Some Ideas to Make MegaCorps Better and More Unique

Some Ideas to Make MegaCorps Better and More Unique

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While MegaCorps are not that bad, I feel like they’re extremely binary and lack a lot of depth in play. The base factions are pretty good, machine empires add a few strong, unique ways to play, and hive minds, while lacking in civics, I feel overall have solid design and at least two distinct ways to play. But MegaCorps lack real personalities of their own aside from spamming Branch Offices. Pros vs cons:

Pros:
  • +20 admin cap at the start
  • You can now build Branch Offices
Cons:
  • +50% empire sprawl penalty hits hard since everyone goes over admin cap
  • Can’t go fanatic egalitarian or fanatic authoritarian (this is fine)
  • Locked into Oligarchy (though I guess that’s not bad/surprising)
  • The civics are overall just bad
  • There’s not a lot of ways to get more admin cap compared to other empires

(Just as a side note, I’m analyzing MegaCorps primarily for Singleplayer at higher difficulties here, and not really multiplayer at the moment.)

+20 admin cap is nice but you can’t get Imperial Prerogative and your civics don’t give as much admin cap, and you really need that admin cap badly due to the +50% penalty. Honestly, I’d rather have normal empire admin cap as opposed to +20 at the start; it’s easy enough to get admin cap on a normal empire.

Between their lack of good civics, poor ability to gain admin cap, and +50% sprawl penalty, MegaCorps simply can’t keep up with regular empires using standard expansion strategies, whether tall or wide, using regular expansion MegaCorp is easily outcompeted. Of course, that’s not factoring in Branch Offices.

In return for the penalties, MegaCorps get Branch Offices. The question of whether Branch Offices and MegaCorps are good or bad comes down to whether Branch Offices make up for the other ways that MegaCorps are penalized. The answer is something of a mixed response, yes, and no.

It goes without saying that Branch Offices are pretty much the most effective use of admin cap short of pretty much fully populated high tech building worlds or ringworlds and ecumenopolises. And in the early through early mid-game, fully populated high tech worlds, ringworlds, and ecumenopolises aren’t around, so Branch Offices are the most effective usage of admin cap by quite a bit. So in theory by spamming Branch Offices, a MegaCorp should be able to keep up through most of the early and mid game with a regular empire even in spite of its sprawl and subpar civics. After the mid-game, the MegaCorp should then theoretically be teched up to the point at which they can spam repeatables or get more admin cap efficient living space, such as ringworlds and ecumenopolises. The problem is that this theory doesn’t actually translate so seamlessly in-game and introduces a lot of limitations to the style of play of MegaCorps.

As outlined above, MegaCorps need to spam Branch Offices to win. But to spam Branch Offices, there need to be empires who will let you make commercial pacts with them so that you can build Branch Offices on their worlds. This pretty much locks MegaCorps into a Xenophilic build, meanwhile, their Sprawl locks them into a tech rush/economical build. To get those commercial pacts you need high opinion which usually requires Independence Guarantees and gifts. But the cost of maintaining all those commercial pacts and guarantees is not cheap in terms of influence, so if you don’t take xenophile, you probably won’t even have any influence to build the Branch Offices.

Also, going to war just generally isn’t practical for MegaCorps in the early game. It’s not like you need to humiliate since you don’t really need to expand. Subsidiaries only give Energy, and Energy, while nice to have, economically is not half as useful as Minerals; ultimately winning a war is not worth the investment in Alloys that could otherwise be going into CGs and tech/infrastructure. And conquest is a bad idea since going over your admin cap hits you rather hard. So generally, playing it passive and tech rushing as a MegaCorp is the way to go since none of the war options are great for MegaCorps in relation to what they give MegaCorps.

I’d imagine that most successful MegaCorp players are going some mix of Materialist or Egalitarian or Authoritarian with Xenophile. While there are minute variations, all the strong playstyles of MegaCorp are pretty much the same thing; builds that are meant to tech up while also building Branch Offices wherever they can in the Galaxy.

And the reliance on Commercial Pacts and Branch Offices with other empires introduces some serious RNG factors. Machine, Hiveminds, other MegaCorps, and empires with diametrically opposed ethics will usually be impossible (or nearly that) to get Commercial pacts with. That’s maybe 3-4 out of 5 empires that won’t be willing to Commercial Pact with you. But then, there’s also the distinct possibility that empires that seem like they should want to Commercial Pact with you simply won’t want to, eliminating maybe another 1 out of two empires that would’ve done a Commercial Pact with you. That leaves maybe 1 in 10 to 1 in 5 empires in the galaxy that you can get Branch Offices in, and if you can’t get those Branch Offices, you’re just screwed. And that’s not even accounting for the possibility a Criminal Syndicate or other MegaCorp has already placed a Branch Office down on their capital.

I guess to sum it up, my issue with MegaCorps is that they’re pretty much locked into one style of Xenophilic passive tech rush style of gameplay which is significantly reliant on the RNG of whether there are places to stick down Branch Offices and is honestly beaten by regular Technocrats. It's all about Branch Offices, the actual empire matters little, and as a result, there's little to no variation in gameplay style. (If you want more info, read the spoiler above)

Now, I’m not that experienced with MegaCorps (only a few wins on A and a win on GA) so maybe I’m making some incorrect assumptions here, if so and you’re an experienced player, feel free to correct me, but after some pretty lengthy discussion on the forums and a fair bit of gameplay, this is the conclusion I've come to.

The idea here is to give MegaCorps something economically unique of their own that has a large impact on gameplay. Not like you hedge your bets on Branch Offices and do everything you can to invest in them while hoping for the best; something with actual consistent and long term impact on gameplay. MegaCorps seem to be most focused on generating trade value and then energy. Anyone can do energy, but if MegaCorps were to specialize in trade value and have different bonuses from a regular empire it would make them very unique. It would also allow a variety of different playstyles based on Civics and Trade Policies.

A List of Things to do to Make Megacorps More Solid:
  • Only 2 Ethic Points and fewer/-50% influence from factions but +0.5 Influence, no fanatics, can take opposing civics (auth egal, etc, egal would need a buff though)
  • In addition to +20 Admin cap/+50% Sprawl Penalty, +20% trade value/only 1 year to change policies (preferably just trade policies)
  • Way more/stronger trade policies
  • Strong civics tied to trade, dramatically changing civics
A big part of this idea is tying Civics to trade policies, and giving a lot of trade policies. There would be 5 base ones;
  • Wealth Creation: (1.25 Energy)
  • Consumer Benefits: ( 0.75 Energy 0.25 Consumer Goods)
  • Marketplace of Ideas: (0.5 Energy 0.2 Unity 0.1 Society Research)
  • Mineral Multilateral Exchange: (0.8 Energy 0.45 Minerals)
  • Agricultural Amortization: (0.8 Energy 0.45 Food)
The idea here is to create a somewhat flexible economy based around trade policies; whenever you run into a deficit, you can produce things at better than market prices by changing the way your economy works. Keeping it on wealth creation gives you more flexibility, but on the other hand, you'll have to pay more to convert things via the market. Being able to bolster their economy via trade/trade policy when needed would allow them to make up at least some of the losses from being small and allow them to focus more on actually having an economy and less reliant on Branch Offices.

In order to give MegaCorps some additional oomph and expand their playstyles, their civics would need to be buffed rather drastically. In terms of civics, there are two categories of civics that this system would have. There would be game-changers and policy civics. Game changers would heavily impact gameplay; policy civics would slightly change gameplay and also add unique, very strong policies. I’m willing to accept that some of my ideas for Civics/Policies might need some numbers adjusted, but it’s mostly the general framework of Civics/Trade Policies improving gameplay that I’m trying to showcase.

