PLEASE MAKE POWERPLAY IN "OPEN ONLY"

Robert and Rubber - been watching you two spar for a while, but would like to hear from both of you regarding my proposal. If you skipped over it, it’s here: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/please-make-powerplay-in-open-only.512067/post-7842127 in this very thread.
I like it- like I said before though its best to design a system that does not rely on voting though, as it will be misused. But if FD went with something like that I'd not be complaining at all.
 
I like it- like I said before though its best to design a system that does not rely on voting though, as it will be misused. But if FD went with something like that I'd not be complaining at all.
Voting already is a function of Power Play though there’s not much to do with it - expand or fortify.
 
But voting is misused- 5C will either attempt to get consolidation to 100% to block something you want, or will ensure its low enough to let in a bad prep that magically appears at #1.
Yes, and?

A little personal history here - I am an admitted PP Module Tourist. I’ve made a habit of popping into the various power Discords, jumping through the hoops, and admitting I’m just here for the toys. But I’ve always worked to support whichever power I’ve aligned myself with, voting on party lines, to not be a disruptive influence. That’s just me. While I might not 5C a power, I certainly support someone else’s right to do so. As I said, it IS a valid political tool, and that is what Power Play is - playing Space Politics. While it may be subversive and even annoying to loyalists, it still adds to this incredibly limited system.

Now, by changing the method by which we pledge a power, it may slow down 5C efforts, as it would require someone to “prove themselves” before the offer to pledge is extended, so there is that advantage. No system is ever fool-proof though, and that’s not a bad thing either.

Personally I like my intrigue with a side of politics. I love a grand Machiavellian scheme. It’s interesting and fun, regardless of which side of it you’re on as it unfolds. It’s also very human. Adding humanity to an otherwise cold and empty system of menu-based mechanics is not bad at all. It gives people reasons to care.
 

Robert Maynard

Volunteer Moderator
Robert and Rubber - been watching you two spar for a while, but would like to hear from both of you regarding my proposal. If you skipped over it, it’s here: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/please-make-powerplay-in-open-only.512067/post-7842127 in this very thread.
First read thoughts:

One can be allied with many factions simultaneously - sometimes quite by accident - so defection / rejoining would be near instant for some players. Also, becoming allied with a Faction doesn't take very long at all, e.g. dropping exploration data.

Points for PvP kills in either of the multi-player game modes - would be abused mercilessly (with the ability for any player to have retained a zero rebuy ship) - even in Open.
 
Yes, and?

A little personal history here - I am an admitted PP Module Tourist. I’ve made a habit of popping into the various power Discords, jumping through the hoops, and admitting I’m just here for the toys. But I’ve always worked to support whichever power I’ve aligned myself with, voting on party lines, to not be a disruptive influence. That’s just me. While I might not 5C a power, I certainly support someone else’s right to do so. As I said, it IS a valid political tool, and that is what Power Play is - playing Space Politics. While it may be subversive and even annoying to loyalists, it still adds to this incredibly limited system.

Now, by changing the method by which we pledge a power, it may slow down 5C efforts, as it would require someone to “prove themselves” before the offer to pledge is extended, so there is that advantage. No system is ever fool-proof though, and that’s not a bad thing either.

Personally I like my intrigue with a side of politics. I love a grand Machiavellian scheme. It’s interesting and fun, regardless of which side of it you’re on as it unfolds. It’s also very human. Adding humanity to an otherwise cold and empty system of menu-based mechanics is not bad at all. It gives people reasons to care.
5c in practice is a pox that needs to die. Sandros proposal is about 60% anti 5C because everyone realises its simply nailing PPs coffin shut. Console owners have access to unlimited commanders who can also multiply voting which makes the whole system pointless.

Hence, its better to design a system where players can only do positive actions (i.e. they can't vote on making bad moves) because then the only way to harm a power is to oppose it from another power.

This is why the BGS is so good, because no expansion is bad, and all actions count.
 
