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Let's Talk About IC Values From an OOC Perspective

Prodigal Moon

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This was prompted in large part by a particularly annoying thread here:http://forums.cybernations.net/index.php?/topic/125757-ambition/ but I've wanted to address this topic for a while now.

The point of this is not to stir up IC beef, because even if you hate an alliance IC, this game thrives on conflict and it would be even more lame if we were all treatied to each other.

Mainly, I'm frustrated that politics is becoming even less-value driven and more reduced to "realpolitik" and OOC friendships. I put realpolitik in quotes because I think in order to look past principles or morals for more pratctical concerns, you have to have some principles or morals in the first place. Without that, there's really no compromise or tension in the choices you make - it's just a completely obvious and natural affiinity for whichever side has the bigger numbers.

In other words, if you don't have a moral compass guiding your alliance to help you distinguish who's a good match for you and who's not, then what difference does it make who's on your side beyond your OOC buddies? X mil NS is X mil NS whether it's GOONS or Valhalla or RnR or VE. However, that eventually gets us to a place where in-game friend and foe are completely arbitrary and transient functions of how the ever-shifting treaty web is playing out in that cycle. If all you're interested in is hanging out on IRC with OOC friends and clicking buttons once a year, no problem. Wars will still happen, but there will be no CB or at least no clear reason why those guys over there are the ones you should be fighting, and these guys in your coalition are the ones you're supporting. If you want to treat this game as any kind of political simulator, with an emergent narrative and points of debate to engage in, you're going to be completely SOL.

Some of you might think this is just because Polaris is on the wrong side of the power balance right now, but I'd rather lose a "Good vs. Evil" struggle than win an arbitrary war with no CB, where no one even cares why they're fighting or who's on which side. If we're going to do that, then let's at least pick teams OOC beforehand so we can have an even fight, just for the challenge of it.

So this brings us to DBDC, which as been the focal point of a lot of moral-type discussion. I honestly don't want to spark the same debate going on in that thread, but I have to point out that by any real world standard, or standard by which 90% of AA's operate in CN, DBDC would be considered "the bad guys." Or at least, an extremely aggressive group that doesn't respect the norms that place a check on untempered violence, and that make no effort at justifying any of this. Any country in the modern RL war would face an enormous, global backlash. There would be UN resolutions, sanctions from larger nations, etc. DBDC's behavior is extreme even by CN standards, where we've been too apathetic to care about tech raiding the unaligned.

So my request to you is this: think for one minute about what your nation and alliance stand for, if anything, and wonder about whether your role in the Cyberverse is even remotely coherent or consistent with this position. For instance, if you've outright banned tech raiding, there is probably a reason for that, and it just might mean that the more aggressive, amoral alliances shouldn't be a natural fit. Ask yourselves which alliances IC are a good match for yours. And if they all seem pretty much the same, including yours, then you're starting to see the problem.

If you do this moment of soul-searching and decide that your AA isn't concerned at all about principles, and will do whatever serves it best, regardless of what it does to other people, then congratulations: you're RPing a band of sociopaths. That's awesome! I'm being completely genuine here: people RPing alliances that are bloodthirsty and completely indifferent to law/morals/ethics would be great for the game. But don't support others who do that on one hand, and then play yourselves off as a milquetoast, harmless group of good guys that just wants to get along with everyone. That's incoherent and, more importantly, LAME. You can do whatever you want! Tech raid neutrals! Start rolling tiny AA's just because you can! You don't have morals, remember, and you'll probably have fun.

You see, I don't hate DBDC for doing what they do. I hate the rest of you for being so apathetic about the political sim aspect of the game that it doesn't even register for what it is.

tl,dr: Figure out if your AA has IC values (or no morals at all) and then RP it, and we'll all have a much more interesting game.



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You have a decent idea, which many AA's used to do. Though I think it falls flat especially when we don't all have the same definition of role-play. Are we supposed to RP like all the folks do in the sub-sections of these forums? Or are we simply RPing by default once we make a nation? What's the difference from RPing yourself in a cyber game, or RPing some fictional character.

Even if we take the definition of role-play, albeit searched on google, "participation in a role-playing game.". Aren't we, as i've always felt, automatically RPing as soon as we make a nation?

I'd like to think that i'm not alone in saying i've never played another "RP" game except cybernations, so how can we expect people who don't RP to RP at someone else's definition.

Also, while we're at it, does aligning yourself (if you don't tech raid) with all those who don't tech raid make your alliance more secure or less secure? Just because you have morals, doesn't mean you can't, or don't have to ally yourself to someone who doesn't share the same morals. As long as you are keeping your alliance safe, secure, and growing; is that really wrong?

