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Up Close & Personal: Altino

In this edition of Up Close & Personal, NationStates Today’s correspondent Wymondham gets up close and personal with the Pharaoh of Osiris and NationStates Gameplay Awards Politician of the Year award winner Altino.


Since becoming Pharaoh of Osiris in May 2018, Altino has overseen a remarkable increase in activity across the entirety of Osiris. She has also successfully navigated many a crisis, including the diplomatic incident with Europeia and the ensuing fallout with Balder. Altino has approached her role with a wisdom and sagacity beyond her years on NS (Altino has been on NS since July 2016, meaning she has been on NS for 2 and a half years). Altino recently won the Politician of the Year award at the NSGP awards, as well as seeing her region named best GCR. With this in mind, I spoke to Altino on a range of topics, from what she did when she found out she was going to be Pharaoh, to the Anti-Pacific Collation and NPO (The Pacific) war.

Altino has been Pharaoh of Osiris for 8 months now, and has had many memorable moments so far during her tenure, when asked what her favourite moment was, she had this to say:

β€œI’m running Osiris meritocratically, and I feel like this is the system that Osiris has always deserved. All of my favourite moments have been in transitions of government positions, because I feel like those are little landmarks of how far we’ve come. Poor Osiris has to hear a “this is why meritocracy works, I’m so proud!!” speech from me almost every time… lol. I have more examples of this working than I should really probably share in one interview, but one of my favourite examples is Rachael as our Vizier of Gameside Affairs. Before she was Vizier, Lynx was, and Lynx put a lot of time and effort into building a team and teaching them what she knew. I tell my Viziers as soon as they get the job that their first priority in any position should be training their replacement. And that’s what they do. Lynx had a small army of capable, well-trained Gamesiders on her hands and together they skyrocketed our native activity. When Lynx decided that she wanted to shift her focus to Legion and her position as Guardian, that would have in another time spurred mild panic in Osiris as we scrambled to find her replacement, but Rachael was already trained, ready, and willing to take up that mantle. Gameside didn’t experience any down time or decrease in effectiveness. Rach just used what Lynx built, added to it, and created her own little army of Gamesiders. It works! It’s wonderful. πŸ™‚ I’m really proud of that.”

During her tenure as Pharaoh, Altino has made no less than 18 government appointment, dismissals and promotions. According to Altino this is due to the fact that, if you can’t do the job for a bit, Osiris should not stop just because your not there:

β€œDemocracies change their cabinets really often, because they have terms. Monarchies or governments with consistent executives tend not to change their cabinets as often, because they already have a team they’re comfortable with. Our Viziers under Syb’s delegacy, for example, sat for the rest of his duration as Pharaoh. That isn’t my style. I am not a fan of democracy, but I do think that your government should shift, grow, and adapt often. If you’re a Vizier but you’re going to be busy with irl stuff for the next few months, then I’m going to set you down. That doesn’t mean you’ve done a bad job – you probably have done great – but it does mean that I won’t pause Osiris’ progress for months until you can come back. Someone else is capable, someone else has worked hard and earned it, someone else will get that spot. That’s a feature that’s probably a little hard nosed on my part, but I like it. Keeps things moving and keeps our arms full of good advisors who left on good terms and can always come back.”

Still, nothing can ever go 100% well, yet Altino has few regrets about her time, so far, as Pharaoh:

β€œI think there are a few things in my earlier delegacy that I wish I would have learned more quickly – mostly about what is “normal” for a delegate to do. That stopped me from doing a lot of things that would have worked because I thought a delegacy had to be run a certain way or certain things weren’t possible (in Osiris or in Sinkers, whatever) because they hadn’t been achieved before. But as we achieve them before my very eyes, I’m finding out that maybe they were impossible because “normal” isn’t ambitious enough”

Osiris has seen much diplomatic upheaval over the last year, with many of its long standing treaties being cancelled and replaced with new ones. In line with that, Altino feels that Osiris has 2 key allies at this moment in time:

β€œ In UCRs, without a doubt EMN. We work with a lot of UCRs – especially now during wartime – and we’re finding out that we have things in common with them, but EMN is like that cousin that you were bffs with as a kid. We know they’re crazy, but they’re funny and they’re crazy in the way we are, so pretty in sync and friendly. In GCRs, TWP has been Osiris’ closest friend for as long as I can remember. We’ve got a real thick and thin situation with TWP.”

