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Millbot

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Espionage seems like it has some potential to fix issues with the two new precursors. Nothing kills a new game for me, like getting my precursor roll and seeing that I've gotten one of those two because more often than not, given I play on the lowest setting for habitable worlds, it's just not going to be practical to finish the chain in most games because some system with a dig site ends up in another empire's turf and it's a huge problem in games where I don't want to conquer everyone else.

Anyways, seems like the anti-theft flags could be used to create a system dealing with arcology. We could use espionage on sites that can't be stolen to get the goods without having to steal the system from another empire and this could be extended to other sites that are locked to be explored by only one empire. Also could do something with diplomacy here as well.
 
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Subcomandante

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I hope for infiltration to a level where I can control pops and leaders to some degree. Give an enemy king a character trait. Flip pops to my ethics. Make an empire break an alliance. Inject their admiralty with genetically engineered brain slugs or psionically control them, decreasing their fleet capacity. Implant cyber implants into a leader to subjugate them and make them defect. Or blackmail them to give up their shield frequencies, giving me more shield damage. Insert agents into their trade network, syphoning off trade to me. Not to speak of tech espionage, giving me an involuntary one sided research agreement.
 
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Methone

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I hope for infiltration to a level where I can control pops and leaders to some degree. Give an enemy king a character trait. Flip pops to my ethics. Make an empire break an alliance. Inject their admiralty with genetically engineered brain slugs or psionically control them, decreasing their fleet capacity. Implant cyber implants into a leader to subjugate them and make them defect. Or blackmail them to give up their shield frequencies, giving me more shield damage. Insert agents into their trade network, syphoning off trade to me. Not to speak of tech espionage, giving me an involuntary one sided research agreement.
Would any of this be fun of it happened to you?
 
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MichaelJanuary

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What I would like to see is ....

1) Improvements to sensors and monitoring systems, listening posts, fog of war, and the like. Counter to this would be jamming systems, counter espionage, stealthier ships (not invisible, just harder to detect at range). Such passive detection systems would preferably be short ranged, so you would have to depend on your spies/agents for Intel beyond detection range.

2) the actual espionage system for me could work exactly like science ships and scientists. You would have stealthed Scout or Infiltrator type ships, which require 'Agents' to be recruited (agents being a leader type). Agents would have traits much like scientists, which give bonus in area like diplomacy, propaganda, economy, military, and so forth. You could send these agents on missions to scout enemy systems, promote factions or ethics, monitor research, obtain diplomatic Intel on relations and treaties, establish claims, steal relics, track fleets, view ship designs. Agents with appropriate traits (depending on ethics) might be able to promote piracy, reduce stability, bribe enemy leaders (apply buffs or debuffs to them).

This would afford you a system where you would have to nurture agents, and you would be naturally limited in your actions by the number of agents/stealthships you could afford, their traits, experience level, and your ethics.

A high level agent might be able to be attached to a fleet to buff/debuff it. Agents might even be able to operate in your own empire (promote/suppress factions),
Embark on missions to counter enemy actions, like abilities to detect enemy stealthships, assassinate imprison banish or bribe their agents. Agents could serve as 'Political Officers' on your fleets, or a 'Secret Police' to suppress dissent.

Ultimately, I want to have a level 10 psionic agent able to manipulate relations between empires to tip them into conflict with each other. My own Darth Maul.
 
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grommile

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I hope for infiltration to a level where I can control pops and leaders to some degree.
Now imagine being unable to do any of those cool things because you're spending your entire espionage budget on counterintelligence to stop six AI empires doing it to you.

Still want it?
 
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A2ch0n

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Would any of this be fun of it happened to you?
Now imagine being unable to do any of those cool things because you're spending your entire espionage budget on counterintelligence to stop six AI empires doing it to you.
Is it fun to be on the "receiving" side of a war? Especially if the attacking empire is stronger, what most likely is the case if they attack you? Or if multiple empires attacking you at the same time? I think not!

There is a balance needed between espionage actions and counter espionage of course. But espionage should have nearly as much power as a war. And at least the same amount of player interaction for a equal effort/reward as balance to war (in case of sabotage). Espionage as passive information collection with some "diplomacy" related actions like influencing ethics and opinions is exactly what i would expect. The difference between espionage and war is that there is more time needed for espionage for the same reward but the target doesn't know the attacker.

