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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Methone

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So an idea I've seen floating around here is as follows:

"All Hive Minds feel the same."

This certainly isn't entirely without merit. Hive Minds have a grand total of 2 personalities, Hive Mind and Devouring Swarm. Compared to the 4 that Machines have, and the 15 that regular empires have. 17 if you count Fanatical Befrienders and Metalheads.

There've been a lot of ideas floated around on how to resolve this, from having Gestalt Consciousness cost only 2 ethic points and let you be a Militarist-Hive, Xenophile-Hive etc, to having there be an entire separate series of ethics for Gestalts like Autonomous/Centralized.

The solution I came up with - knowing full well it's just me wishing for it and it'll never actually get into the game - is based off the Machine Intelligence model - 3 special civics. Obviously, going by this, we have the Determined Exterminator-Devouring Swarm duality, and the Machine Intelligence-Hive Mind one. That just leaves a Hive-Assimilator and Hive-Servitor.

But I didn't want it to just be 'Assimilator but made of meat', 'Servitor but made of meat'. I wanted them to have something special to them. At the same time I wanted them to be simple enough that a player scrolling over the civic selection ingame wouldn't have to read a whole memoir to understand it. What I came up with is as follows:

What the player sees:
  • The Hive Mind is in reality an incredibly contagious neural disease, which takes control of its hosts in return for physically enhancing them.
  • Native Pops are Infested rather than Hive-Minded
  • Must Assimilate non-Infested organic pops
  • Can use the Raiding Bombardment stance, which in turn allows us to abduct pops from enemy worlds and assimilate them on our own
  • Enemy Occupation forces will be dislodged from our worlds over time.
  • Decreased opinion for most empires.
  • +40% Army Damage
  • +5% Worker Output (It's a free Very Strong)
  • Cannot survive outside Creeping Contagion empires.
  • This species has been utterly enslaved by a disease, gaining immense strength in exchange for the loss of free will.
  • Non-Infested pops are infested over time.
  • Have the Disease Takeover Living Standard, with flavor text:
  • Braaaiiins...
Just as you have the Barbaric Despoiler raiding stance - but no accompanying Plunder CB, much less a Total War CB like assimilators - people don't like you much for being an "Ominous Infestation".
  • -20 Opinion from Materialists, who'd like to study you.
  • -40 Opinion from Militarists, who insist they aren't scared of you.
  • -80 Opinion from Spiritualists, because you're a horrible plague
  • -50 Opinion from all other non-Gestalts
When an enemy force Occupies your worlds, your disease will slowly go to work on them, subverting soldiers who are then killed by their fellows. Mechanical soldiers are, obviously, unaffected. The ingame effect is that Occupied World armies suffer the damage of Selective Bombardment constantly, and once the last enemy invader has been expunged, the world goes back to your control.

This, as you can imagine, is poor consolation when in Total War.
AI Empires with this civic gain the "Creeping Contagion" personality, with the following effects and flavor:
  • Creeping Contagions are hive minds capable of propagating their will by infecting other species. They will rarely bother with diplomacy, believing their worlds unassailable.
  • Conqueror behavior, they will attempt to annex you.
  • Infiltrator, they will Infiltrate primitives
  • Opportunist, they're likely to attack an empire already embroiled in war
  • Aggressiveness, 2x, they're likely to attack you if they hate you
  • Border Friction, 0.2x, they only have -1 opinion per shared hyperlane
  • Bravery, 1.5x, they'll attack enemies stronger than themselves
  • Colony Spending, 0.9x
  • Military Spending, 1.2x
  • Threat Concern, 0x, they don't care about the Exterminator over there killing everyone.
  • Combat Bravery, 2x, no retreat!
  • Trade Willingness, 0.5x, they want trades heavily in their favor
  • Hull Ratio on Ships - 0.2x
  • Armor Ratio on Ships - 0.6x
  • Shield Ratio on Ships - 0.2x
  • Prefer using Energy Weapons
  • -100 acceptance to Nonaggression Pacts
  • -100 acceptance to Defensive Pacts
  • -100 acceptance to Federations
Selecting the civic turns your government from Collective Consciousness to Neural Pathogen Network: This government operates as a single organism spread out over many bodies, controlling their minds by spreading around a pathogen.

