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Three Small Improvements
Here in the NationStates Innovation Laboratories we're always looking for ways to improve your nation-building experience. After all, those citizens won't oppress themselves. Here are three recent features you may not have noticed:
Sometimes when you're founding a nation, some underling screws up the name on the paperwork. Then you're stuck with an embarrassing typo. But you can now correct minor capitalization errors in Settings!
You can only change capitalization, and names still must begin with a capital. We know some nations want bigger changes, but we're still researching the necessary advanced typography technology.
Many places you need to enter a nation or nation name, like the search box on the World page, now auto-suggest likely candidates, taken from your Dossier and the world at large.
Telegram Address Filters
When sending a telegram to a group of nations, you can mix and match advanced filters for precision targeting. Want to reach only WA member nations of particular regions? Now you can! See here for details.
Always More Issues
People often ask me, "Where do issues come from? I mean, are you deliberately pushing a hidden agenda by steering the national conversation toward certain topics or what?" And I say ha ha no of course not.
The truth is that issues are carefully curated by a panel of experts, known as Editors, who sift through your nation to find the most urgent, thought-provoking, or challenging matters of the day, and present them to you in handy multiple choice format.
But where do Editors come from? Good question. Honestly, I have no idea. All I know is first one showed up and every time I turn around there are more. So to explain, here is one of them:
From: The Free Secular Federation of Nation of Quebec
Issues are the lifeblood of NationStates. Without them, our nations wouldn't be able to grow and we wouldn't be able to chuckle at in-game typos. We recently hit a milestone of 600 issues and we continue to add new issues every week. On behalf of the editing team, I'd like to extend a big thank you to all the aspiring writers, commentators, stat-hounds, and issue nitpickers who made it all possible. You all make NationStates a better place and it is inspiring to see that people continue to write and contribute to the game.
On that regard, it is my pleasure to announce a new Issues Contest. This is our latest contest that allows you the chance to become an illustrious Issues Editor.
The primary role of an Issues Editor is to turn player-submitted issues into game-ready format. This process involves selecting promising submissions—and discarding those that won't be used, editing the text, and then deciding on the statistical effects the choices will have.
Being an Issue Editor means that not only will you receive a fancy badge on your nation page, you'll be recognized in the forums by that lovely puke-brown color.. You'll get to join a dynamic team who work tirelessly to edit, polish, and help get issues added to the game. You'll be behind a part of that exclusive club who work behind the scenes to make sure that issues are ready to be added to NationStates canon. We're a fun and friendly bunch. The biggest argument we ever had was over what color a character's lab coat should be. Oh, and there's pizza in the back. Max is buying. [Ed: This is a lie. There is no pizza.]
If you'd like to enter, please submit a new, original issue that you have authored via the usual method. Entries are limited to one per player, so make sure you're happy with your submission before entering—there is no rush. The Contest closes on January 15th 2017. Make sure you check the "Issues Contest" checkbox, so we know it's your entry.
Please see this thread for more information. The Got Issues? forum is your friend. Good luck and happy writing!
World Assembly Makeover
A fresh coat of paint for the World Assembly (your dues at work!) means resolutions and proposals may look a little fresher to your eyes today. At-vote resolutions have a neat vote tally bar.
There are also some small functionality improvements, like being able to link directly to a single proposal or resolution of interest.
Rest assured, however, that the World Assembly itself remains the same force for good/evil/totalitarianism as always.
You may have heard people telling you to vote. I would like to join those people, because you are here, running nations, weighing trade-offs, and choosing least-bad options, which makes you far better equipped to vote than most of the people who will actually do it.
I mean, I don't want to say that all voters are single-issue crazies with demented worldviews. But a lot of them are. For democracy to work, we really need to balance that out with people who can look at an issue and notice it has more than one side.
Decisions get made on voting day. The only question is whether it's by your or them. So please do vote, even if you think it won't matter; your voice will still be heard, and recorded, and exert a small but significant influence on the future direction of the world.
Z-Day5: The Reckoning
Well! That wasn't so bad!
Congratulations to those regions that survived, especially those who made the Z-Day Tally Leaderboard!
That required some impressive planning and co-ordination, as well as a steel heart, to maintain border security in the face of so many needy infected. Well done, kind of.
This year's global survival rate of 22.8% is the second-best ever, just shy of the 2015 record of 24.4%. Survival rates are definitely trending up, even though each wave has been more infectious than the one before, and this is probably due to solid preparation by large regions.
