Yup. Only city districts. There was an odd factory that spawned, though.
I think I am done with my hivemind game now. I fought back the space birds that attacked me, and upgraded my military to avoid further hostilities. I had a good time managing my empire, taking over a federation and generally doing stuff. Two fallen empires awoke and started another War in Heaven, which I stayed out of. I am ready for them if they try getting me involved. Sadly, the game can’t end while it goes on, even when I am not part of it. Not sure if I will bother slogging through ending it.
The same end game crisis as my last game occurred, The Unbidden. I had hoped to see something new. Their spawn point was connected to a natural wormhole right next to one of my gateways, so my three fleets beat them up within a month. Yay for the Defender of the Galaxy-perk.
I’ll see if I have the time for another game, maybe try a Machine Empire.
I generated a bunch of empires with this, picked out the ones that I liked and made them fixed spawns in all my games.
I’ve sunk about 30-40 hours since 2.2.7 and am still going strong; for reference, most earlier major patches could hold me for about 10 hours before I hit an unbearably boring portion of the mid-game or saw enough of the warts via bugs/bad design. While it remains far from perfect, and there are some very obvious design fixes (to me), the game is quite fun/captivating/engaging at this point.
Why it’s better:
- Economic model - I prefer the new planet system far, far more than the old one. While there are very obvious decisions early on, around mid-game it does become more interesting to decide how and why to specialize certain planets. I suppose for some players it might just be obvious then, as well, but I find myself pausing and thinking over how I’m going to sequence upgrading a few generalized planets into something specialized and avoiding shortfalls in the interim. There are just enough variables across resources of production and those for pop productivity to be interesting to consider but not overwhelming.
- AI - on max difficulty, max aggression with no advanced AI I find the vanilla AI reasonably challenging/aggressive. It isn’t perfect but it also pushes back enough to make the game interesting through 2400 (around then things seem to snowball out of control, still). I haven’t tried any AI mods yet - vanilla is enough while I achievement hunt.
- Galaxy settings - at someone’s suggestion, I’ve started playing only medium and smaller galaxies, with default or lower numbers of planets. This helps reduce the amount of planet micro, which I recognize would be out of control if I had dozens and dozens (instead of around 10) planets by the end of game. Maybe bigger galaxies will be more interesting once there are better sector/planet controls, but for now smaller galaxies are just right, and never feel like a slog to either explore or especially conquer/manage.
- Research settings - I set research to 2-3x normal cost. At 1x I get into repeatable techs by 2350-2400, well before the default game is ending, which is a bad (de)sign IMO. At 2-3x I won’t, and so it because more interesting to chase down a single line of advanced research (if lucky draw permits) as a gambit. This makes each tech (combat/economic) feel like a bigger improvement, given it was awhile since the last one, rather than them coming so quickly they all blur together; scavenging also feels weightier. I also suspect this helps aid the AI, given there is a longer period of the game reliant on lower tech econ buildings, where the AI is probably on more even footing in planet management. Probably also helps with upgrade spam in making the planet management system more tolerable.
- Time settings - I set the various crises 100 years earlier than default, and game end 50 years after the last crisis. So far I consider the game end, the end. This prevents the awful grind of conquering the whole galaxy as I was tempted to in the earliest versions. I wish there were better victory / loss screens (a map replay, charts, etc), but this improvement is mostly one of my own discipline (or, boredom with the unstructured point past domination).
- Empire settings - I’m carefully building my empires to try to mimic something I have in mind. I’m also saving the ones I play (even for a short trial run) and forcing them to spawn in future games, with at least 1-2 randoms still. Initially it doesn’t help much, but after a few rounds it makes a very big difference.
- Varying play styles - at the least I’m finding the difference between standard and Gestalt empires very interesting. I’m hoping more of the ethics/civics/unity are further and further differentiated both to play and play against - originally it all felt near identical to me.
Where it could improve:
- Migration / growth design - I dislike how migration is built into birth rate - I think the two should be separated. For birth rate, have it rely on all other factors already in besides migration. For migration, have it resemble an automated version of the resettle system on some ticker. At a minimum there should be some sort of toggle (using influence etc) to enable unemployed pops to move each period of time (frequency perhaps ethics/civics/tech determined), rather than having to use the manual system. The algorithm could be very simple; in fact, simple might be more interesting/challenging/approximating reality - i.e. rather than a complicated ideal sorting to all open slots, all unemployed or homeless pops move to the single planet with the most availability. This could creating challenging situations where a small unemployment problem on many planets becomes a large one on one attractive planet (at least until the next countdown). This would be the biggest/easiest quality of life change in game, and seems pretty obvious how to fix - I know they’re planning on it but I’m not sure why they feel the need to wait so long on it (as with many of the easy fixes that seem mechanically straight forward).
- Migration UI - a band aid fix until then is that when I force resettle a pop, it should open with a ideal candidate planet already selected as the destination. Normally all I’m doing is clicking that second list to a planet with ample housing/jobs and repeating as I clear out the excesses.