and

What the player sees:
  • The Hive Mind has developed a great interest in those who live outside its being.
  • Can form Migration Treaties with non-Gestalt Empires
  • Native Pops have special Integrated Drone citizenship in non-Gestalt Empires
  • Non-Gestalt Pops can have special Outsider citizenship, giving you Unity
  • Has sensor access on any worlds with our native Pops
Once you convince an empire to open a Migration Treaty, your Drones can populate their worlds. While Purifiers and such can still set your drones to Undesirables, they can't actually be 'enslaved' and have their own special Citizenship:

Integrated Drone
  • Pops from a Gestalt Consciousness that can work Auxiliary Laborer jobs.
  • They're kind of creepy. Always staring, always speaking in unison.
In turn, these Drones have the living standards of:

Auxiliary Laborer
  • 0x Consumer Goods Upkeep
  • 0x Political Power
  • 0.5x Amenities Usage
  • 0.25x Housing Usage
  • Exempt from Military Service
  • They never demand a raise, never go on vacation, never join a union. The perfect worker!
They have a unique Stratum in other empires:

Integrated Drone
  • Below Worker
  • Cannot be Enslaved
  • Semi-Autonomous drones from a massive gestalt mind that are trying their best to fit in to our society.
In addition to granting their 'home empire' vision on the planet, not unlike a Corporate empire's branch offices, they can only work the job of:

Auxiliary Laborer
  • +2 Food
  • +2 Minerals
  • +2 Amenities
  • Tireless drones working in the fields, working in the mines, and serving our citizens.
It goes both ways, too. Outsiders come to your worlds with a special Citizenship, Living Standard, and Stratum. You can of course still decide "No, I don't like THESE particular outsiders" and enslave, displace and purge them as you please, but for the rest you can give them the Citizenship Status of:

Outsider
  • Pops from other Empires can work a variety of jobs in place of our drones.
  • Colonization Forbidden
  • Those outside our mind are strange. But it is this strangeness that makes them valuable.
And the Living Standard of:

Outsider
  • +1 Minerals Upkeep
  • +1 Energy Upkeep (To simulate them having to make their own Consumer Goods)
  • Produce +2 Unity, regardless of employment
  • -40% Happiness if Unemployed
  • It is difficult to provide for their needs. But we will try.
And, of course, after this is their special stratum:

Outsider
  • Below Simple Drone
  • Can work a variety of jobs as if they were outside the empire. List is: Miners, Technicians, Farmers, Crystal Miners, Gas Extractors, Mote Harvesters, Translucers, Gas Refiners, Chemists, Metallurgists, and Researchers (Though Researchers have a Mineral/Energy upkeep rather than Consumer Goods).
  • Whatever Stratum those jobs normally have, it's all the same Outsider stratum here.
  • They work on their own. We expend no effort, and yet resources appear as if by magic!
AI Empires with this civic gain the "Inquisitive Mind" personality, with the following effects and flavor:
  • Inquisitive Minds are hives that are greatly interested in life outside their own corpus. They will gladly mix with the population of other empires, and equally gladly take in alien species.
  • Subjugator, declares war to make Subjects
  • Multispecies, while the player can decide they don't like a specific species, the AI will love everyone
  • Robot Liberator, in theory, but without access to Robot Techs to tell 'this is a Synth, no, it's a Droid', robots get disassembled anyway
  • Uplifter, they will make Protectorates out of primitives
  • Aggressiveness, 0.5x, unlikely to war you if they hate you
  • Border Friction, 0x, get as close to them as you want
  • Bravery, 0.9x, a little wary of declaring war on equally strong empires
  • Colony Spending, 1.2x
  • Military Spending, 0.9x
  • Threat Concern, 1.2x, a little more worried about the Exterminator melting everyone into batteries
  • Trade Willingness, 0.9x, willing to make somewhat balanced deals
  • Hull Ratio, 0.3x
  • Armor Ratio, 0.3x
  • Shield Ratio, 0.4x
  • Guided Weapons (Missiles) Preference
  • Has +30 Opinion to everyone else for being an "Exotic Curiosity".
  • +20 acceptance to Nonaggression Pacts
  • +20 acceptance to Defensive Pacts
  • +10 acceptance to Research Agreements
  • +100 acceptance to Migration Treaties
  • +10 acceptance to Federations
Selecting the civic turns your government from Collective Consciousness to Curious Amalgam: This government behaves as a single organism, devoted to exploring the universe and learning of everything, and everyone, within. It can exert influence through its drones even from great distance.
Please read through, tell me what you think.
 
