Analysis of Gameplay Ideologies

Discussion in 'Discussion' started by Nasania, May 12, 2015.

  1. Nasania

    Nasania New Member

    Gameplay Alignment Test and the LEO test Compared or How is LEO filtered through the NS game mechanic?


    Disclaimer: throughout this lecture I make reference to various RL ideologies of a controversial nature. I do this in the neutral academic tone and in no way am I using those terms for emotionalistic or derogatory reasons. Therefore here are the definitions I am using:

    Fascism: an ideology about increasing Order at the expense of both Equality and Liberty. They believe that society should be stable and orderly at all times and democacy and individual expression can be hindrance to that goal. Strict Institutionalism would be a better synonym for this ideology.

    Communism: an ideology about increasing Equality at the expense of both Liberty and Order. It believes that society should work for the good of people and by the people. The Smurf village is a good example of communism.

    Anarchism: an ideology about increasing Liberty at the expense of Equality and Order. For them individual freedom is so precious that neither government or society should interfere with said freedom. is a good example of the right-wing variant of this ideology. This is NOT the same as anti-establishmenatarianism which wants to eliminate institutions entirely. Hermits might be the best example of this ideology in action.

    In my time on Nationstates, I have come across something that I found intriguing: there are governments that operate regions and ideologies that guide those governments. When I think of ideologies, I compare them to the RL ideologies like communism, nationalism, and anarchism. When I analyze ideologies and politics, I use a formula called the LEO test. LEO is an ideological framework that classifies Real Life ideology along three basic axes with a fourth axis I will elaborate on later. Liberty for the Libertarians, Equality for the Liberals, and Order for the Traditionalists. You may think that liberalism=liberty and in European parlance that is true, however in the United States liberalism is associated with Egalitarians(Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic Party for example) with Libertarianism being associated with the liberty value. Let's compare the LEO test with the Gameplay alignment test and answer the question: How does the LEO test relate to the gameplay alignment test?

    First, if you are not familiar with The Gameplay Alignment(GA) test, I will explain. The GA test is an ideology test created by both Solm and Unibot to discern a player's ideological orientation within Nationstates. It has two dimensions and recognizes four ideologies: Defenderism, Raiderism, Cosmopolitanism, and Regionalism. We will discuss each of these ideologies in detail.

    Defenderism is the ideology of the Rejected Realms, United Defenders League, and Lazarus. The defenderist believes that each and every region is sovereign and that said sovereignty must be protected. For them, all regions are equally sovereign and no outside force has a right to trespass on said sovereignty, and such people who would violate that right must be militantly opposed. In short a militant advocacy for an equal right to freedom between the regions is their usual defining characteristic. With the LEO test they usually score as liberal Egalitarians. There are exceptions though. The Utilists and Regionalist defenders for example, scored as conservatives. This shows that there is something else driving the defender side which we will determine by studying their opposing force.

    Raiderism is the ideology of the Black Riders, the Black Hawks, and Lone Wolves United. The Raiderist believes in the free expression of the will, and espouse that the transcendent will to power is the ultimate reality of Nationstates. What is Will? It is all that is willful. According to Wikipedia: “Actions made according to a person's will are called “willing” or “voluntary” and sometimes pejoratively “willful” or “at will”. In general, "will" does not refer to one particular or most preferred desire but rather to the general capacity to have such desires and act decisively based on them, according to whatever criteria the willing agent applies.” I will let a political scientist, R.J. Rummel, further elaborate on the concept: “The will is the power of choice; it is the power to bring the person to act in a specific way; it is the mode of transformation of potentials, dispositions, needs, sentiments, and interests into manifestations; it is the active force that adjusts the motivations and temperamental dispositions to one's intentions in a particular situation.”
    For a Raiderist all regions are potential targets and, if it be their will, that region will be raided. Some even go beyond this and uphold a transcendent 'Raid in of itself' (Raideron group.) Their LEO score, interestingly, is all over the place, sometimes occupying the same space as defenderists. The Wolfist manifesto scores as Anti-Libertarian Egalitarian. Some of the other Raiderists score as anarchist, others communitarians, some as anti-Liberty extreme establishmentarians. The only unifying characteristic between them is the 'will to raid.'

