The first character of the plaintext is 'P'. The final character of the plaintext is 'E'.
The second word of the plaintext is DISPUTE.
NW = 'end of message'. It's an end-of-file marker.
Details (not part of the puzzle):
"↗↑↙↓↘←↑↙↘↘↗↓↗←↙↓↖" is the cyphertext. What is the plaintext?
The answer is a clue to The Security to the Party  (now with party soundtrack!)
The answer is a pair of
dictionarywords in the English language. The puzzle is not case-sensitive. The plaintext does not contain any slang or acronyms, it does not contain any proper nouns (names), it does not contain roman numerals, it does not contain punctuation or spaces.
For anyone who's having trouble with fonts, and for accessibility: the cyphertext is a series of Unicode arrows pointing in different directions. The sequence is: NE N SW S SE W N SW SE SE NE S NE W SW S NW
Chat about this puzzle is here: http://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/18676/pick-up-sticks I'll be popping in and out. Feel free to ask any questions there or in comments.
On some screens it looks like some of the arrows are in bold and some aren't. That is not the intention, it's just the way the fonts look. If you use the list of compass points above then you are at no disadvantage.
Update: Argh! I was so busy doing the cipher that I didn't notice the spelling mistake in the plaintext. Well done to nexolute for solving anyway! Future readers beware that the first word of the puzzle is (unintentionally) not a dictionary word, because it has a spelling mistake in it. Are my cheeks red!