by Max Barry

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by Consular. . 14,496 reads.

So you've been invaded...

Forum Version | > Dispatch Version <

...Well, that's not good news. But it also isn't the end of the world -- and it certainly doesn't have to be the end of your region.

Invading, also called raiding, is when a group of nations from outside your region move in and endorse each other, so that one of their own becomes your region's World Assembly Delegate. This can take the form of one sudden movement, with all these outsiders arriving at once so that there's no time to respond, or it can be a slow and subtle process over many days or weeks.

If this happens to you, it usually has one of two consequences. The first is known as a tag raid, where the new invader WA Delegate will rapidly alter some of the more visible aspects of your region, such as changing the World Factbook Entry and starting to close all your regional embassies, before almost immediately resigning. This kind of raid is very temporary and the damage it causes can be easily reversed, though going through it can be a confusing and unpleasant experience for some. The second potential consequence is an occupation, where the invaders stay for an extended period of time, quickly stacking endorsements on their invader WA Delegate to ensure they remain in control. They may simply occupy your region for a few days before leaving, or if you are particularly unfortunate, they may attempt to ban all the native nations from the region and reduce it to little more than a trophy. This kind of invasion can be frustrating if they only stay for a few days, or significantly unsetting if they decide to attempt to destroy your region.

Being invaded isn't very nice, that's for sure. But no matter how you feel, it's really important that you don't panic. We'll work through what you can do together.

I have apparently been tag raided <_<

A tag raid is a very temporary invasion. The new invader WA Delegate will rapidly alter some of the more visible aspects of your region, such as changing the World Factbook Entry and starting to close all your regional embassies, before almost immediately resigning. Typically, invader groups engaging in this activity will attempt to jump through multiple regions and tag, so to speak, as many of them as possible with a crude advertisement of some kind. These invasions generally target small regions with an executive WA Delegate position, where either there is no current Delegate or a Delegate with very few endorsements.

The aftermath of a tag raid isn't really a struggle of any kind... more like a clean up. It is not difficult but can be tedious. The following is a simple step by step approach to restoring some tidyness to your region.

  1. If your region has a Founder nation (who has executive powers) then you already have all the tools you'll need. If you don't have a Founder, or your Founder doesn't have executive powers, then you'll need to elect a WA Delegate.

    If you had a Delegate before the invaders came in, then that nation will likely become WA Delegate again after the invaders leave. You'll need to wait for the next game update for them to get the position back -- about 12 hours from the time of the invasion. If you didn't have a Delegate before the invaders came in, you'll need to elect one now. Just have two nations, controlled by separate players, join the World Assembly, and have one endorse the other (remember, each player can only have one nation in the World Assembly at any given time). Again, you'll need to wait for the next game update for them to get the position.

  2. Once you have a nation with the necessary powers, you can start to undo any damage that was done. You can access all the controls you'll need by clicking the "admin" button at the top of your region's page.

    The invader Delegate likely appointed themselves as a regional officer before they left. The first thing you'll want to do is dismiss them, so they can't make any more sneaky changes. You may of course also ban them from your region if you're feeling vindictive.

  3. Here's a handy little list of the numerous things the invader Delegate may have altered.

    • The invader Delegate will have altered your World Factbook Entry to some kind of boastful nonsense, and changed your regional flag to their own design. You'll want to remove these and restore your own text and flag. There are some tools available that you can use if you can't remember what these were. You can use to try and find your original World Factbook Entry, and to try and find your original flag. These tools are maintained by Eluvatar.

    • The invader Delegate will most likely have ordered all your regional embassies to be closed. If they haven't actually closed yet, since this takes some time, you can cancel the closing process. If they have already been closed, then you'll need to go through and request embassies with other regions all over again. You can click the "history" button at the top of your region page to search for what embassies you had. The invaders possibly also opened an embassy between your region and their home region -- you are welcome to cancel that embassy.