    Defenderism and Raiderism are the two opposing philosophies on a single dimension that measures military gameplay attitude. Raiderism is an ideology that advocates raiding as a way of life, it believes in imposing your own will on a region, temporally or permanently. I contrast here between a raider and a raiderist in that the former is a policy position(an action that someone may do) while the latter is an advocacy group.
    Now what about the imperialists? They are actually a particular brand of regionalists according to the LEO test who extend the desire for order(Latin: Imperium) beyond their own region. Now I will say they are NOT raiderists. Rather, the raiderists are off on their own dimension and some views of the Raiderists will clash with Imperialists. The Imperialists may view raiderists as a disruptive force to imperial hegemony(especially if the raiderist targeted an imperialist colony/ally) and a threat to the stability of the Empire. Raiderists don't care if they cause chaos on the international stage or a local community. Everything is for the ultimate goal of fun for them. They do have a concept of Raider Unity, but it is followed more out of a strategic necessity to counter their opponents, than a necessary ideological doctrine for raiderists. Now I am not saying that the imperialists won't co-opt the raiderists. Think of the way RL governments have licensed pirates and 'freedom fighters.' Raiders are very much like privateers in that they disrupt the order of the Nationstates world, but are hired by governments to destabilize or disrupt an opponent's strategy. In short their collaborating/hiring of raiders(and raiderists) is a tactic, not the strategy. The strategy is Realpolitik while preserving their own Order is the undelying doctrine of the imperialist. For the Raiderist, the raid is the tactic, Raider unity/organization is the strategy, the doctrine is: satisfying the Will.

    Regionalism is an ideology about domestic policy, specifically promoting Regional identity, and is prevalent in the Game-created regions, imperialists, and traditional Communist regions. However, the form of Regionalism espoused by the test is not quite as broad as I use it. The GA test characterizes regionalism only by its isolationistic expressions. In short it mistakes consequences for causes. The LEO test shows that the root cause of this isolationism is a desire for state stability to the point where differing internal opinions results in a knee jerk reaction of “purge the rebels!” Basically they are in self-preservation mode against anarchy. Not all regionalists are in self-preservation mode. The imperialists for example feel their state is secure enough to be extending their imperium to other regions (except where they are operating on the pre-emptive attack doctrine).

    Cosmopolitanism is the ideology about domestic policy and is characterized by a laissez-faire attitude towards how citizens relate to their governments. They stand opposite of regionalism and believe that regional government should not interfere too much in the individual's experience of Nationstates. However, the GA test doesn't account for the anti-regionalists who oppose all forms of regional government and lumps them in with the Cosmopolitans. To further complicate the issue is that many seem to define cosmopolitanism as the same as interregionalism. When I test people like Unibot(cosmopolitan-defender), and cosmopolitans in general, they score with a low, but still positive, preference Order with a principle preference for equality or liberty.

    Now I am going to reconcile the LEO with the GA test and the ideocube of Nationstates which is a 3D extension of the nolan chart and measures policy position. Here is my theory. The GA regionalism/Cosmopolitanism dimension measures the Order dimension, so regionalists should look like nationstates conservatives. Now does this mean they will read like GOP? Some will some won't. Conservatism is a broad ideology and encompasses many individuals and clouds of ideological groups. George W. Bush, Barbara Bush, Richard Cheney, Napoleon I, Napoleon III, Benito Mussolini, Barack Obama, Edmund Burke, Alexander Hamilton, Vladimir Putin, Rick Santorum, Michael Peroutka, Zell Miller are all examples of RL conservatism. Fictional conservatism includes Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. What all these individuals will agree on is a need for institutions and maintaining the status quo. What they will disagree on is their secondary preference for liberty or equality, and how much these values must be comprised to satisfy the Order preference. Mussolini almost says “Liberalism? Humbug!” scoring 16% Equality and has an even lower liberty score(6%). You will typically find his rhetoric contains around 78% Order rhetoric. The closest match to that rhetorical score I have found anywhere else is Emperor Palpatine's “First Galactic Empire” speech. Napoleon actually scored as an equal balance between equality and order(in other words a moderate communitarian) and if he had compromised slightly more with Liberty, would have been a centrist. His main goals was to maintain the Unity of the Nation. Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, Obama, Bonapartes, Mussolini, Putin all prefer equality over liberty with Mussolini being the most extreme and Napoleon I being the most moderate of the Socialist Conservative branch. Hamilton, Burke, George Bush, Peroutka, Hamilton, Zell Miller and Santorum represent the Libertarian Conservatives with Dubya being among the more moderate and Peroutka the most extreme. Overall, this suggests that Regionalists will find agreement with some of the rhetoric of the above politicians and would sound like the NS equivalent of those politicians. The Francoists(who score as ideologue to hardline welfare conservatives), McMasterdonia(Ideologue left conservative), and the Utilists, should find most agreement with Bonapartists, Cheney, Laura Bush, Mussolini, Putin and Obama. The Imperialists with their concern with Regional Sovereignty, Independence, and Colonial self-administration seem to be more concerned with Libertarian Conservatism and probably would find more agreement with Dubya, Hamilton, Zell Miller, Peroutka, Santorum, and Burke.

