Game Overview Official Comments Press Releases Cool Stuff Discussion Boards Designer's Diary Beta Testers About and Contact
Official CommentsQSI Posts on the Discussion Boards — Part Three

Updated March 28, 2001:

"Equix", Volunteer Developer

Distributing new ships: Newly built ships go into the "reserves" instead of appearing on the board. You can then call them up to active duty when you need to use them

Building: Production will be handled by a combination of MOO1's sliders and MOO2's build queues. So you won't be limited to building one thing at a time on a planet like in MOO2.

Disputed territory: I can't go into detail, but the Senate will play a role in adjudicating disputed claims on planets.

Ethoi: Remember, you're not Marx, or even Lenin, but the guiding spirit behind your civilization. You can't pick and choose what your people will believe, but you can declare a popular belief the Official Ethos, or persecute religions & philosophical schools in hopes an ethos you like will replace it. So if an ethos has become mainstream in your empire, you can make it the Official Ethos of the state. Maybe with the right tech advances it will eventually be possible for you to exercise more fine-grained control over the ethoi in your empire...

There's not one set ethos for each species. There's a huge spreadsheet listing all the ideals and worldviews and giving weights for each one based on race. The starting ethos or ethoi for an empire will be randomly chosen based on this spreadsheet. So humans won't always have the same ethos, nor will any other race.

An Ethocracy is a government based around a given ethos (worldview+ideal(s)+tradition). In previous official comments on government types there was a different type of "theocracy" for each world view. That's being reconsidered--right now the three flavors of theocratic governments are "Unique Theocracy," "Cult of Personality," and "Ethocracy."

Choosing starting government/ethos: The way we're thinking about it right now, you'll get to choose the basic category in which your government falls, as well as its starting agenda and its level of centralization. (No, I'm not at liberty to say more about what all this stuff is/does. Patience, patience--I'm sure there will be a data dump on this stuff when we've got it all nailed down.) As to starting ethos, the default will be for you to have a random one (based on the weighted spreadsheet defining your race's ethos preferences). For [some number of] race picks, you'll be able to get a starting ethos that's made up of ideals from a list of guaranteed benevolent (i.e. useful) ones.

Why can't we have the option to toggle game-play elements? The problem with including optional stuff is that it doubles the workload for the QS team, in that they have to program it both ways. Actually, it's probably more than double, because then they would have to integrate both systems and make sure they work. So a super-detailed system for picking your starting ethos would take resources away from making the game fun once it's underway. This goes double for being able to toggle on or off major gameplay elements like spacelanes, IFPs, real-time combat, etc.

As to WHY you can't micromanage your starting ethos as much as you want, the answer is twofold. First of all, there's the realism part: in MOO3 we're moving the focus a level up to the level of grand strategy. Real emperors don't have that much control over their populations. Now at this point you might be thinking "hey, but real emperors don't get a starting picks screen either!" Yes, and in the interests of making MOO3 irresistible entertainment, fun will always trump realism. The thinking is that it will just be more fun to have to "play the cards you're dealt" and improvise to meet unexpected contingencies than to have everything work out exactly as you expect it to all the time. The first hundred times you play maybe you won't notice, but QS is trying to design a game where the first hundred times you play is only the beginning.

More on the same: You know how gamers are--tuck something away under a tab that reads "advanced" and they'll feel compelled to check it out first thing. Newbies who don't want to read up on the ethos system will feel like they're missing out, etc.

Ethoi being influenced: >>things like persecution of an ethoi having a very small chance of actually helping it rather than hurting it

The existing model already accounts for this effect. An ethos' conviction strength and proselytization goes up as at gets smaller (representing the wannabes falling away, leaving only the real true believers). So if you persecute an ethos, that may cut away the dead wood and set it up for a surge of conversions by the remainder.

>>a prolonged War increasing both Militarism and Pacifism

We had a discussion about precisely this in an older thread. We agreed that this kind of effect is a COW. Lots of ethos changes can happen as a result of war. Think of what happened after WWI. There were many new art movements born (Dada, Cubism, Expressionism, etc.--and that's just in painting), some people lost all faith in everything, there was an upsurge in isolationist feeling, socialists got a boost from painting the war as the inevitable outcome of capitalism, etc. Now, I *don't* want to start a historical debate, just to make that point that you can think of a logical reason why pretty much *any* ethos could be helped/hurt by a prolonged war. So rather than spend enormous amounts of time fine-tuning an elaborate table to account for all possible effects, we're going with a random system. We figure you guys are ingenious enough to explain how any given change makes sense.

More on the same: >>So the only "events" that realistically affect ethoi at all is government involvement?

Well, there will be random events, some of which will effect ethoi. Those are slated to be added towards the end of the design process.