Some ideas for Game Changers:
  • Intrinsic Mercantilism: Clerks Produce an Additional 1 Trade Value and 1 Amenity; all other workers produce one less resource but also 1 trade value.
  • Extraplanetary Privatization: Starbase upgrades cost double the alloy cost in energy instead of alloys. Starbases/parts have -60% upkeep; Starbases give +2 to admin cap
  • Gospel of the Masses: Can just stay what it is, it'd be hella good
  • Private Prospectors: Colony ships can cost 800 energy instead of what they normally cost; +10% to Mineral Output (planetary prospecting costs no influence)
  • Indentured Assets: Slaves +20% trade value produced, -50% to resettlement cost, Pop ratio 40%
  • Free Traders: +25% to Branch office value, Branch offices add 0 to empire sprawl, sprawl penalty +50%, commercial pacts cost no influence, cannot be added or removed after the start of the game
  • Trading Posts: +4 to Starbase Capacity. Border Friction instead increases opinion with factions that can trade. Build outpost influence cost scales 80% less with distance. Starbases give an additional +2 to empire cohesion. (+2 Trade value for each hyper lane connecting to another empire if possible)
  • Naval Contractors: +10% to Naval Cap, ship alloy upkeep replaced with 2x the cost in Energy, +15% Research in Propulsion, Particles, and Military Theory (might switch it to something with trade protection/piracy)
  • Private Military Companies: Adds Chief Security Officer jobs that replace Executives, (capital building levels) +0 in RSS, +1 in PA, +1 in PC, +2 in PCC, Chief Security Officers add +4 Trade Value, +3 Unity, +3 Planetary Defense Armies, and +100 to army starting experience; Soldiers give +2 Trade Value and enforcers give +3 Trade value.
  • Zero-G Production: Mining districts -1 housing -1 job; 4x Starbase Building output; new starbase module: Orbital Fracking Terminal (0.25x system mining station output, 2 energy upkeep); new starbase building 1: Ore Processing Center (doubles Orbital Fracking Terminal output, costs 150 alloys, 2 energy upkeep); new starbase building 2: Zero-G Smeltery (triples Orbital Fracking Terminal output, costs 500 alloys and 50 of each of the rare resources, 2 energy upkeep); new starbase building 3: Matter Manipulation Facility (quadruples Orbital Fracking Terminal output, costs 3000 alloys and 100 dark matter, 10 energy/1 dark matter upkeep). (as a note, the buildings stack multiplicatively, so with all three that's 6x system mining station output per Fracking Terminal).
  • Instead of giving flat amounts of whatever the building usually gave, Criminal Syndicate buildings would instead steal a percentage of whatever the planet was producing and also give extra jobs in that area. For example, Illicit Research labs would instead give 2 researcher jobs, but in return, the Branch Office would produce 20% of the tech produced by the planet for the Criminal Syndicate. Similarly, Wildcat Mining Operations would give 4 Miner Jobs but produce 8 minerals plus 10% of the planet's mineral output. All of the Criminal Syndicate Branch office buildings would be modified to do similarly steal production while providing useful jobs. All the buildings would produce the crime they do now, but none would produce trade value. That, however, would be a little overpowered, so Criminal Syndicate branch offices would now also cost 4 empire sprawl instead of 2. But, the effects of the buildings would scale linearly with the amount of crime on the planet, up to +200% output at 100% crime (+90% output at 45% crime, etc.). Removing a Syndicate Branch Office would also be a decision and not a result of going to 0 crime. It would cost 2000 Energy and 100 Influence to remove the Branch Office which would take 1 year. However, the amount of crime would cause the cost to scale linearly by +400% at 100% crime (10000 Energy and 500 Influence) and the time to scale to +900% to 10 years. Once removed, a Criminal Syndicate Branch office could not be reintroduced for another 20-30 years.
Some ideas for Policy Civics:
  • Military Industrial Complex: Half the Alloy cost of military ships are replaced with four times the original price in energy (100 alloys originally = 50 alloys/400 energy); Industrial Militarization policy: ( 0.2 Energy 0.1 Alloys, -50% energy and alloy cost to ships, -75% ship build time)
  • Adaptable Management: Time to change Policies lowered to 3 months; Convoluted Commercialism policy (0.3 Energy 0.3 Minerals 0.3 Food 0.2 Alloys, +5% Amenities from Jobs)
  • Media Conglomerate: +5% to pop happiness, -5% to war exhaustion; Pervasive Propaganda policy (0.25 Energy, -50 Crime, +500% Governing Ethics Attraction, -75% influence cost to suppress/promote factions)
  • Institutionalized Elitism: Capital Buildings replace some Executive jobs with Noble jobs (exactly like Aristocratic Elite); Peace for the Peasants policy (2.25 Energy, +5% pop happiness, +400% ship upkeep)
  • Brand Loyalty: +10% Unity; Encourage Employment policy (1 Energy, -50% time to demote, +50% Governing Ethics Attraction, unemployed pops give +1 trade value)
  • Advanced Linguistics Department: +20 Opinion with all other factions, +50 trust cap, +50% Energy from Commercial Pacts and no influence cost for Migration Treaties; Compensated Conversation policy (0.75 Energy +0.2 Unity, +50% Governing Ethics Attraction, +50% pop growth from immigration)
  • Ruthless Competition: +10% Output from Rulers, +1 to leader Level cap. Advertise Adversaries policy (0.4 Energy +0.1 Unity, +300% leader experience gain, +100% influence gain from rivalries, -20% claim influence cost)
  • Roots in Research: +50% chance of finding rare technologies. Science Ships have -50% upkeep and scientists have -75% upkeep and +10 years to their lifespans. Reward Research policy (0.6 Energy 0.1 Physics/Society/Engineering research 0.1 Unity)
TL;DR: Give MegaCorps more Trade Policies, buff their ability to produce trade value, and make their civics actually useful, and MegaCorps could be really fun, strong and have varied playstyles.

7/7/19
Money for Minerals => Mineral Multilateral Exchange
Indentured Assets also gives +5% happiness for non-slaves

7/9/19
-Consumer Benefits: ( 0.7 Energy 0.25 Consumer Goods) => (0.75 Energy 0.25 Consumer Goods)
Mineral Multilateral Exchange: (0.8 Energy 0.4 Minerals) => (0.8 Energy 0.45 Minerals)
Agricultural Amortization: (0.8 Energy 0.4 Food) => (0.8 Energy 0.45 Food)
-Extraplanetary Privatization: Aside from the first 200 alloy upgrade, Starbase upgrades cost double the alloy cost in energy instead of alloys. Starbases/parts have -80% upkeep; the starbase expansion tradition instead causes starbases to give +2 to Admin Cap
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
Extraplanetary Privatization: Starbase upgrades cost double the alloy cost in energy instead of alloys. Starbases/parts have -60% upkeep; Starbases give +2 to admin cap
-Free Traders: 1 Sprawl per Branch Office => No Sprawl
-Trading Posts collection range changed to no change, cost now scales 80% less instead of 100% less
-Naval Contractors: allows the construction of a ship (like Shipyards), increases naval capacity by 2, +5 trade value. => starbase building gives the ability to produce 2 more ships in the system, +3 Trade Protection range and +30 Trade Protection, +10 Trade Value, and +2 Soldier Jobs in the system. costs 350 Alloys
-Private Military Companies: Adds Chief Security Officer jobs that replace Executives, (capital building levels) +0 in RSS, +1 in PA, +1 in PC, +2 in PCC, Chief Security Officers add +4 Naval Cap, +3 Planetary Defense Armies, +4 Trade Value, +3 Unity, -25 Crime, +100 to army starting experience; the civic also adds +20% army damage to empire
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
Private Military Companies: Adds Chief Security Officer jobs that replace Executives, (capital building levels) +0 in RSS, +1 in PA, +1 in PC, +2 in PCC, Chief Security Officers add +4 Trade Value, +3 Unity, +3 Planetary Defense Armies, and +100 to army starting experience; Soldiers give +1 Trade Value and enforcers give +2 Trade value.
-Industrial Militarization policy: (0.2 Energy 0.4 Alloys, -75% energy costs to ships) => ( 0.2 Energy 0.2 Alloys, -50% energy and alloy cost to ships, -50% ship build time)
-Pervasive Propaganda policy (0.75 Energy, -10% Consumer Goods upkeep cost on pops, +100% Governing Ethics Attraction) => (0.5 Energy, -50 Crime, +500% Governing Ethics Attraction, -75% cost to suppress/promote factions)
-Advertise Adversaries policy (0.5 Energy +0.15 Alloys +0.15 Unity, +100% leader experience gain) => (0.4 Energy +0.1 Unity, +300% leader experience gain, +50% influence gain from rivalries, -20% claim influence cost)
-Reward Research policy (0.6 Energy 0.1 Physics/Society/Engineering research) => (0.6 Energy 0.1 Physics/Society/Engineering research 0.1 Unity)
-Convoluted Commercialism policy (0.2 Energy 0.2 Minerals 0.2 Food 0.2 Consumer Goods 0.2 Alloys, +5% Amenities from Jobs) => (0.3 Energy 0.3 Minerals 0.3 Food 0.2 Alloys, +5% Amenities from Jobs)