A big reckless warmongering empire should have more weaknesses against espionage & sabotage (more open hyperlanes will be enough maybe if cloaked sabotage ships are a thing) and a small one is easier to conquer. So everything has its weakness and advantage.
 
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grommile

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Is it fun to be the target of a war?
Potentially.
Especially if the attacking empire is stronger, what most likely is the case if they attack you?
Potentially. (They might, for example, only be stronger by virtue of having allies, who happen to be positioned in such a way that I can win by defeat-in-detail outcome.)
Of if multiple empires attacking you at the same time?
Potentially.
I think not!
Clearly we differ.
There is a balance needed between espionage actions and counter espionage of course. But espionage should have nearly as much power as a war.
A single war can erase my empire from the map. Should espionage be able to wipe 90% of my empire from the map?
 
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Methone

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Is it fun to be on the "receiving" side of a war?
Yes.
Especially if the attacking empire is stronger, what most likely is the case if they attack you?
A) They are not guaranteed to be stronger than you. B) The AI is still stupid enough that it doesn't much matter. C) It makes for fun gameplay to see their ships coming through and trying to counter them. Not so much of "Oh, suddenly popup, I'm suddenly spiritualist and all my synth pops are slaves."
Or if multiple empires attacking you at the same time?
When does this happen?
But espionage should have nearly as much power as a war.
I entirely disagree. Me blackmailing some Organic Filth into giving me their shield frequencies should not be nearly as powerful as me bombarding their worlds into lifeless tombs.
The difference between espionage and war is that there is more time needed for espionage for the same reward but the target doesn't know the attacker.
Oh, so now I don't even know WHICH spiritualist empire turned my synths into slaves. Even better!
 
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A2ch0n

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Potentially.

Potentially. (They might, for example, only be stronger by virtue of having allies, who happen to be positioned in such a way that I can win by defeat-in-detail outcome.)

Potentially.

Clearly we differ.

A single war can erase my empire from the map. Should espionage be able to wipe 90% of my empire from the map?
I agree we differ in our preferences and thats ok!

And no, wipe of an empire by espionage is not intended, of course not! You should be able to weaken an empire with your actions (in case of sabotage by deactivating structures, stealing some resources or saw unrest, etc) and manipulate it to your liking with espionage actions (opinion modification to another empire, ethics shifts and so on). If you can manage to break up a fed without war or manipulate two empires to fight each other so you only have to wipe up the rest, it would be a lot of impact!

Thats your opinion, not mine. And many other don't like that too, so we won't find common ground here.
When does this happen?
More often than i would like it...

I entirely disagree. Me blackmailing some Organic Filth into giving me their shield frequencies should not be nearly as powerful as me bombarding their worlds into lifeless tombs.
Of course it should be as powerfull. But shild frequences are quite lame and would give a war bonus and at least for me, thats not the goal of espionage. The only war advantage should be sensor informations and statistics. If you can manage in forefield of a war to sabotage a guarding starbase or destroy a fleet with a sabotage ship, it will help of course too.
 

Methone

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Of course it should be as powerfull. But shild frequences are quite lame and would give a war bonus and at least for me, thats not the goal of espionage. The only war advantage should be sensor informations and statistics. If you can manage in forefield of a war to sabotage a guarding starbase or destroy a fleet with a sabotage ship, it will help of course too.
So is it comparable in power to war or isn't it in your vision? And let's not forget 'shield frequencies' were your example.

And nevermind that no it should not be as powerful. You yourself agree with me in this:
And no, wipe of an empire by espionage is not intended, of course not!
I'm sorry, but you're not laying out an especially attractive view of what an espionage system could be.
 
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A2ch0n

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So is it comparable in power to war or isn't it in your vision? And let's not forget 'shield frequencies' were your example.
No it wasn't my example...maybe check the posts. And it should be comparable in power of course!

And nevermind that no it should not be as powerful. You yourself agree with me in this
We have diffent opinions about what real power is.

I'm sorry, but you're not laying out an especially attractive view of what an espionage system could be.
Maybe for you... Espionage is about subtility and manipulation. if you can't handle this or don't like it i'm ok with that.

As i said before, we wont't find common ground in our opinions, Lets stop this here!
 

mial42

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Is it fun to be on the "receiving" side of a war? Especially if the attacking empire is stronger, what most likely is the case if they attack you? Or if multiple empires attacking you at the same time? I think not!

