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(Please note that this information is from v4.01. A few details might have changed since then)
There is no a single relationship between two Empires. Each Empire has its own opinion of each alien race and two Empires may have different opinions of each other. You can see your own Empire's view of other Empires but their view of you can only be determined by the diplomatic actions that they take. Their underlying opinion is not revealed. In addition, communication attempts take place for each race involved and a situation could result where Empire A can understand the language of Empire B but not vice versa. Sort of like when you go to Paris and the waiters can speak English but refuse to do so if you don't speak French. This has important implications for interrogating prisoners and for Espionage.
The view of each Empire toward another is determined by the Political Modifier. This is a number which will change over time based on different events and situations. It will also affect the treaties that can be set up, either automatically by NPRs or manually by players. Empires will determine by themselves what treaties to grant to other Empires and each is handled on a unilateral basis. Thus Empire A can grant Trade Access (for example) to Empire B without that being reciprocated.
The Political Modifier is set initially for each side when first contact takes place. This is set to zero minus a random number between 1 and the Empire's Xenophobia (which is equal to the Xenophobia of the dominant species within that Empire plus any modifier for government type). So although the Political Modifier will start negative on both sides, it could be significantly different for each Empire. The Political Modifier you have for each alien Empire will change over time based on the criteria described below. Unless specifically listed as instant, all modifiers are added or deducted over the course of one year, with small increments being added/deducted during each 5-day increment.
Positive Modifiers The rating of a diplomatic team assigned to you by the alien Empire will be added over the course of one year. So if the alien team rating was 120 then the political modifier you have for that Empire would increase by 120 every year with small increments being added during each 5-day increment. NPRs will create their own diplomatic teams to influence your perception of their Empire. An NPR's view of you will be influenced by the diplomatic team you assign to that NPR.
- Instant changes ranging from 1 to 10 for positive communication efforts
- Instant 10 for establishing communications
- 100 per year if the alien race has granted trade access
- 100 per year if the alien race is sharing geological survey data
- 100 per year if the alien race is sharing gravitational survey data
- 200 per year if the alien race is sharing research information
- 100 per year if the alien race views you as Friendly
- 200 per year if the alien race views you as Allied
Negative Modifiers The Xenophobia of your Empire will be deducted over the course of one year. So if your Xenophobia was 50 then the political modifier for each alien race would decrease by 50 every year with small increments being deducted during each 5-day increment. If an NPR had a xenophobia of 60 then the political modifier for each known race, including the player race, would decrease by 60 every year
- -100 per year if communication not established.
- Instant deductions equal to any damage inflicted to your ships or PDCs by the alien race. This is doubled for any internal damage
- Instant deductions equal to 200% of any planetary bombardment damage
- During the 5-day increment, NPRs will deduct points for any alien ships they detect on active sensors in systems in which they have a population. The deduction is equal to 10% of contact size. So a 5000 ton ship (size 100) would cause an instant 10 point deduction. For the purposes of this rule, they will ignore freighters if a trade treaty is in effect and they will ignore ships from Empires they class as Friendly or Allied.
If an Empire is attacked, all treaties with the attacking race will be cancelled and if the the political modifier is greater than -150, it is reduced to that amount.
Treaties The Political Modifier Level required for different treaties is as follows:
- Neutral Military Status: -100
- Friendly Military Status (Jump ships can escort the alien Empire's ships): 800
- Allied Military Status: (Ships will defend the ally's ships against missile attack): 4000
- Trade Access: 200
- Share Geological Survey Data: 800
- Share Gravitational Survey Data: 2400
- Share Research Data: 6000
Treaties are one-way only so if an NPR grants you trade access you have access to the NPR populations but they will only have access to yours if you grant them trade access. The same applies to geo treaties, grav treaties, etc.. NPRs will automatically grant the various treaties when the political modifier reaches the appropriate level. Player races have the option of granting the treaty status for NPRs. While it might appear at first to be a good idea to let NPRs grant you acess and not return the favour, there are several advantages to granting various treaties,
If you grant trade access, NPRs will move trade goods within your Empire, between your Empire and the NPR populations and between your Empire and others with whom the NPR has a treaty. This can include moving infrastructure to your colonies that is produced by alien populations. You will gain export taxes for goods moved from your populations and you may get some free infrastructure. Granting grav or geo treaties has a couple of benefits. Primarily, it improves your relations, which can lead to the NPR declaring you friendly or allied, or even sharing its research knowledge. Secondly, if you don't want an NPR poking around in your systems, let them have the geo knowledge than they have no reason to send in survey ships. The research treaty is a easy way to get new knowledge to the a friendly/allied NPR so it can upgrade its ships and again will improve relations to the point where the NPR can reciprocate - if hasn't already done so.