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Still know enough about them to put their empire name on the galaxy map in a giant font lol.
Should probably hide their real empire name and instead use the nicknames the game generates (Bogies, Gamma aliens etc) in the first contact speical project, until you know more about that empire.
Half the generated empire names have things like "Exterminator" or "Technocracy" in them, which makes it pretty obvious what kind of empire they are, without knowing (i presume) their civics etc - a criminal syndicate in this case.
 
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A2ch0n

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Well i hope that it's just more than that. I would like to have a bunch of active actions possibles to cripple ennemies and be able to, in some extent, "be fear in the galaxy for my intel power" being able to sabote and cripple empires if i heavily invest in espionnage.

Right now your only way to expand and be "respected" is war. In the future i would love to see cultural integration, commercial wars,planet selling, Defensive spy network and so on to be able to invest heavily in something and be rewarded by the game.
You speak right of my mind! A good espionage system for intel & manipulation and a active sabotage system as alternative to war! And an option to focus on espionage. Everything i want :). Still wish for cloaked spy vessels for sabotage with its own leader type.
 
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On the chance you guys are reading this, could you incorporate "galactic geography" into what you have in mind if sensors have anything major to do with it? Pulsars, neutron stars, black holes, and nebulas should have varying effects on sensors not just reaching that system, but any systems beyond. I don't remember if I read it somewhere here, or on the workshop, but I really liked the idea. Nebula's could be used to hide whether or not there's a colony/starbase with most sensor techs - pulsars, and neutron stars could hide hyperlanes and sensor detection past that system unless you explore it - and black holes could be inconsistent in their data with less sophisticated technology (so sometimes you could get a temporary glimpse, but then it'll disappear).

A general refresh on these systems could be welcome too, like shifting hyperlanes and the like.
 
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There've been lots of cautiously optimistic posts in past threads about Espionage, about hoping it's more than just "I pressed a button, waited, and they got -10% fire rate for 10 years" and more than just "Oh, an enemy empire did something bad to you and you had no way of knowing", about hoping PDX can make it actually fun.

Time to see if the caution or the optimism wins out.

The difficulty is in making it interesting for the player sending out the spies, without also making the game extremely annoying for whoever is getting spammed by hostile spy actions. With that in mind, it's probably wise to start with passive espionage (i.e. information gathering, maybe including some tech copying?) before moving onto actual sabotage mechanics.
 
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methegrate

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The difficulty is in making it interesting for the player sending out the spies, without also making the game extremely annoying for whoever is getting spammed by hostile spy actions. With that in mind, it's probably wise to start with passive espionage (i.e. information gathering, maybe including some tech copying?) before moving onto actual sabotage mechanics.

Agreed. Personally, I really hope they don't put in sabotage/assassination mechanics. Those bug the crap out of me in other games.

That said, I definitely hope this is an active system. In Stellaris I would really like espionage to be first about the actual intelligence you gather, with the game hiding so much of what's currently given to the players. (Which seems to be what they're doing so, yay!) Then second, giving the players interesting choices to make with that information. Not "push button, steal tech." Instead maybe things like "quick retrofit so you can take advantage of those ship scans you got."

Although I wouldn't necessarily hate theft-style mechanics. I would just hope it's something like stealing a portion of trade passing through a starbase or research generated by a planet. If done right that could be cool. I could see something like that giving rise to a pirate empire that basically steals what it needs from half the galaxy.

But personally, I'm a hard pass on the RNG and sabotage mechanics.
 
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Unknown, huh? Poor things, probably, don't' know anything about us, too. Let's fix that up: send in the fleet to bask them in a glorious atomic fire!

Warning, organics performing potentional harmful actions.

Pampering Mode: Standby
Pacification Protocol: ENGAGED
 
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You speak right of my mind! A good espionage system for intel & manipulation and a active sabotage system as alternative to war! And an option to focus on espionage. Everything i want :). Still wish for cloaked spy vessels for sabotage with its own leader type.

