So the other day, I witnessed the following set of odd events: A planet in a 3 planet system rebels, which gives it control over the other, loyal planets without a fight. Later, one of them defects back to the original empire, annexing the newly rebelled empire without a fight. This made me wonder why we no longer have shared ownership the way we used to, where a planet can be owned by an empire that does not own the system. I then realized, however, that it is not a simple change to bring that back. An empire with a planet but no starbase cannot these days actually build any ships, even a construction ship to claim systems, as such ships are now only built at starbases. It basically could not function as an empire. In trying to think of how to resolve this, I started thinking about how space stations are handled in this game in general.
As it stands now, there are a few types of space station: starbases, defense platforms, habitats, and mining/science/observation stations. Of these, starbases and habitats feel the most interesting and interactive. You dont just put them absolutely everywhere (unless you are REALLY focusing habitats anyway), and you can actually develop them to be used for different things. Defense platforms are basically ships that hold one place but dont take fleet cap, in that I think they are actually fine as they are, if a bit expensive for what they do.
Mining and science stations though, could use some changes. At current, with the exception of the observation post, that kind of station has no interaction whatsoever. You just mindlessly build them wherever you can, and they just give you resources from then on out. If you just auto-built them without ordering it, you probably wouldn't notice much (this is not what I am suggesting). This in my view is not a good thing, they are just a mindless click with no thought involved.
My proposed solution is to make all of these stations, except defense platforms obviously, be the same thing as the starbases we currently have. different tiers, module slots, the ability to add defensive platforms, the works. Ownership of a celestial body could then be determined as follows: the primary owner of a system would be the first to build an outpost around the primary star, as is the case now. They would own all celestial bodies in the system not owned by someone else. If a planet or moon had a starbase around it owned by another empire, via rebellion, primitives getting/being given ftl, total war ownership changes, or possible diplomacy, then that other empire would own that celestial body. Further, there could be the possibility for such a starbase to convey ownership to other objects in orbit of that body(so if primitive humans are enlightened and given earth, they would get the moon as well, or if one owned a base around the second star of a binary system, you would own the planets of that secondary star, unless someone else had yet another base around one of them). Obviously, to prevent border gore, once an outpost was built in a system there would no longer be an option to up and claim just one planet that way, shared ownership would only come up in circumstances where it makes sense, like just one planet rebelling. Such one planet empires then could do stuff, because they can use their starbase to build a shipyard.
Starbases then would also need modules for doing what stations do now, living modules for habitats (where all 6 slots being such modules is the same as a habitat now is in terms of space), modules for gathering mineral deposits, ect. Obviously, the starbase cap would also need an increase, and that increase would need to increase with habitable planets to avoid not being able to build habitats effectively on hitting starbase cap.
I can foresee two big objections here, the first of which is that this would result in a lot of starbases to take over in war, and potentially some almost impossibly well fortified systems. My solution to this is to remove weapons and combat in general from starbases, and so make the defense platform the main way of arming and defending a starbase. To make up for starbases not being a good way to fend off invaders early game anymore, defense platforms would be made cheaper. This also would mean no more starbases using shields or kinetics around a pulsar with no design option, as you can design defense platforms. Taking a fortified system in this system would entail defeating all the defense platforms built in a system. It would also mean you would not see your own fortifications used against you when you try to retake a system, as the occupier would need to construct replacement defense platforms. This would also mean that to get the same level of fleet power of defense, you would likely need to have more fortified starbases in a system (as the firepower of the base itself would need to be made up for), but what is a fortress system with only one fortress?
The second objection would be that to get all the deposits mined, you would need to build starbases all over the place. The answer to this is twofold: first, all stars would obviously produce energy, have minerals in asteroids or planets, ect. So all systems could produce a certain, randomized amount of base resources that you get for free by owning the system (representing small scale mining and such). There would be far fewer actual deposits, but they would be much larger than now, so going to war for a system with a huge mineral station might make some sense. This would also reduce the need to que up mining stations absolutely everywhere.
Sorry if this was a bit long, I was worried that if I tried to condense it down it might just get a bit confusing. Criticism of this idea is welcome.
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© Post "An idea for how stations of all kinds could be redone, and for how shared ownership of systems could be brought back." for game Stellaris.
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