Diplomatic Strategies?

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JetJaguar
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Diplomatic Strategies?

Post by JetJaguar » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:16 am

I'm looking for some tips for diplomacy. I'm playing only my second game and I get trade and research treaties with almost everyone, but then I don't really do anything (like publicly praise or denounce; or try to get third party sanctions and such).

So what would be a general diplomatic strategy? When do you praise or denounce? When do you denounce in secret? When do you secretly attempt to convince one AI that another is plotting against him in? When do you attempt to make one AI sanction/embargo another?

I'm impressed with the number of diplomatic options available; but I don't really have any idea as to using them all strategically.

Also, a couple of questions:

- I can see what the other AIs think about me (and other AIs) diplomatically (such as "friendly"), but is there a way to see why they feel that way? I was expecting a tool-tip with pluses and minuses.

- Are all peace-treaties the same? It seems that I can make a "white peace" -but nothing else.

Thanks in advance.

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
Pandora Community Developer
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Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 3:21 pm

Re: Diplomatic Strategies?

Post by Xilmi » Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:05 am

JetJaguar wrote:I'm looking for some tips for diplomacy. I'm playing only my second game and I get trade and research treaties with almost everyone, but then I don't really do anything (like publicly praise or denounce; or try to get third party sanctions and such).

So what would be a general diplomatic strategy? When do you praise or denounce? When do you denounce in secret? When do you secretly attempt to convince one AI that another is plotting against him in? When do you attempt to make one AI sanction/embargo another?

I'm impressed with the number of diplomatic options available; but I don't really have any idea as to using them all strategically.

Also, a couple of questions:

- I can see what the other AIs think about me (and other AIs) diplomatically (such as "friendly"), but is there a way to see why they feel that way? I was expecting a tool-tip with pluses and minuses.

- Are all peace-treaties the same? It seems that I can make a "white peace" -but nothing else.

Thanks in advance.
Well, first of all, I have to say that anything that anyone knows about how diplomacy works is very likely to change as soon as the next beta-patch hits since I've implemented some drastical changes.
However, a lot of the things that are true now, will also be true then.

So I'll try to cover as much as possible.

Public praise is good to boost relationship with someone who already likes you but is not "Generous" yet. People who don't like you mostly will not accept the praise in which case it's cooldown will be wasted (you can only praise one player every few turns).
Denounce works best, if the one who you denounce is less famous than you are. If he is more famous, the denounce will likely backfire. I hardly ever use it. Same goes for sanctioning. It's way more likely to work if the AI you ask likes you more than the other.
One thing that always works to boost relations if gifting credits. The relations-increase scales with the amount of credits and their income.
Note that this is not the same as paying tribute. Paying or not paying tribute that you are asked for will increase or decrease the relations by a set amount.

The why they feel in a certain way about you right now is limited to diplomatic actions they or you have taken in the past. That's why till today it is very hard to lose good relations.
However, if my patch is accepted by the devs, there will be another thing that influences relations:
The victory-progress. A player getting closer to victory will slowly be liked less and less. This can result in players cancelling deals and the risk of war also increases.
I've played a game with this today and I really liked it! It makes the game way more exciting, because you cannot just get everyone to generous and then simply go for a tech-victory while keeping a sheer minimum of troops so you are not being attacked.

The normal peace-treaty is nothing you can rely on. Only a Non-Agression-Pact really protects you from a war declaration for a few turns. The normal peace can theoretically be broken the same turn it is made.

JetJaguar
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
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Re: Diplomatic Strategies?

Post by JetJaguar » Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:18 am

Xilmi wrote:
JetJaguar wrote:I'm looking for some tips for diplomacy. I'm playing only my second game and I get trade and research treaties with almost everyone, but then I don't really do anything (like publicly praise or denounce; or try to get third party sanctions and such).

So what would be a general diplomatic strategy? When do you praise or denounce? When do you denounce in secret? When do you secretly attempt to convince one AI that another is plotting against him in? When do you attempt to make one AI sanction/embargo another?

I'm impressed with the number of diplomatic options available; but I don't really have any idea as to using them all strategically.

Also, a couple of questions:

- I can see what the other AIs think about me (and other AIs) diplomatically (such as "friendly"), but is there a way to see why they feel that way? I was expecting a tool-tip with pluses and minuses.

- Are all peace-treaties the same? It seems that I can make a "white peace" -but nothing else.

Thanks in advance.
Well, first of all, I have to say that anything that anyone knows about how diplomacy works is very likely to change as soon as the next beta-patch hits since I've implemented some drastical changes.
However, a lot of the things that are true now, will also be true then.

So I'll try to cover as much as possible.

