Welcome to part 10 in our Feature series. This week we are discussing the espionage system in Lord of Rigel. Espionage is often a sticking point in many games. Like in the real world espionage in strategy games is really about 4 factors: offense, defense, risk, and reward. Most strategy games really have the defensive elements down, but what is often times offense, and risk vs reward are not fully present leading many players to see espionage purely as a defensive mechanism.
When designing Lord of Rigel we discussed heavily what we felt that many strategy games were lacking in terms of providing incentive for players and opportunities for players. Many strategy games have espionage systems that let you either steal technology or destroy enemy ships and buildings. But often your spies are found out quickly and the player quickly figures out that destroying the factory on Cronus III was not worth the declaration of war from the other species. Same goes for stealing hydroponic farms. Players maybe wanting more advanced technology but often times espionage rewards are randomly generated rather than letting the player choose the level of reward for the risk they are taking. This also isn't realistic. In the real world intelligence agencies often have species objectives for their operations that they choose rather than a random number generator. So why not let the player do this as well? In Lord of Rigel players are going to have a great degree of control over their espionage missions. Players will be able to choose areas they want to focus their spying efforts on. Do you want your spies to focus on breaking the industry of other species? Maybe their food supply... These will be up to you. Additionally players can focus on specific technologies that they want to steal from other species. However we have added some additional espionage abilities like inciting rebellions on colonies with low morale or assassinate enemy leaders to see new one installed that may benefit the player more.
Lord of Rigel will provide players with an espionage system that allows players to really dial in their operations and importantly have more effective ones than what a random outcomes system could provide. Players can target what they believe will best help them achieve their goals which will greatly increase how rewarding using espionage in an offensive capacity will be. Lastly we have provided players will provide players with new ways to use espionage that provide high risk, but potentially high reward such as leader assassination and the ability to incite rebellion. We hope that these improvements will make espionage a tool that players will use more often than in past strategy games.