A.N.A.L. for the win baby
To participate in the reserves program, only one puppet is needed. However, raiding is a bit different for the members of active duty. Raids are possible only when the game updates, which occurs twice a day at 12:00 pm EDT, and 12:00 am EDT. Now, the game updates each region individually, so it takes about 1-1.5 hours for the game to update fully. New delegates for a region are selected only when it updates. So, raiders will go out in small groups, jump into a region right before it updates, wait for one of them to be elected delegate, resign from the world assembly, join the wa on a different nation, and repeat the process by jumping into a new region. Each nation can only be updated once, so it is important to have a different puppet for each target during this type of raid (called a tag raid). Typical tag raids usually have between 20 and 50 target regions, although some may be much larger (TBH had a tag raid with over 100 targets just a few months ago).
If you are interested in joining active duty, you can apply to join on our regional forum. Joining our discord is also required to be a member of active duty, as that is where most of our coordination occurs.
A complete guide to military gameplay can be found here:
➼ Raiding, Defending, and Military Gameplay
From the NationStates FAQ:
- "There are two types of war games that have been developed by the NationStates community. One is regional invasions, where nations attempt to move into another region and topple the Regional Delegate; the other is an in-depth role-playing game that takes place in the International Incidents forum."
This guide focuses on the war game that concerns out-of-character NationStates mechanics, regional invasions and defending. To learn about the in-character Role Play warfare, see the stickies in the International Incidents forum.
Military Gameplay is the conflict between regions or organizations (a coalition of regions or individuals) who fight for control over the World Assembly Delegacy (and therefore gain control) of other regions. The fundamental actions of gameplay are raiding (seizing control of the WA Delegate position of a region by force) and defending (interfering with raider groups and protecting regions from raider attack).
➼ About This Guide & Resources
This guide was written to replace the former "Complete Guide to Military Gameplay" written by myself (King Nephmir II) in 2014, and as a replacement for the Basics of Military Gameplay written by Naivetry in 2011.
The Forum version of this guide can be viewed here, and is open for questions and feedback. Questions regarding what comes next and more about Gameplay can be asked in the Gameplay Advice Thread. There is also a thread for asking about NationStates history here, and a thread for looking for specific raider/defender regions here. Or, you can read this helpful guide about building your own region by Consular and start your own gameplay region!
➼ What is Raiding?
Raiding is when a group of people use a nation with World Assembly membership to forcibly assume control of a region's WA Delegate position. Delegates are elected during two daily occurring updates, or every 12 hours, based on the nation in the region that has the most World Assembly endorsements from other WA nations.
If there is a tie in endorsements, the nation that has been in the region the longest of the tied nations is elected as the WA Delegate.
➼ Why Raid?
Raiding is done for many purposes. Some regions raid to further a NationStates cause or real life ideology (or to fight one), and some raid just for the fun of raiding. Raider regions typically don't attack each other and usually ally with each other on the battlefield, though there have been instances in the past of some regions being exceptions to this. Typically, regions that raid for the sake of raiding are just called "raider" regions, while those that raid to further an ideology are known as "imperialist" regions. Regions that fit into neither category are "independent" aligned. Raiders that aren't affiliated with any organization can be considered "mercenaries".
➼ How to Raid
Since it is against the NationStates rules to have more than one nation in the World Assembly at a time, raiding regions requires multiple people working together in order to seize the WA Delegacy. While there are many forms of raiding (as described in the next section, "Types of Raiding"), all forms of raiding require the same mechanic of seizing the WA Delegacy.
During one of the twice daily updates, every region in the world is updated, alongside all nations within it. Every region displays the last time it updated underneath the founder/delegate names:
Hovering over this will give you a precise time the region updated last. Since both updates do not have the same update time, this value is accurate for the next day around that time, and can be used to jump into a region before it updates and seize the WA Delegacy by surprise (note that there are ways of calculating a more accurate time and adjusting for variance in the update. An explanation of this can be found in the "Advanced Mechanics" section).