This means the future is bright! Unless, of course, something fundamental changes to make zombies much more dangerous in the future. But that probably won't happen.
Everything is fine.
So, bad news. Our latest tests are showing a definite uptick in post-mortem movement by corpses. It's not much. But frankly any amount is concerning. If we extrapolate from these numbers, we can predict that at a particular point in the near future, there will probably be a world-wide explosion in the numbers of animated dead attempting to infect the living.
Zombie apocalypse begins in:
So that's not great.
On the plus side, we live in a world hardened by four consecutive years of zombie attacks, so that experience should come in handy. I'm actually pretty optimistic that we can do better than ever and achieve a survival rate as high as 25%.
What You Need to Know
The zombie apocalypse will begin 6 years 210 days ago
It will run for 36 hours, ending 6 years 208 days ago
Zombies move between nations in the same region. This makes it important to be aware of what your neighbors are doing, as will be difficult for an individual nation to hold out in a heavily infected region. Each region will report its infection rate so that residents can make an informed choice about which are relatively safe and which are basically pools of pandemic-level z-virus.
You have three options:
Exterminate the zombies with military force. This converts them into dead citizens, who pose no further risk to the living. It is very effective when you have lots of survivors and few zombies, and less effective when your military forces have mostly been eaten.
Research a cure, which helps to lower your region's infection rate. Enough nations working together can slow or stop the spread of zombies and even begin to turn infected back into survivors. However, this takes time.
Embrace the zombie hordes, becoming part of the problem as you spread zombies all around your region. This option isn't for everyone. But there's always someone.
Each option also helps build a particular superweapon. Once built, they can be manually deployed against targets of your choice by visiting their nation page and hitting the appropriate button.
Exterminating zombies develops Tactical Zombie Elimination Squads, who can enter other nations and kill zombies there.
Researching a cure develops Cure Missiles, which can be launched at other nations in order to convert zombies into survivors.
Embracing the undead develops Hordes, which can surge into other nations and infect their survivors.
Superweapons can be deployed every 20 seconds. If you take a hit from a superweapon, the resulting chaos makes your own superweapon unavailable for a few minutes.
As an emergency measure, Founders and Delegates will be able to close their region's borders at no Influence cost, sealing themselves off the from the world, and the bleating cries of all the poor nations who wish to seek refuge. I'm not judging that. I mean, it seems pretty harsh. You're just sitting there watching millions of people die. But zombie apocalypses demand tough choices.
I have also heard that Hordes could be more infectious than ever this year. But that's probably not true.
The Z-Day Tally Board will be updated at the start of any widespread undead uprising to keep track of the survivors. Good luck!
A handy primer courtesy of CGP Grey:
By the way, let me apologize in advance if the world is consumed by flesh-eating zombies sometime next week. That seems to keep happening. After last year's zompocalypse, nations agreed to strict corpse-burning protocols and they should, in theory, ensure that no more undead rise to feast upon the brains of the living. But you know how protocols are. There's what's supposed to happen and then there's the nation that shoveled its zombies into a ditch and drove away. So we'll see. More information soon.
World Assembly Ends Permanent Bans
Until now, when a nation was ejected from the World Assembly, it was banned for all eternity. But a feeling developed in the WA halls that eternity is a pretty long time. So this has been revised! Henceforth, World Assembly bans last one year by default, after which time, the nation may resume its seat at the international table.
Bans are most commonly applied when a single ruler controls multiple WA-member nations. It's fine to run more than one nation—why confine your wisdom and insight to a single country?—but only one can be in the World Assembly, endorsing other nations and voting on international law, at a time.
If your nation was ejected from the WA, consider re-joining today!
New Nation Creation Process
Founding a nation is one of life's great joys. It's so fresh, so full of potential. It could be anything! A few years in, of course, you're so jaded, you're televising ritual sacrifice of criminals for mass entertainment. Or maybe that's just me.
But the point is: Founding a nation is now more joyous than ever! A technomagical redesign means you can see the likely effects of your ideological choices, so you get a sense of the kind of nation you're shaping before you actually found it and five million people have to live there forever.
Also, for those times when it's too hard to think of a suitable name that hasn't already been used by one of the 4.6 million nations that came before you, there's a random name generator! Calibrated with data from actual NationStates nations, this produces names that will fit seamlessly into the international community, such as "Far Par Lla," "Paper Tzechy," or, my personal favorite, "Gay Habliconiopia."
