Stellaris

First War in Heaven – 4 years in – A work of art

stellaris 2 - First War in Heaven - 4 years in - A work of art
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I've clocked up 1700 hours or so and have just encountered my first War in Heaven – the wiki indicates there's only an 18% chance of a war in heaven per game so I guess I've been as fortunate there as I have with my L gates as none of my L gate incursions have resulted in tempest. I'm playing unmodded.

The ability of the game to surprise and delight this many hours and years on is remarkable – I started this particular game shortly after Federations release but it's been an incredibly slow burner due to Covid and having to juggle WFH/teaching the kids at home. There's been a bit more time lately to catch-up and it's been immense.

I'm playing as a custom nation which I built and have fallen in love with since Plantoids; currently a Plantoid egalitarian, militarist, xenophile with Citizen Service and Free Haven civics that brings nearby nations into the fold for their "own good". Current game has Scion origin, early boost with the fleet – expand rapidly and enjoy the changes and tweaks to the game that I might have missed. Small local wars of conquest to consolidate territory and neuter religious extremists at my doorstep while continually putting my FE gifted fleet to good use. Eventually the Great Khan spawns near me and I surrender early to preserve and expand territory. After years of conquest the Great Khan dies in bed and the empire splits into four, and I immediately set about bringing the nearest one into the sphere, first by vassalising and later by integration. Concurrently, I spend years of influencing, energy, favours and bribes to economically hamper a nearby empire through the banning of organic slave trade – enjoying in full the fruits and frustrations that the galactic community has brought.

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The first of the Fallen Empires, the Evarite Zealots, kicks back into action and switches to a belligerent stance. This is bad news for me as I surround them much like Lesotho/South Africa, so I open the L gate in the hope of a grey tempest and a potentially united galaxy but in this case I find only free real estate. My former Scion Parents, the Izarian Enforcers, awaken soon after and both start rallying people to their cause. I was surprised at the emotional desire to join my former benefactors out of loyalty; bribery is almost as effective here as in life, but stayed neutral to preserve my flourishing Federation and the fact that I was next door to the Evarite Zealots. The galaxy flocked to my stand, with more and more joining me in a neutral stance and I was pushed into the position of reluctant leader; it wasn't long before both Awakened Empires declared war – I had no idea this could happen beyond reading vague posts on the War in Heaven (I assumed you find options to fully sit it out), and my joy at the event sequence turned to horror and helplessness when I switched to "diplomatic mode" and saw half the galaxy awash with red.

I'm going to be punished

After 4 years, and 1700 hours of play, this game still has the ability to provoke an emotional response, both to surprise and delight as well as to induce horror – the value for money proposition is unbeaten and the game stands as a work of art.

I packed up for the evening shortly after this to collect my thoughts and figure out where to go next. This post is part praise for the game and part request for tips – I understand the WiH is one of the harder crisis to deal with. My thoughts for now are to leave as much of the war to the West as possible – the Evarite Empire (closes to me) appears to be beelining in that direction, so I'm going to move north and try to knock out as the smear of red vassals there before regrouping.

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