Stellaris

Stellaris 2.2 Preview – The Bad Stuff

First off, I want to say I’m a big fan of Stellaris and have adored the game since I first played it. It’s my favourite strategy game of the last 10 years. I’m lucky enough that PDX’s PR company send me the DLC when it comes out to cover on YouTube/Twitch and I’ve just recently completed a campaign with it and wanted to share some of my issues and feedback.

Generally I’d like to say I like the new economy changes, the building system, the refinement process and the MegaCorp playstyle. I’m fairly indifferent to the jobs system, and I think late game micro is just as busy as ever in my opinion, maybe even more so, but with tougher choices rather than “mindless yellow icon clicks” etc.

But most of you know the good stuff, I’m going to talk about the bad stuff, and things that in my view need improvement.


AI issues.

I played all default settings. Admiral difficulty. Mid game at 2300, End game at 2400, Victory at 2500. Tech cost at x1.

100 years in, the galaxy was 70% covered. The biggest AI at this time had 56 systems, 14 planets, and all maxed out 10K resources for Energy, Minerals and Food. Their biggest fleet was 1.9K strength. 7 of their planets had unemployment (lacked buildings for people to work) and 10 planets had nothing building on them.

https://i.redd.it/g3584o5646221.png

200 years in, the galaxy was 95% covered. The same AI at this time had 78 systems, 21 planets, and all maxed out 10K resources for Energy, Minerals, Food and consumer goods. Note they also didn’t increase their storage cap. Their biggest fleet was now 2.1K strength. 14 of their planets had unemployment (lacked buildings for people to work) and 19 planets had nothing building on them.

https://i.redd.it/oscshalz36221.png

300 years in, the galaxy was 95% covered. The same AI at this time had 76 systems, 20 planets, and all maxed out 10K resources for Energy, Minerals, Food and consumer goods. Note they still didn’t increase their storage cap. Their biggest fleet was now 26K strength. All 20 of their planets had unemployment (lacked buildings for people to work) and all planets had nothing building on them.

https://i.redd.it/fxvr2iwt36221.png

I am by no means a great player, I’d say I’m average, maybe a bit more experienced but nothing crazy. I’m more of a role play guy than a min max person. I rarely look at stats or fleet comps or anything like that. I don’t know all the events/techs in the game, I just play and choose freely as I go. This was by far one of the easiest and uneventful games I ever had. Wars had no fleets in them and were slow grinds of war exhaustion. 100 years in, I was the dominant military force and I just waited to build my tech/economy to fight fallen empires for something to do.

I’m not sure what the problem is. Despite having the resources, AI empires are not building things. They had alloy income, decent science, but were just not actually building things, letting their planets sit with nothing going on. I once saw a vassal of mine, just switching governors every 3 days in game. I gave them tonnes of resources to expand and they never did.


Performance issues.

I play the game every month in a multiplayer session on a small galaxy, so it’s been quite a long time since I played single player on a big galaxy all the way to the end, but I do feel like this has run worse than any other update I’ve played. After 100years, the game was constantly hitching, and I felt I had to play on normal speed the entire time. There were also occasional massive spikes, halting the game for almost 10 seconds at times, and not on end of month events or wars or anything like that.

Read:  Viable 1000+ minerals per month: The Mineral Machine

When Stellaris came out, I recorded a let’s play of it, on my same PC and was able to record all the way to endgame without any terrible lag except in big battles. That same lag is now present for me even without wars.

My spec:i7 5930k CPU

GTX 980ti GPU

32GB RAM

Win 10


Sectors:

Sectors are now generated automatically around different colonies. You can choose to have them automate or not, and each sector is able to have a governor. Currently, sectors have averaged out to be around 6 to 7 systems in length.

Sectors are now displayed in the outliner, as categories for planets.

I never had an issue with my sectors or how they grew until I had a machine uprising. Pockets of my planets switched to the machines and I eventually took them back pretty quickly. However, this changed all the sectors and dramatically broke some. Sectors with just one system were generated, some systems weren’t in a sector at all, and I couldn’t apply governors to some sectors, clicking it would just do nothing.

