Diplomacy

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Dealing With Factions

For the longest time, as nations continued to grow and new ones were founded, a fundamental problem arose in the Galactic Senate. The problem was how to preserve new empires long enough to permit them time to establish themselves in their own little piece of the galaxy without being immediately “squashed” by larger, existing empires. The intended goal was a forced system of checks and balances, factions if you will, forcing empires to align with and challenge others.

Arguments ensued, wars were fought, and every party in the galaxy stood by anxiously as they struggled to find a solution. Heavy penalties by the Galactic Senate and other governmental bodies for attacking weaker empires proved ineffective, the benefits and the thrill of destruction far outweighed any potential downsides of their reckless brand of diplomacy.

Such mindless destruction of new empires led to a meeting of the greatest minds in the galaxy and they struggled to find yet another solution. After countless months of debate, they hit upon a solution which they could both support and enforce. They created what would become known as the Faction System. All empires have come to understand and respect the system for its ability to bring about a positive relationship between the weak and strong empires throughout the galaxy.

The system is simple and benefits all parties involved in some way, making it almost essential for an empire to participate in some form or another. The newest empires, with their limited territory, wealth, and power, join the factions of the more powerful empires, and a mutual benefit is shared. These powers are determined by the rank held by the leader of the empire in question, and each rank is given a total point value by the Galactic Senate. This determines how much of a benefit they can receive and whether they can be allowed to join a particular faction. If not, they have to seek out other, lower-ranked players to join with their faction.

These benefits are extraordinary. Researchers of both empires receive substantial research bonuses based on how many nations are in their factions or how many factions they are themselves a part of due to the Sharing of Information Pact associated with joining a Faction.

The most obvious benefit is found in the effect of research speed. Another important accomplishment of the Faction system was the elimination of the Galactic Trade Commission’s fees on trades between members of a common Faction. This took a lot of careful negotiation and numerous pieces of legislation on the part of many influential powers in the galaxy. Deals were made, opposition was squashed, bureaucrats were fired (or hired as the case may be), but eventually a Galactic Trade Commission was formed which was willing to tolerate not having absolute regulatory power and taking their traditional “cut” from a mutual exchange of material from members of the same factions.

Simply put, all empires who participate in a faction according to the Galactic Senate’s rules will reap some benefit from this interaction. As such, it is essential for new empires and old ones alike to do their absolute best to ensure they fill their faction slots as quickly and efficiently as possible. With this information at your disposal, you will find the faction system to be an extremely useful aspect of your burgeoning empire both in its youth and in its elder years.

Summary: Being in a faction will greatly increase your research speed and remove the fee’s associated with trading to all members of your faction.

Tip

Ranks are given numbers from one to seven, with Magistrates being a one and moving progressively upwards to the highest rank of Emperor who has a rank of seven. As long as your total power rating is not above nine you can be in a faction and gain the unique benefits associated with it.
See the charts at the end of this chapter for in-depth information on each rank, its benefits, and requirements.

Fun With Math

So, if I’m a King that means I’m rank 6. If I want to faction a Duke (Rank 5) then I add

5 + 6 = 11, 11 is greater than 9.

So I cannot faction a Duke, but an Overseer is Rank 3.

3 + 6 = 9, 9 is not greater than 9.

So this is an acceptable faction.

Building an Effective Faction Tree

Factions are one of the most useful possibilities available to governments in Beyond Protocol. These are essentially sub-categories of guilds. Everyone in a faction gets tax free trade between members and gets research time reductions. In Beyond Protocol, each level of the political tree has a number associated with it. For instance, the lowest mark on the tree is the Magistrate, the starting title, and is number one. At the other end of the spectrum, the highest title you can hold is Emperor, which is represented by the number seven.

Within your diplomacy window, there is a screen devoted to your factions. Here you will see there is a group with five slots and another with three slots. The top five slots hold invitations sent for other empires to join your faction. The bottom three slots hold invitations received from other empires for you to join their faction.

The first rule for asking an empire to join your faction is that their rank number and yours must equal nine or less when added together. The second rule states you have to be of a higher rank than the leader you’ve invited. This means a Magistrate cannot be in a Magistrate’s faction.

Along with trading, factions fight together in a war, however, if you are a Magistrate and in an Emperor’s faction, you do not have to join them in a war to get all the benefits, but if you go to war, the Emperor must join in your cause to gain benefits.

