Player Agency & Wasted time at the Interstellar initiative

When the Fuel Rat Mischief almost lost Wollheim Vision in Fuelum, all the BGS experts said that it would be impossible to swing the war in the 2 days remaining. Did fdev also get involved here with a favoured player group?
 
When the Fuel Rat Mischief almost lost Wollheim Vision in Fuelum, all the BGS experts said that it would be impossible to swing the war in the 2 days remaining. Did fdev also get involved here with a favoured player group?
Unlike here, there's no evidence that the Fuelum conflict had any Frontier intervention. The community managed an extraordinary feat in winning that war, given that they only had two ticks to do it. But that is an entirely different situation to this.
 
That's an explanation of events which implies a different order of how they happened - Frontier had set the Sol, Achenar, Alioth and Shinrarta systems to be locked against BGS activity long before you got close to Sol. If it had been possible to expand to Sol, nearer factions would have filled it up to 7 long before you got close. I'm not quite sure how you managed to aim for the system for 2.5 years - an incredibly impressive journey showing great BGS skill - and not notice at any point during that time there was something odd about it.
Firstly Re: locking capitols. Alioth yes, but Gateway is the home system of a PMF.

Secondly Re:Sol
It started out as a joke - "Let's get an Alliance faction into Sol" and stayed that way for a long time, but there was a constant push south.
When it became viable we did a push through four or five expansion including the Ross 128 liberation that ultimately became as close as we could get.

We didn't have our eyes closed about the PowerPlay capitol systems being locked out of inbound PMF expansion.
Hutton Truckers and EDF and uh - one other had expansions that should have gone in long before we got there. We knew.

But the caveat was that the faction we were pushing was not officially acknowledged as a PMF. We had asked - but Frontier said "Only one official in-game faction per group". So we were effectively pushing an NPC faction.

And there HAD been one NPC faction expansion into Sol.

That was back in the days of that mechanic that they modified into "invasion". If your expansion would go into a full system and the lowest faction was below 2.5% then you would go in, but that <2.5% faction would get sucked out into the system from whence the invasion happened. One of the early Sol expansions triggered that mechanic and an external faction was sucked in. I believe it got kicked out by the retreat mechanism eventually.

It was a weird mechanic, but we used it a bunch of times.


Anyways it was worth a shot. And we did get to kick in the doors of that awful Fed Prison System Ross 128!
But even there Frontier would not let player agency "force" them to make meaningful lore change.
The questions I ask in this video are relevant to this debate now.

Which is:
Should Frontier allow real Player Agency?
Should change wrought on the BGS be able to affect lore?
Should we be able to take the game in fresh directions without Frontier spoon feeding us?

 
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Amongst other things I like playing the BGS. Its a complicated beast and you can never make one move without stepping on someones toes. Somedays you are the good guy and some days you are the bad guy.

This week I have mostly been the bad guy. Ive killed a lot of Zende partnership NPC ships. Traders, Sys Auth, Elite Private Couriers (Literally broke my heart to sink those ones and not steal from them)

Im Notoriety 10, hostile to the Zende guys and Ive been dodging ATR and their magic lazors since Tuesday. Had to haul out and repair once when they nuked my shield gen, all the way out to an asteroid base in the Pencil Sector. Killing those faceless proc gen NPC was a grind, got to admit but I stuck at it because I was achieving the goal I set out to do. Security level was dropping like a rock and the day the Interstelllar Initiative went live Lockdown should have been pending.

This pleased me because I have a bit of an issue with the whole Alien / Human tech thing. Also lets face it, I was creating more gameplay than FD had last week. There would have been bounty hunting to do and Pirates to fend off. Services would have closed down just as thousands of players undocked from the Zende bus. Things were about to get interesting. There was a game to be played!

Only it turns out there is no such thing as Player Agency in a universe where players decide the direction of the story. Influences and security levels have been god modded and messed around with. My work is undone. My week wasted. See it turns out Im just one of those proc gen NPC too, and you know what?

