Unity V influence - Make Unity produce influence. Divide the game between blue and purple actions.

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Pancakelord

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Simply put, we have 2 confused resources that thematically should do different things, but in practice end up all mixed up together.
I think this hurts the game quite a bit and makes it hard to form "distinct" empires that focus on internal projects vs external power projection (e.g. Tall vs Wide) more.


The Resources & their issues
Influence
  • is too close to mana (though not so close that it ever prompted an imperator-style revolt)
  • with a very narrow set of income sources: base + faction support + I think one or two capital buildings and a few GC/federation policies.
  • is used for a random and sometimes confusing set of things. everything from internal edicts to events to international diplomacy
Unity
  • is the ginger stepchild of resources
  • it feels like it was rammed into the game without a clear purpose but with several clear output points (e.g. temples).
  • conceptually it makes sense as something that would be used to hold your empire together (..."unity") or be used for domestic policies/actions but isnt, beyond traditions and (the often forgotten) unity-edicts.
I personally think a few things need to happen to correct this.
Cutting the game into two
  1. everything that happens INSIDE your empire --- The domain of Unity.
  2. everything that happens BEYOND / OUTSIDE your empire --- The domain of Influence.
I then think Influence production needs to be tethered to Unity.
  1. Unity should be the "base" resource. With influence becoming the "Advanced/Strategic" resource.
  2. Unity is produced as it currently is, no major changes here. Maybe tweak the values.
  3. Now unity is treated like Trade Value, with a policy (so no BS balance like with bureaucrats to screw with the AI, just a straight conversion) to determine the split between resources at the end of each month, with a ratio of X:Y resources going to Unity or Influence. Something like:
    1. 0.95:0.05
    2. 0.75:0.25
    3. 0.50:0.50
    4. 0.25:0.75
    5. 0.05:0.95
  4. The current base sources of influence should be removed from the game & other sources should be converted into multipliers that affect the above post conversion And raise the base influence stockpile level.
    • (e.g. 100 unity a month converted into 25 influence +10% on top from some modifier would get you 27.5 influence)
  5. Rebase all influence costs to correspond to this new income level - so an outpost might costs say 500 influence now but that's fine as all costs have been adjusted proportionately.
  6. Add extra unity costs to all internal empire things - in addition to energy or whatever.
    1. Want to terraform a world? It costs unity now, too.
    2. Want to colonise a world or upgrade it's capital building[just the capital, as that's a special thing] it costs unity now too.
How this might affect things

This sets out what an internal vs External action is.
It finally gives mechanical destinction to the designation of "tall empires" vs "Wide Empires" rather than nebulous definitions like "number of systems" or "number of planets/pops"
By mechanically separating domestic vs international actions it gives isolationist and expansionist different things to focus on - and weaknesses to both approaches - too.

  • Want to conquer half the galaxy fast? Well youre going to need a ton of influence for all those claims and outposts. Set your conversion ratio accordingly. But now you cannot do anywhere near as many internal things as you once could - it'll take a lot longer to build up your unity to colonise that world if you're converting 75% of it over to influence to claim blorg systems.
  • Conversely, want to play tall? Want to isolate yourself from the galaxy and spam out habs and ringworlds for days? Then you're going to not need much influence, but you will want a ton of unity for all those megaproject constructions & other internal actions (like converting all your worlds to gaia worlds or something).
 
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I think this is not untrue but it’s sort of backwards. There are actually ways to manage factions, promoting/suppressing as well as ways to influence ethics attraction. There could be much more and deeper ones, I agree. But you never use the ones that exist, do you? I don’t either. Because it doesn’t matter.
I use a few, like increasing the Xenophile faction is easy and they're easy to please if I'm not a 'Phobe, but overall they're not worth much trouble -- and, more to my point, the levers you do get to handle them are not worth using for that purpose.

E.g. if you're in a war, you're probably not doing it just to increase faction approval.

Fleshing out ways to manage factions has to wait for at least the update where factions do something important, otherwise it’s a complete waste of dev time. So the argument that you can’t build a mechanic around factions because the player doesn’t have tools to manage factions is effectively circular.
I'd want to see factions overhauled into something better than just the current poorly-modeled Ethics blocks before the game started tying more mechanics to them.

