Stellaris grand strategy space game by Paradox discussy thingy thready thingy


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.



Right here



It is interesting hearing from people who dislike the Paradox model.

I am a massive, massive fan of it and wish all developers followed the model. I love that they are constantly iterating on the product based on how the players are playing it. I love that they aren’t afraid to scrap entire systems like the economy or planet management or the 3 travel methods.

I don’t buy any argument that says the game was better 3 months after release. The game is SIGNIFICANTLY better now, and perfectly playable and fun, even if it has some glaring rough spots (mistermourning is right about the micromanagement - but at least even that is more interesting than before)

And for me, I keep having a reason to return as they introduce new concepts and sharpen existing ones.

I have the same feeling about EU4 or HOI. The games are complex and fresh because of this approach. Compared to say, Civ6 - which is scared to address critical problems with the game itself and ends up shallow, boring and frustrating after a short time.

And it currently sits at 40 or so on active players today, so it is still clearly popular.



I’m a big fan of the model, myself. I just think that Stellaris was flawed enough as a first-time attempt at a new type of game that they may have been better served restarting with Stellaris 2 and then follow their development model. I just feel that the constant reworks of fundamental parts of the game have led to the comparatively shoddy state the game is in.

Put another way, they’re tearing out whole chunks of the foundation and replacing it while simultaneously building atop it. While I find the game substantially better, it’s also been very messy and problematic compared to their other games, especially on the AI front (how could it not, when they’re having to reteach the AI how to play a different game). I think maybe it would be smoother to instead tear it all down and rebuild from the ground up with all the lessons learned. No shame in Stellaris 1 not being as refined as the 4th iteration like HOI4 and EU4!



I’ve grown to like the Paradox model although I was initially skeptical. Improving the base game while adding new features is good way of getting money out of me and keeping me playing the game for a long time. (Maybe too long in the case of HOI IV).

I even bought a DLC for HOI IV where I didn’t have much interest in the content,just to support Paradox.

While I completely agree that Stellaris is significantly better game today than when it was released.
The fun period lasts much longer now than it used.

@TomChick nailed it’s greatest flaw at the beginning. In order for a 4x game to work, you need to tell a story. “I was dong great until the Klingons/French/Huns/Psilons who I thought were my friend launched a sneak attack against my starbase/village/ fort and then they ganged up with a bunch other folks”.

The fundamental problem with Stellaris that tons of procedurally generated race simply don’t work well for creating stories. I can play dozen+ hours in Stellaris and have only the vaguest idea of the Empires near me. My knowledge of them is limited to they are Fallen Empire or not and the direction North/East etc. Pretty much any good 4x, I’m very much aware of who my neighbors are. I either fear them, or they have some resource I need, and I have to figure out how to get access to it.

As Kevin says it took 4 tries for Paradox to make a great WW2 game, and I don’t know what to call EU IV, put is certainly great. I wasn’t a huge fan of Victoria I, but Victoria II was respectful. I never played Crusader King I, but obviously CK2 was huge success, even if not exactly my cup of tea.

I wish they had treated Stellaris as learning experience, and started from scratch to make a really good space game.



This is a great point regarding opponent familiarity / archetype as a key anchor for narrative.

I know there are some prebuilt races for the player to use, but is there a feature to force only prebuilt races to spawn? I recall one can force this with the races they’ve made, but not the ones PDX prebuilt. Has that changed?

I’d like if there was a slider for this in game setup - 70% of empires should use prebuilt races, the others can be random. There should also be an option to save a random race from a current game into the pool of prebuilt races - I recall this requires copying all the info down and then building it yourself next time!

It would be great to ensure your biggest rivals / allies from the last game show up again, so you can see the same personality/competitive strengths in a new sandbox with different neighbors. This raises the point that reusing prebuilt races should also force the same AI personality - is that how it works now?



It took two.



Really I didn’t think that much of HOI 2 and HOI 3, was the game where you spent hours reorganizing the Order of Battle for all of the majors. I liked the aspect of the R&D better in HOI 3, but managing the actually army attacks was just way too complex for me.



I don’t think you can actually force the pre-gen empires to spawn, however if you are invested in them particularly, you could just make an exact copy as a custom empire and force it to spawn. It would do the exact same thing, but take a few minutes per empire of work on your end.

And the amount of races that will be random generated is just the number leftover after your force spawns. You can force spawn the galaxy to be the same races each time, and it definitely makes the game more enjoyable. I know one of my friends simply re-made all the MoO races and force spawns them all in his galaxies. I like to mix in some randoms personally.

