In a move that surprised many citizens of Thalassia, long-serving President Rockiberg resigned on January 25. What at first appears to have simply been a case of a constitutional dispute may, in fact, reveal a politician whose working relationship with many in the Thalassian establishment was less than harmonious, verging on bullying.
The clearest public acknowledgement of troubled waters came from Rockiberg (known as Rocki for short) himself; in the official RMB statement announcing his resignation, Rocki acknowledged that he had been involved in “rather an unpleasant scuttle with [the founder] Sho.” In addition, he claimed that he had “got too emotional, and acted very unprofessionally.” It was this, paired with the risk of a similar event happening again, which caused him to resign. Within the realms of regional governance, unpleasant disputes between administration members are not uncommon, which is what makes this resignation a potentially interesting look inside Thalassia’s government.
Sho provided the following exclusive statement to NationStates Today regarding the unfolding of the events surrounding Rocki’s resignation:
“I have to say I am incredibly disappointed to see Rocki step down. I have worked with Rocki since my time in Pacifica and during that time, I’ve always known him to be a bright and eager character. What it boiled down to was a constitutional dispute, one that was unfortunately taken too far, Rocki then made the independent decision to conclude, quite rightly, that his behaviour was not becoming of his position as President. Although Rocki has made the decision to resign, I feel this situation could have been resolved via a simple conversation.”
This statement, seemingly backing up Rocki’s own claims that the situation had gone too far, led to NationStates Today seeking further details from other members of the government. One senior official, who opted to remain anonymous, provided details of the dispute in question, alleging that Rocki berated Sho over her use of administrative powers. In addition, the official claimed that, since Rocki had begun his term, he had been prone to treating members of the government unfairly, especially members of the Cabinet.
When asked whether they thought Rocki was right in his accusation regarding the overstepping of constitutional boundaries, this official was clear in their view that Sho had acted entirely within her rights. Most damningly, though, was the accusation by the same official that “Rocki was careful to keep his unpleasant nature in DMs,” implying that Rocki actively worked to keep his aggressive language concealed.
Another high-ranking official, who agreed only to provide anonymous answers, was asked whether Rocki was difficult to work with and prone to outbursts, to which they replied, “in all honesty, yes.” Unfortunately, despite NationStates Today’s best efforts, none of the current or former government members reached for comment wished to attribute their names to statements.
In a game where the most unpleasant sides of players often go unreported for years due to the use of private discussion spaces, it will not shock veteran players to hear that yet another senior regional figure has been accused of acting in such a manner. In a key distinction to other cases, however, it appears Rocki focused on in-character tasks and issues when targeting his anger, rather than any explicit out-of-character issues.
While Rocki and Sho both acknowledged that the specific case at hand had gone too far, the other statements suggest that much of Rocki’s inappropriate behaviour occurred in a wider variety of situations. Rocki himself has seemingly vanished from all NationStates-related Discord servers, and did not respond to a request for comment before the publication of this article.
This case points to one of the reasons that being in a regional government can be challenging for some. Ambitious players often have a short fuse, and the potential risk to community harmony can be huge, especially when that behaviour is successfully hidden behind closed doors. While not as damaging as horrific out-of-character situations seen in the past, Rocki’s case suggests that in-character actions can similarly have negative outcomes for bad actors.
For Thalassia, though, the situation seems unlikely to have a lasting impact. The Cabinet has clearly rallied around a singular narrative, having thanked Rocki for his service and focusing on the next steps. In a public announcement on the RMB and Discord, Prime Minister Arenado confirmed that an election would begin within 7 days, and that Czech Germania was now Acting President.
Disclaimer: Wymondham and Sho, who are Minister of Information and founder/Minister of Administrative Affairs in Thalassia respectively, also serve as Public Relations Director and Deputy Human Resources Director for NationStates Today. Neither had any involvement in the writing or editing of this article and neither were given permission to read it prior to publication.