Oberlus pointed out, regarding supply disconnected empires (and how increased IP maintenance costs for colonies not supply connected to the capital would even more adversely affect them):
To address this, I want to make a proposal:Oberlus wrote:They already suffer the low stockpile extraction capacities, losing production when setting some planets to stockpile focus, and having to devote also extra systems to compensate for extra influence costs will have to be balanced somehow, since distributed empires are currently not the most efficient or effective strategy. Maybe a policy that reduces or disables the increased IP costs for disconnected systems, or reducing/disabling it depending on the stockpile trait of the species in the disconnected systems/planets, or both, or something else. I prefer a policy than a building, like the one suggested by labgnome.
These are all very valid points, and IMO there is an underlying issue, a root cause for all these problems. And instead of trying to patch up one of the symptoms, I'd prefer to go straight for the root issue.
This root issue, IMO, is the completely different nature of a supply disconnected empire (let's keep that term, as it best describes the nature of these stealthy/distributed empires). It has very different requirements compared to "normal" empires to actually work properly and offer an equally viable/playable option. Yet the starting conditions, or the assets you start with, are the same for all empires, the only real difference is the starting species. However, you can't differentiate empires sufficiently just by the "properties" contributed by species traits, to really achieve the vastly different setup you'd already need at game start for supply disconnected empires.
Which is why I propose (already for 0.5) to introduce something akin to the "Origin" concept in Stellaris. There would be several "Origins" to choose from, and that choice would happen at the game setup, in addition to the selection of the starting species.
An "Origin" (or "Empire Type", or whatever we want to call it) would be some kind of "starting configuration" of your empire, which should/could include the following:
- Size of homeworld
- Maybe extra features present on your homeworld, e.g. certain specials (we could e.g. have an "Origin" where you start on a Gaia World - of course such an advantage needs to be balanced by certain disadvantages)
- Starting buildings on your homeworld
- Starting ships/fleets
- Techs already researched at game start
- Maybe certain special techs that you can only unlock by choosing a certain Origin, and would therefore be only available to empires/players that choose that Origin
- Policies available and policies already adopted at game start
- As with techs, there could be certain policies you can only unlock by selecting a certain Origin
- How many/which of the nearby systems are already discovered
We can then design one (or more) Origins which are specifically designed to suit playing a supply disconnected empire (by providing them with a properly set up "starting configuration" of policies, techs etc., that will make playing such an empire a viable choice).
IMO such an approach is the only way of making fundamentally different strategies viable right from game start. If everyone starts with the same prerequisites (same starting buildings, ships, techs, policies etc.) and has to somehow acquire the prerequisites for a certain strategy they want to employ, things like supply disconnected empires can never really work. Simply because they need to be played very different right from the start - you can't play Sly like a normal empire, trying to get the techs, policies and whatever you need to actually be able to effectively play a supply disconnected, stealthy empire.
If however we provide the means to have actually very different starting prerequisites (the policies, techs, etc. needed to adjust the game mechanics to the requirements of a supply disconnected empire), then things look a lot better. IMO.