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There have been several theories regarding why the game has declined in numbers, but in my opinion it is related to the devaluing of the IC environment, the so-called "utilitarianism" advanced by those like WorldConqueror. Vladimir probed the problem back in 2010 with his blog entries about The Existential Threat. At the time and before then it was very popular to blame NPO for the decline in membership, yet membership fell most steeply after the Karma/Armaggedon War.

Those like StarCraftMazter blame it on people becoming bored, but if anything, his style of chaotic politics and random warfare became even more frequent during the time of his ascension, and precipitated in even more rapid decline of the game.

If there can be any correlation between game trend and declining membership count, it would be the decline of the seriousness of IC political discourse and debate. Cybernations is an old game and the only thing that raises it above obsolescence is the rich and deep IC political history and environment derived from that other game. When this IC structure comes under attack (I refer to this IC as "Civilization"), the uniqueness is lost and people move on to other games. Why stick should (especially new nations) around in an obsolete game filled with upper tier bullies and lower tier toadies, if there is no IC political value and variety to the game?

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there will always be a best way to play, and the best will always play that way

and then match the rp according to what is dictated by the mechanics

because the mechanics don't even make sense and are ridiculous with numbers, its easier to just not even bother with RP outside of some theme-based stuff in announcements

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You have a decent idea, which many AA's used to do. Though I think it falls flat especially when we don't all have the same definition of role-play. Are we supposed to RP like all the folks do in the sub-sections of these forums? Or are we simply RPing by default once we make a nation? What's the difference from RPing yourself in a cyber game, or RPing some fictional character.

Even if we take the definition of role-play, albeit searched on google, "participation in a role-playing game.". Aren't we, as i've always felt, automatically RPing as soon as we make a nation?

I'd like to think that i'm not alone in saying i've never played another "RP" game except cybernations, so how can we expect people who don't RP to RP at someone else's definition.

Also, while we're at it, does aligning yourself (if you don't tech raid) with all those who don't tech raid make your alliance more secure or less secure? Just because you have morals, doesn't mean you can't, or don't have to ally yourself to someone who doesn't share the same morals. As long as you are keeping your alliance safe, secure, and growing; is that really wrong?

I'm not even pushing for anything nearly approaching the RP section, or even talking as formally as Hime Themis. Just having our nation leaders act based partly on some set of principles or values.

Even if people are basically just "roleplaying" themselves as the leader of a nation, I think that would naturally lead to what I'm advocating for. For example, most of us probably have a sense of right and wrong and wouldn't defend someone who completely violates that. We also have cultural, political, and philosphical views that lead us to feel an affinity to some countries over others (e.g., that country (AA) doesn't believe in free speech (limits member speech on OWF), so I don't like them). If these sorts of things were inluded to any degree in the game, it would make things a lot richer. Unfortunately the Fascism vs. Communism feud is the only example of this sort of culture clash that comes to mind.

Aligning with tech raiders even if you don't believe in it is a real conundrum, as Enderland brought up well in that thread just as I was working on this. I think it's a great question and of course even in the real world there's a realism vs. idealism debate. I'd say the problem in CN is that we're so "meh" about RP that a hard realism approach is pretty much the only thing that people even understand, and idealism ("moralism") gets you borderline-OOC attacks for being a nerd, neckbeard, taking things too seriously etc.

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Even if people are basically just "roleplaying" themselves as the leader of a nation, I think that would naturally lead to what I'm advocating for. For example, most of us probably have a sense of right and wrong and wouldn't defend someone who completely violates that. We also have cultural, political, and philosphical views that lead us to feel an affinity to some countries over others (e.g., that country (AA) doesn't believe in free speech (limits member speech on OWF), so I don't like them). If these sorts of things were inluded to any degree in the game, it would make things a lot richer. Unfortunately the Fascism vs. Communism feud is the only example of this sort of culture clash that comes to mind.

Aligning with tech raiders even if you don't believe in it is a real conundrum, as Enderland brought up well in that thread just as I was working on this. I think it's a great question and of course even in the real world there's a realism vs. idealism debate. I'd say the problem in CN is that we're so "meh" about RP that a hard realism approach is pretty much the only thing that people even understand, and idealism ("moralism") gets you borderline-OOC attacks for being a nerd, neckbeard, taking things too seriously etc.

I actually think it wouldn't lead to what your advocating, and has lead to what it would lead to now.

