by Max Barry

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Updated Privacy Policy

by Max Barry
Thu, 24 May 2018

Now for the news you've really been waiting for: We've updated our Privacy Policy! Like all the cool kids nowadays, we're taking steps to purge old data we don't really need, be more transparent about the data we collect, and allow you to remove personal information you don't want us to have any more. See here for more!

Issue 1K

by Max Barry
Mon, 21 May 2018

I don't want to blow your mind but we just added Issue number ONE FREAKING THOUSAND. That's right: Your nation may now encounter any of 1,000* different dilemmas that ask you to make an ideological choice between a set of flawed options.

* Actually 1,001, since the first issue is #0.

I'll be honest with you: I didn't see this coming. After I wrote the first 31, I thought that was plenty. "That's all the major topics covered, Max," I told myself. "You nailed it." The fact that we now have an additional 970 issues is because an often-changing team of volunteer authors and editors decided there were actually more areas to explore, and attacked them with tireless good humor and ingenuity.

Hundreds of different people have written or edited an issue, and over two dozen are in the double digits for issue contributions. It's impossible to thank anyone in particular without ignoring someone else who equally deserves it, but I do want to acknowledge three people in particular who we couldn't have reached this milestone without: Sirocco, who was the editing team in the early days, Sedgistan, who remodeled and championed it as a professional organization, and Candlewhisper Archive, who runs it today.

Thank you to everyone who contributed an issue, even if you submitted an issue that didn't quite make the cut. And if you've simply enjoyed the end result of what the editing team produces, thank you for that! Authors and editors need readers, too.

P.S. Cards are still coming.

Another Card Trading Update

by Max Barry
Thu, 19 Apr 2018

Okay! Obviously card trading was supposed to reopen by now. I did slightly overestimate how much card-based work it was possible to accomplish in one week, following two other weeks that were also full of card-based work. Thanks to those of you patiently waiting.

We're still a little way off being ready to re-open trading, but this post is to share current thinking about the plan. Confirmed/definitely intended features include:

  • One loot box per nation every 48 hours

  • Greatly reduced likelihood of drawing the card of a nation from the same region

  • Direct trading of cards between nations

  • Greater snipability of low-value transactions (discussion below)

  • No ex-nation cards in loot boxes

  • When a nation ceases to exist, its deck will also cease to exist (after a period of time)

  • Deck size limited but expandable by spending bank

  • The ability to group cards together in "Collections" for display purposes

  • A browsable global marketplace

  • A range of upgrades to the interface and underlying mechanics

There are also some more ambitious longer-term ideas, but one step at a time. Some of the above will be live from when we re-open trading and others will come in as development time allows over future months.

All About Puppets

The trickiest question has been how to handle puppet farming. This is when a player controls many nations and uses them to collect cards and funnel good ones to their "main." I actually think the first part is fine: It doesn't matter if someone wants to use multiple nations to build multiple decks. It's the second part, where they sell good cards to their main for next to nothing, that threatens to become corrosive over time, because in that case, it's less like the person is building multiple decks, and more like they're building one deck by earning cards at a faster rate than everyone else. That's problematic in a trading game where your position is impacted by others' holdings.

For mini-games like this, it's often suggested that we limit it to World Assembly nations, where a one-nation-each rule is enforced. But many people have good reasons for not wanting to join the WA, which shouldn't exclude them from other parts of NationStates.

The real challenge is to discourage puppet farming without unduly interfering with real communities exchanging cards amongst themselves. Because an important part of the fun of deck building, I think, is that you can offer special deals or gifts to people you know. We could eliminate puppet farming by forcing all trades to be conducted at current market prices, but this would also eliminate elements of trust, friendship, and co-operation, leaving us with a more economically fair but less interesting game.

Essentially: You should be able to offer a good card for cheap or even free to someone you know, because that's how communities work. But puppet farms should not easily stream their cards to a single owner.

To deliver this, we're doing two things. Firstly, direct trading will allow you to nominate a particular nation to exchange with (or gift to), with a bank fee involved. This makes it accessible for most nations, but less viable for puppets, who don't normally accumulate much bank, and will be disproportionately affected since they want to gift every good card they find. Secondly, to create a window of time that allows sniping of open market-based transactions, to reduce the ability to "sell" a valuable card for nothing to yourself.