Before becoming Pharaoh, Altino served as Chief Vizier of Osiris and founded the UCR Karma. Altino believes those experiences taught her a lot:

β€œThe main lessons that I learned as Chief Vizier were how to deal with Osirans. Working with Osirans is different than leading and motivating Osirans. So I spent my time there generally learning what “works” in Osiris, the kind of pushing that the region needed, and what Osiris was missing to really be great.

Osiris was mostly just missing something that it created itself, I think. Osiris has a lot of history, and it’s history is still really important to its identity in the present, but the current generation didn’t really have their own identity. We’ve borrowed things from the past now and kept our history relevant – like Oracle is still our newsletter and Legion is still our military – but we’ve taken them and as a community given them a new life on our own terms. I think that’s helped Osiris in the present take ownership of itself and open up to new ideas. They’re all really creative now and not intimidated about speaking up. That’s made a world of difference.”

β€œI think my time in Karma, where I was running my own region and trying to figure out from ground zero what works and what doesn’t, has been where my most valuable lessons came from. I’ve never done anything in NS that I didn’t have a really good mentor to ask questions if I needed to, but in Karma I was the person to ask, and no one really knew what they were doing any more than I did. We created something cool, but it took a lot of work and a lot of trial and error to get there, and the stuff that I dreamed up there has been very useful in other places.”

Syberis announced his intent to abdicate in April of 2018 and Altino says that she did not join Osiris with the intent of gaining the delegacy and with regards to her reaction when Syberis announced his abdication, she had this to say:

β€œUhhhh… Give me a couple days to think about it.” I didn’t really come to Osiris with delegacy on the menu. Lol. I was there to help Syb, but I definitely didn’t want to replace him. Osi’s been my home since I walked in the door, but it’s not my first parade in regional leadership. Regional leadership is exhausting, and I already knew that. But at the end of the day, I’ve always put what I thought was good for Osiris over what I personally preferred, so I accepted.”

With the abdication having been announced, Altino began to prepare for her eventual rise to the throne:

β€œIn a channel in my family server that only I could see, I started saving links, artwork, plans, and just whatever random information or ideas popped into my head at any time of day and dumping them there. Then when he actually abdicated, I took all of that information, put it in an excel sheet, and made myself a checklist. When I felt lost or like I wasn’t sure what to do next, I just went back to the list and found another thing that I could get us started on and check off of it. It kept me grounded and organized when I was in the beginning so I could set precedents that I knew would work as we grew.”

Naturally, I asked if there was more on the excel sheet:

β€œYup. πŸ™‚ I’ve got a new idea every day, and I always keep adding to it. I don’t think I would run out of things to do for a really long time.”

Altino believes that every delegate should run the region in the way that best suits them, not necessarily what worked for the previous delegate or other delegates:

β€œThe best advice I ever received as Delegate was to do things the Altino way. There’s gonna be a certain way in everyone’s head that a delegate “should” be. But the real truth is all you need as delegate is really thick skin, loyalty to what’s good for your region, a good head on your shoulders, and the confidence to do things your way, even if that sounds really outlandish and different from the way you expect a delegate to be. I don’t feel like I fit the definition of any delegates that I’ve seen in Osiris. But I’m doing things in a way that I can make work. If I tried to live up to someone else, then I would never succeed in my own eyes and Osiris would be worse off for it. You just sort of have to have faith in yourself and your region, and go all in.”

Altino admits that, although she has always remained upbeat publicly throughout the last 8 months, there have been times when she has doubted herself:

β€œAbsolutely. I’ve come across moments where I thought to myself, after we finish working on this next thing, I need to settle down and rest. But I think I have too much fun in creating. I get tired or stressed out, but I forget about it entirely when I have the chance to build something new or think of another big project for us all to work on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to my Viziers and been like “Is this crazy?” or like “Would I get in trouble if I did this?” Those crazy ideas give me energy again when I get too tired, and I end up not needing the time off.”

