PMFs: data, charts, and the coming galactic player wars...

Are you noticing it? The bubble is heating up, and feels increasingly crowded. As a diplomat for the Alliance I see a rise in conflicts and potential for conflicts between player groups. Where a year or more such conflicts were rare, the frequency has gone up and now it seems every week some major conflict is about to kick off... What is going on?

There are now (as per Dec 18, 2017, per FDev message) 923 recognized PMFs in the game (it says 924 but seems Brett C has counted a header row? details), about a third of which were inserted into the galaxy since end of July last year, with a big batch in August.



It's getting pretty busy, and this doesn't even count the rejections mentions in the thread this information comes from, many of which are because the system is already deemed full. (source: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/241826-Player-Groups-and-Minor-Factions-Submission-Form-and-Information )

As a player group, we have struggled with this. We have operations over a wide area, and have often suddenly seen PMFs inserted into the region. At time with allegiances and government types that don't remotely match the area. We try to work around them, but that's not always possible, and it leads to awkward discussions and possible conflict when both claim similar territory. In the past it was quite easy to come to agreement. This is getting harder. Not least because it is often not really clear how to get in touch, or whether the faction is being worked at all.

You can see that for an active BGS group it is often difficult to understand whether a PMF is actively being supported or is simply a vanity project to get something named in the game. Out of 809 listed PMFs on eddb.io, the picture is bleak.




Just under 41% of PMF do not control a single system. 62.8%, almost 2/3rd of PMFS rule one or none. Meanwhile, those 22 factions (top 2.7%) all the way at the right of the chart of 25 or more systems controlled, collectively rule 688 systems. The bottom 666 PMFs (82.3%) control 686 systems.
 
Last edited:
It gets even more extreme when you look at assets owned, i.e. stations (not settlements) you can dock at.



263 PMFs, 32.5% of the total, don't own a single Coriolis, Ocellis, Orbis, outpost, surface port or anything. A single faction almost owns as many assets as 374 PMFs. The top 8 factions - the 1% - in assets owned, own as many as the bottom 539 (66.7%).

When we map controlled systems and assets together, we can see that the majority is clustered bottom left, and the larger the faction is by systems controlled and assets owned, the rarer it is.



As I said, as a group we try to be considerate, and have historically come to agreement with those active BGS PMF groups around us. It is getting more frequent, though, and often because a faction we have been monitoring that seemed to have no player directed movement, suddenly turns out to be the pride and joy of a player group.

There is still plenty of space to grow into for us all, but it is getting tighter and a newly inserted PMF can easily find themselves placed in an area long worked by others. A desire to be in the heart of the bubble rather than in quieter areas on the fringes increases this likelihood.

But where it becomes difficult is when seemingly inactive PMFs claim a right to a system simply because they were inserted somewhere. Being inserted into a system doesn't give you approval from FDev that you own it. A PMF in the game is indistinguishable from a procedural faction (and in fact, a number of procedural factions are PMFs, even some officially recognized as such by FDev). A PMF that is not supported will not expand, gain stations or rule systems... "Effort is 100% of the Law". Who works it, owns it.

BGS groups play the BGS. If your PMF was inserted just because you wanted to have something in your favorite system to call your own, great. If you just want to wing play together, without caring too much whether your faction rules the system or not, then it is always easy to work something out.

And if you do plan on working the BGS with your PMF, can you do some minimal research in advance? Empire factions 180LYs from Achenar in Alliance space? Picking a system right next to a faction that is in 20+ systems? There are some things a new player group can do to avoid immediately being boxed in...

I don't know really where I am going with this. But it seems like we're heading for increasing player conflict by BGS...

data: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/190rSLsD_lmUbSKycNMzdxOPWn7AMrSrVMHc570oDl_k/edit?usp=sharing
 
Last edited:
Wow, hadn't thought my PMF was that high up on the charts compared to the majority. I should look at them closer some time.
 
But where it becomes difficult is when seemingly inactive PMFs claim a right to a system simply because they were inserted somewhere. Being inserted into a system doesn't give you approval from FDev that you own it. A PMF in the game is indistinguishable from a procedural faction (and in fact, a number of procedural factions are PMFs, even some officially recognized as such by FDev). A PMF that is not supported will not expand, gain stations or rule systems... "Effort is 100% of the Law". Who works it, owns it.

BGS groups play the BGS. If your PMF was inserted just because you wanted to have something in your favorite system to call your own, great. If you just want to wing play together, without caring too much whether your faction rules the system or not, then it is always easy to work something out.

