Stellaris: Nemesis is going to boost some very exciting things for the grand space strategy game from Paradox, with a huge new endgame crisis coming where you get to pick a side. Not only are we get a whole espionage and spying system, we're also getting a big boost in endgame content with the Stellaris: Nemesis DLC.
Players will be tasked with either helping to keep the galaxy under control, or become the actual endgame crisis directly by eating up stars and possibly destroy the entire galaxy. Okay then.
How will this all work? You will be able to pick a new associated ascension perk aptly named "Become the Crisis". It will be available to most types of empires but it will need at least two other ascension perks unlocked first. However, be warned, Paradox said in the new dev diary if you pick it you will "forfeit other opportunities to focus on your newfound goals" so everything you do will lead to destruction.
You will then need to go on a glorious path of destruction to earn Menace, unless you're working to stabilise the galaxy that is but where's the fun in that? Each level of the crisis progression needs a certain amount of Menace and finishing a special project. As you go through you get new types of ships with the last one being a Star Eater, that you need to use to gather Dark Matter by destroying stars and eventually wiping out the galaxy.
Sounds wild, I love it.
You can wishlist / follow Stellaris: Nemesis on GOG and Steam.
The issue with Stellaris isn't bugs as much as overall design shortcomings and lack of quality of life features. Let's go back to the earlier things I complained about in more detail:
- Factions - they appear out of thin air a few years into the game and they reduce your economy a bit or a lot (it's a coin toss really). Period. You have limited and if I remember correctly pretty broken as in not functioning correctly tools to try and alleviate their effects a little bit, but it's a penalty that's never going away from the time it pops up and there's nothing you can do about it. I don't even remember if factions were ever satisfyingly implemented but they're definately very strange, barebones and in an obvious unfinished state for years now.
- Pop jobs and overall planet management - it's ok, pretty fun actually. Lots of bobs and jigs to play around with. The issue is that it requires constant player attention, which comes in as a problem later in the game when you have dozens of planets to take care of - at that point, it's constant clicking, click click click to make the engine keep going, it's an annoyance that pops up periodically and gets in the way of you trying to get other things done. If you're distracted and fail to click in time, everything breaks down instantly on that planet. The game is probably fine enough in single player where you can pause time to click away, but in multiplayer it's a nightmare unless you enjoy the game getting paused constantly so people can click. Overall, the mid to late game experience feels unpolished and unfinished.
- This ties in to sectors. Originally they used to be an automation system to alleviate the tediousness of managing large empires - you know, the problem Stellaris has. The old AI wasn't entirely optimal but functional. That stopped being the case when they introduced the job economy, ever since then I don't remember any automation being a thing - either they removed it entirely or the AI is so hopeless the tool is unusable.
Quoting: Purple Library GuyAs to sectors, maybe it's because I'm a micromanager who assumes AI is stupid, but I've never noticed a real problem with them. They're a thing that means you need to hire another leader to boost output and reduce crime on a few worlds; if you start using features to automate stuff you deserve what you get.Now apparently there are people out there who like clicking the same thing forty times every single in-game year. I find it bizarre in a grand strategy game, these games aren't about Starcraft-level high APM godlike clicking skills. Regardless, with sectors you used to be able to switch star systems around between sectors to control which system gets which buff from a leader, switch sector capitols, name things, etc. none of those things were possible in the last version I played, they slowly removed all of that stuff. Sectors create automatically in a weird way you don't want, there's nothing you can do about it and that's all there is to it. Plop a leader in there and you're done. Replace leader if he's not immortal every now and then. Again, a barebones system that's obviously unfinished.
- Ship design and customization - this is a more complicated topic to talk about. The quick version is that Stellaris works a bit differently. There's a rock-paper-scissors thing going on. That means that you need every ship technology and there is no personal choice involved in your ship designs. Just build optimally against your current opposition. It's not broken or obviously unfinished like many other features, it's just of questionable use to me - all it really does is lay down traps for the player to build unoptimally and make mistakes. It really would've been much easier and made more sense to simply build pre-made ships and upgrade those, Sins of a Solar Empire style, rather than this. It's what ultimately happens with this system anyway, except it needs more clicking to happen.
