Expanding Diplomacy: Bilateral Agreements (w/mock-ups)

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G S Palmer

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I like the idea of favors that are going to come with Federations, but I feel like they could be fleshed out more. Plus a lot of people seem to want more customizable diplomacy (especially vassal contracts). So here's an idea I've been bouncing around in my head for a while:

A New Diplomatic Currency
In this idea, empires would gain access to a new type of diplomatic currency called Leverage, which would replace favors. You would have a separate pool of leverage for each empire you had contact with.

Leverage would be a way of saying "hey, you owe me, so why don't you do this thing I want." Essentially, this would serve to turn diplomacy into more of a game mechanic as opposed to semi-random.

Refusing a proposal that has leverage behind it will cost influence. So if someone gains a ton of leverage on you, they can force you to do something you don't necessarily want to.

The leverage costs of certain of certain requests would be determined based on:
  • Opinion
  • Relative power/diplomatic weight
  • The diplomatic stance of your target
  • How much they care about the action you're proposing
You can gain leverage by:
  • Giving concessions during diplomatic negotiations (aka doing something they want without asking anything in return)
  • Assigning envoys to Negotiate
  • Giving an empire resources (how much you get would be calculated based on how badly you needed them). You can choose between giving resources with no strings attached (for an opinion boost, like how it works currently) or for leverage
  • Giving them generous terms during war settlements
Bilateral Agreements
Most diplomacy would now be conducted through the special Diplomatic Negotiations screen as opposed to the contact screen. This new screen would look like this (NOTE: all Leverage costs are purely used as examples):
upload_2020-2-7_17-1-6.png

Once in this screen, players would be able to propose actions that they will take (seen on the left of the screen) and request actions for the other empire to take (seen on the right). Each of these will have either a positive or negative leverage cost.

If the sum cost is positive, the other empire will need to use influence to turn the request down. However, if the sum cost is negative, then the other empire will actually gain leverage on the player for accepting.

Any accepted proposals will then appear in the central box as a treaty, which can be broken or renegotiated at a later date, although this can incur an opinion penalty.

List of Proposals
Here's a list of proposals and requests you can make. Each one is color-coded based on whether it can be proposed, requested, or both. Please suggest more!
  • Threaten War: used to gain a custom casus belli. For instance, you can demand that they abolish slavery or face you on the field of battle. If they refuse, you've got your justification to whoop their ass. Also, threatening war without asking for something in return can be used to farm leverage on weaker empires.
  • Cease Aggression: ask them to White Peace out of a war they're engaging in with someone other than you.
  • Revoke Claims.
  • Recognize Claims: the side who's claims are recognized regains some of the influence they spent (proportional to the diplo weight of the one recognizing) and has their threat lowered when conquering them.
  • Declare War: ask them to declare war on somebody you dislike. Perfect for proxy wars!
  • End Slavery for:
    • Primary Species
    • Citizen Species
    • All Species
  • Stop Purging:
    • Primary Species
    • Citizen Species
    • All Species
  • Give Tribute: a one time extortion of either pops or resources.
  • Become Tributary: since we're stronger than them, they really should be paying us taxes!
  • Cede Territory: give up systems that the other side has claims on. You can manage how much of it they/you give up. AI won't accept except in return for a Non-Aggression Guarantee.
  • Release Vassal: ask them to free one of their vassals, or offer to free one of yours if they are supporting their independence.
  • Withdraw Support: stop fighting in a war they're engaged in. Can only be asked of secondary players. Essentially, they'll withdraw their fleets and stop helping their allies.
    • This would be managed by a new Loyalty score for AI personalities, meaning more cowardly empires would no longer be willing to fight to the death for their allies.
  • Leave War: completely abandon an ally in war. Great for the UNG.
  • Betray Ally: switch sides in a war.
  • Support Claims: promise to join them in a war to push claims.
  • Divide Spoils: Agree to give them some of the benefits of a war you are currently fighting, such as splitting any of the claims you take. Usually in return for them joining your war.
  • Support Independence: exactly what it does now.
  • Guarantee Independence: again, what it does now, except now you can choose a timeframe, such as 10 years, 20 years, or indefinitely.
  • Galactic Community Support: replaces the Favors system of Federations. Now, instead of everybody being able to take a piece of the undecided voter pie, they'll go with the person who can throw the most leverage at them. Comes in both one-time and indefinite sizes, perfect for all your customizable vassal contract needs.
  • Comply with Galactic Law: politely ask a deviant empire to stop being such a criminal. Mixes well with the Threaten War demand for those who want to play the Galactic Police.
  • Swear Fealty: become a traditional vassal, who must join an overlord in their wars.
  • Transfer Vassal: self-explanatory.
  • Liberate Machines: change AI rights to full citizenship. Materialists and MEs.
  • Non-Aggression Guarantee: essentially a non-aggression pact, except now you can make it one-sided. Limited or indefinite.
  • Research Assistance: half of a research agreement. Now when you want to help out an ally who's struggling in tech, you can actually get something useful in return.
  • Leave Federation: helps you break up those federations that might be getting a little bit scary.
  • Pledge Defense: lets you make defensive pacts.
  • Join War: is one of your friends getting beaten up by a Fanatical Purifier? Well, now you can help them out!
  • Close Borders/Open Borders: in addition to doing it yourself, you can ask other empires to do it to people you don't like. Also allows you to customize whether it's for:
    • Military Vessels
    • Civilian Vessels
    • All Vessels
  • Denunciation: let them know that you're really unhappy with them. Big opinion debuff against them. Allows you to get mad when they refuse to liberate your people from the spice mines. You can also ask them to do it to someone else.
Things that will remain in the contact screen
The contact screen will be reworked to show the leverage you have on each other, and will look something like this:
upload_2020-2-7_18-10-15.png

Most interactions will now be carried out through the Diplomatic Negotiations window, but a few things will stay where they are, such as:
  • Declare war, rivalry, etc
  • Join commercial pact or Federation
In addition, there will be a new action available, called Renounce Ties. Is somebody getting too much leverage on you? Are you worried they're going to make you give up your happy slaver ways? Well, just hit that Renounce Ties button and it will cancel out all leverage you have on each other! (Warning: may result in them hating your guts for being a treaty breaker).