Furthermore, on the outliner I had a bunch of blank sectors. Even sectors that actually had planets in them, were showing up as blank and I couldn’t access my planets from the outliner.

Feedback:I think sectors should generate on galaxy creation as predefined clusters of systems/hyperlanes. I don’t think they should ever change shape, and you should be able to contest them with other empires. It was cool in the beginning to have them laid out this way, but their dynamic assigning/reassigning and creation broke them, and wasn’t necessary.

200yrs in. The game has generated sectors, but left some gaps. No big deal, outliner working correct.

300 years in. The rebellion occured and the outliner is filled with empty sectors. I can't delete or remove or grow them. There's also a lot of one system sectors and broken governors.


Trade:

Trade is showing from every star base rather than just trade starbases. Not sure if intentional or not. This creates a mess of lines moving all over the place when their trade value is 0 and they’re not moving anything. It also seems to spawn pirates without any trade value on the route. Pirates also don’t move system. The AI often just left pirates in their empires in stagnant systems.

Feedback:If a starbase isn’t collecting anything, it shouldn’t draw a route back to your capital. Piracy should build if left unhandled, and become more aggressive.

I only have three actual stations with trade hubs. Note the station Welguvis says it collects 0. The three Trade Stations I have are "Gamma Draconis Complex" and another one out east not shown here. Capital is "Shine"


Market:

The galactic market never had anyone use it apart from me, until the very end of the game. Or at least it seemed that way. I only saw fluctuations in the market toward the very end anyway. You use it once for some resource, and the resource becomes more expensive, and then eventually settles back to normal after some time, but it seemed even the base prices were too much for the AI to consider using it. The “Galactic Market” felt like it was just my own market.

Feedback: Encourage the AI to use it more if possible. Maybe buff their market fee to be lower so they use it. When a big war is on in the galaxy, the market should be tapped out, and people who aren’t involved in the war, should be able to make good money selling resources to keep it going. If nobody uses it, it’s basically just like the enclaves from before.

Read:  Planetary Combat Redesign - Thoughts?

Megacorp only issues:


Branch Offices:

The outliner will fill with branch offices over time, and is a mess to go through them, it can be a list of over 30 planets around 100 years in. When viewing an empire from Galaxy View, it doesn’t show you which ones have offices or not, so you have to click each planet to find out, but seeing as you can’t click foreign planets from galaxy view, you have to zoom in, click, zoom out, click each time until you find a suitable world for a Branch Office.

Feedback: Categorize them by faction ownership in the outliner. Add a little symbol to the planet in galaxy view, so you know which ones you have gotten at a glance. Maybe even show the projected value so you don’t have to click in at all.

Some of these have branch offices and some don't. You figure it out!


Slave Market

At around 100 years in, I put up about 4 pops for sale on the slave market. 80 years later 2 of them had sold. 100 years later I saw the AI put one pop up for sale. Which I bought.

Feedback: Encourage the AI to use it. Pops are an extremely valuable commodity in the new update. It’s easy to make jobs and build buildings, but it takes time to grow pops to do the work. I would’ve loved to be able to buy some, or sell more when I had too much. It was a dead market.

100 years later and 3 of them still had not sold.


Caravaneers.

The slot machine Caravaneer is insane. You buy 28000 CC from them for around 8000 energy. Then you can play slots about 10 times. In 10 attempts you will easily get 30,000 energy or 30,000 minerals (sometimes both, sometimes both multiple times) and be able to afford buying more CC to play more slots. I did this on a stream to show how frequent it is. There’s no limit on attempts. The odds are far far too high. The “loot box” system is also very rewarding, but actually has a limit, they run out eventually.

Feedback:

Make it more expensive to play. I’d say around 10,000 energy for 3 slots attempts. Make the rewards that actually earn you your money back at most a 5% chance, and potentially add other rewards that aren’t just minerals and energy to add some flavour and force you to use the market maybe. A 0.5% chance of getting dark matter early or something would be pretty neat.

Anyways, that’s my feedback and report on the update. As I said, I think this will end up being in a good place, and the game may be patched day 1 ahead of my press build, however I wasn’t given any warning about these issues, so I have to report them.

Thanks for reading, I’ll reply when I can to answer any questions.

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