Unicorn, NERVUN, Old Tyrannia, and Reinaissancitic People are a little pricy but affordable to the average active trader. Enormously expensive cards such as Tupelope, Frattastan II, Punked Reloaded, and NASTIC 2 are now junk. It’s hard to fully grasp the sheer magnitude of such a change without being a cards player yourself. If you’re a gameplayer, imagine if influence were removed… along with passwords, and founders, and ROs, and border control. Tantalizing cards that you worked months to acquire can be bought after farming for a few hours. The late game of cards is over.
To add insult to injury, some players -- namely those who benefit from this change -- have embraced this disaster with thunderous applause. The Black Hawks, in conjunction with notable traders such as Feu de Glace, Refuge, and 9003 (the former two being members of the Black Hawks), executed a "cards raid". They essentially institutionalized the devaluing of cards with the claim that their goal is for “CARDS FOR THE PEOPLE, NOT JUST THE 1/10TH OF ONE PERCENT!”. This was not “raiding”. Furthermore, the claim that this helps “the people” rather than the “1/10th of one percent” is just plain backwards. Where cards of high market value are sold at low prices, the cards almost always go to wealthy traders who have the auction skill, vast resources, and ability to lose occasionally that is necessary to win many of those auctions (which draw lots of attention). Wealthier players also tend to store packs, be faster farmers (practice and knowing about scripts to speed it up), and have more nations to farm. Feu de Glace, who is known for saving packs, now has 58 copies of Pergamon (with a Market Value worth an absurd 8816), and was temporarily at second place in deck value. Noah’s Second Country has 23 Soops, worth 5,681 bank. Both of those players have defended the system. This exploit benefits the ultra-wealthy and is defended by the ultra-wealthy. They are willfully misleading others if they say that this benefits small farmers.
Ransium notified the admins of the problem in mid-May. He explained in detail the cause of the problem, how it benefits a select group of players (“Note that in a couple hours for farming Feu was able to farm about 50k in cards.” and “The problem is that a very few select players can use this exploit to guarantee they get a large portion of the additional copies that are placed on the market.”), and offered multiple solutions to the issue. The Northern Light explained the effect even further, as did several other players. Admin Ballotonia pointed out that unintended consequences have led to good things in NationStates (though I don’t see how you could argue that with Ballotonia’s R/D example, as pre-influence R/D had greifing rules), and implied that fixing the issue would be a case of the admins succumbing to the will of “whomever screams the loudest”. It seems unlikely that admins will do anything about the issue.
The admins may be right not to interfere, however. If CTE cards can no longer be spawned (nearly) at will as they are now, the market value of the cards would decrease at an extraordinarily slow rate. Therefore, the players who have already exploited the system would be left on their thrones, much to the chagrin of future players. Certain players (they know who they are) milked an exploit purely for their own momentary benefit, and in doing so we no longer have high value cards to strive towards. Eliminating scarcity eliminated demand. Almost every card in the game can now be gained relatively easily if you’re a rich player. For a late-game player like me, there’s very little incentive to play.
Note: This article is largely intended to appeal to gameplayers and cards laypersons, but makes an argument to other cards players as well. Further, more complex, reading can be found here: viewtopic.php?p=37104977#p37104977
EDITS:"The Black Hawks, in conjunction with notable traders such as Feu de Glace, Refuge, and 9003," has been edited to "The Black Hawks, in conjunction with notable traders such as Feu de Glace, Refuge, and 9003 (the former two being members of the Black Hawks)," to clarify elements of the article.
In his retirement as the delegate of the East Pacific, Marrabuk mentioned the idea of a “consortium of nations.” Marrabuk defined the consortium as a “basically to form a WA Bloc and Military partnership with various participating regions agreeing to work with TEP.” Marrabuk’s idea is interesting, as it seems to want to target the impossible dream of an FRA-esque unaligned union, however, this idea has cropped up in many other regions, including the South Pacific. In their campaign for election as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the current Minister of Foreign Affairs of the South Pacific, Qvait, mentioned the idea of a defender aligned voting bloc, promising that the agenda to create one would take precedence in the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
When understanding Qvait’s suggestion, it is important to define the functions of a voting bloc. Currently, there is only one major voting bloc, which is the World Assembly Legislative League (or WALL). WALL does not require all regions to vote a certain way, which means that, as opposed to solely serving as a collective organisation to “stomp” or “stack” on World Assembly resolutions, it may also serve as a forum for debate and discussion between regional governments. Of course, depending on the nature of the agreements, there can be other types of agreements within a World Assembly bloc, which could include requiring all regions to vote in line with the majority.