This is a game, and I think most people know this, so even when we RP anything remotely close to an RP, in the back of our heads is "this is a game". In any game you can run forward start shooting, die then respawn. IE go nuke rogue go to ZI, then come back up again. If people say this as real life, or an extension of themselves (then we wouldn't really be RPing) then maybe we can have something like what you are saying. But then...

Even if we Rp'd on a set of real world beliefs; I'm an anti-gun, liberal, who is accepting to subcultures of varying views. Even if I RP in CN what I believe in real life, do I stay away from FAN? Do I stay away from small government AA's with only a few installed (non-elected) governments? Or do I accept them, as I accept others in real life?

We are all taught to be accepting in real life, or most of us are. Unless you are to completely suspend what you believe in real life to be acceptable just to RP a game, it doesn't really work what you want to see.

Because if that was the case none of my friends would own guns, non of my friends would be conservative, and none of my friends would have disdain for subcultures. That is not true at all. My friends fall on the scale from communists, to new-age hippies, to gun totting wanna-be red necks.

Even if I RP'd with an ideal to be an idealist that I follow closely, such as tech raiding, or freedom of choice / freedom over your nation to do what you want. So that means tech raid if you want, but what if we become friends, as well as share the same path/situation in the game do I say no i'm sorry you have your nations offer peace after every GA. Just because someone doesn't follow a strict moral, idealist guide line that my AA was founded upon doesn't mean I shouldn't interact or ally them. Which in turn doesn't bring down the level of discourse, politics, or game play.

It's just simply not attainable to have something like that in this game, to have absolute moral, and ideal set guidelines for you to RP. Or even loose morals/ideals to RP. Or no morals to RP.

I have a question. In your example of speech. Would you ever talk to, look at, help, or hold open a door for a person from that country that disallowed free speech? What if you were talking to them one day because you bumped into them on the subway, train, or store; then found out that they were from that country. Would you be like 'or nah', and walk away from them forever once you became friends?

What if that happened on irc, or a forum. That when you were a diplomat sent over to a random AA's forum, and started making friendships not really looking into their ideals, morals, or out look in the game/life. Then what if you became FA gov, then high gov. Would you suspend those friendships you made before you knew what they were all about? Or would you look past that, and say hey I like you, you are good people, let's defend each other should someone come attack you. Even if it's over you having gag orders on the OWF.

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"If you do this moment of soul-searching and decide that your AA isn't concerned at all about principles, and will do whatever serves it best, regardless of what it does to other people, then congratulations: you're RPing a band of sociopaths. That's awesome! I'm being completely genuine here"

No, Prodigal Moon, you are not being completely genuine. There are plenty of real world examples (through out most of history actually) where nation leaders decided to take actions that caused terrible pain and suffering (for instance, the US used atomic bombs twice at the end of world war two) and no one is accusing said leader of being a sociopath. A nation leader's job is to do what is best for his or her nation. By extension into CN (where we all know should be called "cyber alliances" - because that is the power structure), an alliance leader's job is to meet the needs of the members.

I approve whole heartedly of both alliance leaders and individual nations thinking deeper about what their alliance/nation belief system is and keeping those belief's in mind when deciding how to respond to any given situation. A world where different alliances "stood" for different cultures/values would provide a very interesting dynamic to the world. I would of loved to have received alliance invites as a new leader in the world telling me their particular alliance values and having them be different from each other. However this was not the culture of CN when I was new. I tried to run Lander Clan as if it were a real world nation. Everyone - every single pience of advice I got from experienced leaders was that it didn't work.

Now I'm hearing from various people that X or Y was different (and supposedly better) previous. It's highly possible to romanticsize the past. To those people - prove it. If we're supposed to have political debates as we supposedly have prior to my arrival, where are they? Lets see some links so those of us not lucky to have been here during the golden age have some clue of what those of you who were are talking about.

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Coming from something of a neutral perspective here, I see y'all just talking past each other at times, with both of you sounding ridiculous, crazy even, to the other.

One place where this is apparent is in how the use of words like 'sociopaths' seems to really hurt feelings. Another is where being dogpiled by overwhelming force with no cb seems to really hurt feelings. Perhaps the following may enlighten someone, it seems worth the attempt.

The majority of the players of this game claim they 'dont RP.' Yet they still post in IC forums, in the 'character' of this guy playing a database game. Now, calling that character a sociopath shouldnt be taken as an insult, what else would you call it *from an IC perspective?* I know a lot of people that play this way, I consider some friends, I dont intend any insult by it, but I have no choice but to evaluate them *IC* as sociopaths (and quite a few will embrace this, look at Reavers lol.)