There is a balance needed between espionage actions and counter espionage of course. But espionage should have nearly as much power as a war. And at least the same amount of player interaction for a equal effort/reward as balance to war (in case of sabotage). Espionage as passive information collection with some "diplomacy" related actions like influencing ethics and opinions is exactly what i would expect. The difference between espionage and war is that there is more time needed for espionage for the same reward but the target doesn't know the attacker.

A big reckless warmongering empire should have more weaknesses against espionage & sabotage (more open hyperlanes will be enough maybe if cloaked sabotage ships are a thing) and a small one is easier to conquer. So everything has its weakness and advantage.
1. Getting war decced by a stronger opponent or coalition can be fun, although of course if the disparity is large enough that there's nothing you can do, then it isn't. Some of my favorite Stellaris moments include fighting off a spiritualist awakened empire with twice my fleet power with only one third of my fleet (the other two thirds were on the other side of the galaxy due to an end-threat war against a terravore) by bushwacking their transports with jump drives and defeating several of their fleets in detail using galactic terrain (a pulsar system) and getting declared on by a federation of literally every normal non-genocidal in the galaxy at a time when I was only slightly stronger than individual AI empires as a barbaric despoiler and again managing to pull off a status quo by destroying the two weakest weakest members of the coalition and capturing all of their planets.

2.
Giving espionage the same risk/reward wouldn't make sense based on real life; no country has ever been destroyed by spies, whereas plenty have been by war, and most countries invest far more into the military then into espionage. It also wouldn't work from a gameplay perspective unless you made espionage like war in that it is primarily a function of economy (in which case bigger empires would be better at both, which probably isn't the desired outcome). The reason why this is is that, to a large extent, Stellaris is fundamentally built around war. The primary output of your economy (which is the central system of the game, through which almost every other system interacts) is fleetpower, meaning that performance in war is to a large extent a function of how well you played the game up to that point. This is because virtually every system in the game interacts with the economy, and thus war. It takes massive investment and long term planning to win wars, since it's mostly a function of fleet strength, which is mostly a function of economy, which is mostly a function of every decision you've made up until that point. If espionage isn't primarily economy based, which it shouldn't be if you want it to be a balancing mechanism between bigger and smaller empires, it can't be as important as war, since by necessity it will involve far less decisions and trade offs .
 
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A2ch0n

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1. Getting war decced by a stronger opponent or coalition can be fun, although of course if the disparity is large enough that there's nothing you can do, then it isn't. Some of my favorite Stellaris moments include fighting off a spiritualist awakened empire with twice my fleet power with only one third of my fleet (the other two thirds were on the other side of the galaxy due to an end-threat war against a terravore) by bushwacking their transports with jump drives and defeating several of their fleets in detail using galactic terrain (a pulsar system) and getting declared on by a federation of literally every normal non-genocidal in the galaxy at a time when I was only slightly stronger than individual AI empires as a barbaric despoiler and again managing to pull off a status quo by destroying the two weakest weakest members of the coalition and capturing all of their planets.
I for myself don't like war that much so i do it only if neccessary. In this case to fight a stronger oponent is not fun for me under any circumstances because it forces me to build fleet and fight. The only exception to this are the endgame crisises. Until then i've build everything i want, my fed is lv 5 and the fed fleet is most likely strong enough to deal with it (even on 5x crisis strenght). The war in heaven on the other hand is the worst event for me as a example. One option is to stay neutral and loose my hard build federation with most likely 5+ members. The other is to lead the unaligned systems and get declared war by both of them after a short period of time. And if i do not build fleet in advance they are much stronger. This war is in addition a total war and runs a loooong time and cannot be avoided. So no i don't like to go to war for myself and will never like.