Ethoi at game's beginning: Right now, the default option is for you to start with one random ethos on your homeworld. For bonus pick points, you can start in a disadvantageous position, e.g. with two ethoi there. (Obviously, we'll have to see in playtesting if this is really a disadvantage, and if so how bad it is.) If you are willing to expend pick points, you can start with a single "beneficial" ethos. If you do this, you'll only get ideals chosen from a list of ideals that have positive effects and no (or only minimal) negative effects.

>>I'd really like to see the Ethoi NOT be TOTALLY predictable, so that every war-mongering race didn't have the same two ++++ military Ethoi, and every science-obsessed race the same two ++++ science Ethoi, and so on.

I don't think there's too much cause for concern here. If you've had time to check out the data dump, you'll know that an ethos has a World View and a Tradition in addition to its ideal(s). So two ethoi with the same ideals can still be very different in game terms. Not only that, but the ethos/race picks system I'm envisioning doesn't dictate that a military + race will get military + ideals, but rather that it won't start with any military - ideals. So it may not get Militarism or one of the other ideals that enhances its military stance; it just won't start with Pacifism, which would cripple any aggressive early game fighting it had planned.

More on the same: >>If we pick an Ethocracy government series would we get some control over our initial Official Dogma Ethos?

Not any more control that you get if you pick other government types, at least in the current system. I'm still working on the description of Ethocracy, but I don't know that the Official Ethos will have any more effect in an Ethocracy than in any other government. (During the Renaissance, the Papal States weren't all that different in their religious policies from the republics and principalities that surrounded them.) The *structure* of an Ethocracy (who gets to rule, etc.) will of course be different.

Removing "Ethocracy" government type: OK people, here's another example of the game design being changed in response to posts here on the boards. Krikkitone asked whether you'd get to pick your ethos if you start with an Ethocratic government. I talked to Alan about it and we agreed that, you know, he's on to something here. So after batting around a bunch of ideas, here's how we're going to handle it:

There will no longer be a special government type called "Ethocracy" (ditto for "Cult of Personality") in MOO3, for the same reason there's not a "Capitalism" government type. You can have a capitalist economy whether your country is ruled by a king, a military dictator, an elected president, etc. What makes a society capitalistic/socialistic is the policies the government adopts. Similarly, a theocratic/ethocratic state could be ruled by a charismatic and messianic spiritual leader, an elected council of church elders, an emperor bent on converting the heathens, etc. Essentially, any government type can institute theocratic/ethocratic policies, e.g. by establishing an Official Ethos and making it a policy to persecute all other religions and philosophical schools.

So, to get back to the question that started it all, your government won't be an Ethocracy unless you set policies that makes it one. Thus, you won't ever be stuck with an Ethocratic government based on an ethos you don't like.

Do leaders have names? You betcha!


Harel Eilam, Volunteer Developer

Leader attributes: Erratic is on the attributes list of leaders. There are 26 different attributes, and leaders have several. Hope this helps.

How many attributes do leaders have? Four, I believe, five for the supreme leader. About leaders with conflicting ideals... I think we got it covered.

Ship building: All production is done via sliders between several build queues. So, yes, one factory can produce several ships.

Increasing production is done by spending extra money.

Civilian ships are abstracted, and can't be refitted.

Stellar converters atrocity: Using stellar converators and other massive weaponry will be an atrocity, which will harm your reputation in the orion senate and against other empires.

Setting the pace of technological advancement: A "tech-slider" is a very good possibility in the start-up page (last time I heard). This means you can decide how expensive and hard it will be to acquire technologies, therefore changing the nature of the game.


"Fyunchclick", Volunteer Developer

Fortifying asteroid belts to defend system: There's been some talk about that. You can colonize asteroid belts. If you designate the DEA (dominant economic activity) of some of the regions of that asteroid colony to military, you'll be able to built defences. I don't expect you'll be able to shoot at fleets across a system with that, though.

Fleet movement inside systems is very different from MoO2 though. Once a fleet enters a system, you'll be able to manoeuver it around in what Alan calls "operational" movement (as opposed to "strategic", which is from system to system). Taskforces will need to be directed from their entrance-point to their target. This means there's time for a defensive strength to be gathered and deployed.

Example of ethos ramifications: Simply put: if your population mostly follows the Pacifistic ideal, they will become unhappy if too much money is spent on armed forces. If they follow the Militaristic, they become unhappy unless at least a certain amount of money is spent on armed forces.

Building large ships: The maximum hull-size you can built at a planet is equal to the amount of ship-factories on that planet. So, 5 factories = hull 5. 10 factories = 1 hull 10 or 2 hull 5.

Starting wars without sufficient cause: If you just start a war without a sufficient reason ("casus belli") your population will become unrestful, and might even topple you. MoO3 has a home-front too, you see.


Master of Orion Official Web Site
Powered by Quicksilver Software Inc. © Copyright 2001 Quicksilver Software Inc.