➼ Types of Raiding
There are four main types of raiding:
Tag raiding: A form of raiding involving the brief capture of multiple regions during an update. No harm is inflicted upon the tagged regions other than changing its appearance (flying the raider's flag, banner, and World Factbook Entry (WFE)). Tag raiding is used primarily as a form of training with the added benefit of advertising the raider region and those involved in the raid. To tag raid, everyone creates several spare nations, and moves them to a late updating region. This is known as a "jump point". Since every nation in the world can only update once per update period, everyone endorses the raid leader, known as the point, and jumps into the target region at the same time right before it updates, seizing control of the WA Delegacy. The leader makes himself a Regional Officer, and all nations resign from the WA, and switch WA membership to a new nation in the jump point. This process is then repeated for as many targets as desired before the jump point itself updates the remaining nations. This process is often accelerated by both (1) pre-applying to the World Assembly on all puppet nations - you can have only 1 WA nation at a time, but you can have as many WA acceptance emails as you wish ready and waiting. These links in the emails are good for 28 days (2) custom keybind scripts/extensions can be used to bind keys to actions, so that scrolling and clicking is not necessary. Ensure you do research in the Technical forum before attempting to make your own tools!
Stealth raiding: When raiders use undercover puppet nations to infiltrate a region without being detected by enemies, disguised as a Native (a member nation of a region). These undercover nations are known as clean puppets, since they cannot be traced back to a raider nation or any raider region. A dirty puppet is the opposite, a nation that can be traced back to a raider, which cannot be used for stealth raids and can compromise the entire operation. Dirty puppets are used for tag raiding. When the time is right, the region is secretly seized or occupied and then destroyed.
Coup: A form of stealth raiding, secretly assuming control of a region (typically using political means or elections), and strategically capturing it using native and/or secret raider endorsements. Coups can take months, even years to pull off, and typically involve gaining the trust of the active region members and occupying the region in secret for awhile to build up influence (further detailed under "advanced mechanics").
Occupation: The open capture of a region supported by raider endorsements, known as a "pile". Raiders openly hold onto a region for weeks, or even months, often with the end goal of completely destroying a region and permanently refounding it under raider control.
➼ Destroying Regions
If a region updates without any nations in it at its time of update, it will be deleted from the game ("cease to exist", or CTE). The region name is then free to be refounded, granting it a raider controlled founder account with permanent control over the region. Not every raid has the end goal of regional destruction, however there have been many high profile regions destroyed in the past.
Refounding is risky, however, as anyone can intercept it by moving into the region (if there is no password pre-imposed) or by refounding the region first. It is a high risk, high reward maneuver.
➼ What is Defending?
Defending is when a group of nations move to a region to seize the WA Delegacy and defend it from raids, support a native member of the region's Delegacy, or to restore a region's history after a tag raid.
For tools on restoring a region's former state before a raid, see the "References and Tools" section at the end of this guide!
➼ Why Defend?
Regions defend other regions as a means of making NationStates as much of a raider free environment as possible, and to prevent regional history from becoming lost to the mists of time. Much like raiding, everyone has their own individual reasons and backstories for defending, and some simply defend for the fun of defending.
➼ How to Defend
Spotting is the act of watching for suspicious activity utilizing the Activity Page to gain the advantage of noticing raids or invasions before they begin, so that troops may be mobilized to prevent or stop a raid in its early stages.
This page can also be filtered to watch for specific happenings (tracking nation movement, endorsements, and WA membership) during the update, so that the forces may activity intercept raids or aid allies in doing so (typically combined with a browser extension that adds keyboard shortcuts for further increased response time).
It is always helpful to have all of your switcher puppets prepared in a late updating region ahead of time, all applied to join the World Assembly, so that they may be used at a moment's notice.
➼ Types of Defending
There are 2 main forms of defending:
Detagging: A form of defending involving the brief capture of multiple raider tagged regions during an update. The regions are then reverted back to their original native state using a variety of tools, included at the end of this guide. Detagging is used primarily as a form of training and/or when there are no raiders actively raiding. If there are raiders actively raiding, defenders can instead go for an interception, and prevent tag raids from happening in the first place. Since every nation in the world can only update once per update period, everyone endorses the leader, known as the point, and jumps into the target region at the same time right before it updates, seizing control of the WA Delegacy. The leader makes himself a Regional Officer, and all nations resign from the WA, and switch WA membership to a new nation in the jump point. This process is then repeated for as many targets as desired before the jump point itself (a late updating region used to store puppet nations in for the sake of using multiple nations an update) updates the remaining nations.