I really hope they take the differences between species into account. Some parts of espionage can be performed in plain sight through covert means but others actually require handlers recruiting agents from the local species (interplay with factions come to mind).
 
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A2ch0n

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I really hope they take the differences between species into account. Some parts of espionage can be performed in plain sight through covert means but others actually require handlers recruiting agents from the local species (interplay with factions come to mind).
I agree, would really like this. Or alternatively bring some options for the ascension pathes similar to this. A bio ascended empire could manage to create perfect bio masks, or a psionic one read the target minds over distance/mind control them. Many options here! A shapeshifter trait could be quite nice too!
 
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I'm not particularly hyped for espionage just because I haven't seen espionage mechancis in other games that would have floored me.

Like thing with espionage mechanics is that you want to be capable of mind games with them... But you can't really play mind games with an ai <_<;
 
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Espionage is all cool and dandy in theory, but doesn't feel all that important when wars are a slog (imagine the excitement of being able to see into the fog of war for a year, when reaching the border with a fleet takes two years) and diplomacy is static (yay, we have managed to plant a spy in our neighbours that have not engaged in any meaningful activity in the last 50 years and will continue to do so for the next 50 years).

People who speak of wanting a system where the espionage can be alternative to war are frankly speaking from their...
It's all fine as long as in their fantasies they are always the ones that have huge network of spies, not the AI crippling them randomly in ways that cannot be known in advance. It's like people always picturing being the heroes in a zombie apocalypse where 99% of the population turns to zombies. Or like the Harkonnen when playing the Dune Boardgame, where it's awesome to win with treachery as Harkonnen but disheartening to lose to them because they happen to have your leader, although at least there you know exactly whom to fear most when it comes to treachery.
 
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I'm not particularly hyped for espionage just because I haven't seen espionage mechancis in other games that would have floored me.

Like thing with espionage mechanics is that you want to be capable of mind games with them... But you can't really play mind games with an ai <_<;
You can in a kind of. If you can manipulate the relations between two empires (either on a flat way like envoys do over time or by ruin their rep like senate denouncements). Another way would depend on espionage/sabotage vessels with a fake signature. If caught, it has to look like another empire. Anyways against AI it will always be broken down on a opinion modifier between you and the target or two (or more) other empires opinion of each other.

This could very nice go hand in hand with diplomacy. If an empire like you, they are maybe more willing to believe you in case of a spy from you getting caught by them ("you my friend wouldn't spy on us, i know it. Some other evil empire is trying to devide us! I'm sure!!").

Espionage is all cool and dandy in theory, but doesn't feel all that important when wars are a slog (imagine the excitement of being able to see into the fog of war for a year, when reaching the border with a fleet takes two years) and diplomacy is static (yay, we have managed to plant a spy in our neighbours that have not engaged in any meaningful activity in the last 50 years and will continue to do so for the next 50 years).
If you want to go to war the direct way, espionage is most likely only usefull for basic intelligence. But if you try to manipulate the galaxy without war or by sabotage two enemy empires to influence their war in one or the other direction it's the perfect tool. It's helps too if you are a "friendly" empire and don't want to ruin your reputation by a offensive war. Espionage is the art of subtility and manipulation. It can ruin empires and let others rise to power. It's a art of warfare away from the direct obvious field of battle. If you don't like this, because of it's power or other reasons it's ok. But some of us like this and want it as a own playstyle and alternative to the offensive way to play.
 
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I think it's important they do one thing at a time. It looks like the first aspect of espionage is going to be information gathering which I like and could probably be enough to add to the game significantly. There's a lot you can do with simple information gathering mechanics.


Sensors - Active, and live information. Provides information on current borders (within sensor range) and fleet movements.
Spies - Intermittent and static information. Provides irregular "snapshots" of the bigger picture. a snapshot of all that empire controls + their last known fleet locations everywhere. Also provides a snapshot of empire sensor data so you would see the border information of empires adjacent to them. Closing borders reduces the effectiveness of spying. Spying information can get more accurate with techs such as providing info on fleet size or tech level...
Diplomacy - this is where you get political information. First off is First Contact - learning the name of the empire and possibly an potential event change. This is also where you could form treaties for sensor data and such.
 