And if you do plan on working the BGS with your PMF, can you do some minimal research in advance? Empire factions 180LYs from Achenar in Alliance space? Picking a system right next to a faction that is in 20+ systems? There are some things a new player group can do to avoid immediately being boxed in...
While I agree on the sentiment that "Who works it, owns it" there still should be some reconsideration.

For me personally as pure BGS orientated person there's no problem with letting someone keep their System, depending on the reasons given. If it's just a few people wanting to have their own haven in the black, fine with me. Yet as you said, depending on the type of government/superpower affiliation things can/will get problematic in regards of Powerplay.

It then boils down on how both sides handle the situation. Finding an solution everyone can live with is preferable, but there's also enough examples of people who thought that bullying would be fun. Either "We are bigger, so you move or get pwnd!" or "We're a few but we still fudge you up!". Bottom line is that if people are inconsiderate gits who can't see the stance of the opposition (or simply won't because they find it funny to peeve people off) it leads to problems.

Naturally there are exceptions to that. If people are outright negative and betray the efforts of the other side working out a solution, get caught doing so and all that is made public you can count on the community dealing with such uncouth behaviour. If you can't respect others you're not worthy of respect in return, yet some are not really fazed by even that. To them this is just a game where the interaction with people means nothing, except if you can get them salty. These individuals know enough of the BGS to negatively impact on the efforts and achievements of others, but can't be bothered to actually build something themselves because that would mean to compete with their opposition on the same level. It's always easier to destroy then to build up, never show any commitment to anything except your own personal gain.

Also, when dealing with each other on BGS matters, it's common sense to use a direct language. Any kind of roleplay induced talk, even more so if your other side doesn't do RP in the first place, gets people irritated, annoyed or outright angry and thus has no reason to be used at all. There's enough time for such when things have been settled and you want to add what transpired to your own Wing history.
 
Last edited:
Colonia, of course, has had this problem since the first wave of PMF insertion, when it had 16 PMFs and a total of 25 systems. It's now up to 42 PMFs (and only 40 NPCs) in 70 systems - not a ratio that allows for wide expansion of control ... and an environment that unless you have very precise control of influence means you will potentially expand a lot whether you want to or not. There is, as I understand it, a lot of diplomacy ... and no risk of the Sol bubble becoming that cramped any time soon.

Local equivalent statistics at https://cdb.sotl.org.uk/reports/control
 
Or, looking at the overall stats:

Total number of inhabited star systems in the game: 20515
Total number of systems that are currently owned by PMFs: 2751
Total number of PMFs: 935
Average number of owned systems per PMF: 2.94.

So, 13.4% of the inhabited galaxy is currently player-owned. That may not sound like much, especially when you invert the statistic and say that 86.6% of the galaxy is "open for claiming".

But look at it this way: pick an inhabited star system at random: there's a greater than 1 in 10 chance that the system you picked is currently player-owned. There'd be a much higher probability that the system is within claiming range of an active PMF and therefore likely to be claimed in the next few months or years. Yes, the "interesting" territory (like the Federation-Empire border zone) is crowded, whereas the Frontier regions are pretty quiet and empty. But space can fill up fast, when growth in the number of factions is exponential, while the growth in the actual number of new colonies is pretty much linear, and much smaller.

Right now, the average PMF owns 3 star systems. But what if the PMFs become both more numerous and more active? PMFs are already far more active than a typical non-PMF faction. There are 75725 factions in the game, total. So 1.2% of the factions are PMFs that control 13.4% of the territory.

Suppose at some point in a couple of years time, there are 1000 PMFs in the game, each powerful and active enough to claim 10 star systems on average. That would be 10,000 systems under PMF control - half the inhabited galaxy. That would start to get real crowded, real quick.

Increasing PMF presence also pushes potential new PMF sites out into the fringes, and that's bad for general BGS players like me, who try to stay away from PMF space.

Right now, I am working on expanding superpower influence in the space 15 LYs around my "home system", using entirely procedurally-generated factions. It's great, but it has a major drawback: a new PMF can be inserted into "my" region with little or no warning, no protections and no appeal; I'm just one guy, casually working this little sphere of space virtually by myself (all of the systems I'm working see less than a dozen ships in the traffic reports); I couldn't fight against an organized, disciplined multiple-player group if one were to get parachuted in.
 

