The World Assembly: Get Stuck In
Written by Maowi
It is certainly fair to say that the World Assembly (WA) is a pretty vital aspect of NationStates (NS), influencing many parts of the game mechanics as well as its own world full of rich historical significance. Indeed, we have an entire council of state dedicated to WA affairs. But simultaneously, the WA is often very detached from a player's everyday NS life, particularly in Europeia, where all of the key activity occurs on our external forum. So it is left in a strange limbo, in which it is the central feature of NS for some users, while others only have a dim idea of what it is and what it does. That many players do not even consider becoming involved in the WA due to its apparent distance from and irrelevance to the rest of the site is a regrettable circumstance; they miss out on a whole other side of the game to get stuck into and passionate about.
Why should you invest time and energy into such a remote part of NS? It is undoubtedly a valid question. But taking the leap to involve yourself in WA activity can be immensely fulfilling for almost any type of person, given its very multi-faceted nature. And in any case, you will never know what you're missing out on until you try it out.
One of the main reasons for which the WA is so refreshing is that it offers an opportunity to interact with a diverse crowd of people from outside of your home region. Whether it be through casual conversation in the WA discord server or through discussion on proposal drafts in the WA forums, you are offered a chance to talk to people you otherwise wouldn't have met, make new friends, or even acquaint yourself with faces who could turn out to be important players in future foreign affairs situations, equipping you to better negotiate with them, pacify them, or make them an offer, however the case may be. There are only positive things to be said about opening yourself up to interaction with foreigners. Full integration into the community, once achieved, is hugely satisfying, too. The WA has a whole language to it, complete with its own jargon, references to specific events, and of course, in-jokes and memes. Whether you write your own resolution or spend your time commenting on and debating proposal drafts, you can make a name for yourself interregionally, so that other people are familiar with you and you with them, achieving a sense of mutual respect, even when you tend to disagree on legislation. But setting aside the corollaries of involvement in the WA, the thing in itself is a fun, satisfying, stimulating part of NS. You gain many skills from it, including comprehension and analytical skills, and also gradually acquire knowledge of the context enshrined in the hundreds of passed WA resolutions. This context is incredibly detailed and comprehensive, which is why becoming active in the WA can often seem a little off-putting - but by throwing yourself into it with a positive attitude and a willingness to take criticism, it is learned naturally.
The General Assembly (GA) - also known as the festering snake pit - is the chamber in which legislation concerning the WA's in-character (IC) member nations, and their own IC population, is passed. As such, GA resolutions can be about almost anything within reason, which is part of its beauty: you can let your creative side run free when drafting, and often, innovative ideas, as long as they avoid the fanciful, receive the most enthusiastic responses. The WA is about receiving criticism, evaluating it, making use of it without compromising your own intentions, and thereby gradually perfecting your work. Therefore, you learn to debate your points persuasively, think for yourself, and write effective, thorough legislation. Another fun part of the IC nature of the GA is the effect it has on posts in the GA forum. Debates in the GA occur IC (with players occasionally dropping out-of-character (OOC) for feedback that wouldn't make sense IC); that is, designated ambassadors from your nation go to the WA headquarters and argue with each other about the proposals their respective nations have produced. In doing so, you get to develop your ambassadors' personalities over time as well as the way your nation operates and thinks, giving you a distinctive and quirky IC approach to the debate and leading to fun encounters between your ambassadors and foreign representatives with very contrasting ways of thinking.
On the other hand, Security Council (SC) affairs take place OOC, although its resolutions have to be written IC (that is, you commend, condemn, or liberate a nation or region, not a person). SC resolutions have a direct effect on gameplay at large, so being a key player there gives you a great deal of interregional clout, and taking part in the SC gives you the opportunity to interact with these influential players, again increasing your range of acquaintances and potential allies. Even just observing the SC, you learn a lot about interregional politics - particularly about military gameplay and the status of raiding and defending - through the intense debate in the forum. As well as current events, there is a lot to be discovered in terms of NS' weird and wonderful history, which spans more or less seventeen years and has featured a plethora of strong personalities and brilliant minds. The SC is a proverbial goldmine of information about the NS days of yore which, as well as being inherently interesting to find out about, have a direct bearing on much of what goes on today. Informing yourself can be so helpful in navigating NS today.
In short: there is nothing to lose from dipping your toes in the WA, and everything to gain.