Current version of Internal Civilian Trade
The current implementation of trade value is meant to reflect the presence of a parallel civilian economy from which extra resources can be conjoured. Game play wise, this Civilian Economy is a flexible tool which allows the player to get more Energy Credits and Unity or Consumer Goods (depending on trade policy) as well as acting as an efficient source of Clerk jobs to soak up unemployed pops. This system can lead to some interesting decision making for high population planets and is a nice alternative for an empire that lacks access to lots of generator districts, especially in the mid-game.
With all that said there are still a few issues. The clerk job itself is a bitter pill for the problem of unemployment. Its outputs are ultimately inefficient compared to other jobs and unlike a job such as Soldier/Bureaucrat/Medical it does not provide some unique extra utility. For these reasons the optomisation obsessed may feel too many clerks is a management a failure. The remedy for this would be for clerks and mercheants to provide an additional unique utility like soldiers and bureaucrats do so they dont simply feel like a pop sink. I believe this unique utility should be Logistics: the commerical activity of transporting goods to customers!
Extending and Remedying Internal Civilian Trade with LOGISTICS CAPACITY
The concrete utility provided by meatspace trade is that the exchange of resources allows individuals/groups/planets to specialize and (hopefully) become more efficient. In order for this trade to occur we require Cargo-Ships/Mercheants/logistics-AI to move goods from where they are supplied to where they are demanded. To model this in Stellaris we can add a quantity Logistics Capacity (produced by clerks and mercheants) which is consumed by the absolute values of planetary surpluses and deficits. Thus an empire of highly specialised planets will eat up logistics capacity and may require the existence of dedicated trade hub worlds.
The simplest penalties for exceeding Logistics Capacity could be analagous to those for Administrative Capacity perhaps a percentage based reduction in monthly Food/ConsumerGoods/Alloys gross product. This is meant to represent an overwhelmed supply chain from mines to factories and from farms to bellies. I'd be interested to hear alternatives as I believe the currently suggested penalty isn't particularly creative.
In terms of gameplay I believe this would enhance the difference between an empire that plays resiliently with lots of self sufficient worlds and an empire that opts to play more efficiently but leaves itself vulnerable to being crippled by blockades of specific worlds. Also the Logistics Capacity is a Utility that can be applied to Gestalt Mind Empires which would otherwise not interact with the Internal Trade systems. They may not have a parallel civilian economies however they still need to move things from where they're made to where they're needed.
Thanks for reading!
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© Post "Trade Value should be reworked to instead be the Capacity for Systems in your Empire to Specialize" for game Stellaris.
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