Politicals - Being taken seriously
Compared to other online games, Phoenix has a modest and close knit community. As a consequence, establishing a reputation as a solid player is paramount. It matters little that you are not willing to commit to running an extraordinary amount of positions providing that you can be relied upon and more importantly trusted. This article is geared towards you the player getting what you want out of the game. It is in nobody's interest for you to end up playing somebody else's game, getting bored and quitting.
So, how to go about this?
Let's presume that you are new to the game or are just returning after a hiatus of years. In the case of the latter you may recognise a few people from their Nexus ID's, but where veteran players have adopted their alter-ego as their ID this may not even be possible. So your first task is to announce yourself. A simple 'hi' in the recruitment forum is perfect.
Here is an excellent example:
I have just arrived in phoenix after finding the game by accident, I used to play in the US BSE well over 10 years ago and looking forward to dusting off my captains hat and trying again.
I will be spending a few weeks as TRN to do the starting missions as phoenix seems alot more complicated than BSE.
Whats the current state of affiliations like player wise, who has the most and who desperately needs new blood.
You could well get inundated with replies, many asking you to join them. My advice is to hold back from joining anyone just yet. It is definitely handy to keep your options open to begin with but be honest with them. Think of it like this - should you join them and you do not like what you have joined, you may feel guilty that you have wasted their time. In the past players have 'gone silent' because of this and simply stopped playing. On the other hand, joining an affiliation and leaving them within weeks, often after they have invested time in you can cause bad feelings especially if you 'defect' to one of their enemies. So, best policy is to work as a free agent until you understand the game better.
Being a free agent however does not mean that you cannot work with established affiliations. You have the ability to use flags of convenience. These allow your ships to be run as Free Lancers, Privateers, Mercs and Pirates. You can come to some sort of arrangement with affiliations to do things for them. This way it gives you chance to determine who you get on with before committing to an affiliation. It also gives you chance to determine your own direction in the game.
Speaking for the Affiliation on Open Forums
For an affiliation there is nothing worse than some newb spouting off about affiliation politics and potentially starting a war. For the smaller affiliations this can be disastrous. They are somewhat cagey about new players and as such it is best to discuss limits with the affiliation leadership before joining an affiliation. If you like talking in-character and for example goading another affiliation about its political stance, you need to be in an affiliation where the leadership is not going explode whenever they see your name in the in-character forums.
As well as forum conduct it is also important to discuss expectations by both sides for affiliates. Find out what they will do for you and what they want in return. For some affiliations it is little more than friendly banter on their private boards while each member does his or her own thing. For others you may be expected to run at least a certain number of positions, or behave in a certain manner i.e. no firing in certain locations, no harassing specified affiliations, no entering certain regions of space. Make sure you know before you join whether these limits will in any way interfere with your game. If the affiliation will stop you playing the game you want, then don't join them!
So, presuming that you have now ran through the various training missions and have acquired a few ships (having read the story - Diary of a Pirate, you may well have a few more ships to boot). You may well have even done a few tasks for established affiliations such as having a look round Corewards or selling them the unique trade goods you have liberated from the Halo Free Lancers. Finally you are thinking that it is time to get serious. The best thing you can do is create a political. First off you protect any stellars you have built up. That's right, until this point each of your ships have only their own wealth and should you lose a ship, you lose all the stellars on it. With a political you now have a central account. Even if you lose you last ship, you still have your stellars! I am sure that you have also discovered that starting a political gives you extra ships and a further 100,000 stellars. Just by having a political means that you are now a serious player.
If by this point you are in the market for also taking on a starbase so that you can enjoy all aspects of the game, from research and production through to merchandising and shipbuilding, it is worth approaching affiliations if you are not already a member of one. If you have followed the above advice, you should be on friendly terms with one or more people. While you still have the option to go it alone, joining an affiliation and taking on one of their 'spare' starbases is likely an option.
The benefits of taking on existing assets is first and foremost that the work of construction has already been started and that there is likely to be support in the way of outposts already in place. The downside is that you did not have the fun of achieving this yourself. There is also another danger - the affiliation 'off-loads' a starbase onto you. Your initial pleasure at getting a starbase quickly pales as you discover there is little for you to do beyond peruse a weekly report. Do not offer to run a starbase without first discussing the ambitions for it. If there isn't a lot of fun to be gained by expanding the base, dealing with the surrounding star systems and accepting either the level of threat (in frontier locations) or the desiring the obscurity/peace (in safe/secret systems) then this really isn't the starbase for you.
Again, I stress the need to chat to your affiliation. If the starbase is not what you wanted, ask if you can swap it for another. Quite often an affiliation will have quite a few bases that are being controlled by a nucleus of players such that it is easy for them to accommodate your wishes. Affiliations would rather you have the assets best suited for you than for you to quit.
Play where you want to Play
Discuss with your affiliation your ambitions. This can be anything that piques your interest. You may want to wander round the Inner Empire stirring up trouble for one faction or another or explore Corewards. You may want to run privateers or simply do a lot of trading. The important thing is that you do just that and do not allow yourself to be dictated to by leadership. If they are stopping you from joining in on their battles, ignoring you or taking you for granted then tell them so. This is as much your game as it is theirs. If they do not respond positively, change your situation. Leave them and join another faction. Often the sin of the leadership is simply one of omission and benign neglect. If you are not talking to them, they think that you are simply doing your stuff and enjoying yourself.