This game is incredible! Just wrapped up my first play through of Stellaris before the update (which I didn't even know about until a couple of days ago). I went iron man, assuming that's the way it was meant to be played because of the achievements. It was a 100 hours space faring epic and after many mistakes and ups and downs, I won with a domination victory. One of the fallen empires awoke toward the end of the game at a really bad time for me. I was drug into war by an unfortunate defensive pact. The AI empire they were after were far on the other side of the map, so our sleepy friends went after me. My fleets outclassed everything else in the galaxy and proceeded to get absolutely crushed. I lost a few systems, and looked ready to give up a lot more territory when my ally submitted. In the 10 year ceasefire I teched up based on the debris researched from the single ship I was able to destroy, took the bonus to FE perk, and claimed the last few planets I needed for victory. I needed to know if I stood a chance after "winning" so I declared war and took them out. It was epic.
I have tried to keep looking stuff up to a minimum to keep everything fresh and surprising. I have some questions though… I've read bits and pieces about an end game crisis, but it never came. What gives? Was the awakened empire my crisis?
In general, is the replay value high? With ironman, and it being my first playthrough everything was new and exciting. Are there enough different events to recreate that experience again, or will I see a lot of the same stuff? I have the Apocalypse, Distant Stars, Horizon Signal, Leviathans, Synthetic Dawn, and Utopia expansions.
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