While I might not 5C a power, I certainly support someone else’s right to do so. As I said, it IS a valid political tool, and that is what Power Play is - playing Space Politics. While it may be subversive and even annoying to loyalists, it still adds to this incredibly limited system
It is not a valid tool because it is mathematically impossible to lose some of the systems & all Powers have agreed it is not a valid tool. It does not add to the limited system it takes away from it as a majority of Powers' time is consumed combating 5C activities to prevent them taking on systems they can never lose. 5C is only possible due to the badly designed mechanics that everyone had hoped FDev would have been able to allocate the resources to fix by now but other priorities dictated otherwise.

CMDR Justinian Octavius
 
First read thoughts:

One can be allied with many factions simultaneously - sometimes quite by accident - so defection / rejoining would be near instant for some players. Also, becoming allied with a Faction doesn't take very long at all, e.g. dropping exploration data.

Points for PvP kills in either of the multi-player game modes - would be abused mercilessly (with the ability for any player to have retained a zero rebuy ship) - even in Open.
So.. to address the first point, currying favor with power-aligned factions could be tracked by a separate variable, let’s call it “F”. “F” would default to 0 for all players, including those already pledge to a power, and would be used solely to track a power-aligned faction’s Favor, and determine when a player is offered a “Join our Power” mission. It could also be used by factions aligned to other powers as well, and drop into negative values when players take actions opposing that faction. For example, participating in a CZ between Faction A and Faction B, on the side of Faction A, would raise the player’s Faction A “F” value, while decreasing their Faction B “F” value. This would mean the player would have to work harder to win the favor of Faction B, should they later wish to pledge to the power supported by Faction B.

Missions performed could also add to or subtract from a player’s faction-specific “F” value. Dumping Exploration data may have no effect on a Faction’s “F” value, or a minimal one, as could other “common” activities, like market trading, though the effects of these sorts of activities could also be Faction-specific as well. Li Yong Rui might be more interested in a player’s trading abilities than their combat prowess. Aisling Duval might disapprove of a player buying and selling slaves (“F” down), while Archon Delaine may approve of a player’s Black Market dealings (“F”+), while Zemina Turval frowns on them (“F”-).

This approach would then give meaning to everyone’s actions, pledged or unpledged, and give people reasons to think about their actions. Keep this “F” value a hidden variable from the players, and this system takes a huge breath of life.

As to the second point, we already have a “point system” that is and can be abused, in the form of Merits and Bonds. As I recall, it’s 30 merits per NPC ship in Control or Expansion systems, and 10 in CZ’s.

So what if we value human players at 35 and 12, with the added effect of the losing player loses 35 or 12 Merits (loss being either blown up or disconnecting from combat. Retreating is not a loss, but that player must be online and not in the menu to be considered as Retreated, rather than Defeated).

This is the main reason for Power Players to blow each other up in the first place, so let’s reward them for doing it. We can already abuse it, so nothing will really change here, save perhaps a bit of ungrateful connection loss, and no one’s apt to complain about that.
 

Robert Maynard

Volunteer Moderator
So.. to address the first point, currying favor with power-aligned factions could be tracked by a separate variable, let’s call it “F”. “F” would default to 0 for all players, including those already pledge to a power, and would be used solely to track a power-aligned faction’s Favor, and determine when a player is offered a “Join our Power” mission. It could also be used by factions aligned to other powers as well, and drop into negative values when players take actions opposing that faction. For example, participating in a CZ between Faction A and Faction B, on the side of Faction A, would raise the player’s Faction A “F” value, while decreasing their Faction B “F” value. This would mean the player would have to work harder to win the favor of Faction B, should they later wish to pledge to the power supported by Faction B.

Missions performed could also add to or subtract from a player’s faction-specific “F” value. Dumping Exploration data may have no effect on a Faction’s “F” value, or a minimal one, as could other “common” activities, like market trading, though the effects of these sorts of activities could also be Faction-specific as well. Li Yong Rui might be more interested in a player’s trading abilities than their combat prowess. Aisling Duval might disapprove of a player buying and selling slaves (“F” down), while Archon Delaine may approve of a player’s Black Market dealings (“F”+), while Zemina Turval frowns on them (“F”-).