This week, so are you.

Enjoy not taking the Initiative Cmdrs.

Im off to raise a ticket and get my bounty scrubbed. Might ask for some credits in compensation too.

07
Unlucky Oub :(
This is indeed very disappointing, along with some other things that I'll make a separate thread about.
 
Well, with this level of God mode intervention it should have been realtively straight forward to also have FDEV conceive at least a minimum viable scenario decision tree, based on binary actions (success/failure) at every step. And then simply follow it based on the outcome at every step as per player agency. Sadly it does not seem to have been the case here.
Absolutely! FDev could have made a lot of things better with this intergalactic initiative.

But remember that intergalactic initiatives are intended to give a bit more story arc to CGs without adding really new things to the game since FDev is concentrating on the 2020 update. I expect to see some more god modding if players try to diverge the story for the next CG story arcs.
 
Indeed. The War for Lugh was far from being free from issues, it was early days in the life of CG and all, but nevertheless it managed to capture the attention of a significant part of the community and content creators at the time. Player agency, while not perfect, was quite tactil and close to the gameplay.
The war of Lugh was just considered by some a success because the desired result matched with what FDev wanted. It was designed to give a player supported faction a system as a reward for their BGS testing and the bugs they found.
And it was the first big one (the first at all?) so it draw the attention of a lot of players who still thought that CGs weren't biased in one or an other direction.

It's obvious that FDev learned a lot from that CGs - but maybe not the right things.
 
https://www.elitedangerous.com/news/galnet/article/segnen-exchange-announces-outpost/

Haven't noticed this yesterday. Poor Ouberos - not only did FDev remove the result of his work, but apparently they also removed the motive (anti messing around with Guardian tech).

“Segnen Exchange thrives at the forefront of innovation, and the wealth of artefacts soon to flow through Synuefe EN-H d11-96 offers fantastic opportunities in the field of advanced Guardian-human technology.”
 
I think the swing Ouberos & Co. attempted was excellent BGS manipulation - well done in trying!

But - sadly there is always a but... Even one so lowly as I can understand that the Dev's couldn't permit lockdown to occur on the 'start' day of their CG, even if it goes against BGS 'lore'.

Suggest they 'try again' now that things are officially underway to see if 'the hand of god' is waved...

If I'm talking from the wrong orifice, forgive the misunderstanding on my part :)
 
Haven't read the whole thread - is there evidence for the God Modding? Synuefe EN-H d11-96 has gone a bit insane in inara over the last few days https://inara.cz/galaxy-starsystem/141310/ but it's also showing 5k players - and inara will only have a fraction of the true numbers - and the population isn't high (not as low as the 0 inara thinks :) ) so it will be quite volatile - won't it?

A fair assumption, but we know it was not player action for three main reasons:
1) The influence change and security reset occurred during the server downtime. This alone is enough to show it was a manual change, as the BGS is only updated once a day at 4pm in game time.
2) System status did not display an upwards arrow next to security after the change, as it would have had it been raised organically.
3) Faction influence cannot naturally fall below 1% due to player action. Overzealous manual adjustment by Frontier.
 
The community managed an extraordinary feat in winning that war, given that they only had two ticks to do it
Exactly, but all the BGS experts said it wasn’t winnable in the time frame due to the maximum % gain that could be achieved over 2 ticks. So either that maximum % gain didn’t exist or was fiddled with.
 
While I've never been a friend of Players trying to disrupt CG Locations, one thing the OP got right :
- Player Agency? Blaze your own Trail? Any Trail at all?

Hardly possible. Lacks a Sandbox and all associated Options and Tools.

The BGS was the next closest thing but suffered from a few limitations. So eventually a few Avenues were closed without adding viable alternative courses of action in regard to CG locations.
(not even diving into the V3.3 chaos that killed the entire thing for several months)

So indeed, Players are not Actors but fairly close to Cosmic Noise/NPCs.
All we're allowed to do is visit the mere handful of scripted Theme Park Mechanics, grind for something we have absolutely no power over - or spectate from a distance.

