I've already suggested that for each war in which the player is involved, he has the option to either endorse or denounce the war. A war which was declared by the player would be automatically set to "endorse" and a war which was thrust upon the player would automatically be set to "denounce". It costs trade to switch from "endorse" to "denounce", but not to switch from "denounce" to "endorse".
This seems like a rather abstract meta-action that clutters up the diplomatic landscape. Seriously, what sense does it make to "denounce" a war that you just started? Sure it has parallels in real diplomacy, but real diplomacy contains an infinite regression of double-talk and double-dealing, not all of which should be included in a 4X game.
You know, you’re probably right. If a pacifistic empire can’t keep other players from declaring war on him, he deserves to have his pacifism alignment lowered (isolationists should just stay out of the way, and Tolerant empires should have enough allies that it’s not strategically sound to declare war on them). In that sense, it is strategically justifiable for a war which was not instigated by the player to increase his Bloodthirstiness.
It's entirely relevant. One of your main arguments was in essence: "In a non-paired system when a get a new species, it's production bonuses provide sufficient resources to keep it happy." This is much less plausible without double production bonuses. Sure you can build your own species, but production bonuses are quite powerful pics. A species with two, if at all possible would need extremely grievous negative pics.
What I wrote was intended to mean, “In a non-paired system, when the player gets a new species, its racial bonuses (not just resource production, necessarily) will contribute to the player’s ability to keep it happy,” which will always be true. This makes it difficult for the player to predict how difficult it will be to keep a new species happy, since he will have to weigh the general advantage of having the species with the cost of increasing the ethical compatibility alignments with the specific
advantage he gets from actually having the species in his empire, with the fact that he won’t be able to expend as many resources to keep his other species happy.
In a paired alignment system, all he has to do is weigh the general advantage of having the species in his empire, against the strategic inflexibility that trying to please multiple species will give him, against the decreased allegiance from his other species, due to having to balance alignment. That’s a fair bit simpler and more concrete.
The main difference is that the relationship between two opposing ethoi is more clearly defined in a paired alignment system...
How many times to i have to say this? There are no
opposing ethoi in my un-paired system. An advance in one scale will never
produce a regression on another. Opposites in any sense would simply not be included. That is the whole point of the system. Any other difference is merely a means to this end, or accommodations to make everything work well together.
I understand that it doesn’t have “opposites”, but in your system, different ethoi are still incompatible (a better term, when referring to an unpaired system) with one another, in that the player will have to sacrifice allegiance from one in order to increase the allegiance of the other (because when he expends resources to increase the allegiance of one, he can’t
spend those resources increasing the allegiance of the other). This relationship still exists
in an unpaired alignment system - it’s just obfuscated by the fact that it is a limited-resource tradeoff instead of a direct tradeoff.
This should be pretty clear. If "more is alway better", as in my unpaired system, then it doesn't matter if the means of moving the meter is clumsy. You can never overshoot the mark, never go too far. There are never negative consequences from alignment going too high.
Consider this example, which illustrates the main scenario when a paired and unpaired system would be different:
The Blue empire contains several species. For the paired scenario some of these species have opposing alignments. The Bloodthirsty & Diplomatic Bebebe start rioting and/or rebelling. (i'm not proposing that "bloodthirsty" exist as an un-paired alignment, but it could as long as there was no "pacifistic". i'll assume this trait to avoid confusion) In this situation, the player must deal with this via imperial actions that change his alignment, because other means are the same for paired and un-paired systems. Let's just say that for whatever reason altering alignment via propaganda, rank change, security, or any other means happens not to be feasible. So what does the player to make the Bebebe happy?
[list]Unpaired: the player simply needs to commit bloodthirsty or diplomatic acts until the Bebebe stop rioting. No need to carefully measure out the violence or treaty-signing -- he can choose whatever actions makes the most strategic sense, without worrying about pushing either meter too far.
That summary is severely over-simplified. Here’s what I believe would really happen:
The player needs to commit bloodthirsty and diplomatic acts until the Bebebe stop rioting, and in doing so, he must expend resources. These resources however, were previously being used for technological and exploratory purposes, so his exploratory technologists are going to have lowered allegiance towards him. The player needs to figure out exactly how much he can afford to spare from his exploration and research, and figure out how he can use this to increase his bloodthirstiness or diplomacy. If he exterminated a world for example, he might lose considerable research points, or PP that would have been used to build more scouts. If he attacks an enemy planet, he’ll have to divert his ships from their exploratory missions and use them for military offense, either of which could potentially bring his exploratory technologists below the riot threshold.
So you see, you haven’t eliminated the problem at all - you’ve just obfuscated the relationship by spreading it out over multiple alignment scales linked by a limited-resource tradeoff, rather than keeping them in the same alignment scale linked by a direct tradeoff, which makes it more
difficult for the player to control the tradeoff between one alignment scale and another.