This approach would then give meaning to everyone’s actions, pledged or unpledged, and give people reasons to think about their actions. Keep this “F” value a hidden variable from the players, and this system takes a huge breath of life.
If missions were the only method of increasing "F" then becoming allied should be non-trivial, i.e. it could not be banked, like exploration data, prior to defection from the previous Power. Presumably on pledging to a Power "F" values for other Factions would be zeroed? Also, presumably, the "F" values would have no effect on players who don't want to engage in Powerplay at all?
As to the second point, we already have a “point system” that is and can be abused, in the form of Merits and Bonds. As I recall, it’s 30 merits per NPC ship in Control or Expansion systems, and 10 in CZ’s.

So what if we value human players at 35 and 12, with the added effect of the losing player loses 35 or 12 Merits (loss being either blown up or disconnecting from combat. Retreating is not a loss, but that player must be online and not in the menu to be considered as Retreated, rather than Defeated).

This is the main reason for Power Players to blow each other up in the first place, so let’s reward them for doing it. We can already abuse it, so nothing will really change here, save perhaps a bit of ungrateful connection loss, and no one’s apt to complain about that.
The point system currently in place does not reward, as I understand it, players colluding by "throwing" combat - which could result in a 70 merit effective delta in your proposal. NPCs, while they may not be as challenging as some players, are more challenging than a player that is flying an easily destroyed ship putting up no resistance whatsoever.
 
If missions were the only method of increasing "F" then becoming allied should be non-trivial, i.e. it could not be banked, like exploration data, prior to defection from the previous Power. Presumably on pledging to a Power "F" values for other Factions would be zeroed? Also, presumably, the "F" values would have no effect on players who don't want to engage in Powerplay at all?
That is correct. The “F” factor is only utilized to determine if a power-aligned Faction will offer a player a “Pledge Our Power” mission. Once the threshold value is met, the player will then receive an invitation to join the power that faction supports.

The point system currently in place does not reward, as I understand it, players colluding by "throwing" combat - which could result in a 70 merit effective delta in your proposal. NPCs, while they may not be as challenging as some players, are more challenging than a player that is flying an easily destroyed ship putting up no resistance whatsoever.
I’m afraid I am not privy to the inner workings of the Power Play Bond mechanics, so I have to infer and guess my way around here. Did some digging and it looks like, from what I can find, PvP kills currently (as current as I could find), pay out 1 merit, compared to NPC’s at 30.

I’d welcome a confirmation of this. If this is the case, then I’d say let’s keep this in that same realm, though I still say applying a stiffer penalty for Defeat are in order.
 
That is correct. The “F” factor is only utilized to determine if a power-aligned Faction will offer a player a “Pledge Our Power” mission. Once the threshold value is met, the player will then receive an invitation to join the power that faction supports.



I’m afraid I am not privy to the inner workings of the Power Play Bond mechanics, so I have to infer and guess my way around here. Did some digging and it looks like, from what I can find, PvP kills currently (as current as I could find), pay out 1 merit, compared to NPC’s at 30.

I’d welcome a confirmation of this. If this is the case, then I’d say let’s keep this in that same realm, though I still say applying a stiffer penalty for Defeat are in order.
It used to be like for like (30 for each type of kill) till the PvP-fear took hold and people began making ridiculous claims that people would merit farm their friends (despite it being a damn sight more hard and awkward to do than the proper way at the time).
 
My Two Credits:

I tried PP...wasn't all that interested for long, mostly because it is terrible at communicating what my role as a faction supporter is. It reminds me very much of Faction Warfare in EVE Online in this regard. So, my opinions:

Faction Channel
Simply a dedicated chat channel for pledged commanders. Emissaries (detailed next) have different color names and text to distinguish themselves.

