Stellaris from Paradox Development Studios gets a lot right in how it deals with grand space strategy but some parts of it are still being expanded.
Paradox have continued their regular development diaries on Stellaris for the next big upcoming update. Looks like things are again about to get more interesting, especially when it comes to communication and information gathering on other space civilizations.
Spread across three development diaries (#1, #2, #3) they go over changes to First Contact, Fog of War, Intelligence Gathering and Espionage systems that will all see a revamp and expansion. I'm excited for all of this, because Stellaris a good story-teller and expanding on that is a great idea to invite more playthroughs.
For First Contact, there's going to be more options to make it a more engaging process with new First Contact Protocols to pick how you deal with such a huge situation that previous Stellaris made pretty normal. The whole system expands from there, with it being a longer process and much more like the dig site system for relics as it goes through stages. Exciting!
Information gathering becomes hugely more important too. The newer Fog of War system will block out more info on other races, making them that little bit more mysterious. Gathering Intel directly is now a bigger part of exploration in Stellaris, as you will need to do it to get much more details on each race. You get an Intel value from 0 to 100 based on lots of things and Intel will be split into different categories including Government, Military, Diplomatic, Economic, Technology. To go along with that, there will be an Intel Report system, allowing you to gain information in a category over time.
Just as exciting is their new Envoys and Spy Networks system coming, allowing you to put spies to work passively gain intelligence needed due to all the other changes. On top of that you can also give them active roles to work in including:
- Subterfuge - Information gathering and operations that improve the spy network itself
- Sabotage - Ruining things (physical or immaterial)
- Manipulation - Replacing the truth with your own improved version
- Provocations - Don't do these, they're bad
Since empire security can now be a bigger problem Paradox are also giving players and AI new technologies to research, like having telepaths walking around reading the minds of everyone around them or tracking implants to ensure increased local security.
All of the changes make Stellaris sound properly interesting again, and a lot more sci-fi. Looking forward to seeing the full announcement on the next update!