That's it for now, and thanks again for your patience!

Got feedback? Forum: Discussion thread!

Trading Halt

by Max Barry
Sat, 07 Apr 2018

Each year, my primary goal for the April Fools event is to create something that will not make people go, "Well, that was disappointing." It's also nice if we can explore community dynamics or encourage people to explore their own morality or whatever, but most of all I want to not spend a lot of time building something that sucks.

Often it's hard to tell whether we've achieved that goal. But this year we did! A lot of people had a lot of fun with it, including me. And there were plenty of interesting stories and dramas and different people and communities reacted to the cards in different ways.

I'm glad I decided to make the cards pointless. At first, I was thinking they would be part of some kind of point-scoring game, where you would want to collect particular cards because they did something. But it was actually much better as an undefined, nebulous thing, much like NationStates itself, where people developed and pursued their own goals.

But we do like stats here! So I have some of those anyway:

* * * Deck Stats * * *

As per the previous news post, cards trading will remain frozen for the next week, and there will be a future announcement on how they will work as a permanent site feature.

And that's another April! Phew. Thanks for being a part of it, and of NationStates in general. It's always deeply rewarding to me to throw out something simple and watch people evolve and adapt it in unexpected ways, and that's been this place for more than 15 years now. It's awesome. Thank you.

Trading Cards Update

by Max Barry
Thu, 05 Apr 2018

Trading is almost over! So far, three million cards have been found, 1.7 million cards are in circulation, and nations have made 150,000 trades.

But it can't go on forever!

Card trading ends in:

At this time:

  • Loot boxes will cease to be available

  • Cards will no longer be able to be bought, sold, or junked

Your cards and decks will remain visible. We'll also post some stats and links to interesting decks.

This has been a particularly fun event and many people have asked whether the cards can stick around. The answer is: Yes! In some form.

What we'll do is have a week where all trading and looting will remain frozen, to give everyone a chance to eat/sleep/reconnect with loved ones/reflect on their life choices, and us a chance to figure out some details about how it should work. Then we'll re-open in retooled form, with a much lower card generation rate (perhaps one loot box per day) and a few changes aimed at making this a more permanent but less frenzied part of the NationStates experience.

NationStates Trading Cards!

by Max Barry
Sat, 31 Mar 2018

Here at NationStates Industries, we're always striving to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies.

As such, we're excited to announce a deck of trading cards made up of NationStates nations! You can begin collecting right now, using our advanced Loot Box Technology, which combines all the thrills and neurological reward systems you love of gambling with a clever new twist, where you don't pay real money!

Trade cards on the open market to get the ones you want. Or junk them for a small amount of bank, which you can spend on opening loot boxes faster in a deliciously cyclical dopamine adventure of psychological addiction!

Some people may ask what the point is of collecting these cards. Those people sound like losers who own no cards. Maybe you want to collect a full region. Maybe you want to drive up the value of your own card. Maybe you want to fill the gaping void in your life with some kind of meaning, even if it's virtual card-based. I don't know. But I do know we have sweet cards!

Available Only for the First Week of April 2018!

* * * Deckbuilders' Forum! * * *

How to Build a NationStates Deck

  1. Open Loot Boxes

    These unlock automatically over time. Keep checking your Deck page.

  2. Keep, Junk, or Sell your cards

    Tap the top flag area on a card to reveal options: Junk, Sell, or Buy. Junk a card to instantly earn a small amount of bank, which can be used to purchase cards you want from other players, or to open more loot boxes faster. Keep the card or sell it on the open market!

Whole Bunch O Betas

by Max Barry
Thu, 08 Feb 2018

Several changes to World Census scales came out of beta today and are going live as I write this, so if you're wondering why some of your numbers look different, that's why!

  • Beta 002B affecting Scientific Advancement and Primitiveness

  • Beta 003 affecting Workforce Participation

  • Beta 007 affecting Corruption and Integrity

  • Beta 009 affecting Authoritarianism

  • Beta 011 which introduces Average Disposable Income

  • Beta 013 affecting a minority of nations across a variety of scales