The Action Rebalance - How are we feeling?

I have to wonder what Frontier's goal is. There are arguments that they don't consider the BGS as something that is meant to be manipulated as we do. But it is something that we manipulate; it's a huge driver for a big part of their community. There've been a lot of interesting comments in this thread, but I think the takeaway so far is that while some like the quiet, others are finding the additional work to be a bad change.
It's worth noting, that while I almost definitely consider myself one who would prop up the "BGS isn't meant to be manipulated as it is" argument... or closer to what I usually say, "It's not meant to be the overarching, competitive strategy game we make it"... it'd be a lie for me to say I don't wish it was designed to be manipulated in the way it is.

Back when Powerplay first got announced, before any details were abound, I saw that as "The BGS for the movers and shakers". Small-time players like myself could exert control over a region of space within the domain of their faction, while the big players would have their factions rise and fall periodically out of the BGS, into Powerplay and back again. But with Powerplay pegged as the "Big-group strategic gameplay", it was predicated on a thoroughly balanced BGS. But the BGS has never been balanced, and so FD could never actually turn Powerplay into that factional-ascension mechanism.

The very first statement I ever recall reading from FD in the context of the BGS (and damned if I can ever find it, maybe it was in the first livestream) came about just before FD introduced PMFs. I distinctly remember the quote being something along the lines of FD being "...surprised at how attached to factions players became.". This was a time when Lugh was taking off while players like myself had picked a home, and were gradually looking to overthrow their first system.

I firmly believe that sentiment underpins everything we have in the BGS to-date; a series of unplanned responses to activity FD never expected players to get so attached to. But is it any wonder? Meaningful allegiance to the Superpowers has never, and continues to be absolutely non-existent beyond a means to unlock permits and ships. That's what I cut my teeth out of in FE2, and what I came here to do, but the absence of any gameplay around this (I think I delivered some minerals to rank-up to king, rather than run countless surveillance, bombing and assasination missions like in FE2), I turned to the minor factions, which had meaningful outcomes and reflections of my actions.

Meanwhile, Powerplay again stirred my interest... "Wow, instead of being loyal to the Empire, I can be loyal to a particular faction within the Empire. Sounds like Torval is going to be all about economic development, Patreus all about military effort, ALD about politics and Aisling about abandoning the Imperial ways of old. Patreus sounds like my jam, I'll move down to him in anticipation of this!". I was further encouraged with snippets like this in the trailer:

131415


Awesome, missions thematic of the power you pledge to. How wrong I was.... it took a couple weeks of grinding out transporting vouchers from fixed points A to B in order to "defend" the Empire before I realised "This is trash, back to the minor factions".

Introduce the BGS livestreams and various comments from FD all alluding that the BGS is "The backdrop" for the game... "... If players are consciously thinking about the BGS in their actions, then the BGS is done wrong; it's actually a foreground-sim at that point"[1]

At the same time, a lot of players were wondering "Where's the incentive to move away from the faction I'm supporting, and go support the Powers? Why wouldn't I try and have my faction ascend to a Power (like they were meant to)?"

Sure enough, there was no incentive, because factions ascending to powers would never happen (except the contrived Dangerous Games)... Powerplay was meant to be the thing to drag people away from supporting the factions ("...which was a surprise to FD") and consign factions to "background noise" like was intended. Obviously, that never happened, because Powerplay was so divorced from the mechanics people actually enjoyed... it totally missed the mark. But again, that's because the enjoyed mechanics were the BGS mechanics, and they are not balanced. If Powerplay was meant to be balanced, the BGS could never be a part of that. There was the brief flicker of "... earning powerplay merits by running missions for a superpower-aligned faction"... but that seems to have died with the Open-Only Powerplay proposal.

I think only with 3.3, Squadrons and the BGS updates, FD have finally started to accept that the BGS is what the players really want to interact with. Even if it has it's problems, it's the only thing which generates meaningful, dynamic responses in the game world, and it's what we're hooked on. But FD have their work cut out for them... they're now trying to make the BGS a somewhat competitive, strategic gameplay element... Squadrons and Pledging, Squadron leaderboards and the BGS, and the reworked conflict mechanics are all indicative of this... but it's struck against the backdrop of RNG elements like scenarios, the mission boards (and all it's quirks) and all manner of other things which break any semblence of balance.