Again this is just a laundry list from way back when the economy of Stellaris was redone. That's years ago. Each DLC expansion introduced new stuff and new questionable or unfinished things that were then forgotten and neglected by the devs in pursuit of the new shiny DLC. As a result, the game is fun to play once or twice in a while when you're not aware of all the little things that bother you yet, but after that, it's kind of frustrating really. The best you can do is install mods. It takes ages to find and mod the game properly - there's lots of stuff to fix - and voila, the game IS fun once you set everything up! For a while, until the helpful devs release an update or DLC and everything breaks. Sigh.
Last edited by LungDrago on 21 May 2021 at 9:55 am UTC
Quoting: LungDragoI normally play democracies. All I've ever noticed about factions is, they give me a stack of Influence so I can expand faster. That and if I tweak my policies a bit, most of my pops average happier, which actually improves the economy. Like, their base happiness before planet mods becomes the faction's happiness instead of the probably-50% default; if I can get the big factions to 65 or 70% happy with me, that's a major win. Sure, there's always a few factions that go against your overall social thrust, and give you some unhappy pops, especially on conquered worlds where the locals don't grok your society's way of doing things yet. But if you keep social cohesion high, I can't remember what the mechanic is called, those factions stay pretty small. Directly suppressing 'em doesn't work very well, true, but that's kind of realistic. Ask the Chinese government about Falun Gong.
Factions - they appear out of thin air a few years into the game and they reduce your economy a bit or a lot (it's a coin toss really). Period.
For the rest, I never play multiplayer so I'll take your word for the planet management issue.
The ship design thing is fairly true, but not really a huge problem exactly. Like, lately I just ignore ship design most of the time, take the presets. Maybe do a bit of fiddling in late game. Mostly don't even worry about the rock/paper/scissors and instead concentrate on having a big economy that can support fleets way bigger than the opponent's. It's a missed opportunity, like there's this whole aspect of the game that's basically useless, but it doesn't get in my way.
The sectors--well, if you have big expectations of them doing something important and useful, they don't and that's bound to be disappointing. I never had such expectations, really I always thought they were kind of a mechanic looking for a purpose, so as long as they largely stay out of my way I'm OK with them. I resented them back when I had to assign most of my planets to sectors which would then be mismanaged by the AI and there was little I could do to salvage them, but now they're a shrug. Although I have learned to place my sector capitals with a little care. A sector extends four jumps from its capital; you want to maximize the number of inhabited planets in it, and avoid leaving too many orphan planets.
Your general conclusion though just baffles me. Maybe because I'm just not a multiplayer kind of game player, and the multiplayer experience is just that different. Certainly I spend a lot of time paused; in single player that's a feature, not a bug. But the bottom line is, I'm unaware of any 4X space game that compares to Stellaris. It's got problems, but for me they're mostly niggles and missed opportunities, not the gaping wounds you see. I've never felt the need to try mods. The scope of Stellaris is unmatched--there's so much of it that a couple of underdeveloped areas that you can largely ignore don't really do much to the experience. It feels to me like you're someone looking at the windowpane and saying "Look, there's quite a bit of dirt" instead of looking through it at the amazing view.
Quoting: Purple Library GuyIt's a missed opportunity, like there's this whole aspect of the game that's basically useless, but it doesn't get in my way.
You've shared this sentiment several times in your reply and I believe I understand you. I'm the type of guy bothered by this, because the useless aspects of the game that are there but don't really serve anything important or work as you would expect frustrate me to oblivion.
Quoting: Purple Library GuyThe sectors--well, if you have big expectations of them doing something important and useful, they don't and that's bound to be disappointing. I never had such expectations, really I always thought they were kind of a mechanic looking for a purpose, so as long as they largely stay out of my way I'm OK with them. I resented them back when I had to assign most of my planets to sectors which would then be mismanaged by the AI and there was little I could do to salvage them, but now they're a shrug.
