by Max Barry

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by The Parliamentary Democracy of Sailiopia. . 1,394 reads.

Standing up for the Userite

The Problem

NationStates (NS) is a game full of many different, diverse and innovative regions. There are hundreds of different regions to choose from, each with a different community, a different focus and a different culture. There is something for everyone. This means that gameplay can be fun and enjoyable for all, everyone can find their home where they can take part in gameplay (which is the focus of this dispatch, rather than roleplay) and we can be in a fair, diverse, wider community without fun being spoilt by someone else.

However, this is not entirely the case. NS gameplay is dominated by game-created-regions, rather than the more numerous user-created-regions. The larger size and status of GCRs leads to notable figures involved in the gameplay side of NS joining GCRs, instead of focusing on building and promoting UCRs. These 'GCR exclusivists' are prone to complaining about UCRs, who are generally the innocent party in this.

GCRs are able to use their size and power to show diplomatic, political and military influence larger than any UCR could ever do. They have large militaries that they use to invade innocent UCRs, partaking in occasional defences to clear their name. In the WA, their delegates hold a huge voting power, so large that the GCR delegates can easily sway any WA resolution vote to their advantage, outweighing the interests of smaller regions. Some GCRs capitalise on this by creating dispatches asking people to vote a certain way, before upvoting said dispatch to the top spots on the dispatches page. This leads to oblivious nations blindly voting in the WA based on the wishes of GCRs. While this sounds unimportant, it can be the difference between a region being liberated or not liberated, thus deciding the future of a region that several nations call, or have called, home.

Ultimately, GCRs are power-hungry, influence-seeking regions who are concerned about themselves and themselves only, even if this is at the expense of the rest of the NS community.

The Userite

GCRs get all the attention, yet this does not mean that it is GCRs that are the ones who deserve all the attention. Moreover, it is the UCRs that are the ones who deserve the attention. Hundreds of different regions, most of which are innovative, diverse and great communities. UCRs cater for anybody's and everybody's needs. For example, there are UCRs who do not have discords, for those who prefer onsite. There are UCRs that have clever gimmicks, such as centrally-planned economies and communities that travel between other UCRs on the site.

UCRs also have stronger communities than GCRs. The activity level of most GCRs is somewhat overwhelming, and the size of the regions mean that it's more difficult for new players to get involved and noticed, not impossible, but daunting. Meanwhile UCRs have somewhat active communities where smaller groups of nations get to know each other, build regions and build close bonds with each other. The more diverse nature of UCRs also means that it is easier for people to find somewhere they feel at home, from where they can be themselves, and enjoy themselves. GCRs are more vanilla, less original than this.

I do give some credit to GCRs for what they do, but the real problem is how GCRs get all the attention, and none is given to the regions that have made NS into the wonder it is today. GCRs just take all the attention and give up none to the userites, who are ever bit as innovative, every bit as creative, or arguably, more so, in ways that GCRs could never imagine. I also admit that not all UCRs are perfect. There are many inactive UCRs with only a couple of nations in them, but the focus should be on the more active, more innovative medium-large UCRs (including most regions between 10-1000 nations, although not all are necessarily active). More worryingly, there are the odd fascist, imperialist and discriminatory UCRs, whose creativity I do not celebrate, whose attention I do not give and whose activities I do not condone. However, they are the few bad eggs in a plentiful batch.

At the end of the day, it is the UCRs that are the underappreciated, understated regions that are just as, if not more vital than GCRs.

Going Forward

The in-game power of the GCRs (in regards to the WA and general diplomacy), we cannot overcome, unless if the mods create more GCRs to outweigh the power balance of them, or lessen their power through changing the games code in some other way. But we, as players can do our bit ourselves.

If you are in a GCR, then evaluate why you're there. Perhaps take a look at smaller regions, or even the larger UCRs, and move a puppet into one or two regions to see what their community is like. Try a different type of region. If you like it, then get involved there and make it your main region. If you want to remain in a GCR, remember that power and influence is not everything, and doesn't gain any real benefit in life. So feel free to un-endorse a GCR delegate, attempt to persuade your government to be more considerate of UCRs and less influence-focused.

If you're in a UCR, then pull out or stay out of GCR-focused WA alliances. If you have a regional military, then band together with other UCR militaries to oppose GCRs. Focus on making diplomatic relations with other UCRs, not GCRs. If we're in this together, it is much easier than if we try to protect our own position by building relations with GCRs.

For both, you can always try to ignore GCR voting dispatches, or counter them by downvoting them. The same goes for other not-relevant GCR dispatches.

This is just a few ideas that can get people started in countering the power of GCRs. You can always come up with more of your own and share these with those around you. There are things that the average NS player can do to give UCRs their rightful place as innovators and diversifiers, and the appreciation that they deserve.