But frankly... I don't care if the BGS is balanced. I just want it to be interesting... and with the lack of attention to Hostile rep, negative states, and now the essential stalemating of influence shifts unless you're a really big group, it's not that interesting anymore. Yet it has so much potential.

.... throws the soapbox out the window and goes to bed

[1] I very highly paraphrase this, but I've pulled the actual quotes countless times, and the sentiment is very close.
 
When a player factions owns more System than Major Power - this should have never happend in the first place. But it did.
They need to do more Damage control on this and put Hard caps Below minimum owned system of a weakest Major Power.
The smallest superpower is the Alliance, which currently has about 900 systems, and started the game with about 300.

The largest minor faction is still under 100 controlled systems ... and all but a literal few are safely under 50.

Powerplay is harder to compare, but except for the first couple of weeks after the introduction of Grom, or the first few weeks after 1.3 released, there's never been a power under 100 control+exploited systems, and the minor factions were a lot smaller then as well.


Which faction are you thinking of, and when? And what "major power" did it exceed in size?
 
The smallest superpower is the Alliance, which currently has about 900 systems, and started the game with about 300.

The largest minor faction is still under 100 controlled systems ... and all but a literal few are safely under 50.

Powerplay is harder to compare, but except for the first couple of weeks after the introduction of Grom, or the first few weeks after 1.3 released, there's never been a power under 100 control+exploited systems, and the minor factions were a lot smaller then as well.


Which faction are you thinking of, and when? And what "major power" did it exceed in size?
Comparing your self to a Superpowers like Alliance, Federation and Empire is out of the question.

Out of 11 Major Powers only 4 have controll over 67 Systems. 7 Powers are below 58 Systems and lowest beeing 39 and 35 Systems. Link: https://inara.cz/galaxy-powers/
Meanwhile Players already have 6 Factions that has control over 58 Systems each, which puts them already above 7 Major Powers in the game.

This BGS is getting out of controll. FDev really need to adress this.
 
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Jane Turner

Volunteer Moderator
If they did, most of System would have Communist governments by now.

When a player factions owns more System than Major Power - this should have never happend in the first place. But it did.
They need to do more Damage control on this and put Hard caps Below minimum owned system of a weakest Major Power.
Why?

The changes in 3.3 have made it so much easier for us though.
 
Why?

The changes in 3.3 have made it so much easier for us though.
They need to either Promote this Player faction to Powers, or redesign BSG so they can't have systems above the amount of weakest Power in the game.

Else the balance of powers/factions etc in the game will keep on getting messed up, and keep on damaging the game it self.
 

Jane Turner

Volunteer Moderator
I guess I just don't see why there should be any link at all between a Factions and Power size - that's the bit of your argument that I am missing.
 
I guess I just don't see why there should be any link at all between a Factions and Power size - that's the bit of your argument that I am missing.
I think it's pretty obvious, if you think about it. Both strive to control inhabited space for their own agendas.

Unless you don't consider your Faction as being part of ED world? Are you?
 
Out of 11 Major Powers only 4 have controll over 67 Systems. 7 Powers are below 58 Systems and lowest beeing 39 and 35 Systems. Link: https://inara.cz/galaxy-powers/
Meanwhile Players already have 6 Factions that has control over 58 Systems each, which puts them already above 7 Major Powers in the game.
You can't reasonably compare BGS control of a system (which gets you control of that system) with Powerplay control of a system (which gets you that system and every other system within 15 LY)

Winters - the smallest current power - has 35 control systems ... and 229 exploited systems, for a total of 264 systems.
Torval has 39 control systems ... and 246 exploited systems, for a total of 285 systems.
The rest are considerably larger.

No BGS faction is anywhere near 264 systems, or will be in the next ten years without major increases in possible expansion rate.
 
You can't reasonably compare BGS control of a system (which gets you control of that system) with Powerplay control of a system (which gets you that system and every other system within 15 LY)

Winters - the smallest current power - has 35 control systems ... and 229 exploited systems, for a total of 264 systems.
Torval has 39 control systems ... and 246 exploited systems, for a total of 285 systems.
The rest are considerably larger.

