Have you ever realized how much oceans and seas add to most strategy games? Everyone, no matter where they are, if they have just one province next to water is adjacent to everyone else on that body of water. They can trade with them, they can conduct diplomacy with them, they can even invade them, though it's more difficult than invading a land-adjacent neighbor. Imagine EU4 with no ocean, and how closed off you would be. Basically, the ocean gives you a way to be adjacent, without actually being adjacent.
Now, obviously, Stellaris is set in space, and there is no ocean in space. However, during the mid game you tend to get locked in, and sometimes you can count the number of empires you actually care about on one hand. Not only that, but you get in situations where you can't really go anywhere, where space compresses into a tiny little zone of access. Here are a few thoughts on how this could potentially be changed:
Wormholes give adjacency, are more common, and connect to every other wormhole: This solves the issue of limited adjacency. As is I'm pretty sure the games pathing system can't handle this though. Not my favorite solution, but does open up more options for trade and diplomacy (and invasion, though there should be distance penalties for having part of your empire on the other side of a wormhole).
Uncontrollable systems: Special systems that spawn between the sector chokepoints. They would have a large number of connections (maybe 4-6). Almost never have planets, but may have resources. Cannot be controlled, unless you control every system it connects to. You can build an outpost and expand past them, but so can everyone else. Basically creates a sort of mini-sea. Wormholes, with or without the change above, could tend to spawn in these systems to connect them to even more areas.
Nebula Seas: Basically, nebulas (or something else) now work like seas do in other games. A sector that is visually distinct from other ones with a lot of external connections. You cannot build outposts in it's systems, but everyone connected by it is considered adjacent – even if they are on opposite sides of the nebula. Could potentially require a mid game tech before you can actually enter it's systems.
These are just suggestions to show that it is possible to have something like this in Stellaris. There are probably much more elegant ways to do it. I'm just worried that, as trade and eventually diplomacy get reworked, that it won't make much of a difference if we don't have anyone to trade with. Thoughts?
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