Public praise is good to boost relationship with someone who already likes you but is not "Generous" yet. People who don't like you mostly will not accept the praise in which case it's cooldown will be wasted (you can only praise one player every few turns).
Denounce works best, if the one who you denounce is less famous than you are. If he is more famous, the denounce will likely backfire. I hardly ever use it. Same goes for sanctioning. It's way more likely to work if the AI you ask likes you more than the other.
One thing that always works to boost relations if gifting credits. The relations-increase scales with the amount of credits and their income.
Note that this is not the same as paying tribute. Paying or not paying tribute that you are asked for will increase or decrease the relations by a set amount.

The why they feel in a certain way about you right now is limited to diplomatic actions they or you have taken in the past. That's why till today it is very hard to lose good relations.
However, if my patch is accepted by the devs, there will be another thing that influences relations:
The victory-progress. A player getting closer to victory will slowly be liked less and less. This can result in players cancelling deals and the risk of war also increases.
I've played a game with this today and I really liked it! It makes the game way more exciting, because you cannot just get everyone to generous and then simply go for a tech-victory while keeping a sheer minimum of troops so you are not being attacked.

The normal peace-treaty is nothing you can rely on. Only a Non-Agression-Pact really protects you from a war declaration for a few turns. The normal peace can theoretically be broken the same turn it is made.
Thanks for your response. Your diplomacy patch sounds excellent! Can't wait to try it.

In most 4x games, run-aways (be them the player or the AI) are not dealt with nearly as well as they could be. I think that maybe how close one faction is to victory (for purposes of diplomatic distain from other AIs) should be relative to how close others AIs are to victory. In other words, if one faction still has a very long way to go before achieving a victory condition, but they are still far ahead of the other factions, then diplomatic distain should begin soon before it's too late. This could help prevent the "snow-balling" effect; the rich getting richer, so to speak -from momentum.

I also think that early/early-mid game aggression can be very rewarding; and therefore needs harsh diplomatic penalties to balance this. It's very realistic for immersion's sake as well. Conquerors should generally be feared and disliked.

Do you have an eta for your next update? Thanks in advance.

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
Pandora Community Developer
Posts: 522
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 3:21 pm

Re: Diplomatic Strategies?

Post by Xilmi » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:59 am

JetJaguar wrote: I think that maybe how close one faction is to victory (for purposes of diplomatic distain from other AIs) should be relative to how close others AIs are to victory.

In other words, if one faction still has a very long way to go before achieving a victory condition, but they are still far ahead of the other factions, then diplomatic distain should begin soon before it's too late.
That's not how I have currently implemented it.
There is always a buildup of disdain for the one furthest ahead. However, it is quite slow early on. But at the same time it is not that slow either.
It's not so easy to find the right balance. If it happens too fast, it'll feel artificial. If it happens too slow, it will be too late.
The builtup-speed also heavily depends on the aggression of a faction. DA is quick to get mad at you and will forgive very slowly. Ambassadors are slow to get angry but will quickly forgive.

However, I'm particularly interested in getting player-feedback on that. I realize that a change like that could split the player-base into two camps:

For players that play games like this in order to challenge themselves this shall be a great change. It might become easier to survive but harder to actually win. And when you win, it'll feel like you actually worked hard for it and should never have been boring.

But I know there's also players who play these games in order to win. They usually play on lower difficulty-levels and consider a game they didn't win as a waste of time. If the AIs now try to stop them, they might feel like it's an artificial conspiracy against the human player.

I know that the change is welcomed by you, Zak0r and myself too, of course. But I'm not sure we are representative for the whole player-base.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this also may water down the effect of difficulty-levels quite a little bit. On higher-difficulty levels, factions that would normally just try and kill you for being weak, could now just spare you since they want to care about the runaway.

On lower difficulty-levels it is quite likely that you will be the one disliked and thus it will feel quite hard.

This once again boils down to a quesion of player preference. The difficulty, in a way, adjusts to how good you are, regardless of what kind of bonusses the AI has or has not.

I have a mechanism in mind that could make it scaleable with difficulty but I'm not sure it would be good or bad. It would have to make a difference between AIs and Players. As in: regarding to victory-progression multiply the humans-progression with a difficulty-based multiplier, e.g.:
Very Easy: 0.6
Easy: 0.8
Normal: 1.0
Hard: 1.2
Very Hard: 1.4

But then again this would mean that there actually is a conspiracy against the player on higher levels, so I don't like that idea too much. (Unless it would be the only thing that is changed by difficulty-level)
JetJaguar wrote: This could help prevent the "snow-balling" effect; the rich getting richer, so to speak -from momentum.
This definately is prevented by how I currently implemented it aswell.
Even if they are too afraid to declare war on the runaway, at least they will cease to further support him with agreements.
JetJaguar wrote: I also think that early/early-mid game aggression can be very rewarding; and therefore needs harsh diplomatic penalties to balance this. It's very realistic for immersion's sake as well. Conquerors should generally be feared and disliked.
Since I take victory-progression from all sources, this is automatically covered. Conquerors conquer population and population accounts to military-victory. Thus getting ahead with that will get you disliked.
JetJaguar wrote: Do you have an eta for your next update? Thanks in advance.
I felt pretty much ready for it. In the other thread Sephirok said, that if I check in before Thursday morning they could review on thursday, I can care about issues they might find on Thursday evening and then Friday would be doable.
Unfortunately I wasn't ready on Thursday morning. So it now kind of depends if they find stuff I'll have to fix or not. However, we can be sure it will not be later than next Friday.

