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The Shift: May 2020

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The ‘second wave’ of the YouTube-fuelled population surge, not to be mistaken for the more ominous second wave of the pandemic in the real world, claims sole responsibility in the month of May for disrupting many of the predictions made in April. Given the increasingly unlikely chance of a third video being published by Drew Durnil on the video platform, populations are beginning to reliably return to previous levels, though the distribution of long-term gains remains an interesting question with a yet-unknown answer.

As with the previous month, instead of analysing merely the single largest shifts up and down in World Assembly population, The Shift will instead review the broader state of the numbers given the major upheaval being experienced.

While total growth remains strongly positive at 13.3% – a value that has only been beaten by the unprecedented growth of the ‘first wave’ recorded last month – it would be a mistake to view the past 30 days as a consistent period of change. What the month-on-month data set does not show is that there have since been three distinct periods.

NOTE: Regions with no April 2020 data had a World Assembly population under 90.
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The publication of the previous edition of The Shift fell into the initial period before May 1 when only the first video and population spike had occurred. The follow-up video by Drew Durnil, who aptly described the state of the game following his first instalment as a “burning dumpster fire,” commenced the second stage. The third period began on May 19, exactly four weeks on from the initial video as the nations who had since failed to log in ceased-to-exist, which caused one of the sharpest single-day falls in total nations in history. It is this final period that is being currently experienced, particularly in the feeder regions, though it will be compounded on May 29 as a similar effect takes hold with the nations founded at the time of the second video.

The net gains of a portion of the nations founded in the first surge and almost all of the nations in the second surge are primarily responsible for the strong positive growth seen in this month’s data, being led by User Created Regions (UCRs) on 14.4%, closely followed by feeders on 12.2%. Though sinkers are lagging significantly behind their counterparts on 5.6%, their losses in the ongoing population reversal are likely to be offset in the medium-term by the refounding of some nations initially created during the surge.

NOTE: This graph only includes regions with recorded data from the April 2020 edition.
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As for individual regions, the Confederacy of Layem has seen the largest proportional jump, more than doubling its World Assembly population in the last month primarily due to it being the location of the infamous YouTuber’s nation, Deruuu. This factor alone may invite an equally sharp drop in June. They are followed most closely by a range of other emerging UCRs, with The Land of Kings and Emperors and Karma on 69.9% and 45.2% respectively. Enadia also skyrocketed above 100 World Assembly nations – almost doubling the threshold – for the first time in nearly one year on the back of poaching efforts.

The negative end of the spectrum is home to marginally more regions than last month. Asia, which was the target of a raid by The Black Hawks, has since been returned back to its native population, which has seen it crash to less than a fifth of its former size. They were followed by Warzone Sandbox and the Commonwealth of Liberty, which both partially reversed previous gains with falls of 17.3% and 7.4% respectively. The wider community should have more certainty of the long-term effects of this change by early June, which will be reflected in next month’s edition of The Shift. Until then, every regional government will be hoping they maximised their gains and praying they can minimise their losses.


  • Llo has been on NationStates since May 2016, residing primarily in The Leftist Assembly, where he has previously served as Secretary for four terms. He enjoys working in regional governments, particularly in news, elections, law-making, and polling. He is the former Chief Executive Officer and current Chief Content Officer of NationStates Today, and is the most published author in the organisation's history with over 60 articles.