The Problem with Plots

The Problem

Right now there is a big problem - Promitor is about to be overrun by an ad campaign that attracted settlers from the foreign land of Youtubia!

What happens if we do nothing?

Promitor is down to 21 free base slots, and I expect that in less than 24 hours there will be zero. Fortunately, many other starter planets such as Katoa, Proxion, Montem and other still have hundreds of plots left. New players will have options of where to start, but we are also just 1 or 2 ad campaigns away from planets like Katoa and Montem filling up as well. At this point the alternatives will start to look mighty unappealing. Just how many players can settle planets like Umbra or Prism before the Hydrogen and Helium market crashes? Do we really want to force new players to settle second rate planets 3-4 jumps away from the CX?

What did we do last time?

In the previous universe, the exact same problem occurred with the influx of the PC gamer crowd, and was solved by the devs by increasing the number of available plots on the CX worlds (Promitor, Katoa, Montem) to accommodate the PC Gamer crowd.

What will come next?

Keep in mind that we are currently only a few weeks into this new universe. There is also a potential crisis of epic proportions looming on the horizon - in the coming months, I expect many players will begin to reach for the stars and build their second base. Many of these players will choose other starter planets as their second and third bases. It is all but inevitable that many of the best planets, especially those in faction space, will be settled completely and the available space will dwindle to zero.

There are basically two scenarios that I can foresee unfolding:

  1. The game will become a victim of it’s own success, and starter planets will get filled up, and the devs will need to do something about it each time.
  2. The game will maintain a small player base, and mostly plots will not matter.

Plots outside of the starter planets will likely not matter for a very long time, and if they do we will already have gone through multiple growth surges that have filled the best starter planets, with the devs increasing their capacity each time.

Proposed Solution

At the end of the day, I think we need a much more radical solution to this problem - I propose that we abolish the plot system. It should be removed entirely, as I don’t think it is serving the intended purpose. The game needs to be able to scale organically, and this artificial mechanic just breaks the game every time we hit it. I think it is time to decide that the experiment with this feature is over and remove it from the game.


I’ve yet to see any purpose to the plot system. I’m only aware of one time a starter planet hit the limit in the past, also from an influx of players on Promitor from ad campaign, and afaik the response was to just increase the plot limit. If they serve some future purpose that isn’t implemented yet, perhaps just make the limit very high for the time being so this isn’t something that comes up again.

I think the intended solution is that now other planets are more viable and promitor being full won’t be as grossly unfair as it was last universe

easy to count how many ppl are on a planet!
Also shotgunning plots at axis is the best kind of pvp

Having any limits on the starting planets would mean that we will have 2k of players doing the same. They would end in a hard competition.

But this version of the universe has a lot of good starting places next and between the 3-4 old worlds.

A better solution would be to give an access to the current state of the universe… list all tier 1 planets with at least 1, 10 or 100 bases to give total new players an overview of where something is possible, where it is easier and where not… then let them chose where to start with basic information also how to leave this starting place.


I agree with this last suggestion:

As a new player, the choice of planet is not yet as clear as for “common players”. I think the planets need a much better “introduction”. Maybe even a list and a coloured hint for “good spots” (number of jumps to CX, local market?, suitable for farming?)

In the near future, besides the “classic starter planets”, maybe corporations could “advertise planets” for new players? Funky colourful ads “COME TO xxxx”, and maybe even offer a bonus starter package (which could of course be limited in some kind…). By this, new players could serve a more important role even in an advanced universe, and there would maybe some kind of competition for them

"Become a Carbon Farmer at xxx Corp! We offer ressources for the first 3 Farms and necessary baracks! Besides, profit from our local market for quick first sales!" :ear_of_rice:

As for the plots: i think there is no need for “slots” in the big picture (we are talking about several thousands of inhabitants, earth can sustain billions without many people even meeting).

Maybe it would be possible to limit “new players during the last x days” so that the new players are forced a little to distribute? Maybe not even “number of players” but lock a planet if more than, say, 10/20/50 % of players (depending on number of “starter planets”) during the last 7 days settled there?