Liberating: the act of seizing a region occupied by raider forces en masse, removing the raiders occupying the region, and restoring it back under native control. This can be done by a mass group of defenders endorsing leaders in a jump point, then jumping into the occupied region as it updates, or by jumping in and endorsing an active native or pre-placed defender puppet.
The act of cross-endorsing and repeatedly jumping into a region without enough updaters every update with the intent to update as many defenders in the region as possible to expend raider influence totals is known as an attrition run.
Defenders can also protect a region from being raided initially by stationing themselves in a region and endorsing the native delegate and Regional Officers.
➼ Refound Interception
If all else fails, and raiders are close to refounding a region, defenders can attempt to snipe the refound attempt by creating a region with the same name as the raiders empty the region to delete it. If successful, this will instead grant the region over to defender control, allowing defenders to reinstate the native community and have access to the founder account to protect against future raids.
For information on preventing raids in region, see the "Regional Security" section.
-Sun Tzu, The Art of War
➼ Founder vs. Founderless Regions
Every region in NationStates can be divided into two categories: regions with founders, and regions with no founder (tagged as "founderless" regions). Regions without a founder are either game created regions (see below), regions founded before founders were a concept in the antiquity years of NationStates such as the region Nationstates, or a region that had a founder that ceased to exist from inactivity. If a founder ceases to exist (or leaves the region), the WA Delegate position is automatically granted executive authority (the ability to access all regional controls and create Regional Officer positions), even if the ability wasn't granted to the WA Delegate while the founder was present in the region. This leaves the region potentially vulnerable to raids if not defended properly. To protect a founderless region, see the section "regional security").
Founders have complete control over their regions, and can freely use regional controls, including appointing Regional Officers (ROs), restricting WA Delegate powers, banning and ejecting nations, and imposing a password free of influence charge and without any cooldowns.
WA Delegates have control over founderless regions, but are restricted still to appointing 1 RO per 26 hours in office (up to 12 total), an influence charge for banning and ejecting nations, a hefty influence cost for imposing a password, and a 1 second cooldown between nation bans and ejections. Appointed ROs have to spend twice as much influence to complete actions, making banning the WA Delegate difficult to impossible to do. The 1 second ban cooldown also applies to all nations with access to regional border controls, and is shared by the whole region.
➼ Warzones & Game Created Regions
"Game created regions", or GCRs, are founderless regions created by the game to serve a variety of purposes. There are currently 15 GCRs, including 5 Feeders, 4 Sinkers, and 6 Warzones.
Sinkers are regions that do not spawn new nations, but spawn nations in a different way:
Osiris - "restorer" type sinker that restores nations that ceased to exist previously.
Balder - restorer
Lazarus - restorer
the Rejected Realms - Also known as a "catcher" region, since banned nations arrive in the region
Warzones were initially created before regional influence (a type of "currency" that is used to ban/eject and password protect regions) was a mechanic many years ago, as a way to provide raidable regions to deter regional destruction by raiders. This idea, however, ultimately failed, since Warzones themselves cannot cease to exist and therefore cannot be destroyed. In Warzones, there is no founder, and bans are temporary, expire, and cost no influence to carry out (as influence in Warzones is "frozen" as if the region was just created).
➼ Frontiers & Strongholds
[!] The following feature is not in the game yet. The discussion & additional information for this topic can be found here, and is currently planned to go into development by the NationStates admin.
From the forum thread, paraphrased (and subject to change):
Regions can choose to be either Frontier or Stronghold regions. "Founder" now becomes a term that purely applies to a nation that founded a region, and has no relation to Executive powers at all. All Founders remain recorded on the front page of regions as they always have. "Governor" is introduced as a new term to recognize a nation that has permanent Executive powers that can be used without influence cost.
Governor(if any) is non-executive; executive power lies solely with the WA Delegate.
6 month influence decay as in feeders (see "advanced mechanics" for details on influence and influence decay).
50% of newly spawned nations are spawned in Frontier regions rather than feeders.
The intention of these regions is to be high-risk, high-reward. They are extremely vulnerable - you're protected only by WA endorsements and influence (and even then have to watch out for internal coups from Regional Officers). The payoff is that you get "free" nations via spawning in your region.
➼ Founders & Encouraging WA Participation
WA members have the power to raid, defend, and prevent raids from happening in the first place. The more WA members a region has, the more "weapons" it has to protect against raiding, simply through the endorsement mechanic. The more endorsements the WA Delegate has, the more endorsements are needed to raid the region, and the more influence the Delegate obtains every update (which is used to impose a password and ban + eject nations).
