The Economist ~ The taking of Heilongjiang and Liaoning

Day 4,022, 05:33 Published in Iran United Kingdom by Spite313
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Dear friends,

All aboard the nostalgia train, as once again we dive into the distant past.This time I am going to look at the history of two regions in North East China, and how the acquisition of those regions changed the world.

Firstly, allow me to provide some context. It is 2008 and the economy module looks very differently to today. There are strange resources on the map, like diamonds; Q5 is the highest quality weapon and each manufactured good only relied on a single raw material.

For the purposes of this article, let me explain further that in those days companies were physically built in a region- and once built they were stuck there. So if you built a factory in a region, and that region changed hands, the new country not only owned your region but all the taxes from the factory. What’s more, in those days there was no such thing as citizenship- you only got one vote, but if you wanted to take over someone else’s country you could just gather together a few hundred citizens, move there and vote for your candidate. This also means that there were no restrictions on working between countries that had an open war. There was no work as manager, and companies had their own in-built storage and currency/gold accounts where produced goods went and wages were paid. Individuals had a maximum storage of 20 items, unless they did special tasks for the admin (like working on the wiki) and got 50 slots as a reward.

So it was a different world, and one of the most striking differences was the distribution of resources. Weapons back then, as today, were the most valuable resource. Q5 weapon companies were rare- most people fought with lower quality weapons. But like now, weapons could only be profitably be produced with high bonuses. The resource which provided this bonus was iron, and it came in two varieties (medium and high). From memory, medium was a 50% bonus and high was a 100% bonus, so high was all anyone cared about.

Now as I’ve already discussed, to take advantage of a bonus your company had to be physically in the high resource region. You couldn’t build it in one of your cores, and then conquer the region as now. That meant that with the possible exception of a couple of countries (Spain, Brazil), most citizens had companies outside their home country. Due to the relative scarcity of high quality resources, countries that controlled those high resource regions were rich.

At that time I remember only two sources of high iron in Europe- but again this is entirely from memory so I may be wrong. Asturias in Spain was a major manufacturing area for ATLANTIS and a lot of Spanish and Swedish companies were based there (ATLANTIS’ two main economic powerhouses at the time). Podolia in Ukraine was the second that I recall- and this region was under occupation by Romania during late 2008/early 2009. Romania had also spread North and East into Russia. That was due to the fact that Norway (an ATLANTIS ally and declining power) had been pushed out of Russia by a number of PEACE orchestrated resistance wars. Romania moved in to replace them. Russia had at that time two high resource regions- West Siberian Region and East Siberian Region which between them contained every resource in the game.

I found this map online- it shows the world as it was in late 2008/early 2009 as Pakistan failed, Iran secured Asia and Romania began its great Eastern march

Outside of Europe there were three key high iron regions- Karnataka (in India) and of course Heilongjiang and Liaoning which were close together in Northeast China. All three regions were originally controlled by the Holy Empire of Pakistan, which was at this time in its final death throes after most of its key players had either left the country or quit the game. However, despite being a relatively weak power it held onto its regions mainly due to the fact it had no regional enemies, and there were no airstrikes in those days. To attack Chinese or Indian regions you would have to physically fight your way across either North America or central Asia. Any failure on that trip would represent a loss in investment of thousands of gold- since in those days attacking a region cost gold proportionate to the population of the region. And it wasn’t cheap.

The PEACE-ATLANTIS wars had begun with the Romanian invasion of Hungary in Autumn 2008, but had raged since then across the world, spawning a host of smaller conflicts. At the time of the invasion, Hungary was weak and it was Indonesian and Pakistani fighters that eventually forced the Romanians back. Since then the two sides had been existing in an uneasy truce- with an open war but few attacks that I can recall (auto-attack didn’t exist). Romania had begun to march across Asia with the aim of invading Pakistan, which had started to disintegrate under the force of resistance wars. Romania’s ultimate goal was to face Indonesia ’mano e mano’, the two great superpowers together. At the same time Indonesia and Pakistan coordinated so that Pakistan would release Indian regions and Indonesia would conquer them. Eventually both forces met in Northern India, and after one of the greatest and most forgotten battles in the game, Indonesia won.

Romanian Empire at its peak, before the Indonesians began to drive them back

Following this victory, which (nothing changes) was blamed on Indonesian bots (which was basically the truth) Indonesia slowly drove Romania back. China and India became free for the first time since the /v/akistanis had came to eRepublik, and ATLANTIS forces became increasingly based in Romania to fight in the war. In those days, MPPs only activated if your core regions were attacked- since Indonesia and Romania were both fighting in colonies, neither had active MPPs. So as time went on, PEACE citizens gathered in Indonesia and ATLANTIS citizens in Romania.

Finally there was the battle of West Siberian Region- which really needs an article of its own. It was what we called a “suicide battle” back then- people broke their accounts by fighting to zero health, which in those days could mean a weeks long recovery period with reduced working capacity and income. Most accounts with zero health were reliant on government charity to raise their health 10 health a day with gifts. So it was a cataclysmic battle for both sides, with Indonesia emerging triumphant.

Following WSR, Indonesian forces crawled into Europe- they had won the battle but PEACE was completely spent. Hungary however had its baby boom, and with Romania severely weakened was regaining all it’s core regions and then some. Fast forward to Spring 2009, and the tables had turned between the two countries. Romania was more experienced and better organised, but Hungary was the stronger of the two countries and was showing signs of overtaking Indonesia as the most powerful country in the world (militarily). They had only one problem- resources. Despite their military strength, the country had almost no money to prosecute wars with. In those days, it was governments not citizens that paid for wars, and the government was poor. In fact, compared to ATLANTIS (and later EDEN) PEACE was very poor indeed.