    What about Stalin and Nationalistic Communists? Well as communism(Equality fanatics) became the establishment, the term communism got carried over to the point where a Fascist in either the Soviet Union, People's Republic of China, or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea would officially be a hard-line “communist” however their commitment to egalitarian principles had significantly diminished. This is why some of the 'communists' (Real Life and otherwise) may score high on Order rhetoric. It is because they are establishmentarians enthralled with communist symbology and traditions more than the ideological underpinnings of communism as a movement. In nationstates, some communists disavow regionalism in favor of more internationalistic communsim.
    For example when I tested Zennyism, she scored very similar to other egalo-Establishmentarians in Nationstates, particularly the Francoists. This is why I juxtapose Zennyism and Francoism together in an ideology test I made. The Zennyist is actually a little further to the left of the Francoist and has a slightly higher libertarian preference, but is still within conservative ideological zone. Dear leader Zenny probably finds some agreement with ideological principles from Bonapartists, Putin or Obama and it wouldn't surprise me at all if she used Bonapartist writings as a source for her writings.

    The opponents of the Regionalists, the Cosmopolitans, will be a compromise of libertarianism and socialism in their leanings. They sound like and contrast values from John Rawls, Robespierre, Strelnikov, Emma Goldman, Robert Nozick, Murray Rothbard, Thomas Hill Green, Karl Hess, Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault, and Andrew Sullivan. The LEO test suggests that both Unibot and Eluvatar(who are cosmopolitans) likely find most agreement with John Rawls and Andrew Sullivan but some disagreement with Thomas Hill Green because of his higher preference for liberty than Equality. In governing a region they will seek Solidarity first, informed by liberty and tradition being a necessary evil. They likely view the conservatives(Francoists and Imperialists) as latent Fascists while said conservatives will view them as the Nationstates equivalent of Communists in their political leanings. Now notice how the Gameplay alignment test tends to lump the libertarians and anarchists with the Socialists and Communists? That's because its axis only measures the player's relation to regionalism(which is usually an element of conservatism, except where regionalism means secession from a larger body.) Anti-Establishmentarians and Anarchists won't fit nicely on the GA test, being obscured in the 2D framework of GA. They will be lumped in with individualists even though they may have vehement disputes with each other.

    Now about the Defenderists and Raiderists how is that dimension reconciled with LEO? That dimension actually measures a fourth dimension beyond the standard 3D LEO system. Interestingly there are RL ideologies that operate on the fourth dimension. These ideologies can occupy the same place as their opponents and seemingly distant positions at the same time. Basically they operate as ideological blackholes. Ideologies in RL that fit this are National Socialism(particularly the Libertarian Nazi Green Party) and the National Anarchist Movement. Nazism occupies a space as principally anti-Egalitarian, and occupies both Fascism and Anarchism at the same time. On the GA test they should score as Raiderists. Does this mean Raiderists are nazis? No, just that Nazism has a necessary Raiderist component in the ideology. Many raiderists probably oppose nazism and theoretically, according to the model, could combine militant centrist ideology with universal oppositionists (I am guessing this would be a Nietszchean centrist) and oppose Nazism on the grounds that it is too establishmentarian. To be honest I figure the raiderists would most likely combine Anti-establishmentarianism with communism(Objectivism+Maoism) based on their history of appropriating communist symbology(Wolfist Manifesto.)