Having the founder nation present in a region with a non-executive Delegacy (the Delegate cannot access regional border controls) are the best means of preventing raids when possible.
➼Using WA Endorsements
There are various ways regions can use endorsements to protect their region and make their region as strong and "raid-proof" as possible.
Endorsement caps, or "endo cap", is a limit on the number of endorsements a WA member of the region may hold. The endo cap is usually set anywhere from 2 (the amount needed to submit WA proposals) to anywhere around 50% of that of the WA Delegate's endorsements. Obviously, the Delegate and Vice Delegate (if applicable) are exempt from the endo cap. Some regions make a small endo cap for those not endorsing the delegate and a larger one for those that do, to provide extra incentive to endorse the delegate.
Some regions choose a different means of defense. Instead of an endo cap, in which power is focused on the current delegate, some regions prefer to freely allow members to "endo swap" (giving an endorsement to another nation in the hope of receiving an endorsement in return) or "endo tart" (giving an endorsement to another nation along with a telegram asking for an endorsement in return) to obtain high levels of endorsements, usually with the limit being just short of whatever the WA Delegate's endorsements are.
This slightly increases the chance of a coup, however if the region is under a coup, the delegate cannot ban or eject a lot of WA members with high endorsements (ejecting one or two would deplete the influence supply of the Delegate). This makes destroying or holding the region difficult and the rogue Delegate can be easily overthrown, especially given the lower endorsement margin between WA members and the Delegate.
The total amount of endorsements swapped divided by the total amount of endorsement swaps possible (recorded as a percentage) is known as endorsement saturation. Higher levels of endorsement saturation restrict delegate powers, but spread out the influence rapidly, while lower levels of endorsement saturation increase delegate powers and decrease the influence spread.
➼ Regional Passwords
Delegates can spend a large amount of influence to password protect a region (Founders are able to do this with no influence cost). This will prevent nations from entering your region that do not know the password. This should be use with caution however, as anybody you invite afterwards will have the password, alongside everyone in the region if you select the option to "show residents the password". This will also stop community growth, and is only recommended as a means to protect an active community from being raided by conventional means.
➼ WA Liberations
The Security Council can be used as a means for natives across many regions to provide support for defenders and natives currently experiencing a raid.
A WA Liberation (not to be confused with defender "liberation" of a region) is a proposal that the world can vote on through the Security Council that can target a region (typically that of which is being occupied by raiders), and remove the ability to password protect a region, leaving it vulnerable to defender liberations and harder to destroy without interference.
➼ Declarations, Commendations, and Condemnations
Commendations are typically used to award nations that contribute significantly to NationStates or defending.
Condemnations are typically used to warn nations of exemplary leaders in the raiding community.
Declarations can be used for a variety of different effects, and are not necessarily limited to just raiding/defending.
Neither commendations, condemnations, nor declarations, however, provide any sort of gameplay advantage or technical effect.
➼ More SC Information
For more information on the SC, check out the pins in the Security Council forum. For future SC proposal type developments, see the technical thread here.
➼ What are Updates?
There are two game updates each day. At this time, nations update (national population increases, change in regional influence occurs, etc.) However, they don't all update at the same time. The following is a list of all that takes place during the update, in no particular order:
National population increases.*
A New Featured World Census Report is Issued.*
A new featured region is selected.*
World Assembly resolutions finish voting and new ones arrive (at the beginning of update).
Influence increases (or decreases, for a nation that has left the region or regions that have influence decay).
Inactive nations and empty regions cease to exist.
WA endorsements are verified and new WA Delegates are elected, if necessary.
*Major Update only
Each update is known as the following:
12:00AM-1:30AM EST - this is known as the Major Update, since it not only updates the nations and regions, but compiles a WA Census Report, chooses a new featured region, and updates the population of each nation.
12:00PM-1:00PM EST - this is known as the Minor Update, since it is generally shorter than the Major Update and only does a basic update of the nations and regions.
Eastern Standard Time is used since update times are affected by daylight saving's time. To see the times in your time zone, try a time zone converter.
Over the course of the update, each region updates, one by one, back to back in rapid succession. During this time, nations are updated within the region (one by one, right after each other back to back in less than a second each) in order of how long they've been present within the region, with the long time residents updating first and newer arrivals last.