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DukeLeto42

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A couple thoughts:

Creeping Contagion:
  • Since hive minds can eventually integrate other pops anyways (once they have the requisite ascension perk), are you thinking of this as a Barbaric Despoilers-style "skip the civic and start right away?"
  • Do you want to distinguish between main species pops and infested pops, such as making infested pops unable to take on complex drone jobs (sort of like Syncretic Evolution Serviles)?
  • Egalitarians should probably have the biggest negative opinion, what with the whole "taking away free will" thing.
The Inquisitive Mind sounds fantastic. There's probably some balance considerations, but the idea of a hive mind that is truly capable of living alongside normal empires is excellent.

I really enjoy these ideas. Hive minds suffer from being introduced along with civics, before non-genocidal civics were really being used to make empires unique. Their civics could really use a little love.
 

Methone

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Since hive minds can eventually integrate other pops anyways (once they have the requisite ascension perk), are you thinking of this as a Barbaric Despoilers-style "skip the civic and start right away?"
Yes.
Do you want to distinguish between main species pops and infested pops, such as making infested pops unable to take on complex drone jobs (sort of like Syncretic Evolution Serviles)?
No. The Creeping Contagion basically goes off the trope of 'Zombie virus that makes people super strong'. Once it's got you, it's got you, and you're as good as any of the other meat puppets.
Egalitarians should probably have the biggest negative opinion, what with the whole "taking away free will" thing.
Maybe. I was thinking of the Assimilator opinion penalties - most people have -100 for Dreaded Assimilators, but spiritualists in particular are -200 Soul Thieves.

Maybe specifically Democratic Crusaders can have the same -1000 Oppressors that they have for Assimilators.
 
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DukeLeto42

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No. The Creeping Contagion basically goes off the trope of 'Zombie virus that makes people super strong'. Once it's got you, it's got you, and you're as good as any of the other meat puppets.
Makes sense. "Infested" just made me think of the Zerg (where there is a real distinction between infested meat puppets and "true" Zerg).

Maybe. I was thinking of the Assimilator opinion penalties - most people have -100 for Dreaded Assimilators, but spiritualists in particular are -200 Soul Thieves.

Maybe specifically Democratic Crusaders can have the same -1000 Oppressors that they have for Assimilators.
I love the idea of Democratic Crusaders in particular having a problem. I feel like Spiritualists wouldn't have a special hatred for them, as I always took their particular issue to be the machine integration (what with their "destroy all machines" philosophy) as opposed to the loss of individual identities.
 
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Methone

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I love the idea of Democratic Crusaders in particular having a problem. I feel like Spiritualists wouldn't have a special hatred for them, as I always took their particular issue to be the machine integration (what with their "destroy all machines" philosophy) as opposed to the loss of individual identities.
In which case maybe it could be the Egalitarians with the -80. Or it would, if this ever did actually get into the game and wasn't likely just me shouting into the void. I'm not crying, you're crying!
 
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Foefaller

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I had a similar "Creeping Contagion" idea. But it's less "space zombie plague" and more genestealers.

Granted, it probably wouldn't work until there is espionage (though it might be able to piggyback off of the code for Branch offices...), but it would be a kind of assimilator that works subversively, infesting parts of the population to do its bidding. Actually taking over a planet would still require a war of conquest (though it would be assisted by the fact that, upon landing of the invasion force a sizable amount of the population start to attack the defenders in perfect synchronicity with the attackers) but until them, they are siphoning resources, giving you sight into their empire, and making it easier for you to pull of acts of espionage than most other empires would get.

Bonus points if other empires can't actually *tell* that you are this kind of Hive Mind, or even a Hive Mind, unless it's detected one of your cells, and until then lets you have a Migration treaty with them... Actually, that's also a wonderful idea for a mid-game Crisis, gonna start working on it right now.
 
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DukeLeto42

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Granted, it probably wouldn't work until there is espionage (though it might be able to piggyback off of the code for Branch offices...), but it would be a kind of assimilator that works subversively, infesting parts of the population to do its bidding. Actually taking over a planet would still require a war of conquest (though it would be assisted by the fact that, upon landing of the invasion force a sizable amount of the population start to attack the defenders in perfect synchronicity with the attackers) but until them, they are siphoning resources, giving you sight into their empire, and making it easier for you to pull of acts of espionage than most other empires would get.
Hive Mind criminal megacorp. What could possibly go wrong?

