Hello CMDR's. I'm going to share all of my groups knowledge on the background simulator and minor factions (I answer enough private messages on the subject, this might actually save me some time ). When the game first started we chose the faction known as the "Dukes of Mikunn" and have been pushing that faction ever since. The background sim was a mess when we first started and we became a background sim bugtesting group. We have been relatively successful and "The Mikunn'iverse" now spans approximately 30+ systems as of January 2017. We would like to share all of our knowledge with you, and hopefully encourage other long time background simulator groups present in these forums to do the same.
Every update brings changes so I will do my best to keep this somewhat relevant. The purpose of this is to help the new groups understand the background simulator which can be extremely confusing and fickle. People have been using my extremely out of date threads, which are quickly losing their purpose (though linked at the bottom of this post if you are interested). I've been pushing for better background mechanics since 2014, and that goes hand in hand with trying to get more players interested in it. The more groups pushing factions each with their own individual lore and culture, the more the galaxy starts to feel alive.
Also note: Not everything in here is guaranteed to be 100% accurate, but it is what we believe and this knowledge has served us extremely well. Good luck!
Frontier's BGS Livestream
Minor Factions Attributes:
Influence – Each minor faction has separate influence values for each system in which it is present. Influence values trigger states like war, election, or expansion. Similarly, lack of influence can cause your faction to go into the retreat state. As of 1.4 it is easier to affect the influence of systems with smaller populations and harder to affect systems with larger populations. Early in season one influence values in an unvisited system would remain the same for long periods of time on our trackers; however, unbalanced influence values now decay over time, though very slowly to a rest state. Beyond this, influence is only moved by player action. NPC's (non-player characters) cannot move influence by themselves and only move it by being killed by a player. Influence also updates once a day on the "server tick". The time of the server tick can change or drift from day to day. Systems that see a unusual burst of activity in a tick may experience a 30 minute or so delay in their update.
Reputation – Reputation is a value a minor faction has for each individual player and represents how much that faction trusts you as a pilot. The higher your reputation, the more missions you will be able to accept on the bulletin board. Being allied significantly increases your ability to affect that system.
States – Current States, Pending States, and Recovering States are shared across all systems owned by the minor faction. Each faction can only have one current state (with the exception of the state investment which can be shared with another state) and that state usually applies to every system in which it is present, except for certain localized states like war that takes place in a certain system. This begins to cause problems the more systems the faction is present in. For example, if a faction is present in 100 systems, and a group kills enough system authority in one of them, all one-hundred systems will be put into the Lockdown state, blocking station services in all your systems. States can, but rarely, last for several weeks and have a cooldown before they can reoccur.
Provided by Michael Brookes
Hidden Values – These include things like “Security”, or “Wealth”. When these factors hit a certain threshold, it triggers a state if no state is there to block it. High wealth would trigger a boom, low wealth would trigger a bust. Likewise, low security would trigger a lockdown. The system also shows a security value and this affects response time of system authority, and most likely their lethality.
Player vs Non-player – Frontier recognizes some factions as player and others as non-player and tracks these for events like The Danger Games where minor factions get the opportunity to advance to become a Power. There is literally no difference between player and non-player factions. Player factions can be factions that have been adopted by a player group, OR inserted into the game by Frontier at a groups request. To claim a faction all you really need is proof that your group has put significant effort into advancing its presence; however, Frontier will only judge each player group by the merits of one faction for events like the danger games.
Detailed State Guide:
Expansion: The expansion state is the mechanism that allows your faction to enter other systems. Default expansion range is approximately 20 LY, but we have observed an jump of 27.5 before the state known as "investment" was added to the game. Now that "investment" has been added, expansion jumps greater than 20 LY probably require investment. At least seven factions can fit in a system. Despite the photo just shown, it seems that the limit is around six factions, because if you expand into a system that already has six factions, the expanding faction will swap places with one of the six; however, this is rare as the game will try to place you in a system with fewer factions and the "retreat" mechanic usually ensures that at least one nearby system will have a spot empty. The reason for the seven faction system, despite the limit of six, is that the seven faction system may have started with that many. The cooldown timer as of 1.3 was somewhere between one and two months; however, as of 1.4 it has been significantly shortened and week long recoveries have been observed. According to the table above provided by Michael Brookes the cooldown is 2 days though there seem to be other limiting factors as we have yet to achieve this. All activities in a system affect expansion in one form or another. Proximity and number of factions already in a system affect the priority of expansion targets. The closer the target is and the fewer factions there are, the more likely a faction is to expand there.