Factions are currently pretty bad, but nobody cares much because they're not very important.

It seems like a bad idea to make the current Factions more important instead of using something which is already a reasonable mechanic -- such as the Diplomatic Stance, which in fact I do recommend using for this.

Diplomatic Stance is already a declaration of your intent to focus on internal matters or external expansion. Expansionist and Belligerent are outward-focused (one on outpost-building, one on war claims); Isolationist means inward focus; Cooperative and Mercantile are both mixed focus with implied non-conquest; etc.

I also suspect it's going to be much easier to teach the AI to pick the right Diplomatic Stance than it would be to teach the AI how to manage Factions.
 
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Yeah the fact that the mechanics are not in the player's hands is kind of my point here.

Factions are not things you can currently manage well.
oh certainly to make this work those systems would need to be improved, improved faction management would need to be important, i do want to do that, i would like to have for example researchers will generally be Materialist, soldiers Militarist, enforcers authoritarian, having an embassy increases xenophile ethics attraction. having an envoy improving relations improves xenophile in the target empire and harming relations increases xenophobe ethics, different events and situations will increase the ethics attraction of one faction or another, you should never be bereft of options unless you pick option: do not allow my people to have different opinions. in which case you get more control.

id also like to do a whole political overhaul with a Legislature system, there is no way to play a constitutional monarchy like Space England and that bothers me. oh and Authoritarians play too similar to Egalitarians visa vi the political system, either way you are basically the immortal ruler for all eternity with this figurehead we named (insert empire ruler name here) who has an agenda i barely pay attention to or a mandate i can't be bothered to read because it is total garbage.
 
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Diplomatic Stance is already a declaration of your intent to focus on internal matters or external expansion. Expansionist and Belligerent are outward-focused (one on outpost-building, one on war claims); Isolationist means inward focus; Cooperative and Mercantile are both mixed focus with implied non-conquest; etc.

I also suspect it's going to be much easier to teach the AI to pick the right Diplomatic Stance than it would be to teach the AI how to manage Factions.
thats so reductive though, your diplomatic stance is informed by your ethics, your also saying inwards perfectionist cant expand at all? Militarist, normal xenophobes can't take a step back and do some building at home? all the AI i've seen turn on 1 diplomatic stance and leave it on the whole game, all the AIs would be a joke, its 200 years in and the militarist empires still only have 1 planet and are running around with corvettes because they don't have enough unity to colonize new planets or improve their home planet, or any they managed to conquer in the early game because any AI that did cooperative will be roughly competent but not aggressive. the diplomatic Stances are simple because the AI can't use policies well, thats why it should only be a modifier to influence costs not the main method of tall vs wide your empire has.
 
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thats so reductive though, your diplomatic stance is informed by your ethics, your also saying inwards perfectionist cant expand at all?
Why would an Inward Perfectionist not be allowed to use Expansionist stance?

What are you reading which says they can't do that?
 
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Why would an Inward Perfectionist not be allowed to use Expansionist stance?

What are you reading which says they can't do that?
Tbh if you want it to be something where the player (or ai) directly controls the ratio, it should just be a new thing. Tying it to diplomatic stance makes diplomatic stance about that ratio and effectively takes away the ability to use it the way you do now, since influence/unity is nearly always going to be much more important.
 
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Tbh if you want it to be something where the player (or ai) directly controls the ratio, it should just be a new thing. Tying it to diplomatic stance makes diplomatic stance about that ratio and effectively takes away the ability to use it the way you do now, since influence/unity is nearly always going to be much more important.
If you do that then you're also going to duplicate a lot of what Diplo Stance does.

For example, if my neighbor decides to split her ratio such that she's focused on making war claims, that should increase border friction, because she's saber-rattling to expand into someone's empire and it might be mine.

If my neighbor is spending all her winter-colors-mana on internal enhancements, that should lower border friction and make peaceful folks more willing to listen to her (+% diplo weight).

