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Probably the biggest update and expansion launch for Stellaris yet, Stellaris: Nemesis and the 3.0 'Dick' update are out now. Paradox actually released something of a double-patch with both 3.0 and 3.0.1 landing today to bring big new features and some needed fixes found while testing.

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Here's what the new expansion brings to Stellaris:

  • Become the Crisis: Become the fire that spreads across the galaxy, threatening its very existence. As an empire becomes more and more menacing, players will unlock powerful bonuses to finish a hopeless galactic stalemate on their own terms. If the rest of the galaxy can’t stop it in time, players can unleash enough power to end all of existence!
  • Galactic Custodian: Prove to the universe that you’re the galaxy’s last and only hope by  and the Galactic Community will declare players as the all-powerful emergency Custodian. Use these extraordinary abilities to bring the galaxy back from the edge of destruction and restore order. When the crisis is defeated players can choose to relinquish their powers...or keep them, and form a new Galactic Imperium.
  • Espionage: Lies and deceit will throw enemies off your scent while you learn their deepest secrets. Remind the galaxy that knowledge is using the all-new espionage tools to spy on enemies (or friends). Deploy Envoys to lead covert Operations and counter-intelligence behind enemy borders.
    As Infiltration Levels grow, players will unlock new operations, such as Sabotage Starbase, Acquire Assets or Steal Tech. Turn allies against each other through the use of smear campaigns and by instigating diplomatic incidents. Play it right, and they’ll be none the wiser: what enemies don’t know will hurt them.
  • New Ship Set: Nemesis includes new ships inspired by some of the most imposing empires in science fiction. Whether players are taking control of the galaxy or wiping it out, players can look as powerful as they feel.

As for the free Dick 3.0.1 update that's also available now (patch notes), here's some highlights of that:

  • A complete rework of gathering intelligence and first contact. Empires will now have to send an Envoy as a diplomat to initiate first contact with another Empire, and from there build relations to increase the knowledge of that Empire.
  • Send Envoys to build Spy Networks in other Empires, gathering information and intelligence.
  • Building Slots are now unlocked through expanding the infrastructure of a colony by constructing City, Hive, or Nexus Districts, by upgrading the capital building of the planet, or through civilian infrastructure technologies.
  • Biological population growth now follows a curve based on the number of pops on the planet and the theoretical carrying capacity of the planet. Pops will start at their normal baseline but increase in speed as the population grows, eventually leveling off and slowing down as they fill up planets.
  • Plus loads more like new events, new event chains, an auto-research feature, bug fixes and loads of balance changes.

Personally, I really enjoy the long-term commitment Paradox Interactive have to their games. Stellaris is a personal favourite and this expansion and update really turn this up a notch. It's exciting to jump back into the game once again, with it feeling fresh right from the start.

You can buy the DLC on GOG and Steam.

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14 17 Apr
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Loved the trailer with all the arguments voice acted.
Aaaaauuggghhhh! Man, I never really liked Philip K. Dick's stuff. Visionary and all that jazz I'm sure, but there was something about his writing style that rubbed me the wrong way.
So you know how it used to be fairly easy to continue playing your old game using the old rules? Well, it's still possible, but it's not . . . obvious, at this point. And I'd missed a key thing about the new release--it makes a fairly major change to planet management, where making consumer goods is suddenly done mostly by a kind of district, not by buildings. So today I decided to try finishing off the game I had played to near the end before starting a new game with the new rules, so I could play with espionage and first contact and stuff.
I load up the game and . . . my planets all have massive unemployment and my production is all out of whack. What the?! Oh, I guess it's using the new rules, what are these "production district" things, holy cow my whole empire has just had its economy crashed . . . fine, I'll exit and then go back in using the old rules.

A certain amount of mucking about later, signing in to Paradox so I can sign in to Steam and link my Paradox account to my Steam account so I can look at the betas tab and tell it to use the old version . . . OK, fire up the game using the old version . . . Since it was Iron Man mode, it had saved in the new version--that is, what I'm firing up is not the game I was playing but the game as mangled by the new version, and because the new version has more room for districts and less room for buildings, it had ruined or removed a bunch of my buildings so now that I'm back in the old version my districts are back to normal but my economy is still massacred. So that game is well and truly toast. I suppose I could now move on to a new game in the new version, but I'm really not feeling like it. Call me grumpy.
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