So the Tall play style is all but done away with now??

So the Tall play style is all but done away with now??

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Archael90

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The funny thing happened in my last game, where my empire was a leader of federation that way of election was psionic battle. (I wanted to do one tall play with shattered ring). I was the first empire that achived transcendence, and it was mostly my influence that my allies became spiritualists and embrace transcendance. And what happened? I lost election wars just because i had less pops in empire xD its not about which psionics are more powerfull or such, but who have more pops. So... always go wide, never ever try tall.
 

Korea-Man

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I think to remember that the Devs want to adress the big problem of more planets = equal increase in pop growth.
Giving large planets a bigger advantage over small ones by solving this problem would do a lot to help tall empires (as in fewer planets, since @Nakkivene is correct that spamming habitats is essentially the same as just settling a bunch of planets).

It is obvious that wider empires should be more potent in most respects, but being tall should have it's own advantages, too.
 

grommile

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but being tall should have it's own advantages, too.
Why? (Not a rhetorical question. I'm sure there is a reason. I may or may not agree with it. I don't know what it is.)
 

15JTaylor

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Why? (Not a rhetorical question. I'm sure there is a reason. I may or may not agree with it. I don't know what it is.)
To help facilitate a more diverse gameplay. The game is honestly feels less just because everyone has to play wide and aggressive. I'm not saying talk has to be stronger than playing wide, but empires should be allowed and be strong for being wide. You don't have to play tall, but your game will be more fun with different playstyles and be competitive.
 

Archael90

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Tall doesnt means better, but there should be a valid way to play both tall and wide. Like said psionic battle should not be tied to number of pops, same with diplomatic strenght, should not be tied indirectly to widerness of your empire, but rather to how it is handled.
and remember that tall doesnt means "small", game force us to be as big as possible, and there is nothing bad, but there should be two different ways to achive that - wide, where You expand fast and agresive, and tall - when expansion is more cautious, and calculated. Game gives us no space to play tall because everyone goes wide, and extremally wide. Wide empires - the ones that expand quicly - should have trouble time to handle their borders and maintain planets, but have them. tall ampires should be able to develop their system before going fo others. And game mechanics should allows that.
Like for example - pop growth being empire wide rather than planet based.
OR
A system where building an outpost in a system doesnt give you full controll over it, first You need wait few years and only then you can build anything there, and timer is stopped if claimed system is not bordering with already fully taken system (so if you got 2 systems next to eachother - the 2nd one cant even start their integrating period before 1st one is not yours. This way having huge empire would be costly. Its not perfect, i know, but its just example.
 

Ferrus Animus

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"Tall" as in staying small and having few planets never existed.
"Tall" as in having a less expansive empire and filling it with habitats, ringworlds and stuff due to lack of planets, has always been what was designed for.

But bureaucrats changed little, because tall was supposed to ramp up admin cap too.
 

Mastikator

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The game has been moving away from Tall for a long time, arguably Tall was a viable niche build in 1.9 when the perk Galactic Force Projection gave a whooping +400 naval cap and empire sprawl penalties were extremely severe.

But every update that has come since then has made Tall less viable. In 2.0 doom stacking was gone so Tall had no naval benefit (very wide empires sometimes had to split up their fleet, now everyone always have to).
In 2.2 Tall was hit even harder when the admin cap system was introduced, now the theoretical maximum research speed was x33 times faster, previously was x6 (compared to early empires), specifically tall made use of science nexus to slightly out-science wide empires.

In 2.6 it was over, the empire sprawl penalties were gone, just build a few bureaucrats buildings on each planet and you literally had zero drawback. In fact you could focus LESS on science than before and still be better at it. Now all that matters is how wide you are.