Everyone can fill the five top slots for creating their factions. In the charts at the end of the chapter you can see an outline of Rank, Faction Building Limits (your three bottom slots), Research Reduction benefits from faction membership, and finally, the faction membership required to gain the Research Reduction benefits. Remember, all levels enjoy tax-free trading with everyone in the faction.
Alliance

The Benefits Of An Alliance

Diplomacy in Beyond Protocol can be one of the hardest things to judge, especially when deciding whether to take the leap from peace to ally. This may seem like a click of the slider bar or signing your name on a new deal, but it is so much more. By deciding to ally yourself with another empire, you open your doors to many bonuses as well as a lot of potential heartache, if you are unprepared.

When another empire decides to become an ally, you gain several things. The first thing you will notice is that your diplomacy score has increased by a percentage of your new ally’s score. You also gain a percentage of your ally’s income. This is roughly ten percent and may not seem like a lot, however, if an empire is making one million credits a tick, you gain a credit bonus of 100,000 credits per tick. If you decide to ally them back they will receive the same ten percent bonus. This can be a negative but we’ll discuss this later.

Finally, if someone allies you or your ally them you will share information on where all your colonies are located. This can be a serious negative or a great positive. For example, if they need help reinforcing certain colonies you can check which ones for yourself without spending valuable time asking. This is especially helpful during combat.

The Downsides Of An Alliance

However, there are potential downsides, some players will attempt to ally you for the sole purpose of getting your empires information and using it against you to further their own expansion.

Frequently someone will ally you and you ally him or her not paying much attention. They will write down all your colony locations and either sell the information or use it for their own gain. If you are quick and they have allied you as well you can get their information too before they set you back to neutral. One can always tell an inexperienced empire from a mature empire with this tactic.

Personalities can come into a negative context concerning playing styles. It has been seen many times where one empire will attack another with reckless abandon, expecting an ally to bail them out if they get in over their head. You should strongly consider this before making a final ally decision. Entire empires have fallen based on one conflict another empire was not ready to help support. Again, you can tell a younger empire from a more mature empire with the amount of allies they have and how many of those allies are ready to help defend that empire.

Finally, covert networks can find out a lot about your empire just by looking it up through your ally’s database. Often a larger empire will use a small empire as a way to infiltrate another empire (yours in this scenario) and get much need information. If one of your smaller allies gets used in this manner there is almost nothing you can do except pray or cancel the alliance altogether to prevent further damage.

What Not to Tell Your Allies or Anyone Else

Secrets are the lifeblood of diplomacy. If someone knows all your secrets, they have the heart of your empire in their fist. I hope that this will impart some wisdom on the how and whys of keeping secrets from anyone and everyone. Be aware that there are agents out there that will do anything in their power to ferret out your secrets. If these agents cannot easily find what they are looking for, they might resort to despicable means, such as infiltrating your allies. If the only thing keeping your empire alive is your secret space station or a hidden fleet, then you have some things you cannot tell anyone.

One thing to try to keep secret as long as possible is your home world. Once found, the enemy can ruin a lot of hard work. If you have allies you can truly trust, you can share the location, allowing them to help defend you if needed. There are steps you can take to defend yourself. For instance, the use of dummy buildings, the best dummy buildings will have the same names as real ones so no one can differentiate between them. They will also have guns on them to help kill the enemy should they attack.

Use this tactic for is the command center since losing it can cause high morale penalties. You can make a dummy command center with guns, then sprinkle twenty or more of them around the map so the enemy will have a hard time locating the real one. You can do the same for mineral storage facilities, command centers, tradeposts, and research facilities.

Try to keep your most powerful components secret. If there are major engagements going on you do not want the enemy to find out the numbers behind your shield designs, the stats of your radars, how much damage your weapons do and how many you have on each ship.

The enemy can guess at your capabilities based on observations in combat, what they cannot do is be certain of what you really have. Case in point, they notice your shields are so good they cannot hurt them so they re-design their weapons to do more damage, but if they don’t know the specifics of your shield design the new gun may still not be powerful enough to penetrate the shield. This wastes their time and resources, which gives you more time to eliminate them.

Another component that must remain secret from your enemies is the radar. Never let the enemy know your jamming capabilities. It is good to use a mix of all the jamming abilities on different ships because if the enemy finds out which ship is primarily a jamming ship you will have a problem. One way to avoid this is to give the ship a couple of light cannons and to use the same hull as your other ships. You must also be sure to use the same engine if you can because a different engine color or speed will be a beacon that says, “I am different!” to your enemies.