Paired: the player needs to commits bloodthirsty or diplomatic acts, but not just any action will do. He needs to consider his pacifistic and isolationist species, figure out how a move toward bloodthirsty or diplomatic would effect their happiness, and thus figure out how far it is safe to move the meters. The most strategically expedient method he has available, such as "Exterminating the citizens of a planet under your control", might move the meter so far that his pacifistic species will riot instead-- especially if some of are low on the subjective allegiance side. But his pacifistic and isolationist species each have a second meter. He might make up for their decreased allegiance by moving some of the other meters favorably towards them. Thus with only 3 alignment pairs (which is what i understand you have now) the question of how to deal with the Bebebe could easily extend to considering an alteration in all 3 of the alignment scales and thus of the consequences of adjusting the alignment of every species you have -- not necessarily all at once, but as possible alternatives. All together it is a much more tangled and limiting web than it needs to be.
I think the real question is “how much should an individual action affect alignment?” The answer is “not much”. Therefore, if the Bebebe are rioting, the immediate solution could be to use happiness altering techs/buildings, increase the amount of troops on the planet, enslave them, or trade those planets to someone else for something else. Minerals don’t riot, after all. The point is that altering alignments scales isn’t a quick-fix, and it’s primarily the big decisions which are considered by the player with regard to alignment for example: “This tech will allow me to capture planets and enslave them more easily - this will make it more strategically viable to capture and enslave planets. Therefore, I will naturally do it more often, and my elitism alignment will increase. I want to increase the allegiance of my Warlords, so I should research this tech,” or: “Accepting Blue empire’s offer of peace will decrease the opportunity I have for destroying their ships and planets, and will therefore decrease my Bloodthirstiness. This will not please my Xenophobes, therefore, I will not accept this offer of peace.” If the player wants to choose a strategy which is neutral, he can choose techs, treaties, buildings etc. which will give him a balance of both, which will solve allegiance problems in the long-term. Happiness problems in the short-term should be dealt with using other means.
Hmm, the effect is in the same ballpark. What i'm getting at is some sort of increasing penalty to having more species. Paired alignments don't really do that well, because you have so few. At best they allow you to incorporate 1/6th of total species without any penalty. (assuming equal ethoi distribution). In other words, a large fraction of possible species can be incorporated into a single empire with no alignment balancing issues because so many have the same ethoi.
Since all species of a given ethos will have picks that support the strategy of that ethos, getting more species of the same ethos is just increasing the power of the strategy in question. In this case, “gotta-catch-em-all” is restricted to species which support your specific strategy, which will further compel the player to play according to that strategy. An empire with lots of different Reclusive species should be a more powerful spying empire than an empire with only a small number of Reclusive species, but if you throw some Democrats into the mix, the empire will get a lot harder to maintain. This makes a nice balance between species that you can easily incorporate into your empire, and species which will be more difficult to incorporate, but will give your empire more flexibility to branch out into a different strategy. Usually, just maxing out your own single strategy will be superior, but sometimes, the decrease in allegiance will be necessary to add that extra dimension to your strategy.
I'm not really sure i understand this criticism. I assume by "diplomatic" you mean an empire that tries to make every species like him? It seems that you have a much more specific definition in mind, which i don't quite get. I don't see why a very specific version of "diplomatic strategy" needs to be supported, but my system would certainly support strategies that include trying to make friends with (more or less) everyone. The trade off is pretty natural. An empire can focus on keeping a subset of all species very happy with him, or he can spread that around and try to make all species moderately pleased with him.
He can’t just make all species moderately
happy with him. He has to make them have higher
allegiance towards him than to his opponents. This way, his opponents will use him as their “quick fix for low happiness” - by giving him presents, they get a happiness boost on worlds that have higher allegiance to him than to them. This increased allegiance is maintained by keeping most alignment scales in the middle, and all species-empire alignments higher than his opponents’. This way, as the game progresses, he will start with higher allegiance from everyone due to species-empire alignment. This is accomplished by staying “neutral”. with unpaired alignments, this is accomplished by Being Just Great. And if you are Just Great, you’re not just using a diplomatic strategy - you’re using a military strategy, a technological strategy, and exploratory strategy, etc. And since the player is depending on his diplomacy to get him things, he won’t be Just Great, and therefore other species won’t have higher allegiance to him. Diplomacy is a way of getting things that involves pleasing everybody, but pleasing everybody (in an unpaired alignment system) requires being good at getting things in other ways too, which defeats the purpose of a thoroughly diplomatic strategy.
Failing at something should never alter a current alignment value. As eleazar said, all the actions which affect alignment should potentially bring the empire closer to winning the game.
That's not what i meant at all. I said that alignment shouldn't measure inherently useless actions, because the game shouldn't include inherently useless actions. If
we have paired alignments, i don't see why failure shouldn't move them, since they are designed to move both ways.
Because if failing affects a paired alignment, there are situations in which failing would be a good thing, and that should never be the case.