The shrinking minority who do (RP) will take it quite seriously when attacked. We will put our brains and our resources to work to frustrate the attackers with an intensity that some guy playing a database game may not expect. He may think he's really hurt someones feelings as a result, but he's mistaken. Because we are not playing a database game, we are playing a game of politics and nationhood. (Well, I always played both, and there's been so little of the latter lately that I have nearly gotten bored into nonexistence, but you know what I mean.)

Unfortunately that also leads to rather different expectations of wars. To the database guys, it's all cut and dried, over before it started, our gang was bigger so we win/smaller so we lose, and everyone is just supposed to accept that. Wars are what everyone wants, in their view, and they are supposed to be short and frequent as that is what is generally convenient.

RPers, in some cases at least, take a very different view of war as well.

One more thing:

(White Chocolate):

"There are plenty of real world examples (through out most of history actually) where nation leaders decided to take actions that caused terrible pain and suffering (for instance, the US used atomic bombs twice at the end of world war two) and no one is accusing said leader of being a sociopath. "

That isnt really the point. Whether true or not, the US government (and every real world government) has always come up with some kind of story to justify their actions. They produce propaganda.

No real life government has ever dropped so much as a defective hand grenade, let alone a nuke, citing a cassus belli of boredom. Never. And sociopath would be one of the milder terms that would apply if it did happen, no?

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You lost me somewhere in the third paragraph. If you believe that realpolitik and personal relationships are not what govern international affairs then you need to get out more. (Just to be clear, I'm talking about the real world.)

Anyway....I "RP" insofar as I alter the way I type in order to conform to the rules of this forum. Period.

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One more thing:

(White Chocolate):

"There are plenty of real world examples (through out most of history actually) where nation leaders decided to take actions that caused terrible pain and suffering (for instance, the US used atomic bombs twice at the end of world war two) and no one is accusing said leader of being a sociopath. "

That isnt really the point. Whether true or not, the US government (and every real world government) has always come up with some kind of story to justify their actions. They produce propaganda.

No real life government has ever dropped so much as a defective hand grenade, let alone a nuke, citing a cassus belli of boredom. Never. And sociopath would be one of the milder terms that would apply if it did happen, no?

The comparison between Planet Bob and real life reaaly doesn't work all that much anyway.

We toss nukes around at each other every war. Planet Bob consistantly, for the past seven (7) years I've been here, has had a "world war" EVERY year that involve some group of alliances attacking some other group of alliances - generally a few alliances being curbstomped by everyone else.

It's clockwork. Eveyone knows it will happen - the "CB" is just a formaility and either totally made up or based off of some little thing that, if it happened at any other time of year would get resolved by diplomancy.

IF someone actually has a traditional CB for war, I'm all for using it. On the other hand, I actually think it is MORE ETHICAL not to make one up or try to use something everyone would fix diplomatically at any other time as the CB just because it's that time of year. A "traditional CB" (at least how CN does it) is an attempt to blame the alliance being attacked for the attack and if it is not real, pretending otherwise is far worse than just flat out saying, "our fault (as the aggressor), not yours" in my opinion.

If DBDC members are sociopaths, then so is every other alliance leader who has agreed to get his or her alliance involved in any of the wars since I've been here.

This world is evil. If people REALLY want to start a movment to fight evil, start with changing how you act before being critical of anyone else.

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Maelstrom's tip of the day, the "Good" side.. which is which ever side you think it is, is not always obligated to win. Are there people who just want to play the game for a curbstomp? Yes. But these people are often spotted, hunted down, and eradicated for those values.

I also want to note this is not just a game of politics and morality, but one of survival and growth. I expect somewhat organic behavior out of groups a sort of tribalism and that's what I see in this world. You can take the "good side" but if you're not obligated to win that means the "good" side might face an evil side that is larger and then also have to face the survivalists who simply want to stay in favor with the dominant power.

There is no way to fix this problem. It's a social construct part of our natures.

There will never be perfect equity. It just won't happen. Good item for discussion though. You get 5 claw marks.

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This is about many different things. Good job (7/10) in including several relevant issues, Prodigal Moon, but not-so-good job (6/10) on clarity/confusion and absolutely bad job (1/10) for having made a Blog entry instead of an OWF post/thread. This should stay on the OWF (the OOC main forum). I am tempted to reply there, but I'll give you the opportunity to do it first, instead... :P

Why people leave the game

There's no reason to think that there's only one specific reason/drive. Games retain players when they offer entertainment/satisfaction in several possible ways, so that many kinds of players will have fun and remain. Early CN offered a variety of options and, what's probably more important, it promised the opportunity to have fun through a variety of playing styles.

