The CUOP Controversy is about Tyranny and Taxes - Not Monopoly. Here's a solution

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!

-Hark

4 Likes

Great idea. For someday, somewhere out there in the future.

But we have a problem right now. Right here, right now.

There are direct and immediate actions that can be taken to stop the cartel right now. Optional taxes is not one of them.

Boycott the scoundrels.

1 Like

Thanks for reading, Houston. I’m assembling materials for a new base on Belzers as we speak.

2 Likes

I like this idea, and considering you have the option not to fulfill a contract I don’t see why you can’t choose to pay taxes either. I think when the government’s are being run by whales not having a little tax revenue won’t really affect them and they are able to maintain unreasonable tax rates.

I think it would work better after a reset, before people can afford to support a planet on their own. Another way to look at it as steeper taxes = less pentalty to avoid them? So it scales, high taxed governments will have less negative consequences if people avoid them. Just a thought.

2 Likes

I like the idea very much! From what we have observed and learned from the players, it is not so much the actual economic conflict that is raging, but much more that a small player has no agency to fight this situation and is left helpless.

In the past when we discussed (privately and publicly in the live streams) the topic of warfare and conflict in general we always said that we want to have a game where the large-scale conflicts are opt-in. Neutral players should not loose bases for example just because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think the solution you presented is more of an opt-out solution, but still, it shares the same vision.

4 Likes

I get the idea (I believe @rubicate first proposed it) and broadly its a nice solution in a current understanding of conflict and the game, whilst also seriously buffing and encouraging solo play.

Personally I’m not a fan of solo-play but I understand many are. I also am interested in a future game state in which warfare is a possibility. Realistically you can’t just “opt-out” of anything. People are entirely subject to their situation.

I’d much rather prefer a system in which politics is improved and diversified, checks and balanced enabled to be implemented. Currently, these kind of taxes are broadly opt in, in that they’re outside faction space. If in the future faction space was bigger (even dynamic) then that would limit it. Factions would have limitations on this kind of speculation and one would be opting in to the craziness when leaving faction space. Currently we do need to leave faction space for some resources really.

Maybe a short term solution would be to actually expand faction space to reflect what actually is faction space.

1 Like

Bobemor, if the penalties for tax evasion are more costly than reasonable tax rates, then “opt-out” taxes would absolutely not buff or encourage solo play.

I agree that it doesn’t make sense to be able to “opt-out” out of armed conflict. I’m all for conflict. The current problem is rooted in a lack of any ability to engage in conflict. A cartel group can rule a planet and non-cartel players have no ability to resist (other than through toxic verbal conflict, which we don’t want).

A key characteristic of conflict is that it is costly to both sides, and that it is generally more costly to both sides than cooperation. If you make opting out of taxes costly enough to both sides, then opting out of taxes becomes, defacto, a means of engaging in conflict.

In that case, opting out of taxes is more than just a solution to the current useless base problem, it is essentially opting into political/economic conflict. It’s saying “You’ve pushed too far. I refuse to comply. I’m going to oppose you - even if it costs both of us.” That is realistic, especially in a ‘wild-west’ frontier where authority/enforcement is tenuous at best. Refusal to pay taxes is basically rebellion. Rebellion is the ultimate check and balance, and it is always a last resort because it is costly.

2 Likes

Nah, I just don’t like this idea. “Taxes” are not optional (except for people who can afford really good Lawyers & Accountants). This feels like a Libertarian fantasy, and a solution in search of a problem. The “problem” poised by CUOP has an obvious solution, within existing Game Mecahnics - but it requires patience (waiting for next Election) and Organization/Cooperation (which is something that the Game should encourage).

OTOH, I’d suggest that Players with no Workers on a Planet (CM only) shouldn’t get to vote for Gov (just seems wrong, like people in RL voting in two places because they own two houses). Unfortunately, this would be unpopular right now, bc it would make it harder to overthrow CUOP; but remember, it would also have made it harder (slower, more expensive) for CUOP to take over those planets in the first place.

Even more simple, just change the rule which makes the 1st Election shorter than all others (make 1st election same length as others). From now on (thanks to CUOP), people will notice when a new Player on a Planet builds an ADM. 3 Days isn’t enough to drag a bunch of Mats to a Planet to resist Takeover, but the normal election period (8 days?) would be. I’d suggest that CUOP has mostly solved the problem by making people (painfully…) aware of it. Sorry, not sorry?