Ranking Tables: Now In Graph Form
The only thing better than raw data is graphed data, I always say. "But Max," they say, "I just want to use the bathroom in peace." "Yep," I say. "Graphed data is the best."
So there is a new button on all ranking tables, which looks like this:
Click that and your table will transform into a bar chart, allowing you to see at a glance how close all those nations are to each other.
P.S. You might ask why the icon for the bar chart is a picture of a column chart. To which I say: Shut the hell up.
Only last month I noted there were 150,000 nations in the world, the most ever. Well, now there are 190,000. Nations are springing up everywhere!
Ever More Numbers
You know the overwhelming tide of numbers that washes over you after answering each issue? Well, if you're the kind of person who finds that tide not overwhelming enough, may I introduce the new "Show more stats" toggle, available in your Settings.
This will triple the amount of numbers in each tide, by adding before and after values for each affected World Census Ranking scale. You're welcome!
BREAKING: Open Election for WA Secretary-General!
Word coming in now that following a breakdown in negotiations, the World Assembly has thrown open its doors to an open election for the position of WA Secretary-General—the WA's head, imbued with powers too vast to mention!
★ Election Stats & News: Your Election Hub ★
Nations have already entered the race for Secretary-General and plenty more are hastily preparing campaigns. Voting is open to every nation of 30 million citizens or more, even non-WA members!
I'm told the Election will run over several days and contain several rounds. The first three rounds are open to all candidates, and the results determine the ballot order of the following round, such that the best-supported candidates get the prized positions at the top of the ballot.
Then the General Election will be held, with the ballot restricted only to the top five candidates and voting restricted to WA members.
Never before has the election of the WA Secretary-General been so visible! This is a truly shocking moment. We can only imagine who might be elected, and what it means for us all.
Update: Regions are breaking out in support for candidates! If you have authority over Appearance in your region, you can start boosting via Region Control.
Final Update: It's all over! Congratulations to WA Secretary-General Elect Caelapes! A tight race in the end, but well-fought, and with very little actual bloodshed, that anyone saw.
World Assembly Whispers
Well this is curious. I'm not sure it's worth bothering you about... it's probably nothing. But I'm hearing there's some kind of internal strife in the World Assembly, with factions unable to agree on...
You know what, that's nothing unusual for them. Forget I said anything.
A special message from Senior Issues Moderator Sedgistan.
As modern progressive nations, we are all by now used to our citizens confronting us with their dilemmas at every hour of the day, demanding an immediate response. With this never-ending stream of problems, it's a relief to know there is at least some variety to the ceaseless demands of the numberless masses. After all, there's only so many times one can crack down on those long-haired bicycle-riding idiots before even the most dedicated of dictators becomes jaded.
We have now reached the milestone of 500 issues, covering topics from banning Harry Potter books, through any number of Bigtopian crises, to the controversial reclassification of everyone's favourite planet, Fido.
This is an amazing achievement, and certainly not one that anyone could have anticipated back in 2002, when there were a mere 31 issues to contend with. At least that's our excuse for why so many nations feature powerhouse Basket Weaving Industries, yet Construction, Banking and Pharmaceuticals are strangely absent.
A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to this: all those who have authored issues, our dedicated team of Issues Editors, those that have shared feedback on the issues they've encountered -- but most of all everyone who taken the time to answer an issues. We know you care... even if your citizens don't.
Precision is Progress
Improved sensitivity in testing methodologies and instrumentation has allowed the World Census to begin measuring Civil Rights, Economy, Economic Freedom, and Political Freedom to a precision of two decimal places! You may notice a slight bump or dip on each scale as a result.
World Census Update
Got a quick note from the World Census. They're pleased with how the rankings are tracking, although we should expect some minor adjustments as they refine their algorithms over the next few weeks, apparently.
There's also a new ranking, Residency, which tracks how long nations have been in their current region. A lot of the older data for this was scraped together by interns with flashlights from the World Census basement, so it's basically the best they could do before the razor-toothed basement rats were drawn to the smell of human flesh.
Also: 150,000 active nations! This is the most in world history.
Service will be interrupted at approximately 6:30pm PST / 9:30pm EST / 2:30am GMT / 1:30pm AEDT today as we roll out the threatened updates.
