“And so it has been and so it is written
On the doorway to paradise
That those who falter and those who fall
Must pay the price”
Five years. Five years ago on a cold winter evening, in a small student house in Yorkshire, I sat with my feet on the coffee table and signed up to eRepublik. Around me my housemates respectively read, cooked and played Gears of War. I scouted through the basic rules of the game, thought “why not?” and signed up. I chose to use my real name as an experiment into online vs. real identity, chose to play as myself rather than roleplaying. The person you meet here is the real thing, as close to the true Iain Keers as it gets without me physically being present in all my pomp and splendour.
“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
I started the game as a journalist and a politician. I wrote a lot whilst never really taking a side in my paper, and took sides whilst never saying a lot in politics. I joined The Unity Party, now a global institution which has outlasted four alliances and will survive a fifth. I watched it rise from mediocre and middle of the road to the natural party of government - the party to beat. I watched it take first place, and hold onto that position for years at a time. I watched it produce Presidents by the score, more Secretary Generals than any two countries combined, recruit the great and good and take it’s position at the heart of UK foreign policy. I am more proud of my party than anything else- whatever people say they have (almost) selflessly guarded the UK’s position in the world for my entire eLife and I salute them.
“The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything. ”
I remember when I first hit 333 subscribers on my newspaper. In a small country like the UK that made me the most subscribed non-government paper in the country. I held a little celebration, handed out some prizes and awards and - after more than 60,000 words of articles - took a break. I got my first media mogul a few months later at the end of 2009, and have picked up 4 more since. But the sweetest goal was reaching that first 333. Since then my newspaper has - mainly due to time constraints - become more of a vanity rag. But it has been a traditional newspaper, an economics journal, a war diary and a viewspaper in it’s time. After that long drawn out process, I’ve finally scooped the audience I want- the movers and shakers of the world. And whether they love me (extreme minority), hate me (err…) or just respect me, I at least get them to read my nonsense.
”The sinews of war are infinite money”
When I was first eBorn I was faced with the astounding poverty which was so common in early V1. When a single tank cost 1g, and a loaf of bread cost the PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) equivalent of a day’s wages, poverty was commonplace. We had such problems with it that starving to death was actually relatively common. I made the silly mistake of fighting, and those first months of dragging my health back to full 2 wellness per day taught me that above everything else, money rules this game. I formed my first company with two other players in February 2009. I bought my first orgs, managed my supplies, invested every penny I made. By May I had 250g worth of companies, by December it was more like 950g. By the time Dastardly Corporation was founded in December 2010 jamesw and I had spent a bunch, but we still had over 1500g between us. That little nest egg has been multiplied more than thirty times now, and I think by any measure DC is one of the richest non-government bodies in the world. We rode every crest of every disaster and came out richer. When the admins change the game, I just smile, liquidate and reinvest.
“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”
I first entered foreign affairs during the ATLANTIS days, and my roles in government brought me into contact with people all over the world. When PEACE was adopted in the UK I moped for a bit, before applying to be a PEACEKeeper. A month after I joined as a private, I became (along with the SG of the alliance) joint commander of the unit. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. My brief military supply experience didn’t fit at all the crazy mechanics of a unit which constantly moved, was constantly being fired and hired. PEACEKeepers soaked up money like a sponge. It was beautiful and glorious. Many of the old tank accounts you see around now were in the unit - under different ownership. Many of the friends I made there are now jerking around like re-animated corpses. It’s a bit sickening really.
“Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
I was there when PEACE GC died, possibly the only one still alive who was at that fateful meeting. I was a signatory and founder of Phoenix, served twelve months in the HQ. I’m not going to go into detail about the battles we fought and won and lost - it’s a matter for others. I learned then that the secret to not burning out was to simply minimise your role as much as possible and work through others. There are no shortage of players hungry for glory. I dragged the UK out of Terra’s dying corpse and joined ONE, was instrumental in us being a founding member of TWO. But none of it would be possible without the host of talented people around me who worked with me, sometimes as my bosses, sometimes not. CPs and statesmen all.
“There are two ways of spreading light..to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
One of the worst things about being so old ingame is that all of your friends tend to die and move on to other things. It’s a natural phase of things, to burn brightly and then burn out. People wreck their careers, or they just fizzle out into a dim ember. I’ve reached out to each new generation in turn, made new friends, lifted new players to the dizzying and disappointing heights of world government. I’ve made people who have far outstripped my own accomplishments in every field. I’ve pushed them on when they were too shy and dragged them back from the precipice when arrogance took them too far. I speak to a lot of them outside the game and consider them to be friends.
“Any pride or haughtiness, is displeasing to us, merely because it shocks our own pride, and leads us by sympathy into comparison, which causes the disagreeable passion of humility.”
I’ve done a lot of things that are subjectively bad and very little that could be described as subjectively good. I gained a reputation early on as being not a very nice guy, and I never saw the point in lying about it. Some people kiss up and pretend to be friends to get what they want, but I always distrusted that sort of person. I much prefer someone who will fight me, but deal with me fairly than someone who will smile and nod, then try stabbing me in the back (protip: it doesn’t work anyway). Anyway, I guess there are a lot of people out there whose lives I’ve made worse in some small way. Hopefully you’ll understand that it really isn’t anything personal, except when it is.
“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.”
Now I’ve finished my vain, self-promoting little article I should probably finish with what I see in my future. The answer is of course more of the same. I’ve got pretty damned good at what I do after five years, and I plan to keep on doing it so long as the game exists, I have time to log in and there are enough interesting people to catch my imagination. So sorry, all you people out there praying for my death, it’s not going to happen. Odds are, when you write your leaving the game article, full of bitterness and anger, I’ll be sipping my tea and chuckling. Karma is the most beautiful myth there is.
So adios, and here’s to another five years o/
”If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!”
What is this?You are reading an article written by a citizen of eRepublik, an immersive multiplayer strategy game based on real life countries. Create your own character and help your country achieve its glory while establishing yourself as a war hero, renowned publisher or finance guru.