The Hungarians made an incredibly audacious plan - to go halfway around the world and take high iron from China. The closest source to them (Podolia) was ‘Romanian’ and would constantly be under threat. Their plan was to secure a high iron region, and move all their citizens there. This would make the cost of attacking it extremely high, since both direct attacks and resistance wars cost a gold amount proportionate to the region’s population. The only question for Hungary was how to get there.

Russia would have been the obvious choice, but Russia was a PEACE ally and had many shared MPPs. Throwing away an MPP stack would have been impossible in those days- a single MPP would have been a significant chunk of Hungary’s income, and they would have lost perhaps 20+ MPPs. So instead they crawled North through Europe and into Denmark. Eventually they had a border with the UK.

At that time the UK was an ATLANTIS member (the alliance was collapsing but still existed). Key allies included the USA, Canada and Spain. However a number of citizens had arrived in recent months and had made significant waves in local politics. This included GLaDOS, who was a PEACE general and had orchestrated the liberation of Russia and also anti-PTO efforts in that country. Also recently arrived was Nicolae Carpathia, a Greek who was one of the founders of PEACE and it’s first Secretary General.

To cut a long story short, the UK had become slanted towards PEACE. This was aided by internal conflict- the UK Reform Party (UKRP), which had ruled through much of the ATLANTIS period, was seen as very pro-American. However they had recently been overtaken by The Unity Party (TUP) which had no pre-existing ties to either alliance. This is where the PEACE alumni made their home.

GLaDOS approaching ATLANTIS

A secret deal was made with Hungary to allow them to pass through Scotland and access North America. War was declared, and when the Hungarians attacked the UK used a v1 mechanic called retreat to surrender the battle. This meant that Hungary immediately gained the region with no battle. But that wasn’t the end of it- the UK then fought across Canada and into China, backed by Hungarian fighters. Each time they advanced, they retreated the previous region to the Hungarians. Thus the UK entered China with Hungary following, and eventually took both Heilongjiang and Liaoning. Needless to say ATLANTIS/EDEN saw this as a huge betrayal, and hated the UK for years. The USA took it particularly badly and went from being close friends to being mortal enemies of the UK.

Around April 2009, Serbia was added to the PEACE global community. Serbia had been invaded by Croatia pretty much instantly when added to the game. They had their own baby boom, and became a major power. I am not going to go into huge detail, but by the end of 2009, there was a feeling that Serbia would soon overtake Hungary as the major military power in the PEACE bloc. A few factors, including the rise of Serbia, the fall of Indonesia and the relative strength of EDEN led to the end of PEACE and the formation of Phoenix. The “IHS” channel (Indonesia, Hungary, Serbia) formed the core of the new group.

At that time, the Indian high iron region of Karnataka was controlled by the USA. The USA had led a campaign against Phoenix which had kicked Iran out of Lioaning (which the Hungarians had given to them) in a fierce battle. Hungary had two regions, Heilongjiang and a shield region. The USA tried their luck with Heilongjiang (Americans were braver then) but got roundly defeated and decided to take out Iran in India instead.

Serbia needed access to high iron much as Hungary once did. In order to get to Asia, Serbia began to follow in Hungary’s footsteps- but in the opposite direction. Pakistan first formed a land bridge to Europe, crossing through Iranian, Turkish and Bulgarian regions to form a long snake across Asia. Serbia then sped through these regions (both using the retreat mechanic). Though this was a very costly endeavour in terms of gold, it landed Serbia in Pakistani cores, where they remained.

The next step was to get to East Asia. Phoenix knew this would be fiercely resisted, and so they started a multi-faced attack on … basically everyone. A resistance war was started in Karnataka (owned by the USA) to distract EDEN forces, and resistance wars were started throughout EDEN countries. Greece and Turkey started a new war, and Peru attacked North of Brazil (High Iron). In the midst of this chaos, Russia advanced into China, and swapped Serbia into striking distance of Liaoning. The world was stunned that Phoenix would spend thousands of gold on distraction and this gave Serbia their opportunity to seize high iron.

The acquisition of Heilongjiang catapulted Hungary into the position of global superpower. A year later, Liaoning did the same for Serbia. It can’t be overstated how valuable these regions were. Heilongjiang was a fortress, and originally contained around a quarter of the PEACE/Phoenix economy. As Serbia’s baby boom progressed, Liaoning grew in a similar fashion. By one calculation, Phoenix controlled around 40% of the global economy and around half of that was based in two regions. Although the IHS group was incredibly powerful on the battlefield (IRC rooms contained over 1000 fighters at times) they lacked money. The acquisition of these regions kept them in the fight until the economic changes made the regions less important.

Before the conquest of Liaoning, the top four incomes (two week averages) in Phoenix were as follows:

Hungary: 485g per day
Serbia: 338g
Brazil: 268g
Russia: 260g

Within a few months, all had changed, and Serbia’s income more than doubled. The impact of these regions cannot be underestimated- throughout most of its life Phoenix was the underdog, fighting against a much larger and wealthier EDEN. The Polish baby boom made the situation even more imbalanced- at times Polish income exceeded 1300g a day (if you compare that to the Phoenix income above you will understand).

EDEN recognised this fact as well, and so they made it their absolute goal to take down the “three pillars”- Karnataka, Liaoning and Heilongjiang. The battle over those regions lasted years, and by the time they finally won the game had changed and the regions weren’t as important as they once were. I might talk about those battles in another article… though like all battles it was the impact they had on global economics and politics that were more interesting.

Until next time o/