JetJaguar
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Posts: 23
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: Diplomatic Strategies?

Post by JetJaguar » Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:51 pm

Xilmi wrote:
JetJaguar wrote: I think that maybe how close one faction is to victory (for purposes of diplomatic distain from other AIs) should be relative to how close others AIs are to victory.

In other words, if one faction still has a very long way to go before achieving a victory condition, but they are still far ahead of the other factions, then diplomatic disdain should begin soon before it's too late.
That's not how I have currently implemented it.
There is always a buildup of disdain for the one furthest ahead. However, it is quite slow early on. But at the same time it is not that slow either.
It's not so easy to find the right balance. If it happens too fast, it'll feel artificial. If it happens too slow, it will be too late.
The builtup-speed also heavily depends on the aggression of a faction. DA is quick to get mad at you and will forgive very slowly. Ambassadors are slow to get angry but will quickly forgive.

However, I'm particularly interested in getting player-feedback on that. I realize that a change like that could split the player-base into two camps:

For players that play games like this in order to challenge themselves this shall be a great change. It might become easier to survive but harder to actually win. And when you win, it'll feel like you actually worked hard for it and should never have been boring.

But I know there's also players who play these games in order to win. They usually play on lower difficulty-levels and consider a game they didn't win as a waste of time. If the AIs now try to stop them, they might feel like it's an artificial conspiracy against the human player.

I know that the change is welcomed by you, Zak0r and myself too, of course. But I'm not sure we are representative for the whole player-base.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this also may water down the effect of difficulty-levels quite a little bit. On higher-difficulty levels, factions that would normally just try and kill you for being weak, could now just spare you since they want to care about the runaway.

On lower difficulty-levels it is quite likely that you will be the one disliked and thus it will feel quite hard.

This once again boils down to a quesion of player preference. The difficulty, in a way, adjusts to how good you are, regardless of what kind of bonusses the AI has or has not.

I have a mechanism in mind that could make it scaleable with difficulty but I'm not sure it would be good or bad. It would have to make a difference between AIs and Players. As in: regarding to victory-progression multiply the humans-progression with a difficulty-based multiplier, e.g.:
Very Easy: 0.6
Easy: 0.8
Normal: 1.0
Hard: 1.2
Very Hard: 1.4

But then again this would mean that there actually is a conspiracy against the player on higher levels, so I don't like that idea too much. (Unless it would be the only thing that is changed by difficulty-level)
JetJaguar wrote: This could help prevent the "snow-balling" effect; the rich getting richer, so to speak -from momentum.
This definately is prevented by how I currently implemented it aswell.
Even if they are too afraid to declare war on the runaway, at least they will cease to further support him with agreements.
JetJaguar wrote: I also think that early/early-mid game aggression can be very rewarding; and therefore needs harsh diplomatic penalties to balance this. It's very realistic for immersion's sake as well. Conquerors should generally be feared and disliked.
Since I take victory-progression from all sources, this is automatically covered. Conquerors conquer population and population accounts to military-victory. Thus getting ahead with that will get you disliked.
JetJaguar wrote: Do you have an eta for your next update? Thanks in advance.
I felt pretty much ready for it. In the other thread Sephirok said, that if I check in before Thursday morning they could review on thursday, I can care about issues they might find on Thursday evening and then Friday would be doable.
Unfortunately I wasn't ready on Thursday morning. So it now kind of depends if they find stuff I'll have to fix or not. However, we can be sure it will not be later than next Friday.
Although winning an economic or scientific victory should be perceived by the other factions as just as equally undesirable as a military victory, I think that a the progress towards a military victory should perhaps be considered much more threatening. This is because the road to a military victory (long before it's final stages) involves the taking of other faction's prime resources (their cities). This, obviously, very directly impedes an attacked faction's own run at any of the three types of victory. Granted, that when all is said and done, another faction winning a scientific or economic victory is just as undesirable as another faction winning a military victory; but at least with the peaceful victory types, your own progress (or even existence) shouldn't be directly threatened until they are getting somewhat close to victory.
On higher-difficulty levels, factions that would normally just try and kill you for being weak, could now just spare you since they want to care about the runaway.
This is a classic "fork in the road" for these types of games. I've seen countless threads from more games than I can remember on this subject.