Diplo Stance is already all about these decisions, it's just not very good at mechanically rewarding players for picking the "right" one right now. Adding the winter-colors-mana split into Diplo Stance makes it a better representation of what it already does.

We're not replacing Diplo Stance, we're making it meaningful.
 
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If you do that then you're also going to duplicate a lot of what Diplo Stance does.

For example, if my neighbor decides to split her ratio such that she's focused on making war claims, that should increase border friction, because she's saber-rattling to expand into someone's empire and it might be mine.

If my neighbor is spending all her winter-colors-mana on internal enhancements, that should lower border friction and make peaceful folks more willing to listen to her (+% diplo weight).

Diplo Stance is already all about these decisions, it's just not very good at mechanically rewarding players for picking the "right" one right now. Adding the winter-colors-mana split into Diplo Stance makes it a better representation of what it already does.

We're not replacing Diplo Stance, we're making it meaningful.
Well, not sure I agree, it seems like one is about how you present yourself externally and the other is about the focus of your society, which can be quite different things. But I also don’t see that it matters a huge amount functionally, since as you say diplo stance is not a huge deal. Maybe one button instead of two is better.
 

WeeBigTerd101

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Simply put, we have 2 confused resources that thematically should do different things, but in practice end up all mixed up together.
I think this hurts the game quite a bit and makes it hard to form "distinct" empires that focus on internal projects vs external power projection (e.g. Tall vs Wide) more.


The Resources & their issues
Influence
  • is too close to mana (though not so close that it ever prompted an imperator-style revolt)
  • with a very narrow set of income sources: base + faction support + I think one or two capital buildings and a few GC/federation policies.
  • is used for a random and sometimes confusing set of things. everything from internal edicts to events to international diplomacy
Unity
  • is the ginger stepchild of resources
  • it feels like it was rammed into the game without a clear purpose but with several clear output points (e.g. temples).
  • conceptually it makes sense as something that would be used to hold your empire together (..."unity") or be used for domestic policies/actions but isnt, beyond traditions and (the often forgotten) unity-edicts.
I personally think a few things need to happen to correct this.
Cutting the game into two
  1. everything that happens INSIDE your empire --- The domain of Unity.
  2. everything that happens BEYOND / OUTSIDE your empire --- The domain of Influence.
I then think Influence production needs to be tethered to Unity.
  1. Unity should be the "base" resource. With influence becoming the "Advanced/Strategic" resource.
  2. Unity is produced as it currently is, no major changes here. Maybe tweak the values.
  3. Now unity is treated like Trade Value, with a policy (so no BS balance like with bureaucrats to screw with the AI, just a straight conversion) to determine the split between resources at the end of each month, with a ratio of X:Y resources going to Unity or Influence. Something like:
    1. 0.95:0.05
    2. 0.75:0.25
    3. 0.50:0.50
    4. 0.25:0.75
    5. 0.05:0.95
  4. The current base sources of influence should be removed from the game & other sources should be converted into multipliers that affect the above post conversion And raise the base influence stockpile level.
    • (e.g. 100 unity a month converted into 25 influence +10% on top from some modifier would get you 27.5 influence)
  5. Rebase all influence costs to correspond to this new income level - so an outpost might costs say 500 influence now but that's fine as all costs have been adjusted proportionately.
  6. Add extra unity costs to all internal empire things - in addition to energy or whatever.
    1. Want to terraform a world? It costs unity now, too.
    2. Want to colonise a world or upgrade it's capital building[just the capital, as that's a special thing] it costs unity now too.
How this might affect things

This sets out what an internal vs External action is.
It finally gives mechanical destinction to the designation of "tall empires" vs "Wide Empires" rather than nebulous definitions like "number of systems" or "number of planets/pops"
By mechanically separating domestic vs international actions it gives isolationist and expansionist different things to focus on - and weaknesses to both approaches - too.

