Diplomacy, part 2
The Diplomacy Screen should be user-friendly, and yet stuffed with information and possible courses of action.
The new Screen shows your mutual happiness rating with each empire, the pending and established treaties with each, and other info such as pending missions, demands, requests, and so forth. Last of of all it displays a list of possible diplomatic and covert actions you can initiate with each empire.
1. Ceasefire. Basically this equates to SOASE's Ceasfire status. No other treaty can be established without first establishing a ceasefire.
2. Neutrality Pact. This is a slight upgrade from Ceasefire, although both parties agree to a status of non-aggression for 30 minutes game-time. Negotiation of the treaty upgrades relations by 5%. Both sides agree to stay out of the other's gravwells. The pact can be broken by simply canceling it, or by sending in scouts or fleets to penetrate the other empire's space. Either betrayal lowers relations by 20%. War of course nullifies the pact and relations naturally plummet.
3. Common Enemy. This is a limited alliance based strictly on cooperating to wage war vs another empire. Negotiation of the treaty slightly improves relations, and may set the stage for certain requests and missions that also can improve relations down the road. Once the war is prosecuted to your ally's satisfaction and a ceasefire is negotiated, the alliance is over. If you don't prosecute the war vs the common enemy to your ally's satisfaction, relations degrade and the alliance may prematurely be canceled.
4. Buffer Zone. This is a mutually agreed negotiation to keep a certain area of space de-militarized. Aside from Scouts and freighters and colony ships traveling through, en route to other areas, no military ships of either empire may enter the buffer zone. Neither colonization nor construction of SBs can be attempted either. If someone cheats, the computer alerts you automatically and the treaty is made null. Relations fall by a minor amount, perhaps randomly from 5% to 20%.
5. Trade Treaty. Same as SOASE.
6. Assistance Treaty. One mighty empire might choose to support another by giving it a small yet steady stream of resources. The empires must already have a pre-existing Trade Treaty. The "flow" is abstracted in credits. The flow each second can equal to no more than 20% of the sponsor's tax revenues. Cancellation of the treaty causes no negative diplomatic effects. (To manually give more stuff to other empires, see the OFFERs sub-group of actions, explained later).
7. Military Access. This allows one empire's military ships to freely enter your space, or vice versa, with no diplomatic consequences. Normally, without this 'Free Passage' treaty in operation, penetration of another empire's gravwell is considered a security breach and will causes a slight reduction in relations each time it happens.
8. Shared Intelligence. Roughly the same as SOASE's Ship Vision, and yet you only get vision of the other empire's ships within a limited distance to your empire.If you want more vision, you'll have to use technology, upgrade to a Grand Alliance, or send in spies.
9. Grand Alliance. Hard to attain, this forges a serious alliance based not only on strategic cooperation, but longstanding peace, affinity, and common goals. It takes a while for empires to get to this level of trust. They must first have long years of peace and increasingly good relations. Thus they must have negotiated previous treaties listed above to get their relations up towards 90% and beyond.
First, a member of a Grand Alliance receives unlimited Shared Intelligence. It gets info on all of its ally's fleet AND planets.
A member of a Grand Alliance considers an attack on an ally as an attack on itself. It will normally declare war, and will feel obilgated to attack enemies, and help the ally. The game screen will jump to the Diplomacy Screen, and you have 10 seconds to declare war. Otherwise, the relations fall fast.
During war, members of a grand alliance often send each other requests for help and missions to move against an enemy. The most common are missions to destroy "X" number of enemy ships, protect a certain friendly world under attack, or attack a specific enemy planet or orbital or capital ship.
A member of a Grand Alliance cannot outright sneak attack or declare war on another member. They have shared so much history and positive experience together that their rulers and citizens have become friends. Instead, the alliance must unwind through incremental degradation of relations. Once relations have fallen to 60% or below, there is enough sense of betrayal that the alliance may be broken and the option of war become available.