2 Likes

I agree with your first sentiment @Konvolut, there are some major political imporvements needed imo which will greatly improve gameplay and provide whole new avenues for players to enjoy whilst also fixing some current issues.

Regarding the current suggestion though I think a perhaps far simpler solution to develop and to operate would be to allow the expansion of faction space. One day this could even be dynamic and have wide ranging consequences, from the voting system, to tax systems, to overarching political structure, but perhaps currently either the Devs just expand faction space to include logical regions (and therefore provide a good area of safe play) or introduce a cheap building/decision that can be enacted to make a planet faction space irreversibly. This system could then be easily expanded upon and might provide quite an enjoyable ‘map painting’ project for the universe for the next few months.

I also think unless you make opt-out so severe a large minority of players will just say “yeah so it’s a cost on playing singleplayer” and then they’ll just campaign for this to be nerfed and eventually they’ll be almost a whole shadow tier to the game of people playing seperately from everyone. This would be a disaster for the game. Solo play should be viable early game but completely unviable mid-late.
I currently think in many ways funding CMs and building supports through highlighting of aggression are as viable if not more constructive and enjoyable tools to deal with aggressive players and corps than a passive opt-out mechanism.
(Honestly the more i think about this Opt-out the less and less i like it)

2 Likes

This. 100% this. This style of fix is within the established mechanics and makes sense.

It doesn’t even need to be “faction space” per-se. At an abstract level, it could be a “market watchdog” facility. As long as its supplied with OFF etc… fees cannot be raised above a certain level. It should also provide some other benefit, such as “stability” or a slight bonus to pop happiness in order to promote provision of funding at all times. Maybe it could even run programs similarly to the COGC where the population can vote on the level of “protection” they want.

2 Likes

Konvolut, this is the opposite of a libertarian fantasy. What I’m proposing is a socialist fantasy - a universe where even inept government spending yields such benefits to taxpayers that those outside of the tax system are rapidly outpaced by those inside of it (except in cases of extreme tyranny).

The problem posed by CUOP does have an obvious solution, but that solution is far from ideal - hence the ongoing defamation campaigns. The monopoly might be broken in 2 weeks, but how long do you think before all players have their bases liberated? And even then, would you prefer that the whole community rush to every planet to ensure no one can be mean to each other rather than simply provide individuals with a small ability to resist tyranny?

Bobemor, if tax-avoidance penalties were nerfed in order to enable solo play then it certainly could be a disaster. I’m not sure why you would assume that would happen, especially given how obvious the consequences would be. It’s not like the trade-off would be hard for players to understand or agree with. If you stop paying taxes then you stop getting the benefits of paying taxes and you fall behind. It doesn’t save you money. It’s just a protection against tyrants.

The ability to expand faction space sounds interesting, but that just kicks the can down the road. I’m imagining a cartel conflict over a planet. Cartel A gets power and shuts down all Cartel B bases with high taxes, until Cartel B pays off enough backers to get power and shut down all Cartel A bases. Do you actually want that system of winner-take-all/loser-left-powerless voting dominance to be the future of conflict outside of faction space?

Prdgi, would building and funding a “market watchdog” be faster and cheaper than getting a dozen players together to liberate a planet? If not, then isn’t it less ideal than the current non-ideal solution? If it is faster/cheaper, then wouldn’t it ultimately defang cartels to an even greater degree than optional taxes? My suggestion is to allow players/governments to hurt each other a little instead of fully disempowering one or the other.

I agree with some of what you guys are saying, but I don’t think you are presenting better solutions to the problem - that players’ bases can be rendered completely useless by forces beyond their control, and that they are powerless to do anything about it other than petition the community for a slow, massive, costly intervention.

2 Likes

A market watchdog facility, as I imagine, would allow a check/balance on governor power. Currently a governor has effectively unlimited power. A governor is elected by 1 vote per colony. The watchdog program could be voted like the cogc, per population.

It could have varying levels of fee reduction with comparative upkeep cost, eg… 10% reduction in fee limit program costs 5% of total upkeep.

