® EspaceSociety Archive

An Argument For The Warrior


Think about the food chain for a moment. Herbivores graze all day long on relatively nutrient-poor plants. They have huge guts (intestinal tracts) to extract as much of the nutrition as possible for their bodies. Day after day they spend nearly all of their time grazing. Then along comes a predator and aggressively pins down and eats one of the herbivores. Bam!

All of the nutrients that were so gradually and constantly accumulated in the tissues of the plant-eater become instant nutrition for the carnivore. It may be hard to witness, but the bloody feast is so rich in nutrients that the carnivore doesn’t have to eat for a comparatively long time.

Now, the price of this lifestyle is that carnivores have to be cognizant and clever. They have evolved in more ways than just forward facing eyes toward this end. Bigger, often highly intelligent brains may be energetically costly to maintain, but they help plan attacks and score meaty meals. Such feasts allow for days or even weeks “off” to do other things… mate, take care of young, form complex social groups, learn, go bowling, etc.

Do I have to tell you who is the herbivore and who is the carnivore in Astro Empires?

In a guild, who are the active members? Who is taking time to build social relationships? Who is not? Those who are quiet, who do not build the relationships are not carnivores—unless you have battle reports to the contrary. Off the top, we know they are herbivores.

I researched online collaboration, in fact this site is a proof-of-concept in developing a Science Fiction milieu online. Statistically, twenty percent of any organization is active. Look at your guild, how many members does it have? If you have 20 members, expect four to be active. The number may vary, but expect a small guild to be a prime target because there are so few active players.

Guilds go to a lot of effort to try to push activity. They set goals, they set standards; all things any company does. But, in the end, the statistical norm will win out.

What should you do about it? First, accept that guilds tend to have a high ratio of simmers and herbivores. Second, decide whether you are a herbivore or a carnivore.

Let’s face it, being a carnivore is harder in AstroEmpires. You have to find targets. You have to move on them, guard the derb pile as you harvest. But, is it fun to just sit on your arse and sim? It takes time to learn how to find and hunt targets. That’s where the real fun is. I think AstroEmpires has made it harder to do these things.

What should AstroEmpires do? It should give each player a database of targets. Give paying customers more bookmarks. If there’s a base at the bookmarked location that the player has seen, then the bookmark should give pertinent information based on the last-viewed. What were its defenses? What is its economy, production capacity, trade route count? To store that data, they would need, maybe, ten bytes for the econ, prod and TR count, and maybe 20 bytes for defenses, four bytes for the owner id and four bytes for time—less than 40 bytes per base. The rest is all display logic.

Good luck getting that. We spent years pressing for the recent set of improvements. But, this would really steal the thunder out of target databases.

AE could also go further in giving guild leaders tools… automatically providing base locations for all members. Again, good luck with that.

In the mean time, decide if you like grass or ass.