Playing all random can make it difficult to enjoy the storytelling aspect of the game.



Maybe, but 3 years have passed. It’s enough time to make a masterpiece from ground up. I’ve spent more time on Stellaris than on many great game just trying to see if it works now, or maybe now, or maybe now. In 3 years Creative Assembly went from releasing broken Total War Rome 2 to making it playable and fun and also releasing a better version of it (Attila) and similar game that is also a masterpiece (Total War Warhammer). In the meantime Stellaris got numerous expansions that will probably cost you more than if you decide to by everything TW series got in that period, but with TW you can just get the last game and it’s a complete and great experience.

With Stellaris there’s no Stellaris 2, you get bugs you had in release version still there, you get features that developers forget about and don’t integrate well. And even if it better in some ways it’s obvious that performance is horrendous and AI can’t handle systems. Which invalidates any possible progress - I don’t care how good those systems are if I can only enjoy them between 5th and 10th hour of multiplayer game - after early game has passed but before the game became unplayable.

And now even if you own a console and hope that Paradox will have a courtesy of giving you a complete version of a game - usually when you release a port you include DLCs usually - you now have Plantoids as a DLC there. This DLC policy is less humane than what most big publishers do and results in less polished games.



Thanks for sharing this and other tips on random / pre-gen empires, will give these a shot next game. Although I suppose it will take a few games for them to really feel familiar. IMO it would be wise for PDX to make some default options to use these pre-gens as at least a portion of the empires, rather than leaving the player to pure randomness until they decided to opt-in.

Additionally, is there a convenient way to save a randomly generated empire in game for use as a pre-gen in a future game?



It actually is a bit baffling that the force spawn button doesn’t work on the pre-gen races. Purposefully disallowing them is a strange design choice.

As far as I’m aware there isn’t a way to save races outside the empire creation screen, but to be fair I’ve never really looked into it!



Plenty of strange design decisions on Stellaris, tbh.

I disagree that story-based works for 4x-kind of strategy games. Certainly doesn’t work for Civ other than for humour purposes where you pit Mao Tse Tung and Shaka Zulu for a contest to World Domination.

Or worked for MOO2 where the backstory of the races was flimsy as a coconut wafer and a collage of bits and pieces borrowed of Star Trek, Star Wars, more pulpy Campbellian / Doc E E Lensman books or short stories, anti-Semitic cartoons of the 1930s, and even Von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods fantasies. It is truly an Elephant Cemetery for 20th century tropes.

When it comes to sci fi, especially space operatic based sci fi, I think going full sandbox is the right way. At least for RPGs or strategy with RP aspects as Stellaris is (your PC is your star nation). Stars with No Number and Traveller worked imo much better in terms of replayability than Steve Jackson Games’ Star Wars, Fading Suns or “SpaceTwilight 2000” (can’t remember the name of the setting). How many Decados plots can you thwart before you run out of deranged clones of characters directly borrowed from Dune (Harkonnen mostly) but speaking with a Russian accent?

Stellaris failure is a failure of mechanics. In terms of content and structure I think it is the best space 4x miles ahead from any MOO clone out there.



The benefit of restarting would have been that they don’t have to deal with as many DLC features and don’t have to deal with fan hate when their favourite feature gets changed. They can change basic level stuff without worrying about the chrome and feature interaction.

On the other hand, since they ARE willing to redo very basic features in the live version, they do get the feedback from a lot of people playing the game. They get to experiment with a large population coming up with ideas for them, testing the system, making mods, etc. This might actually be more fruitful in some ways than going off for a few years and iterating on their own.

On the third hand, in their current model they could be accumulating a lot of technical and design debt that is going to hamper performance going forward.



Yeah, your third hand is my biggest worry. I think we’re seeing the impact of that now with continued performance problems and AI woes, after months of patching. I think this is doubly concerning to me because the rework was supposed to help address both of those areas and have instead made them worse.

Not saying I didn’t have a lot of fun with the latest expansion, but the game is in a rough state right now and it feels like the level of discontent is higher than usual. I’m curious to see how they plan to move forward.



One thing I wonder about is team size. It seems likely that they would have more core programmers on a new game versus putting out DLC for a released game. Technical debt might be a side effect of trying to make new-game-scale changes on a DLC-scale resource budget.



Mine too, have you seen a surgeon?



That got a nice chuckle out of me. :) (+1, Like, etc)



That was excellent.



He’s a frood who knows where his towel is.