- May 6, 2021
The longer i play with espionage, the more i come to the conclusion that it's handed as a side feature sadly. There isn't any operation with real impact or if there is a bit more impact, then there is a far to huge cooldown on it. Actually i think that sabotage starbase is one of the better operations because it does at least SOMETHING. Arm privateers is good in some way but you destroy most of you network at once...
So i'm not sure that we will ever get real impactfull espionage operations from paradox. Most likely they fear the outrage of the community. That will start that moment the first player rage quits the game because getting destroyed by espionage. But they don't see the other side. My disappointment about the toothlessness and sometimes even wasting of time for espionage operations bring me sometimes close to ragequit...
What has to happen to fix that:
-Espionage operations need to be much more deterministic and predictive in outcome in dependence of your codebreaking vs encryption
-The network loss needs much smaller or the recover rate has to be much higher (prefer first)
-The effects of the operations need to be much more drastic in result. Examples: Sabotage starbase need to downgrade the starbase back to base level or arm privateers has to spawn stronger pirates, that raid from system to system and don't wait for their demise. And especially: Smear campaign need a full list of all empires with communications to, not only three.
These sound interesting to me, but they seem unbalanced. As things stand I don't see much benefit to specializing in espionage, while empires that are already wealthy, technologically advanced, and powerful will be able to do more espionage and get more out of it. It's extra snowball, and as a result it has to have some sort of limit on how effective it is or else dominant empires just become more dominant slightly earlier.
For espionage to be more impactful I feel like it needs to be an avenue worth developing over some other options, and for that we'd need a whole new suite of risks and rewards. The system would need to be valuable enough to be worth pursuing but not so dominant that it requires all players to leverage it in all cases. Without those meta considerations I would be concerned that the game will end up more constrained rather than more flexible for players, and that sounds like a much heavier lift than tweaking the outcomes of existing operations so that they're more effective.
Though, with that said, I would love to see espionage do at least a bit more. As it currently stands I agree that it's a feature that it seems like every empire type could ignore without much impact, and that is not ideal. What kinds of tradeoffs might people like to see with a more robust espionage system?