    • Your regional tags may have been removed. The changes made will also show up in your "regional happenings" feed -- this would be the easier way to check what your tags were, if you can't remember.

    • Your ban list might have been cleared, though this is a very uncommon practice. There isn't anything you can do about this, except individually rebanning any banned nations, if you can remember what they were. Youíll only be able to ban them again if theyíre still mentioned on your regional happenings feed.

    • Some posts on your regional message board might have been suppressed. You can unsuppress posts by clicking the button on the right side of each post. You'll have individually do this for each post. There is now a limit on how many posts can be suppressed within a short time period, so the invaders shouldn't have been able to suppress too many.

    • If you had a poll running, it may have been deleted. There's no way to get this back, sorry. A new poll might also have been started, probably to function as a perverse sort of advertisement for the invaders -- go ahead and delete this garbage.

    • If you had pinned dispatches, they may have been unpinned. You can simply pin them again. Yes, some of these changes can be that petty.

    • If you had a welcome telegram, it may have been deleted. There's no way to recover this. My advice would be that you keep a copy of your welcome telegram in a document on your computer. A new welcome telegram might have been set, again as a sort of mocking advertisement -- delete away.

That's all there is to it! Tag raiding does no lasting damage, and it is very rare for invaders to actually defend their tags these days, so you shouldn't have any resistance or real difficulty in fixing your region up.

The next step is to have a look at how you can keep your region safe, and prevent this from ever happening again.

My region is being occupied!

First and foremost, please donít panic. Having your home occupied by invaders is upsetting -- and thereís nothing wrong with being a bit upset -- but please, take a deep breath, and donít do anything that youíll come to regret later.

Do not send the invaders angry messages, either by telegram or by posting on your regional message board. That kind of reaction isnít going to help you nor your region. If your message is interpreted as flaming, you could even be warned by game moderators -- which I know might seem mightily unkind, but it is what it is. Some unscrupulous invaders may try to provoke a response from you, but ignore them.

Weíre going to walk through some of the things you and the other nations in your region can do to resist a hostile occupation.

  1. Ask for help. This is quite possibly the most important thing you should do, and thereís no shame in it. There are many regions and organisations which have made it their mission to oppose invasions -- defenders -- reach out to them, and theyíll be able to provide valuable advice and experience. If the invaders in your region arenít too entrenched, defenders might attempt a liberation, which is a massive counter attack aimed at taking back your home.

  2. All the nations in your region should cross endorse each other. This means you should endorse every other native and trusted nation in your region, and every other nation should do the same -- so every nation has as many endorsements as possible. This helps to increase influence, and will make it harder for the invaders to remove all of you. Send telegrams to other native WA nations, asking them to cross endorse as well. Posting on the regional message board probably wonít work, your messages will likely be suppressed.

  3. As many nations as possible should join the World Assembly. Try sending telegrams to all the native nations, asking them to join the WA and endorse other natives. The more WA nations you have, the more effective cross endorsing is. Perhaps more importantly, you want to make the gap between your endorsements and the invader Delegateís endorsements as small as possible -- this makes it easier for your region to be liberated by outside groups.

  4. If any native nations in your region are endorsing the invader Delegate, ask them to withdraw that endorsement. The invader may have initially pretended to be friendly to get additional endorsements from native nations, and those nations may have forgotten to take away their endorsements. Again, youíll need to telegram them, as the invader Delegate will probably suppress your regional message board.

Youíre not going to like this, but thatís about all you can do. The reality is, unfortunately, if your region is already occupied by a large invader force, there isnít much you can do to stop them. Sometimes the best you can do is wait and hope you are liberated. But the above steps are still very important, because they could increase your endorsements, and decrease the endorsements on the invader Delegate, and both of those things make a liberation more likely.

The most important thing you can do though, is to learn about how to stop this happening again. Read the next section of this guide, and use the information to make yourself and your region safe from invasions.

