Since Ghostrider joined as campaign designer, we've come a long way towards reanimating a dead galaxy. We've attained the most diverse and detailed starting forces of any mod, each individualized by planet and timeline. Now it's my turn to correct planetary advantages.
The concept of the advantage is a great one for strategy; the idea being that certain worlds perform better than others in certain roles. Unfortunately vanilla advantages tended to be either overly mechanical - inexplicable outside of the context of gameplay - or dependent on future circumstances that may or may not occur in a given campaign. Endor's reflective armor bonus is a dual example: it was never a producer of vehicle armor, but could've been so associated because AT-ST were historically stationed there in 4 ABY. On top of that, advantages were one-dimensional, such as to imply a planet could have but a singular focus.
When I originally started adding new planets to PR, I didn't put much thought into formulating a comprehensive scheme for their advantages; it just occurred piecemeal. Each planet got at least one advantage and that was it. About midway through the development on v1.1, I began to see the flaws in this approach - there was no uniformity in the design and every bonus stacked - but it wasn't until recently that it became crippling. There was a point after hero leadership was put into place where you could combine bonuses to cut unit costs by 90% or ignore the majority of combat damage. Thus began the overhaul.
First of all, virtually none of the advantages you're familiar with from the present release remain unchanged. The revamped lot has been extensively researched and rebuilt from scratch. Borrowing a page from SoaSE, planetary advantages, those with a local effect, are now mostly standardized. These include:
- Academy (Branch) - Production Bonus (Infantry): Cost 25%, Time 25%; Production Bonus (Non-Infantry): Cost 10%, Time 10%
- Agriculture 1-3 - Population Capacity: +10/level
- Archives 1-3 - Production Bonus (Research): Cost 5%/level
- Automation (Land/Space) - Production Bonus (Structure): Cost -50%; Production Bonus (Non-Infantry): Cost 25%
- Cloning - Production Bonus (Infantry): Cost 100%, Time -100%
- Corporation (Corporation) - Production Bonus (Corporation): Cost 25%, Time 25%; Global Production Bonus (Corporation): Cost 10%
- Factories (Class) - Production Bonus (Infantry): Time 10%; Production Bonus (Non-Infantry): Time 25%
- Force Nexus (Alignment)
- Mining 1-5 - Income (Mining): 100 * 2 ^ (level - 1)
- Research 1-3 - Production Bonus (Research): Cost 5%/level, Time 5%/level
- Shipyards (Class) - Production Bonus (Class): Time 25%
- Stealth (Land/Space)
- Underworld - Income (Planetary): +0-100%
- University 1-3 - Production Bonus (Infantry): Time 10%/level; Production Bonus (Research): Time 5%/level
If you read the bullet about the mining advantage and got confused, you probably should be. This is a radically different approach to the concept of mining. Mining facility income used to scale with a world economy, with the old mining colony advantage imposing a simple bonus multiplier. That meant, all else the same, Coruscant had the best mines. It made no sense to us. Instead, we created five fixed-income facilities that increasingly double in value depending on the type of ore being mined. Now, every facility you build on Gromas 16 to collect phrikite is worth an impressive 1600, while the miners that eat Coruscant's duracrete rate a lousy 100. Also, in case it's not clear, every planet is automatically afforded Mining 1 and Agriculture 1, so those won't show up in their advantages.
Planetary advantages are useful for making infrastructure decisions, but they're relatively minor compared to galactic advantages. These are the coveted combat bonuses that affect your entire war effort. They operate like - and in addition to - hero leadership bonuses, but on a global scale. Of all the various galactic advantages in v1.1, I was able to narrow everything down to three stacking categories: materials, technology, and knowledge.
In a nod to Civ, a materials bonus comes from access to a resource. This includes everything from strategic metals to exceptional food, drink, spice, and recreation. Remember that mining facility on Gromas? It's now doubly important because it also improves your droid armor.
A technology bonus represents having the best product for the job, commonly in association with controlling a corporation that expertly produces said product. These are the unequivocal finest goods on the market - Mandalorian armor, Kuati walkers, Corellian engines - and they're more difficult to come by than resources.
Probably the most elusive bonus, however, is the knowledge bonus. To rate this bonus, a planet must know how to do something exceptionally better than the rest of the galaxy - a rare feat in the age of HoloNet. Stormtrooper training, Duros piloting, and Ssi-ruuk entechment are all examples of this type. There is usually no more than one per discipline.
If you can acquire an advantage from all three categories, it will generally combine to produce the effect of a five-star hero bonus, materials being worth one star and the others worth two. The two differences are reveal and recharge advantages, which can only be half as good as leadership, at best. There are also a few partial advantages that are weighted less than the cap. Even without a full bonus, galactic advantages are powerful enough to plan your entire long-term strategy around should you connect several complementary ones, including which lines you pay to upgrade.
With the depth and variety that's been added with advantages, we've effectively reinvented the galactic level of the game. Between this and heroes, research is no longer the certain trump that it was; it is now viable to pursue alternatives. Innumerable strategies await in PR v1.2.