Power Play Emissaries
I would suggest that the top 10 commanders contributing to a faction are designated as 'Emissaries' for that faction. Being an emissary grants certain benefits, most of which are geared towards communicating strategy for the faction and granting minor control over that strategy.
  • Emissaries have five times the voting power of the typical pledged commander
  • Emissaries have access to the 'Faction Message Board', a message board that all members of the faction can view for suggestions or orders from the Emissaries
  • Emissaries can 'force' a system to exceed consolidation vote if three or more of them vote on it. This means up to three systems can be simultaneously forced above consolidation, regardless of total votes.
  • Emissaries are determined on a monthly (four week) cycle. They can only be replaced by outperformance.
Power Play Objectives
This is the lever for Frontier to pull on to generate additional conflict or throw a wrench into a monotonous series. Power Play Objectives are essentially community goals specific to Power Play that will declare a 'battleground' system. GalNet article explains why Patreus and Mahon are having at it, or whoever.
  • The PPO is a CG that measures merits gained in that system.
  • Both factions will have 'taken temporary command' of a station, each, in the system.
  • Merits are gained through the usual means specific to the faction and PP PvP: designated goods can be shipped to the faction's station, much like with Fortified systems, to gain merits. Bonds turned in generate merits as well. The key is that all merits must be earned in the system to be counted towards the CG.
  • The faction that wins the CG is awarded a boost to their CC for the current powerplay cycle.
  • Once the CG ends, the system returns to whoever the normal authorities are and falls back under the PP faction that would normally control it - even if that faction 'lost' the system. The CG system will never be a control system for a faction.
Other Thoughts
I get the argument for Open Play only - I generally play Open Play only myself, if only because I like to see other players on occasion. Personally, I'm a solo commander who isn't interested in squadrons and winging up. That said, I don't think the solution to solo 5c movements or the lack of danger to trader-oriented factions in solo mode is to prevent these commanders from participating. If you close the solo box, you've gotta close the PG box, too - which would be disastrous, to be honest.

I think if we want to get to a 'fair' system of merit gains between solo, pg, and open, we've got to look at setting NPC interactions more central to the fight. NPC faction-specific ships could be worth more merits, rendering the 'need' for commanders to kill obsolete to be competitive. At this stage, it becomes 'who has more commanders' supporting - but now combat-oriented factions have a fighting chance against an army of Type-9s and Cutters in solo or pg. Would you rather be killing those commanders? Sure, I get that - I've played pirate before - but those players have a right to play the game alone, a right Frontier has unequivocally supported.

So, I'd suggest providing other avenues for merit generation and maybe not pigeon-hole the factions into their play style so much. It's that or trade merits vs combat merits has to be arbitrarily balanced. FDev probably has the data to figure that balance out, but it seems more like an appeasement for one side rather than creating opportunities for both sides to compete.

On Fifth Column
I get the anger around 5c, but I'm in the camp of 'a little espionage is fitting' - it's a political feature system, after all. But I also agree that 5c movements seem to be getting a bit out of hand. The Emissaries idea or something similar potentially fixes that with both designated voting powers to the top commanders, but also greater transparency: if the strategy of voting is clearly depicted to commanders in-game, failure to see that strategy supported clearly means one of two conclusions:
  • The overall commander block does not support the Emissary strategy
  • There is a strong 5C presence in the faction
You can determine the second by determining the first: you broadcasted the strategy in game, not some reddit channel I can't be bothered to find, and you can see the commanders communicating with you in the chat channel. A commander that even halfway understands the game will know not to vote for consolidation without good reason. A dedicated chat allows leadership to gauge overall faction population feelings - if they think your strategy stinks, they'll say so and vote so, your big votes be darned! If they are 5C, they won't say anything - or be trollish in chat - and you'll have your answer.

By giving Emissaries the ability to, together, designate at least three systems, you can significantly reduce 5c effectiveness. If commanders are truly dedicated to maintaining top merits for their faction - even if their goal is to ruin that faction - they deserve the ability to do so, and commanders below them must choose whether to follow...or step up and lead. If I told you that Torval basically has no real leaders, how many PP commanders would rush to try and take ownership? I'd argue many PP commanders would be more involved across all factions if there was a system for designated leadership.

My thoughts.
 
