Implications of Xenotech Costs

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Shatner
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Implications of Xenotech Costs

Post by Shatner » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:44 pm

After playing a couple of Zuul games (extremely war driven), I decided to try a Morrigi game where I would try out diplomacy and trade. During the game I noticed that the various races have differing Xenotech costs and that struck me as really surprising since they, with very slight exception, are identical in their effect. I mean, sure it makes sense that the Zuul tree is a different beast because diplomacy with them means something completely different than with any other race. However, the Liir, for example, are costlier research-wise to reach NAPs and Alliances with, which struck me as really odd. So, I dove into the wiki and looked at the data and found it to be strange in places. My question is, what is the rational behind these tech costs? I assume them to be story-driven, but I am really curious to hear the story/fluff reasons behind them.

For example, are the Liir are harder to subjugate because they only recently freed themselves from Suul'ka slavery?


Anyway, below are my observations of seeming irregularities in the Xenotech tree; feel free to posit answers for them, especially if you are Erinys or Mecron.


Observations
1 ) Communication/Ceasefire tech costs same for everyone (2,000 RP)

2 ) Liirian NAP/Alliance tech 25% costlier than normal (25,000 vs 20,000)

3 ) Liirian Incorporate tech 17% costlier than normal (35,000 vs 30,000)

4 ) Addiction tech costs same for everyone (60,000)

5 ) Humans and Morrigi Temperance tech costlier than normal (50,000 vs 30-35,000)

6 ) Hivers and Tarka Science Missions/Planet Surrender tech 20% cheaper than normal (40,000 vs 50,000)

7 ) Cheapness of Subjugating races as follows (ascending): Hiver/Tarka (60k), Morrigi/Zuul (70k), Humans (80k), Liir (90k)

8 ) Tarka 10k cheaper to Proliferate, Humans/Hivers 10k costlier (80,000 vs 90,000 vs 100,000)

9 ) Morrigi 10k cheaper to Accommodate, Liir 20k costlier (90,000 vs 100,000 vs 120,000)

10 ) Morrigi Xenotech has more goodies than other Xeno-trees. Namely, you get two 25% research bonuses towards researching OTHER xenotech AND you get immunity to colony traps, mining traps and alien wreckage. Translate Zuul, of course, does get you War Sections; there are no other Xeno-tech goodies.

11) Total tech cost as follows (ascending):
Zuul 142,000 (not surprising; they don't trade nor do they have citizens so their xeno-tree is stunted)
Tarka 437,000
Hiver 442,000
Morrigi 462,000 (a little surprising given the goodies/xenotech research boost they give)
Human 492,000
Liir 507,000 (I find this very surprising since they're supposed to prefer diplo and abhor violence, but their costlier tree discourages that behavior among other races)

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The Magus
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Re: Implications of Xenotech Costs

Post by The Magus » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:15 pm

I believe the difficulty with Liir could be related to their nearly entirely non-verbal, non-gestural means of communications, coupled with their very, very unique mindset. Deciphering a way just to talk to them on even grounds (with more flavor than I imagine fleetspeak allows) is probably a feat in and of itself, especially with the difficulty of not offending them with your thoughts while not BEING offended by theirs (in the manner that they speak them to you). But to not only unravel all that dren, but to understand how they think, their nearly gestalt form of moral and mental hygiene in comparison to your own? And all that with very little to no written form of language to attempt to decipher? I imagine it's complicated. It's not a matter of them being unwilling to pursue peace, as it is a matter of you needing to be really willing to work at it to make yourself as little Suul'Ka like as possible.

The only reason I think you don't encounter the same enigmatic issues with the Morrigi is because of a basic level of...familiarity I guess we'll say.

Just my stab at it. These values are interesting to see splayed out. I had always been under a light suspicion that these values actually differed between races, but was never sure of it. Guess its the same for everybody.
The teacher cut in smoothly, "Yes, of course. SolForce never fails to remind us how necessary they are to our...'survival'. ... It amazes me that the human race ever managed to exist, before you lot came along."