Remember, if youíve been targeted for an invasion, that you are not alone. Countless others have been through it and come out fine on the other side. If you want advice, have questions, or need help, feel free to telegram me. If I canít help myself, Iíll know someone who can.

How can I keep my region safe?

Invasions aren't going to stop any time soon. So it's important that you take some time, and learn how you can prevent them from happening to your region.

Because invasions make use of the built in game mechanics for electing Delegates, there's no technical way to just absolutely avoid them -- there's no simple way you can just opt out of gameplay. The admin team, including [violet], have said they are not going to ban the practice. But there are a few simple things you can do that protect your region against its effects. I know this might seem unfair, that to avoid gameplay you have to dabble in it yourself, but wishing this weren't the case isn't going to keep your region safe. You need to be a little bit proactive and ensure your own security.

The following is the ideal way to make your region an undesirable target and effectively invulnerable to invasion.

  1. Your region needs to have a Founder nation with permanent executive powers (this is an option that can and should be enabled when you create a region). This is the first and perhaps most important thing you can do to minimise the risk and damage of an invasion. Regions with active Founders are less likely to be targeted by invaders (though it still happens, especially if your Delegate has executive authority). If your region is invaded, the Founder can eject and ban all the invaders, and revert any damage done very easily. The Founder has absolute power and this cannot be removed by the invaders -- so they can always act as a guardian when needed. Note that the Founder nation must remain in the region, because if they leave then the Delegate automatically gets executive powers, which as explained in point two is not a good thing.

    Note that the Founder continues to have access to all controls when outside the region, including the ban and password controls, so it is not possible for a Founder to be locked out of their own region. If the Delegate has somehow imposed a password or banned the Founder nation, the Founder can still access admin controls and simply unban themselves.

    If your region is founderless, you should seriously consider refounding.

  2. Do not allow your Delegate executive powers. The Founder nation can and should disable executive power, and any other powers for that matter, attached to the WA Delegate position. If your Delegate has no power to actually change anything in your region, then if you are invaded the new invader Delegate won't be able to do any damage at all. Because of this, your region won't be a desirable target and is unlikely to be targeted for invasion in the first place.

    If you do want your Delegate (or any other nation in your region for that matter) to have some powers, you should make them a regional officer instead. With this method you can give out specific powers to specific nations, not to positions, so crucially those powers are only available to that specific nation, meaning if your Delegate is replaced then your new Delegate will not steal those powers. Remember though, and this is very important, only give officer powers to nations you absolutely trust. It is not uncommon for invaders to attempt to infiltrate a target in advance -- they will join a region, posing as an innocent new player, and attempt to gain your trust, only to suddenly betray that trust. Some invaders are very good at this. Do not underestimate this danger.

But my region doesn't have a Founder... D:

Then the best thing you can do for your founderless region is to refound it. This is a complicated and sometimes risky maneuver, but having a Founder afterwards, and therefore being completely secure against invasions, makes it very worthwhile. But again, and this needs some emphasis, refounding does have an element of risk -- there are players out there who will, unfortunately, attempt to sabotage your attempt, and even try to steal your region. It's worth talking to some experts before you decide to do this, there are many who might even be willing to help you. Please feel free to contact me, and I can put you in touch with these people. Regardless, I'll explain the process of refounding below.

  1. The first step is making the decision to refound. You should consult the other members of your region, explain the risks to them, and make sure they support the plan. If not everyone agrees that refounding is the right thing to do, this can make things very difficult. Perhaps most importantly, youíll need to decide who will control the new founder nation once the region is refounded -- it needs to be someone who is very responsible, and who everyone in your region absolutely trusts. Once this is decided, create the nation which will be used to found the new region, the refounder, and move it into your region.

  2. Youíll need a World Assembly Delegate. This nation needs to be controlled by a player who is very active and who everyone trusts -- as they will be doing most of the work here. Ideally this nation will have a significant amount regional influence. Ask all nations in your region to, if possible, join the WA and endorse your Delegate.