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I hope you manage to pull off what literally every other strategy game I've played hasn't
 
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People who speak of wanting a system where the espionage can be alternative to war are frankly speaking from their...
It's all fine as long as in their fantasies they are always the ones that have huge network of spies, not the AI crippling them randomly in ways that cannot be known in advance.
I beg to differ. It would be frickin' awesome to have different governments, laws etc giving different results when subjected to enemy clandestine actions.
That nice Democratic federation might see themselves forced to enact some draconian edicts and laws, at the outrage of factions and pops. In order to combat the scheming or outright sabotage by the shapeshifter-aliens whom they're at a cold war with. Whereas the xenophobic tyrannical closed empire might have less issues with foreign spies but would be full of resentful dissidents ready to work as double-agents.

Or your tall-and-proud empires major chokepoint starfort suddenly rebooting for an update due to carefully laid spy-actions, just as the enemy fleet approaches.

Or why not "borrow" a espionage action from HOI4 and let well established electronic warfare and spies create 'phantom fleets' luring your sensors to think a strikeforce is amassing in a system where there in reality is nothing etc. When I jump into system with my battlefleet and realize it's just a ruse by the AI I would be thrilled (and immediately put more spending into my counter intelligence).
Or why not shield resources, tech-level and planets real worth from prying eyes as to make you less of a tempting target.

PDS could tie espionage into primitives and uplifting as well using the same mechanics for infiltrating and abducting Pre-FTLs. Or maybe even really shady stuff. Like on a planet your trying to uplift which has already been secretly infiltrated by your enemies now feeding them information from hidden spy-rings.
 
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I beg to differ. It would be frickin' awesome to have different governments, laws etc giving different results when subjected to enemy clandestine actions.
That nice Democratic federation might see themselves forced to enact some draconian edicts and laws, at the outrage of factions and pops
Bio-gestalts should just eat any spies that turn up lol (maybe psychic spies could fake a drone's mental connection, without falling under the sway of the overmind?)
MI-gestalts should be able to unlock a rare research technology to spot spy ships... space station windows.
 
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Praetori

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Bio-gestalts should just eat any spies that turn up lol (maybe psychic spies could fake a drone's mental connection, without falling under the sway of the overmind?)
Could just as likely be pheromones or other methods of luring the drones into ignoring the agent or device used (BORG style). The more interesting thing is how bio or machine gestalts would perform espionage on others. Cylon biologicals comes to mind for machines but biohives would need something more... sinister.
MI-gestalts should be able to unlock a rare research technology to spot spy ships... space station windows.
600THz-Photon-pass-through plate assembly to be replaced by the more advanced 400-800THz-Photon-pass-through plate assembly. :D
 
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Ridixo

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I still remember fondly the espionage system in Alpha Centaury :D

Also in Spore you could just pay another empire to go to war with a third one and then buy the conquered planets. Hope something like that is possible. War by proxy could be a good addition to the game in general and War in Heaven in particular :)

Have someone got any experience with the Endless Space Umbral Choir? They could only have a system with a kind of ring world on it. They were expected to expand their influence through the espionage system. Kinda like how the megacorps use branch offices. Did that work? :confused:
 
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methegrate

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I beg to differ. It would be frickin' awesome to have different governments, laws etc giving different results when subjected to enemy clandestine actions.
That nice Democratic federation might see themselves forced to enact some draconian edicts and laws, at the outrage of factions and pops. In order to combat the scheming or outright sabotage by the shapeshifter-aliens whom they're at a cold war with. Whereas the xenophobic tyrannical closed empire might have less issues with foreign spies but would be full of resentful dissidents ready to work as double-agents.

Or your tall-and-proud empires major chokepoint starfort suddenly rebooting for an update due to carefully laid spy-actions, just as the enemy fleet approaches.

