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June 3301 In Elite: Dangerous


One month ago Elite: Dangerous got an update called Powerplay. It introduced galactic Powers, 10 of them, each holding control of regions of space that lend it Command Capital, the arbitrary unit of influence. CC is brought in by worlds that we, the players, attack, defend and fortify on a massive scale. It basically threw galactic politics at the mercy of the player, so as Federal President Hudson kicks and screams for me to stop shooting up his resources let’s take a look at what the grand melting pot of human interaction has done to the galaxy this month. Who knew galactic politics could be vaguely interesting?

So powerplay started quietly, and like an episode of Life is Strange it quickly developed to reveal a shocking twist. In amongst the now day to day kerfuffles across the galaxy there is headline news: the most powerful faction in the galaxy – A Lavigny-Duval of The Empire – is in turmoil. Simply put, she overreached; tried to take too many planets at once and has been bested across almost all of her worlds. Two of her systems are trying to leave her influence. Players will be almost powerless to stop her influence waning from this point, her CC is negative. She’s basically gone the way of Greece: shrinking economy, shrinking influence, and being a pain in the arse to those who depend on her. Her influence is falling fast and soon that will make Felicia Winters, head of the Federal Opposition, the most powerful faction.

Yes, that’s right, the opposition to the Fed’s leader will be the most powerful. The President, Zachary Hudson, has seen his influence decline week on week. He is being undermined by everyone. The pirate gang are taking his territory, the Alliance are taking valuable worlds, the Empire targets Hudson when they aren’t killing each other – it’s all looking rather grim for Zachery Hudson. That being said, a late surge of support for him two weeks ago stopped him from entering turmoil there and then – but this wek he is down to just 500CC. By contrast most powers are around the 1500 mark.

The Kumo Crew, the pirate faction is in a confused state. While the other independant factions trundle along at a steady old rate, Kumo is running about like a hamster on coffee. He got annihilated in some systems, and made some gains bringing 20 million Federal citizens under his iron grip. He's not overreaching - which means he will become a growing threat in the next month, Winters will have her hands full.

And don't get me started on the Empire, its like a jigsaw down there. There is infighting, outfighting, general fisticuffs across their systems. It is a mess - good thing I'm some 200ly from the whole thing. Aisling Duval is doing well though, she's a favorite of the Empire and growing fast like Mahon - she is a woman we could do business with.

That’s the tldr of what’s been happening in the last month, this month it’s time to batten down the hatches and have a long hard think about what the powers want to do.

Last week two pacts were brokered between powers. The Mahon/Winters Agreement and a diplomatic agreement between Avigny-Duval and Li Yong Rui, a business focused independent faction. The latter has been the combined product of players and Frontier Development (for context, the actions of the powers’ leaders are usually the work of Frontier staff, guided by the actions of players) – the two factions will be opening embassies and moving toward normalizing relations, doubtless they are ordering rolls of red tape as we speak (type? read? I dunno). The Mahon/Winters Agreement is more interesting, it is 100% the result of players. Simply put it is a pact between the Reddit communities of Mahon (initially just one group, but the agreement has caught on as the de facto state of affairs) and Winters’ online fans. As an Alliance combat pilot I am honouring the agreement, and giving my plasma based spoonfuls of death to Hudson. The result has been that Hudson is in decline, Winters and Mahon both profiting greatly, with Mahon having the most influence this cycle at 1818CC (go Mahon!) but it’s not time for us to spread our wings just yet.

See, there’s a bit of a problem we must overcome. We have the ability to expand like trade fuelled balloon – but we are doing our best not to. That CC will come in handy, and in 2 cycles our overheads (the cost of maintaining unfortified and undermined systems) will rise substantially. If we spend our influence now we will be buggered in a fortnight. The /r/EliteMahon discussion has focused on defence, with handy flow charts and Eve-style spreadsheets creeping onto the subreddit like some sort of fungal growth. It’s getting Eve-ey up in there, which is great, because it allows us to control our faction, something that the folks with Duval must be begging for. The most influential of the Alliance brass know of the subreddit and guide the process from there.

Back to battening down hatches, with that control comes discussions of how best to fortify our borders. The Alliance is like the EU on steroids, offering trade deals to bring people into the fold (you get a 5% rare goods subsidy at Rank 2, for instance) with great success. But that is not well suited to taming kings and communists – if we are to retain our borders with minimal cost we must end the game of thrones and halt the revolution in favor of good old fashioned democracy, that way we can protect them better. Such a realization ahs spawned what we call ‘Operation Soft Power’ – still in the planning stages, it is a plan to over the next couple of months enforce a regime change across the Alliance control systems to the democratic model that helps us keep the trigger happy Hudson out of our way. Nobody likes Hudson, imagine Mitt Romney in charge of a space empire. I know, try to stop rocking back and forth in the corner. It’s not a pleasant thought, and it is why the Mahon/Winters agreement exists because whilst it does not explicitly say ‘go kill Hudson’, that’s sort of what we’ve been doing. He cannot stop us.

So that is the last month in Elite: Dangerous. It’s time to keep the powder dry, get the diplomats moving and bury a few hatchets, sometimes in the ground, sometimes in Hudson’s face. It’s good either way. I’m of to do a bit more pew-pewing, see ya next month to see how it all goes to shit. It might not, but let’s be honest – it will. *primes lasers*

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About James Internet Egoone of us since 2:56 PM on 04.21.2015

Howdy! Welcome to the little corner of the internet that a part of me calls home. Here's some stuff about me.

Occupation: Student

Hobbies: Videogames, Chess, Philosophy

Interests: Law, Philosophy, Gaming

Chores: PC maintenance, Uni prep

Current Thought: Damn you Witcher 3! Damn you Crones to hell!

Favorite Game: KotOR 2 for reasons, but Witcher 3 is now joint first, bloody marvelous game.

Current Game: The Witcher 3

I am a fan of the written word as well as the spoken variety, so you'll find me doing a lot of written stuff. Every couple of days hopefully.

Here is a nifty list of what I think is my best stuff.

Destructoid C-Blogs
How Cities: Skylines Almost Screwed Up My Exam
Why the PR Man Can Lie
On Mods and Money
How Mass Effect Made Me Like Music
Questing For Immersion
An Afternoon With the SWG Emulator
How to Buy a game in 2015
Some Upbeat Thoughts on Bioware
The Pain of Playing Old Games
Why Citybuilders Are Not ABout Building Cities
On Valve's Inability to Follow The Law
Band of Bloggers: KotOR

Some Written Word on Game Design
Ambivalence and Not Caring

Front Paged Things
Bloggers Wanted: KotOR 2

Kotaku UK
The Best Zombie Game Out There

That covers the bio, right?

Oh, right - name. I'm James, in case you couldn't guess.