While I would very much like to hear what he purpose of the plot system is, since I agreed with the idea that it should be abolished in the last universe, the devs gave their plan to deal with this.

The two parts to it are cleaning up inactive players and making more worlds worth settling by putting the CXs in orbit. I suspect that there aren’t actually 400 active players on Prom, which means things should get better soon.

Also, if Prom isn’t the most active CX – and the reports I’ve read say it isn’t – then players starting on Prom could very well be hurting themselves. Encouraging people to settle elsewhere is probably a good thing.

Prom seems huh… overfed!

I wanted to create a topic just for this, searched and here it is. It’s a year old but I don’t care :sunglasses: So here I go and bump it in hopes for it to be heard again. The Steam launch is basically exactly what has been described here, just bigger.

I thought about it for a bit and I see no reason for plot limits to exist. One argument I can imagine: “it forces players to spread out”. Yet the downside is just too big from a fun perspective:
You will be forced to spread out to sub-par options and will yield sub-par results. Not because you made a bad decision or because you planned badly. No. Just because you were too late.

I see a point in having players spread out a bit, but this should be achieved by different means if it is a problem. For example by creating viable choices. Not by taking away player agency.

Maybe there is a bigger vision behind it and it has been implemented like that preemptively. In that case I don’t mind. But some Steam players are pretty darn confused about where to expand to.

I am vaguely partial to the plot system, I hope it is a prelude to a more integral system (particularly with regards to conflict, and to a much lesser degree exploration) and I think having a way for a planet ‘fill up’ just makes sense.

I also like that in this science-fiction economy simulation, Space and Time are the confining factors.

I have two big questions:

Has the idea of dynamic plots been explored?

Your workforce population determines your plot size. Your plot size minimum is the sum of your constructed buildings areas. Your ‘buildable land’ size is determined by your base level.

Has the idea of a Great Migration been explored?

'Howdy folks, well you’ve filled up Promitor. Again! As always, congratulations and thank you! To keep the profits flowing, the Insitor Cooperative have just finished investing billions of Australs into flash-terraforming a Promitor-like planet out in JS-829, hastily christened Piledriver (Against my recommendation). We need your help to build a Commodity Exchange capable of sustaining the new Insitor Cooperative expansion. Staging is happening now at Boucher, just speak with your governor @Nirces about participating! A big thank you to this expansion’s Premier Sponsor - OIKOS Corporation!
NOTE: Aid is only available to those migrating their entire operations OFF Promitor. If you are opening a second base on Piledriver, you’re part of the problem and on your own!
– Sincerely, your Cooperative Executive

I’m not sure if creating incentives for people to migrate and basically go backwards is a good thing for the player experience, both new and old. The difficulty with this is balancing these numbers with the size of the playerbase - it’s not an automagically scaling solution.

The re-think that needs to happen needs to start with this question:

“what problem is the plot count trying to solve?”

I think most people would probably answer - diversification. Encourage more distribution and growth throughout the universe, which is a good thing for the health of the game and it’s experience. And I’d probably agree with you.


This is a double edged sword. Because arguments could be made, especially in the early game, the starter worlds have inherit benefits that give advantage play to those who have bases on them. As Firefreak said - it isn’t fair to lose this advantage simply because you were late.

It’s a bit late now for this universe and probably couldn’t be implemented until the next reset - but perhaps a compromise and additional complexity could solve this. It would involve multiple tiering systems for planets.

Planets have a tier list. You really only need two. “starter worlds”, and everything else. Starter worlds have no plot limits, but the rest of the worlds have the limits as they exist now.

You can colonize up to “x” number of starter worlds. Let’s say 3. These bases are extra powerful, perhaps out of the box they come with 750 or 1000 area. This requires it’s own “HQ” upgrade chain to unlock more plots for starter worlds.