As Altino has said, Osiris is a meritocracy and, as such, a successor will eventually have to be chose. With regards to her succession planning Altino still thinks she has a far bit of gas left in the tank yet:

β€œOsiris is a meritocracy. It’ll be passed along when either I am too tired to keep doing the job, or someone else is better for Osiris than I am anymore. I experience bouts of tiredness from time to time, but for now I’m still going strong and I think I’ve still got some time as Pharaoh under my belt. πŸ™‚ I’m going to be excited to pass it along, though. Osiris has an alarming number of capable and smart candidates who could do the job. Osiris is gonna be in for a treat!”

And, despite the plan for her succession, she still has many ideas with regards to what still needs doing in Osiris:

β€œI feel like we’ve already given Osiris the reboot that we needed and now we can work on continuity. That’ll mean making sure that what we’ve already created doesn’t die and building mentorship precedents so that our new players are involved and learning. Also, if I play my cards right, a really good FA team. I feel like we’ve got Gameside up and rolling now, and FA is my next project.”

Altino has been a major part of the ongoing Anti-Pacific Coalition and NPO war, on the side of the APC. Altino feels that the APC has the upper hand due to the creative minds behind it:

β€œNPO is very carefully trying eliminate things that they can be targeted with. For example, when presented with the prospect of a region under their ownership losing the password that protects it, they gave up and ran away rather than risk a battle. That was a weird move for such an egotistical region, but it was smart. APC is the brainchild of some of the most creative minds on NS, and I think that creativity partnered with a well organized team are our biggest assets. APC’s outreach efforts aren’t a flashy job, but they’re wildly successful and are giving some younger GPers a chance to seriously show their skill, learn in a group setting, and make new friends. Plus, the memes are hilarious and we have fun. APC will be able to be persistent for a very, very long time because it’s organized, smart, and is having a good time. :)”

Recently, Altino won the NationStates Gameplay Award for Best Politician, and she feels that the main reason she won the award was her constant presence across Gameplay:

β€œI think mostly just because I’ve been on people’s minds and I picked up a penchant for text walls. Nothing wins people over like being really present and writing text walls!”

Altino has done a magnificent job as Pharaoh of Osiris; in just a few short months she has revitalised its community, overseen the rebirth of the Sekhmet legion and seen it win best GCR at the Gameplay awards. Altino has become one of the most influential figures in gameplay over the last year and I, for one, can see Altino becoming the most prominent Gameplayer and most influential figure in NationStates if she continues along this trajectory. I would like to thank Altino for giving up so much of her spare time to give me this interview, and I hope you, our readers, enjoy this interview just as much as I have.


Wymondham: Hi Altino, Wymondham here from NationStates Today, you have been pharaoh of Osiris for 8 months now. What do you think has been the best moment for you over the last 8 months? What would you change?

Altino: I’m running Osiris meritocratically, and I feel like this is the system that Osiris has always deserved. All of my favorite moments have been in transitions of government positions, because I feel like those are little landmarks of how far we’ve come. Poor Osiris has to hear a “this is why meritocracy works, I’m so proud!!” speech from me almost every time… lol. I have more examples of this working than I should really probably share in one interview, but one of my favorite examples is Rachael as our Vizier of Gameside Affairs. Before she was Vizier, Lynx was, and Lynx put a lot of time and effort into building a team and teaching them what she knew. I tell my Viziers as soon as they get the job that their first priority in any position should be training their replacement. And that’s what they do. Lynx had a small army of capable, well-trained Gamesiders on her hands and together they skyrocketed our native activity. When Lynx decided that she wanted to shift her focus to Legion and her position as Guardian, that would have in another time spurred mild panic in Osiris as we scrambled to find her replacement, but Rachael was already trained, ready, and willing to take up that mantle. Gameside didn’t experience any down time or decrease in effectiveness. Rach just used what Lynx built, added to it, and created her own little army of Gamesiders. It works! It’s wonderful. πŸ™‚ I’m really proud of that. I think there are a few things in my earlier delegacy that I wish I would have learned more quickly – mostly about what is “normal” for a delegate to do. That stopped me from doing a lot of things that would have worked because I thought a delegacy had to be run a certain way or certain things weren’t possible (in Osiris or in Sinkers, whatever) because they hadn’t been achieved before. But as we achieve them before my very eyes, I’m finding out that maybe they were impossible because “normal” isn’t ambitious enough.