Then playing solo (unaligned) became basically impossible and some players left. Then remaining independent (as an alliance) became impossible, unless you abandoned warfare (the "neutral" way), and some other players left. Then playing as in-game enemies while entertaining rational and constructive discourse as players became harder, and some other players left. Then leaving stuff unrelated with the game (Moderation issues, RL offences, etc) out of the game became impossible, and some other players left. Then playing a "make believe" game of inter-alliance politics, and not a game of personal relationships with access to backrooms, became counter-productive, and some other players left. Then playing and sharing your personal RL information/coordinates became too dangerous and some other players left. Then playing to reach the top NS became "impossible" (or extremely difficult) and some other players left. Then playing any politics that wasn't basically based on a never-ending cycle of vendettas became harder, and some other players left. Then playing by concentrating your efforts on "politics" became harder, because the tech race started absorbing increasing efforts in a shrinking world, and some other players left. Then playing to slowly but steadily grow your individual/alliance power thanks to your work became harder, because months or years long efforts could be easily destroyed in a short time, and some other players left. Then enjoying a meaningful narrative in CN politics became impossible, because politics was stripped of meaning, and some other players left. Then leaving meta-discussion (e.g. Suggestions) out of the game became impossible as well... Etc. Note that some players didn't really leave - their nations may still be there - but they grew uninterested and they stopped putting any real effort/investment in the game (beyond just doing some click every now and then just to continue have contacts with their "CN friends").

Some of the above "steps" are probably highly debatable, but that's not my point. I guess that my general point is that the game now requires a lot more expertise, specialization, effort and knowledge: it's very difficult and heavily biased in favour of senior players. If you don't play in THE right way and by THE (unwritten) rules, you lose. Creativity is discouraged or anyway "punished".

Meaning

Until about two years ago CN warfare was costly for everyone involved, and avoiding it for long periods of time was on the other hand costly in terms of apathy and little activity. While the political game was already absolutely corrupted and deteriorated, at least the game mechanics didn't favour polarization, and with multi-polarity there was still some room for political diversity, at least in style. Now war is profitable for the high-end raiders, which means that you'd better join their power cluster otherwise you are "wiped away". This brought us to even more conformism.

I personally think that this is basically an effect of an illusion - nations can't be destroyed, after all, and the NS ranges are very wide apart - but 8 years of mental habits can't be forgotten in a short time. In a while we'll see again some multi-polarity emerge. All the other problems, and the tendency to conformism, will remain on the table, anyway.

What to do?

Enjoy it while it lasts, I guess. I am optimist! :)

(lol part)

If DBDC members are sociopaths, then so is every other alliance leader who has agreed to get his or her alliance involved in any of the wars since I've been here.

This world is evil. If people REALLY want to start a movment to fight evil, start with changing how you act before being critical of anyone else.

The quote above translates as: if you want to be "good" join the GPA.

I am not being ironic in the slightest.

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Most people could not articulate what makes their IC persona different than their OOC persona.

Even fewer have decided what their IC persona actually should be and have thought about it and try to act in a way consistent with a RP'ed character.

I do disagree with much of your post regarding moralism and DBDC, though I do not believe this detracts from your main point(s). Historically most people have not cared when a nation is an aggressor to neighbors so long as it doesn't affect them. We have only to look to WWII where it took Hitler declaring against a nation (Poland) where treaty obligations required much of the soon to be allies to declare war (not their annexing of Austria or Czechoslovokia which is very similar to DBDC attacking WTF). And even then it still took months and an invasion of France for there to be much actual, meaningful response from those at war with Germany.

This is very consistent with how this game is played out. Alliances act nearly identical to how the allies did in WWII (or most conflicts throughout world history).

The problem, here, at least is that while what you are saying is true and it's likely most people involved in CN would agree, CN is still a game at heart. Our primary purpose here is entertainment, enjoyment, and/or boredom. This will often directly conflict with RP purposes. The effect of this is people basically dismissing legitimate IC discussion such as in the ambition thread and then others not correcting them or bothering to even try to act IC.

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I think it's just lazy and empty to look at the game solely as an expresion of pixels, rather than getting the most out of it by getting into character. Even if you want to be the bad guy I think it would be so much more fun to create a philosophical reason for acting than simply saying "x amount of pixels." Maybe its just a lack of higher intelligence in Doomsphere in general; any nerd can do math, but it takes real skill to destroy the Enemy in debates and rhetoric.

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Most people could not articulate what makes their IC persona different than their OOC persona.