If the enemy knows which jamming type you are using they can set their radars to be immune to that type. Telling your allies your jamming capabilities can be a good thing because then they can invest in a different jamming type, then your fleets do different things making them more efficient when working together. Another statistic to keep secret is your disruption resist, if they don’t know this number they may go through five or more generations of jamming radars to get the proper strength to counter them.

Your armor resistance is another secret you need to hold near and dear to your heart. You do not want the enemy to know the properties of your armor in terms of high resistance to impact, pierce, and beam (the most common damage types). Trouble figuring out which resistances you have could cause them to go through twenty different guns before they get the right one. If you do not trust someone with your life, do not trust them with your armor specifications.

Likewise, tell nobody about your weapons. Knowing the damage-per- second of your weapons means the enemy can design shields to counter them. Knowing the damage types of your large weapons means the enemy could design armor to counter most of the damage they may deal. Sharing weapon designs with your allies is a good thing and should be encouraged, just not in all cases. The designs you are currently using should be off limits except to your closest of confidants and even then you might want to consider if there is a damage radius or not. You do not necessarily have to tell them how large it is, but it would be bad manners not to tell someone on your side that your ships might hurt theirs in close quarters.

Research colonies are one of your most important secrets. They can represent a lot of money and time depending on how far along and the type of research. There is no surefire way for the enemy to find your research colonies unless they subvert one of your allies, but if they do find one you will suffer for it. If you have five or six research labs on each planet you own it will make it harder for the enemy to differentiate between what is making money and what is researching. You do not have to keep those facilities powered but you should because they generate more income than factory jobs. These colonies should remain secret and not be shared with your allies under any circumstances.

Fleet movements should always be confidential, your allies only have a need to know during times of war. It is not necessary to tell them where you are moving ships at any other time. These movements, crucial for coordinating with your allies could let the enemy know where you are going and could lead to big nasty surprises. You also want your whereabouts kept secret if you send a fleet to rest in the middle of nowhere while you are logged off. Telling your allies where these are might tempt them to fly into your parked units to involve them in a fight to save themselves from an enemy. That could be disastrous if your units are set to “Hold position” and “Hold fire”, or if they are set to “Pursue Enemy”, they could be scattered and picked off in singles and small groups.

Never share with anyone where you have your space stations. These represent minerals, money, and in some cases ships, which could be a catastrophic loss should the enemy blow up a shipyard space station. If your space station is a shipyard, you may have irreplaceable components sitting in the cargo hold. Space stations are so vulnerable because they cannot move unless you have very rare research and even then, they cannot move very fast. There are some space stations built for defense and they are usually located in high traffic positions like wormholes or near planets, but even in those cases do not tell the enemy where they can be found. Let them be surprised when they discover them and hope they are not prepared.

Unfortunately, the enemy can use agents to locate your space stations as well as the galactic news service, so it would be wise to put up a few decoys here and there at the same time you put up the real ones so they do not know which one is the valuable station.

You might end up with many colonies and letting the enemy know where they are is not a good idea. If you set someone to ally, it reveals all your colony locations to him or her on the budget window, which can also be an indicator of colony size. Once you have allied with someone they will know where all your colonies are so choose your allies with care.

To confuse even your allies try to keep a few small colonies scattered around so they cannot pinpoint your home world or your main research colony, should they turn on you. Usually the main research colony will have a tax rate of zero or one so the money it generates for your allies will be tiny. Letting the enemy find out which colonies are making you the most money can be a problem because they can use those against you. Destroying particular facilities will change that big money maker to a big money drainer and can hurt your economy.

Always keep in mind that your secrets are your life: The life of your economy, your fleet, your citizens, your friends, and your empire. Never tell your secrets unless you can afford the pay the price of others learning them – but always keep an ear out for the secrets of your enemies. Every secret has its power and it is up to you to find them and use them. The best empires will be those who are the best at keeping and finding secrets. The best alliances will be those best at keeping and finding secrets.

Summary

Allies give you approximately 10% of their credits per tick in trade income. Blood allies do the same but also share information on where all your colonies are located.

Tip

If you are making one million credits a tick and John Doe’s empire is only making 200,000 then you are trading your 100,000 for their 20,000 - hardly a fair trade to say the least. However, this can be offset if they are supplying you components or materials. In the end, you must judge whether this is a fair deal or not.

Keeping SECRETS

Your Home World.
Your Research Colonies.
Your Mineral Requirements.

Tactics

Set your off-line invulnerability on a different colony so they think that is your home world. This is useful when you are spread among different systems because they might send their fleets to the wrong system.

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