With the latest Podcast Bast has put out, he has brought up that he wants to create multiplayer regions. Personally, I think this is great. It has been suggested to have multiplayer in my colony for as long as I can remember.
I got excited when he finally announced that it would be coming to regions. However, the way it is I am not sure it really changes the gameplay much - and here is why:
1. Embassies and trading is already rather easy as it is. You find someone you want to trade gifts or embassies with and you trade with them through messages or embassies. The current difference Multiplayer regions have is that you can click on another person's city and trade embassies or gifts. While that is useful, it is something that is already easily done.
2. The resource pool is self contained on a per person basis, meaning each person on the multiplayer region will have their own individual resource pool - besides atmosphere which is shared. I do not really know about you guys, but when I think of multiplayer, I think of cooperative play or competitive play. Competitive play is not really the style of my colony, so things should be more cooperative. Yes, players in the region can very easily send resources to each other via gifts and trading, however how is that any different from a normal region? Why is the resource pool not shared?
3. Lastly, and arguably least important, is space. I realise that it is a region, and there is a lot of space on a region, however if there are a lot of people playing on a multiplayer region it will likely run out of space at some point. Both for the players who want many people on the same map and also the large scale players who can fill half a region on their own. Once this space is filled, there is not much else we can do about it.
If I am missing some fundamental piece of information about how these multiplayer regions will work please tell me, I am really interested in how this is going to develop after over a year or two of the idea of multiplayer thrown around.
Given that, here are some possible changes I would personally like to see in the multiplayer features:
A) I believe that shared resources would be a great addition to regions. It would give a better sense of working together instead of sharing resources - which is already possible and done across the community. I think the only reason shared resources was not the original idea is because after a certain point it becomes very easy to mass produce anything and multiple people on the same map doing that might break the game. Honestly, I do not really see that as a bad thing though, I already produce faster than I can consume and the game simply becomes expansion and collection. Multiple people contributing would progress faster and give an active sense of multiplayer.
Alternatively, this could be an opportunity to tie directly into trade routes that have been talked about for a while now. Players on a multiplayer region could set up automatic trade routes with other players. Eg trade x amount of plastic for y amount of antanium at z rates. This would cost a small amount of resources to run, later an upgraded version with increased rates could consume starships. With this method, one person could be a diamond supplier while another be a charcoal supplier and they complement each other with the auto shipments.
B) This multiplayer region applies to commonwealths and/or federations.
For commonwealths, each dependent will start on your multiplayer region map and grow next to your own. The easier method of establishing communication and gifts by clicking on another person's city from the region menu will streamline things a little more for newcomers who do not really understand how to contact people otherwise. Of course the commonwealth leader will need to be able to remove any dependent's cities in the case of a dependent becoming inactive or obnoxiously placing empty cities everywhere.
As for federations, it would work a little differently in the sense that there would be a separate region selection screen in the federation tab where each member is represented by a tile on the region. Here is where you could create trade routes to and from any given member (using the aforementioned trade route idea in the second paragraph of section A). This idea is not as developed as some others, but it is food for thought on how that may work.
C) Being able to annex more space on the region screen would solve the problem of space and allow for even more players to inhabit a single multiplayer region. As stated before, space would become more of a problem the more players are involved. Say, for instance, a federation wants to start a new multiplayer region with as many members as they could (something I actually want to try), they would rapidly run out of space then everyone would be stuck. If memory serves, when regions first came out I think it was said that if regions ever were to run out of space annexing would be made possible although I'm unsure how well it would work with a region saved online. I am not a developer so I can not really comment on if something can be done.
I think that is it for me. Longer than I expected this to be, but I got my first few thoughts of what multiplayer regions were described to be out. Do let me know what you guys think, how it could be modified, if I missed potentially vital information somewhere. I really want to see where this multiplayer feature can go 🙂