Friday Feature 12/1/2017: Political Power

Disclaimer: All systems described here are subject to change during development and testing.

“Chancellor, is this really the time to call for new elections? The very people that may lose office are those who have risked everything for the Rebel Alliance!”

Mon Mothma, Chancellor of the New Republic and longtime figurehead of the Rebel Alliance, rubbed her eyes wearily. Night had long since fallen on Chandrila, but the government never really slept. “I understand your military sensibilities, Crix, but this is the realm of politics.”

“We dealt the Empire a crippling blow at Endor, and they are on the back foot as their forces have splintered. But changing leadership now could still cost us the war. The Imperial military is just as capable of crushing us now as they were a year ago, should we wage war poorly. This is still a military issue.”

Mon Mothma offered a small smile. “We must be a Republic in fact as well as name. To call for elections now is to show the galaxy that we are not just another domineering force in the galaxy. These actions may persuade more worlds to our cause than Admiral Ackbar’s navy could liberate in a decade!”

The Galactic Civil War is a core design for Empire in Flames – it is one of the earliest systems the team designed, though development of it was pushed back to post-launch due to the scope of changes the EiF team has wrought.

Especially of concern was ensuring combat was in a better place than SWGEmu – and, given the most recent balance pass, it definitely is. While we will continue to make tweaks going forward, we have a stable foundation to build upon, with relatively balanced combat skills, a fully-functioning core crafting system covering all weapons and armor, and a housing system encouraging player cities.

The design elements for the GCW included, in broad strokes, three major goals:

  1. A system that encouraged large events, rather than a system that discouraged engagement.
  2. A system that encouraged PvP.
  3. A system run by the players.

This Friday Feature is focusing on point #3 – player control.

“You cannot be serious, Admiral Sloane.”

“Grand Admiral Sloane, Moff Maksim. And I am very serious.”

The Moff raised an eyebrow at her. “Return control of the military to the Imperial Senate? The same Senate that the Emperor saw fit to disband nearly five years ago?”

The Admiral shook her head. “Hardly the same Senate – not a Senate at all, in fact.”

“You’re talking about holding elections!”

“Yes, I am. Look around you, Moff. The Imperial navy is shattering. The admiralty has no loyalty to anyone who has tried to claim power in the Empire. The civil service will not pledge fealty to the military High Command. If we do not change course, in another year there will be no Empire.”

“So why aren’t you on Coruscant, making your case there?”

“I will make my way there soon, but without Kuat, there will be no Empire. The shipyards here are critical to the war effort. If I do not have your support – if this proposal loses Kuat to the hands of a warlord or to the so-called New Republic – the Empire is just as doomed.”

The Moff leaned forward, a smile spreading for the first time since Sloane had begun the conversation. “You aren’t entirely foolish, Grand Admiral. Let us discuss your proposal.”

To recap, the Galactic Civil War is based around planetary control. Planetary control is determined by planetary invasions. The big missing chunk is obvious, then: who determines what planet a faction targets?

Ultimately, we wanted control to be in the hands of the players – the best systems in SWG always involve the players as deeply as possible. But what is the best route to take to get to that point?

We could give only high-ranked players a voice – Imperial and New Republic colonels, perhaps? But every player in the game can reach that rank, and it’s not a particularly time-consuming investment to do so.

Guild leaders, then? No, because any player could form a guild just with his own characters to get a voice on military matters.

City mayors, perhaps? Now we’re getting warmer – after all, mayorship requires support from the citizenship…sort of. Two players can found and maintain an outpost with just a little work. But we’re on the right track.

Ultimately, we decided to tie it to the Politician profession. It doesn’t require skillpoints, but it does require support or a lot of time to level. It almost certainly requires support and interaction with the community to do anything with.

With that in mind, we knew the server had to have established itself, with player cities, elections, and citizens before we could roll it out. And now Empire in Flames is established as such.

But what about the nuts and bolts of such a system?

The Chancellor’s voice rang with the clarity of a bell in the New Republic Senate on Chandrila. Her words echoed her discussion with Crix Madine days earlier, and were underpinned with conviction. “The transition from Rebel Alliance to New Republic has not been an easy path. We are no longer concerned only with overthrow of an illegitimate, despotic government, but with governing the worlds within our sphere of influence in a just manner.

“While the Emperor ruled with an iron fist, issuing decrees as he saw fit, we must represent the will of the people. And I believe we have during the years of our government-in-exile. Even while we conducted war, we planned for peace. We offered aid where we could, enforced law when we were capable, and protected the citizens whenever possible.

“But times have changed, and we must change with it. I call on all those who are faithful to the New Republic to prepare for elections. Select statesmen from each world to join this august body as it not only oversees the war effort, but works to build a lasting peace so that our children need not fight again the war we have sacrificed so much to win.”

As with city elections, New Republic Senate and Imperial Council elections will be held regularly via in-game voting to select the leadership for their governments. These elections will soon be available at city voting terminals, and will be rolled out shortly before the GCW hits the live server.

To register to run for high political office, a character must be of the appropriate faction (New Republic or Imperial) and a citizen of the planet where he seeks to run. The character will register at his local city hall, but the character’s name will subsequently show up on all voting terminals on the planet.

To vote, a player must be a citizen of a city. Players who have, for various reasons, citizenship outside city limits will not be able to run for high office, nor will they be able to vote for candidates.

Only politicians are able to run for the Senate or Council.

The New Republic Senate requires the Statesman title – 0040 politician.

The Imperial Council requires the Warmaster title – 0400 politician.

Characters do not have to be a mayor to run for high office.

High office elections are scheduled monthly. Once in office, officials will have votes once per week to determine their faction’s next GCW target. In the event of a tie vote, the body is considered “deadlocked” and the faction will forgo their turn at an offensive assault.

Moff Maksim’s voice was rich and calm, hiding any discomfort so deeply that Rae Sloane couldn’t find trace of it.

“Ashamedly, our great Galactic Empire has fractured with the death of our beloved Emperor. Too many of our military leaders have chosen the path of conquest, turning their guns on fellow soldiers and citizens and declaring themselves rulers of territory.

“Those few members of the Emperor’s court who have chosen to attempt governing have proven inept, losing further support of the both military and citizenship – even driving some worlds into the hands of the Rebels!

“Now is the time to turn this tide of treachery and defection. I call upon the loyal sons and daughters of the Empire to select leaders among yourselves – those who have known both war and peace – to step forward and take up the reins of government of the Empire.

“This new body, this Imperial Council, shall act upon the will of both citizens and soldiers, and will lead the Empire to a final victory over the treacherous dissidents that have caused so much death and pain in the galaxy!”