No BGS faction is anywhere near 264 systems, or will be in the next ten years without major increases in possible expansion rate.
Exploiting nearby systems is just part of being a Power, it's as Jane said, a difference between Powers and Minor Faction.
It's a part of Ladder of Control. You start as a Minor Faction - you grow in to a Power - you grow in to a Super Power.

But there is no Super Power, that control less Systems than any Powers because they consist of Powers. Same with Minor factions.

Exploited system is not the same as Controlled Systems.
 
But there is no Super Power, that control less Systems than any Powers because they consist of Powers.
That depends how you define superpower control of systems in the first place, and the size of powers.

Mahon has 133 control, 1541 exploited - total 1874. That's about twice the size of the number of systems with an Alliance controlling faction.
ALD has 89 control, 993 exploited - total 1082. That's still slightly larger than the entire Alliance.

Most of the powers have more exploited systems now than the Alliance had controlling factions at the start of the game.

Exploited system is not the same as Controlled Systems.
No. But BGS Control and Powerplay Control aren't the same either. Think of it in terms of geographic area. A Power can control with just eight good control systems a region of space larger than even the largest minor faction. Look at the Powerplay map, then consider how small by comparison even a large minor faction is.

The very biggest minor factions are just about getting to the stage where - if Powerplay wasn't a horrible mess, if this was actually possible - they might be able to apply for promotion to Power. But only just, and really they should probably have to wait a few years to get up to around 80 systems or so.

It's a part of Ladder of Control. You start as a Minor Faction - you grow in to a Power - you grow in to a Super Power.
The jump from Minor Faction to Power has happened precisely once, for reasons largely unrelated to the number of systems controlled by the Minor Faction, and the Minor Faction in question still also independently exists ... and there's no obvious way at all for a Power to become a Superpower, as there's no way for minor factions to take a Power as their allegiance.
 
That depends how you define superpower control of systems in the first place, and the size of powers.

Mahon has 133 control, 1541 exploited - total 1874. That's about twice the size of the number of systems with an Alliance controlling faction.
ALD has 89 control, 993 exploited - total 1082. That's still slightly larger than the entire Alliance.

Most of the powers have more exploited systems now than the Alliance had controlling factions at the start of the game.


No. But BGS Control and Powerplay Control aren't the same either. Think of it in terms of geographic area. A Power can control with just eight good control systems a region of space larger than even the largest minor faction. Look at the Powerplay map, then consider how small by comparison even a large minor faction is.

The very biggest minor factions are just about getting to the stage where - if Powerplay wasn't a horrible mess, if this was actually possible - they might be able to apply for promotion to Power. But only just, and really they should probably have to wait a few years to get up to around 80 systems or so.

The jump from Minor Faction to Power has happened precisely once, for reasons largely unrelated to the number of systems controlled by the Minor Faction, and the Minor Faction in question still also independently exists ... and there's no obvious way at all for a Power to become a Superpower, as there's no way for minor factions to take a Power as their allegiance.
Again you are incorect. Exploited Systems comes from Controlled Systems in Power Play. With out Controlled Systems you won't have Exploited systems. So it's not the same, you can't total them together. Well "you" can, but it's incorrect way to calculate total number.



To compare Power to Player faction - you have to put them on the same ground.
You either elevate Player faction to a Power and calculate number of Controlled + Exploited systems it will have, or demote Power to Minor Faction and calculated number of Controlled systems they have. - that way you see who is stronger.

So when we put a Player Faction in to Power with 67 Controlled Systems - it would put it close to the middle since it will generate massive amount of Exploited systems. Hence my original point.
Hope i made my self clear.
 
