Alternative to Corruption Mechanic

So I haven’t been around much since the corruption thing has been a game mechanic, because honestly, knowing games like this and what drew me to it in the first place, I knew it would kill a lot of the 4x fun for me, especially since it eliminates much of the concept of 4x if there’s no real reason to continue exploring and expanding (two of the 4 xs) and exterminating itself probably becomes lame when you either have to spread your empire thinly to give points for you to launch attacks from, or just stick to your region of space and call it a day.

I realize there has to be some mechanic to limit unchecked expansion and aggression, so what about doing the reverse of what is there now?

What if the corruption mechanic, instead of being a hard or soft limit on a players ability to build fleets and colonies planets, was a buffing mechanic to players who kept their empires small. The idea being that to keep smaller/new players around, or those just less active, when a large player attacks a smaller player, the smaller player gets a certain bonus to the combat efficiency of their troops/ships and orbital defenses.

You could consider this the “stalwart defenders” buff, that small close-knit empires, in the face of insurmountable odds, fight harder and with more vigour because they are the underdogs and everything they cherish is much more at stake. The larger player’s empire, being more spread out and incredibly powerful, has more complacency in their populace, less patriotic pride or whatever, that makes them put up less of a fight individually, because they feel safer and aren’t in the same situation as the smaller empire. There’s even a lot of real-world examples to tie this to.

This bonus can even be split into two different strengths, one more powerful bonus for the smaller player when fighting on the defensive, and a bonus for the player when fighting offensively, just slightly less powerful, since the nature of defending ones home tends to be more motivating.

One further step of tweaking that can be done on this mechanic, would be a possible third mechanic that plays in, being a “vengeance” buff. A bonus given to a smaller player, for a temporary amount of time, against a specific player that attacked them and is also a larger empire of considerably higher strength. The colonists of the weaker empire, extra infuriated that they are being taken advantage of by an empire that has immense power over them, fight harder offensively with this buff, as their rage reaches new eights as they seek to give payback to those who harmed their home.

You could set an upper limit to the buff, and have it based on a linear or exponential scale, either based off a constant reference point tied to score/planets owned/some other metric, tie it to relative scores between players on an individual basis, or even as a whole against the leaderboard itself (ie: bottom X% of players on leader-board get scaling buff that increases every Y% down to the bottom Z%)

This is something I feel in theory can help solve the same problem that the corruption mechanic sought to address, without removing the fun aspect of the game it did for so many players that are the most active.

Edit: Wanted to add some points of note to highlight certain things/benefits.

  • Players won’t be limited to how large they can expand, however if done properly, it can help make larger empires harder to maintain through real gameplay of having to work extra hard to keep smaller empires from taking bites out of you on a regular basis. The larger player still has advantages in production capacity to circumvent the increased number of ships they’d lose relative to small players, but fighting a war against a small player will be more costly to them than the reverse.

  • Making picking on smaller players more costly, by having to lose more ships to them on a regular basis, for one I feel helps balance the relative loss a smaller player feels losing a single fleet or planet versus the larger player. Also it will spell bad news for any large pirating type players who start picking on too many small empires at once, or if the unchecked aggression causes them to band together. Before the corruption mechanic a large enough player could simultaneously engage many smaller empires as long as they weren’t collectively too large. This makes each of those smaller empires exponentially larger in terms of strength, limiting the ability of a large player to fight off smaller ones on multiple fronts should they decide to start running riot on their neighbors.

  • If a large player starts actually losing territory to the smaller players, their power becomes more relative and the buff stop being as effective, kinda of tying into how the complacency would fade from said larger empire as they realized they actually are in danger of losing their own homes. This would create a kind of resting point where things are drawn naturally to a sort of “common balance of empire size” without any hard caps, while also allowing scale to progress relatively with the other players in the galaxy.

  • A lot of the details of how this can really affect the game long term, would have to deal with what exact percentages of buffs we are talking about and how they are applied and so forth. I feel like it gives a lot of room to maneuver by just tweaking those numbers to find the right sweet spot.

  • The end idea of this, is not to make it so that players who want to expand find it frustratingly impossible to do so, its just to give an exponentially rising curve of difficulty for achieving that spot of being the largest in the galaxy, which I feel is a fair hurdle to put in the way of “winning the galaxy” . A single new or weak player shouldn’t be able to cripple a larger enemy on their own, however a collective of them should be able to. The goal here for a single player is to just give them a better chance of surviving harassing attacks from larger players, requiring real focus from the other player to take them out, as opposed to it just being an afterthought tasked to a few spare fleets that really aren’t needed elsewhere.