Actually, that's also a wonderful idea for a mid-game Crisis, gonna start working on it right now.
Please keep us updated. EDIT: Or I could just look at the new thread you've posted.
 
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V-Metamorph

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I had a similar "Creeping Contagion" idea. But it's less "space zombie plague" and more genestealers.

Granted, it probably wouldn't work until there is espionage (though it might be able to piggyback off of the code for Branch offices...), but it would be a kind of assimilator that works subversively, infesting parts of the population to do its bidding. Actually taking over a planet would still require a war of conquest (though it would be assisted by the fact that, upon landing of the invasion force a sizable amount of the population start to attack the defenders in perfect synchronicity with the attackers) but until them, they are siphoning resources, giving you sight into their empire, and making it easier for you to pull of acts of espionage than most other empires would get.

Bonus points if other empires can't actually *tell* that you are this kind of Hive Mind, or even a Hive Mind, unless it's detected one of your cells, and until then lets you have a Migration treaty with them... Actually, that's also a wonderful idea for a mid-game Crisis, gonna start working on it right now.
I'd 100% play that, almost as much as Driven assimilator
 

Methone

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It sounds great but stuff such as "Free Very strong" are... ahem... strong?
Would it be? It's not that dissimilar from an Assimilator's cyborgs having Cybernetic. And let's also keep in mind Very Strong is underpowered itself - it costs thrice what Strong does, for only twice the effect.

Plus, the rest of the civic doesn't give many bonuses to production, either. You can assimilate, sure, but that's worse than being able to outright conquer pops like a non-gestalt. The effect on occupying armies, and the Infested trait are, in my mind, the only really objectively good parts of it.
 

Tamwin5

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I don't think that Outsiders should be their own strata. They should produce 1 Unity always, but an additional 1 unity if otherwise unemployed.
 

Methone

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I don't think that Outsiders should be their own strata.
They kind of have to. They certainly can't be a 'Complex Drone' since they're not part of the Gestalt. But apart from Worker-Specialist etc having a Consumer Goods upkeep - which hives don't make - there's also the idea of implying there's also a 'Ruler' stratum, even if they can't work any such jobs. Which just makes no sense in the context of working on a Gestalt's world.
They should produce 1 Unity always, but an additional 1 unity if otherwise unemployed.
Certainly an interesting idea, but that gets more into the fine-tuning of balance.
 

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They kind of have to. They certainly can't be a 'Complex Drone' since they're not part of the Gestalt. But apart from Worker-Specialist etc having a Consumer Goods upkeep - which hives don't make - there's also the idea of implying there's also a 'Ruler' stratum, even if they can't work any such jobs. Which just makes no sense in the context of working on a Gestalt's world.

Certainly an interesting idea, but that gets more into the fine-tuning of balance.
Well, if you intend for them to work research jobs, how do you simultaneously have the jobs be available in the complex drone strata, and in the outsider strata? Maybe it would be better to have special buildings give special jobs to outsiders, like how RS have organic sanctuaries? Maybe a couple of different buildings, that give different jobs? Could even make some of them planet unique with modifiers. I also think that the Inquisitive Mind should have access to Manufactories and CG, and need them for the organic pops.
 

DukeLeto42

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You could provide a special "outsider" stratum to accommodate the special jobs such pops allow, but allow "outsider" pops to also take on Simple Drone jobs. It would effectively be a parallel stratum to Complex Drones accommodating "outsider" pops. As Tamwin5 suggests, Inquisitive Mind could have Manufacturies / Consumer Goods, but they could be a job type locked to this stratum.
 

Methone

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Maybe it would be better to have special buildings give special jobs to outsiders, like how RS have organic sanctuaries?
I'd toyed around with that idea, but eventually concluded A) It's too much like Servitors and B) It's needlessly complex to decide "Okay, I want more science, time to build a research lab - oh, no, I mean the special Outsider research lab.
I also think that the Inquisitive Mind should have access to Manufactories and CG, and need them for the organic pops.
The problem there is, unlike Rogue Servitors, you don't start with anyone needing Consumer Goods. You'd be going along fine at 0 CG, 0 CG, then you sign your first migration treaty and suddenly BOOM! Negative CG, penalties. Even if it's an easy fix, I can't see that being fun.
Well, if you intend for them to work research jobs, how do you simultaneously have the jobs be available in the complex drone strata, and in the outsider strata?
The Spiritualist Fallen Empire.

