Things this Espionage Update better include

stellaris 5 - Things this Espionage Update better include

Beyond the usual "fix the bugs", "improve AI", and "reduce the lag" which are always on the table, I feel like this update has so much potential to tie in concepts from earlier patches. These are some of the ones that first come to my mind:

  • Megacorps should have a big advantage in intel because of their constant trading across the galaxy. Trade puts you in contact with different aliens from different worlds from different regions of the galaxy. Merchants from a megacorp have likely flown their trade barges to every corner of the galaxy to make a profit. One of the previous dev diaries mentioned that Commercial Pacts (alongside other treaties) increase intel. In addition to this, I think Branch Offices should greatly increase intel on a planet/empire. Perhaps some of the Branch Office buildings could even have a purpose of increasing intel collection. All this intel that Megacorps collect could become like a new commodity that other empires will come to them for to purchase… for a price.

  • Criminal Syndicates should get an advantage to intel AND spy networks. If you're a criminal syndicate and you already have an undercover base on a planet, it should make it much easier to launch espionage against that planet/empire. You already have people on the inside who can make things happen for you and who have ties to the local criminals. Branch Offices for Criminal Syndicates should boost spy networks and spy operations, and some buildings should even be specifically aimed at boosting spy operation effectiveness. Just as with Megacorps, Criminal Syndicates will be a perfect hub for empires looking to buy information about the galaxy. The Criminal Syndicates likely have even more information because of their illegal channels, but if you buy it from a Criminal Syndicate, you will draw the ire (relations penalty) of neighbouring empires.

  • You should be able to sign deals with other empires to commit espionage for you. You are a publicly pacifistic and democratic country. You can't be caught supplying rebels with arms in your neighbouring empire. But the Blorgh Syndicate is already a galactically notorious criminal cartel. So what if THEY get caught red-handed…? Any empire should be able to pay other empires to commit espionage operations for them. This could even lead to some empires becoming "dealers" of espionage for the galaxy. Need the right planet sabotaged, or the right rebels armed? The Blorgh Syndicate will do that for you.

  • Espionage to flip Branch Offices, since currently there's no way besides war. Speaking of Branch Offices, if you are a Megacorp/Syndicate and there are other Megacorps/Syndicates out in the galaxy competing with you, there's nothing you can do to kick their branch office out of a planet so that you could take over. This seems like a big oversight to me, how are you supposed to compete with them then? The only way I know of currently is that you convince the host country to end their commercial pact with them (if they're a Megacorp) or declare an Expropriation war on them (if they're a Syndicate). There should be an operation to remove a foreign Branch Office from a planet, so that you can go in and take it's place. This represents your spies convincing the local officials of the threat of that Branch Office and forcing it to get shut down.

  • Espionage to entice nations to leave federations. It's currently very hard to make a country leave a federation, or leave association status with that federation. Basically once it happens its locked in for the rest of the game, unless you defeat that federation very badly in a big war. But that's not very fun, the whole fun of cold-war games is enticing nations to flip sides between the Democratic West and the Communist East! Espionage should be an avenue empires could use to entice countries to leave federations that they're in. It should be one of the Operations you can conduct. Perhaps it could be under the form of a Governing Ethics shift in that country? For example, you use espionage to support a Fanatic Authoritarian faction to take-over the country's government, and as a result they leave their current Federation and join yours. It will add so much more substance to the peacetime Cold-War element of the game.

What do you guys think? I think this update has a lot of potential to make Megacorps and Criminal Syndicates more fun and unique… Unfortunately, I don't think they will do that due to Stellaris' record of leaving past features untouched.

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