The current controversy over CUOP’s monopoly is not about monopoly, it is about planetary take-over by malicious player groups.
The monopoly by itself (ignoring lost bases for the moment), at this point, is practically victimless. If this was about monopoly, then anti-cuop players would be satisfied with liberating one or two CUO planets. They aren’t satisfied with a CUO planet or two because many bases have been rendered useless by high taxes, and they also want those bases to be liberated.
The real problem here is the ability of a malicious regime to render a base completely useless through exorbitant tax rates. I imagine this would be very frustrating, and currently there is no direct recourse for the victim (hence the toxic dialog unfolding daily in public chat).
Solution? Optional taxes - with consequences for opting out. Hear me out!
Provide players with the option of opting out of taxes on a base-by-base basis. Balance that option with penalties to make it a non-ideal act of defiance against tyrants. Penalties for tax evasion might include some or all of the following:
- No benefits from Chamber of Global Commerce and possibly other planetary projects.
- Slight penalty to building efficiency.
- Faster building decay.
- Increased fuel costs of landing/launching ships.
- Reduced voting power in elections.
The regime is penalized in one or both of the following ways:
- Missed tax revenue (obviously).
- A reduction in global safety and health based on the amount of untaxed production occurring on the planet. “There’s insurgent activity around sector 19 again”
Benefits of this solution:
- Non-cooperative play is penalized. (players will not want to opt out of taxes, and governments can suffer immediate consequences of raising taxes too high)
- Governments with tenuous popular support will have less power.
- Player bases on planets ruled by malicious regimes may lose efficiency, but will not become useless. (much less frustrating)
- Players not supporting their governments through taxes will be less competitive.
- Planets with internal political strife will be less competitive (elections will have more at stake).
- Players will have additional recourse against governments.
- Malicious player groups can still stage planetary take-overs and maintain an iron grip at a higher cost.
- This could introduce the possibility of large-scale rebellion with realistically heavy economic consequences for the planet.
Tell me what you think. But please, a solution like this requires fine-tuning and balancing of details, so assume that this would be balanced intelligently. (if your criticism is that everyone would just opt out of taxes, then you are probably assuming the penalties are poorly balanced)
Thanks for reading!