Ursela is her own, walking, talking, swashbuckling example of the monopoly flag argument. I see the flag distribution happening along almost the same lines as the current crew situation.
A new player logs on. We’ll call him Steve. Steve is quickly greeted by a member of the largest, most aggressively expansionist flag/crew. We’ll call her Ursela. Ursela seems nice, her politics look good, and she is certainly persistent, so Steve joins the Dastards. Steve, as a new player, quickly sees the advantages of having such powerful crewmates. Many ships to job on, knowledge to be shared, a snappy in-house trade system.
Steve puzzles away happily with the Dastards.
Steve gets pretty good and wants more power and renown. Steve soon realizes that the sort of fame and riches he can get through the Dastards is only in keeping with the Dastard heirarchy. Much as he likes the Dastards, Steve thinks he can make it on his own, with his own ship, and this time… as Captain!
Or, Steve stays with the Dastards and they live happily ever after. Or there’s a terrible row and Steve’s new crew and the Dastards become lifelong foes and their rivalry and animosity are legendary. Or Steve never joined because he’s a distrustful paranoid and starts his own Crew of fellow misanthropes and they never amount to much because they’re always afraid of everybody stealing their maps.
People in this game are governed by their personalities just like in the real world. In the real world there are many different groups to be part of. And no one group gets everybody. And don’t forget, there are ooo-run flags too. So, we’ll have some in-game influence of what’s going on too. If the need for some sort of anti-trust activity arises, we’ll confront it, but until then, I think the system is working out pretty well.
(Who will likely have his own renegade flag of anti-imperialists, operating out of a volcano near the Canary Islands. Then all we’ll need is a giant submersible war machine…. mmmm)
Steve? Why didn’t you just call him Ava and be done with it.