Of course, there will always be variation between agreements due to regional priorities and regional culture, however, I think that, using the current voting bloc as a model, voting blocs can be defined as “a forum for regions to share thoughts on resolutions, and ideally vote on resolutions together.”
With that in mind, let’s look at Qvait’s proposed defender, Security Council voting bloc. There are five primary defender or defender leaning regions that have high delegacy endorsements - the more powerful ones are the Rejected Realms; the South Pacific and 10000 Islands, and the less powerful ones are the Free Nations Region and the Union of Democratic States. The mentioned regions all have a defender military and their delegates all have above 100 endorsements.
Usually, defender leaning delegates tend to vote together on Raiding and Defending resolutions. 10000 Islands tends to be more radical, it may be more likely to vote against commendations of raiders, like “Commend Crushing our Enemies”, while other defender leaning regions may be more inclined to vote for the commendation as it isn’t explicitly for raiding achievements. Generally, defender regions vote together on R/D-related topics.
Delegates of defender regions vote very similarly in the Security Council, so a voting bloc which forces other regions to vote in line with the precedent set by the voting bloc would be useless, as it would just reinforce current voting habits with an added layer of bureaucracy to superfluously show already existing “defender power” off to NationStates Gameplay. A forum for discussion like WALL, where regional representatives share ideas may be a better idea, however, as defender leaning regions are likely to share opinions on matters (demonstrated by how they vote in the Security Council), there is little to no need or requirement for such a voting bloc.
The other factor that can heavily affect the outcome of such a voting bloc is an experience in World Assembly and Security Council matters. It is safe to say that the Rejected Realms and 10000 Islands have a large amount of experience World Assembly Authors and advisors. The delegate of 10000 Islands, Kuriko, has written the most Security Council Resolutions of any one player, and the Rejected Realms’ World Assembly office is managed by Bormiar, who has written notable and unique resolutions including “Condemn Atlantic”. Both regions tend to have a large number of players voting on the delegate’s vote offsite.
However, other regions such as the South Pacific, the Union of Democratic States and the Free Nations Region don’t have as many experienced World Assembly authors as the other two regions. This isn’t a bad thing, and a voting bloc can help regions build World Assembly participation, however, this runs the risk of the larger regions dominating the discussion in the voting bloc.
There would be, of course, regional Foreign Affairs policy discussions that would be had before a region casts its vote in the defender leaning voting bloc, however, many representatives, especially from the smaller User Created Regions with a lack of experienced authors will likely feel uncomfortable to comment on the quality of the writing in the resolution, meaning that their opinions will largely be relegated only giving political opinions, not commenting on any other aspect while the larger regions will dominate discussions on things like commendations related to roleplaying and other elements of the game.
Now, of course, there are public relations benefits to a defender voting bloc. It will show people that defenders are more united, and that they also have a great deal of voting power in the Security Council, it will still have little to no effect on the Security Council or the wider world of Gameplay, and if it does start having an effect on regions, it will likely be negative, as larger regions will dominate discussions and influence the views of smaller regions.
As opposed to building a voting bloc to show off might, regions should explore alternatives that would allow them to build up their World Assembly programs without having to conform to a precedent set out by regions around them. Such alternatives could involve regional “exchange writer” programs, which allows World Assembly writers from other regions to co-author resolutions with other regional writers. If a region has a budding writer, the exchange writer could support the new writer in research and writing and be marked as a co-author. This would be beneficial to all regions who have people interested in the World Assembly and World Assembly affairs, but don’t have anyone who has sufficient experience to guide new authors, as it would immediately place newer writers into contact with seasoned members of the world assembly.
To conclude: a defender leaning voting bloc is viable, but there is no need for it, and everyone who is planning on building it would just be wasting their energy on codifying a system that already unofficially exists.