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Mecron
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Re: Implications of Xenotech Costs

Post by Mecron » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:11 pm

Magus has it right. Looking at it in terms of what the different costs mean in terms of the actual species physical and mental descriptions is taking the right track. Instead of looking at it in terms of gaminess like no dip or trade...instead ask what it is about each of the races that would make those difference apparent.

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Space Voyager
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Re: Implications of Xenotech Costs

Post by Space Voyager » Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:44 am

The Magus wrote:I believe the difficulty with Liir could be related...

Nah, you're way off, no matter what Mecron says. Fibio nailed the Liir problem just fine and you can read the real lore in my sig. ;)

Anyway, I still think Xenotechs could be way cheaper to make populating aliens on your worlds a much more viable strategy. Right now I usually only populate them on production worlds and when resources get low due to overpopulation. If I go for Xeno much at all before nearing the end of the game, "abusing" it for surrendering colonies and empires.
ErinysSolForce Intelligence has great difficulty penetrating Liir society to that depth, for obvious reasons. fibioLack of scuba gear?

Shatner
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Re: Implications of Xenotech Costs

Post by Shatner » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:25 pm

Mecron wrote:Magus has it right. Looking at it in terms of what the different costs mean in terms of the actual species physical and mental descriptions is taking the right track. Instead of looking at it in terms of gaminess like no dip or trade...instead ask what it is about each of the races that would make those difference apparent.


Thanks for the responses, folks. However, I feel I should clarify my intent behind my questions a little...

I am a game-gearhead and as such a large part of my enjoyment of a game is figuring it out, realizing the various mechanics that make it tick and appreciating how well (or not) they fit together to make the whole. SotS is a very good game in that it has rich, varied and many meaningful routes to victory (often changing one or more times in response to your opponents) and it is all wrapped in a nice, reasonably simple and streamlined package (especially so once you consider the depth of control you are afforded). So when I ask about "why is X like this?", I am really curious from a design stand-point what reasoning went into creating X that way.

Also, I am a big world-creator buff. I am attracted to the fluff of a game and read the manuals and supplemental materials to games even if I never intend to play them; simply being interesting is reason enough (Warhammer and Warhammer 40k, I'm looking at you). Whenever a game setting is well fleshed out and has compelling characters and motives for the agents therein, I find that really cool and I want to find out every little, niddley detail I can. Settings like that are essentially works of speculative fiction (What if we had FTL travel? What if people in the dark ages discovered magic? What if we encountered socially-foreign but technologically-similar aliens? What if we discovered biological immortality? etc. etc.) and those sorts of hypotheticals are like candy for me. Erinys, Mecron and co. have created a VERY interesting setting and I have spent many hours pouring through these forums and the wiki (in addition to, you know, playing the game) just to tease out the details.

So, I am often asking for two different responses to my questions because SotS is compelling to me on two very different levels. I understand the creators of the game want to encourage discussion and discovery. I understand that they sometimes withholding information intentionally to heighten the surprise and experience of the next game/expansion. That makes sense and that's their prerogative but, as a fan, I humbly request that they be willing to fill in such gaps as would fit into their plans and their schedule. And this request extends to the rest of the board as well; this game is simply too rich to be taken in all in one go.


So, enough explanation, gushing and walls-of-text. I'm gonna posit my own interpretations and I ask you all to jump in as you see fit.

Shatner wrote:1 ) Communication/Ceasefire tech costs same for everyone (2,000 RP)

+ I assume these are identical for balance reasons and not because the races are equally easy to approach socio-linguistically.

Shatner wrote:2 ) Liirian NAP/Alliance tech 25% costlier than normal (25,000 vs 20,000)

+ Magus had a good explanation here and I'm gonna stick with that.

Shatner wrote:3 ) Liirian Incorporate tech 17% costlier than normal (35,000 vs 30,000)

+ I'm guessing this has as much to do with the Liir being the most different environmentally from the other races (land vs sea) and so they require the most accommodating.