7/10/19
-no more taking opposing Ethics
-Trading Posts: +2 to Starbase Capacity. Border Friction instead increases opinion with factions that can trade. Build outpost influence cost scales 80% less with distance. Starbases give an additional +2 to empire cohesion. Starbase building resource/unity/tech output quadrupled.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
Trading Posts: +4 to Starbase Capacity. Border Friction instead increases opinion with factions that can trade. Build outpost influence cost scales 80% less with distance. Starbases give an additional +2 to empire cohesion. (+2 Trade value for each hyper lane connecting to another empire if possible)
-Private Military Contractors: Soldiers give +2 Trade Value and enforcers give +3 Trade value.
-Industrial Militarization 0.2 Alloys => 0.1 Alloys, -50% ship build time => -75% ship build time
-MegaCorp base +15% to trade value => +20% to trade value
-Technical Expertise: Generator districts are removed and replaced with City Districts, -2 Housing in city districts; clerks now give +3 energy/+3 trade value
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
Intrinsic Mercantilism: Clerks Produce an Additional 2 Trade Value; all other workers produce one less resource but also an additional 1 trade value.
-Naval Contractors: +10% to Naval Cap, Shipyards replaced with Contractor Hubs, allows the construction of a ship (like Shipyards), increases naval capacity by 2, +5 trade value. Ship alloy upkeep replaced with 2x the cost in Energy.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
Naval Contractors: +10% to Naval Cap, ship alloy upkeep replaced with 2x the cost in Energy, +15% Research in Propulsion, Particles, and Military Theory
-Advertise Adversaries policy +50% rivalry influence gain => +100 rivalry influence gain

7/12/19
-readded opposing civics
-added Zero-G Production
 
Last edited:

Tamwin5

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I disagree completely with the two civic points idea, as well as the "doublethink" approach(should be a special civic, if it is added). While the idea of changing your trade policy to cover shortfalls is interesting, it won't work. Trade is too large a percentage of a Megacorp's income, and so if they ever switch out of something, it will leave an even bigger gap. Changing an entire economy also isn't a simple or easy thing. The idea of using your economy to cover shortfalls is much better done by simply buying things off of the galactic market.

While I dislike the idea of buffing trade policies, I think they could use with adding some more ones. Those ideas have some merit. Policy civics I also disagree with. Either the policy is more powerful than the others, and you always run it (Industrial Militarization, Convoluted Commercialism, Compensated Conversation, Advertise Adversaries), or it's weak and the civic isn't picked. If more trade options are added, some of them could be ethics-locked, but none should be civic-locked.

For your other civic ideas:
  • Technical Expertise: This is weird. You nerf the housing of city districts, but make clerks ridiculously OP. While the idea behind this civic is ok, the approach is weird and unintuitive. I think instead, you should make this civic like agrarian ideal, but focused on generator districts instead. Maybe a few other changes? Needs more thought and iteration.
  • Extraplanetary Privatization: A reasonable idea, but it needs a little more to make it worth being a civic. It also should effect every staircase upgrade (why exclude the first one?) and instead of changing the tradition, just give the civic -60% upkeep and +2 admin cap per starbase.
  • Private Prospectors: Private colony ships are currently super OP, they should probably be 1000 energy. They do need some other persistent befit though, so that it's worth keeping. Instead of the 10% to minerals and the planetary prospecting, I think it should be something related to space based resources. +10% to all space harvested resources? Mining stations have half upkeep? No upkeep? Something like that.
  • Indentured Assets: I don't think the non-slave happiness makes sense, but I do like the idea of buffing trade value for slaves, since it only effects clerks. Encouraging the player to have legions of indentured paper-pushers is EXACTLY what this civic brings to mind. 10/10
  • Free Traders: I don't really like the idea of making this a can't remove civic, but if you do that branch offices should be 0 empire sprawl.
  • Trading Posts: Reversing border friction is *perfect* for this civic. Another 10/10 idea. Making building outposts not scale with distance is... dangerous. It encourages skipping systems and leaving a patchwork empire. Instead, I think it should reduce the maximum influence an outposts costs, to 500 or 300. That way nearby you want to go system by system, but you can make distant outposts much easier. The Empire cohesion bit isn't needed. Trade collection range doubled just means that you can collect your entire empire from 1 starbase (basically), so that should go. The resource output being doubled I'm torn about, because I think its fine, but it also feels a little out of character.
  • Naval Contractors: Contractor hubs are RIDICULOUSLY OP. Like, wow. It's a shipyard, but it generates 7 extra energy on top (shipyards have 2 energy maintenance. I also don't think the alloy upkeep should be changed.
  • Private Military Companies: The Chief Security Officer job just has too much stuff going on with it. It's a soldier AND an enforcer AND adds some extra unity AND a stackable army experience buff. This is far too complex, and I think also the wrong direction. Imo, Private Military companies should do something like adding 2 trade value to soldiers and enforcers.
 

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I disagree completely with the two civic points idea, as well as the "doublethink" approach(should be a special civic, if it is added).
Assuming you mean Ethic points, the reason why I limited them to 2 Ethic points is mostly that MegaCorps would also gain the added bonus of producing an additional 15% Trade value, which, combined with their buffed trade policies, is nothing to scoff at, and, in my opinion, worth the singular Ethic point. I actually originally had this value at 25% but decided it would be too overpowered and a nerfed it.

"Doublethink", I felt was fitting, because of their nature as a MegaCorporation. As a governing body less focused on politics and more focused on profit, it made sense to me that different offices or departments with relatively little sway over the top executives who only care about the bottom line may hold different views or ethics. And the executives wouldn't really care about the contrast of opinions, of course, as long as it didn't interfere with the bottom line. That, however, was just my take. You'll need a more convincing argument to win me over.

The idea of using your economy to cover shortfalls is much better done by simply buying things off of the galactic market.
Yeah, I've been waffling on this. Originally I had on one to one conversion with resources but decided it was a little too overpowered; I changed it back. If it were a 1:1 conversion it would almost certainly be more efficient and worth changing the Trade Policy for a year. While it is more micro, it's only a once a year kind of thing. It is undeniably more efficient to switch the policy as opposed to buying off the market, and since it only takes one year to change back to energy, it's more than worthwhile to simply switch it. While it does take some micro, it only takes about as much micro as actually buying the stuff off the market.

As for my Civics, they're a bit of a mixed pack. Some are definitely better thought out than others. I actually do agree with you to an extent, some of my policy civics I screwed up, but some, like Peace for the Peasants, I believe would work as intended. I also made some changes to them. For now, I'll go down the list of Civics that you addressed.

  • Technical Expertise: Surprisingly enough, this is probably one of my more thought out civics. The Clerks are ridiculously OP, but, on the other hand, this civic is extremely geared towards passive (probably) tall tech rush. Why? Well, this civic immediately chops down your initial City District housing to 3. If the player doesn't tech rush up into +3 housing from Districts and Traditions, they'll soon be way over their housing needs, which will kill their happiness and economy. And the player is not going to be able to effectively rush housing and a tradition while also making alloys and fleets, forcing them into a passive playstyle. Also, the addition of Generator Districts to City Districts is going to allow for the player to spam clerks, but is also going to force the player to build a lot of City Districts in order to keep up with housing needs, which is in turn going to quickly balloon their sprawl, which is going to quickly stop their expansion since going too far over administration cap is really bad for MegaCorps and will stop them from getting the techs and traditions they need to make those districts actually good. So basically, what this civic will do is give the player a strong economy, but most likely as the cost of their early-game ambitions. It would take some testing to confirm it actually works, but I think the general premise is solid.
  • Extraplanetary Privatization: Yeah, your idea is just easier to code in general and just a better idea all around. Also, it does affect every starbase upgrade, I meant that only the first upgrade costs alloys, all the rest cost energy. Though now that I think about it, might as well just make them all cost energy, I'll change it to avoid confusion.
  • Private Prospectors:
    +10% to all space harvested resources?
    I would do this, but robots. I'll increase ship cost to 800 though, 1000 is a little too much in my opinion, it's nearing not efficient.
  • Indentured Assets: Non-slave happiness, because they own the slaves. Imagine not needing to do your own paperwork.
  • Free Traders: Fair enough, 0 Sprawl.
  • Trading Posts: This is honestly the weirdest one of the bunch. I wanted to make starbases actually useful economically, while also allowing a MegaCorp to play a "wide", Xenophilic build without actually being wide. You could have fingers in all corners of the Galaxy without actually really even being there. I could easily see this being one of the most broken Civics of the bunch; I could also see it being useless. I changed it to 80% less scaling influence cost, though, in order to be safe. The general premise is to expand into things like nebulas and black holes to mine/research them for resources and use that to fuel the economy. As for empire cohesion, yeah, I guess it's not strictly needed, but it would be pretty easy to add, and I'm not really sure why not. I did drop collection range, though. (Also note that resources are quadrupled but be reminded that most of the starbase buildings require either significant investment or tech to use, and even then, they're still not that amazing)
  • Naval Contractors: Okay, I mean, I still don't think it's that OP because it's hard to stack the things up and even then they won't be gaining you that much overall, but I get that they're maybe a little too functional for war, spamming these would simply work too well. I changed it, Contractor Hubs would instead be a starbase building, it would give the ability to make 2 more ships at once, +2 Trade Protection range and +30 Trade Protection, +10 Trade Value, +100 starting experience to fleets, and +2 Soldier Jobs in the system. It would, however, cost 500 Alloys. As for why the alloy cost is changed, it's because the Naval Contractors are supposed to be flying/maintaining your ships and you're paying them.
  • Private Military Companies: Your idea for Private Military Companies is great. I stole it. I also kept the Chief Security Officers, though. I distilled them down to being army based, while also removing the 20% extra damage.
As for Policy Civics, I messed up. I want them to be more situational, with a couple of exceptions. I made some changes to the numbers to reflect that. After the tweaks I made, only 3 out of the 8 should be policies that you would want to run continuously. The other 5 should be really good for specific situations, but not necessarily always good.

