Update promises to shake up NationStates Gameplay and domestic politics

Written by PhDre, edited by McEntire

NationStates Development Manager Sedgistan signaled that the long-awaited Frontier-Stronghold update should “commence testing in the first quarter” of 2023, with the “bulk of coding” completed at that time. The update would make all user-created regions chose whether to become Frontiers or Strongholds. A significant portion of new nations will spawn in Frontiers rather than in Feeders, giving communities an incentive to create and preserve Frontier regions. As a trade off, Frontier regions will lose their founder protection, making them more secure to foreign invasion.

The Frontier-Stronghold update promises to significantly impact NationStates Foreign Affairs. Already, Europeia has positioned itself for the potential update, signing a mutual defense treaty, the Modern Gameplay Compact, that pledges signatories to defend each other's Frontiers.

Grand Admiral Kuramia confirmed that “Europeia is reaching out to the regions it needs to secure our Foreign Affairs future” post Frontier-Stronghold update.

Domestically, the Frontier-Stronghold updated dominated a series of Presidential Campaigns in late 2021. The Frontier/Stronghold Act, passed in August 2022, requires Europeia to conduct a referendum on whether Europeia should transition to a Frontier region or a Stronghold region “at least 30 days prior to the launch date of the Frontier/Stronghold Update; or, if at least 30 days notice is not given, as soon as is prudent after a hard date is announced.”

The Frontier/Stronghold Act was focused on providing regional security infrastructure that would only come into effect if the referendum vote results in a Frontier victory. One key possible Frontier institution, the Regional Security Council (RSC), would create and enforce endorsement limits for gameside nations.

The compromise is not without its detractors - at the time of its passage, Kuramia described the Act as a backdoor to a Frontier, saying “why wouldn't someone look, in a year or whatever from now, and see work already done and just [vote for Frontier]?” Then-President Writinglegend chimed in arguing that the Frontier/Stronghold Act was necessary to preserve realistic choice in the referendum, saying "It’s a tricky situation to navigate, because not having [Frontier-ready] infrastructure can bias people towards the stronghold option.”

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Sopo sounded the alarm on the region’s readiness when told about Sedge’s tentative timeline. “We’re not ready… The Frontier/Stronghold Act was a good step - but we should really be launching the Regional Security Council now… We can build up the RSC without needing to declare that we'll go Frontier .... But if we wait until the update drops to take steps to protect our newly founderless region, we'll be in big trouble. I urge the next Senate to consider launching the RSC as soon as possible.”

Kuramia sees Sedge’s announcement as a driving force for Europeian politics. “Domestically, we're probably going to see a lot of election platforms touting preparation for the update and how we'll shift into it. The debate over whether we'll be Frontier or Stronghold will definitely be a driving force,” she predicts.

The next two Presidential terms will end on March 31st and June 9th, setting the stage for the Frontier-Stronghold debate to dominate Presidential politics in the first half of 2023.


During the NES Retirement Show, NES was kind enough to chat with me a little about the updated Frontier/Stronghold update. He described it as a potential seismic shift in the game, perhaps the largest the game has ever seen.

Listen to the whole episode here - some discussion of F/S at 22:10 but scattered throughout as well!