That sucks. Why not roll back the game to the patch you were playing on with your mods?
I really like the changes in 2.2. I’m also a fan of Paradox’s development model, overall. I agree with @AK_Icebear, though, there are things with Stellaris that are a mess and for some reason unlike their other projects, they just don’t seem to really get addressed.
The AI in Stellaris has always had issues. I cut them some slack because prior to hyperlane-only I could see what a nightmare it was. In the economy side, I understood somewhat because they were going to replace the entire economic model.
Now there’s no more excuses and a host of glaring AI issues still exist. From what I understand, one of the three Crises that broke in 2.2 still doesn’t work. Their communication ever since Wiz left the project also seems much poorer, but perhaps that’s due to where they’re at in terms of development.
Still, the impression I’ve been left with is that they’re not treating these issues with the urgency they should. I understand they’ve worked for months in patching 2.2 since it released in December and that that can’t go on forever, but that’s still major problems with their last release. The likelihood of buying the next expansion drops considerably when there’s still a bunch of things the broke in the last one.
I like PDS games (been playing since EU1 and spent many hundreds of hours with EU2), and I really enjoy Stellaris (200+ hours and very much coming back… eventually) but their overall development model these days creates these issues, it seems to me. As much as I enjoy a continuous stream of new content for games I like, when the financial drive is to keep adding new features, it’s inevitably difficult to make sure everything’s working together properly. As the game gets older and more and more features pile up the problem compounds geometrically.
I’ve always thought that all the PDS games currently out there needed to stop releasing new DLC for at least a year to patch, tune, and generally stabilize the condition of the games. That can’t happen, of course, since it’d be a year with no new income from DLC’s. The very fact that it can’t happen is why I’m not a huge fan of this model, though. I’m not sure the company going public has helped this situation, either.
That’s actually what’s going on in EU4 right now, which is great. There hasn’t been a major expansion since September and there won’t be another one until Q4.
EU4 and HOI4 are both significantly improved games since release, in my opinion. Stellaris has floundered and while I also think it’s a much better game than 1.0, it’s also a mess. I’m sure a large part of that comes from having to rework a lot of core mechanics, but I also think the project leadership just hasn’t been as good. Not from a design side, but from a project management side. Bug fixes and critical AI issues have not been getting the same resources I see in the other two games I mentioned above.
In hindsight, with how flawed Stellaris was at launch, I think they would have been better served wrapping it up after an expansion or two, taking the lessons learned, and restarting on Stellaris 2. It’s understandable it wasn’t as dialed in as their other games due to it being a new kind of game for them, but I don’t think their development model is able to hold up to the demands of fundamentally redesigning a live game.
ya Stellaris never had the proper foundation for their DLC model. They got away with it for the other games because they had enough experience with them and actually KNEW where they wanted to (and could) go with them.
Really? That’s fantastic news! I may need to go back and check in, then.
I can’t speak to HOI4, but that’s certainly true for EU4. The issue isn’t improvement, the issue is this perpetual layering of new systems to create an ever more complex whole, and being able to actually get that increasingly complex whole to work well (especially with regards to the AI).
I’d agree with all of that, yeah. 2.0 probably should have just been “Stellaris 2,” a clean slate could only have helped.
I see this as a consistent problem for all paradox games with their expansion policy.
When they release 2.0 or something they should allow people who start fresh to get this full 2.0 for full game price with all the DLCs integrated. Or better release a sequel. And make sure that they didn’t actually forget any features they had and make sure they work with the changes, like they seem to forget robots or some criseses.
People hate Total War DLC policy with cheap stuff like selling blood separately, but when you buy a TW game you know that it’s not getting worse with patches or that 2.0 version is not less playable than 1.0. And with Total War Rome 2 still getting support you can’t even say that Paradox is unique with their long-term support.
Well it has been a while since I tried 2.0, most of those hours were prior to 2.0. My main three gripes are:
- Mining bases: I am tired of this mechanic; I end up giving more orders to my constructors than my fleets.
- Game Speed: The highest game speed should be so fast that you’d dare not use it too often, sadly this is not the case and I end up sitting here watching while the counter ticks by slowly as the game progresses.
- AI: I think if they simplified some of the game mechanics, it might help both this and #2.
They’ve already done this. One of the justifications for starlanes-only map and removal of tiles was that AI would use it more effectively.
