Diplomatie-online is probably the most "newbie-friendly" site for immediate integration into the Diplomacy community. It has the largest player base, and games often rich in negotiation, though with the drawback that the games are often very slow (on average three times slower than 18-Centres). They're of unlimited styles, but lead-based, which sometimes results in strange games. Also, players don't really care if someone solos, and don't always defend against it. There are links with the other sites and the FTF community, though not as many as 18-Centres.
18-Centres is better known internationally for two reasons: its close links with the FTF community (the "Glorious" is a DataBase including around 750 tournament results worldwide with a profusion of details, up to the turn-by-turn game chart, and openings when available), and its PBEM tournaments. For instance, the No-Press league has around 200 players (with no language-barriers). The "Team-Press Championship" regularly sees Teams from other sites compete. For those new to variants, the "Modern" No-Press tournament is a hit with 100 players. There are also lots of home made variants (see the list on the table). The reason for the site's success is its thriving community and the short format of the games. A No-Press typically takes only one month, often less with dedicated players; a press game can be played in two months (two seasons per week). The drawback is that the players are often not very dedicated to the game they're in. For No-Press that's no big deal, but in a press game it can be a disappointment.
Another interesting feature is that 18-Centres is the perfect place to play real-time. There are two or three games every day, sometimes more. If you're looking for a game, you can find partners in less than fifteen minutes, and then complete it in two hours (assuming it's No-Press). Last but not least, the e-zine of 18-Centres, "La Gazette," has replaced the Library of Frog and is publishing an article a week like a metronome, trying to change subject every time.
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