The stairs outside Gameplay City Hall were buzzing with rumors of the biggest trial in history. Rumors that everyone, even the system itself is being put on trial. All the big names came in, strolling towards the largest room available; Mcmasterdonia, Yuno, Xoriet, Frattastan, Guy, Fedele, Elegarth, Eluvatar, Davelands, Big Bad Badger, Bachtendekuppen, Grub, Benevolent Thomas, Kuriko and more. Their attorney, probably the highest ranked among the numbers of NationStates Gameplay, Crazy Girl led them inside with determination and a briefcase full of snacks, "This whole thing is a farce! I can't begin to imagine how entertaining it'll be. Popcorn?" Not far behind, John Q. Nation struggled to keep up, hounding them as frequently as he could, "You can't treat me like this you elitist scum! The people will not stand for this! They will not allow you to not allow me to get handed everything I want just because I want it! It's not right!" Crazy Girl stood at the door as her clients finished entering the building and waited for John Q. Nation (who has opted to represent himself as the prosecuting attorney) to catch up, "Look John, you just lost your snack privileges. You're gonna have to get your own. Now hurry up and get in there. I have a trial to win."
The Honorable Judge Sedgistan now presiding
Bailiff Rep Prod announced to the room, packed with more GP heavyweights than a GCR coup, "All rise. Court is now in session. The Honorable Judge Sedgistan now presiding." The big screen TV flickers on, the bad reception from Gameplay City Halls obviously poor wifi connection shamelessly on display, "Okay everyone sit down and shut up. I have a dinner reservation tonight and I won't have your sass ruining my night." John Q. Nation turns red with anger, "Are you kidding me!? The judge can't even be bothered to physically be here!? I demand this trial be presided over by a judge that can at least be here to do their job!" Slapping the water with his pool noodle, Judge Sedgistan laid down the law with his booming voice in surround sound, "I said I'll have no sass from anyone in my courtroom! Especially you, Mr...Bumnuts? You can clearly see me so of course I am here. Now let's this get this carnival going. Time for opening statements. Prosecution, get it over with." Gritting his teeth, John Q. Nation begins, "Your Honor, for years a cabal of elitist heavyweights have shaped and controlled NationStates Gameplay into a corrupt, toxic mess that doesn't allow people do things the way that I want them to. This cabal stamps out all opposition that is me. The prosecution will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that these elitists have ruined NationStates Gameplay and twisted it into something that this court must condemn and destroy for the sake of mysel- I mean the community at large. It's time that they face justice." Barely paying attention, Judge Sedgistan motioned to Crazy Girl to make her opening statement.
"Oh, is it my turn? Okay. Your Honor, I am just a simple NationStates veteran that's better than the prosecutor in every way. I look to our anonymous jurors and ask one simple question. Do you want the cheese-flavored popcorn, the caramel popcorn or the buttery popcorn with extra butter? Now I don't just have popcorn. I brought malted milkballs, Raisinets, Snocaps and a fine selection of gourmet coffee. The defense will prove that these snacks are delicious! The defense will prove that my clients also like snacks! Nothing further, Your Honor. See you at home!" The defendants stood by and feasted upon the lambs and sloths, and carp and anchovies, and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit-bats. John Q. Nation, snackless by his own actions simply sat there, ranting and raving instead of presenting evidence. "Your Honor, this is a travesty! Those elitist Gameplay snobs can't monopolize the snacks like that! I demand that they share those snacks with me! It's what the people want!"
With a loud grunt, Judge Sedgistan replies, "Look here Mr. Birdbath...Beanbag, it's your fault you don't have any. You should have brought your own snacks or conducted yourself better while speaking to opposing counsel. You left the snack stand now you have to eat candy corn instead. I'm gonna ask you only once. Do you have any witnesses to call or not?" Pleading for his case he retorted, "No I don't have any witnesses." The look on Judge Sedgistan's face turned to a scowl, "Bootylicious, you better have a damn good explanation for this!" Slightly annoyed, John Q. Nation corrects Judge Sedgistan, "It's John. John Q. Nation. And do I really even need any? The evidence is right there in plain sight. Every time these snobs disagreed with me it was right in front of us for the world to see! Every time they laughed at my ideas it was right in front of us for the world to see! Every time I didn't like them it was right in front of us for the world to see!" Glancing towards the prosecution, Judge Sedgistan inquires of Crazy Girl, "Does the defense have any witnesses to call?" Just finishing a cup of coffee (probably Kopi Luwak) Crazy Girl looked up and very briefly turned her attention away from the crossword puzzle she was working on, "Umm not really. However if it would please the court I'd like to call for a pizza." John Q. Nation stands up and shouts, "Objection, your honor! Completely inappropriate!" Judge Sedgistan rolls his eyes, "Over-ruled. Make the call."