IMO it's actually a very anti-RP move to change the game this way because things like being good at science or not is less important. Now the most important factor is how fast you can expand and conquer, it actually overshadows every other aspect of the game. This is why Driven Assimilator is a king, they expand fast and tech hard.
"Oh you have +20% research? cool story bro I'm producing 400% more research than you just because I'm bigger"
 

Chilango2

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The thing is,
"Tall" as in staying small and having few planets never existed.
"Tall" as in having a less expansive empire and filling it with habitats, ringworlds and stuff due to lack of planets, has always been what was designed for.

But bureaucrats changed little, because tall was supposed to ramp up admin cap too.
I think this is essentially correct.

The basic problem is that every strategy game on earth has this problem. There are some games (Civ V) where tall is a viable play style in some situations, but wide is always stronger in every strategy game for the simple reason that it gives you access to more resources, more space to grow your productive population, more of, well, everything.

The idea that some players have that you can or should be able to play a small empire and "keep up" with larger empires feels to me like trying to repeal the laws of physics, or at least in this case the laws of economics.

That being said, the complaints about the lack of a viable "tall" play style are, I feel, functionally, about a lack of different play styles in Stellaris, and this I can get behind, but I don't think the solution is a return of admin cap or anything similar.

I think what could solve this is a combination of the below:

1) More complex and existent internal politics, so that large empires have a larger set of internal problems to deal with:
Potential breakaway governors, political infighting etc. A lot more events about governors based on their ethics, or events on planets based on the presence of a substantial presence of ethics differing from the government (more so if that ethic is a majority of the population on the planet).

1a) As part of this, I think a bonus to ethics change chance boosted by the number of planets a empire has, along with making a empire with multiple different ethics harder to manage because of an increase change in the above mentioned events, but in other ways as well
1b) However, Egalitarians and xenophiles should have an advantage on this front, to finally give democracies a boost to handling diverse empires

2) More events relating to the resistance and assimilation of conquered populations. It's a little sad that when I conquer a planet I can basically click a few things and within 5 years at most the planet is an essentially peacefully assimilated portion of my empire. There should be more potential events, both positive and negative. The fanatic purifier xenophobes I just conquered should have a real hard time assimilating to my rule, for instance. Likewise, events about quislings, collaborators etc should exist.

3) More events relating to the ethics an empire has as its governing ethics should exist as it continues to explore and grow. I don't just mean events that give us a means to change the ethics our population follow, but arguments within people who follow the same ethics as relating to events that occur. Take the newly conquered planet example: a spiritualist empire is going to have different debates and arguments even among the spiritualists, than materialists will. The spiritualists will debate whether these are heathens that cannot be saved (xenophobic response) vs souls that need teaching and saving (xenophilic response). Materialists will debate whether we just acquired new potential scientists to help with our research (xenophile) vs new lab experiments (xenophobic response), and so on. And this is just example! I could go on.
3a) As part of this, while the faction "promote" mechanic functions to change your empire ethics, all of this exists so that you might wander into having your population wander into all sorts of different ethics than the governing ideology. That being said, if a player does promote or discourage an ethic, there should be events relating to that, both people embracing and resisting that change.

4) Lastly, events relating to your government form. Monarchies with succession crisis, dictatorships with democratic undergrounds and a minor succession crisis on occasion when the dictator dies, arguments between oligarchs, election crisis in oligarchies and democracies. I could go on. Our form of government should *matter* more than the number of years the ruler rules and some other incidental mechanics.

And yes, I realize I am basically arguing for Vicky II in space, thank you very much.
 

Janx14

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Small v Wide isn't even so much a 'size playstyle choice' its a also makes federations vs single empires have a point. Even with federation bonuses its better to just conquer all your possible allies than actually having allies, even in multiplayer.

The basic problem is that every strategy game on earth has this problem. There are some games (Civ V) where tall is a viable play style in some situations, but wide is always stronger in every strategy game for the simple reason that it gives you access to more resources, more space to grow your productive population, more of, well, everything.
The thing is the game has a mechanism to deal with this already, and there was a time where it actually somewhat worked, and for some reason the dev's seem deadset on killing it in the most convoluted fashion possible.

