I want to start of by saying this patch/DLC has been a major improvement in almost every regard. So great job to Paradox.
Now that the bones of all the major areas of the game are in place, it is time to refine everything and fix some issues that plague certain empire types. Most of my experience is in Grand Admiral, where flaws become more apparent, so excuse my opinions if they are not an issue in the lower difficulty levels. After about 100 hours post 2.6.1 here are my thoughts.
Firstly the Galactic Community needs a larger variety of laws. There are two for science, but not for spiritualists. Two for workers, but none for slavers. In general there needs to be pairs of laws. One that benefits one game style and punishes its opposite and vice versa. Science v Religion, Workers Rights v Slavery, Peace vs War, etc. The laws all tend to lean in favor of the "good guys" and that's pretty dull. You are better off leaving the Galactic community as soon as sanctions come into play if you are one of the more "evil" empire types because you have to change you entire play style otherwise you are in breach of some law or another. Having a galaxy ruled by slaving despots where the peaceful nations have to leave the galactic community out of fear is an interesting situation. It shouldn't always be everyone agreeing that science and freedom are the best choices.
Next there needs to be a pass done on empire types at spawn. Too often when you try to play something like lets say a Megacorp, half the galaxy ends up being Megacorps, same for Gestalts. There needs to be a limit on the more special empire types. Maybe a max 10-20% of empire can be the same type or give us more sliders at game start to adjust the various empire type limits, similar to Fallen Empires and Marauders. As a side note, Criminal Syndicates are still near impossible to play, the AI still does everything it can to remove crime, making the play style useless. The influence cost for corporate buildings needs another look, (maybe 5 influence per jump instead of base 50 influence x modifier), the cost gets insane on larger maps (maybe have a max cost) especially when everyone around is almost always hostile from the start and that one friendly guy is on the other side of the galaxy. (I address this a bit more later on)
Also let us set the starting policies and species rights at empire creation. It is annoying to have to adjust these settings every game because the defaults are poorly optimized or just not what you want to play with for that empire type.
Purifier Empire types need another pass. Unless you get very lucky ( remember I am talking about Grand Admiral), the AI will declare war on you as soon as possible, with multiple AI empires all coming at you within a few decades. I get that Purifiers are bad guys, but unless you get lucky you can't even play the game on Grand Admiral because you get attacked 3v1 around 30 years into the game. Maybe have the malus only apply once you attack another empire and/or start purging pops. It makes sense for other empire to be wary but the near immediate war declarations are a bit silly when you haven't actually done anything to anyone yet. Basically all the purifier types are idiots who constantly announce that they are going to kill everyone, instead of you know keeping it a secret until its time to strike. Not answering space calls is grounds for war I guess?
Relations between empires needs to stay more balanced and fluctuate based on your actions. Unless you use envoys your relations with an empire will go down almost every time as a default. Border friction needs to be toned way down. Everyone shouldn't want to kill each other just because you share a border. Only empires with opposing views (spiritualist v materialists for example) should cause a slow drop in opinion. Everyone else should stay neutral by default.
There is too much weight in diplomatic power and the AI doesn't oppose enough laws, mainly because there isn't enough variety as stated in my earlier point. Pretty much every vote the entire galaxy supports, or at worst abstains. You get maybe one empire per vote that actually votes against anything. The game is basically a rush to control the senate. There also needs to be more ways to gain envoys for different play styles. The fact that you are basically locked into one envoy unless you choose to focus on diplomacy is boring. Maybe everyone should start with three, plus additional envoys from number of pops, and keep the other sources as well. It is an interesting mechanic but many empire types don't get to play around with it very much.
Empire sprawl needs to be adjusted a bit more. The penalties are too steep and should be proportional to your total admin cap. Being 10 points over when you have 100 cap should be more impactful than being 10 over when you have 500 cap instead of a flat amount.
Most of my concerns are with the more negative empire types. Playing a a diplomatic, tall empire, who focuses on science is basically the easiest way to conquer the galaxy. It is a bit bland to have to uno reverse card 100 years into a game just so you can start killing everyone after decades of being friendly.
Just some ramblings, overall the game is in the best state it's been, just needs to be more diverse in my opinion.
Not game play related, but how about adding more flag colors, patterns, and icons? Fill out the empty portrait slots on some of the races and let us lock in certain clothing/color choices for different job types. Sucks picking a style for your starting leader only for every following leader to wear a different default uniform type after that.
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© Post "Now that we have had a week to try things out, here are some thoughts I have on the current state of Stellaris." for game Stellaris.
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