  3. Lock down your region with a password, and make sure that password is not visible to residents. Keep this password a very closely guarded secret. If you donít have enough influence to use a password, make sure you have as many endorsements as possible, and wait until you build up enough influence.

  4. Set up a temporary region. Even though this is temporary, again make sure the founder is someone you can trust. Ask all the non-WA member nations of your region to move to this temporary region until your home region can be safely refounded. You should telegram all these nations, and leave messages on your regional message board and world factbook entry -- keep in mind some players arenít very active, and it might be a short while before they see the messages and move. You will probably have to eventually eject nations which donít move. This does not include the refounder, which should stay in your original region.

  5. You should now only have WA nations in your region, plus the refounder, and hopefully they are all endorsing your Delegate. If they are not, then they are either inactive and so have not seen your messages, or they are active but unwilling to help -- either way, youíll need to eject them. If your Delegate does not have enough influence to do this, you could try asking all WA nations to swap their endorsements to another trusted nation who has enough influence.

  6. Your region should now be password locked, and only have WA nations which are endorsing your Delegate, again plus the refounder. Ask half of these WA nations to relocate to your temporary region, preferably the less active nations. If, after multiple messages, some have still not moved, then eject them. Once that is done, ask the other half to relocate as well, except the Delegate and one trusted WA nation endorsing the Delegate. Again, eject those who do not move. Finally, the last two WA nations, the Delegate and the other nation, should relocate to join the others.

  7. You now have a locked region with only one nation in it, the refounder, and are ready to actually refound the region. Do not attempt a refound immediately -- itís possible you are being watched, and safer to wait a short while so these interested parties lose interest. To refound the region, wait until just before your region updates (game updates occur every 12 hours), and move the the final nation out of the region just before this happens. Ask a trusted defender, and they can give you the exact time to do this (itís worth noting NS++ does not give accurate update times). Your region will cease to exist, and you can now create a new region with its name. Do this very quickly, or someone might take your name! You should now have a region with your old regionís name, except it will now have a founder nation, and you can invite all the old residents back home.

Again, I need to stress that refounding yourself if you aren't experienced at gameplay is not advised. Seek out help from experts, preferably trusted defenders, and they'll make sure you have the best possible chance of success. For example, both Australia and Deutschland successfully refounded with the assistance of TITO (Ten thousand Islands Treaty Organization). Click on either of those region names to read their story.

We don't want to refound.

I can understand that decision. Refounding will remove your entire message board history, which can be a significant loss for some. It's also an arduous and potentially quite stressful procedure, which, to be very honest, does have significant risk -- there are bad people out there who will try to intercept your refound and steal your region. People often get attached to their regions in sentimental ways, and that's okay. Every region should decide whether to refound or not for itself, and for its own reasons -- I'll give advice, but I can't and won't make that choice for you.

But you need to understand: choosing to not refound your region, choosing to have a region without a Founder, means your region will always be vulnerable. There are many steps we can take to mitigate the danger and keep your region as safe as possible, and I'll discuss those below, but it is much harder to keep a founderless region secure. You'll always be a target, and you'll always need to be vigilant -- this means, like it or not, you'll always need to be aware of gameplay. If you want to effectively opt out of this part of the game, you need to have a Founder.

  • If you do not have a WA Delegate, you should get one. You will need to accumulate as many endorsements on your chosen WA Delegate as possible. An invading group of nations can only take control if they can get more endorsements than your Delegate, so if your Delegate has a lot of endorsements this will make things harder for them. Having a Delegate with lots of endorsements also makes it easier for defenders to intercept and stop invaders if they target you.

