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Thread: The heat death of Powerplay and its bleak future without collapse

  1. #1

    The heat death of Powerplay and its bleak future without collapse

    Without death, there is no life apparently.

    But what do you do when you cannot die and you are immortal? Such is the massive functional problem of Powerplay.

    Right now, Powerplay is in a state of decay from within.

    Fergal has just posted Cycle 101's figures, and now to me a worrying pattern is emerging that will be the true 'heat death' of PP: we have small powers who have huge amounts of CC, and are thus immortal. They can attack with impunity, but cannot be attacked themselves (as seen in the undermining of Grom and Delaine). Even if they were attacked why bother? No power can actually 'die'. Soon, two more powers will be in this bracket as well, so nearly 4 out of 11 powers will be difficult or impossible to fight. People wonder what the real problem is with PP; ennui is the true root cause.

    So, you will have a stratified two tier game, those powers with the numbers to have lots of systems, and those who do not who will be small but loaded with CC. Extrapolating this further, once we get to this point, what would the objective be of playing at all? You would never need to fortify, consolidation takes care of everything else and fighting is futile as you can never actually destroy an opponent. There would be little impetus to be successful since if you try you will be hacked apart with no real way of striking back. The main focus of the game becomes redundant (expanding) and it devolves into random lopsided squabbles.

    Since the collapse mechanism is not in, its counter -expansion- has no material value, so the main driving dynamic of PP is nullified. If you are a small power but actually have ambition, what's the point of the game? If you do go for it, you will simply be hacked back by those who are in the immortal state. People decry the role of politics in PP, but in my view it has kept PP away from the complete functional decay we are starting to see.

    In short PP really, really needs collapse. If FD don't have the time to put in an automated collapse mechanism, I think we need using the leadership / elected rep / here / etc Discord to agree with Sandro a set of collapse conditions. If met in game it means FD will remove that power from the next point update manually. For example, four turns of turmoil, or loss of 50% territory over x turns etc. PP needs collapse.



  2. #2
    I wholeheartedly agree.

    I really hope Frontier is using the chance of 1.4 to reanimate powerplay. I really hope the alien-invasion will not only add a much needed collaps mechanic for powerplay but also begin with a total overhaul. There would be much to do. Only listing some points here: powerplay BackGroundSimulation evaluation, pp-missions, ui-overhaul, pp-rewards, fortification: 30 minute time-sink mechanic (and macro exploiting), ingame communication, evaluating of defesive-offensive balance, 5c still a topic, pp-piracy, pp and multicrew, ...

  3. #3
    I agree with what you have written, but I think there is a flaw in your argument, you mention Grom and Delaine as being immune to undermining, this isn't true, every power is immune under the current no undermining meta.
    Antal also has less fortification to do than Delaine to fortify 100%, and has more profitable systems, making Antal the hardest power in the game right now to attack.

    No collapse mechanic cuts both ways, you can hear many ex-imperial players cry about Delaine not collapsing as their reason for leaving PP, well fighting hard for expansions for Delaine (which have only ever harmed his CC economy), to stop him collapsing is also hollow and pointless when there is no penalty for failure.

  4. #4
    I would disagree with that statement, as on paper you could turmoil anyone, but without the backing of a larger power or alliance its impossible if your power is small.

  5. #5
    Originally Posted by Rubbernuke View Post (Source)
    I would disagree with that statement, as on paper you could turmoil anyone, but without the backing of a larger power or alliance its impossible if your power is small.
    But there is only one "alliance" at the moment who has the players and the will to do this, thats the Imperials and Grom.

    We are playing TF2 and one team has 8 players, the other has 1, and noone on the 8 side wants to swap, and FDev hasn't turned on auto balancing.

    Wont be long before the 1 guy leaves and there is noone for the 8 to shoot at.

  6. #6
    Collapse mechanic should always have been in.

    But PP needs a lot of work too. The politics between powers needs to be more dynamic, with all powers being encouraged to play for themselves without alliances.

    Shortly after the obvious suspects are removed, targets will run out because another stalemate between the large power blocs will happen.

