Hi, I'm new around here, and have only played Sins of a Solar Empire (Trinity) for a few months. This game has moved to the top of my list. I'm very excited to hear that another chapter is coming (Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion) and although I'm new, I wanted to share some things that my friends and I have agreed would be great enhancements in Diplomacy's successor. Here they are and I hope you like them.
1. A no-fly zone option. Although we can define a path for ships to take when moving between gravity wells, sometimes we forget. This option would especially be useful for scouts when they are exploring, but pay no heed to the fact that their chosen path carries them through a pirate base or another faction's military base. and they end up getting destroyed as a result. This option would allow the player to select a gravity well and choose Restricted or Unrestricted. Something along those lines.
2. An option to lock the panel so that the list doesn't jump. As ships phase in and out, the list on the left resizes, which often leads to misclicks. During a battle, the player is trying to click on ships in the list for targeting or special abilities. The list might jump before they click on the ship so they have to click again, or they click on a ship, choose the ability, and it jumps as they try to click another ship, so the wrong ship gets buffed or attacked. You get the idea. It also happens in non-combat situations while managing a gravity well. The option would prevent this jumpy behavior, locking the view on a particular gravity well, allowing for easier and more accurate empire control. In the current game, there are options to collapse gravity wells in the list which is great, but instead of having to collapse everything and then expand them again, this option would allow you to immediately lock the view, do what you need to do, and then unlock it to scroll through the list.
3. There may be a good reason for this, but I notice that a planet supports 1 starbase, a wormhole supports 1, and a sun supports 4. I was wondering why not allow a wormhole to support 2? This would be a good progression (planet: 1, wormhole: 2, and sun: 4), but there may be a specific reason for not doing that. At the risk of critical reception, I wanted to suggest this. It would also challenge players who frequently travel via wormholes instead of stars. This is not a high hope, but just a thought. I'm honestly comfortable either way.
More Radical Ideas:
4. This is a suggestion coming from my friends and I wanted to include it because it would add another exciting element. Boarding ships. They would cost you an entire command crew (given the fact that they are designed to replace an enemy crew). The ship would allow forces to board a capital ship and take it over. It would not be instant as that would not be fair, but the ship would need to stay alive long enough to attach to the capital ship (so it would have high armor and hull points, but could be destroyed if the player hits it soon enough and with plenty of power). Once attached, it would take several minutes before the boarding party was either successful or not. If they are about to be successful, the narrator would inform the player: the boarding party has reached the bridge! The cap ship owner could either activate the self-destruct or not (with the idea of taking the ship back with their own boarding party). If the boarding party fails, the narrator would also inform: the intruders have been eliminated. Each capital ship could have a special ability or, better yet, military research for higher security (decreasing the chances of a successful takeover). Like Piracy, Ship Capture could be turned on and off in the pre-game options.
5. Defined claims and restricted space with allies. This was another idea from my friends where the player could stake claim to worlds and their allies would leave those planets alone. The allies could, however, violate that agreement at the cost of reputation. Also, going hand in hand with this, you and I may be allied with a cease fire, but I may not want your ships in certain wells controlled by me, so I could define restricted space for a limited number of gravity wells. You may violate that, but again at the cost of reputation. Some AIs would honor this and others would not. It might be a good idea to limit how often claims/restrictions are allowed. For simplicity, these 2 suggestions could be merged into 1 option that allows any gravity well to be restricted.
6. I don't expect this to be implemented, but I wanted to suggest it anyway. Perhaps something like this is planned and my idea gives you another idea or maybe an entirely different idea will be inspired by this. An Intelligence/Counter Intelligence screen. It would require research and, once researched, the player could send a spy to either gather information, destroy a specific facility, or take out a high profile target in order to hurt culture.
Information that could be gathered includes ships currently in production, the empire's income/resource amounts, most frequently created ship, number of labs, completed research (to let the player know what research has not been completed, revealing weaknesses), locations of super weapons, and so on. I know that some of these can be determined by scouting, but it would be another method.
The spy would not be cheap, the mission would require at least 15 minutes to complete, and have a high chance of failure which would be even higher if the enemy has done counter intelligence research on information, facilities, or high profile figures. The chance of success would be a little better if the factions are allied. It's a trade off - as allies, factions share the benefits of various pacts, but can also keep a closer eye on each other or secretly disrupt operations with a slightly greater chance of success. Once counter-intelligence research is completed, the Counter Intelligence screen would allow misinformation to be sent (with a chance of failure), facility security to be increased, and public figures to be better protected. If a spy is caught then there is a very small chance that they will tell the player who sent them, but still a chance. Like Piracy, Spying could be turned on and off in the pre-game options.
Thank you for letting me share and thank you for bringing us Sins of a Solar Empire. I have no doubt that the next one will be as captivating as the current.