Anyway, thanks for the criticisms. Even if I didn't take all of your advice, it was really helpful and allowed me to improve on a bunch of things. Thanks.
 
Last edited:

eagletrekkie

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"Doublethink", I felt was fitting, because of their nature as a MegaCorporation. As a governing body less focused on politics and more focused on profit, it made sense to me that different offices or departments with relatively little sway over the top executives who only care about the bottom line may hold different views or ethics. And the executives wouldn't really care about the contrast of opinions, of course, as long as it didn't interfere with the bottom line. That, however, was just my take. You'll need a more convincing argument to win me over.
Factions is what you just described there. Government ethics is the ethos the system is built on, and therefore the ethos of the top executives. Different departments with different opinions is factions.
 

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Assuming you mean Ethic points, the reason why I limited them to 2 Ethic points is mostly that MegaCorps would also gain the added bonus of producing an additional 15% Trade value, which, combined with their buffed trade policies, is nothing to scoff at, and, in my opinion, worth the singular Ethic point. I actually originally had this value at 25% but decided it would be too overpowered and a nerfed it.

"Doublethink", I felt was fitting, because of their nature as a MegaCorporation. As a governing body less focused on politics and more focused on profit, it made sense to me that different offices or departments with relatively little sway over the top executives who only care about the bottom line may hold different views or ethics. And the executives wouldn't really care about the contrast of opinions, of course, as long as it didn't interfere with the bottom line. That, however, was just my take. You'll need a more convincing argument to win me over.



Yeah, I've been waffling on this. Originally I had on one to one conversion with resources but decided it was a little too overpowered; I changed it back. If it were a 1:1 conversion it would almost certainly be more efficient and worth changing the Trade Policy for a year. While it is more micro, it's only a once a year kind of thing. It is undeniably more efficient to switch the policy as opposed to buying off the market, and since it only takes one year to change back to energy, it's more than worthwhile to simply switch it. While it does take some micro, it only takes about as much micro as actually buying the stuff off the market.

As for my Civics, they're a bit of a mixed pack. Some are definitely better thought out than others. I actually do agree with you to an extent, some of my policy civics I screwed up, but some, like Peace for the Peasants, I believe would work as intended. I also made some changes to them. For now, I'll go down the list of Civics that you addressed.

  • Technical Expertise: Surprisingly enough, this is probably one of my more thought out civics. The Clerks are ridiculously OP, but, on the other hand, this civic is extremely geared towards passive (probably) tall tech rush. Why? Well, this civic immediately chops down your initial City District housing to 3. If the player doesn't tech rush up into +3 housing from Districts and Traditions, they'll soon be way over their housing needs, which will kill their happiness and economy. And the player is not going to be able to effectively rush housing and a tradition while also making alloys and fleets, forcing them into a passive playstyle. Also, the addition of Generator Districts to City Districts is going to allow for the player to spam clerks, but is also going to force the player to build a lot of City Districts in order to keep up with housing needs, which is in turn going to quickly balloon their sprawl, which is going to quickly stop their expansion since going too far over administration cap is really bad for MegaCorps and will stop them from getting the techs and traditions they need to make those districts actually good. So basically, what this civic will do is give the player a strong economy, but most likely as the cost of their early-game ambitions. It would take some testing to confirm it actually works, but I think the general premise is solid.
  • Extraplanetary Privatization: Yeah, your idea is just easier to code in general and just a better idea all around. Also, it does affect every starbase upgrade, I meant that only the first upgrade costs alloys, all the rest cost energy. Though now that I think about it, might as well just make them all cost energy, I'll change it to avoid confusion.
  • Private Prospectors:

    I would do this, but robots. I'll increase ship cost to 800 though, 1000 is a little too much in my opinion, it's nearing not efficient.
  • Indentured Assets: Non-slave happiness, because they own the slaves. Imagine not needing to do your own paperwork.
  • Free Traders: Fair enough, 0 Sprawl.
  • Trading Posts: This is honestly the weirdest one of the bunch. I wanted to make starbases actually useful economically, while also allowing a MegaCorp to play a "wide", Xenophilic build without actually being wide. You could have fingers in all corners of the Galaxy without actually really even being there. I could easily see this being one of the most broken Civics of the bunch; I could also see it being useless. I changed it to 80% less scaling influence cost, though, in order to be safe. The general premise is to expand into things like nebulas and black holes to mine/research them for resources and use that to fuel the economy. As for empire cohesion, yeah, I guess it's not strictly needed, but it would be pretty easy to add, and I'm not really sure why not. I did drop collection range, though. (Also note that resources are quadrupled but be reminded that most of the starbase buildings require either significant investment or tech to use, and even then, they're still not that amazing)
  • Naval Contractors: Okay, I mean, I still don't think it's that OP because it's hard to stack the things up and even then they won't be gaining you that much overall, but I get that they're maybe a little too functional for war, spamming these would simply work too well. I changed it, Contractor Hubs would instead be a starbase building, it would give the ability to make 2 more ships at once, +2 Trade Protection range and +30 Trade Protection, +10 Trade Value, +100 starting experience to fleets, and +2 Soldier Jobs in the system. It would, however, cost 500 Alloys. As for why the alloy cost is changed, it's because the Naval Contractors are supposed to be flying/maintaining your ships and you're paying them.
  • Private Military Companies: Your idea for Private Military Companies is great. I stole it. I also kept the Chief Security Officers, though. I distilled them down to being army based, while also removing the 20% extra damage.
As for Policy Civics, I messed up. I want them to be more situational, with a couple of exceptions. I made some changes to the numbers to reflect that. After the tweaks I made, only 3 out of the 8 should be policies that you would want to run continuously. The other 5 should be really good for specific situations, but not necessarily always good.

Anyway, thanks for the criticisms. Even if I didn't take all of your advice, it was really helpful and allowed me to improve on a bunch of things. Thanks.
It's not that losing an Ethic point is worth more or less than 15% trade value. It's that it limits player choice (what if I want to be pacifist authoritarian spiritualists? Every Ethic is required there) and 90+% won't use opposing ethics, because it makes little sense outside of a few scenarios and is actively detrimental, due to faction demands. If you want to add doublethink, make it a civic choice. Give it some other gameplay bonuses or tools to use.

My main opposition to this change is it is unnecessary, and the one thing it adds both isn't worth the story/rp/immersion cost AND can be done in a better way. I also think Megacorps would tend to be less approving of divergent beliefs. You want to see product, and if your customer base all shares the same ideas it's much easier to market.


The galactic market is only micro If you manually buy. You can set it up to automatically buy or sell resources, completely removing that micro. I'd hate to be forced into a strategy where constantly switching my trade policy to buoy my resources is required.


Civics
  • Technical Expertise: You are looking at this civic as a changed city district. Thats not how this will be used. A technician/miner produces 4 resources base. The buffed clerk produces 3 energy and 3 trade value (effectively 6). You say people will need to tech rush to get +housing. People will just build an extra district or two, maybe one of the housing buildings, and not worry about it. Because these OP jobs are worker level, they can be worked by slaves. Conquering becomes hugely profitable. You can either use your immense trade value to go for marketplace of ideas, and get that unity for the eventual +1 housing, or go consumer benefits, swap your manufactories to foundries, and go militarized economy for no cost (it only applies to jobs). This civic punishes a tall or late game focused strategy(which need housing), and facilitates an aggressive rush strategy. It very overpowered in it's current stance, as well.
  • Extraplanetary Privatization: The way I saw my version working, was the the outpost cost alloys, but everything past that used the civic. That way the alloy cost of expansion is the same, which preserves balance.
  • Private Prospectors: Let's do the math on the cost of a colony ship. It costs 200 food, 200 CG, and 200 alloys. Using galactic market prices as estimates, 1 food = 1 energy, 1 CG = 2 energy, and 1 alloy = 4 energy. So the 200/200/200 is worth 200/400/800, or 1400 energy together. Alloys are also probably worth more than 4 energy, especially in the early game when expansion AND military need them. Being able to get a colony sip for 1/3 the price is OP, even by itself. But it should be a civic that could reasonably be kept post colonization, to preserve balance and stop a meta of reforming out of the civic. It also needs to not be OP. A delicate balance.
  • Indentured Assets: The corporation owns the slaves. Not the people.
  • Trading Posts: Perhaps a different civic to focus on in-space production and manufacturing? Would have a small/reasonable buff to all mining and/or research stations, and a much larger buff to starbase production (probably exclude naval cap, ship building, and trade). I always hated how weak starbase production buildings were. 5 easily minerals from a nebula refinery is just bleh. Leave trading posts to be about actual trading posts in space, and setting up remote outposts. That idea is unique, would be fun to play, and makes complete sense narratively. Let's make it strong/balanced along those ideas, and not mix in another.
  • Naval Contractors: 10 trade value from a building is quite powerful, even with the high cost. I think you are also falling into the pitfall of stuffing too many things into one civic again. Having a civic add a starbase module or building will have problems, for the same reason as adding trade policies (slightly less so though). There are just too few options/slots, so adding another risks being OP, or never used. I think it could be done, with the right bonus/type of production, but I don't think this is it. I don't really have a better idea for one at the moment though, so... :/ . I understand the reasoning behind the upkeep change, but I think it messes with core gameplay balance too much. Also it halves the cost of the alloy portion of the upkeep, effectively.
  • Private Military Companies: I think your changed version is a little weak. The civic citizenships service gives +15% naval capacity and +2 unity from soldiers. 1 unity = 2 trade value, going off of the trade policies. So you get 1/4 the soldier value, and I don't think 2 trade value from enforcers is equal to 15% naval capacity. So it could use a buff.
 