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So when we put a Player Faction in to Power with 67 Controlled Systems - it would put it close to the middle since it will generate massive amount of Exploited systems. Hence my original point.
That's highly unlikely - because a typical minor faction will have its controlled systems much closer together than a typical Power has its Control systems. Power control systems tend - because overlap is bad in Powerplay - to be around 30 LY apart, and in fairly densely-populated parts of the bubble to maximise exploited systems. If a typical minor faction switched to being a power with the same control systems, it would potentially have fewer exploited systems than even the smallest current Power (and would certainly be in such an economically unstable position with regard to CC that it would likely rapidly shed control systems in turmoil)

Doing a proper calculation of exploited systems is tricky and time-consuming, but the largest Minor Faction is currently Da Vinci Corp with 67 controlled systems, in a 55LY radius (but mostly much closer) around its home system. It would probably end up on around 300-400 exploited by radius alone - and once contesting from existing powers was accounted for they'd probably be on about 200-300 actually exploited. Comparable with Winters, but far less efficient, so it wouldn't stay comparable for very long.

Taking a faction with 35 controlled systems - e.g. The Kuun-Lan - they control out to a 35 LY radius with those systems (which in Powerplay could be done efficiently with only 9 control systems) - and would therefore only get around 150 exploited systems by radius alone (far less than Winters) ... about a third of which Aisling Duval would contest, so they'd actually only get about 100. (completely unviable as a power)

These are also both factions out towards the edge of the bubble (it's probably not a coincidence that most of the really big ones are quite a long way out), so their CC per system would be pretty terrible too compared to any actually viable power even before their incredibly poor system positioning (from a powerplay perspective - it's good from a BGS perspective) is taken into account.
 
That's highly unlikely - because a typical minor faction will have its controlled systems much closer together than a typical Power has its Control systems. Power control systems tend - because overlap is bad in Powerplay - to be around 30 LY apart, and in fairly densely-populated parts of the bubble to maximise exploited systems. If a typical minor faction switched to being a power with the same control systems, it would potentially have fewer exploited systems than even the smallest current Power (and would certainly be in such an economically unstable position with regard to CC that it would likely rapidly shed control systems in turmoil)

Doing a proper calculation of exploited systems is tricky and time-consuming, but the largest Minor Faction is currently Da Vinci Corp with 67 controlled systems, in a 55LY radius (but mostly much closer) around its home system. It would probably end up on around 300-400 exploited by radius alone - and once contesting from existing powers was accounted for they'd probably be on about 200-300 actually exploited. Comparable with Winters, but far less efficient, so it wouldn't stay comparable for very long.

Taking a faction with 35 controlled systems - e.g. The Kuun-Lan - they control out to a 35 LY radius with those systems (which in Powerplay could be done efficiently with only 9 control systems) - and would therefore only get around 150 exploited systems by radius alone (far less than Winters) ... about a third of which Aisling Duval would contest, so they'd actually only get about 100. (completely unviable as a power)

These are also both factions out towards the edge of the bubble (it's probably not a coincidence that most of the really big ones are quite a long way out), so their CC per system would be pretty terrible too compared to any actually viable power even before their incredibly poor system positioning (from a powerplay perspective - it's good from a BGS perspective) is taken into account.
I am afraid your speculations are incorret once again. If you just look at the EDDB you can see that lowest Power Felicia Winters Exploiting only 265 Systems in a distance between 30 - 130 ly from Sol. At the same time Top Power Edmund Exploits over 1600 System in simular distance of 30 -160 ly from Sol.

As you can see it's little to do with diameter of Controled Systems but more to do with number of Star Systems they control.

And if you think that density part of bubble plays a big role, here is a suprise for you: Arrissa reaches all the way to 246 ly from Sol, yet her Exploited system / Controll system ratio is the same as Edmund that regions at almost half of that distance(130 ly) from Sol. So again it plays no role, but number of Controlled system does.


And if you are still in doubt, let me point you to COMMUNISM INTERSTELLAR nor do they only support 1, but actually 4 Communist faction, which gives them total control over 200 Star Systems. And before you start doubting this: I actually spend few weeks with them last summer, and knew about it back than just how many communist factions they were already supporting. Now it gone out of control ( Not dirrected at the CIU, i only used them as an example, but over all BGS)

This needs to be addressed.
 
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And if you are still in doubt, let me point you to COMMUNISM INTERSTELLAR nor do they only support 1, but actually 4 Communist faction, which gives them total control over 200 Star Systems. And before you start doubting this: I actually spend few weeks with them last summer, and knew about it back than just how many communist factions they were already supporting. Now it gone out of control ( Not dirrected at the CIU, i only used them as an example, but over all BSG)
Absolutely incorrect.

