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Hobbes' guide to R/D
Let me clarify- this is not intended to be a omega R/D guide for everyone- It's intended to teach newcomers to gameplay and R/D the basics of how it works.
What is R/D?
R/D stands for Raiding & Defending - The (very) basic act of switching your WA nation around, and endorsing someone else, most commonly to A: get them to become delegate in Raiding, or B: get them to stay delegate in Defending, in this guide. I'll cover the very basics of how both work.
Raiding is the rather basic act of moving your WA (World Assembly) nation around and endorsing someone else, or having other people endorse you. In most cases, you will need to replace someone else as World Assembly Delegate for this to work properly. This is where it gets a bit tricky.
Timing is rather essential,especiaully when raiding a region that either has a active delegate or has a active founder (We will get to founders later). Instead of, as common sense would dictate, your endorsement counting instantly, NationStates uses 'update times'- that are divided into two 'update times'.
Major Update (12AM EST - 1AM EST)
Minor Update (12PM EST - 1PM EST)
But thats not it- The region in question can update anywhere between those two times-But theres hope, Once you have the update time of that particular region, It generally will stay constant to within a minute. So say the region updates at 12:43:12 AM- You generally can make the assumption it will update between 12:42 and 12:43 at minor/major. It will vary by roughly a minute- but it will generally stay constant.
Which makes Timing very essential- You and your friends,if timed right, can hop into the region seconds before it updates already endorsed (We will cover cross-endo'ing later), and be delegate before the defending delegate can even refresh. This is essential to Raiding.
Jumppoints are also, essential to Raiding gameplay, especiually when you are utilizing the 'jump-right-before-update' tactic we previously discussed. The Pacific utilizes several 'jump points' - Regions specifically tasked with jumping in/out of because of their late update times.
Wait, What? Yes, because of how NS is set up, If you jump into a region that has a later update time from the region you jumped from (This is essential for us as GCR's generally have early update times) - Your endorsement will count in the region you jumped from, not the region you jumped into. This is where Jumppoints come into play.
Now this is where Cross-Endorsing comes in- a common pratice especiually when in the Jumppoint waiting to move into the region you are raiding- If you endorse the selected delegate out of the group (The person everyone endorses in hopes he becomes delegate at update) in the jumppoint, If you switch before update with your group, All endorsements will stay constant so you won't need to endorse the person again. It's also common practice for you to endorse your friends and them to endorse you,so your influence in the region you raided goes up (We'll get to Influence later).
Influence, is also a essential part to raiding gameplay. It's common tactic when raiding big targets to get a 'sleeper' - A puppet of a raider nation designated to blend in with the natives in a region, so his influence grows before the raid itself. Influence, incase you do not already know, grows the more time you spend in a region, and you spend influence on the Regional Control tools as Delegate (note: Founders do not spend influence). This is why when raiding larger regions, it's also common pratice for raiders to switch their delegate around when the person in the hot seat runs out of influence. We'll get back to Influence when discussing Defending.
Defending is, effectively- the exact opposite as raiding, However, it can function using raiding techniques in some cases (Such as Liberations), and uses jump point and timing methods as well.
Founders are, basically, the endgame in R/D. It's pratically impossible to (sucessfully) raid a region with a active Founder, because, as covered previously, they require no influence to lock the region, banject (ban+ejection), or anything, The region is at the Founder's whim, essentially. This is why it is almost never done when a region with a active founder is Raided, If anything,the Raiders attempt to seize the WA Delegate seat when the Founder is not online,then do as much damage as possible before the Founder comes back on.
The founder can also make the Delegate Non-executive, this means the Delegate has no regional controls, and also, kills the R/D gameplay.
Influence is also a essential part of Defending gameplay, It gives the natives a chance to fight for their region, essentially. When a outsider comes in and seizes Delegate- He will have almost no influence, compared to the Natives, who will, in comparison to the Raiders, will be swimming in it. It is impossible (Unless in a Warzone) to ban and eject someone who has more influence then you.
-Delegate Elect(Not in game yet- but announced to be coming in game,so mightaswise include it)
Delegate Elect is a new position being added to NationStates, that also effects the defending side of gameplay. Say raider group A has 30 endorsements on their man, and they jump in to a region where the delegate has 25 endorsements. Right now,this would mean endgame for the defenders in the region, But with Delegate Elect, it freezes regional controlls into either the Raiders or Defenders achieve a majority of WA votes, thus achieving Delegate.
In conclusion, R/D is a essential part of the NationStates gameplay,and I hope I have untangled some of its mysteries to you(incase you didin't already know them).
If i missed anything,let me know and I'll edit it in.