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It's not that losing an Ethic point is worth more or less than 15% trade value. It's that it limits player choice (what if I want to be pacifist authoritarian spiritualists? Every Ethic is required there)
I mean, you can't give MegaCorps the +15% Trade value without taking away an ethic point. Think of it not so much as only having two ethic points, but more as spending an Ethic point to be a MegaCorp. Thinking about it, though, I decided to buff it a little, up to +20%. As for doublethink, I guess nobody likes it so I just dropped it.

The galactic market is only micro If you manually buy. You can set it up to automatically buy or sell resources, completely removing that micro.
Maybe this is just me, but I manually buy everything. I pretty much never automatically buy things (but I do sell stuff). This would be something I use a lot. Also, you're not really being forced into switching policies. 1.25 Energy for every 1 trade value is already more efficient than regular empires, switching policy just allows for even more efficiency. It's worthy to note that MegaCorps are also usually played tall, and slightly more micro to min-max your smaller economy more should be somewhat expected.

As for the civics,
  • Technical Expertise: I actually decided this Civic was a little too finicky (partly due to your criticisms) and decided to delete it and replace it with Intrinsic Mercantilism which I feel is overall more in line with what I'm trying to do with these changes.
  • Extraplanetary Privatization: Maybe I did a bad job explaining, but I'm pretty sure we're on the same page here.
  • Private Prospectors: it's my personal opinion that 1000 is a little too much, but I definitely agree that 500 needs a nerf somewhat.
  • Indentured Assets: Just because the Corporation owns them doesn't mean they're not doing everyone else's paperwork. Not being at the bottom of the corporate ladder makes everyone else happier, including the grunts, who are likely doing less grunt work.
  • Trading Posts: You're correct and I agree that buffing starbase output dilutes the intent of the civic. I buffed it a little to make up for removing the resource output increase.
  • Naval Contractors: Honestly, this is one of the civics that I really struggled with. No idea what to do with it. I wasn't really satisfied with either of my ideas for it and agree with your criticism that the new one is somewhat diluted. I'll try and come up with something for it, and also work on a Civic for extraplanetary mining/making starbases have actual production.
  • Private Military Companies: Yeah, I agree, I buffed it. I'm just cautious about making either job too much better than Clerks. Technically two more Unity is significantly more value, but Unity isn't very flexible as a resource.

Edit: I changed Military Contractors to something a little more stock but more concise/consistent and better. Also thanks for the continued feedback.
 
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Tamwin5

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I mean, you can't give MegaCorps the +15% Trade value without taking away an ethic point. Think of it not so much as only having two ethic points, but more as spending an Ethic point to be a MegaCorp. Thinking about it, though, I decided to buff it a little, up to +20%. As for doublethink, I guess nobody likes it so I just dropped it.[/QUOTE]

By trading an ethic point for 15% trade value, you remove choice and options from the player. You make things less interesting. And in exchange you get... a boring flat bonus. It's just less interesting and less fun. I think you should go into more detail blind your thought process, because I honestly can't see a reason why this would be preferable.

Maybe this is just me, but I manually buy everything. I pretty much never automatically buy things (but I do sell stuff). This would be something I use a lot. Also, you're not really being forced into switching policies. 1.25 Energy for every 1 trade value is already more efficient than regular empires, switching policy just allows for even more efficiency. It's worthy to note that MegaCorps are also usually played tall, and slightly more micro to min-max your smaller economy more should be somewhat expected.
Imo, policies should be long term and impactful. The 10 year cool down is a very blunt way of doing it (for sure could be better), but it should be a choice that the player considers the pros and cons of, and only really shifts if the empire is shifting, for some reason. By lowering the cool down, you make the choice less impactful, and for certain things like war policy, less meaningful. I also don't think megacorps should have buffed trade policies. 1 to 1 conversion is simple. If you wanted them to get 25% more out of trade, just give them a +25% to trade value empire modifier.

As for the civics,
  • Intrinsic Mercantilism: Tbh, I'd make it 1 trade value to clerks, and I think it still would be powerful.
  • Indentured Assets: You could also make the argument that employees would be less happy, since the threat of falling behind and ending up in slavery is a very real possibility. I think it best to not have happiness modifiers, and do something else with it.
  • Trading Posts: I still think a low cap is better than lowering the distance scaling, but it's more about design principles and what you want the civic to encourage. The distance scaling approach encourages nearby 'outposts', while the lower cap encourages distant 'outposts'.
  • Naval Contractors: Yeah, will probably have to wait for new and better ideas.
  • Zero-G Production: New civic idea: gets the 4x bonus to starbase building resource production. They could also get a null-G foundry module, 4 minerals to 2 alloys, 1 energy upkeep (breaking my above thought about starbases, but ah well).
 

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Sorry for the late response, I've had a busy couple days and was exhausted to post. I wrote half on Thursday, and the save was weird so some of it might have not made it back into the OP.

By trading an ethic point for 15% trade value, you remove choice and options from the player. You make things less interesting. And in exchange you get... a boring flat bonus. It's just less interesting and less fun.
Here, it's like you're arguing against Machine Empires or Hiveminds because they need to spend all three Ethic points on Gestalt Consciousness, and it's taking away choices from the players. While the argument isn't false, yes, they have fewer options, they are trading their options for something more than worthwhile.

Imo, policies should be long term and impactful. The 10 year cool down is a very blunt way of doing it (for sure could be better), but it should be a choice that the player considers the pros and cons of, and only really shifts if the empire is shifting, for some reason. By lowering the cool down, you make the choice less impactful, and for certain things like war policy, less meaningful. I also don't think megacorps should have buffed trade policies. 1 to 1 conversion is simple. If you wanted them to get 25% more out of trade, just give them a +25% to trade value empire modifier.
Buffing MegaCorps' trade policies are part of an effort to make them more unique. Trade and trade policies being the focal point of a MegaCorp makes a lot of sense, and them being stronger than regular empires also makes sense. MegaCorps are supposed to be focused around money and profit, and those things are most represented by trade value and Energy. As said in my original post, anyone can do Energy, if MegaCorps really wanted something unique, they'd specialize in trade value. My issue with MegaCorps is that, as I explained above, none of the changes currently given to MegaCorps have a significant impact on their empire's functions. Expansion is pretty much the same, you just have to stop earlier. The primary difference is Branch Offices, but at the end of the day, Branch Offices don't have too huge an impact on gameplay. The idea here is to allow MegaCorps to invest in something that regular empires traditionally don't invest in; trade value. If you just keep MegaCorps with 3 Ethics and don't change any of their trade policies aside from a small buff to trade values, they're effectively back to being just regular empires.

Playing a Machine Empire right now feels like you're playing a Machine Empire. Playing a Hivemind feels like you're playing a Hivemind. But playing a MegaCorp, I pretty much just feel like a regular empire that happens to be able to build Branch Offices. There are no mechanic changes intrinsic to your own empire. The policies are all the same. Pretty much all the buildings are the same. There's no unique terraform options or other planetary things. You get the same number of Ethics and Ethic points. There are practically no changes to anything at all in your empire, with the sole exception of sprawl penalty, which doesn't actually directly change the inner workings of your empire at all. Even If you changed the civics to be like the ones I have above, they still wouldn't be much of a change from regular empire civics.