Have to say, spectating too often turned out to be the smartest choice. In-Game activities as usual can't hold a candle to the Entertainment in the Forum ;)
 
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A fair assumption, but we know it was not player action for three main reasons:
1) The influence change and security reset occurred during the server downtime. This alone is enough to show it was a manual change, as the BGS is only updated once a day at 4pm in game time.
2) System status did not display an upwards arrow next to security after the change, as it would have had it been raised organically.
3) Faction influence cannot naturally fall below 1% due to player action. Overzealous manual adjustment by Frontier.
Still no clear evidence for god modding though. It might have been an unintentional side effect from resetting the system to make the mega ships jump. Just guessing though, I have to admit that I don't know anything about the current situation.
Only thing I do know is that:
a) They allowed players to manipulate the BGS in order to stop CGs before.
b) There seem to be quite a lot of issues in the CG systems with tweaks applied by Frontier.

That doesn't change the end result of your time being wasted, just want to point out that there might be a different motivation behind it.
 
Firstly Re: locking capitols. Alioth yes, but Gateway is the home system of a PMF.
They only seem to have done it for Superpower capitals, and not for Powerplay HQs.

(Though Achenar and Shinrarta, of course, are both BGS locked and exempt from Powerplay)

And there HAD been one NPC faction expansion into Sol.
A couple of factions still in Shinrarta today from the old "drag in by expansion outwards" mechanism. Arguably a bug that the locking mechanism didn't prevent that (though it prevented conflicts regardless, of course) and maybe that's part of why Frontier adjusted expansions to work differently, not to mention some of the odd "home system" effects it caused.

Long gone by the time you were poking around Ross 128, of course.

Which is:
Should Frontier allow real Player Agency?
Should change wrought on the BGS be able to affect lore?
Should we be able to take the game in fresh directions without Frontier spoon feeding us?
1,3) Yes, in principle. In practice is the tricky one. But I wouldn't still be out in Colonia if I didn't think it was both possible and desirable.

2) I think the problem there is the rapid pace of the BGS (Powerplay is marginally slower, but not by much). A heavily contested system could change hands four or five times over the course of a single Interstellar Initiative or Galnet story arc. Incorporating that sensibly into the lore would be very difficult, because the BGS is artificially sped up for gameplay (no-one really wants to spend six months on one election/war)

It's not really very clear what minor faction control over a system means in terms of the lore - or whether it even means something consistent (there's strong evidence for example that it means something very different in the bubble and in Colonia) - and how that relates to superpower citizenship and system allegiance, or to the day to day influence levels in a system. And I'm not sure that it's really possible to make a sensible model for that, either, that fits at all with the lore around superpower governance in the Federation or especially Alliance (the Empire's structure I think could be made to work, though). The BGS wasn't really tied to the lore to start with, and knitting them together now will be trickier.

I think the balance is that if the BGS can affect lore more strongly (the Alliance move into Ross 128, or going back to Powerplay the ALD takeover of Beta Hydri for a while) then they'd also need to put a lot more locks or brakes on BGS activity so that those sort of things were much harder to achieve. At the moment they've been very sparing with that - Lave isn't locked, Ross 128 has permit defence only, AEGIS got kicked out of their home system because it wasn't protected (and that did make Galnet and get an in-lore response).

If they moved to responding to all of those things, I think they'd also need to put up more barriers - things like designating Zaonce or Facece or Tau Ceti as "strategic superpower assets" in game which gives a massive action multiplier to superpower-aligned factions (like the powerplay sphere effect, but much stronger) - to make it much harder to sneak up on them. Whether that would be allowing more or less player agency overall is debatable, of course

It's easier to incorporate on a slower aggregate level, of course - I'll be somewhat disappointed if Hudson's 4-year confirmation vote (just over two weeks away...) passes entirely unremarked or with no criticism from the Liberals about the declining state the Federation is in.
 