    So to sum up regionalism/cosmoplitanism=order dimension, Raiderism/Defenderism=Will dimension. So now let's combine the ideocube from nationstates. Looking at how all the establishmentarian governments are centered on the Father Knows Best State with low political freedoms, that will be the order value. New York Times democracy will be the typical Anti-Establishmentarian government. The anarchist governments are all high on personal freedoms so we will set that as the Liberty value. The Moralistic Democracy will be the Anti-Libertarian government. The democratic Socialists prize equality so we will set them as the default value for communism. Anti-Egalitarianism then would be the same as the Capitalist Paradise. Fascism would either be Father Knows best state or Iron Fist Consumerists if they particularly hate Liberty.

    Now let's take advantage of combining LEO with GA. The result is that Regionalism would be low on Political Freedom and would be the equivalent of a Father Knows Best State. Cosmopolitanism is kind tricky as already stated, so it would include both New York Times Democracy and inoffensive Centrists. The raiderists and defenderists would be all over the place. The RL Nazis would be both Corporate Police State and Anarchy due to their weird ideological warping. Objectivism, an anti-establishmentarian ideology, would be Corporate Bordello or Anarchy. The GOP would be Father Knows Best state leaning to Libertarian Police State. Bonapartists would be closer to the Corrupt dictatorship. Democratic Party Would be like Democratic Socialists. Libertarians and Anarchists would be the Left-Leaning College State.

    I suspect the biggest differences between the ideological paradigms above is that the GA Test views the R/D as the foreign policy dimension and the Cosmopolitan/regionalism dimension representing domestic affairs. The problem with conflating policy with ideology like this is that policy doesn't delve into the root cause and is more focused on effect and by separating foreign policy from domestic policy, gives the impression of more division than may actually exist. Because of the inadequacies of the gameplay alignment test, I have created a new dimension to try to 3D the GA test: Imperialism/Sovereigntism test which basically accounts for the foreign policy angle ignored by the regionalism/cosmopolitanism and raiderism/Defenderism dimensions. Regional Sovereigntism is an ideology started by Eluvatar to try to break free of the moralism in defenderism. When I apply the LEO model to Regional Sovereigntism, it is a somewhat more moderate version of Unibot's defenderism: Libertarian Egalitarianism. Imperialism is the other ideology but one I have yet to discuss is Independentism. Independentism is a new ideology that is promoted by the North Pacific, Imperialist regions, and Zennyists. Its LEO score is identical with the Imperialists, is ambivalent to Francoism and opposes Regional sovereigntism. Their manifesto indicated they support Libertarian Establishmentarianism. To be honest, I had some difficulty testing this one though due to the fact that I had to define the concept Sovereignty. For some, like the regional sovereigntists, it is a value of liberty; for the imperialists it may be a value for order which will make them much more hard-line conservative(particularly egalitarian conservative) in scoring. For the Independents it may score as a libertarian value which means there will be some tension between the imperialists and independents over this issue of sovereignty in the future, with independents becoming much classicaly liberal in ideology and perhaps taking on a position like the RL Declaration of Independence, which scores as right-wing libertarian.

    To conclude my lecture, I will make some predictions based on tha data above. First, the Libertarian Independents will split off from the Imperialists over the definition of Regional Sovereignty. The independents will want to preserve their region's independence and neutrality in interregional affairs but as the imperialists become a much more central force, they will likely attempt to distance themselves and eventually split off. This brings up a recent conversation I had with Christian Democrats. In it we were wondering why there were no enlightenment style revolutions in Nationstates. My response was that there just aren't that many enlightment revolutionaries out there at the moment. This could be their opportunity to appear on the world scene. Granted in the past there were governments that used that brand of liberalism(the East pacific for example) but they seem to have disappeared for the time being. We'll just have to wait and see.
    Second, due to their shared ideological kinship, the francoists, imperialists, zennyists, and the North Pacific will ally at some point in the future. Now the North Pacific may be an odd one to include but one must remember, the North Pacific has moved considerably right-ward since their founding. In the past they were Egalitarians(Grosseschnauzer and Eluvatar for example) and were allied with the defenders, but as they have become a much more secure state they no longer see a reason to side with the socialist regions. This also partially explains why they have dumped the defender side in favor of independentism as most defenders are egalitarian-leaning(some are communist.) With regards to Zennyism being allied with imperialist regions, the LEO test effectively shows that Zenny is using Communist Symbology for otherwise traditional imperialist ends and that they share much in common with each other. It also suggests that she will find allies with the Francoists so I would recommend watching for that in future interregional developments.

    At the original is a list of politicians and how they scored in the LEO test.
    Last edited: May 12, 2015