So, ever have one of those bad dreams where you get in an argument with a friend and suddenly find yourself stranded in some far off land you've never heard of, half starved, and trying to figure out what went wrong with your life?
That pretty much sums up how I got back into eRepublik.
I played this game back in 2009 as a curiosity, and decided ultimately that it wasn't worth it and went on with my life. Priorities and all that.
But I recently got into a heated argument with a friend who was into politics and foreign policy. He argued that there was something to learn from games like these, since they basically emulate politics on a smaller scale. I think he called it micropolitics or something, I'm not sure.
I could see the idea happening, but it wouldn't be a mirthful recreation of the politics of today. As a game designer myself, I know how people respond to trite rewards and the little encouragements that go into a browser game like this. I thought I could never get wrapped up in actually playing something like this, because you just click a few times every few hours.
It also doesn't simulate politics really well. As much as I'd like to think this is a little simulation of the world, it's pretty damned different when everything is boiled down like this. The following analogy summed up my opinions.
Real Life: eRepublik; Agriculture: FarmVille.
Then I started playing again, just to prove a point. I'll put my story in the format of an entertaining tutorial, just so this article actually serves something of a purpose.
How to have a good game of eRepublik
Step 1: Already have an account that's a few years old.
Don't start a new account or something silly like that. Free gold, and just because you decided this game might be a fun diversion for a week or two a year ago? Yes please!
Or you could just level up a bunch. Same difference and it doesn't require a friend with a time machine.
Although, if you do already have the time machine, might as well.
Step 2: Don't spend all that gold in one place
I decided that changing my name to something that people would actually recognize me online by was more important than food. It's an absurd amount of gold for something I could have very easily gotten over. Make purchases wisely, since you're investing in the future of your game experience and a bad purchase now means a month or two of regret. Or longer.
Long story short: If you like your kidneys, don't make deals with people over fake ID's.
Step 3: Don't get a job, Join an MU
Because free stuff. The best way to make back the gold (and kidneys) you've lost is to farm achievements like it's your job. Because it basically is your job in this game. I mean, what else are you going to do? Just about everything you can do in this game is related one way or another to getting an achievement.
MU's are cool because they usually give you free stuff and social interaction is generally considered a good thing, in moderation. They usually only ask that you work for one of their members and pay you in weapons and food rather than money, but it's worth it in the long run to take the minimum wage job and be handed $100+ worth of weapons every day.
No you're not Derpy, there's no turnover in free hugs and the market's been down.
They also give you money so that you can move to a Chinese commune in order to earn back a ticket back to the United States after you've shown sufficient loyalty to the cause. Those years I spent in the gulag are some of my fondest yet.
Step 4: Acquire Nuclear Arms or Weapons of Mass Destruction
Seriously, if you can get a rocket while you're still in Division 1, you can get Battle Hero achievements like nobody's business. 10 gold as an initial investment and a lot of money to get the weapons in order to build it, but combine that with a bunch of bazookas and the battle is your oyster.
Sure, you might have to make a deal with the North Korean government in order to escape your meager and meaningless existence, but it's totally worth it when they give you a suitcase nuke and tell you to head for New York. Free transport to the eUSA and a free nuke to use in whatever battle I want!
So I actually had fun.
That was unexpected.
This didn't happen back in 2009, when you were happy to get a wage of $1 per day and you were lucky if you had the privilege of going to war without being laughed at for having poor numbers or fighting without a weapon. Where strength and industrial output were two separate numbers and required twice as many clicks in order to make them go up. Now apparently everyone works at exactly the same rate, and you can apparently own your own land? Madness.
And then this newspaper happened.
Paid for by 2 gold that I specifically won in a battle I used two rockets in. This newspaper only exists because thousands died by my weapons of mass destruction. Hopefully my tales of excitement have inspired others and given hints to those still trying to figure their way out of the gulag* because the nightmares shall never cease for me.
And I did finally get back to my friend, since the argument we had started this whole fiasco in the first place. Turns out real-world politics aren't very far off. Government subsidies are basically achievements: Get $X if you do Y. World economies are defined by the little achievements you give out for doing things, and we apparently like war enough in the United States to fund it like nobody's business. Now if we could only work on gold-based veteran's benefits, we'd pretty much make irlUSA a lot like eUSA.
But besides crass generalizations about the world as it relates to video games and the never ceasing screams of the virtual damned in my ear as they ask me why I've done the terrible, terrible things I've done, I think I'll vote for two different Presidents in two different realities and take a nap.
(*I hid a plastic spoon under the 3rd piling in the electric fence. Use your fingernails to dig to the spoon, and then use the spoon the rest of the way until you get to freedom. It'll take two days of solid effort, and remember that the guards shift at 2am and 4am. Good luck my freedom loving brothers.)
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.