  • Another way to frame this idea is it makes it harder to actually knock a player out of the game (which it should, both to keep new players around and make it an accomplishment in general) without putting a dead stop on the fun for active players who want more to do.

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I posted this in another thread, but it fits here too.

For me, I’d look at it replacing corruption with an equation like this:
Net_Output = Output / ( Planet_Cap / Planet_Cap - 1) ^ (Number_of_planets -1)

Using a formula like that you get diminishing returns on planets. Each planet results in lower output per planet, but below the cap adding planets still provides a net gain. Once you hit the planet cap you start bringing in fewer total resources.

Using the above math, with a cap set at 36 and a base output of 100 you end up with the following:

Planets Output per planet Total Output
1 100 100
5 89.343338 446.71669
10 77.60503377 776.0503377
15 67.40895742 1011.134361
20 58.55248454 1171.049691
25 50.85961239 1271.49031
30 44.1774622 1325.323866
35 38.37324105 1343.063437
40 33.33160294 1333.264118
45 28.95235649 1302.856042
50 25.1484739 1257.423695
55 21.84436142 1201.439878
60 18.97435717 1138.46143
65 16.48142617 1071.292701
70 14.31602695 1002.121886
75 12.435127 932.6345251

The idea there was that it would limit resource production. However, you could tweak the equation to give diminishing returns on combat as well. Call it morale or something along those lines. Smaller communities tend to have stronger bonds and better cohesion than massive disjointed ones.

I like the idea of a vengeance buff, but I think there’d need to be some work on it. Does it only count planets taken, or damage dealt? There’d be a lot of balance there.

Also, with a morale/vengeance system it seems you could really get into developing traits of each race. PR could start with better moral, kitties get a vengeance boost, and toasters would benefit less from each. Humans of course would be average.

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Thanks to both of you for putting these suggestions together. It’s very useful to have these ideas to evaluate when the team considers what to do next about the current growth limitations.

Interesting idea, sounds like killing two birds with one stone? Prune large empires to restrict growth, and give small empires some protection and the ability to punch above their weight.

I like that with this approach colonizing another planet doesn’t potentially destabilize each of your other planets. With the current corruption mechanic, the happiness penalty subsequently applied to all planets means you may need to quickly go and build an entertainment center or tweak tax on each planet to maintain stability.

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In thinking more about this, could we do something similar with fleet caps. A formula like this:
Total_Upkeep = (Sum_of_fleet_upkeep) ^ ( 1 + IF ( Fleet_Count > Fleet_Cap, Fleet_Count - Fleet_Cap * .01 , 0 ))

With a formula like that the fleet cost increases exponentially. Using a cap of 20 the additional upkeep doubles the total upkeep costs at 30 fleets.

The thing that I really like about these caps is that (like population caps) you can strategically exceed them for a short period. Running 10-20% over the caps would probably be worth it for most people. If you’re preparing for war then it might be worth running higher above the caps when launching an attack.

This means my factories no longer stop dead when I hit my fleet caps, though I am doing this at a risk to my income.

There is one big change that I’d want to see if the above mechanic was added. New ships should automatically join fleets in planet orbit. Otherwise I could have 5 shipyards finish ships and exceed my cap while I’m away. If we can’t get auto-add then perhaps a Deliver/Launch button for finished fleets. They sit in the queue in a completed state, but they aren’t actually put into orbit until launched.

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I like the idea of being able to dock fleets at a shipyard which sounds similar to this. Both new and existing ships/fleets could be docked there and pulled into service as needed/possible.

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If a shipyard is required, then there is an incentive to make more than two or three shipyards and nowhere else.

If this capability is deemed useful, can we take it the step further and build to a fleet blueprint? In theory they will be docked when they are not available for use, so if this is true you would not have the ability to “fleet” them as they come off from production without some sort of fleet blueprint to build the ships to, requiring you to “fleet” them from the dock once you have a free fleet slot. I can envision this as having some problems if they are not pre-fleeted at the shipdock.

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As far as fleets are concerned, you can limit fleet growth by making them eat food. That will both limit the total fleet growth to the amount of food produced and limit fleet sizes around given planets.

or consume farsu for repairs etc, and when run out, fleet gets deployed or destroyed lol

I think the only food they might realistically “eat” is credits in the short term (I believe this has been proposed in one form or another). Only in the long term might they realistically eat a resource such as either farsu or ziryl. Would depend on what might be required for “general” maintenance to keep them at a state of readiness.

Under current mechanics fleets don’t consume population (aside from troop and passenger modules). So, I’m not sure I’d rush to use food as a metric.