  • Want to conquer half the galaxy fast? Well youre going to need a ton of influence for all those claims and outposts. Set your conversion ratio accordingly. But now you cannot do anywhere near as many internal things as you once could - it'll take a lot longer to build up your unity to colonise that world if you're converting 75% of it over to influence to claim blorg systems.
  • Conversely, want to play tall? Want to isolate yourself from the galaxy and spam out habs and ringworlds for days? Then you're going to not need much influence, but you will want a ton of unity for all those megaproject constructions & other internal actions (like converting all your worlds to gaia worlds or something).
This Idea is awesome
 
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Well, not sure I agree, it seems like one is about how you present yourself externally and the other is about the focus of your society, which can be quite different things. But I also don’t see that it matters a huge amount functionally, since as you say diplo stance is not a huge deal. Maybe one button instead of two is better.
Right now Diplo Stance means both how you present externally, and also a bunch of mechanical perks.

Like you start with Expansionist stance and that gets you -10% outpost cost and +15% colony development speed. Those are solid bonuses. Presenting yourself externally like you're expansionist when you are mechanically trying to be expansionist is just ... honesty, I guess, and I have no problem with honesty.

Diplo Stances would need to be expanded a bit because there aren't enough of them to cover this thread's proposed mechanic, but I think most of the existing ones could be used (almost) as-is.
 
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I'd want to see factions overhauled into something better than just the current poorly-modeled Ethics blocks before the game started tying more mechanics to them.

Factions are currently pretty bad, but nobody cares much because they're not very important.
Factions, from modding point of view:
- can produce abstract amount of resources scaled by approval*support. Possibly, they could also add modifiers, but Idk about that.
- can have any kind of demands that add or remove approval on some conditions. Possibly, they could also add modifiers.
- can have any kind of actions linked with it; currently it's generic embrace/suppress/promote/cancel suppress/cancel promote. They can add modifiers, but they can also start an event.
- have five hardcoded global modifiers for pops, for each level of faction approval.
- attraction factors are spread between ethics and factions. Idk if single pop can join only single faction, if there are multiple factions possible for his ethos.
So, really, I believe there are already all the instruments one'd need to make factions great again.
What's left is to design factions anew, with a) what benefits and maluses factions have and b) how country interact with them.

Some thoughts I had:
- Attraction to factions need to be a lot faster. It shouldn't take longer than 10 years to flip the government on its head, given enough influence/unity investment.
- Factions should affect much more than just happiness and influence. They should add modifiers like govt. ethos.
- There should be more generic and faction-unique events, some that happen by themselves, other triggered by player actions.
- There probably could be a different faction set, that would suit more generic or more specific roles. Like, militarist xenophobes (purge party) and pacifist xenophobes (isolationists).
- ...that said, happiness and other pop/planet metrics also don't feel impactful enough. Some simple yet thoughtful modifier tweaks can make them a lot more interesting.

For example:
- action "Military parade" for Militarists to grant temporary happiness, mil.attraction and reduced war attrition.
- event "Freedom Demonstrations" when egalitarians are popular in authoritarian state, to grant option to switch to egalitarian or have happiness penalties.
- action "Diplomatic Summit" for xenophiles to improve relations with neighbours, and increase envoy limit.
- event "Scientific forum" for materialists to grant some scientific bonus, up to giving a tech option.
Factions could become one of the main ways to proactively influence some part of the game, and be influenced by them passively, so that you'd want to be mindful about which factions to use and support.

...but then I think about how AI is stupid and won't manage such complex system. Or it could, with someone proficient with stellaris' AI design. It just won't be me. Anyways, I'm just throwing out ideas in the air. I'm definitely not ready to develop mode at such scale, not now at least. Somebody already try to work factions out in mods like "Fatherland" and "Moderates and Radicals".
 
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HFY

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So, really, I believe there are already all the instruments one'd need to make factions great again.
What's left is to design factions anew, with a) what benefits and maluses factions have and b) how country interact with them.
If you change Factions such that they're an entirely different thing from what they are and how they work today, then I might be able to agree.

But the existing Faction mechanics are just not good for this (and not particularly good in general, but that's a separate topic).

I would love to see better Factions. But until we do, I don't want to anchor new things on Factions.
 
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DaRealJaymc1130

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I've always felt like this was the case since Utopia and simply was never able to formulate the words and sentences to describe that feeling. This post described that feeling I have perfectly. Brilliant suggestion.
 
