At the risk of posting Vezzra-bait
You didn't really think you can throw out comments like this and expect me not to bite, did you?
As a broad-scale thing, I think that for an empire that had researched all stockpiling techs (either 3 like now or maybe adding a fourth), every one of their planets, even with just Average Stockpiling species and without needing to set focus, should be generating at least as much stockpile capacity as the Great Stockpiling species can generate from the get-go.
Can't really comment on the scale/numbers, but as a general rule the RP cost need to be properly balanced against the benefits of techs (ok, I know, who would have thought...
). Furthermore, more expensive but more beneficial techs are probably more interesting than cheap ones which don't give you much.
Judging by the feedback I read so far it seems that the IS techs aren't overly expensive, but also don't offer that much, so the incentive to research them isn't really there. So I agree, making them provide more stockpiling capability so it actually makes sense to get them sounds reasonable, however, the RP costs must be adjusted accordingly.
It seems the difficult conundrum here is to make them sufficiently powerful so they open up alternative strategies ("distributed empires"), without diminishing the importance of the supply based PP distribution too much, or making them too powerful for the purpose of circumventing blocked supply lines.
I guess the best approach would be to minimize the base stockpiling bonus (just enough so you still get the micromanagement-alleviating effect, assuming your assessment of that effect is right for now), and make the stockpiling boni provided by the stockpile focus stronger. That way you get better stockpiling capabilities, but at least not without serious committment/investment.
Needs to be carefully balanced of course, if the RP costs are too high and the boni provided by the stockpile focus too low, those investements won't be worth it, even with improved stockpile boni. But if we want to get feedback from a broader player base, we probably need to err a bit on the too much IS capability side for 0.4.8, so people are actually going to use it. We're going to have to go through several rebalancing passes anyway.
Vezzra, this is somewhat premised on my current assessment that the default average-stockpiling levels are useful simply for alleviating the semi-micromangement headaches of small-waste decisions
For the sake of this discussion here that's fine. I don't intend to challenge that premise on every corner.
and that increasing stockpiling ability beyond that opens up significant strategic flexibility for which it is fine and appropriate to charge RP.
I think we're in full agreement here.
But I tend to think that these same techs could be appropriate in a starting situation which you have been advocating where initially empires can only have one or the other supply distribution approaches available (in which case probably the first tech, or maybe second, would allow an empire to use both).
Well, once these two approaches are mutually exclusive choices, things need to be completely rebalanced anyway. If your only way to distribute PP is via the IS, the stockpiling capability, or more precise, the extraction rate needs to be sufficiently high that it doesn't cripple your empire.
However, that approach isn't for 0.4.8, but for the medium to long term future. We'd need Policy Cards first anyway.