When you play a Machine empire, it's in your face that you're a machine empire all the time. Your diplomacy is different. You don't grow organic pops. You have different terraforming options. Your research has different costs. Expansion and colonies cost different things. You have a variety of policies that are different. With MegaCorps, there's literally none of that. There's no mechanic reminding you throughout the game that you're a MegaCorp except for branch Offices and sprawl, which you usually forget about anyway by the mid-late game and might not even have a big impact on your gameplay anyway.

I want to feel like a MegaCorp when I play a MegaCorp. Just changing the civics wouldn't do it, any more than it would do it for a machine empire. Giving trade value a buff is a step in the right direction. But it takes more than more than one small change to make a gameplay option truly feel unique. As with machine empires and hive minds, it's the small changes that add up to make an overall very different gameplay experience. It's all the small changes listed in the above paragraph that combine together to make machine empires feel very distinct from regular empires.

That said, having multiple government options to fit whatever personality I want and long term impactful policies are good—for a regular empire. But that's the issue. MegaCorps shouldn't play like a regular empire. They should play like a MegaCorp. Taking a page out of the playbook of the Corporations of today, it's not about the politics or the policies, it's about the bottom line. In a regular empire, sure, when the doddering old emperor says something needs to happen, the bureaucrats can take a decade to do it. But in a MegaCorp, when the execs snap their fingers, the management should make it happen, fast. And I feel that politics and the policies should represent that. If the execs need it to happen, company policy should be ready to change, and quickly.

This is why I added in doublethink, and why I made it so that MegaCorps can't take Fanatics; because Corporations (or at least the ones we have today) don't really care about politics. Or, at least, let me rephrase that: they care about politics about as much as they can make a profit off them. They don't really care about endorsing whatever ideology they showcase in their advertisements, they care about what will get people to spend their money on their products. Corporations do the same BS all the time, they'll say whatever they need to say, "believe" whatever they need to believe, do whatever they need to do in order to get those profit margins up. It should be the exact same thing with the government of a MegaCorp. They shouldn't care if half of the execs of the MegaCorp are Militarists while the other half are Pacifists; as long as money is flowing into everybody's pockets, they'll happily work together to get rich and be more than willing to do contradictory things to get there.

And as for the Policies, the base increase to trade value, and the changes to the civics, those are all combined to represent the fixation of a MegaCorp on producing and spending money, which currently completely and utterly fails to show through at all, and of which the civics would fail to wholly represent.

Now it is possible that I've misunderstood what MegaCorps are supposed to represent, but if money should be above all else, then I feel the changes make sense. And while they might not change gameplay to the same extent that machine empires have different gameplay and hiveminds have different gameplay, it would still likely change gameplay by quite a bit. I'm not opposed to other ideas, though, so if you can think of something better, feel free to suggest it.

(also, in case you couldn't tell, I managed to talk myself into adding back opposing ethics)

As for the Civics,
  • Intrinsic Mercantilism: Yeah, fair, I changed it to 1 Trade/1 Amenity.
  • Indentured Assets: Well, I changed it to -50% Resettlement Cost
  • Trading Posts: Leapfrogging outwards would be the ideal approach, with a Trading Posts empire slowly spreading outwards while taking key systems, as opposed to teching up and then doing so in the late game.
  • Zero-G Production: I added it, but with a twist of my own that would make the mineral economy somewhat reliant on mining stations. I tried to balance it, but it's pretty radical and would be the sort of thing that needed testing to see if it worked or not. Honestly, it might be broken. I might delete/revise it later.
 

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Sorry for the late response, I've had a busy couple days and was exhausted to post. I wrote half on Thursday, and the save was weird so some of it might have not made it back into the OP.



Here, it's like you're arguing against Machine Empires or Hiveminds because they need to spend all three Ethic points on Gestalt Consciousness, and it's taking away choices from the players. While the argument isn't false, yes, they have fewer options, they are trading their options for something more than worthwhile.



Buffing MegaCorps' trade policies are part of an effort to make them more unique. Trade and trade policies being the focal point of a MegaCorp makes a lot of sense, and them being stronger than regular empires also makes sense. MegaCorps are supposed to be focused around money and profit, and those things are most represented by trade value and Energy. As said in my original post, anyone can do Energy, if MegaCorps really wanted something unique, they'd specialize in trade value. My issue with MegaCorps is that, as I explained above, none of the changes currently given to MegaCorps have a significant impact on their empire's functions. Expansion is pretty much the same, you just have to stop earlier. The primary difference is Branch Offices, but at the end of the day, Branch Offices don't have too huge an impact on gameplay. The idea here is to allow MegaCorps to invest in something that regular empires traditionally don't invest in; trade value. If you just keep MegaCorps with 3 Ethics and don't change any of their trade policies aside from a small buff to trade values, they're effectively back to being just regular empires.

Playing a Machine Empire right now feels like you're playing a Machine Empire. Playing a Hivemind feels like you're playing a Hivemind. But playing a MegaCorp, I pretty much just feel like a regular empire that happens to be able to build Branch Offices. There are no mechanic changes intrinsic to your own empire. The policies are all the same. Pretty much all the buildings are the same. There's no unique terraform options or other planetary things. You get the same number of Ethics and Ethic points. There are practically no changes to anything at all in your empire, with the sole exception of sprawl penalty, which doesn't actually directly change the inner workings of your empire at all. Even If you changed the civics to be like the ones I have above, they still wouldn't be much of a change from regular empire civics.

When you play a Machine empire, it's in your face that you're a machine empire all the time. Your diplomacy is different. You don't grow organic pops. You have different terraforming options. Your research has different costs. Expansion and colonies cost different things. You have a variety of policies that are different. With MegaCorps, there's literally none of that. There's no mechanic reminding you throughout the game that you're a MegaCorp except for branch Offices and sprawl, which you usually forget about anyway by the mid-late game and might not even have a big impact on your gameplay anyway.

I want to feel like a MegaCorp when I play a MegaCorp. Just changing the civics wouldn't do it, any more than it would do it for a machine empire. Giving trade value a buff is a step in the right direction. But it takes more than more than one small change to make a gameplay option truly feel unique. As with machine empires and hive minds, it's the small changes that add up to make an overall very different gameplay experience. It's all the small changes listed in the above paragraph that combine together to make machine empires feel very distinct from regular empires.

That said, having multiple government options to fit whatever personality I want and long term impactful policies are good—for a regular empire. But that's the issue. MegaCorps shouldn't play like a regular empire. They should play like a MegaCorp. Taking a page out of the playbook of the Corporations of today, it's not about the politics or the policies, it's about the bottom line. In a regular empire, sure, when the doddering old emperor says something needs to happen, the bureaucrats can take a decade to do it. But in a MegaCorp, when the execs snap their fingers, the management should make it happen, fast. And I feel that politics and the policies should represent that. If the execs need it to happen, company policy should be ready to change, and quickly.

This is why I added in doublethink, and why I made it so that MegaCorps can't take Fanatics; because Corporations (or at least the ones we have today) don't really care about politics. Or, at least, let me rephrase that: they care about politics about as much as they can make a profit off them. They don't really care about endorsing whatever ideology they showcase in their advertisements, they care about what will get people to spend their money on their products. Corporations do the same BS all the time, they'll say whatever they need to say, "believe" whatever they need to believe, do whatever they need to do in order to get those profit margins up. It should be the exact same thing with the government of a MegaCorp. They shouldn't care if half of the execs of the MegaCorp are Militarists while the other half are Pacifists; as long as money is flowing into everybody's pockets, they'll happily work together to get rich and be more than willing to do contradictory things to get there.

And as for the Policies, the base increase to trade value, and the changes to the civics, those are all combined to represent the fixation of a MegaCorp on producing and spending money, which currently completely and utterly fails to show through at all, and of which the civics would fail to wholly represent.

Now it is possible that I've misunderstood what MegaCorps are supposed to represent, but if money should be above all else, then I feel the changes make sense. And while they might not change gameplay to the same extent that machine empires have different gameplay and hiveminds have different gameplay, it would still likely change gameplay by quite a bit. I'm not opposed to other ideas, though, so if you can think of something better, feel free to suggest it.

(also, in case you couldn't tell, I managed to talk myself into adding back opposing ethics)

As for the Civics,
  • Intrinsic Mercantilism: Yeah, fair, I changed it to 1 Trade/1 Amenity.
  • Indentured Assets: Well, I changed it to -50% Resettlement Cost
  • Trading Posts: Leapfrogging outwards would be the ideal approach, with a Trading Posts empire slowly spreading outwards while taking key systems, as opposed to teching up and then doing so in the late game.
  • Zero-G Production: I added it, but with a twist of my own that would make the mineral economy somewhat reliant on mining stations. I tried to balance it, but it's pretty radical and would be the sort of thing that needed testing to see if it worked or not. Honestly, it might be broken. I might delete/revise it later.
Imo, Gestalt should only take 2 ethic points, letting them have a preference (and likely unique modifier/bonuses) for each ethic. Are my robots a swarm of identical units, working together in harmony? Or are they hierarchy of countless designs, each custom fit to its job and purpose? Are the robots purely invested in the research they were originally entrusted to advance? Or are they perhaps looking to try and see if they have souls? Similarly, a hive mind could be peaceful, or inquisitive, or friendly. It would make things more interesting.