Boom: Boom used to be pretty useless and functioned only to block the state "expansion"; however, now it doubles the influence increase from trade and significantly increases the number of missions available on the mission board for the booming faction. This can provide a significant advantage for those seeking to increase there influence in their systems. Since the early days Boom has also increased trading profits by ten percent. As profit is made from this boost, it subtracts from a "Boom Value" and once that is spent the boom will end, otherwise the Boom can last up to 4 weeks. While this lasts, trade missions and actions contribute twice as much to influence change in the system.
Expansion occurs when a minor faction reaches a sufficient influence rating and there is a populated system within striking distance. The act of expansion is a costly one, and the wealth and development rating suffers during the period of expansion.
When in boom, the wealth of a system is increased for the duration and all trade missions have double the effect on influence. Boom can also positively increase a minor faction's influence. Boom can be entered by consistent trade profits and completed trade contracts. Booms tend to last until they naturally expire or until some other indicator takes precedence, such as famine.
Bust: Bust is essentially the opposite of boom and "Seeking goods" sites for bust may pop up. Piracy increases bust, while exploration decreases it. Delivering to any seeking goods sites should help end the state.
Lockdown: Lockdown is a state caused by illegal trading, murder and gaining fines or bounties. Checkpoint instances pop up in system with a type 9 holding various illegal goods (presumably confiscated from smugglers) that can be delivered to the blackmarket. According the the chart below provided by Michael Brookes, "Activities have no effect for the duration". Lockdown also shuts down station services and is often used offensively against other player groups to shut down their mission board.
Civil Unrest: Similar to lockdown, civil unrest is caused by murder and actions that generate fines and bounties. While civil unrest is active, collecting bounties has double the effect.
Famine: The occurrence of famine brings seeking goods sites for food, and food has double the effect while the state is active. This state used to be very easy to cause by abandoning missions. This has since been patched out. Some missions cause famine.
Outbreak: The occurrence of outbreak brings seeking goods sites for meds, and medicine has double the effect while the state is active. This state used to be very easy to cause by abandoning missions. This has since been patched out. Some missions cause outbreak (often those involving narcotics).
War and Civil War: This is a conflict state which has the potential to capture a station or outpost for the winning faction. If the losing faction does not have property, the winning faction will win nothing. Another useful thing to note about these two states is that they have the ability to interrupt economic states. War occurs between a non-native faction another faction. Civil War occurs between two native factions. Only combat missions and combat actions contribute while these states are active.
Election: Election is the peaceful version of war and civil war in that it transfers controls of stations/outposts without fighting. Moreover, combat missions and combat actions do not contribute while the state is active.
Provided by Michael Brookes
Investment: This state is not included on the chart above because it was added afterwards. If expansion fails because there is no reachable target, the system will go into an investment state allowing targets approximately 40 LY out to be reached. Investment is the only time where more than one faction state can be active. Investment and War/CW can be active at the same time. For the duration of investment the CZs are in ceasefire. It is not yet clear what actions are effective for the duration. Once investment state clears the war/CW will reactivate. Not enough data at this time to confirm effect conflict state duration. It is assumed to be suspended.
Retreat: Similar to investment, this state is also fairly new. If a non-native faction falls under 2.5% it may fall into the retreat state, upon which it has 3-5 days to pull itself and remain over 5% or be removed from the system.
CMDR Ironguts observed model (includes new states)
CMDR Ironguts state priority model
Stations/Outposts – Factions can capture stations and outposts in a system. This is done through civil war, war, or election, which is triggered by having your factions influence over 60% or equalizing influence values with your target. The victor claims the largest outpost/station of their opponent.
System – The system is controlled by the faction that owns the “Controlling Station/Outpost”. This is usually the largest population station. This can be difficult to determine; however, there are some obvious cases to demonstrate this where the station is orbiting the one earth-like. That would almost certainly be the controlling station.
NPC’s – By simply having presence in a system you will start seeing NPC’s. The more influence you have the more of yours appear. If you control the system, the system authority will also be yours. NPC’s do not help you raise influence values. The only way they can affect influence values is by dying.