Even fewer have decided what their IC persona actually should be and have thought about it and try to act in a way consistent with a RP'ed character.

I do disagree with much of your post regarding moralism and DBDC, though I do not believe this detracts from your main point(s). Historically most people have not cared when a nation is an aggressor to neighbors so long as it doesn't affect them. We have only to look to WWII where it took Hitler declaring against a nation (Poland) where treaty obligations required much of the soon to be allies to declare war (not their annexing of Austria or Czechoslovokia which is very similar to DBDC attacking WTF). And even then it still took months and an invasion of France for there to be much actual, meaningful response from those at war with Germany.

This is very consistent with how this game is played out. Alliances act nearly identical to how the allies did in WWII (or most conflicts throughout world history).

The problem, here, at least is that while what you are saying is true and it's likely most people involved in CN would agree, CN is still a game at heart. Our primary purpose here is entertainment, enjoyment, and/or boredom. This will often directly conflict with RP purposes. The effect of this is people basically dismissing legitimate IC discussion such as in the ambition thread and then others not correcting them or bothering to even try to act IC.

In real life I would never go to someones house, break in, steal a phone or a tv, then walk out after they saw me. In this game I (used to) raid all the time, as an extra means of tech/land/money. Articulate enough?

How are you different from your OCC to your IC persona?

There is a line we can't really see when we have a nation that is an extension of ourselves. If we run it how we want to then how can we ever say we are Rping. Unless the ruler name, and nation name are used to play a different character that the person can actually disseminate between themselves, and the character we will never have true RP in this world. It will always be a divide between IC/OCC that we see.

Actually I think irc/skype/facebook is the problem for the game, and how the game was played. Sure it made things faster, but it also makes it a little too close to the real word as Instant Messaging/Texts. How I post on forums, and other written platforms that need to be posted is a lot different than irc, or skype. It creates, and fosters friendships based on your real world self. If you start talking about hey I just played this game, or I want this game, any suggestions? Oh the weather here in New Jersey sucks, very cold. It takes away from you talking about, we were raided, attacked, or finding trade circles. It's like texting a friend IRL. Skype is just as worse, I use my full real name on skype, because I also use it to talk to family members states away. I also have three friends on facebook from this game, that i've meet in real life, it's nice to keep up with them. Though if I ever needed I could still attack them, which I feel like i'm one of the few from the masses that can put aside real world friendships over a game.

At least on the CN Forums you can be warned for bringing stuff up that relates to the real world, which is great. But unless that follows over to irc (self imposed or alliance culture imposed) we will keep losing the IC divide. I mean even here we have a section where we can post what we're listening to etcetc, and on alliance forums it's more informal, and there are large portions dedicated to Spam, and real world activities. Then aa's want to get people on irc for better communication, which leads to getting to know people. We live in a world where instant communication, and our personal lives are always on show (at least younger generations, and slightly older generations) where we're ok with letting other people know we're doing. It's a culture as society that we have that makes it ok to show our personal life, and to get to know people over electronic communications. Why should CN/IRC/Forums be any different just because we have a username?

If we are to truly think of ourselves as leading a nation, and doing what's best for our nation/alliance, we can't also have a huge real world culture brewing on our forums, or lines of communication. Until that happens, which it never will, we keep having this divide between players.

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I don't know how to multiquote on blog comments so I'm just going to try to address as many points as I can directly to the posters:

BMTH: I think you're on the right track, but missing the other crucial peace that Schatt always points out - that you can be friends without being military allies. Especially since most of the interactions you have with people outside of OWF are probably going to OOC, or them just being themselves. In that sense, the OOC/IC cuts both ways, and it's completely okay to roll your buddy's alliance for IC reasons since this is just a game after all. Edit: This was written before your last post, which clears things up a bit. I agree that's it's hard for people to keep their IC actions and OOC buddies seperate.

This gets into KZ's point about realpolitik and personal relationships. I'm not going to deny that personal relationships probably play a big part in RL international relations, but I can't think of an example where my (American) President has announced that he and the Secretary of State have been chatting a lot with the leaders of a nation and having a lot of fun, so we're going to sign a military treaty. That's the level that we're operating on a lot of the time in CN.

Sigrun: Thank you for that post and for illuminating the absurd back and forth that's been going on; I think you're totally right. It's like

A: (IC) You're slaughtering innocent people and looting their homes - you're monsters!

B: (OOC) Uh, who cares, we're just having fun.

C: (IC) That's exactly what makes you a monster!!

I'm guilty of getting sucked into this too, so this blog entry was an attempt to clear the air a bit and at least let us be clearer with each other about our personal uses of the IC/OOC divide.