  7. #7
    Wouldn't the collapse mechanic just provide an entirely negative incentive? Isn't it something you've always resisted, because there is no rationale for a power to fall apart simply because there is nowhere for it to expand?

    Apart from better incentives, what might improve Powerplay is better integration with the BGS, better crafted Powers and attainable objectives rather than the rank system.

    Better integration with the BGS by the replacement of control spheres with the direct control of minor factions would allow more subtle gameplay. Control spheres do not tessellate, is this really to continue as the basis for thirty-fourth century administration? Minor factions can always be expanded to have more systems, so there would be less motive to fifth-column.

    The Powers make insufficient sense as they are, it might be best to rework them with experience and the input of the leadership, as well as add more. With several more Powers they could be restricted to support fewer government types.

    The rank system is obscure and provides insufficient incentive for the smaller Powers. Objective systems would allow them something tangible, perhaps bonuses like medium weapons instead of small ones, or larger shields? Or new bonuses like Power versions of ships with slight all-round boosts? Some Engineers could be tied to their local Power. Objective systems could either be existing ones like the rares and engineers systems, or new creations.

  8. #8
    Originally Posted by Rubbernuke View Post (Source)
    Without death, there is no life apparently.

    But what do you do when you cannot die and you are immortal? Such is the massive functional problem of Powerplay.

    Right now, Powerplay is in a state of decay from within.

    Fergal has just posted Cycle 101's figures, and now to me a worrying pattern is emerging that will be the true 'heat death' of PP: we have small powers who have huge amounts of CC, and are thus immortal. They can attack with impunity, but cannot be attacked themselves (as seen in the undermining of Grom and Delaine). Even if they were attacked why bother? No power can actually 'die'. Soon, two more powers will be in this bracket as well, so nearly 4 out of 11 powers will be difficult or impossible to fight. People wonder what the real problem is with PP; ennui is the true root cause.

    So, you will have a stratified two tier game, those powers with the numbers to have lots of systems, and those who do not who will be small but loaded with CC. Extrapolating this further, once we get to this point, what would the objective be of playing at all? You would never need to fortify, consolidation takes care of everything else and fighting is futile as you can never actually destroy an opponent. There would be little impetus to be successful since if you try you will be hacked apart with no real way of striking back. The main focus of the game becomes redundant (expanding) and it devolves into random lopsided squabbles.

    Since the collapse mechanism is not in, its counter -expansion- has no material value, so the main driving dynamic of PP is nullified. If you are a small power but actually have ambition, what's the point of the game? If you do go for it, you will simply be hacked back by those who are in the immortal state. People decry the role of politics in PP, but in my view it has kept PP away from the complete functional decay we are starting to see.

    In short PP really, really needs collapse. If FD don't have the time to put in an automated collapse mechanism, I think we need using the leadership / elected rep / here / etc Discord to agree with Sandro a set of collapse conditions. If met in game it means FD will remove that power from the next point update manually. For example, four turns of turmoil, or loss of 50% territory over x turns etc. PP needs collapse.


    http://johnguycollick.com/wp-content...zardozhead.jpg
    To be fair none of this is new and if the state of play has reached an equilibrium then so be it. It's not down to just mechanics. Over two years the various power groups have made deals and agreed on territories and have established relationships and behaviors. Simply put many are happy with their lot and skirmishes and battles continue. Right now Hudson (from what I understand, the biggest group) is in turmoil and that didnt happen on its own. LYR has been dealt a massive blow too. So players are playing just as hard as ever.

    Not so long ago the piracy mechanic was the thing that many powers used to establish stability and even back then small powers like the slavers held off massive ones simply by staying small and tough. So folk have seen the downsize and be rock hard as a way forward. That does not mean nothing is happening or require a collapse mechanism. Nor does it mean that collapse will bring anything new or long lasting entertainment.

    Consider this. A collapse mechanism is invented and being small and strong is nolonger viable. All the small powers vanish and so do the majority of their power players. This leaves the big three doing exactly what they are doing right now.

    Small and tough is not a new thing at all. Adding a mechanism that effectively removes small group players from the game wont add anything and it certainly wont entice new groups to put any effort in if they can be effectively squished be weight of numbers in a few weeks.

