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Case Study: Oculus




Case Study: Oculus



And so I’ve decided to return to blogging about the politics of Planet Bob because there’s something that’s been bothering me a lot lately, which is that people don’t seem to fundamentally understand the political situation from the perspectives of various alliances, especially not those they are aligned with. In general, that empathetic quality is something most foreign affairs ministers should have or have had, but these days many of our governments are staffed by what was once the second tier of government leadership. Some of them have grown up into being their own rulers, but for the most part, the political apparatus of 2016 is largely the same as that of today. Why is that? Why are politics dead in this game from the perspective of members across the game? Interspersed and connected to this analysis is my own narrative, since this is my damn blog post and I will relate it to what was going on from my vantage point at various times. Over the course of this series of blog posts, I will look at the various factors that affect political stagnation and I’ll also consider whether that criticism is levied accurately.

Today, I’ll do a case study on Oculus to explain one reason politics are dead. I started with Oculus for the obvious reason that they are the biggest bloc in the game, and thus have the greatest political influence. One very simple reason that seems to be completely lost on others: Victory. Victory and the conditions which allow for continued victory in the context of Planet Bob. For those of you who haven’t ever opened a wiki-page, Oculus aka Novus Ordo Seclorum was signed on August 31st, 2015, not long after I had posted my first thoughts on how the game had been gyrating toward the uninteresting. I was then Vice President of Atlas, and found it increasingly difficult to make innovative foreign affairs decisions with the alliances I was most interested in, because so many of them had conservative governments and were unwilling to act swiftly on anything. And then, out of the blue, I was surprised to learn of Oculus’ existence. It had been kept from the majority of allied government and I was so dissatisfied with my allies at the time for not informing me that I promptly took a break from government.

Why did I do that? I already viewed AZTEC as paralytic to the game. It seemed to me that there would be no way to decouple Umbrella’s sphere of influence from a total military and political victory of the game and allow the Pacifican sphere (which included Atlas) to hold total control. The Oculus treaty looked to me to be a complete blurring of the PB / NPO / DR remnant spheres, which functionally ended any and all future military conflict. The stats would simply never be there, even to adjust the hierarchy of the alliances within the new power dynamic. It would be necessarily the case that alliances on the periphery but allied to Oculus would function as a semi-independent web of their own but that ultimately any and all political and military actions would be tied to the assured destruction of an Oculus chain-in. Since I was aligned with them, I viewed it as alright, but also as an assuredly boring outcome.


I don’t necessarily agree with my opinions in 2015, since I had an initially very negative view of the bloc. However, the truth is that global wars vanished. Is it just out of fear that this is the case? For some maybe, but truly, Oculus does not fear anyone -- and they certainly should be counted if we're talking about what holds back global wars. They know without a doubt that they could demolish the entirety of Bob outside of their own bloc if they wished it. So, why doesn’t Oculus go around demolishing the planet? 

Because they have won, and because they care about their community and winning. Global wars are the only things that appear to threaten this game by the grace of Admin, since they tend to drive the most players from the game. It wasn’t that many years ago that the NPO government (or Roquentin, who may know) posted statistics that showed how the decline of player membership most correlated to global conflicts. Although they always brought drama to CN, they also necessarily killed its communities on the losing and winning sides.


For alliances with such power as those in Oculus to intentionally initiate a global war is to threaten to destroy some of their own memberships and their own allies. It follows then, that they would do whatever they can do to continue to cement and hold their position, rather than instigating acts of hegemonic terrorism. Most alliance leaders are okay with this scenario, because the duty of an alliance leader is to their alliance, and it is up to the alliance government and its members to provide entertainment while also attempting to navigate toward a more beneficial political, military and economic position. If we fast forward to today, the argument remains as true as ever. Kashmir is still recovering from the non-global Snake Eyes War, and probably will never reach their level of membership and nation strength again. The last global war put the nails in the coffins of a dozen AAs. Imagine if any one sphere was at war with Oculus for a regular war period of say six months. There would be mass deletions, and it could very well end the planet itself. 


In effect, Oculus is a contributor to political stagnation because they view global warfare as detrimental to the health of the game. However, it’s not only that, it’s also that bold word above. Oculus have won the political game, and their allies also support their overall base of power. It makes little to no sense for them to exercise political or military action against their friends and allies. Demanding that they do shows ignorance of their position and power. And it also ignores the consequences of global war.

Next up we’ll be taking a look at Roll For Initiative! Stay Tuned!

I welcome your discussion.



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This is a great write up. I'm curious to what extent you attribute the economic victories of Oculus (namely their overwhelming superiority of average and max nation strength as well as tech efficiencies [not including the various conspiracies that often come up]) to their political domination. Do you see this element as a potential avenue for change in the political landscape of Bob, or simply a means for the powers that be to further entrench their dominance?

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I'd say economic, military and political superiority are all pretty heavily connected. Most alliances tend to be good at a few of these. Historically, we can look at Polaris circa 2010-2014 and say they had arguably one of the best and robust economic systems, but they were politically unable to get out of a position to be rolled repeatedly, due to the political failings of Polaris in Bipolar. On the other hand, an alliance that is only militarily competent (FAN or COBRA perhaps?) tend to consistently be pushed to the margins by their political decision-making. An alliance that thrives only on political power... It's harder to come up with an example, but I suppose an alliance like RIA or Sparta could fit in there. Alliances with decent political positions at one time or another in CN history who were unable to capitalize on it due to their military or economic failings. Since the economic system an alliance has is often predictive of their military power, those areas tend to be very important. Political domination gives you unique leverages to expand your military and economic power relative to others, since you can roll out tanks if you perceive someone as an economic/military threat. So usually, military and economic domination act as tools to entrench dominance.

I don't see tech and military advantages as something likely to change as the planet develops at this time. As you'll see in the next case studies, each existing political sphere has their own reasons, intended or not, for maintaining status-quo. 

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Great read Tevron but I think you’re viewing your entire article backwards.


“ Oculus is a contributor to political stagnation 


Oculus was not a contributor to political stagnation, it was a symptom of political stagnation.


The game died because you have the same power players from seven years ago. Rewind seven years before that and the power structure was very different. New blood never got a foothold into situations and global fiascos that kept the likes of caustic and grub around. Admittedly I wouldn’t be here if I joined a Kort or an odn as a new player (nothing against either btw, just boring).


Political stagnation was the red tape that hallowed out large alliances and eventually birthed Oculus, which was really just a fancy term for omitting all the useless bureaucracy and at least spark a ‘something is better than nothing’ approach.



Edited by Lord Hitchcock
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I don't dismiss that as a political reality. These things are a lot more dynamic and the flows between stagnation and symptomatic results can be pretty unclear. That's why I'm trying to focus on how stagnation today is facilitated by the various powers at be. Tomorrow, it's RFI's turn. I think you're very right that the culprits for stagnation can be easily traced back to the individual leadership of a variety of alliances 6-8 years ago. A lack of new blood being one of the biggest problems. The best thing that new blood has to offer for alliances is that they do not necessarily value ties that have exited for months/years and they have new goals. When alliance leadership is/was not replaced as time goes on, it can lead to a hyper-stable world.

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