Exactly, but all the BGS experts said it wasn’t winnable in the time frame due to the maximum % gain that could be achieved over 2 ticks. So either that maximum % gain didn’t exist or was fiddled with.
Having watched a lot of BGS experts over the years, there are very few I'd actually trust to be right about what the maximum percent gain is. There were a lot of myths and misconceptions about it.

Two possible mistakes that apply here:
1) The maximum gain is the maximum gain in the absence of losses (then uncapped) applied to other factions. Hitting the other faction with negatives (e.g. murder) as well as giving positives to the Fuel Rats, would have allowed an unlimited effective gain.

2) They didn't need to win the war in 2 ticks under the old BGS mechanisms - just get it close enough that it was drawn on that day, to get an extra tick. That required a smaller gain.

I can't remember which experts were making the claims of impossibility, or what the actual influence track was, but point '1' means that they were wrong.
 
So you tried to 💩 in the pool, but the "pool guy" came along behind you and scooped it out with his net.

🤷‍♀️

I know you thought it would be funny, but let's give a quick reality check: "player agency" doesn't necessarily mean "anything goes."

In reality, reactionary development would be super great. But let's think about it for a second.. Game development takes a lot of time and effort, and it's hard to get it right. People already think the game develops too slowly and has too many issues as it is. Preemptively developing bits of the game that result from a story they want to tell is a necessity. That means that yes, unfortunately, there are only a few viable outcomes they are prepared to deliver on. Players are already irritated at how slowly the story is already being told, what would happen if development of the weapon, or module, or whatever else we got for this initiative didn't even start until after we had played out the story?

They still have a general direction they want the story to go, and it is in fact their story. Just because the agency they've given us is to decide whether we get missiles or a minigun doesn't mean they've also prepared for an eventuality where nobody got to turn in anything.
Well that just makes the whole 'player driven initiatives' as being a big pile of baloney.

Either the players drive the outcome, or..
FDev whatever they want regardless of what players do.

Selling it as player-driven when it is in fact not so, is just disingenuous.
 
Well that just makes the whole 'player driven initiatives' as being a big pile of baloney.

Either the players drive the outcome, or..
FDev whatever they want regardless of what players do.

Selling it as player-driven when it is in fact not so, is just disingenuous.
Please address the point I raised above before making random accusations. I might be wrong, but until someone tells me why I believe it's a pretty good point.
 
Please address the point I raised above before making random accusations. I might be wrong, but until someone tells me why I believe it's a pretty good point.
It's impossible to disprove that someone went into a server room and tripped over a wire or something, but it looks less likely to be bug related than deliberate. If it were related to the Megaships not jumping, then we could probably expect the influence change to occur as they fixed that in the emergency patch, caused by them manually shifting assets or something. However, that's not what happened. The first reports of the influence/security change came at 8:47am on Inara, which is prior to the megaship patch.



Again, it's impossible to disprove. But the fact that the influence change occurred with the main server downtime, before the megaships were patched, and the fact that there should be no reason that anything BGS related would occur during that downtime, makes it seem more like the result of a deliberate change.
 
It's impossible to disprove that someone went into a server room and tripped over a wire or something, but it looks less likely to be bug related than deliberate. If it were related to the Megaships not jumping, then we could probably expect the influence change to occur as they fixed that in the emergency patch, caused by them manually shifting assets or something. However, that's not what happened. The first reports of the influence/security change came at 8:47am on Inara, which is prior to the megaship patch.



Again, it's impossible to disprove. But the fact that the influence change occurred with the main server downtime, before the megaships were patched, and the fact that there should be no reason that anything BGS related would occur during that downtime, makes it seem more like the result of a deliberate change.
Good post. What if the same thing that broke the megaship also broke the BGS?
 
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