It’s a culmination of your core stats, basically (I’m talking things like Offense, Resistance, Tech, and Fortitude). It’s mostly derived from your Survivor squads, but you also get those +stat nodes in the skill and research trees. Guns and heroes are important, but that homebase power is critical as it’s a 1% boost per point. So my offense right now is around 260, which means +260% damage on all my weapons.
(EDIT: Kind of going off on a tangent at this point, you can stop reading if you just wanted to know about home base power :))
What they tried to do was condense something that used to be scaled in the thousands (You were typically around 5000 homebase power when you finished plankerton, if I remember correctly) to double digits. They then compounded the resulting scaling issues by making the inexplicable decision to base the color-coded difficulty of the mission (which determines how much EXP you’re going to get) at least in part on how many skill points you’ve earned.
This has left people (myself included) in an awkward situation once they hit Plankerton where missions are listed as Green/easy, thus reducing EXP rewards, while the game simultaneously warns you that you’re underpowered for the mission. The color coding / EXP rewards is based off skillpoints, but the actual difficulty is determined by your homebase stats, and homebase power is a little out of wack due to their entire rescaling of the system.
I think this is what has led several people to accuse them of forcing you to shell out a bunch of cash so you could retire llama-loads of survivors to get your Homebase power up to where the game is telling you it should be. I don’t actually think this is the case, though, because I saw them royally screw up like this once before in the alpha. It was later fixed, but then they had to go rebalance the whole system again. :) The solution isn’t supposed to be buying tons of llamas, you’re intended to be running mission to earn Survivor (and other EXP) to level up your existing cards. This still works, and is what I’m doing, but there’s like a giant pothole in Plankerton right now where the skillpoints come in way too fast while the Survivor exp comes in too slow. I feel like I’m finally climbing out of that, but we’ll see if that happens yet again in Canny Valley.
The solution to all this is real simple, in my opinion: the color-coded difficulty of a mission should be tied to your Homebase power and have nothing to do with skillpoints. It’s absolutely absurd that I get a smaller amount of EXP than I should for a mission that the game is telling me I’m woefully underpowered for. :)
There’s a lot of things like that that are just off right now in the game. Some of it I know was better previously, so I expect it to be temporary. I have other complaints that are also the type of things that can be addressed in Early Access, like numbers just being off. The devs just seem terrified of people finding some loophole/exploit that they’ve tangled themselves up in spaghetti balancing. Here’s an example: You know how you level up your harvesting pick? Cool, right? Well, if you go to an earlier area (Going from Plankerton to Stonewood for example), your Pick gets de-leveled to the best version available in Stonewood. They do this so that players don’t feel like they need to run Stonewood missions to fill up on wood/stone/metal (which was the case previously). Fine, I guess. But here’s the problem: as you progress through areas, the HP on objects like cars, rocks, etc increases. The numbers are off to the point where it actually takes more swings in later areas to break a car or a rock. Granted, they give you more resources, but the end result is that harvesting can actually be a little slower. Clearly this isn’t intentional, but it’s just a byproduct of them being so paranoid that they end up creating problems for themselves. It’s my major complaint with this dev team. They tend to get it right eventually, but these issues didn’t need to exist to begin with.
Another example is how they are so afraid of you going down to lower-level content. I gave a friend a code for the game over the weekend. As I go back to Stonewood to help him, all my stats (combat and harvesting pick) get capped. It actually takes me more shots with my pistol to kill a husk in Stonewood than it does in Plankerton. Once again, their absolute terror at some potential exploit (oh noes, a friend helped powerlevel someone!) ends up creating a problem where none should exist. Because now my gun takes more shots to kill things, which causes it to degrade faster. I can’t get the parts to replace it in Stonewood (I get copper there, not silver, etc) which I’m okay with, but I can’t even harvest wood/stone/metal there faster because it de-levels my pick. And to top it all off? I get 0 exp for doing any of it. It really is silly how punishing it is to go back and play with lower-level people!
EDIT: Sorry if that sounded ranty, that wasn’t really my tone when writing it. I haven’t played any game at initial Early Access release that doesn’t have issues like that, but a lot of it is just silly stuff that makes me shake me head.