You can determine the second by determining the first: you broadcasted the strategy in game, not some reddit channel I can't be bothered to find, and you can see the commanders communicating with you in the chat channel. A commander that even halfway understands the game will know not to vote for consolidation without good reason. A dedicated chat allows leadership to gauge overall faction population feelings - if they think your strategy stinks, they'll say so and vote so, your big votes be darned! If they are 5C, they won't say anything - or be trollish in chat - and you'll have your answer.
Unless they're moderately intelligent, in which case, they'll speak up, agreeing where they should, disagreeing where they should, be mindful and mannered, and still vote against the actual faction desires.
 
Unless they're moderately intelligent, in which case, they'll speak up, agreeing where they should, disagreeing where they should, be mindful and mannered, and still vote against the actual faction desires.
Right - which informs you of a 5c element.

Let's be honest, here: even if you had 'total transparency' of every commander vote in some database in-game for all to see - which would tell you who is in the 5c (or just not interested in helping leadership agenda, which isn't the same in intention but the same in actual effect) - there isn't anything you could do about it except mercilessly hunt them. Which you can't if they're in solo (I know, I know - that's the whole point of the OP).

My own opinion is that:
  • If 5C movements are as large as presumed to be, even forced to Open Play only they won't be sufficiently restricted or preventable
  • If Faction 'Leadership' was less democratic and more performance-based, 5C movements would be less effective / detrimental
  • 5C is only an issue because of raw democracy, which is ironic given the majority of the factions are by nature not democratic. Integrating a basic leadership structure that is based not on votes but competitive performance (i.e. in line with the concept of Power Play as a vehicle for legalized PvP and competition) significantly reduces the influence of quantity of commanders as opposed to quality of commanders. This is one of my biggest gripes with the BGS as a whole - what's the point of supporting a minor faction if you have virtually no control over their random and idiotic expansion?
  • If Power Play, as a whole, embraced it's PvP nature more it could be balanced around PvP ideals
Keep in mind PvP doesn't necessitate combat - it just represents competition between players. Going off this, the last point looks like so...
  • 'Trade PvP' isn't delivering goods within the faction, but delivering goods in competition with another faction. Scrap delivering goods to your own station and replace it with delivering goods to a target, non-controlled station, where each faction competes with the raw availability of commanders to transport.
  • 'Exploring PvP' isn't discovery and credits for your faction, it is reaching exploration targets before your competition. Create spawning exploration targets within and without the bubble that requires faction explorers to work together to piece together information and claim CC bonuses.
  • 'Combat PvP' can be both direct PvP (which can be in Open or PG) or indirect PvP in the hunting of NPCs (all modes), with the existing emphasis of PvP between players being weighted more to incent this playstyle - hence that's one of the core goals of Power Play: to get players to compete directly as much as possible without infringing on the freedoms of the three login mode types.
 
If you want
Right - which informs you of a 5c element.

Let's be honest, here: even if you had 'total transparency' of every commander vote in some database in-game for all to see - which would tell you who is in the 5c (or just not interested in helping leadership agenda, which isn't the same in intention but the same in actual effect) - there isn't anything you could do about it except mercilessly hunt them. Which you can't if they're in solo (I know, I know - that's the whole point of the OP).

My own opinion is that:
  • If 5C movements are as large as presumed to be, even forced to Open Play only they won't be sufficiently restricted or preventable
  • If Faction 'Leadership' was less democratic and more performance-based, 5C movements would be less effective / detrimental
  • 5C is only an issue because of raw democracy, which is ironic given the majority of the factions are by nature not democratic. Integrating a basic leadership structure that is based not on votes but competitive performance (i.e. in line with the concept of Power Play as a vehicle for legalized PvP and competition) significantly reduces the influence of quantity of commanders as opposed to quality of commanders. This is one of my biggest gripes with the BGS as a whole - what's the point of supporting a minor faction if you have virtually no control over their random and idiotic expansion?
  • If Power Play, as a whole, embraced it's PvP nature more it could be balanced around PvP ideals
Keep in mind PvP doesn't necessitate combat - it just represents competition between players. Going off this, the last point looks like so...
  • 'Trade PvP' isn't delivering goods within the faction, but delivering goods in competition with another faction. Scrap delivering goods to your own station and replace it with delivering goods to a target, non-controlled station, where each faction competes with the raw availability of commanders to transport.
  • 'Exploring PvP' isn't discovery and credits for your faction, it is reaching exploration targets before your competition. Create spawning exploration targets within and without the bubble that requires faction explorers to work together to piece together information and claim CC bonuses.
  • 'Combat PvP' can be both direct PvP (which can be in Open or PG) or indirect PvP in the hunting of NPCs (all modes), with the existing emphasis of PvP between players being weighted more to incent this playstyle - hence that's one of the core goals of Power Play: to get players to compete directly as much as possible without infringing on the freedoms of the three login mode types.
Console owners can have almost unlimited votes. You have multiboxing too. If you are going to build from the ground up you eliminate voting and design something that does not require voting at all. If everything you did only made your power stronger then the only way to oppose is to play properly. It would be simpler to explain and play, and not require any leadership to direct- in fact it would be decentalised to the point where people could go off and do things how they wanted but in the end the power benefits overall.
 
