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New User

Click here for a more detailed, player-created guide. (severely outdated)

Things That Can Kill You

Rebel forces. They will instantly appear when your satisfaction drops below -100. To avoid them, keep your satisfaction high. (If your satisfaction goes below -5,000, you will immediately die on any tick.)
The SE and the NLR. They will instantly appear when the sum of your relationships with them drops below -50. The relationship loss from drug smuggling can easily cause them to kill you.
Letting one get high into the positives while the other gets deep into the negatives causes a problem that has slain many mid-level players. Read your Reports before the cascading effects kill you.
Other players. After your nation has existed for three weeks, they can start sending forces your way. Avoiding them is much more difficult; however, they do not instantly appear, and some of them can even be reasoned with. You are much less likely to be attacked for material gain if you have an alliance. Get one.
Malls. Large numbers of malls are the prime cause of death for late-game players and often trigger the -5000 instadeath threshold. If you have hundreds of malls and do not have everything your ponies want in their malls at the beginning of a tick, you are likely to be one-shotted. Malls are extremely high reward, high risk.
Environmental facilities. If you're running a very advanced build with many, many buildings over the environmental soft caps and five of each empire's environmental facility, guess what happens when you run out of energy?
To survive in the long term, it is highly advisable to log in twice a day (a few minutes in the morning and at night) and pay attention to your Reports.
If you need to go on vacation or take a break from >CLOP for other reasons, go into stasis mode under User Info.

If you just made an account, the first thing you want to do is build farms, oil wells, or copper mines. Go do that before reading the rest of this. Unless you're a Przewalskian, in which case, make the solar collectors, tidal generators, and cheap initial factory.
There is no randomness anywhere in the system. There will never be any. The only randomness is other players.
A tick is every 2 hours (subject to change). These ticks are when your buildings produce things, your satisfaction level is drained or grown, etc.
Satisfaction affects GDP. Under a Loose Despotism, you have a maximum satisfaction of 1000.
If your nation drops below -100 satisfaction, your ponies start rebelling. If they win, you lose your nation. You can make another one on the same account.
Yes, this does mean that if you leave your nation alone, it will eventually fall off the map. Don't leave your nation alone.
The Solar Empire and New Lunar Republic might love or hate you depending on what you do; if one loves you by up to 50 points less than the other hates you, you won't be attacked.
However, once you break this threshold, you will be attacked in an airstrike with possibly hundreds of fully trained, fully equipped troops.
If the sum of your NLR relationship and your SE relationship is below -50, enemy forces that can destroy your nation instantly appear.
Also, the more one superpower likes you, the more the other one starts to dislike you, and keeping very high relations with one is difficult, let alone both.
There is a hard cap of 1000 to superpower love; however, there is also a cap of -1000 to superpower hate.
GDP is dependent entirely on what you have built and whether it can run. If you don't have enough energy to run your factories, your actual GDP will be much lower than what it says on your overview page.
Neither your buildings nor your military will use resources that you gained automatically during a tick in the same tick that you gained them. Make sure that you have enough in your stockpiles to feed all your upkeep needs at the beginning of a tick.
Trade and Regions
>CLOP is a game of trading.
The only source of farm products is Burrozil. Farm products keep ponies happy, and you don't want unhappy ponies.
The only source of minerals is Zebrica. Minerals are used to make buildings and factory parts for buildings. Some of the amounts required are brutally high.
The only source of oil is Saddle Arabia. Oil makes energy. Lots and lots of things need energy.
Przewalskia is unique. It does not produce anything, and there is nothing a Przewalskian nation can do that other nations can't. Przewalskians, on the other hoof, do most things cheaper; creating factories, factory parts, and plastics costs considerably less for them.
For new players, Przewalskia is hard mode and will be hard mode for the foreseeable future.
To survive, you need farm products, and to grow, you need everything else. Therefore, much of your time will be spent on the Marketplace screen trying to get what you need, especially early on. Or, you can simply make deals with your friends...
Government Types and Economic Systems
The most basic government type is a loose despotism. A loose despotism is characterized by its inconsistency. This kind of despot may rule with an iron hoof in the capital, for example, while not caring much about what happens in the rural areas. Laws are arbitrary applied, and nopony knows what's legal and what's not. Switching to Democracy or Repression lets you alter how satisfaction in your nation works.
The most basic economic system is one that is poorly defined. Like a loose despotism, a poorly defined economy is inconsistent; business owners, communists, and everyone in between aren't sure whether or not the ruling government will forbid or permit certain business actions. Taxes are arbitrary. This keeps things like shipping costs high, as nopony really wants to do business there. Switch to a Free Market to make use of the Marketplace less costly, or switch to a State Controlled economy to make deals with other nations directly.
Game Balance
As your nation grows, your ponies will become more demanding. Your armies will have expensive upkeep. And, of course, one major market shortage will bring you to your knees unless you have huge stockpiles.
This is all intentional. >CLOP is not a game of watching your numbers go up uninterrupted and crushing everypony you see just because you played longer than them. It is also not a game of mercy. Anypony who's had time to get his hooves on the ground is fair game. As are you. Waggle your e-horsecock long enough in this game and somepony's likely to stick it in a meatgrinder.