Background Sim Playstyles:
There are multiple ways to push your chosen faction. Popular ways are below.
Missions – Depending on what is offered, missions can be a reliable way to change influence. Being allied, having high rankings in the pilots federation, and keeping your faction's influence value high increases the speed at which you can do missions as more become available/accessible to you through the bulletin board. There is a common misconception that completing charity missions lowers your faction's influence. We have never been able to prove this though often it reduces boom. Since boom isn't particularly useful, this can be a good thing when used in moderation.
Bounty Hunting – By turning bounties into a station owned by your faction, you can increase a faction's influence and “security”. You can technically turn your bounties in at any station or outpost in a system that has influence, but it is recommended that you turn in your bounties to stations or outposts owned by the faction you are trying to support. Back in 1.2 we proved that turning in your bounties to a station owned by a different faction helped the station owner more than the faction that was paying you in the contact tab. This may have changed since 1.2 but better safe than sorry.
Trading – During trade CG’s as of 1.3 we noticed that the station owners of the host station would lose influence as massive amounts of goods were bought by the station. Later we were able to demonstrate that buying goods from a station raises influence of the station owner (ever so slightly), and selling goods to a station hurts the owning factions influence (again slightly). We have seen this used successfully by an ally to lower influence in one war where a station only offered elite exploration missions (out of most players reach). This no longer appears to be the case, in fact we have received many differing results with recent experiments from different player groups. This may be due to experiments being completed over different versions of the game with different mechanics. Its also not high on our priority list to be honest, but recent reports suggest that in profit now boosts influence whereas loss drops it.
Exploration – You can turn your exploration data into the station owned by the faction you want to boost. It used to have a nuke like effect, but it has since been nerfed. It would not be weird to see a month long trip resulting in a hundred million only result in a influence increase of around 5% if dumped at once due to new caps on influence change implemented by frontier. It barely time effective if you slow release a couple million every day in each of the systems you want to affect.
Kill System Authority – Killing system authority ships reduces influence of the controlling faction and lowers security causing lockdown.
Raiding – Killing civilians in a system reduces influence of the faction they belong to and causes civil unrest.
Smuggling – In 1.3, turning illegal goods into the blackmarket lowers security and reduces influence of the station owner. Therefore it is not beneficial to have a black market in your station; however, it may benefit anarchy/unfettered factions.
Provided by Michael Brookes
Directing Expansion – Expansion is not entirely random. It is dependent on range and number of factions in the nearby systems. Closer factions, and systems with fewer factions take priority as targets for expansion. This is how we were get our four adopted factions and no others into Mikunn. Let’s say you have a faction in 7 different systems. If you keep track of the local systems well, you will have a pretty good idea of where each system would expand to next. By keeping the influence down in all systems but the one you want to expand from, you can choose from several expansion targets. After we take the controlling station, the mercs keep our influence low in all systems but the one we want to expand from.
Breaking Useless Economic States – An additional benefit to keeping your influence low is that you can easily trigger what would normally be a “useless” war. Previously we had player groups harassing us by causing lockdowns, or civil unrest. With 1.4 we have successfully been able to end these states by interrupting them with a war. Even economic states like “boom” serve absolutely no purpose except to slow down expansion. Quickly cause the war and then end it. Boom and lockdown can last weeks. The point is – don’t get too caught up keeping our influence high. You can use lower levels to your advantage.
Capturing the Secondary Stations or Outposts: If you capture the controlling station and sit at a high level of influence you will never capture the other stations or outposts in the system. To capture the secondary stations/outposts you must lower your factions influence and equalize your influence values with your target, creatiing a conflict. Winning the subsequent war should gain you the secondary station/outpost.
If a power is exploiting your systems this does not exclude you from becoming a power. If you became a power, in all likelyhood you would consume the current powers systems as your own. I would assume this would include some sort of civil war story line. Our current assumption is that the number of systems in which a faction is present is the primary factor considered for a minor faction to become a power. As Frontier decides how they want to operate a minor factions ascension to "power status", this area will be filled out.
Being a control system of a power may subject the station owner to strange influence swings due to undermining.
Suspected or Known Bugs:
Our Archived BGS Threads (Still somewhat useful):
What we think we know about the Background Sim
Mercs of Mikunn: Three Week Report
Mercs Of Mikunn: Three Month Report