Shatner wrote:4 ) Addiction tech costs same for everyone (60,000)

+ again, balance

Shatner wrote:5 ) Humans and Morrigi Temperance tech costlier than normal (50,000 vs 30-35,000)

+ Is it because these societies are more decentralized and/or individualistic, making drug usage less taboo and/or harder to stamp out? Conversely, the Hivers and Tarka both have caste systems which place social responsibility over individual goals, making drug usage less permissible. The Liir, well... maybe they're bio-science prowess makes it easy for them to kick an addiction/develop a less destructive, local version of your drug.

Shatner wrote:6 ) Hivers and Tarka Science Missions/Planet Surrender tech 20% cheaper than normal (40,000 vs 50,000)

+ Again with the heavy, top-down government, making unilateral decisions (like surrender) easier to impose.

Shatner wrote:7 ) Cheapness of Subjugating races as follows (ascending): Hiver/Tarka (60k), Morrigi/Zuul (70k), Humans (80k), Liir (90k)

+ Same answer for Hivers and Tarka. I assume the Liir have such a strong, culturally ingrained resistance to submission to a xeno-power that they would be very hard to convince. The same deep-seated stubbornness can be attributed to humanity since xeno-focused revenge was the primary emotion driving their initial inter-stellar expansion.

Shatner wrote:8 ) Tarka 10k cheaper to Proliferate, Humans/Hivers 10k costlier (80,000 vs 90,000 vs 100,000)

+ No idea on this one. Tarka and Humans are often stood side-by-side as being "uncomfortably similar" both biologically and sociologically so why one would be cheaper and the other more expensive is beyond me. Maybe hivers are more difficult because they need to have their "expand until we run out of room, then war with others to make more room" tendencies checked.

Shatner wrote:9 ) Morrigi 10k cheaper to Accommodate, Liir 20k costlier (90,000 vs 100,000 vs 120,000)

+ Morrigi live like the Jetstones (high up and with lots of gadgetry) so I can see them being easy to fit in. The Liir, as mentioned before, operate on an entirely different environmental paradigm, making them all the harder to accommodate.

Shatner wrote:10 ) Morrigi Xenotech has more goodies than other Xeno-trees. Namely, you get two 25% research bonuses towards researching OTHER xenotech AND you get immunity to colony traps, mining traps and alien wreckage. Translate Zuul, of course, does get you War Sections; there are no other Xeno-tech goodies.

+ I see this a being primarily where balance meets flavor. The Morrigi are supposed to be ancient, tricksy travelers and merchants so having them be good at talking with the other races makes sense (hence the xeno-research boost). To further the "we are good at exploring" vibe, they get the ability to not only ignore but profit from three of the more common random encounters (colony traps, mining traps and alien wreckage); encouraging them to get their ships on the scene first.

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Erinys
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Re: Implications of Xenotech Costs

Post by Erinys » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:32 pm

There is also the small detail that Colony Traps, Mining Traps are Alien Wreckage are actually ancient Morrigi artifacts--built by their ancesters. ;)

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Mecron
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Re: Implications of Xenotech Costs

Post by Mecron » Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:04 pm

#8...Tarks are an ancient fairly cosmopolitan race (less dicky and judgmental than humans) with very LOW overbreeding potential.(no chance to become a princess based mob)

#1...actually given the scale of the research amounts...the racials differences in figuring out "Hey!! Stop frackin shooting!!!" are too low to make a difference.

#4...All sentients have something they love to get weird over.

Mesaia
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Re: Implications of Xenotech Costs

Post by Mesaia » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:06 am

#7

regarding the Liir, you do know that the Liir only recently from under the thumb of another race right? Once burned, twice shy?

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Kimori
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Re: Implications of Xenotech Costs

Post by Kimori » Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:55 pm

Mecron wrote:#4...All sentients have something they love to get weird over.


Yeah, I spent all that time and money researching Addict Hiver just to discover the answer was 'send more cheese.'

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