Wymondham: During your time in Osiris you have made no less than 18 appointments and changes to your government officials. Do you feel that shuffling your cabinet is necessary to promote activity?

Altino: Democracies change their cabinets really often, because they have terms. Monarchies or governments with consistent executives tend not to change their cabinets as often, because they already have a team they’re comfortable with. Our Viziers under Syb’s delegacy, for example, sat for the rest of his duration as Pharaoh. That isn’t my style. I am not a fan of democracy, but I do think that your government should shift, grow, and adapt often. If you’re a Vizier but you’re going to be busy with irl stuff for the next few months, then I’m going to set you down. That doesn’t mean you’ve done a bad job – you probably have done great – but it does mean that I won’t pause Osiris’ progress for months until you can come back. Someone else is capable, someone else has worked hard and earned it, someone else will get that spot. That’s a feature that’s probably a little hard nosed on my part, but I like it. Keeps things moving and keeps our arms full of good advisors who left on good terms and can always come back.

Wymondham: Who do you see as Osiris closest Allies in terms of both UCRs and GCRs?

Altino: In UCRs, without a doubt EMN. We work with a lot of UCRs – especially now during wartime – and we’re finding out that we have things in common with them, but EMN is like that cousin that you were bffs with as a kid. We know they’re crazy, but they’re funny and they’re crazy in the way we are, so pretty in sync and friendly. In GCRs, TWP has been Osiris’ closest friend for as long as I can remember. We’ve got a real thick and thin situation with TWP.

Wymondham: What do you think the future holds for Osiris?

Altino: Hopefully a lot more juice boxes and an end to the terrible curse whereby my physical presence in a region permanently stifles the possibility of RP existing in even a minuscule way.
Also Ponysiris. Hurray!

Wymondham: With regards to the NPO vs APC war, which you have been a major part of. What do you think is the most effective tactic that has been utilised by either side?

Altino: NPO is very carefully trying eliminate things that they can be targeted with. For example, when presented with the prospect of a region under their ownership losing the password that protects it, they gave up and ran away rather than risk a battle. That was a weird move for such an egotistical region, but it was smart. APC is the brainchild of some of the most creative minds on NS, and I think that creativity partnered with a well organized team are our biggest assets. APC’s outreach efforts aren’t a flashy job, but they’re wildly successful and are giving some younger GPers a chance to seriously show their skill, learn in a group setting, and make new friends. Plus, the memes are hilarious and we have fun. APC will be able to be persistent for a very, very long time because it’s organized, smart, and is having a good time. πŸ™‚

Wymondham: What do you feel is the most undervalued quality when it comes to people in charge of regions?

Altino: Patience. Things don’t always happen the way you want them to, at the pace you want them to. And some people are just hard to deal with. But if you can take things as they come and work with people even when they’re driving you crazy, things go a lot more smoothly and everyone deals with a lot less undue stress.

Wymondham: What would you say was the most vital learning experience so far during your NS career?

Altino: I think my time in Karma, where I was running my own region and trying to figure out from ground zero what works and what doesn’t, has been where my most valuable lessons came from. I’ve never done anything in NS that I didn’t have a really good mentor to ask questions if I needed to, but in Karma I was the person to ask, and no one really knew what they were doing any more than I did. We created something cool, but it took a lot of work and a lot of trial and error to get there, and the stuff that I dreamed up there has been very useful in other places.

Wymondham: If you could change one thing about your NS career what would it be?

Altino: I don’t think I’d change anything. Some stuff didn’t turn out that well, but I’ve had fun πŸ™‚


Wymondham: Eventually all good things must come to an end, have you began to consider the the future of Osiris after you depart, have you decided when that future will become the present?

Altino: Osiris is a meritocracy. It’ll be passed along when either I am too tired to keep doing the job, or someone else is better for Osiris than I am anymore. I experience bouts of tiredness from time to time, but for now I’m still going strong and I think I’ve still got some time as Pharaoh under my belt. πŸ™‚ I’m going to be excited to pass it along, though. Osiris has an alarming number of capable and smart candidates who could do the job. Osiris is gonna be in for a treat!