    Here's the crunch. Power play has it luls and these become more apparent as other content is added. Power Play vs setting up a player faction in Sag A. Well there goes a bunch of potential players. Search for Thargoids in the wilds of space. Exit more potential players. New funky weapons from Engineers. Fortify of Engineer your ship.... hmm.. I think I will go enginerings for a few months and run passenger missions to Sag A.

    So my conclusion is that collapse wont do much for power play in the long run and my suggestion is add more content to power play such as power missions. The engine is already there to do as much. Grant global rewards only to players pledge to the power and not give the to absouleutly ever one. For instance if you want the 15% discount on ships and modules from LYR then you better get your Rank 3 or some such and stay pledged as long as you want to keep the benefits. These two things would entice players to join, retain players and flesh out / integrate power play with the over all game. I'm not arguing agasint some kind of collapse mechanism just sharing some observations and viable alternatives that would grow the power play player base, motivate and engage players. Adding a. colllpase mechinsm will not improve the basic things that players do such as undermine, prepare and fortify. However adding missions and giving power benefits only to players who remain pledged will give non power players a reason to get engaged.
    "It had begun with Ben Ryder, who had traded almost exclusively using shot-up pirate ships. Ben had lived life on the edge, and one day, one night, one star year, he had not returned" Ben's Keyboard controls PDF & Quick Start Guide updated 5 August 14

  9. #9
    I'd think a few minor changes could help immediately such as removing the consolidation mechanic,then to disincentivize disloyal 5C efforts such as the prepping of Yaque, a lowered decay rate based on number of weeks pledged to a power with a set minimum decay rate and corresponding decrease in salary. And perhaps an increased bonus in salary or some other kind of power-only-global reward similar to a CG reward for pledgers of a power in the top 5 galactic power positions.
    test

  10. #10
    Peekabooo!!!


    Tell Sandro to base it on a different boardgame, Twilight Imperium 3rd edition is pretty cool.


  11. #11

    Collapse mechanic.

    What about the collapse of a power? You don't need to turmoil and make every system of a power revolt, you only need to keep the Power in the bottom 3 and oppose every expansion attempt every cycle until the collapse mechanic kicks in.

  12. #12
    Originally Posted by Danieros View Post (Source)
    What about the collapse of a power? You don't need to turmoil and make every system of a power revolt, you only need to keep the Power in the bottom 3 and oppose every expansion attempt every cycle until the collapse mechanic kicks in.
    That's how it was supposed to work in theory. However this collapse mechanic (or any other that would make more sense maybe) was never implemented so nothing happens to powers that fulfill those criteria.

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by SHEPR0N View Post (Source)
    That's how it was supposed to work in theory. However this collapse mechanic (or any other that would make more sense maybe) was never implemented so nothing happens to powers that fulfill those criteria.
    But the collapse mechanic is in the game manual. Well, 104 cycles in without a collapse ever happening it's probably bugged or FDev never bothered doing a collapse.

  14. #14
    Originally Posted by Danieros View Post (Source)
    But the collapse mechanic is in the game manual. Well, 104 cycles in without a collapse ever happening it's probably bugged or FDev never bothered doing a collapse.
    Or, we were explicitly told the collapse mechanic wasn't implemented and wouldn't be until the core functions of Powerplay were where FDev wanted them.

    Lack of collapse, and thus any sort of end goal, drove many away. Some of the very best 'motivational' leaders (as opposed to technocratic, the current commonplace) I've seen, also being very goal-driven, burnt out rather quickly over this issue.

    This is where the conundrum surrounding their comments that playership numbers guide priority of fixes arises. Playership of Powerplay at the outset was exceedingly high - obviously I don't have their metrics, but merit output alone suggests many, many thousands in the first couple dozen cycles. If most of those left because of the state of Powerplay, then playership seems a terrible guide as to what to fix.

    "We can't prioritize fixes/additions because you're only a small subset"
    "We're only a small subset because there's been hardly any fixes/additions".
    =
    "I won't fix a car you don't drive"
    "I won't drive a car you won't fix"

    You see the issue.