Stellaris

Its a shame Stellaris still heavily discourages playing tall

stellaris 8 - Its a shame Stellaris still heavily discourages playing tall
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I think some of the most fun I've ever had in Paradox games have been in EU4, slowly carving up provinces as Milan or Florence or Holland and creating a network of friends and just letting the money roll in. I really enjoy roleplaying, but Stellaris really limits me in that way, and I can't really play a tall empire at all. I mean, I could, but its not fun at all.

Lets just go over all the ways it pushes you away from playing tall

  • Its incredibly hard to satisfy the needs for strategic resources without taking up a TON of building slots refining them. When basically every building in the game requires 1 or 2 of a specific resource, if you aren't dedicating a lot of your building slots to refining or if you don't get your resources from systems, it can be SUPER expensive for the early-mid game to pay for the multitude of upgraded buildings you'll have. I've always found it far easier to secure these resources when playing wide.

  • Relics encourage capturing as many systems as possible in the hopes that you can claim a system with a dig site or discover one in an existing province. And these relics like The Last Baol are super important. Unless you get lucky with the few systems you'll carve up in the early game then you're SOL for a lot of the best relics.

  • Playing a small diplomatic nation akin to Belgium isn't possible because no matter how many +10% diplo weight bonuses you stack, it doesn't matter when your economic base is 800 and the super empire that spawned at the edge of the map has 2900 + A bigger military fleet. In Federation presidency rotations, the best one by far is "strongest" as it ensures that if you're the strongest nation, you just permanently are the leader of the federation, but often times the weighting is never in your favor for that and since you're playing tall, your military isn't big enough for the "contest" rotation type. Plus the best voting option as diplo weight doesn't work in your favor either.

  • Megastructures don't really encourage playing tall. It does give a higher "density" of resource value if you play tall, but the rewards and costs are the same regardless of how tall you are. And as mentioned with Diplo Weight, some of them like the Interstellar Assembly are arguably worse if you play tall, since a +40% diplo weight as a wide empire gives you far more weight than if you were playing tall.

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  • Habitats are the only real way to "build" tall aside from megastructures, but they really aren't that great. Plus, there isn't a way to increase the amount of building slots + districts on a colony. Even playing as a wide empire, I will FREQUENTLY suffer from overpopulation and unemployment because I simply have max buildings + building upgrades + districts. But its not like you can scale your building slots + housing up and create something like Coruscant. You have the same limits as wide empires. It should be understandable that your empire would find ways to maximize space and efficiency and create a true ecumenopolis. You'll eventually hit your ceiling pretty fast while wide empires can continually conquer new systems.

  • The Galactic Council helps, but playing tall is still incredibly boring. Just like pacifist empires, its just clicking on popups and responding to events. Games like EU4 or CK2 have a much, much more interactive world when you aren't playing expansionist. You basically have research/traditions, upgrading buildings, events, and the odd AI diplomacy request.

  • You can't be like the Netherlands and be tiny but have a world famous navy. Your military will suck, you can't get ahead enough on tech or modifiers to create a "Prussian" space navy. The quantity of enemy ships will just always matter more. Remember when Corvettes with no upgrades was objectively the best navy you could make in the game? Its still roughly the same principle. Naval capacity neuters you entirely and the lack of ways to increase it makes it militarily frustrating to play tall.

I could probably go on but its still just disappointing I can't roleplay and create unique civilizations that create empires as dense and populated as Hong Kong or anything. It feels like at best, some few mechanics are marginally better for tall empires while the vast rest of them are far better for wide empires.

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