If you want


Console owners can have almost unlimited votes. You have multiboxing too. If you are going to build from the ground up you eliminate voting and design something that does not require voting at all. If everything you did only made your power stronger then the only way to oppose is to play properly. It would be simpler to explain and play, and not require any leadership to direct- in fact it would be decentalised to the point where people could go off and do things how they wanted but in the end the power benefits overall.
Herein lies the real problem - we have these powers we want to work for (or against), but we have no means of really exerting any meaningful influence over them. If there isn’t an option for those who are pledged to a power to make their ambitions known, that is, to put forth matters to a vote, then we don’t have a meaningful way to really interact.

Let’s consider the matter of Expansion. Now let’s suppose you’re working for Felicia Winters. There are 4 possible systems into which you could Expand. System A is nice, and will generate some extra Command Capital. So would system B. System C would be break-even, but afford you a chance next week to expand into a very choice system. Finally system D would wind up costing you, but would cut off an opposing faction’s expansion efforts.

So where do you go? Expand at the will of RNGesus and hope you wind up where you want to be? The only alternative I can think of would be to add Missions to the Power Contacts in each system to indicate what, if any, action should be considered for that system, however this too would become subject to both 5C efforts and encourage further bottling.

As long as anyone is able to exert influence, they can exert that influence in a 5C manner. Remove human influence and Power Play becomes as interactive and engaging as GalNet. Make people actually have to engage and do something and they’ll complain it’s “too Grindy” and/or will find ways to automate it.
 
Herein lies the real problem - we have these powers we want to work for (or against), but we have no means of really exerting any meaningful influence over them. If there isn’t an option for those who are pledged to a power to make their ambitions known, that is, to put forth matters to a vote, then we don’t have a meaningful way to really interact.

Let’s consider the matter of Expansion. Now let’s suppose you’re working for Felicia Winters. There are 4 possible systems into which you could Expand. System A is nice, and will generate some extra Command Capital. So would system B. System C would be break-even, but afford you a chance next week to expand into a very choice system. Finally system D would wind up costing you, but would cut off an opposing faction’s expansion efforts.

So where do you go? Expand at the will of RNGesus and hope you wind up where you want to be? The only alternative I can think of would be to add Missions to the Power Contacts in each system to indicate what, if any, action should be considered for that system, however this too would become subject to both 5C efforts and encourage further bottling.

As long as anyone is able to exert influence, they can exert that influence in a 5C manner. Remove human influence and Power Play becomes as interactive and engaging as GalNet. Make people actually have to engage and do something and they’ll complain it’s “too Grindy” and/or will find ways to automate it.
This is why the BGS with sprinkles would be the way to go, and has been the subject of many ideas. This was my last one: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/more-powerplay-ideas-mission-based.513569/#post-7827960

In the end you are either tied to the current design and minimse 5C as much as you can, or you get rid of the lot because its been proven to be too flawed.
 
This is why the BGS with sprinkles would be the way to go, and has been the subject of many ideas. This was my last one: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/more-powerplay-ideas-mission-based.513569/#post-7827960

In the end you are either tied to the current design and minimse 5C as much as you can, or you get rid of the lot because its been proven to be too flawed.
There is something I think people forget in their 5C Fearfest - people joining powers for 5C work are not participating in activities to support the powers they are trying to serve. Even console kiddies with 10k accounts can only manage to play one at a time, and time spent in one account is time not spent in another.