_trent_

Volunteer Moderator
Based on this recent comment from Brett, I expect that the number of factions is going to increase fairly significantly in the near future.

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/370730-Player-Groups-and-Minor-Factions-General-Discussion?p=6575679&viewfull=1#post6575679

I am not overly concerned about PMFs coming into contact more frequently, our experience is that overall it is a good thing. We've found the interaction with players from other groups near us to enrich our BGS experience, and that includes those who want to work with us, those who want to retain at a respectful distance, and even those who prefer to work against us.
 
Based on this recent comment from Brett, I expect that the number of factions is going to increase fairly significantly in the near future.
I just hope that FD is aware that there need to be interesting game mechanics to handle conflicts.

Plus -even better - create ways to COLONIZE new systems and reduce the need for conflict.

Otherwise this will be the same as Powerplay: Expand and fill up. Then grind and bore each other into submission.
 
I just hope that FD is aware that there need to be interesting game mechanics to handle conflicts.

Plus -even better - create ways to COLONIZE new systems and reduce the need for conflict.

Otherwise this will be the same as Powerplay: Expand and fill up. Then grind and bore each other into submission.
You can expand to kingdom come and it won't do you no good. The bigger something gets the more maintenance it requires and that soon exceeds any boundary of the word fun. Not to mention that the sheer size of something makes it literally impossible to keep everything under control, and due to that it can be exploited by others to cut into your plans or completely bring them to a screeching halt.

As to colonise things, that'll be great. But I fear the only thing in that direction we'll see will be once we get atmospheric landings. For when we're able to go down on the terraformed or earth-likes in certain Systems, you can bet there be cities or something equal to them.

And then the fights begin anew for total domination :)
 
Last edited:
You can expand to kingdom come and it won't do you no good. The bigger something gets the more maintenance it requires and that soon exceeds any boundary of the word fun. Not to mention that the sheer size of something makes it literally impossible to keep everything under control, and due to that it can be exploited by others to cut into your plans or completely bring them to a screeching halt.

As to colonise things, that'll be great. But I fear the only thing in that direction we'll see will be once we get atmospheric landings. For when we're able to go down on the terraformed or earth-likes in certain Systems, you can bet there be cities or something equal to them.

And then the fights begin anew for total domination :)
The key is to control as many systems as possible, rather than just expand only. If you never have more than 2-3 systems that you expanded to but don't control yet, the rest is reasonably easy to maintain - though I will admit it helps if you have a whole group behind you, than trying to do it solo, when it get beyond 15-20 systems! Personally, the complexity of high-system factions is actually where the real fun is :)

I wouldn't be surprised if any colonization - if it ever comes - would come with atmospheric landings and "spacelegs".
 
The key is to control as many systems as possible, rather than just expand only. If you never have more than 2-3 systems that you expanded to but don't control yet, the rest is reasonably easy to maintain - though I will admit it helps if you have a whole group behind you, than trying to do it solo, when it get beyond 15-20 systems! Personally, the complexity of high-system factions is actually where the real fun is :)

I wouldn't be surprised if any colonization - if it ever comes - would come with atmospheric landings and "spacelegs".
Reason we take things slow and are quite selective where to go. Not taking what is open but rather opening up, expanding in and taking over. Served us well so far.
 
Great thread, thank you. I've written and deleted a lot; I could talk about this for hours, as could anyone else engaged in large-scale BGS. I think your figures support that the BGS needs a collapse mechanic. I would suggest that a six month period without control of a landable asset should result in removal of a PMF from its HQ. In a perfect world, this would carry with it a mechanic through which groups could work towards faction status without needing to fill out a google form. Squatters should not be permanent, and both victory and defeat should be clearer outcomes.
 
While I understand the sentiment, I have to disagree.

As annoying squatters are, some groups that have gained a system they can't control can be because of outside factors like excessive traffic that surpasses their group's ability. Removing them from play simply because of a disparity of work isn't fair.


We need a way to identify PMFs that have support and those that do not before we start talking about removal of groups just because.
 
We should all lobby for interesting colonization and BGS economy mechanics. Then we could go and build self sufficient mini bubbles all over the place.
I'd love to second that. Even in mylittle corner of the bubble there is a handful of terraformable planets in uninhabited systems I'd love to see expanded into.
 
We would so love this - that and very very slow population dynamics changes
And the ability to gradually improve economies, add services to stations, and even change the economy type of a system.

I'd also like to be able to see the progress of a planet being terraformed, and to be able to influence this progress.
 
Top Bottom