If they wanted big empires to simply be better always due to simply being bigger why not, oh, I dunno, *remove size penalties*. But instead of actually removing them, they give us a building that very efficiently deals with it. It's unclear if they actually want to make size not be an issue, or if the current behaviour is some sort of overlooked bug.

Tall went from something that might not being entirely competitive, but at least kept you in the game, to being utterly irrelevant.
 

Chilango2

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The thing is the game has a mechanism to deal with this already, and there was a time where it actually somewhat worked, and for some reason the dev's seem deadset on killing it in the most convoluted fashion possible.
If they wanted big empires to simply be better always due to simply being bigger why not, oh, I dunno, *remove size penalties*. But instead of actually removing them, they give us a building that very efficiently deals with it. It's unclear if they actually want to make size not be an issue, or if the current behavior is some sort of overlooked bug.
My recollection is that in every past iteration of Stellaris the mechanism to limit large empires would always have various unintended consequences, would be confusing to the player, and cause arguments...and largely didn't work.

At least the current mechanics are clear and transparent, the admin cap tell you what the impact is on the costs of technology etc, you hire more bureaucrats, it's clear.
It's probably the case that bureaucrats need to be either more expensive or less powerful to make expanding more of a burden on an empire, but at least the mechanics that currently exist allow that change to be made simple and easily by just adjusting the input and output of the bureaucrat job.

More to the point, none of the previous mechanics led to interesting game play (nor does the present one, but at least it isn't annoying on top of that).
And this is why I maintain that mechanics should be made to make running large empires more challenging in other ways (events, rebellions, etc) and perhaps also to allow small empires to specialize further in some way.
 

CrazyJ

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honestly the way it should work is that wide empires have great economies but little tech in exchange for their huge size and fleet power. tall empires should be able to manage tech many years ahead of their wide counterparts to make up for the fact that they have far less resources and cannot support a fleet large enough to take on a wide empire without some serous tech advantages. this would make sense and make the game have more diverse playstyles. that was the original intent of the sprawl system we had at 1.0. unfortunately said system has been systematically gutted to make way for a broken and incredibly annoying system.

as it stands the only reason to play tall is to cut back on micro, which is not a good way to balance anything. i could understand it if there was a choice between building your worlds yourself and letting the ai do it, but as it stands if you choose to allow the ai to build your worlds it will do a terrible job. the planet builder ai doesn't need to be perfect, in fact a player should be superior so there is a reward for those who are willing to micro, but for those who are not there should be an option that isn't near worthless,there should be an incentive to build your own worlds, but not one that means you essentially have no choice but to micro all of your worlds. it's a bit off topic but nonetheless the broken planet builder ai is the main reason for micro, which is the main reason to play tall atm.

Back on topic, Bureaucrats in their current form are just plain broken. seriously it's possible to keep an entire galaxy worth of sprawl handled with two or three worlds devoted to bureaucrats. that just reeks of poor balance. seriously what's the point in avoiding sprawl when you can spend 1% of your pops on negating it entirely.
 
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InvisibleBison

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honestly the way it should work is that wide empires have great economies but little tech in exchange for their huge size and fleet power. tall empires should be able to manage tech many years ahead of their wide counterparts to make up for the fact that they have far less resources and cannot support a fleet large enough to take on a wide empire without some serous tech advantages. this would make sense
No, it absolutely would not make sense. Scientific problems don't become harder to solve for a more populous nation.
 

womble

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No, it absolutely would not make sense. Scientific problems don't become harder to solve for a more populous nation.
Absolutely agree. There's a reason Monaco isn't a research giant, even though it has a massive wealth-per-head-of-population.

The problems with sprawling Empires should be social and political. A sprawling empire should require management of splinter groups and suppression of revolt. It should require unpalatable political decisions like going to war with neighbours who you'd (rationally) be better off remaining at peace with, in order to create a common enemy. It would require a method of delegating some measure of autonomy to placate separatists (short of releasing them as tributaries/vassals, though that option should remain).