Wymondham: What was your reaction when Syberis asked you to become his Heir apparent?

Altino: “Uhhhh… Give me a couple days to think about it.” I didn’t really come to Osiris with delegacy on the menu. Lol. I was there to help Syb, but I definitely didn’t want to replace him. Osi’s been my home since I walked in the door, but it’s not my first parade in regional leadership. Regional leadership is exhausting, and I already knew that. But at the end of the day, I’ve always put what I thought was good for Osiris over what I personally preferred, so I accepted.

Wymondham: Before you became Heir Apparent you served as Chief Vizier, what was the main lesson you took from your time as Chief Vizier?

Altino: The main lessons that I learned as Chief Vizier were how to deal with Osirans. Working with Osirans is different than leading and motivating Osirans. So I spent my time there generally learning what “works” in Osiris, the kind of pushing that the region needed, and what Osiris was missing to really be great.

Wymondham: What was Osiris missing to really be great?

Altino: Mostly just something that it created itself, I think. Osiris has a lot of history, and it’s history is still really important to its identity in the present, but the current generation didn’t really have their own identity. We’ve borrowed things from the past now and kept our history relevant – like Oracle is still our newsletter and Legion is still our military – but we’ve taken them and as a community given them a new life on our own terms. I think that’s helped Osiris in the present take ownership of itself and open up to new ideas. They’re all really creative now and not intimidated about speaking up. That’s made a world of difference.

Wymondham: What did you do in preparation once Syberis announced he was abdicating?

Altino: In a channel in my family server that only I could see, I started saving links, artwork, plans, and just whatever random information or ideas popped into my head at any time of day and dumping them there. Then when he actually abdicated, I took all of that information, put it in an excel sheet, and made myself a checklist. When I felt lost or like I wasn’t sure what to do next, I just went back to the list and found another thing that I could get us started on and check off of it. It kept me grounded and organized when I was in the beginning so I could set precedents that I knew would work as we grew.

Wymondham: Is there still stuff in that excel sheet that you haven’t got around to doing yet?

Altino: Yup. πŸ™‚ I’ve got a new idea every day, and I always keep adding to it. I don’t think I would run out of things to do for a really long time.

Wymondham: All in all, what would you say is the main quality a Pharaoh of Osiris requires? Does this differ from just any other delegate of any other region? If so how?

Altino: The best advice I ever received as Delegate was to do things the Altino way. There’s gonna be a certain way in everyone’s head that a delegate “should” be. But the real truth is all you need as delegate is really thick skin, loyalty to what’s good for your region, a good head on your shoulders, and the confidence to do things your way, even if that sounds really outlandish and different from the way you expect a delegate to be. I don’t feel like I fit the definition of any delegates that I’ve seen in Osiris. But I’m doing things in a way that I can make work. If I tried to live up to someone else, then I would never succeed in my own eyes and Osiris would be worse off for it. You just sort of have to have faith in yourself and your region, and go all in.

Wymondham: Have there been times as Pharaoh where you have doubted your ability to continue in the role

Altino: Absolutely. I’ve come across moments where I thought to myself, after we finish working on this next thing, I need to settle down and rest. But I think I have too much fun in creating. I get tired or stressed out, but I forget about it entirely when I have the chance to build something new or think of another big project for us all to work on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to my Viziers and been like “Is this crazy?” or like “Would I get in trouble if I did this?” Those crazy ideas give me energy again when I get too tired, and I end up not needing the time off.

Wymondham: Recently you won the NSGP award for “Best Politican”, why do you think people voted for you?

Altino: I think mostly just because I’ve been on people’s minds and I picked up a penchant for text walls. Nothing wins people over like being really present and writing text walls!

Wymondham: What do you feel your main focus for Osiris will be over the next year?
Altino: I feel like we’ve already given Osiris the reboot that we needed and now we can work on continuity. That’ll mean making sure that what we’ve already created doesn’t die and building mentorship precedents so that our new players are involved and learning. Also, if I play my cards right, a really good FA team. I feel like we’ve got Gameside up and rolling now, and FA is my next project.