During these times, the endorsements are also recounted within the region. The nation in the region with the most World Assembly endorsements at this time becomes the region’s WA Delegate, and all nations gain influence.
Each region updates at a specific time within this time frame, and can only update once per update. Likewise, each nation can only update once. Therefore, once a nation updates, it can no longer be used during the course of that update for raiding or defending purposes. Once a region updates, it cannot be updated again until the next update.
Regions change update time slightly both as an intentional feature and in some cases server strain. This is known as "variation" in the update time, and is in place to make it more challenging to jump into a region precisely as it updates, leaving room for defenders to react to raiders more often.
➼ What is Influence?
Regional influence is a numerical value attached to your nation that rises based on how long you've been present within a region and the number of endorsements you have. Regional influence only applies to the total amount of influence within a single region, and is independent from the amount of influence in any other region in the world. All nations gain 1 influence per update, plus an additional +1 influence per endorsement received every update. A nation's influence can be seen here, as measured in Soft Power Disbursement Rating (SPDR).
A large amount of influence is needed to impose a visible password on a region (a password visible to all residents), and a very high amount of influence is needed to impose a hidden password.
Banning and ejecting nations also consumes influence. It costs 1/2 of that nation's influence to ban them (example: you have 60 SPDR, and the nation you want to ban has 30 SPDR. It would therefore cost you 15 SPDR to ban them, leaving you with 45 SPDR remaining), and 1/3 of a nation's influence to eject them. Planning out influence is key to a successful operation!
A nation's regional influence level is just a general descriptor of how much influence a nation has in comparison to the total influence pool in the region. There are 31 influence levels:
25. Eminence Grise
Leaders and officers of raider and defender regions typically maintain sleeper networks, or a large batch of puppets infiltrated across many regions (hundreds, or even thousands) to pre-emptively gain influence.
Establishing and upkeeping a sleeper network is crucial to becoming, quite literally, influential across NationStates. This expands the organization's reach, whether it be for raiding or defending regions, and can turn the tide of an operation.
After a week of not logging into a nation, however, it will stop gathering influence, so be sure not to leave the nation unattended. Nations Cease To Exist (CTE) after 28 days, or 60 days in vacation mode. For tools for maintaining a sleeper network, see the "References & Tools" section at the end of this guide.
➼ Additional References
FAQ - A great place to get an overview of what NationStates is about and learn the general NationStates rules.
NationStates API - Nation and region data open for public use for tool development and gathering data.
For more references and information about this guide, see the "Introduction" section!
NationStates++ - A browser extension for NationStates that is no longer supported, but still works (as of January 2022) for logging into and keeping up with puppet nations.
Old Login Script - A guide to running and using a login script written awhile back to keep up with puppet nations. May or may not still be functional, but written by admin.
NSLogin-Web - A newer login script website.
AugustinAndroid v2 - A Discord bot for NationStates.
NationCogs - Another Discord bot for NationStates.
NSHistory - A way to look back into a region's history.
WFE Index - Recover a region's WFE after it has been raided.
Region Flag Archive - Recover a region's flag after it has been raided.
Breeze++ - A tool that allows keybinds to be used for tagging/detagging.
Spyglass - An Excel script used for finding update times and triggering.
Activity Page - Don't underestimate the usefulness of the in-game activity page, especially for defending.
[!] All of these tools are maintained for public use by a variety of raider and defender regions. Tools that require installation: use at your own risk! If you're not sure about a tool or don't trust it, don't use it. Any tool that breaks site rules will be promptly removed from this guide.
➼ Proposed Ideas & Discussions
let me be in charge of something please i have good very big great plans
i can be trusted with nuclear power give me responsibilites i should already have them i am the best one here please please please let me nuke the most serene republic of st innocent please it will be good you want it too
Yeah that lad is being weird as well, I mean look at his nation banner.
A match made in hell. We will wreak havoc on our citizens together!
It is better to openly admit you are doing wrong so our citizens will fear us even more.
Fear... what a beautiful word. If I could, I would bathe in fear everyday. But if I do, my skin would get wrinkles, as would the prosperity of my nation. It's just my opinion, but perhaps keep all the scary-I mean, "legal" stuff beneath the surface? We may not be able to enjoy fear as often, but doing it this way makes it sweeter. Like dessert. Who doesn't like dessert?