Communism Interstellar (the Squadron you linked) is a Squadron, not a Faction. Squadrons do not "control"/"run" or otherwise own any faction.

Communist Interstellar Union (the Faction) controls 64 systems. The Squadron may be pledged to that faction, however this does not afford any control over the faction. Any imagined control is just in your head.

There's 4 main "entities" relevant here:
- The Commander; The player. No matter how much RP you want to throw on your gameplay, in terms of functional mechanics you are, and always will be, an Independent Pilots Federation Commander. Not an Imperial Navy Pilot, not Federal politician, not an Alliance corporation manager. You're Independent. It's underpinned by every interaction you have in the game; the fact you hold Pilots Fed ranks; the fact NPCs address you as Commander; the fact you can work with any Faction with volition.

- Factions; NPC organisations which underpin basic BGS functions. Players can interact with them semi-directly via missions and support which affects the BGS. That support does not constitute any control over that Faction. The same applies to PMFs; they are just Factions which FD put in the game on-request, with some player-submitted flavour text in the home system. A PMF presence also prevents another PMF from being seeded.

- Squadrons; groups of players (Commanders) who are like-minded enough to come together as a collective to do <whatever>. They may pledge to a Power, they may pledge to a Faction, they may do neither. It does not afford you "control" over those entities; any number of squadrons can pledge to the same Power/Faction/Whomever... that's because pledging is just that. A promise, an assurance, and in no-way is reciprocated with any form of "control" by the recipient power/faction.

- Groups; A group of players who have come together and registered themselves as a "group" to FD. At the time, this gave you a measure of "control" over a faction, such as some very limited say over activities/things that faction might do in the world. FD would facilitate this because the BGS is a living, breathing world, not a strategy game. But you didn't have to be part of a group to submit a CG for any Faction in the game, though if you tried to submit one on behalf of a PMF you weren't part of, FD might triage that. But with player-CGs going the way of the dodo (as well as CGs in general) and the advent of Squadrons, the reason for Groups to exist is disappearing fast.

But bottom line; Players absolutely do not control/run/operate factions in the game.

Communism Interstellar can go out and support however many factions they like; they could support every damn Alliance faction in the game for all I care; that is not control. That's like me saying my Squadron "supports the Empire"; ergo we control all Imperial factions. It's a fundamentally incorrect claim.

No player or group "controls" any entity in the game, other than their own ship. If you're perhaps salty around things like the Alliance guys historically perma-lockdowning Lave because of control by Lave Radio or whatever... that's because they're a large, active group of players with a common goal. What do you propose to stop that? Banning players working together?

Communist Interstellar Union controls 68 systems. Communism Interstellar supports 200 systems across a number of factions. Good luck to them, that must be hard work.
 
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Bringing this back on topic a bit: it sounds like what is really being discussed here is how the 3.3 changes have allowed groups to accelerate, and that groups supporting a conglomeration of factions have been able to leverage simultaneous states for this growth despite the action nerf in March. This raises some questions: if Frontier wanted to slow the growth of player-supported minor factions, procedurally generated and otherwise, as part of an aim to create a more stable galaxy, was 3.3 the way to do it?

Would we rather have 3.2 mechanics, or 3.3 mechanics with the action rebalance to slow things down? I fall strongly in the former camp, because I think that the reduced impact of individual player impacts in a given amount of playtime is the easy way out.
 
(..)
Would we rather have 3.2 mechanics, or 3.3 mechanics with the action rebalance to slow things down? I fall strongly in the former camp, because I think that the reduced impact of individual player impacts in a given amount of playtime is the easy way out.
As I earlier stated, I am not even close to understand the BGS (as a whole) any deeper than doing missions, trading, BH etc on a superficial level, and being happy when bars move (in the general (random) direction I planned it to)
I do approve the fact it got a bit harder to manipulate systems and factions. My problem(s) really is the inconsistency of the behavior of actions with factions/states. I'm seeing a lot of good arguments, thoughts and talks here, and in other threads in this corner of the forum.
Again, I just wished for FDev to listen to the knowwhoers (to the extent they can "know" what is actually a feature)


MDH
 
Absolutely incorrect.