If I'm the second or third most powerful country/faction in the world and the most powerful is beginning to run-away by conquering his weaker neighbors.... Do I directly start opposing him by attempting to unite other weaker potential victims and eventually come to the rescue (not necessarily by war at first)? Or do I start conquering weak factions myself in order to keep up with the aggressive, number-one power? In real history (at least more modern history), I think that the former has more often been the preferred choice of action. Strong countries have guaranteed the independence of weaker countries that a strong, aggressive country was threatening; and if they attacked, the ones who made the guarantee clash with the aggressor. While there isn't a "guaranteed the independence of..." diplomatic feature in Pandora, there seem to be some diplomatic options which can achieve a similar result. and, even if that doesn't work, you could always just sanction, denounce, break trade treaties or declare war (along with your new coalition of smaller factions) on the potential run-away.

but even in modern history, there have been cases of the latter approach. When The Soviet Union perceived Germany as a threat, instead of guaranteeing the independence of smaller regional countries, they annexed them (or at least attempted to) to create "buffer states" and increase their own resources for an eventual, expected clash with Germany. For The Soviets, Poland became the largest example of this latter approach. Generally speaking, taking this latter approach seems to be most associated with more dictatorial, militant forms of government. So perhaps The Solar Dynasty, The Imperium and The Divine Assembly could be more likely to attempt this latter approach for dealing with potential run-aways; while the former approach would be practiced by The Terra Solvum, The Ambassadors, and Togra University.

Overall though, I believe that the former approach makes for better games. It would result in factions not being eliminated so early, as often. The latter approach would result in late games (maybe even mid games) where only two or three powerful factions exist; the others having been completely conquered when they were perceived as weak, easy targets. Another thing to consider is that some of the smallest, militarily weakest factions still have the most potentially valuable economic and research treaties (a treaty with just a two-city Noxium faction or Togra can be very valuable to a larger empire). So if a faction takes the former approach (attempting to preserve the weaker, smaller factions), and gets the smaller factions to cancel their treaties with the aggressive run-away faction, the effect can be devastating without even employing any military opposition.

In my last game (I played as The Divine Ascension), I found myself isolated on a small continent with just one other faction (The Noxium Corperation); the other five factions where all on one large continent. Because it was only my second game, I didn't wish to be aggressive early on; instead I wanted to get some experience at the non-military aspects of play. I built some troopers just to deal with alien aggression and for clearing-out nests. but, in part, because of the Divine Ascension's attack bonus, I captured a couple of aliens with eight strength. Later on I was looking at the diplomacy screen and I noticed that The Noxium's troop strength was very low. Mine was really high because of the powerful, domesticated aliens I had. When The Noxium Corperation placed it's second city close to mine, it was simply a no-brainer to declare war and attack. I easily took their second city and couldn't find a good reason not to take their capital as well. and essentially, at this point, the game was decided. All but one of the other five factions became friendly/generous with me and made (and kept) economic and research treaties. In a game where settling new cities is usually something you should be very patient about, capturing capitols (and other well-developed cities) is extremely powerful! If you have the military to do it easily, it's a poor choice not to. So I think that the other factions need to re-act quickly with breaking deals, denoucements, sanctions... anything to hurt the conqueror, short of war (if it's early, and they're not ready for war). When those remaining five factions decided to remain friendly with me, their chance of winning vanished. and this was early in the game. Also, I don't see it as a conspiracy against the player. It may be perceived by some as a conspiracy against the potential run-away (which, with your modding improvements, can be an AI faction), but this is what can keep a game more exciting and interesting well into the end-game.

by the way, I think I'll ban myself from using converted/domesticated aliens next game (or I'll at least only make it available much latter than it is now). also: I notice that when using converted aliens as The Divine Ascension, those aliens use the +25% from their "zealous" trait; which seems wrong, as the domesticated aliens can't be converts to a religion that they cannot come close to grasping, lol. I guess the same applies to the Imperium.

Thanks again for all your work. I'm really eager to start playing with your diplomacy changes.

Zak0r
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Re: Diplomatic Strategies?

Post by Zak0r » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:43 pm

I think the idea to make the relation changes scale with the difficulty level is very good. In very easy or easy games the effect will still work but not too strong. While on the higher difficulties you will really have to think about attacking someone when you have to deal with other factions attacking you or ending treaties even while you're still at war. Remember that test game this week where I took a city from Red and then Orange stabbed me in the back right when I wanted to capture the capital and I was forced to withdraw and deal with Orange's invasion. I loved that!

One more thought:
What about changing the way an alliance works? Currently it only shares vision, makes good relations(?) and you can heal in the cities of your ally. But what about also making it a mutual defense pact and let the AI consider both allies when considering war against one of them.

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