75% reduction could cost 100% of upkeep.

I imagine that the facility cost would be equivalent to the ADM cost - about 600k.

1 Like

Ahh, I see. This would be a great protection against a governor going rogue and suddenly raising taxes against the will of the populace. But it wouldn’t change anything about the current problem of bases being rendered useless by cartel regimes who enjoy majority support. In those cases, your base is still lost until the community intervenes.

Do you not feel that a tax opt-out with penalties would solve both problems? Or do you feel it would overly limit a cartel’s ability to really control a planet?

I’d be more infavour of this than the opt-out. It to me provides another system which would solve this current perceived issue and provide interesting dynamics and other gameplay interactions. The Opt-out seems tailored made for this specific situation and designed to not interact with other systems. (If it did start being used regularly it would be game ruining after all).

My first suggestion about expanding space was to try and think of as easy and simple solution as possible for the developers. Currently there’s already the concept of faction space planets in game, believe there’s already levels, so it must be possible to change a planet/stars’ level. Therefore, it might be quite a simple bit of game design/programming to allow a building to be built which changes this. (Might not be but to me it seems reasonable to suggest this is simpler than a whole opt-out design)
I also like this as it develops a new system and concept (one already hinted at in current game) about developing faction space.
This is a system I can see being far more dynamic and engage better with other current and future systems. One of the beauties of PrUn currently is its systemic game design.

In the future this could easily be expanded, perhaps in a market watch dog direction, ideally i’d like to see faction space mean more beyond just tax limits. Such that expanding faction space is an active process but also a weighted choice, some might prefer the lawlessness afterall, or prefer another faction. It maybe isn’t a one way street.
This system can expand and interact in numerous way with such as: faction government structures (different factions with different ones even), different voting systems, faction space expansion and bonuses, independent bank accounts, and more. I feel these will all be able to overlap and provide emergent game play, whilst providing even multiple solutions to this specific issue.

1 Like

Opt-out seems okay to solve a very specific and targeted situation. It would need to be weighted such that players wouldn’t do it unless dire (lots of solo-players would happily take a considerable hit to not be affected by anyone else). Then its only ever applicable in these dire situations which really don’t effect the game world all that much and as soon as this system was in place would likely never be needed. So then we’ve just made a potentially substantial system which is never going to be used…

1 Like

I think the COUP is one the best things that could happen. I think the governors are too kind at the moment. Producing is nearly free : the universe would be really different if resource extraction on etherwind cost a lot.

It is economic warfare in the game and the only way I think that is usable to limit production. You shouldn’t remove this.

I dont think you should limit it or remove it. It is seems to be the only PvP system in the game. If you wish to reduce it, you should change the vote system.

At the moment, you can vote for 2 things :

  • planetary administration : you only need a base. You can vote until the end of the universe and you vote weight as much as the others.
  • Chamber of commerce : you vote for a program and your vote is based on population.

If you reverse the voting system to keep it simple :

  • Chamber of commerce : you can vote as long as you have a base. If you wish to add a weight, it can be giving money as a “bribe” or lobbying.
  • Planetary administration : your population vote as you wish so the governor is elected by the highest population. It is kinda democratic but you weight vote by social class if you wish.

As a result, you have a new option to do a economic warfare : you remove a chamber of commerce bonus. It is also kinda thematic. (low level PvP it doesnt gimp players much)
If you want to do a monopoly on a whole resource, it is much harder as you need a population majority on all systems. But you still have the option to gain a majority on a planet to make a cartel with different corporations or as economic warfare by raiding an hostile corporation planet to raise production cost. Last point, the higher the population, the higher the number of item produced so, as soon as the monopoly is broken, the resource is produced a LOT more.

If you wish to implement a new system, you can do it as the roman republic :

  • the population vote for whoever they like.
  • everybody can bribe the population with consumable (basic and luxury) and money. The actual governor get a bonus or a malus with the happiness of the population (to tie this with the population update).
  • the winner paid (a lot) and he needs to get back its money. Either with money sent by its corp (it is like building a empty base) or by raising fees. He also needs to supply the infrastructure to keep people happy.
1 Like

I’ll disagree with CUOP being one of best things to happen. Though I agree governors are too kind. People complain far too much about most taxes that are pretty minimal (even high taxes on core faction worlds aren’t exactly diabolical).

