Currently, population is round robin around every player requesting a certain type. In theory, this leads to a “fair” distribution of worker, where everyone gets the same amount.
This leads to the current main problems that we have seen lately: Little to no reason to invest in POPI and population stealing.
In the current state of populous, most of the infrastructure is paid and fed by large/older player. Medium sized player have no incentive to supply the buildings, when waiting for a larger player to do it will always pay off. This is not really a big deal as we speak, but can be source of tension as it always seem to be the same group of 5-10 players paying.
The population stealing is a much bigger deal. We have seen, especially in the last week, many players having bases fully filled for months be drained. Combined with the extreme needs for techs and engineers with ignition makes this mechanic very annoying to deal with.
It was said by devs that having people “buying in” pop would be against what they wanted in the game. To be fair, this could be very destructive and easy to “lock out” people of their population. While I would love having a system where whoever paid or upkeeped the POPI get priority, I doubt this will happen. However, I think the “population stealing” part of populous could be easily reduced.
My proposition would be to only have X % of your population go back to the pool every week to be round robin. This might not be super intuitive so let’s put it in a situation:
Planet has 1500 ENG available (I will ignore planetary pool)
A employs 1000/1000
B employs 300/300
C comes in and wants to pull 1000
Old system :
A, B and C round robin to 300 (1500-900 = 600 ENG available)
A and C round robin the remaining 600 = 300 Each
A now employs 600/1000
B is still at 300/300
C is now at 600/1000
Proposed System (example at 33% goes back to pool) :
334 of A’s Eng go back to pool, 100 of B’s Eng go back to pool. Pool had 200 originally and is up to 634
A, B and C round robin 300 Eng’s (100 each), giving us 334 left
A and C round robin the 334 left giving them 167 each.
A would now employ 933/1000
B would still be at 300/300
C would employ 267/1000
Something similar would happen the next week
A send 311 to pool, B send 100 to pool, C send 89 to pool for 500 total
300 get on the first round, 200 on the second round.
A gets to 822/1000, B at 300/300 and C at 378/1000
Overall, goal is to promote newcomers to help building the infrastructure and growing the planet vs just skimping and stealing other people’s work. If they decide to not help, it would take multiple weeks for them to “steal” the pop, therefore giving time to the initial player to react vs just being stuck with ½ of the production overnight.