Six slices later, it was time for a verdict. "This case has been...a large, boring waste of time. The prosecution has called no witnesses. Presented no evidence. Instead he has spent the entire case whining, complaining and trying to take the prosecution's snacks. The defense didn't even need to do anything. Snacks was exactly the right strategy. In the case of John Q. Nation v. NationStates Gameplay, this court rules in favor of NationStates Gameplay. Keep on keepin' on. Prosecutor Johnsturbation, get out of my court. Next time it better be a real case or so help me I'll use more than just a pool noodle. Court is adjourned."
The East Pacific held their delegate elections in June, with nominations opening on the 31st of May, and closing on the 15th. 24 people were nominated for delegacy, including the incumbent delegate Marrabuk, and Viziers Todd McCloud, Bachtendekuppen, Pakitsk, Zukchiva, VW53Aland, Asendavia, Grand Vizier Dragons Blood and Incumbent Vice Delegate Libertanny. Out of the 24 people nominated, 7 accepted their nominations, with 4, Aivintis Eastern, Alksearia, ArenaC & Sokala, dropping out, leaving just Zukchiva, Libertanny and Algerstonia to reach the voting period.
In their campaign, Zukchiva stated plans for a cards guild, the “abolishment” of the Vice Delegacy, holding state of the region addresses, similar to those in TNP and increase the number of Viziers, although stating he didn’t have any nominees during his campaign.
Libertanny ran a campaign promising full freedom of speech, within NS rules and excluding fascist ideology, spreading the region in the example of the NPO, to other games, the independence of the WA aspects of governments and the foundation of the Bureau of Public Affairs. The Bureau of public affairs is intended to serve as a channel of communication between the government and the public.
Algerstonia ran on a platform of complete government overhaul, promising to replace the existing ministries with the Ministries of Love, Truth, Peace, Plenty, and Harmony.
The voting itself commenced on the 8th of June, and ended on the 15th, seeing Libertanny win the delegacy by 6 votes.
You can view the East Pacific Delegacy Election subforum here: https://forum.theeastpacific.com/2020-f279/
Since March 2018, much has changed among many of the feeders and sinkers: our main GCRs. In light of this, The Rejected Times is happy to welcome back our 'Ranking the GCRs' Survey!
This post will serve as the announcement for this years' perception survey, however, we will also strive to reach out to as many NSers as possible! It is our hope to have a diverse—and not exclusively Reject—playerbase participate. To help put these words into action, we will be reaching out to all the regions mentioned in the survey following the release of this article.
This survey will remain open to all for three weeks—until Wednesday the 22nd of July—and we would greatly appreciate it if any regions and players share the survey around. But please answer earnestly. If we end up needing to exclude some outliers, we will provide two separate datasets and include an explanation as to why.
We want to provide an accurate account of perceptions, and realise that earning your willingness to participate and share this survey is the best way to achieve this. To help towards earning your trust, the commentary we usually provide accompanying each category will strive to be more tasteful — with consultation where necessary. We will notify and allow governments and delegates to provide commentary on areas of interest we identify if they so wish within the follow-up article. Ultimately, the worth of these words can only be judged once the results are released but we intend to win your trust for future surveys of this nature as well.
The survey will look at the following categories to determine an up-to-date Overall Perception Index: Acceptance and Tolerance, Activity, Culture, Military Presence, Civil and Political Rights, Diplomacy, Value as Interregional Partner, Stability, Overall Delegate Performance, and Overall Government Performance.
The last survey served as a revival of this series, comparing GCRs to our 2014 dataset. This newest survey in the series promises to provide comparisons over a shorter timeframe and should better serve to show how quickly perceptions can change — indicative of the tide of hearts and minds in NationStates.
Thank you for your consideration in supporting this project!
Discuss this Issue over on the NationStates forum here.
Find The Rejected Times Index here.
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