For details on what's changing, browse down the News page! But here are your Top 2 Need-To-Knows:
Trophies will look like this:
- No trophy
- Top 10%
- Top 5%
- Top 1%
If you're ranked #1, the trophy will also have a border. For example, the top-ranked nation in a region of 15 nations will have a green trophy with a border, signifying that it's #1 as well as being in the top 10%.
Issues will pass immediately when you select an option. If that sounds a little too accident-prone to you, you can avoid sparking a revolution by mistake by visiting the Issues section of your Settings (after the update) and enabling "Require confirmation before passing legislation." You will then be prompted to confirm each issue choice before it is enacted.
Fast Issues: You Are The Law, With Less Delay
Last week we learned the World Census is planning to unlock a treasure trove of new live data about the world's nations. Well, this set off a small firestorm, with people asking why an ancient, conservative organization with alleged paranormal dealings like the World Census can get all fast and modern while the rest of us are still doing this:
Consider an issue.
Make a decision.
Come back tomorrow to see what the consequences are.
Now, in my opinion, there's nothing wrong with this. Fine leaders have raised great nations this way. Although, admittedly, it does require patience and a good memory, since you have to remember what everything in your nation looked like before.
Nevertheless, I'm not one to stand in the path of progress. Times are changing, it seems, and we need to get with them. So this will be happening:
Immediate legislation. When you make a decision, law will be enacted right away. That's right. No more waiting around for lawyers/senators/minions to get your Act together. Your will shall be done without delay.
Immediate feedback. Newspaper headlines and a talking point will be gathered from your citizens. Additionally, the new World Census real-time data stream will be hooked up, so you can study what just happened to your Kitten Softness Rating, or a World Census scale you actually care about.
Anytime issues. Currently, issues are painstakingly gathered from your citizens via twice-daily polling and delivered to your desk at the same time each day. Well forget that! Instead, issues will be wired straight to you wherever you are whenever they arise, which can be any time.
More issues. Life was simpler, back in the old days. National leaders only had to deal with the same thirty or so simple issues, over and over. That was all they could handle. But today there are nearly five hundred. This isn't actually part of any update. It's just the steady progression of life, as curated by your dedicated staff of issue editors. But I thought it was worth remarking on. That's a lot of issues.
More frequent issues. Your staff are careful not to bother you with more than two issues per day. But modern leaders can handle more stress, probably. So that will increase to four.
I should mention there's some chance the world may end because of this, or at least become difficult to access for a while. Some teething problems are to be expected when 145,000 nations modernize at once. I mean, some of those nations, not yours, the other ones, they're basically rubbing sticks together. Anyway, please bear with me, and resist the urge to execute your IT staff.
Tomorrow is a new dawn!*
* Not actually tomorrow. That's an expression. Probably around the end of the month.
World Census Turmoil!
When you think of the World Census, you probably imagine a faceless bureaucracy of bean-counters and pencil-pushers. Because that's exactly what they are. Sure, once a day, they manage to publish a global ranking of nations on some scale or another, but no-one knows which one they'll choose, and if you miss it, it's gone.
Well, there's change in the air! After an allegedly bloodless coup, the World Census is nearing the end of a major modernization, with the old-timers pushed out, hungry new talent rising to the top, and pencils and beans being replaced by tablets in the cloud.
What does this mean for your nation? Plenty. Rumor has it that the new World Census will offer:
New scales. Many rankings had their scoring metrics revamped to introduce more real-world data, such as crimes per hour and atheism rates, and a few new ones have been added, including Highest Foreign Aid, Economic Output (GDP), and Average Incomes.
Live rankings. No longer must you wait months to find out where you sit in the world for Largest Basket Weaving Industry, Nicest Citizens, or Nudest! All nations will be able to see where they rank on every scale at once.
Historical tracking. What was your crime rate last week? You'll know. Because there will be a chart.
Regional trophies. Regions that rank among the top in the world for religiousness, tax rates, corruption, or anything else will be graced with appropriate icons. And, as with nations, you'll be able to see where regions rank on all global scales. And their historical performance will be tracked graphically.
The World Census is cloaked in secrecy, of course, and no-one knows exactly who's in charge, but I for one tip my hat to it. It says a lot to me that even those who stood up and opposed the change in the beginning haven't been heard from since, nor seen. Sounds like progress!