Communism Interstellar (the Squadron you linked) is a Squadron, not a Faction. Squadrons do not "control"/"run" or otherwise own any faction.

Communist Interstellar Union (the Faction) controls 64 systems. The Squadron may be pledged to that faction, however this does not afford any control over the faction. Any imagined control is just in your head.

There's 4 main "entities" relevant here:
- The Commander; The player. No matter how much RP you want to throw on your gameplay, in terms of functional mechanics you are, and always will be, an Independent Pilots Federation Commander. Not an Imperial Navy Pilot, not Federal politician, not an Alliance corporation manager. You're Independent. It's underpinned by every interaction you have in the game; the fact you hold Pilots Fed ranks; the fact NPCs address you as Commander; the fact you can work with any Faction with volition.

- Factions; NPC organisations which underpin basic BGS functions. Players can interact with them semi-directly via missions and support which affects the BGS. That support does not constitute any control over that Faction. The same applies to PMFs; they are just Factions which FD put in the game on-request, with some player-submitted flavour text in the home system. A PMF presence also prevents another PMF from being seeded.

- Squadrons; groups of players (Commanders) who are like-minded enough to come together as a collective to do <whatever>. They may pledge to a Power, they may pledge to a Faction, they may do neither. It does not afford you "control" over those entities; any number of squadrons can pledge to the same Power/Faction/Whomever... that's because pledging is just that. A promise, an assurance, and in no-way is reciprocated with any form of "control" by the recipient power/faction.

- Groups; A group of players who have come together and registered themselves as a "group" to FD. At the time, this gave you a measure of "control" over a faction, such as some very limited say over activities/things that faction might do in the world. FD would facilitate this because the BGS is a living, breathing world, not a strategy game. But you didn't have to be part of a group to submit a CG for any Faction in the game, though if you tried to submit one on behalf of a PMF you weren't part of, FD might triage that. But with player-CGs going the way of the dodo (as well as CGs in general) and the advent of Squadrons, the reason for Groups to exist is disappearing fast.

But bottom line; Players absolutely do not control/run/operate factions in the game.

Communism Interstellar can go out and support however many factions they like; they could support every damn Alliance faction in the game for all I care; that is not control. That's like me saying my Squadron "supports the Empire"; ergo we control all Imperial factions. It's a fundamentally incorrect claim.

No player or group "controls" any entity in the game, other than their own ship. If you're perhaps salty around things like the Alliance guys historically perma-lockdowning Lave because of control by Lave Radio or whatever... that's because they're a large, active group of players with a common goal. What do you propose to stop that? Banning players working together?

Communist Interstellar Union controls 68 systems. Communism Interstellar supports 200 systems across a number of factions. Good luck to them, that must be hard work.
I understand your opinion, even though your idea of control is somewhat primitive and at basic level, that it's hard to even draw a parallel with a real word, let alone the game where there is much freedom to do it. But seeing how much you wrote, i feel like i stept on a land mine, and again i want to point out, CIU was just an example, since they are one of the most successful groups of players that influenced BGS the most in the last 4 years, and as result with over 200 systems under their, well lets call it influence sphera of operations in BGS.


Bringing this back on topic a bit: it sounds like what is really being discussed here is how the 3.3 changes have allowed groups to accelerate, and that groups supporting a conglomeration of factions have been able to leverage simultaneous states for this growth despite the action nerf in March. This raises some questions: if Frontier wanted to slow the growth of player-supported minor factions, procedurally generated and otherwise, as part of an aim to create a more stable galaxy, was 3.3 the way to do it?

Would we rather have 3.2 mechanics, or 3.3 mechanics with the action rebalance to slow things down? I fall strongly in the former camp, because I think that the reduced impact of individual player impacts in a given amount of playtime is the easy way out.
Slowing things down was a step in the right direction, but it might cause problems for new Player faction, that want to expand influence of their newly esablished Minor Faction. Wouldn't you say?
Maybe tieing the Inlfuence to the size of the Minor Faction, might have been an interesting choice, too boost smaller factions and slow down bigger ones?
 