- Colony list UI - the sector list should have a toggle to show it as only planets, rather than sectors. I should be able to sort all colonies by a specific resource output, criminality, species, factions, etc. Just make this list much more useful.
- Science ship UI - allow me to right click on open space, assist research, but then pop up a list of planets sorted by current science output to select from, rather than me doing this process in reverse from the mediocre sector list.
- Planet development notifications - add many, many more planet notifications/events to ease the burden of managing them on my own if I choose. Make them toggleable. For example, alert me anytime a planet has only 1 free job or housing left after the most recent pop growth/migration, so I can work ahead of an upcoming problem.
- Factions - this system mostly confers benefits, even on hard play settings, but I think it should also bring enormous challenges/risks. Across many plays and civics I’ve never had a rebellion, just some petty crime. Entire sectors peeling off if you fail to satisfy their dominant ethics should be a real risk that grows over time as the empire becomes wealthier - unless you invest accordingly in rebellion suppression (at a cost, obviously). Given how rich the risk of rebellion is in EU4 and CK2, and the ethics/faction/pop system already ripe for this, this feels like a major gap in the game that would help the mid/late game enormously.
- Market - I find the market pretty lame, as well as the general surplus of most items past a certain point in the game. The market shouldn’t be available initially, should be higher cost at first, etc etc. It shouldn’t be available, period, for Devouring Swarms. Maybe make availability and pricing based on number of empires that have a positive opinion of you and how average positive/negative it is overall.
- Game setup - allow me to designate default, built-in empires as must spawn without copy/pasting them. Allow me to setup specific forced spawn empires to be at differing settings (advanced, fallen empire, difficult bonuses, aggression, scaling, etc). For example, I’d love if I could force the victor of my last game to spawn as the advanced AI or fallen empires of my next game.
- Save opposing random empire from in game - if I’m playing against a random empire that is really interesting, given me a button somewhere to save them for a future play through.
Thanks so much for the detailed writeup! I’ve been off to other games since 2.2.2 or so, so I appreciate you giving a breakdown on how things are right now. Sounds like they’ve put in some work through 2.2.7 (as they should, they really upended the chess board with MegaCorp).
I’ll be off to Rome (figuratively speaking) starting Thursday, but sounds like I need to circle around back to Stellaris at some point.
For those that still haven’t dove back in, I think the sweet spot will be at (or 1-2 minor patches after) the next DLC’s release - it sounds like it will be another story pack to allow for more mechanic refinement, rather than a complete rework like 2.2 was. That’s when I think at least a few of the gripes I mentioned (especially migration) should be a bit better. Plus AI, always AI (I’d like to be able to play without a staggering bonuses for the opponent!).
But, it’s good enough already to have it’s teeth deep in me!
Good, I want to love this game again, but was struggling at 2.2. And thanks for the detailed write up.
New Dev Diary about the Archaeology feature:
More exploration stuff is always nice.
I like the “Design Intentions” paragraph at the end. Hope they keep that going.
This mechanic seeks fine, especially given its likely within a content DLC rather than expansion, but I wish they’d also include some snippets of the continued improvements to the base game.
The previous diary had some interesting changes to megastructures, ringworlds and habitats. I just realised that doesn’t count as base game though!
This looks like an improvement.
Looks good, looking forward to that. But after my last game where I found an Ecumenopolis-world I just want those.
3 year anniversary trailer. Also, it’s free on Steam this weekend and stuff is on sale, presumably.
Latest dev diary had some very good things to say about automation, as the late game micromanagement is pretty absurd right now in larger empires.
Indeed, I am looking forward to being able to set planet type more.
I think I need to make a lot of synths next game as I haven’t had The Contingency end game crisis yet. The Preythorn Scourge is such a slog. In my latest game I didn’t get a War in Heaven (yay!), but beating the score of the awakened zealots that had subjugated a lot of the AI empires was way out of reach.
I find The Contingency to be the most difficult crisis. “Queening” is the 2nd most nightmarish achievement to get, in a game with a fair few achievements requiring the RNG to play out in a certain way… so I don’t have particularly fond memories of the Scourge.
I got the event pop-up for the queen on my first go, but it didn’t show up on the map. I managed to capture her the second time around, though.
Would some kind soul explain something to me. I’ve begun playing recently and can’t work a couple of things out:
I was attacked and managed to capture one of the baddies systems. Does it eventually flip to me or can I demand it as part of a peace treaty. If the latter how do I actually do that? It didn’t seem obvious in the negotiations screen.
When I colonise a new planet what do I need to do to actually get the population to grow.
If you had a claim on the system before the war, you will get the occupied system if the enemy reaches his war exhaustion limit and signs a status quo peace. If the enemy surrenders, you will get your war goal plus ALL of your claimed systems (occupied or not).
Edit: Actually, if you were attacked, you have the option of making claims AFTER the war starts, I think. So just lay a claim on that occupied system then drive them to defeat.
There is a base growth rate, plus people will tend to immigrate to new colonies. There are also buildings and special decisions that help. Plus you could start building robots, or transfer population manually if your laws allow that.