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[Vote] (7-16) Kidnap Specialists Mission Proposals

Approval Vote for Proposal #16


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Players, please cast your votes in the poll above. Vote "Yea" for every proposal you'd be okay with if it were implemented. Vote "Nay" if you'd be okay if these proposals weren't implemented. You can vote for any number of options.

All votes are public. If you wish, you can discuss your choice(s) in the thread below. You can change your vote as many times as you want until the poll closes.

VP Congress: Session 7, Proposal 16

Discussion Thread: (7-16) Kidnap Specialists Spy Mission: Cost Drop To 750, Remove Capital Only [Spy Update 4]
Proposer: @Stalker0
Sponsor: @axatin

Proposal Details
This is one of a series of proposed tweaks to the Spy system to polish the new version.

Proposal: Reduce the cost of the Kidnap Specialist Spy Mission from 1000 to 750. Remove the requirement that this can only be done in the capital.

Rationale: This mission suffers two problems.
1) Its simply too expensive for its benefit.
2) As a capital only mission, it has heavy competition from other missions. Even at a cheaper cost, its hard to justify using it compared to stronger "capital only" missions.

By removing the capital restriction, we give this mission a whole new niche. It can now be utilized for secondary spies, and you can use it on several cities together to really ramp up your GPP rate in your capital.

Normally capital restrictions exist to ensure that a mission cannot be spammed that would have a major boost or detriment. For example, we don't want a person stealing 3 techs from the tech leader at the same time, or stealing the entire treasury of one city. But for this mission, the GPP reductions are spread across the cities. Having two cities with a -1 GPP isn't really that much more harmful than 1 city.

Removing the restriction will give this mission a tremendous new use case without much impact to the people they are spying against.


VP Congress: Session 7, Proposal 16a
Discussion Thread: (7-16a) Kidnap Specialists in the City - Lower NP Only
Proposer: @azum4roll
Sponsor: @azum4roll

Proposal Details
Proposal:
Reduce the cost of the Kidnap Specialists mission from 1000 NP to 750 NP.

Why capital-only stays:
Like tech steal and treasury steal, the main effect of this mission (+1 GPP in your capital) is agnostic to where you perform the mission. Removing the restriction means you can easily achieve this by putting a spy in a puppet city (security 0).
Even if it's really strictly weaker than tech steal (debatable), the tech leader can't steal tech and will still go for this mission.
 
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If you're supposed to use it on security 0 cities, why not just lower the cost further but let the capital restriction stay?

This is also the only case where you would want to deliberately put spies in the weakest city regardless of what it has. All other missions are not useful in random puppets, and that's intended.
 
If you're supposed to use it on security 0 cities, why not just lower the cost further but let the capital restriction stay?

This is also the only case where you would want to deliberately put spies in the weakest city regardless of what it has. All other missions are not useful in random puppets, and that's intended.
Steal great work is.

And yes I would want to put my spies in the most vulnerable places that an empire has....encouraging them to build more security buildings. How is that crazy? That's literally how espionage works...you hit the vulnerable places not Fort Knox.
 
Even the Great Works aren't going to be in puppets (-80% Culture). The priority is always stacking those in the capital or a dedicated city with all the theming bonuses.
I would want to put my spies in the most vulnerable places that an empire has....encouraging them to build more security buildings.
Except puppets will never get any security thanks to the innate uncontrollable unhappiness and building queue.
That's literally how espionage works...you hit the vulnerable places not Fort Knox.
You're not going to spy on the most unimportant cities, or expect those to give you good intel.
 
Even the Great Works aren't going to be in puppets (-80% Culture). The priority is always stacking those in the capital or a dedicated city with all the theming bonuses.

Except puppets will never get any security thanks to the innate uncontrollable unhappiness and building queue.

You're not going to spy on the most unimportant cities, or expect those to give you good intel.
I feel like the point you are trying to make at a fundamental level is:

"If kidnap specialists are allowed to operate outside the capital, it will be incredibly OP"

And I just do not agree with that. If I did 4 kidnap missions all at once in a single civ, using the most vulnerable cities they got (which is 3k network points, or 2 tech steals worth)..... it STILL would not be as good as tech steals in the majority of cases. The numbers I ran before highlight that to my satisfaction. Even if you increased that value by lets say 20%-30% (because less security) I still wouldn't consider it equal value.

But....I would at least consider it a niche. I might tech steal in the capital, and kidnap in a satellite as an example. Sure I might kidnap from a puppet, which is reasonable value for me but almost no cost to the opponent (your not making GPP out of a puppet). That is perfectly fine to me.
 
What you're arguing for is make the NP cost even cheaper, or the effect stronger. Until it matches a tech steal.
 
What you're arguing for is make the NP cost even cheaper, or the effect stronger. Until it matches a tech steal.
No I'm arguing for something that can be used in a DIFFERENT way than a tech steal. To me the very idea that I could hole up several spies in low security areas and create a cool combo.....vs using them in capitals only for tech steals, is the very point of this entire endeavor. We have given the players two different styles of using their spies.

I don't need a tech steal 2.0....I already have that. I want missions to operate differently from each other, and this is exactly how we do that.
 
I want missions to operate differently from each other, and this is exactly how we do that.
You have a point, but no, this is not how we should do this.

There are already missions that work in weak security cities with their effectiveness scaling with the importance of the city. Just use them if you really want to "use spies in two different styles".
 
There are already missions that work in weak security cities with their effectiveness scaling with the importance of the city.
Honestly there aren't so many, right?

Also if you Kidnap GPP in their Capital it actually hurts them a bit. If you Kidnap in a puppet it doesn't hurt them at all, so you still get more from the mission if the city you target is a more important one (working more specialists).
 
