NationStates is getting a new theme! And not just the kind of theme that simply tweaks how things look, oh no! This is the kind with features.
Eventually Rift will become the site default, with the current look (which is named Century, FYI) remaining available for those who prefer to stick with it. Rift is still in active development, but you can switch over and preview its awesomeness right now: Go to your Settings and choose "Rift (experimental)" from the Theme drop-down selector.
Or check it out at http://rift.nationstates.net!
As well as a cosmetic spit-and-polish, Rift offers:
Banners: A rotating, targeted, customizable, unlockable set of images on nation pages. There are over 250 banners, which unlock upon achieving various feats, such as developing a strong economy or reaching high levels of political corruption. There are also custom slots for uploading your own images, once you've reached particular population levels. To select which banners display on your nation after switching to Rift, look for "National Banners" on your Settings page (or click here)!
Notices: Get a notification whenever a nation quotes you on a Regional Message Board, or endorses you, or you gain a new banner, and more!
RMB Likes: "Like" a post on your Regional Message Board to show your appreciation for your fellow regional residents' wisdom/wit/delusion!
A redeveloped side panel offers larger, more tablet/phone-friendly buttons, along with direct links to things you need to access faster, including a quick-jump box to dossier nations and regions!
Now the major drawback: currently Rift doesn't translate well to the forums, especially if you use the forum sidebar (which is the default). If you turn off the forum sidebar by clicking the tiny X in its top-right, you'll get a topbar instead, which is somewhat more useful. In time, Rift support will extend to the forums, but for now it's not so great.
Since Rift is still in beta, things may keep changing! You can help this process by reporting bugs or offering feedback in the Rift discussion thread.