Given the obvious power advantage that size gives, diplomatic relations should also be affected. That neighbour that's growing, they're going to want to keep growing, and the only way they're going to be able to grow is to eat you. Neighbours of large nations should pre-empt expansionism and combine effectively. It's what Europe did to contain France in the early 19th Century.

A sprawling empire should require management of logistical elements as well. If all your food is at one end of your Galaxy-spanning empire, the planets at the far end should be paying more to have their food defecit shipped in than if it was coming from the neighbouring system. Consider how long it can take for a fast military ship to traverse an empire, then think how much longer a megatonne bulk grain carrier would take, and how many of them you need to move to provide for billions of people on a planet with no food production.

Commerce protection is also too easy. As the internal area covered by an Empire increases, the effort that is needed to combat piracy should also scale. Currently it doesn't, and when you get Gateways, it pretty much goes away entirely, because Trade uses the Gates, and, even if it didn't, your Trade protection projects through them anyway, so even firehose trade mains worth hundreds would be fully covered.

Admin Capacity vs Sprawl is a jejeune attempt to abstract dealing with these issues into a single balance with a single (core) means of managing it. And it is thoroughly unsatisfying. It's an understandable approach. The computational burden of determining the cost of every imported good (and all the other factors affecting and affected by Sprawl) would be immense. The AI would have to cope with the additional complexity, and it can't cope with the current level of economic detail.

Part of the problem with the way this approach has been implemented is that everything is linear. The hundredth system adds the same amount of Sprawl as the second. The 1000th Pop adds the same amount of Sprawl as the 10th. If non-linear progressions were used more (say the Sprawl increase per system added doubled every 10 systems added, and/or is multiplied by a factor, potentially also non-linear, based on the number of jumps from the Capital, or another administrative centre), the system would develop inflection points where the advantages of expanding would be outweighed by the advantages of keeping your numbers controlled and your lines of communication short.

Another area where the management of large empires could be made more problematic is in applying greater stability penalties for changes. At the moment, you can change a planet's Designation at will, for no cost, for example. Changing Sector structure is entirely without cost (or benefit, largely).

A third problem area comes with the management of diverse populations. This is largely irrelevant within the current paradigm and should be given greater emphasis.

Making empire management more nuanced would also allow more differentiation between government types. A centralised authoritarian Empire could grow to a larger natural size than a more laissez-faire one, perhaps, but the necessary stifling social straitjacket might cripple their research efforts. A liberal approach might improve research, but risk chunks of the empire falling away as independent states of varying friendliness. Monobloc empires like Hive and Machine Minds would have their own problems, possibly being extremely brittle/vulnerable to random problems of mutation (of control code, or genetics) that they struggle to cope with in a more sporadic and unpredictable fashion, while otherwise being more efficient. As ever, any choice should have consequences of future decision and/or direct effect.

Something that I personally think would add interest would be more random outcomes for standard things. Research as an example: when Sol III took on the research card "Fusion power", the date of completion was 30 years in the future. At various stages, it's failed random rolls, and it's still (50 years later) "at least a decade" (so, 30 years then) away. Very few people at the same time Fusion power research began would have predicted the meteoric speed of development of IT, which seems to have made every success roll at the first attempt apart perhaps from quantum computing. Social policy is not an exact science, nor economics. So any given socio-economic stimulus may have different results in subtly (i.e. below the game abstraction layer) different circumstances. However, gamers on the whole seem to despise random outcomes outside combat, even when they're the best abstraction available, perhaps because they can banjax carefully-planned min-maxing.

Edited: spelling. How come you always spot the typo as you hit "post"?
 

Cat_Fuzz

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1.245
422
I wonder if admin cap should work to make growing wide harder by providing negative modifiers for building and district cost, starbase influence cost, leader upkeep, governing ethics attraction etc, in conjunction with making bureaucrats less effective. This way it slows down growth needed in order to overcome the burdens of admin cap.