I remember vividly back in the original Stellaris with the old economy, sectors were a big topic on forums, reddits and whatnot. The governor AI was admittedly wonky and stupid and didn't do an optimal job of your planets at all. So a lot of people whined for them to be fixed. Well, they fixed them by basically removing them from the game except they're still in the game somewhat.
The irony in all this is that the old planetary economy system was pretty basic and easy on the player. Planets had tiles, tiles made resources. You could build a building on a tile to make more resources. You needed a population unit to work the tile which spawned automatically. Then there were adjacency bonuses for buildings to shake things up a bit. All in all, it was a pretty simple system for a grand strategy game. Because it was so easy, you could quite easily manage a large empire with many planets - all you really had to do was to just queue up buildings on a planet to build. Make sure to build them on the correct spots and you were done with the whole thing. Planet worked for the rest of the game, no problemo. The only annoying thing were tile blockers you had to clear up before you could build your stuff on them, which was the only time you really needed to re-visit a 'done' planet. Again the system was very easy, fire and forget style, and you didn't actually need any sector AI to manage it at all. So yeah, people complained about the sector system, and I would say they complained rightfully, because it was a trap, it didn't work and it was actually unnecessary.
So, in comes update 2.0. They change the whole economy of the game big time. Stuff is more involved now and there are many things you have to account for, like housing and overpopulation, crime, employment etc. Most importantly, planets are now stupid and can't function properly without your routine attention, because every time a new pop spawns in, it might pick the wrong job to do, it might cross the crime threshold, it might've unlocked a building slot you've been waiting for, or something else might have happened that you need to now go and check and click up. When you run out of buildings slots, you start running into overpopulation problems, so now you have to manually migrate your pops from your overpopulated done planet on some other one. For this and other possible reasons, you have to revisit every single planet or habitat or whatever like this, constantly, for the whole game, all the way from the beginning to the end, to click stuff.
Man, this game would really benefit from some kind of automation that would help alleviate all this clicking on my part! Well, that was what sectors were supposed to be doing, no? However, people complained so now we don't have sectors. Or we do have sectors? I'm not really sure. My point is, micromanagement is actual Hell in modern Stellaris. Your mileage may vary, I guess every player tolerates different levels of ant work, but I'm not a fan of it and game doesn't ACTUALLY have any tools to help with that even though it might appear that it does.
So yeah, game might be fun in the beginning, but late game it's just way easier to let the Unbidden eat everything away and start a new one - once the next DLC comes out of course.
Quoting: Purple Library GuyThe scope of Stellaris is unmatched--there's so much of it that a couple of underdeveloped areas that you can largely ignore don't really do much to the experience. It feels to me like you're someone looking at the windowpane and saying "Look, there's quite a bit of dirt" instead of looking through it at the amazing view.
Well said. You can't really see through dirty windows very well, can you? The scope of Stellaris is a bit of a lie. Yes, game simulates many things - internal and external politics all the way to the galactic scale*, detailed planet economy*, galactic markets*, species proliferation*, espionage and intrigue*, genetic modification*, awesome random late-game crisis that shakes up your game*, psychic powers*, large fleets of custom ships from little fighters all the way to giant titans*, giant floating space leviathans* etc. etc. etc. It all sounds great on the front cover of the box or in an elevator pitch. Then you play the actual game, get a good look at it and realize all the cool features come with that asterisk at the end. Asterisk saying *Yes, it's in the game buuuuut it doesn't really work all that well.
I can respect the opinion that a game system that is physically present in the game but doesn't amount to much isn't harmful in any way. I still see it as a glaring design flaw - it's a system literally asking to be removed - but you're likely correct that it doesn't harm the game per se. However, I think it clashes directly with the claim that Stellaris has unmatched scope and depth given that we've established there's numerous areas of the game that are, as you said, useless.
Last edited by LungDrago on 24 May 2021 at 10:05 am UTC
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