Something like this, certainly. Can you imagine trying to code a game to work without assuming which of the 20 expansions the player does or doesn’t have? PDS games have the most fragmented player bases in existence, and while they’ve quite nicely resolved that problem for MP, in terms of patches and new features it’s kind of a disaster. I’ve long felt that lines just need to be drawn at a certain point - DLC’s given out for free or rolled into new versions which are the only ones supported. The alternative is just a mess.
No they just created another model that the AI has trouble with…jobs. Agree with star lanes though.
It’s hard to know when the stable sweet-spot starts to play this game again. Sounds like we’re not quite there yet.
Yes, I think that any other DLC model results in a better game overall. Like Civ/Pre-CK2 model gave developers a single relevant version to work with and eventually expansions were rolled into a cheaper convinient packs. Or TW model that adds every new mechanic in a patch and DLC only adds truly new content like campaigns or playable factions. With Paradox model you get an illusion of constant improvement even if you don’t own any DLCs, but in case of CK2 and EU4 it’s a lie - or maybe it’s not so bad in EU4 now that they’ve added essential features into the base game.
It’s been three years and now the game has worse performance, AI and balance than it had three months after a release. What possible stability you can hope for?
Yeah, Stellaris has been so choppy. That comes with gutting entire game systems and replace them with new (better) ones. I like the current economic model way more than the old one, but either their AI guy is terrible or the project manager just does not put the necessary resources to it. My guess is on the latter. It’s frustrating.
I don’t demand great AI from 4X games – it only needs to be competent. Great AI would crush me, as I do not approach these games from a min-max perspective. I make roleplaying decisions appropriate for the empire I am playing. Stellaris is pretty fertile ground for playing interesting empires.
Oddly, I do min-max in actual RPG games, sometimes obsessively so :)
I would describe myself in similar terms. But no matter how RP-focused are you - some AI competence is required. If there’s no threat then there are no hard choices.
But I realize that most players somehow still enjoy games where AI is a punching pillow. Can’t explain otherwise how Stellaris or Endless Space 2 manage to expand without presenting any strategic challenge on max difficulty to anyone who learned basic rules. I treasure other Paradox games for being able to provide that very thing - challenge for every kind of player.
I think Stellaris improved greatly when they ditched the awful tiles model. The beginning was always fairly interested and now the economic is also decent. There is still a lot of work to make it a good 4x game, which I’ll talk about in a fairly lengthy post on Jon Shafers At the Gates.
But overall I’m with Kevin I think they should have started over after the first couple of patches. The new economic system would have worked much better if they started with that premise as new game.
I didn’t notice stupid autocorrect replaced “expansion” with “email” until you quoted me. :) Fixed!
What I’ve observed is that when you have a complex game, you can’t always iterate over parts of it to make the whole game significantly better. Sometimes you need to throw out significant parts of the game and redo them, or possibly change the scope altogether. There’s no locally optimal place (for the specific mechanic) to get to from where the game is, that is also globally optimal (for the whole game). A good example of this is Into The Breach, which it turns out had a whole metagame layer that just didn’t work. It comprised 60% of the game. Once they threw it out, the design clicked.
This is a problem for the Paradox model of throwing a concept at the wall and iterating over it with patches and expansions. It worked for them in the past, but that may have been luck. Plus, those other games didn’t just come out as they are – they are whole iterations over older versions that made big revisions to core mechanics, but that doesn’t seem to be the Paradox shtick anymore.
Where will that be?
In my mind, the game is substantially better than it was prior to 2.0 or even 2.2 except in one critical regard.
There is too much micromanagement now. If you want to play the game optimally, it actually just becomes “population resettlement simulator” which is really no better than the “tile management simulator” that it used to be.
When they “reworked” sectors, they may as well have removed them from the game. Having to individually babysit 15+ sectors by making sure the each have enough minerals is borderline as much work as individually managing all the planets held by those sectors, because at least the UI shows you when a planet needs attention. When a sector runs out of enough minerals to build things it needs you need to actually remind yourself to double-check constantly, or it will just sit around idle indefinitely with nary a heads up.
The one thing I want back from the old system is the idea that a planet is “finished”, and can be filed away. This doesn’t really happen in the new system, because everything is about population gain and the best use of your late-game homeworld is to just re-settle newly grown pops to small worlds forever. Fortunately there is a mod that does this for you, but there still hasn’t been any kind of solution to the overwhelming micromanagement a late-game empire can suffer that it didn’t under the old economy/sector system.