I don't think megacorps need to be more unique. They are cousins to normal empires, compared to the different species that are gestalts. They should be similar. I think with the diplomacy expansion there will be more room for there to be differences in ways that make sense, but for now it's fine. You stress a *ton* on making things similar to modern corporations, and frankly, it's a huge mistake. Because this isn't just modern corporations in space. Every player has their own image, their own story. Not every corporation is focused around money for the sake of money, many see it as a means to an end. Aperture Science wants to test. XenoPizza will not rest until every alien is livestock. The cult of the worm seeks to convert heretics. It's not always about the bottom line. Don't constrain the mechanics solely to fit one playstyle and interpretation.

In terms of trade value, I'm talking about game design. I'm fine with megacorps having a bonus to trade value or additional trade policies, but the intrinsic 1 trade = 1 energy should be left alone. Megacorps are better at getting more money, not having that money magically be worth more.

You said we don't need civics, but I think it would make all the difference. Think about what it's like playing a regular machine empire, compared to Driven Assimilators, or Rogue Servitors, or a Determined Exterminator. It's a different style each time. A solid couple of gameplay changing civics is exactly what Corporate empires need to cement playstyles, and be more interesting.
 
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Threetails

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Imo, Gestalt should only take 2 ethic points, letting them have a preference (and likely unique modifier/bonuses) for each ethic. Are my robots a swarm of identical units, working together in harmony? Or are they hierarchy of countless designs, each custom fit to its job and purpose? Are the robots purely invested in the research they were originally entrusted to advance? Or are they perhaps looking to try and see if they have souls? Similarly, a hive mind could be peaceful, or inquisitive, or friendly. It would make things more interesting.

I don't think megacorps need to be more unique. They are cousins to normal empires, compared to the different species that are gestalts. They should be similar. I think with the diplomacy expansion there will be more room for there to be differences in ways that make sense, but for now, it's fine. You stress a *ton* on making things similar to modern corporations, and frankly, it's a huge mistake. Because this isn't just modern corporations in space. Every player has their own image, their own story. Not every corporation is focused around money for the sake of money, many see it as a means to an end. Aperture Science wants to test. XenoPizza will not rest until every alien is livestock. The cult of the worm seeks to convert heretics. It's not always about the bottom line. Don't constrain the mechanics solely to fit one playstyle and interpretation.
I disagree. It seems that your approach to the game is to make everything function more like how a regular empire would. Right now, regular empires have changing playstyles based primarily upon their Ethics which are supported by civics (with a couple of exceptions). Meanwhile, as you all but said in your post, Machine empires don't care about the politics at all and their defining differences in gameplay are drawn primarily from their civics. All the various examples of how Machine empires and Hive minds could have different personalities could be implemented through civics and would be better done that way as opposed to giving Gestalts Ethic points. Ethics are a manifestation of factions within your empire, and by adding them you're all but saying that Machines should have politics. I honestly could not disagree more. A civic for that would be fine but making it a mainstay of the faction wouldn't open up more options.

I think that a big issue here is that your idea of options is completely different from mine. You see gameplay options as being able to pick various Ethics; I see gameplay options as having radically different choices for empires that function completely differently. By both our definitions, the other person is taking away the other person's options.

I'm fine with megacorps having a bonus to trade value or additional trade policies, but the intrinsic 1 trade = 1 energy should be left alone. Megacorps are better at getting more money, not having that money magically be worth more.
Why? You can explain this rationally. It is not much of a stretch at all to expect MegaCorps to be better at both making money and spending it. It's not magically worth more, it's just that as a MegaCorp, they can set up exclusive contracts or whatever to make the procurement of resources more efficient. No magic needed.

You said we don't need civics, but I think it would make all the difference. Think about what it's like playing a regular machine empire, compared to Driven Assimilators, or Rogue Servitors, or a Determined Exterminator. It's a different style each time. A solid couple of gameplay changing civics is exactly what Corporate empires need to cement playstyles, and be more interesting.
This is a misquote. I did not say we don't need civics, nor do I think that civics aren't important, and I actually agree that civics should make quite a difference for MegaCorps. And that's exactly why I want to reduce the number of Ethic points and have no fanatics; so that Ethics have less of an impact on gameplay. What you're probably getting this "we don't need civics" idea is from my statement that civics aren't enough alone to truly make a unique gameplay experience. And I'll stand by that. Just change the civics, and it's still not a very unique gameplay experience from a regular empire. But change the trade policies and change the way Ethics and politics work and the gameplay experience could be incredibly unique. You point out here that Machine empires primarily rely on civics for different gameplay experiences. I would point out that while not universally true, regular empires largely rely on Ethics. Fanatic militarists mostly play the same. The same goes for pretty much any fanatic. The goal with MegaCorps is to mix the two methods of creating distinct gameplay experiences; you've on one hand got civics that make significant changes to gameplay, but you also have Ethics and politics to help guide different playstyles in different directions. It's striking a middle ground between the two ways of making a unique gameplay experience and could allow for something completely new.

Of course, at the end of the day, I think it really comes down to what your idea of "more options" is. For you, being able to pick between 30 or so combinations of Ethics with a couple of different mechanics from a regular empire is more relevant options. For me, the possibility of having one extremely different gameplay experience with 6 or so distinct, strong playstyles is relevant options. I get the feeling from your post especially with the "XenoPizza will not rest until every alien is livestock. The cult of the worm seeks to convert heretics." that you're more into rp (correct me if I'm wrong). For me, It's more about the core mechanics and actual in-game experience. I guess the best idea here is to find a way to allow for both at once. Unfortunately, I don't have any good ideas for this, at all.
 

Tamwin5

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We are getting a little off topic talking about gestalts, should try to keep on Corporate empires and I'll write up a proposal for my ideas on a separate thread. Going to respond to you though.

I disagree. It seems that your approach to the game is to make everything function more like how a regular empire would. Right now, regular empires have changing playstyles based primarily upon their Ethics which are supported by civics (with a couple of exceptions). Meanwhile, as you all but said in your post, Machine empires don't care about the politics at all and their defining differences in gameplay are drawn primarily from their civics. All the various examples of how Machine empires and Hive minds could have different personalities could be implemented through civics and would be better done that way as opposed to giving Gestalts Ethic points. Ethics are a manifestation of factions within your empire, and by adding them you're all but saying that Machines should have politics. I honestly could not disagree more. A civic for that would be fine but making it a mainstay of the faction wouldn't open up more options.

I think that a big issue here is that your idea of options is completely different from mine. You see gameplay options as being able to pick various Ethics; I see gameplay options as having radically different choices for empires that function completely differently. By both our definitions, the other person is taking away the other person's options.
I think normal empire play styles are determined equally by ethic, civics, and player. Sometimes the civic refines down a play style or approach, sometimes the civic *is* the approach. Just because all civics in the latter category have ethics requirements doesn't mean the ethics primarily determine the style.

I see gameplay options as being to chose options that impact play style and gameplay. Yes, this could also be done by adding 8 new civics. But I think a modified ethics system would be better, allow more player freedom (since they aren't cosmic a civic pick), and also allows better AI. Currently Hives and machines have nothing to distinguish them if they don't go for a gameplay altering civic. Giving 8 distinct options allows there to be a variance in AI that the player can easily understand. Again, something that could be done for civics but wouldn't be as clean if done that way.

In my perfect world, there would be both a one point 'ethic' and also a dozen gameplay overhaul civics. They aren't mutually exclusive.


Why? You can explain this rationally. It is not much of a stretch at all to expect MegaCorps to be better at both making money and spending it. It's not magically worth more, it's just that as a MegaCorp, they can set up exclusive contracts or whatever to make the procurement of resources more efficient. No magic needed.
This is actually more from a game design perspective, in terms of user understanding. Trade uses nice numbers, you either get it all as energy or half as energy. When a planet is produce 127 trade value you know instantly how much energy it turns into, or with a second of math, how much CGs or unity. It's simple and intuitive. Giving a flat buff of +25% trade value would have the exact same end effect, but wouldn't ruin the ease of understanding.