  • You should consider enforcing an endorsement limit for nations in your region. This means setting a maximum number of endorsements that nations in your region are allowed to collect, preventing them from gathering too many endorsements without attracting attention. This is done to ensure the Delegate always has significantly more endorsements than any other nation in the region, which protects you against an unknown nation suddenly surpassing the Delegate and taking control. This is especially important because invaders commonly use sleepers -- they will send an infiltrator to your region, who will pretend to be friendly and attempt to gain endorsements. An endorsement cap would prevent this infiltrator from getting too many endorsements, and prevent them from getting anywhere near the endorsement count of your Delegate. A safe buffer zone should be at least thirty endorsements, so this measure is only really effective in larger regions. If a nation is too close to the endorsement cap, ask them to lower their endorsements. If a nation goes over the cap, eject them.

  • You can, and should, use the regional activity feed to monitor who moves in and out of your region. It might seem a tad paranoid, but it's good practice to look at new arrivals with at least a little bit of suspicion -- they could be an invader infiltrator. That definitely does not mean you should be hostile to newcomers, it rather means you should be active and aware. Ask them why they left their old region, and why they chose to move to yours. Ask them about their past experiences in NationStates. Questions like these could give them away as infiltrators. Even if it turns out they aren't a bad guy at all, it helps you get to know your new region mate, so don't be afraid to start a conversation! If, immediately upon arriving, they endorse every nation in your region or actively ask for endorsements themselves, this is definitely suspicious.

  • It's a good idea to only endorse nations you know -- don't just endorse any random nation that endorses you. This is very important in founderless regions. Infiltrators will endorse you and attempt to get your endorsement in return, so if you don't recognise a nation, do not endorse them. Until a newcomer has been a part of your community for a short while, and built up a little bit of trust, keep an eye on their endorsement level and don't raise it too high.

  • There is a sort of balancing game at work here. Having an endorsement cap, and being very careful with who you endorse, significantly reduces the risk posed by invader infiltrators. However, this also means nations in your region will have less endorsements -- and this means they will gain influence at a lesser rate. Influence is gained faster if you have more endorsements. Nations with higher influence are much more difficult for invaders to eject. So an alternate strategy of sorts might be to encourage nations in your region to actively give and acquire as many endorsements as possible, so that all nations build up as much influence as possible. This means invaders will require a sleeper nation to be able to eject any native nations, and even then will not be able to eject many. However, this kind of approach is focused on mitigating long term damage done during an invasion, and does not stop the invasion from happening in the first place.

  • You can consider using a password to control entry to your region. This password should not be visible to residents -- visible passwords are notoriously insecure. Keep the password a secret. Invaders will actively attempt to acquire your password, through various deceptions. If you give the password to a nation so that they can move into your region, change it immediately afterwards, because you have no way of knowing who they might have shared the password with. This is very important -- whenever you let a new nation in, change the password. You need to consider that passwords are generally very bad for recruitment and limit how fast your region will grow. They are however generally a good choice for dedicated RP regions.

  • Another option you could consider is moving to a safe new region, but keeping your old region as a sort of museum -- that way you donít lose any of its history. To set this up, lock your old region down with an invisible password, then remove all the nations except one or two placeholders. Remember to log in to these placeholders at least once every 28 days, because otherwise they will cease to exist, and if your region has no nations in it then it will be automatically closed down.

For smaller regions: You will likely not have enough WA nations to have a useful endorsement limit. You should make sure long term and trusted residents in your region have as many endorsements as possible, to build up influence. Be cautious about endorsing suspicious new residents. Unless you have a particular reason for not doing so, you should seriously consider refounding.

For larger regions: You will hopefully have enough WA nations to enforce a useful endorsement limit. This limit can change over time, but should always be at least 30 endorsements beneath the Delegate if possible. This doesn't have to be a completely hard limit -- consider letting nations you absolutely trust exceed the limit. It's definitely not a bad idea to have a number of high influence and high endorsement nations. Remember, the endorsement cap isn't going to enforce itself, you need to watch regional activity and be proactive!

Written by Consular, with assistance from Roavin, Cormac, Landscaping Buddies, Deadeye Jack. Questions/comments? Post in the forum thread, send me a telegram. Feel free to distribute this information.