Multiboxers can still only operate one box at a time. Even with a nice VM farm and a network KVM there are only so many actions one person can take at a time.

So these efforts do start to minimize themselves after a while. Best Worse-case scenario I can come up with - a call-center environment with 100 PC’s, and three shifts of paid employees who do nothing but 5C for-hire, 24/7/365.25, minus downtime.

Do you really think these are out there?

Perhaps I should start one. How much would you pay to hire professional 5C’ists to work for your Power?
 
There is something I think people forget in their 5C Fearfest - people joining powers for 5C work are not participating in activities to support the powers they are trying to serve. Even console kiddies with 10k accounts can only manage to play one at a time, and time spent in one account is time not spent in another.

Multiboxers can still only operate one box at a time. Even with a nice VM farm and a network KVM there are only so many actions one person can take at a time.

So these efforts do start to minimize themselves after a while. Best Worse-case scenario I can come up with - a call-center environment with 100 PC’s, and three shifts of paid employees who do nothing but 5C for-hire, 24/7/365.25, minus downtime.

Do you really think these are out there?

Perhaps I should start one. How much would you pay to hire professional 5C’ists to work for your Power?
This is why I proposed the Emmissaries idea - if you could more or less guarantee the top three systems would be decided by leadership, who have been placed there by sheer performance (as rubbernuke effectively wants), would that not be enough to shave off 5C to an acceptable point?

Alternatively (or collectively), don't remove voting but instead shift its importance in the overall movements of a Power. We're talking a pretty stout overhaul, but what if CC generation and expenditure was primarily driven by active commanders rather than on their numbers of votes? There's a lot of ways to potentially do this, but consider this:
  • You can cast a vote once pledged (that doesn't change - so unlimited accounts still in play)
  • To cast a vote costs merits or some similar currency that must be actively acquired
  • The amount of merits required to cast a single vote is balanced around ~12 hours of gameplay or more
  • Higher ranks can cast more votes for less merits (highly active accounts outpace lower 'massed' accounts)
Now you've created a system where botting is effectively necessary to 'game the system' with multiple accounts - an action Frontier can easily detect and prevent. 5C elements still exist - allowing minor political intrigue - but it is restricted to highly active commanders, representative of their right to dedicate time sabotaging a power at the expense of not being able to easily support one simultaneously. A highly dedicated player might manage a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of highly active commanders, but most players won't put in that kind of effort and...even if they did...we'd see a larger balancing take place across all factions.

Thoughts?
 
There is something I think people forget in their 5C Fearfest
Its not fear at all. Nearly every power has either been turned inside out or been subjected to prolonged 5C that takes huge amounts of time, patience and money to correct. Trust me when I say it has been bad and not something to court further. Just look back in Discord or Reddit histories to see it in action.

- people joining powers for 5C work are not participating in activities to support the powers they are trying to serve. Even console kiddies with 10k accounts can only manage to play one at a time, and time spent in one account is time not spent in another.
Thats not the issue. Console owners can vote for a power one at a time, and after 16 weeks have 5 times the voting power doing nothing.

Multiboxers can still only operate one box at a time. Even with a nice VM farm and a network KVM there are only so many actions one person can take at a time.
Multiboxers can in effect have one 'prime' account which is what they really want, and have multiple others to simply mess up other powers.

So these efforts do start to minimize themselves after a while. Best Worse-case scenario I can come up with - a call-center environment with 100 PC’s, and three shifts of paid employees who do nothing but 5C for-hire, 24/7/365.25, minus downtime.
AFK PG turretboats can produce on paper 168000 merits a week each running 24 hours a day- so multiply that by 4 and then by however many wings a group could do.

Do you really think these are out there?
Yes, or at least people rampantly exploiting.

Perhaps I should start one. How much would you pay to hire professional 5C’ists to work for your Power?
I know you think this is funny, but its not. 5C has ruined PP for many.
 
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