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Pillage

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I personally love this idea and think it would make a great addition to stellaris. My only question is, if all currently influence edicts become unity edicts, what happens to the ambitions? Do those stay as super-strong edicts or would they be changed? If they do get changed, how so? I also think that 0.95 - 0.05 is a bit much, players should be forced to invest in one or the other at least a little bit, so 0.75 - 0.25 is a good balance. Maybe this policy, combined with another "Attitude" policy (which could still be called "Diplomatic Stance"), could replace Diplomatic Stances, letting players customize their place on the galactic stage more than they can currently.
 
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Pillage

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Also, I disagree that unity v influence will give a defined meaning to tall v wide. A traditionally wide empire could be very isolationist but either had a good start or took territory off of its neighbors during a defensive war. A traditionally tall empire could be a galactic hegemon, throwing influence around this way and that. This does give a good distinction between an isolated empire and an involved empire.
 

GOLANX

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I personally love this idea and think it would make a great addition to stellaris. My only question is, if all currently influence edicts become unity edicts, what happens to the ambitions? Do those stay as super-strong edicts or would they be changed? If they do get changed, how so?
Ambitions are a Unity sink, it's kind of a bad gameplay device to solve the problem of inflation. So in the game right now once you complete your Traditions unity becomes hyperinflated because you used it and bought all of the things so it's now useless so they added a sink to drain the excess unity that erupted in our empires. Part of the suggestion here is that unity being used for internal development would be used for making habitats, megastructures, Ecumenpolae, maybe even upgrading buildings themselves. If unity can be used for those evergreen purposes then a sink would not be required. I would repurpose them into garden variety edicts, and A will to power will die.
 
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Pillage

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Another question is, Unity, alongside society research, has generally filled the role of culture and religion in stellaris. However, if unity becomes a representation of internal affairs, what will represent culture, or will cultural and religious jobs produce unity without being affected by the affairs policy?
 

Pillage

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Another question is, Unity, alongside society research, has generally filled the role of culture and religion in stellaris. However, if unity becomes a representation of internal affairs, what will represent culture, or will cultural and religious jobs produce unity without being affected by the affairs policy?
I have answered my own question. This could probably be a thread by itself but I wanna say it anyway. Introduce a third resource called "Culture" (which would obvious have a name-change for gestalts, like how crime is deviancy). Most current unity jobs and modifiers would switch to culture, and culture would be used for traditions and potential Culture Edicts (but not necessarily the ambitions). This would divorce traditions from unity and make culture jobs more valuable. Additionally, each ethic could have their own unique secondary ways to gain culture, with the amount doubling if the ethic is fanatic. Militarists could +15/30% monthly culture while at war, Pacifists could get +5%/10% monthly culture for every 10 years they aren't at war capping at +50%/100% monthly, Materialists could get culture when they finish researching a tech equivalent to 5/10% of the tech's base cost, Spiritualists could get 0.25/0.5 culture from every spiritualist pop, etc. Also, spiritualists could get +20/40% culture instead of +10/20% so that they can bank more off of their culture boosts, since culture in this system wouldn't be as passive as unity in our current system.
 

Tamwin5

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I have answered my own question. This could probably be a thread by itself but I wanna say it anyway. Introduce a third resource called "Culture" (which would obvious have a name-change for gestalts, like how crime is deviancy). Most current unity jobs and modifiers would switch to culture, and culture would be used for traditions and potential Culture Edicts (but not necessarily the ambitions). This would divorce traditions from unity and make culture jobs more valuable. Additionally, each ethic could have their own unique secondary ways to gain culture, with the amount doubling if the ethic is fanatic. Militarists could +15/30% monthly culture while at war, Pacifists could get +5%/10% monthly culture for every 10 years they aren't at war capping at +50%/100% monthly, Materialists could get culture when they finish researching a tech equivalent to 5/10% of the tech's base cost, Spiritualists could get 0.25/0.5 culture from every spiritualist pop, etc. Also, spiritualists could get +20/40% culture instead of +10/20% so that they can bank more off of their culture boosts, since culture in this system wouldn't be as passive as unity in our current system.
This sounds more like re-naming unity and splitting influence in half.
 
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