This is a misquote. I did not say we don't need civics, nor do I think that civics aren't important, and I actually agree that civics should make quite a difference for MegaCorps. And that's exactly why I want to reduce the number of Ethic points and have no fanatics; so that Ethics have less of an impact on gameplay. What you're probably getting this "we don't need civics" idea is from my statement that civics aren't enough alone to truly make a unique gameplay experience. And I'll stand by that. Just change the civics, and it's still not a very unique gameplay experience from a regular empire. But change the trade policies and change the way Ethics and politics work and the gameplay experience could be incredibly unique. You point out here that Machine empires primarily rely on civics for different gameplay experiences. I would point out that while not universally true, regular empires largely rely on Ethics. Fanatic militarists mostly play the same. The same goes for pretty much any fanatic. The goal with MegaCorps is to mix the two methods of creating distinct gameplay experiences; you've on one hand got civics that make significant changes to gameplay, but you also have Ethics and politics to help guide different playstyles in different directions. It's striking a middle ground between the two ways of making a unique gameplay experience and could allow for something completely new.
Above I mention the player as the third key part in gameplay. The reason all fanatic militarists play the same is that the player only(usually) chooses fanatic militarist if they want to go to war a ton that play through. If they want to tech rush they tend to go materialist. The ethic follows from the play style.

I understand wanting to make the core gameplay of megacorps feel more different. But I don't think your changes really accomplish that. Two ethic points and no fanaticism just limits options and creativity. Players will still choose the ethics that support either their game plan or story idea. I do think Corporate empires should have different internal politics, but internal politics are incredibly lacking in the current version. Hopefully a future update expands internal workings and politics (maybe with diplomacy?). Trade policies could be given a few more options for sure, but see above about why trade policies should be 1:1.

Let me talk about how Corporate Empires already changes your perception of the game. Megacorps experience an abundance of trade value, from executives, managers, and starting with 7 clerks. Because trade value is always at least 50% energy, this means that Megacorps have more energy credits, which can be used to buy other resources. A large amount of trade value also incentivizes other empires to form commercial pacts, allowing Megacorps to build branch offices. All of this is ignoring the empire size penalties.

Gameplay being more focus around trade already exists for megacorps. Even if you did add hot-swap trade policies, I'm bettering 70+% of players wouldn't use them. It's hard to switch out of a trade policy once your economy becomes dependent on it. Even more so once you have a massive economy so a switch is 100 to 200 energy or Consumer Goods.

Of course, at the end of the day, I think it really comes down to what your idea of "more options" is. For you, being able to pick between 30 or so combinations of Ethics with a couple of different mechanics from a regular empire is more relevant options. For me, the possibility of having one extremely different gameplay experience with 6 or so distinct, strong playstyles is relevant options. I get the feeling from your post especially with the "XenoPizza will not rest until every alien is livestock. The cult of the worm seeks to convert heretics." that you're more into rp (correct me if I'm wrong). For me, It's more about the core mechanics and actual in-game experience. I guess the best idea here is to find a way to allow for both at once. Unfortunately, I don't have any good ideas for this, at all.
I'm confused. How does restricting ethics points give 6 or so distinct strong play styles? Those sound like civics, which I agree we need more of. Yes, I tend to think on the rp and emergent story, but considering the majority of stellaris players play that way, that has to be a mindset you consider and give great weight to. What I really enjoy is when flavor/lore and gameplay mechanics mesh perfectly. Things that just make sense. Like your idea for trading posts giving negative border tension. I think that blend is the best way to allow for both at once, but it is quite hard to do.
 

Threetails

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I see gameplay options as being to chose options that impact play style and gameplay. Yes, this could also be done by adding 8 new civics. But I think a modified ethics system would be better, allow more player freedom (since they aren't cosmic a civic pick), and also allows better AI. Currently Hives and machines have nothing to distinguish them if they don't go for a gameplay altering civic. Giving 8 distinct options allows there to be a variance in AI that the player can easily understand. Again, something that could be done for civics but wouldn't be as clean if done that way.

In my perfect world, there would be both a one point 'ethic' and also a dozen gameplay overhaul civics. They aren't mutually exclusive.
I actually agree with you. A revamped ethics system could be interesting. Personally, though, I would expect Gestalts to have completely different ethics from regular empires. It also seems like the sort of project that would require a massive undertaking and rather expansive changes (quests and mechanics to go with new Ethics and ideals). I dunno, I guess I'll just have to wait for your post. That being said, it's not relevant to the current conversation.

This is actually more from a game design perspective, in terms of user understanding. Trade uses nice numbers, you either get it all as energy or half as energy. When a planet is produce 127 trade value you know instantly how much energy it turns into, or with a second of math, how much CGs or unity. It's simple and intuitive. Giving a flat buff of +25% trade value would have the exact same end effect, but wouldn't ruin the ease of understanding.
I guess the math is a little more complicated, but 1.25 versus 1 is the sort of math I feel that most Stellaris players can handle. Plus, you can see the exact total effect of trade value in the energy/unity/consumer goods dropdown menus, which I would argue is overall the more useful number. This new system wouldn't change that. And anyway, multiplying 127 trade value by 1.25 isn't much harder than multiplying it by 0.25 as you would have to for consumer goods, let alone 0.15 for Unity.

I understand wanting to make the core gameplay of megacorps feel more different. But I don't think your changes really accomplish that. Two ethic points and no fanaticism just limits options and creativity. Players will still choose the ethics that support either their game plan or story idea. I do think Corporate empires should have different internal politics, but internal politics are incredibly lacking in the current version. Hopefully a future update expands internal workings and politics (maybe with diplomacy?). Trade policies could be given a few more options for sure, but see above about why trade policies should be 1:1.

Let me talk about how Corporate Empires already changes your perception of the game. Megacorps experience an abundance of trade value, from executives, managers, and starting with 7 clerks. Because trade value is always at least 50% energy, this means that Megacorps have more energy credits, which can be used to buy other resources. A large amount of trade value also incentivizes other empires to form commercial pacts, allowing Megacorps to build branch offices. All of this is ignoring the empire size penalties.

Gameplay being more focus around trade already exists for megacorps. Even if you did add hot-swap trade policies, I'm bettering 70+% of players wouldn't use them. It's hard to switch out of a trade policy once your economy becomes dependent on it. Even more so once you have a massive economy so a switch is 100 to 200 energy or Consumer Goods.

...

I'm confused. How does restricting ethics points give 6 or so distinct strong play styles? Those sound like civics, which I agree we need more of. Yes, I tend to think on the rp and emergent story, but considering the majority of stellaris players play that way, that has to be a mindset you consider and give great weight to. What I really enjoy is when flavor/lore and gameplay mechanics mesh perfectly. Things that just make sense. Like your idea for trading posts giving negative border tension. I think that blend is the best way to allow for both at once, but it is quite hard to do.
I see Ethics as they are currently implemented as a representation of politics/factions within an empire, and reducing the number of ethic points and allowing for opposing ethics would represent a Megacorp's disregard of politics. But for me, it's not just this one change that would make it different; it would also be the civics, the trade policies, and the base buff to trade value that would all work together to make the gameplay experience very different. It's not just one change that does it, it's all the changes together. I agree that MegaCorps already have some advantages in the trade department; I just think that it's not enough. Also, thinking that people wouldn't use trade policies is largely conjecture. I'm certain I'd use them, but for me, a big part of my gameplay is min-maxing my economy, so for a player like me, using them is rather natural. That being said, they're not really being shoved down your throat; you can use the options or just stay on energy all the time. I'm not sure why you'd take away the option, to be honest. Just adding trade policies (looking at the code) seems really rather simple.

As for restricting Ethics giving playstyles, my explanation was confusing, that wasn't quite what I meant. Restricting Ethics is a rather drastic departure from how Ethics work now and would help to make the gameplay more unique. Between that, the trade policies, the buff to trade value, and the new civics, you'd get a more distinct gameplay experience, with 6-10 strong combinations of Ethics/Civics. I kind of just compacted all my thoughts into one sentence, which wasn't very clear.
 
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eagletrekkie

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I see Ethics as they are currently implemented as a representation of politics/factions within an empire, and reducing the number of ethic points and allowing for opposing ethics would represent a Megacorp's disregard of politics.
Ethics are not factions within the empires. Factions are factions within the empire. The governing ethics of an empire are the ethics your government is built upon, what they use as the basic framework to build the government. This is why ethics lock or unlock civics. Ethics are your government's structure, and factions exist within that structure.
 

Threetails

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Ethics are not factions within the empires. Factions are factions within the empire. The governing ethics of an empire are the ethics your government is built upon, what they use as the basic framework to build the government. This is why ethics lock or unlock civics. Ethics are your government's structure, and factions exist within that structure.
Ethics are not factions within the empire, of course. But the factions your empire starts with are representative of your Ethics, and your Ethics through the game usually represent your most prevalent factions. I don't think you can argue against factions and Ethics being tied together. To a large extent, Ethics are dictated by factions; combined, they're the manifestation of the politics of your empire (which includes the government).