WC: I think Sigrun put it better than I could about RL CB's and evil. Even though there is a rationale behind the use of nuclear weapons in WWII, people *still* have very strong opinions about it in both directions. President Bush (W.) was called a murderer, war criminal, etc. for the invasion of Iraq, even though the he presented a national security justification for it, and there are potential strategic reasons why it could have been in America's interest. If he had just said "We want their oil and we can take it, nothing personal" I can't even imagine what the backlash would've been like. When I think about politicians who strongly advocate for their national interest alone, what kinds to mind are people who want to do away with all foreign aid, or isolationists. That's a far cry from the untempered use of instrumental violence. Even still, there has been plenty of discussion in recent years about a link between sociopathy and leadership, so I don't use that label in a hysterical way but in an objective, clinical way about a certain perspective on the world.

So I don't mean to say that cloaking one's actions in a fake CB makes them better necessarily, but there is at least a RL need to do so, because the global community doesn't tolerate instrumental violence nearly as much as we do here. I don't expect everyone to take this browser game as seriously as RL, but you'd think after 8+ years and all scheming and arguing and nation building that we invest in it, we could at least try to invest a bit more meaning in our actions.

MV: I think you make a great counter-point about survivalism and tribalism, and maybe our community just hasn't progressed to the point at which value conflicts are a focal point since most of us are just trying to avoid getting stomped. I think most new nations and new AA's couldn't care less about what I'm talking about, and just want protection. So there might be an intersting sort of IC-OOC hierarchy of needs. I'll admit that when I thought Polaris was at risk of getting rolled before Disorder, I didn't care nearly as much about who we had to get on our side to make that happen. It was only after our survival was clealry taken care of that I started to ask myself more about whether the breakdown of the "sides" made any sense at all, and wonder what was the point of the war if there were so many AA's I disliked on our side and relatively peaceful AA's on the other side. I didn't want to go down the path of arbitrary wars that I mentiond in the original post, and stepped away from Polaris for a bit.

jerdge: I chose a blog post because no one reads the OOC OWF for anything other than polls and stats! I agree with the rest of your post though, including the idea that eventually the current pattern we're in will get pushed so far that it collapses and something new emerges. And that if you want to be good you should probably join GPA...or CoJ. But CoJ has dissolved into Polaris, so join Polaris :) It is true though that neutrals are immune to my criticism, since they're some of the only AA's ever to base their entire approach to the game around a guiding principle.

enderland: I agree with most of your post, though I would point out that at some point Hitler becamse pretty much synonymous with evil, at least in America. There will always be the temptation to appease, bury your head in the sand, or even compromise your beliefs to join up with the "evil" side and avoid destruction. That's just as true in CN as it is in RL, so I don't expect micro AA's to make suicide runs at DBDC (yet). But it would be entertaining if more AA's at least found a way to line up their IC behavior with their position with regard to DBDC. As it is, I think most people on here don't even quite get what the big deal is, since they're looking at it OOC.

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....it takes real skill to destroy the Enemy in debates and rhetoric.

It's not skill when you say the same stupid things over and over again until half the people on the forum have you blocked.

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It's not skill when you say the same stupid things over and over again until half the people on the forum have you blocked.

That sounds like most of your recent posts, stop projecting

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Alliances can absolutely support tech raiders without raiding themselves. There are two ways to look at this.

The less nerdy way is an alliance's belief that alliances in general should abide by their respective moral codes. This takes a relativist view that doesn't force an alliance's views on any other. This is pretty close to how I RP my position in tJL.

The nerdier way is to use D&D terminology and call it lawful-neutral. Sure, I want to obey my laws, but I'm not going to go around crowing about whether what do you is right or wrong.

A real-world example of this is how the Bismarck administration initiated the Kulturkampf against the Catholic Church in Prussia yet its closest ally was staunchly Catholic Austria-Hungary. This analogy gets zany when you call tJL "Prussia", tech raiding "Catholicism" and Kashmir "Austria-Hungary", but you can see how the underlying principle works.

Most CN alliances are monarchies, dictatorships, or something similar, and even the democratic ones are basically oligarchies. Comparing CN alliances to nations before WWI - and the CN war cycle is a lot more like the 19th-century lightning war period than anything since - there were tons of alliances made on friendship, or more usually, marriage. I think let's call it the early modern up to WWI period (c. 1453-1914, which, yes, I understand is an absolutely massive period) is a more accurate analogy for CN than the current world is.