I’d love more voting systems to play with, more options for tax, etc. I’d rather see development go into this than a single use opt-out system.

how about the option for the planet to pose the “trust question” on its governour? aka cause early elections?

2 Likes

Personally, I’m of the opinion that relatively little change is actually needed, based on the actions of Coup.

Coup basically just proved that a tyrannical approach to governing will be met with such heavy resistance that it is essentially not worth attempting again. They have not gained anything, they have caused a massive backlash, and those individual corps have been ostracized (appropriately, IMO. I don’t know why they didn’t expect that to happen. People respond to being harmed. The severity of the response at personal levels certainly crossed lines at times though)

Now - the bit about changing the initial voting period is a valid suggestion in my mind because it allows the situation to be combated and responded to in real time, as they are taking the planets, rather than waiting a full election cycle to do something about it. That feels a lot better than what happened.

Opting out of taxes is ridiculous - no one gets to opt of taxes in this world. What ever happened to the universal constants of death and taxes?
HOWEVER!
Re-theme the idea into the concept of “rebelling” or “behind on taxes” - a company that is behind on taxes then losing the benefits of COGC, etc makes nice thematic sense to me, but as shown, there need to be more penalties than that. I would suggest you cannot avoid the taxation of factions - they have the resources (IRS!) to come get your taxes regardless. But avoiding a corp tax - sure, I can see that.
You can say to me that I didn’t really argue against the concepts presented here and that I am actually in favor of them - but my aim here is to try to point out that the REASON behind things matters to get the right feel of the game. Putting the theme this way also demonstrates something else:
Corps really don’t actually provide much if you only look at the COGC - the penalty of withholding COGC is actually the SMALLEST part of what most Corps provide to planets - HAPPINESS FROM POPULOUS GOODs
SO
if you are behind on your taxes (opt out, as defined in earlier posts), you should ALSO be completely on your own from a population point of view. You should be LAST in line to receive population to work your buildings. You should be INELLIGEBLE to receive any of the reserve population for building new buildings.

This makes absolute sense in the theme that you’ve pissed off the corp that is administering the population. Obviously, on some planets this could mean relatively little due to excess pop - but on others it could be devastating to your own production abilities. And - the corp can then “fight back” at your decision to “fight” the corp by avoiding their tax by letting pop fall to a point where they get pops and you don’t. Now its a dynamic situation and you should be careful about biting the hand that feeds (if its actually doing the feeding!)

Another way to look at the situation is this: Maybe governors need to be able to set more things on planets than just taxes and be able to promise other things than just filling COGC and POPI - but thats another topic for another thread.

Plus - you can color the planet area on the PLI screen with companies in good standing of taxes in one color and companies in bad standing in another - it will look like an actual war is raging on a planet when it happens :slight_smile:

The other reason calling it “behind on taxes” is a good idea is that it demonstrates another thing - if you want to get back into good standing with a corp, you’ll need to make reparations. Perhaps this can be negotiable between Corp and player. IE Corp offers player a deal to have player immediately pay 50% of tax owed and be forgiven of the rest to get back into good standing. This way, the player has a real risk of intentionally getting behind on taxes: the corp may stick around and not allow you to get back your COGC & POP bonuses! Of course, if they get voted out, the slate starts clean…

LASTLY
Another concept that should be up for discussion:
Votes of no confidence in governorship.
There should just be a setting, available to all corps on a non-faction planet, that you can switch between “confidence” and “no-confidence”
It defaults to “confidence” after each election
It can only be changed 1/week or some similar cooldown
If greater than 75% of ACTIVE bases (bases with population with production in queue) have switched to "no-confidence) then the election cycle immediately goes back to voting.
Would this have stopped Coup? NO. They seeded the bases with enough pops to avoid this.
BUT
everyone had to wait 20+ days to vote the bums out after mobilizing. This would have provided an outlet and feeling of agency to get everyone to work together and end the tyranny sooner.
Also
there is the problem of a governor/corp leaving the game and resulting in a term with unfulfilled COGCs, POPI, etc (future things, maybe) - this gives a way out of that issue as well

1 Like