So recently having come back to the game as a HC pop banker I am seeing shorter rounds and my favorite style of game play (pop banking) almost fully eradicated from the current game.
I think a revival of pop banking definately needs to happen but with 3 man fams and limited player base and shorter rounds I think it would need some help.
One thing I always dreaded as a pop banker was new planets taking forever as it’s base rate is only 5% of current population. So the feature I would recommend is the ability to resettle population between planets for a fee based on either overall size or % of the new planet pop you are relocating. Presently with no population bonus or research it would take roughly 38 hours to go from 800 pop to 5k but it would make pop banking more viable if I could pay population from other planets to colonize new planets.
Sounds interesting - I like the idea of resettlement. Would almost be nice if forced resettlement happened if your other planets were already capped out. Though I know pie is already pressed for time to implement new features and associated formulas like this. The formulas look like mainly a series of IF/THEN conditionals to check pop vs pop_max on new planet, pop on old planet, and then an associated cost per pop moved (that might scale if you move higher volumes of pop).
IMHO, the simplest solution would be going into the code and changing 1 number. Maaaaaybe more. I’ll include a note below for some of the other considerations, but for now, that 1 number:
POP growth rate.
Shift it up from base 5%. Even if it were doubled or tripled, a pop banker wouldn’t reach the heights a pop banker could get to at 5% in a 3 month round.
I don’t think it necessarily needs to be flat tripled to adjust for the much shorter round lengths these days, but it needs some love to make it competitive against CF generation again. One of pop banking’s biggest drawbacks is it takes ramp time (especially on new planets where pop is still growing) whereas CF production just fires off right away once the building completes.
This puts more strain on other in-game factors (e.g. needing more farms faster), but I don’t think you actually need to adjust anything else. Higher pop growth rate would also make pop banking a bit more resilient during war time if pop gets wiped out by ops - another potential reason why folks are hesitant to go pure pop banking in small fams.
NOTE: I had a really long thought chain laid out that went through a bunch of contingencies if we adjusted pop growth rate (e.g. adjusting HF, CF output + considerations for just bumping building production and max LQ size as a whole), but I wonder if any of that is actually needed.
Anyway, more food for thought.
The other main issue with pop banking right now is having no market. Some people may disagree but I would argue that these people have never met the receiving end of mass ops that wipe out cash production. While pop rebuilds without any way to sell rss to offset their unit upkeep.
This is another major drawback, CF banking as ops only restrict the bankers income 60% for a set number of ticks and then they are back to full production where as a pop banker who has 50k pop on a planet and gets hit with 8 OH is down for 58 hours as that is how long it takes to rebuild back to the 50k pop. Everyone understands that pop bankers can make significantly more GC than cf bankers who are equal on planets so their was greater risk, but with shorter rounds and no market, that risk is just way out of proportion now.
Isnt pop banking still viable? I believe the strategy for pop banking is to start the planet with cfs, as the planets start to populate you add a couple of lqs, then you start adding more and more lqs as the population increases on the planet. (If you want you can demo the cfs for more LQs, when the ob cost gets too high)
I’m actually doing this right now and it feels fine. Sure I’m not going pure LQs, but it’s nice to have the cfs to fall back on so all my eggs arent in one basket.
I think the general consensus is that it’s not really viable when playing competitively for top ranks (especially in small fams) because of the risks it entails, resource investment, slower ROI (but larger ROI if untouched), and much shorter rounds for it to pay dividends.
Though quick side note – Even in 4 week rounds, a fully optimized, nearly 100% pop income approach would still outperform a CF banker, BUT (and this is a big but)… This is with fairly optimized timing and being untouched by war or ops (which is very unlikely).
The start you are describing is the natural start for pop banking because it will take a while for your planets to reach max pop, so starting with FB CF/TO makes sense. You’ll probably end up OBing some CF anyway since you’ll still be waiting quite a bit of time for your pop to reach max on a new planet (over 3 days – or a little over 2 days if you happen to be running +50% pop growth).
I started out as a hybrid bank last round for the same reasoning you had mentioned in your last statement. You would effectively need to be under OH AND have your pop hit to be fully out of it. I kept my income roughly 45:55 CF:pop income until our fam decided it was best to just go full pop for rest of the round as our fighting days were mainly behind us in the early part of the round, and there was no risk to full pop growth.
I think a quick improvement could be changing the the planets initial starting pop to 25% of the initial max pop of the planet. Or maybe a flat 2500 starting pop across the board.
Doesnt address a lot of the issues you all mentioned, but it should help pop banking a little.