2. Giving espionage the same risk/reward wouldn't make sense based on real life; no country has ever been destroyed by spies, whereas plenty have been by war, and most countries invest far more into the military then into espionage. It also wouldn't work from a gameplay perspective unless you made espionage like war in that it is primarily a function of economy (in which case bigger empires would be better at both, which probably isn't the desired outcome). The reason why this is is that, to a large extent, Stellaris is fundamentally built around war. The primary output of your economy (which is the central system of the game, through which almost every other system interacts) is fleetpower, meaning that performance in war is to a large extent a function of how well you played the game up to that point. This is because virtually every system in the game interacts with the economy, and thus war. It takes massive investment and long term planning to win wars, since it's mostly a function of fleet strength, which is mostly a function of economy, which is mostly a function of every decision you've made up until that point. If espionage isn't primarily economy based, which it shouldn't be if you want it to be a balancing mechanism between bigger and smaller empires, it can't be as important as war, since by necessity it will involve far less decisions and trade offs .
I think i should explain what i understand under "equal power". In my former posts i already declared what i want espionage to do. Equal is for me to have an huge impact on the galaxy. And manipulate empires to fight or befriend each other in my liking is such a thing. A sabotage ship to the right time at an empire fleet (destroying) or megastructure (deactivating for a certain time) is a huge impact as well. Having the ability to split up a federation without a fight is a huge too. It is not necessary to destory another empire directly by espionage or sabotage and thats not my goal. The goal is to control the flow of information and the opinions of each other. And if two other empires fight each other to manipulate the flow of war in my favor. A energy shortage for example in one of these empires will most likely shift the tide of battle in my favor. That is what i call equal power. If i'm attacked directly it will most likely do not that much. And thats ok. It should be balanced.
 
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Nevars

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I hope for infiltration to a level where I can control pops and leaders to some degree. Give an enemy king a character trait. Flip pops to my ethics. Make an empire break an alliance. Inject their admiralty with genetically engineered brain slugs or psionically control them, decreasing their fleet capacity. Implant cyber implants into a leader to subjugate them and make them defect. Or blackmail them to give up their shield frequencies, giving me more shield damage. Insert agents into their trade network, syphoning off trade to me. Not to speak of tech espionage, giving me an involuntary one sided research agreement.
Let me guess, it's all depends on rng lol

Is it fun to be on the "receiving" side of a war?
Yes, I can actively defend my self in war for one instead of everything is at the mercy of rng.
 
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A2ch0n

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Yes, I can actively defend my self in war for one instead of everything is at the mercy of rng.
Why do you believe it's rng? I've made a post in another thread what i want from espionage & sabotage. And is far less rng as you would think. Maybe there is a failure chance for the sabotage actions (with a ship direct at the target like science ships, not from range) and thats it. Everything else is deterministic and depend on your spy (leader) level and my civics, traits, APs, etc, against the counter espionage efforts of my target. depending on that i get informations/options for active actions or not.
 
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smile444

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I hope that's something tall empire and psionic empires can do well. Both need a bit of a buff, and it woulf make sense in both (Well assuming you're an empire experimented in soft power)
 
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mial42

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I for myself don't like war that much so i do it only if neccessary. In this case to fight a stronger oponent is not fun for me under any circumstances because it forces me to build fleet and fight. The only exception to this are the endgame crisises. Until then i've build everything i want, my fed is lv 5 and the fed fleet is most likely strng enough to dea with it 8even on 5x crisis strenght). The war in heaven on the other hand is the worst event for me as a example. One option is to stay neutral and loose my hard build federation with most likely 5+ members. The other is to lead the unaligned systems and get declared war by both of them after a short period of time. And if i do not build fleet in advance they are much stronger. This war is in addition a total war and runs a loooong time and cannot be avoided. So no i don't like war and will never like.



I think i should make clear what i understand under "equal power". In my former posts i already declared what i want espionage to do. Equal is for me to have an huge impact on the galaxy. And manipulate empires to fight or befriend each other in my liking is such a thing. A sabotage ship to the right time at an empire fleet (destroying) or megastructure (deactivating for a certain time) is a huge impact as well. Having the ability to split up a federation without a fight is a huge too. It is not necessary to destory another empire directly by espionage or sabotage and thats not my goal. The goal is to control the flow of information and the opinions of each other. And if two other empires fight each other to manipulate the flow of war in my favor. That is what i call equal power. If i'm attacked directly it will most likely do that much. And thats ok. It should be balanced.
There's nothing wrong with not liking war (god knows Stellaris warfare isn't a thrilling time; for every interesting war I've had I've had 10 boring, one sided slogfests). But it certainly can be fun, and since it's mostly a measure of your economic strength, it indirectly involves almost every system and decision in the game, which means it should be more impactful then things which do not do this (like espionage).

