Welcome to the South Pacific!
HOLD IT! This dispatch is really long. Whatís the TL;DR, please?
Well, the game pretty much plays itself, but if youíre looking to get involved in the region beyond the basics, then there are a variety of things you can do:
- Want to talk to all of us in real time, to get all your questions answered, to debate what there is to debate, or just to chill and have a drink of South Pacific Iced Tea? Join us on our Discord server.
- Are you interested in writing and debating laws, and getting involved in the nitty-gritty of regional politics? Join our regional forum and sign up to be a legislator here.
- Interested in the military? Do you want to go out into the wide world of NationStates to protect regions from attackers, and take the fight to them if necessary? The South Pacific Special Forces is just the thing for you. Jump on Discord to sign up.
You may also find this Glossary of Common Abbreviations and Terms useful. And here's a guide to getting involved in Politics in the South Pacific.
Okay, I want more detail, but start with the basics, please!
So, youíve just started playing NationStates and youíve been randomly assigned to the South Pacific region. What now?
Thereís already a great FAQ on the site thatís worth reading, but Iíll do my best to give you a basic run through here as well.
Firstly, you will want to get to know your nation and get a feel for how you can mould it to your will. This is done by answering issues, which pop up every six hours or so. [Pro-tip - you can change the frequency that you receive issues in your settings] Each issue has a number of possible decisions to choose from. These will usually cover a range of positions on the political spectrum, but they will also tend to be rather extreme - thatís part of the fun! When youíve chosen which decision you want to take, youíll get a screen showing you its effect on your nation, as your stats go up or down in various ways, as well as a humorous tagline which will usually make it sound like you made a bad decision (donít worry, itís just being funny).
Answering issues is the only way you can directly change your nationís stats (except population, which just increases steadily over time as a measure of how long youíve been playing - population milestones will unlock some new customisation features for your nation, like naming your capital city), and it is, basically the whole of the base game. Anything else NationStates has to offer is kinda added-on.
Indeed, the only other part of the game that connects directly to your nation is the World Assembly. Itís kinda like NationStatesí version of the UN, and if you join it you can vote on resolutions created by other nations, the outcome of which will affect your nationís stats. You can only have one WA nation. Donít try and have more than one - itís a serious offence!
Thereís more to being in the WA, but thatís the only part of it that affects your nationís general stats and is, therefore, part of the basics of the game. Weíll look at the other features of being in the WA later.
Okay, so you said Iíd been assigned to a region. What is a region anyway and can I change which region Iím in?
Well, regions in NationStates are communities which your nation can be part of. Each nation can only belong to one region at a time, but you are free to move your nation as much as you like, or you can create multiple nations to experience several regions at once.
The South Pacific is a Game-Created Region (GCR), meaning that it was not founded by an individual player and, as one of the five Pacifics, it serves the purpose of being a Ďfeederí region, meaning it is where new nations are randomly assigned once they are created, because everybody has to start somewhere.
As such, there are a lot of nations in the South Pacific at any one time and nations come and go quite quickly, but this also means that the region is very diverse and inclusive and this is reflected in the aims of the regional government.
Wait, what? The region has a government?
Yes, but thereís more to tell you about regions first!
You can find other regions by searching for them on ĎThe Worldí page and you can change your nationís region by visiting the World Factbook Entry (WFE - hereís the South Pacificís) of another region and then scrolling until you see a button labeled ĎMove [nation name] to [region name]í. Click it and youíre off!
Right. Are you going to tell me about the regional government, now? Is that, like, a roleplaying thing?
Firstly, the regional government of the South Pacific (known as the Coalition of the South Pacific) is not a roleplaying government, at least, not exactly. It is made up of individuals within the South Pacific who have been elected to office by others in the South Pacific and, once in office, they have real power over the community and what happens there. In that sense, at least, this is not roleplaying. They are not Ďin characterí. It is, however, a kind of gameplay, as it allows people to Ďplayí at politics and enjoy another aspect of being part of this community.
So, how does it work?
Well, regional governments sprang up not long after the game was first created back in 2003. They grew up out of the delegate system, which is where nations which are members of the WA can endorse each other and the nation with the most endorsements in the region becomes the regional WA delegate, with increased voting power in the WA itself. That automatically creates a kind of democracy and, since the regional WA delegate has certain powers (like banning nations and editing the WFE), it became a desirable position and one that people wanted to make sure was used wisely.
The limitations of what is possible on regional message boards made regions begin to form the structures of government on off-site forums and, over time and through the work and effort of many Ďgenerationsí of players, those structures have evolved into fully-functioning governments.
The Coalition of the South Pacific (found on these forums) is one of the oldest democracies in the game. It has a charter from which all our laws are derived, an Assembly which serves as the legislature of the coalition, creating and voting on laws and presided over by the Chair; a Cabinet consisting of a Prime Minister and the Ministers, respectively, of Regional Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Military Affairs, who serve as our executive; and a local government on the game website consisting of the Delegate and three Local Council members. All of these positions are elected at regular intervals, allowing players frequent opportunity to run for them.
That sounds interesting. How do I get involved?
The best thing to do is to join the forums here and register as a legislator, which will allow you to vote on laws. Then you should probably lurk a little while and look through old threads to see what people actually do in government and how it affects the community.
Iíd also recommend joining our Discord chat server. Itís great fun and a lot happens on there which is relevant to the forum-based government. Indeed, in many ways, itís more active than the forums, with the latter serving as the place to store and action all our laws, debates and votes.
What else is there to do?
There is roleplaying on both the TSP forum and the NationStates forum. Most regions have their own journalism reporting on regional events and are keen to have new writers get involved. Our journalism is run by the Ministry of Regional Affairs, who also organise festivals and events and write guides like this to help welcome new players. You can join us on our Discord server
There is military gameplay, which takes the form of using WA membership and delegate endorsement to Ďraidí regions, taking over their in-game power-structure to make changes or just say that youíve done it. Otherís Ďdefendí regions from attacks by raiders who seek to damage a regionís membership or culture. There are also independents, who raid or defend just for fun and donít seek to cause any damage. (the South Pacific has itís own independent army - the South Pacific Special Forces, which you can join here, or on their Discord server. There are even special GCRs called Warzones designed just for this purpose.
And of course thereís the usual banter and word games, karaoke competitions, inter-regional festivals - all sorts of things really. Thereís always something going on in NationStates!
But donít be overwhelmed. Take your time, get involved in whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it and donít stress. Above all, have fun and play nicely with other players!