Regarding the game itself:
- Broken Base: This is probably the best way to describe the multitude of divisions of fans and the subdivisions of these divisions.
- Catharsis Factor: One of the reasons the game is addictive. Making a totalitarian hellhole that responds to diplomatic incidents with all-out war may not be morally acceptable, but it's plenty fun.
- Gameplay Derailment: Nationstates stands out as a franchise whose methods of playing the game could almost all be considered forms of Gameplay Derailment. Perhaps the most extreme example is the inter-regional combat system that players have improvised out of World Assembly elections, regional ejection mechanics, and huge amounts of Meta Game coordination. Word of God says that the creator didn't anticipate this but still finds it immensely entertaining.
- Good Bad Bugs: A very common one, in the form of (example): "'This raises an interesting issue,' says Elizabeth Winters, your brother."
- Guide Dang It!: A nation's World Assembly Classification is determined by (among other things) Economic Freedom, but the stat displayed on a nation's front page is Economic Output. This can get confusing if your nation is a Psychotic Dictatorship with no freedom whatsoever but a powerful economy.
- While the forum has a list of the game's issues and their respective options, it doesn't list the prerequisites for actually getting the issues or their often counter-intuitive effects. This is intentional for the sake of surprise; it's still irritating if you're roleplaying.
- Life Imitates Art: Issue 47, "The Great Wall Of (nationname)", proposes building a wall on the borders of the nation to keep immigrants out, intending this as a satire highlighting a stupidly impractical approach to controlling immigration. This issue was created in 2003, some time before Donald Trump proposed a wall on the US-Mexico border.
- Wild Mass Guessing: What the tagline for the news item "REGIONS WILL FALL" have resulted in.
Regarding the roleplaying section of the game:
- Ass Pull: Surprisingly fitting trope to start with.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Murray the Evil Skull. He even calls this trope by name. That said, though, the only really evil things he does are put curses on people and sing country music.
- Leeroy Jenkins: The Ryou Black Islands and all his previous incarnations.
- Magnificent Bastard: The forum moderators are equal parts respected and hated.
- Mary Suetopia: Somewhat averted by the game itself, which attempts to indicate that all nation types have their drawbacks, but often played painfully, painfully straight in roleplay.
- Memetic Badass: Some of the older and more respected roleplayers are this.
- On the General (ie off-topic) forum, Lunatic Goofballs has been practically deified. The mods responded by making him a mod.
- "Stop Having Fun" Guys: A recurring issue over just about every kind of role playing you can imagine, but most often seen from players who yell at people using Rule of Cool things.
Regarding Forum 7, the casual off-topic place:
- Memetic Molester: Grittonia, but he is loved all the more for it.