Warfare Settlements
Wars can also now be settled through the Diplomatic Negotiations screen. This will open up two unique options:
  • Make Reparations: If they attacked you but you won, you can now demand they pay damages.
  • Surrender Occupied Claims: want to gain a bit of leverage on somebody? Be a bit generous after thoroughly beating them and don't take everything they have, and in return you might be able to ask them for a favor later.
Mediation
You can now send a Envoy to a friendly empire to Mediate. This reduces the leverage cost of interactions between them and another empire that likes you but not them.

In Conclusion
And that's all! I've had this idea for a while, but didn't want to post it while the devs were on holiday. Since we just got the diplomacy Q&A, I figured now was a good time.
 
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Methone

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This. This is precisely what the diplomacy update should've been. Add in some way for enemies to 'forgive' each other, or for relations between allies to 'break down', and you've got it.

Not sure about needing the name change from Favors, though. It seems to me like you could keep the name?
 
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G S Palmer

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Not sure about needing the name change from Favors, though. It seems to me like you could keep the name?
Fair enough. I think when I originally had the idea I was going to call the currency Favor, but changed it in my head once Favors came out to keep from confusing them.
 

G S Palmer

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I like this a lot, but I think the cost of "Comply with Galactic Law" should scale with how extreme the galactic laws are.
That's true. Also things like End Slavery would have different costs for all species, our citizens, or just primary species.
 
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This is very nice! Much more expansive for Empire-by-Empire diplomacy.

Another thing I saw on the forums was being able to bid for diplomatic deals. I think this system would make that possible, so that you can get a notification that a nearby Empire or an ally is in the middle of diplomatic negotiations. Then you can request to see what they're offering so you can offer something better.
Mediation
You can now send a Envoy to a friendly empire to Mediate. This reduces the leverage cost of interactions between them and another empire that likes you but not them.
Perfect for when you have two allies, but they don't like each other, or there's a friendly Empire to you, but you're in a Federation, and your allies don't like them.

On a side note, how long does it take you to create these mock-ups? They're very well put together. And it makes me really want to see it in the game.
 
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G S Palmer

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On a side note, how long does it take you to create these mock-ups? They're very well put together. And it makes me really want to see it in the game.
Thanks. I always think a visual element really helps flesh an idea out. This one probably took me... maybe 8-10 hours over a couple of days? Something like that.
 
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G S Palmer

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Important thing I just thought of that's worth mentioning: Mediation would only decrease the Leverage cost of nominally friendly actions. I doubt even the best mediators would be able to make somebody look at their greatest rival and say "hey, yeah, I wouldn't mind being their vassal".
 
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Merch991

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I completely agree with these suggestions. This is definitely how the diplo rework should have been done for 2.6. Congratulations for the mock-ups! They look very nice
 
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Shadowstrike

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I like the concept, but for balance there should probably also be the option to demand another empire reduce AI rights and embrace slavery too (to give spiritualist/authoritarian counterparts to the materialist/egalitarian demands to permit AI and to ban slavery)
 
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G S Palmer

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I like the concept, but for balance there should probably also be the option to demand another empire reduce AI rights and embrace slavery too (to give spiritualist/authoritarian counterparts to the materialist/egalitarian demands to permit AI and to ban slavery)
I agree with Reduce AI rights, but not sure how you'd really be able to force somebody to adopt slavery.
 

Shadowstrike

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I guess you would force them to adopt the slavery allowed policy (though that probably doesnt actually do that much mechanistically). As I am thinking about this though, there should also be the option to demand that other nations free slaves belonging to your founder species too.
 
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G S Palmer

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As I am thinking about this though, there should also be the option to demand that other nations free slaves belonging to your founder species too.
There is: the End Slavery demand is specifically broken down into Our Primary Species (founder species), Our Citizen Species (all species that we give citizenship to), and All Species (outlaw slavery outright).
 
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Uburian

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Really good work. This is pretty much what the diplomacy update should have done regarding bilateral relations. We can at least hope that, eventually, an update focused on bilateral relations and an expansion dedicated to intelligence and espionage will be released. Time will tell.
 
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Methone

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G S Palmer

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One thing that occurs to me: What's the downside of Renounce Ties if someone already hates you?
Well, probably two empires that hate each other won't have much leverage against each other. So it might not be necessary in the first place.

Other than that, it might also break all current agreements. Or at least make it so they can back out of their part of any agreements without any penalty.

Alternatively, it could make everybody (or maybe just everybody who liked them) view you as a truce-breaker, increasing the leverage cost of any interactions with those empires.
 
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Pancakelord

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I like the extra colours in the diplo mockup, the vanilla UI is far too green lol. And I completely support the idea of showing the +/- acceptance for each proposal - for both parties.

Generally I think stellaris could do with fewer numbers (hiding fleet power, enemy info etc) but diplomacy is the one place where I think more info is needed.
Whats the first thing you do in a negotiation? You set your terms and ask the other party what they want.
No point making players screw about trying to find out what the right acceptance value is via trial and error.
 

Paul93

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That's really a great idea :) it would integrate well with a more complex trade system and with an espionage system.
 

generalis Julius Caesar

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I love this idea. Keep up your good ideas @G S Palmer