As for what you think espionage should do, some of it seems far too powerful. You've already mentioned how you don't like your federation being lost if you stay neutral in the WiH; imagine if any random AI empire could destroy your federation at will without you being able to do anything about it. Likewise, destroying an entire fleet (which is a massive economic investment that takes decades to properly set up) without any counter is too much, and it would only matter if you were already at war with your opponent. Other parts seem too weak or arbitrary, like deactivating a megastructure for a short time. This both makes little sense (how do you "deactivate" an interstellar assembly at all? How do you meaningfully damage a dyson sphere, something by definition the size of star, in such a way that it isn't completely destroyed? The fluff for the SCC and the Science Nexus explicitly mentions how secure they are, how does that square with espionage? Megastructures in general are just too big to really be "sabotaged" by anything short of a Colossus.), wouldn't actually mean much (worst case scenario: random AI #52 turns off my dyson sphere for a couple months; I'm 3K energy credits in the hole... all I need to do is sell 50 alloys on day 2 of each month so I don't have a critical shortage, and I'm completely fine. The other megastructures have even less of an effect on day-to-day operations; they significantly affect your empire in the long run, but losing them for a couple of months won't actually hurt any empire that's strong enough to build megastructures), and would be annoying (randomly turning off megastructures with no way to counter would just be a giant pain in the ass, even if it doesn't actually do anything). As for affecting diplomacy, IMO this should be possible, but strictly limited. If two empires have a long partnership and many pacts (or a federation), you shouldn't be able to just make them hate each other via espionage; they know each other too well for that to work. Likewise, two nations that rival each other, have claims on each other's space, and have fought three wars aren't going to start loving each other because of espionage. Where it should work is in swaying neutrals; if you see your hated enemy starting to sign early pacts, like, say a migration treaty, you might be able to use espionage to get that treaty broken before trust rises high enough for them to sign more pacts, like a defensive pact, or if two empires dislike each other because of border friction, you could use diplomacy to smooth that out. IMO, you should at most be able to move relations between two other empires by one "attitude." So if you want two empires to fight each other, you can try and make it happen, but it'll only work if they're already suspicious of each other (and thus willing to believe whatever bad ideas get planted about the other party). If you want them to befriend each other, you can start the process (by moving them from neutral to receptive) or help it along (by moving them from, say, receptive to cordial), but you can't make them love each other if they're mortal enemies, and you can't jump them from neutral to friendly by yourself. Again, imagine if random AI empire #10 causes your close ally who you've been cultivating for decades to turn around and attack you for no good reason. This would not be fun, and would make diplomacy even less meaningful. If, on the other hand, you can see them starting to cool to you over time, you can take steps to counteract that (like improving relations or hypothetically assigning some counterespionage resources to seeing if there's some shenanigans going on there) and even if you don't, they won't randomly attack you... they'll just be less likely to sign new pacts or form a federation.
 
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Nevars

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Why do you believe it's rng? I've made a post in another thread what i want from espionage & sabotage. And is far less rng as you would think. Maybe there is a failure chance for the sabotage actions (with a ship direct at the target like sxience ships, not from range) and thats it. Everything else is deterministic and depend on your spy (leader) level and my civics, traits, APs, etc, against the counter espionage efforts of my target. depending on that i get informations/options for active actions or not.
Well because it usually is so that what I would expected.

We don't have any information beyond espionage of info so we could only rely on past precedent and all the evidence pointing out to rng, whether from game of other studio or from other game from paradox, they usually is just sending spy to do rebuff or outright destroy something and wait for the dice roll to decide the outcome.

If you want to speculated beyond just espionage of information that paradox already told us about.

A bit of my opinion about why I don't like regular espionage that much is because it usually devolve into a war of all against all cuz you don't know when you will be hit, where or even by who for that matter.

Especially the not know who did it part really frustrating me cuz I can't retaliate and it forced player into a losing defensive war where the enemies only need to succeed once but you need to always succeed.

Also can you post a link to your post (or just pm it to me), want to read on it a bit.
 
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A2ch0n

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Well because it usually is so that what I would expected.

We don't have any information beyond espionage of info so we could only rely on past precedent and all the evidence pointing out to rng, whether from game of other studio or from other game from paradox, they usually is just sending spy to do rebuff or outright destroy something and wait for the dice roll to decide the outcome.

If you want to speculated beyond just espionage of information that paradox already told us about.

A bit of my opinion about why I don't like regular espionage that much is because it usually devolve into a war of all against all cuz you don't know when you will be hit, where or even by who for that matter.

Especially the not know who did it part really frustrating me cuz I can't retaliate and it forced player into a losing defensive war where the enemies only need to succeed once but you need to always succeed.

Also can you post a link to your post (or just pm it to me), want to read on it a bit.
you got a pm :)
 
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