Honestly there aren't so many, right?
All three of the 1500 NP missions, and occasionally the faith one.
Also if you Kidnap GPP in their Capital it actually hurts them a bit. If you Kidnap in a puppet it doesn't hurt them at all, so you still get more from the mission if the city you target is a more important one (working more specialists).
Benefiting yourself >>> hurting one other player.
 
Two of the 1500 ones are like, exclusively to hurt the other player, no?
It's really only the gold steal, which recently for me has always offered pretty minor benefit.
 
Two of the 1500 ones are like, exclusively to hurt the other player, no?
All three of them. That's why they're allowed to be used in non-capitals to begin with. But hey, they actually hurt, and you can use them to grab the city.
 
I am going to post the numbers I used in discord, to try and show people the uphill climb for the Kidnap Specialist mission. This was an Austria play where I set off 3 spies at once to Kidnap Specialists on Turn 207. I clocked how much GPP I actually gained and then averaged out over the 3 missions to show you the result below.

1 Kidnapped Specialist Mission: Total GPP bonuses
Writer: 249%, 3.49 GPP. Total: 52.35 GPP out of 1150 (4.6%)
Artist: 226%. 3.26 GPP. Total: 48.90 GPP out of 1150 (4.3%)
Music: 226%. 3.26 GPP. Total: 48.90 GPP out of 650 (7.5%)
Scien: 160%. 2.60 GPP. Total: 39.00 GPP out of 900 (4.3%)
Merc: 160%. 2.60 GPP. Total: 39.00 GPP out of 650 (6.0%)
Engin: 160%. 2.60 GPP. Total: 39.00 GPP out of 900 (4.3%)
Diplo: 243%. 3.43 GPP. Total: 51.45 GPP out of 900 (5.7%)
Total GPP for 3 Kidnaps simultaneously (3k Network Point Cost): 955.8
Average %GP Completion: 15.2%
Opportunity Cost: 2 Tech Steals (3k Network Point Cost), ~5457 science (at this point in the game based on the techs that were available to steal)

The Comparison: 1 GPP vs 5.71 science
Another way to look at this. A GS at this point in the game costs me 900 GP. So by this comparison, a Great Scientist would need to generate 5,139 science for the GPP to be better than the raw science itself. While 5k science is doable for late game GS, its certainly not something you get in Renaissance.


Now taking it a step further, I did look at Ethiopia when I ran this analysis: They are running 6 specialists in their capital at the moment, so -6 GPP, or 90 GPP lost in total if they keep their specialists unchanged.

If you wanted to argue that a GPP lost is just as good as a GPP gained (I would say that is absolutely not the case but lets go for the high end, especially since an opponent capital might be running a lot more specialists than what I'm seeing right now). So lets add on another 90 x 3 = 270 GPP.

Modified Total GPP (including opponent losses):

New Comparison (assuming opponent's loss = to my main): 1 GPP vs 4.45 science
Using our GS analysis again our GS would need to generate 4,005 science to make the exchange worth. Still WAY higher than I can get for a GS at that point in the game.


This clearly highlights the position that the Kidnap Specialist mission is quite weak. But I still firmly believe that not only should the mission be strengthened, but that the capital restriction is an arbitrary and unnecessary restriction that hampers the creative use of this mission for no gain. There is no reason to restrict this mission, even if you DOUBLED its effectiveness from the numbers shown above, it would still be a reasonable but not an obviously correct tradeoff compared to steal tech. The mission can afford to gain flexibility as well as power.

When in doubt, why not give the players more creativity and flexibility with their spy missions? For certain missions yes the power is simply too great or too penalizing to let several spies hammer a single civ. But kidnap specialists is simply NOT one of them.

Vote to let people use spies the way they want!
 
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I think you're just continuing to argue for an even cheaper kidnap mission. If 750 is not low enough, try 500. Or maybe double the GPP gain/loss.
 
I think you're just continuing to argue for an even cheaper kidnap mission. If 750 is not low enough, try 500. Or maybe double the GPP gain/loss.
I think we both agree that further decreasing the cost of the mission and removing capital only restrictions would increase the strength of the mission.

So if the numbers show we can open up this mission....why not push to make it more user friendly? Why not give users the ability to do combos and use this mission in ways they can't do with several other missions?


To me, all else being equal, more flexibility is a better user experience. And since we have the power budget for this mission to open it up and give it that flexibility, I see no reason not to.
 
Because it's not "user friendly". It's "imbalanced", like if you allow stealing tech in every city.
 
I might agree but Stalker ran the numbers and it's clearly not anywhere near the power level of Steal Tech.
 
Because it's not "user friendly". It's "imbalanced", like if you allow stealing tech in every city.
The two simply are not comparable.

The entire setup of steal tech is that because you can only steal in capitals, effectively it means "you can only steal 1 tech per civ, and those civs have to be ahead of you in tech". Whereas if I could steal 3 techs from 1 civ, then even if just 1 civ is ahead of me that could double or even triple the power of steal tech.

Conversely, Kidnap Specialists doesn't have anywhere near that kind of power, whether I spread 3 spies across 3 civs, or concentrate them into 1 civ. Yes you do get a boost because you can plant them in low security areas....but that is a nice boost not a 2x/3x power spike scenario.

Capital Restriction is an important balancing tool on the Steal Tech mission but not all missions need such a restriction. Kidnap Mission does not have such a power spike that is warrants that kind of restriction.
 
That, at the end, is saying that the mission is "not powerful enough to warrant a capital lock". Looks like strengthening it or lowering its cost is the way to go.
 
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