As you may already know, it is currently Season 2 of trading cards, and that each season lasts for a limited amount of time. As to when ongoing seasons end, nobody knows (well, nobody except [violet], i.e. the head administrator). Therefore, it is advised to work on your collection as much as possible, for the next season might appear just around the corner! [Note: there is a possibility that seasons last for an estimated year, though.]
Once a new season is introduced, nations currently alive/not CTE will have their respective cards made for them, with the format of each card varying per season.
Yes, actually! The chance is extraordinarily low (approximately 1%), but you may occasionally: A) draw packs of a previous season during its subsequent card season or B) open a current season's pack that'll be a combination of cards featured from this season and of previous ones (though the latter only occurs when a previous season's card is already being auctioned). This potentially allows you to gain immensely rare + valuable cards that players during current seasons might strive to trade for, so if you ever generate an older season's card pack, make an attempt to save all of those cards. They're probably worth something!
A wide range of factors are involved, but the primary way that determine's everyone's rarity is their A) influence and B) stat badge rankings.
Influence is earned by joining the World Assembly + receiving endorsements and/or continuously residing in a region. A player's influence will increase at a faster rate depending on the number of endorsements they receive, and their rarity will subsequently have a higher chance at upgrading during the next season.
NationStates stat badges are earned by answering issues, and if they're answered in a way that targets a specific stat then a player can increase their place in the World Census leaderboard. Relatively unheard-of users, as a result, have managed to become cards of a higher rarity due to their notable amount of high-ranking badges.
Deck value, if you don't know already, is the cumulative value of all the cards your nation owns, and each card's value may increase if players purchase it enough times (thereby increasing its market value to over its junk value). Collecting additional cards (particularly ones with a high market value) will result in your nation's deck value increasing, thereby boosting the chance to heighten your card's rarity in the next season!
[Note: deck value has only been recently added as a deciding factor, so it will only start impacting rarities once Season 3 begins.]
If you wish to see the other factors that may determine rarity, see this list. Just know that they are less impactful or harder to obtain for normal players:
Difficulty of Attainment
Impact on Rarity
Easy - Earned by answering unique issues that appear when setting your nation to have certain qualities. (Color of your easter egg badge changes depending on how many you obtain.)
Founding a Region
Medium - You can found a region at any given time, but players rarely do so in favor of joining an already-existing community.
Becoming a Site Supporter/Postmaster/Postmaster-General
Medium - You can obtain any of these badges at the store, but they will cost actual money.
Hard - Enough issues have been written to the point where it may prove difficult to generate new ideas.
Authoring General Assembly or Security Council Resolutions
Hard - Either one of these resolutions requires attentive research in order to pass, and you will need to actively campaign for the public to vote in favor of said resolutions.
Authoring United Nations Resolutions
Impossible - As of 2008, the United Nations has been permanently dissolved and replaced by the World Assembly, so any more of these badges cannot be earned by players.
Being commended or condemned
Difficult - Most of the time, it takes a player multiple years to gain enough fame/infamy and be subsequently nominated for a commendation/condemnation.
Guaranteed ultra-rare status (at minimum)
Being a Game Volunteer (i.e. an administrator, moderator, issues editor, General Assembly Secretariat, or roleplay mentor)
Difficult - Only during very special circumstances will a player be eligible to become a game volunteer.
Guaranteed legendary status for administrators, moderators, and issues editors; extremely high for the Secretariat and roleplay mentors
Being a World Assembly Secretary-General or Vice Secretary-General
Being a Retired Moderator
Difficult - Not only must you be an administrator/moderator, but you must have abdicated your position to achieve this badge.
Though this is a very time-specific method, yes, there is a way! Right before a new season officially starts (as in, cards for that season become pullable from packs), all nations that have cards made for them are allowed to utilize a feature called the inscription feature.
Inscription is a tool that allows users to update the current appearance of their card(s). To be more accurate, if you choose to do any of the following during this several-day period: 1) update your nation's flag, name, classification, motto, demonyms, leader, national religion, currency, or capital city in the settings, 2) change any of your World Census statistics badges (which can be done via several methods such as answering issues), 3) obtain special/non-World Census badges such as Easter eggs, authors' badges, regional founder, et cetera, or 4) allow your population to increase a bit further - then those changes should then be updated into your card should you utilize the inscription feature.
[Note: the inscription tool does have limits. Once your card's made, you are unable to use the tool to alter the card's rarity (along with the corresponding rarity color) or region name.]
To access inscription, you must first be sure that a news announcement is in place that tells you of the feature's availability (it's only available several days before a season begins). If the announcement indicates that the feature's still available, you can then access the tool by: 1) going to your deck page, 2) viewing your card (done by clicking "View card: [NATION NAME]" at the top right-hand corner), and 3) clicking on the inscription button, which should be right above your new/soon-to-be card!
After the inscription period of several days is over, the season will then officially begin, therefore ending the ability for traders to utilize the aforementioned feature as a result (and this is the only known method for nations to alter the appearance of their card, save for removing rule-breaking content via a Getting Help Request).
There is one way. Players may choose to share their collections in this pinned forum topic, which currently serves as a reference for the largest and most unique decks out of the entire card community. Being rather selective as to which actually get featured, it is well-advised for players to work hard if they wish to have one of their collections listed!
Other than this, there seem to be no other official methods (at the moment).
Definitely! This varies by region, with some of the largest regions (including The North Pacific, the Pacific, and The Rejected Realms) having fully-fledged card programs for the benefit of all players. For more information regarding regional card communities, ask one of their officers!
Outside regions, there is also one (semi-official) discord server for trading cards, with many of the greatest traders (such as Frisbeeteria, Xoriet, and Mikeswill, to name a few) being active members. If you wish to gain tips from more-advanced players, then this server might be suited for you!
(Also, while we're mentioning Discord, you should consider adding this bot, created by code master Darcania, to any servers you own. It allows you to locate the card info and/or deck details for any nation at the type of a single command!)
On very rare occasions, players may sometimes experience unusual bugs in the trading system (such as an auction not starting like it's supposed to). Should you witness one of these unusual occurrences, post in the Technical forum and wait for an administrator to respond. The bug should then be fixed.
Also, if you have any new ideas to propose for trading cards, feel free to post in this forum as well!
Produced by The North Pacific Cards Guild.