Or why not "borrow" a espionage action from HOI4 and let well established electronic warfare and spies create 'phantom fleets' luring your sensors to think a strikeforce is amassing in a system where there in reality is nothing etc. When I jump into system with my battlefleet and realize it's just a ruse by the AI I would be thrilled (and immediately put more spending into my counter intelligence).
Or why not shield resources, tech-level and planets real worth from prying eyes as to make you less of a tempting target.

PDS could tie espionage into primitives and uplifting as well using the same mechanics for infiltrating and abducting Pre-FTLs. Or maybe even really shady stuff. Like on a planet your trying to uplift which has already been secretly infiltrated by your enemies now feeding them information from hidden spy-rings.

Oof, we definitely want to play different games. Half of these would be enough to make me rage quit on their own.

Although I do love the idea of phantom fleets and hiding information like resources, tech levels, what you've built and where. Manipulating and gathering information, then being able to make better decisions based on that information, is the kind of espionage system I want.

Instead of sabotage missions, I want missions to make the enemy think we're far more powerful than we are so that our tiny empire registers as "Superior" to theirs. Or make them think we're wealthier than we are, so that rich empires sign trade deals with us. Or missions to find out their tech levels and fleet composition, with options to fast-refit my own fleet to counter theirs if need be. Or missions to find their anchorages, trade bases and alloy worlds, and to hide my own. (Admittedly the chokepoint system makes it tougher for that last to matter, but still.)

The one sabotage-like system that I'd want would be ways to send out false information. Not just a generic "RNG, you lose 50 points of opinion! Ha!" But basically I'd like the ability to generate false diplomatic pop-ups. Send an insult from another empire, or make it look like Empire A has taken a hostile stance to Empire B. Generate a false alert that two empires have signed a defensive pact, or a false alert that two empires have broken their defensive pact.

None of this would actively do anything to other empires. It would all be based on the same theme of having better information. Either I've gathered information that lets me make better decisions, or I've put out bad information that causes other empires to make worse ones. I would know that a given defensive pact still exists, but my spies have convinced other empires that it fell apart. They then decide whether or not to start a war without knowing who they're really attacking. Or the opposite. I would know that I don't have a defensive pact with that fallen empire, but maybe my spies are just that good and an aggressive neighbor thinks that attacking me means attacking a fallen emp.

None of it would be an RNG troll, because you're still making the decisions. You know that there's always the chance that your information is wrong, and have to rely on your own spy network to get it right. If an insult alert pops up, you know it might be a false flag and need to react accordingly. Is that empire on your border actually aggressive, or is this a trick? If you don't respond you risk being out of position when they attack. If you do respond you risk being the one who started the hostilities.

Now, it's true that for the AI this would all be RNG. I start a mission and, almost certainly, the AI processes it as a percent-chance of success based on its personality, relationships and the strength of its spy network. I'm completely fine with that. That's how the AI processes information. But from a player's point of view this wouldn't be an RNG troll. It would be changing and manipulating the information with which I and other empires make decisions.

And the reason I'm actually excited about this is that Stellaris really does seem like a game that has the potential for this to work, more so than other strategy games I've seen.
 
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methegrate

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The only other sabotage-like system I would want would be ways to steal trade and research. I do think it would be cool to be able to basically infiltrate star bases and planets and siphon off a percentage of their trade/research for my own empire's use.

It would need to be done well, and of course other empires would need a way to tighten their borders and protect themselves. But I think it wouldn't have the same enraging feel as a sudden sabotage or tech theft. Basically you'd need the policy and government options to be clear so that theft feels like a cost of doing business. The more open my empire is the wealthier it can get, but the more I risk losing some of that wealth to spies and thieves. If that bothers me I can tighten my restrictions, but I lose access to the wealth and research of an open society.

Personally I would like that because it fits with the overall theme of letting an espionage empire punch above its weight. You might be small, but thanks to a network of spies across the galaxy you can still keep up in terms of research and resources.
 
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