...even though your idea of control is somewhat primitive and at basic level, that it's hard to even draw a parallel with a real word...
There are so many examples in the real world it isn't funny.

Paramilitary Groups, Lobby Groups, Associations, Religious Groups, Charities, Partisan Think Tanks, Issue Motivated Groups, Special Interest Groups, Terrorist Groups, Cults, "Patriot" Groups, the list goes on, and that's without going into specific instances of these. These are all entities which provide support to controlling entities (e.g political parties, major corporations etc), whether it's direct support through financing and donations, idealistic support through education campaigns or protests, or support through fear, by blackmailing, threats of violence, theft or even killing those seen as detracting from the cause you support. If a lot of those seem to parallel the missions we get offered in the game, there's a reason for that. It's the role we take up in Elite.

Maybe tieing the Inlfuence to the size of the Minor Faction, might have been an interesting choice, too boost smaller factions and slow down bigger ones?
You can blame FD here. 3.3 was supposed to change the expansion mechanic so that you needed high influence/happiness across all systems a faction controls, for that faction to expand. Instead, they left it as the old mechanics.
 
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I am afraid your speculations are incorret once again. If you just look at the EDDB you can see that lowest Power Felicia Winters Exploiting only 265 Systems in a distance between 30 - 130 ly from Sol. At the same time Top Power Edmund Exploits over 1600 System in simular distance of 30 -160 ly from Sol.

As you can see it's little to do with diameter of Controled Systems but more to do with number of Star Systems they control.
This is because neither Mahon nor Winters - despite the best efforts of the 5C - is run by complete idiots. They have spaced out their control systems fairly well so that there's relatively little overlap between them, and therefore the Exploit:Control ratio is both fairly good and has remained largely constant as they add extra systems. This is much more obvious if you look at the in-game Powerplay map than EDDB, but you can get some idea by using the "relative to" search in EDDB and comparing distances between PP control systems and BGS-controlled systems there.

A BGS group tends to have lots of controlled systems very close together - since it's much easier to expand to nearby systems than further ones [1] - and if converted to Powerplay control their bubbles would overlap massively. DaVinci Corp has 5 controlled systems within 15 LY of its headquarters/home system [2] - if converted to Powerplay, all five of those control systems would be completely wasted and not add any extra exploited systems. In Powerplay, where controlling extra systems can be incredibly harmful, no power with control of its operations would ever do anything like that.

(The correct thing to do if converting a BGS faction to a Power - assuming you wanted it to last more than two weeks as a Power - would be to give it the minimum number of Powerplay control systems needed to exploit all its BGS-controlled systems ... which could certainly be done in 15 for DaVinci Corp and might be possible with as few as 10)

And what does distance from Sol have to do with anything? Even radius is pretty misleading for Powerplay groups - Mahon, because he's at the top of the bubble and therefore runs out of space to be spherical, and Winters because she's in the middle of the bubble jammed between several other mostly hostile groups and the remains of her - once much larger - region are also not very spherical. It's the radius of individual control systems that's important, not that of the smallest containing sphere for the control region.

[1] It's also easier to expand to nearby systems as a Power, but the scale is completely different. Both LYR and Antal have at times taken control of the Pleiades - no bubble faction would stand a chance of getting over there in a reasonable timescale.
[2] Mahon has no control systems within 15LY of Gateway. Winters has no control systems within 15LY of Rhea. None is a lot less than five.

And if you are still in doubt, let me point you to COMMUNISM INTERSTELLAR nor do they only support 1, but actually 4 Communist faction, which gives them total control over 200 Star Systems. And before you start doubting this: I actually spend few weeks with them last summer, and knew about it back than just how many communist factions they were already supporting
Yeah, and I could declare I support every faction whose name contains a vowel [1], and - oh look - my supported factions control 20,000 systems, far bigger than any superpower.

Communism Interstellar of course actually worked for their success, but supporting multiple factions means that their size isn't directly comparable to any purely in-game entity.

[1] This is actually true. I'm Allied with every faction within 1000 LY of my home system, which by your metrics makes me larger than all but the top four powers.
 
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