You would have a totally separate HQ upgrade chain to unlock plot counts for the rest of the worlds in the universe. This way you can impose a hard cap on the utility of starter worlds, making choices very specific about which ones you expand to and why. Empowering the players to make powerful, long term choices of where they want to grow.

You could even spin this off yet again into a third system: plot size increases. Similar to how the system currently works now, where you can expand the area of a base, this separate upgrade chain could unlock expansions for each of your bases. You can get maybe 5 +250 area buffs to bases of your choosing.

There are all kinds of interesting solutions to the plot limit problem. Which, now that we’re approaching the time where the steam players will be making their second bases… is quite important.

A soft cap could also work. Under the plot limit, you get 100% efficiency. After this limit is reached, players can still colonize, but everyone gets an efficiency penalty. With enough overcrowding, players will abandon the planet and it will stabilize at a point where planets are roughly equal.

Some other way to implement this is by requiring densification materials for every new building and also when repairing. A bit like how we need different materials based on temperature, except it’s driven by overcrowding.

Yet another way is by having a land value tax. The more overcrowded, the higher the tax is, because that land is more valuable. It would be collected by the faction and burned or used in some massive faction-wide projects.

This also makes dead planets potentially interesting for manufacturing because it’s much cheaper to operate there and overcomes the shipment costs.

New players are obviously immune to this on their starter planets.

New players should not be crowding up the same starter planets from now until the end of time. And it should not be the case that they’re going to be worse off if they don’t. I would go so far as to say that the current starter planets shouldn’t even be offered as an option for starting on eventually.

While it won’t work for this universe, I think the ultimate solution is that the starting planets for new players should naturally move out over time. As part of the gradual colonization of the galaxy, new players should generally want to start in regions that are moderately established. Not the brand new frontiers, a step past that. Somewhere that the CX and core infrastructure is down, but a solid economic base of all the low level consumables and industries hasn’t yet been established. Governors would mark their planets as available for new players to start on with starter packages they specify and prepare. Spending tax or minted money to fund them. While the original starting planets gradually get phased out as starters.

This way new players aren’t competing with well established players that have 5+ bases and 5+ experts running massive optimized operations with corp mates. Most of the folks in your region are going to be similar aged companies as yours. They also have clear goals to work towards in building up the local infrastructure and contributing to mega projects once those are in. If they want to engage in trade or expand to more established systems, they can. If they want to help push out the frontier instead, they can. Both are available in either direction from their starting world.

The only other things that would be needed are hard forces to push players towards a more even distribution between starters. Hard plot limits would be unnecessary.

The reason this doesn’t work in this universe is because there aren’t enough regions worth colonizing. The generation just didn’t create good clusters of planets at regular intervals out from the core to facilitate a natural expansion and spread outwards. We only got Hubur and Arclight, and both of those are further out than I think good planet clusters aught to be anyway.

I think another reason it doesn’t necessarily work is that it inherently requires an ever increasing number of CXs. I was in favor of this in the past, but seeing the amount of confusion it has caused for new players, and the limited amount of items available on the far ranging CXs, I’m not so sure anymore. We have seen a lot of new players buy stuff on these CX in the new regions and then later realize that it is a 5 day (or worse) round trip to go pick up those items. This basically means they have to COLIQ, since an error like this in the early game can be unrecoverable.

One solution that I prefer is to make faction choice matter a lot more. For example Castillo-Ito players would be allowed to settle all of the starter worlds in BEN space, Neo-Charter players could settle starter worlds in MOR space, but lock out cross faction settlement. Alternatively, rather than a hard lockout, settling those worlds from a different faction could require a hefty licensing fee paid to the NPC faction. Non-starter worlds in that faction space could have smaller licensing fees, further encouraging players to expand outward rather than inward. This would make faction choice a lot more important, and have long term consequences.


This is an excellent idea. I had previously proposed that players could only settle on one of the main starter planets, and all their other bases would have to be on the secondary worlds. But it always felt a bit arbitrary.

Making all bases require a license fee - except from the faction where your HQ is - with the licence fee decreasing with distance from the core worlds - that’s a lot better.