So yeah before you downvote me I want to explain my reasoning.
I have played Paradox games for a long time now. Stellaris I have played since release, both SP and MP.
1) I haven't seen a good espionage system made by Paradox or another company in similar genre of game yet. CK2 might be the exception but that is the one game I haven't played. Hoi3 had espionage but it was a pretty forgettable system. Vicky2 didn't have one. EU4's isn't engaging. Hoi4 and Imperator don't even have one and they are the newest games not Stellaris. For other companies, Civ5 spies were very forgettable. Total War spies were annoying. The swings were high with a good spy just decimating while low level spies had almost no chance of succeeding. Maybe there is a game out there that does it well and I haven't heard about it. Would be interested in hearing about one though. Mainly because I can't think of how to do a espionage systems right.
2) The balance for espionage is very hard. To get a system that is worth doing but not broken is a very fine line for espinoge. Let's look at a basic action of espionage, say assination. For Stellaris you leaders aren't that important. The difference between a high level and low level leader isn't very big. So having a spy assassinate leaders isn't all that useful. So to make it worth it than you would need to give the chance of assassination high. Which in turn makes it mandatory. Another example could be some sort of influence government ethics action. I would compare this to hoi4 boost party action but secret. To make it worth doing it has to actually change the government's ethics overtime. But if it is close to hoi4's strength then it is just OP and mandatory that everyone does it too. And then mandatory that people defend against it. But on the other side if it is too weak then nobody bothers. Espionage actions are usually something that either succeeds or it doesn't. There isn't a lot of nobs to tweak for balancing.
3) Espionage actions are usually not fun when they happen to you. When you lose a battle it is because you misplayed somehow. Either didn't invest in big enough fleet, ship designs were bad, or whatever. With espionage most of the time it is either you have high enough of some sort of spy network or you don't. There isn't a lot variations to it. With fleets there are a ton of things that influence. With espionage it is usually just the self contained system. So let's go back to the government ethics example. If an enemy is trying to say boost a certain opposite ethics you will be stuck spending a bunch of time trying to counter it. And you will be using only the self contained spy system. There isn't any other route to counter it. You can't redesign your ships to counter theirs. You can't build better economy. Which leads to only option of some sort of spy defense.
4) Last point is the espionage system is going to be either map units or something like EU4. The units of map adds more micro and lag (although probably not much). Which adds more things like stealth which again is very binary. Either you see them or you don't. With an EU4 like system espionage isn't really engaging. It is just a click and forget for a couple years. It would feel interesting at all.
So that is why I feel espionage would be a waste in Stellaris. I see people asking for some sort of espionage system all the time in here but I just don't think it would be all that much fun. Of course there could be some great espionage system that I haven't seen or thought of and would love to hear about it. I want a good espionage system that is fun and engaging. I just doubt Stellaris will ever get one.
Side note, my examples probably could have been better but I couldn't really think of a whole lot. Other side note, I typed this on my phone so please excuse formatting :/
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