Also, docked ships would consume less resources because their mostly idle. The maintenance costs of a docked ship should be much lower than those of a deployed ship.

I would say that docking ships requires some form of docking slip though. Shipyards could have 3-5 as a base, and then perhaps creating additional buildings for orbital anchorage. The tech level of the building should limit what can be docked. Larger, or more complex ships need more space and potentially more complex interconnections when docked.

The one thing I like about using an orbital platform for anchorage lays the groundwork for additional orbital installations. Perhaps adding trade modules, weapon platforms, or warp relays.

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I was being fasciculus with the word “food” and “eat” in response to the post I was responding to. Obviously I was referring to resources/credits and population had no bearing on it. That’s already determined by the shipyard’s workforce.

All ships would at some point require maintenance even if idle. But certainly not immediately which is why I said long term.

There was talk (posts) about having a set cost per ship/fleet in credits.

At present shipyard’s build ships not fleets. 3-5 seems like an awfully small number. I understand where you’re going with this, but unless the workforce and planet population limitations are modified I see this as problematic as you’re adding more structures which will require more workforce. Not saying it shouldn’t be done, just that it also needs to be considered.

It would need to be a number that scales, but we’d also want some limiting factors too. Having hundreds of ships docked at a planet shouldn’t happen unless that planet was built specifically to serve that purpose.

As for maintenance costs, I’d like to see an implementation of maintenance costs that has a compounding growth rate after exceeding fleet caps. That moves our caps to a soft limit, while discouraging exceeding the caps by any large amount.

Could use ship captains to limit the amount of fleets a player can field at one time.

Captains would be an awesome addition to the game, especially with ranks and experience levels, train em up on NPC…

Some special abilities would be nice too, but not to the level of GO2 of course… maybe the abilities to mitigate some damage, more critical damage, that kind of thing… some randomised images and names…

Dead captains are dead… and you need to recruit and train more so their advantage is limited and likely to be lost in heavy engagements… but still useful in those situations if well trained… Training might provide something to do.

Also players might look to protect key captains and not necessarily engage in attrition warfare…

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Captains would also open up some opportunities for XP and leveling them. I’m all for thing that allow me to have more control and customization options.

I also agree that the buff should be very limited. Anything more than a 5% buff is too much, and I’d probably aim for 1-2% in most cases. If larger buffs are done, then I’d also add a debuff as well to maintain balance.

In a PERFECT universe we could have a real command structure style system that can be set up in different “theater of operation”. Each ship has: x crew, x officers, 1 captain. Each fleet has an admiral who in turn answers to a regional admiral.

At each level of command you need to train/maintain the manpower to support your ships. Depending on the size of ship it’ll take more, or less crew/officers to man the vessel. Each officer will impact a certain number of crew members dependent on their skill level, perhaps some can juggle more crew members then others. In any case every officer provides a chance for imparting bonuses to his crews skills and/or perks. The crew themselves can also themselves come with innate bonuses to skills and/or perks. You could do this to as many levels of chain of command you want.

A few levels in chain of command bonuses would be sufficient to make contact between two different samples of the same species of similar technological advancement by a 3rd party very different based on the stacked interaction of: admiral(s), captain(s), and crew of varied training levels AND experience levels.

There is very much a difference between: Training, Experience, and just plain old Intelligence/talent. I know it’s probably asking way to much, but i was just putting that out there. Heck even ships could “level up” in a manner of speaking, thematically it could be thought of as the dedicated crew having spent so much time getting to KNOW their ship that they’re able to get it operating above factory specs in some fashion or another, or in a number of ways for that matter. Some of the “leveling up” could also perhaps be due to the ship having gathered somewhat of a name for itself which has a negative impact on enemies coming up against the ship of a less grand renown. Also could simply be specialized modification the crew have made to the ship that will not make to the factory floor due to them requiring periodic tweaking which needs the know how of the crew that installed them. All of these could of course add to what ever UPKEEP is finally added to fleets. Could get that in depth for ground units as well if you wanted too :slight_smile:

I think it’d be cool to have Ships out there that actually have a story to be told, famous crew/officers/captains etc etc. Battles/stats could be logged by the ship or admiral? Perhaps just track things different for the admiral and the ships/captains?

My brain is just about literally mush so i know this comes out jumbled, but if any of this makes sense then feel free to comment/discuss good/bad doesn’t matter, just worth talking about either way to waste some time.

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This is good too, but you need the fleets to consume food to put the planetary population at risk when a large fleet is in orbit (unless special storage facilities and supply lines are setup).

And it will open up assassination missions for espionage.

This is a very good idea.