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Re: Max I dont think anyone is saying that if you dont raid you should automatically be barred from allying with raiders. It's not on that level of rigidity. The problem, if you think there is one, is not that it happens sometimes, but that it's the rule, not the exception. It's just one small reflection of the deeper problem - that alliances and rulers typically stand for nothing, have (or if you prefer act like they have) no values whatsoever, from an IC perspective. It's not a problem when one person plays a sociopath, in fact it spices up the game (and please understand when I use that word, I'll admit my own character is a bit of a sociopath as well) but when say >80% of the population (guessing, havent done a poll) does it, well, a certain barrenness of the political game in general is a predictable result.

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Re: Max I dont think anyone is saying that if you dont raid you should automatically be barred from allying with raiders. It's not on that level of rigidity. The problem, if you think there is one, is not that it happens sometimes, but that it's the rule, not the exception. It's just one small reflection of the deeper problem - that alliances and rulers typically stand for nothing, have (or if you prefer act like they have) no values whatsoever, from an IC perspective.

from the OP:

For instance, if you've outright banned tech raiding, there is probably a reason for that, and it just might mean that the more aggressive, amoral alliances shouldn't be a natural fit.

I was responding to that.

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from the OP:

For instance, if you've outright banned tech raiding, there is probably a reason for that, and it just might mean that the more aggressive, amoral alliances shouldn't be a natural fit.

I was responding to that.

Notice the conditional/relative language though. 'if you've *outright banned*... then there *is probably a reason*...it just *might* mean...*shouldnt be a natural fit*" (all emphasis mine obviously.)

It just seemed like you were replying as if it had said something a lot more absolutist than what he actually said.

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(lol part)

The quote above translates as: if you want to be "good" join the GPA.

I am not being ironic in the slightest.

Considering how this world is - yes. Alliances like GPA, WTF, etc. Basically the most one can do is not cause any harm. However, that isn't helping anyone but alliance mates. So I don't see it as "good." Just not bad. That's the conclusion I came to after trying to figure out for a number of years how to play this game as a "good character."

In terms of neutrality, problem for me is, I like the war aspects of this game so just being neutral isn't really an option. I espcially like the social side of war. It's easy enough to point and click, this is true. By the social side, II mean all the social aspects, coordinating with alliance mates, exchanging PM's with people one is fighting, the build up of tension before hand and peace talks toward the end.

Between wars people get busy and there is, at least from what I've seen, far less social interaction when war isn't happening.

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Notice the conditional/relative language though. 'if you've *outright banned*... then there *is probably a reason*...it just *might* mean...*shouldnt be a natural fit*" (all emphasis mine obviously.)

It just seemed like you were replying as if it had said something a lot more absolutist than what he actually said.

Yeah, I was just throwing out an easy way an AA might get try to get a sense of where it stands on the Peaceful vs. Aggressive spectrum. Considering how most AA's don't really "do" much on their own besides chain into treaty web wars, raiding is one of the few ways AA's distinguish themselves, so it's a shame that we've all but dropped any meaning attached to it.

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Maybe its just a lack of higher intelligence in Doomsphere in general; any nerd can do math, but it takes real skill to destroy the Enemy in debates and rhetoric.

The point here is to have an OOC discussion (from what i gather by the the author). Do you really think there is a lack of intelligence from the people behind the computer in Doomsphere?

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This gets into KZ's point about realpolitik and personal relationships. I'm not going to deny that personal relationships probably play a big part in RL international relations, but I can't think of an example where my (American) President has announced that he and the Secretary of State have been chatting a lot with the leaders of a nation and having a lot of fun, so we're going to sign a military treaty. That's the level that we're operating on a lot of the time in CN.

But in your conception of such, those two things are almost diametrically opposed...signing a treaty (and then defending that person) is much closer to an IC value, namely the willingness to go to the wall for friends, than it is realpolitik. I also hate it when someone makes a mess of perfectly good politics because of a deep and meaningful 1am conversation about how drunk they are, but that's a whole different kettle of tipsy fish.

In terms of alliances having overarching values, the biggest problem is that there are so many points of reference there. It's similar to voting; you never find a candidate whose views wholly match your own (unless you've tailored your views to fit those of your chosen candidate...good evening RON PAUL fans), necessarily leading one to compromise on some aspects. Now, multiply that by a factor of "enough to get !@#$ done", particularly once the need to work with the allies of allies comes into play, and you have a melange of often-contradictory beliefs and goals that simply cannot be contained by a coherent statement of values. Thus do even those with strong value systems settle in to realpolitik, unless suitably committed to embark on a quixotic journey through the wondrous hinterlands of micropolitics.

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