It sounds like a non sequitur, but that's where I got the idea. Spiritualist FE districts don't give Miners, or Technicians, or such. They give Acolytes of the Hammer, Acolytes of the Hyperspanner, etc. While I haven't tested it myself, I can only assume that if they get any non-Precursor pops on their worlds, those pops would instead work Miner/Technician etc jobs.

Even if that's not the case, it provided the idea. Basically the game checks "I have 2 Brain Drone jobs active. I have an unemployed Outsider, so I'll turn one into a Researcher job and give it to them." Whether or not this is feasible in Paradox's code is, obviously, something I cannot ascertain.
 

Martydi

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I love the ideas, especially the inquisitive mind. Paradox, if you are reading this, that man just did a job of your concept creators, complete with fun and climatic descriptions to everything. Just take it, do some balancing, code it in and you have a great update that all hive mind players will like! I myself love playing hive minds often, but the lack of variety and boring civics are one of primary factors throwing me off from that style of gameplay. If someone actually did what you suggest, I would constantly switch between playing a normal hive mind and an inquisitive mind just because of the "cool idea" factor.
 

DukeLeto42

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The problem there is, unlike Rogue Servitors, you don't start with anyone needing Consumer Goods. You'd be going along fine at 0 CG, 0 CG, then you sign your first migration treaty and suddenly BOOM! Negative CG, penalties. Even if it's an easy fix, I can't see that being fun.
As long as the penalty only applies to non-gestalt pops, that shouldn't be a major issue to have a couple unhappy pops while you build up the industrial capacity or buy from the galactic market / empires to take up the slack. After all, it would take a hive mind a little while to figure out how to make these independent beings happy...
 

Methone

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As long as the penalty only applies to non-gestalt pops, that shouldn't be a major issue to have a couple unhappy pops while you build up the industrial capacity or buy from the galactic market / empires to take up the slack. After all, it would take a hive mind a little while to figure out how to make these independent beings happy...
Maybe, but then that gets into the situation where you can build CG buildings before finding anyone, and wouldn't you know it those CG you built for the fun of it just happen to be the ones the independent beings need for their lives to be tolerable. You could, I suppose, make an Event where, after discovering Independents for the first time, you unlock the CG buildings, but then you'd have to make sure that event fires for every possible time you encounter a non-Gestalt species. Regular empires, FE, the Racket caravaneers, the Artists, several anomalies that spawn pops on your worlds, etc.
 

Foefaller

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The Spiritualist Fallen Empire.

It sounds like a non sequitur, but that's where I got the idea. Spiritualist FE districts don't give Miners, or Technicians, or such. They give Acolytes of the Hammer, Acolytes of the Hyperspanner, etc. While I haven't tested it myself, I can only assume that if they get any non-Precursor pops on their worlds, those pops would instead work Miner/Technician etc jobs.

Even if that's not the case, it provided the idea. Basically the game checks "I have 2 Brain Drone jobs active. I have an unemployed Outsider, so I'll turn one into a Researcher job and give it to them." Whether or not this is feasible in Paradox's code is, obviously, something I cannot ascertain.
Precursor jobs are limited to the precursor's main pops, yes... but IIRC they don't get changed to non-precursor jobs if only a non-precursor exists to fill them, they just stay empty. Outsider pops will have to either create their own jobs or have unique jobs from buildings. IMO the best answer is both; They have a base job that they get when unemployed, but several buildings (but only one or two unique buildings) get unique jobs that can only be filled by Outsiders.

Maybe, but then that gets into the situation where you can build CG buildings before finding anyone, and wouldn't you know it those CG you built for the fun of it just happen to be the ones the independent beings need for their lives to be tolerable. You could, I suppose, make an Event where, after discovering Independents for the first time, you unlock the CG buildings, but then you'd have to make sure that event fires for every possible time you encounter a non-Gestalt species. Regular empires, FE, the Racket caravaneers, the Artists, several anomalies that spawn pops on your worlds, etc.
...Or you can make the highest-priority job for Outsiders to create Consumer Goods, and then attach that job to the planet capital.

Though I do agree that the easiest solution would be to just have them require an extra mineral and/or energy upkeep as a substitute.