Imperial and Rebel forces and their interactions with Pirates
The press release for the expansion concentrates on telling us about this new pirate warlord faction...but only hints at "new, controllable" Rebel and Imperial elements. Is the pirate faction being built up at the expense of a Rebel and Imperial campaign? I'd love to see more Rebel and Imperial missions, even if the focus is on the totally new faction. I'm sure the new Rebel and Imperial units will appear in skirmish mode, but I'd like to see more story-driven campaigns, too. Especially since the pirate campaign sounds very directed--less amorphous than the standard EaW campaigns--which I think is a very good move for campaign play. More specific objectives and cutscenes during campaign play would always be good!
I think there are a lot of interesting ways the Pirates could interact with the existing factions, and I'm really excited by the possibilities--spying, guerrila warfare, threatening, upgrading--hinted at in the press release. Some great new dynamics could be introduced if the pirates had a number of faction-specific abilities in Galactic Map play. For instance, I'd love to see the pirates be the only faction able to establish a (limited) base on a planet that already has a Rebel or Imperial presence--and, if the pirate base is discovered, the other faction could choose to tolerate them or not. Being able to sap or steal resources and material from other factions would be extremely cool, like being able to hire a slicer to divert a newly completed ship from one of the other factions to a pirate base, giving the pirates a new ship cheaply (but, perhaps, somewhat randomly--they might not know what ship they're getting). For that matter, the pirates may be able to steal any number of items from other players. A great dynamic could also be added if the Rebels and Imperials were able to hire out the pirates to do some job or other--and the same goes if the player is the pirate factions, the AI might try to hire you. Or other players online might try to hire you to invade a planet for them! The benefits of a faction that's just this side of the law could make for some great new game options.