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Stellaris MegaCorp expansion and the 2.2 'Le Guin' free update are now both out

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Once again, Paradox have put out more content both paid and free for Stellaris and my love of the game continues on rather strong.

Note: DLC key provided for me.

I noted a few times in the past, how I really enjoyed Stellaris but it did often have a somewhat empty feeling to it at times. A few patches and an expansion later it’s a very different game. One I’ve poured a great many hours into and shall continue to do so.

Honestly, all the changes together have overwhelmed me somewhat and I'm still going through a lot of it. I want to be clear though, this is not a negative mark for it at all. Just that there's so much that has changed, that you have to re-learn and adjust the way you play it. If you thought you knew Stellaris—think again. I've massively enjoyed it, playing through the night before it even hit me what time it was and again the next day, that's just how engrossing it is.

A shot of the new planetary screen, with the new districts and buildings systems.

The MegaCorp expansion certainly does mix up how your games can play out. Especially true if you actually play as a Megacorporation empire type of course. Not just that though, there's the new civics, new ascension perks, space traders, new Megastructures and so on.

The key thing with the MegaCorp expansion, is that outside of the new mechanics, the basic gameplay does remain mostly the same yet it gently nudges you in different directions. If you've previously played the game as a mighty empire looking for a fight or a diplomatic federation of races, perhaps becoming an economic powerhouse might be an interesting change of pace of you. Unlike other expansions, I think MegaCorp is tailored more towards veteran players.

Funnily enough though, given all the changes here I actually found it a lot easier to build up a big reserve of resources, while also building the biggest fleet of ships I've ever been able to. The new systems in place for managing planets and resource generation might seem intimidating at the start, but it actually makes quite a lot of sense and it is a vast improvement over the incredibly basic tile system Stellaris had originally. It has more depth, while remaining accessible which I think is still a good selling point for Stellaris.

It's not just the new planetary systems that enable you to make greater use of your population for resource output, it's also the new market systems that also help greatly here. If you find your civilisation has an abundance of a particular resource, buying and selling on the market to get rid of what you don't need in favour of what you do can really easily push you forwards.

It doesn't make it too easily though, as with Stellaris the random nature of it can suddenly see you requiring a lot of a resource you previously didn't. So, simply selling tons of what you don't need right at that moment isn't necessarily the best idea for the long-term prosperity of your race.

Also, it's not exactly a major feature, but I do have a lot of love for the new pull-out UI panel on the left side of the screen. Giving super-quick and easy access to things like Contacts, Situation Log and so on with the flick of your mouse is really nice:

I often see complaints about how the game changes a lot and how the DLC makes it feel “incomplete”, however, I’ve never felt like that with it at all. Even without any DLC, the game has a lot on offer (especially when compared to the original release). As for how it changes, I see it as a strength for it to remain fresh to keep me interested. Considering how long games of Stellaris can take, having it refreshed every few months is ideal.

Paradox have a really great game here, I hope they continue supporting it for many years to come. Few developers support their games as long as they do, it’s great to see it supported on Linux and continue to expand.

MegaCorp and the 2.2 patch together are fantastic, although honestly the free patch by itself is so different it outshines the DLC a fair bit. It makes space thoroughly fresh, dynamic and exciting again and allows you to play the game in a different way. You can see a full readout of what’s new in both here on the Paradox forum. If you haven't played for a while, Paradox recommend going through the updated tutorial.

As expected, Paradox had Linux support for the patch and DLC ready for pre-release testing and it's been running very well.

Find Stellaris and MegaCorp on Humble Store, GOG and Steam.

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You can also find the release trailer here for MegaCorp, but the above overview trailer does a better job.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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23 comments
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pete910 19 December 2018 at 1:50 am UTC
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Well to give an update after having a good few hours in 2.2.

I've gone back to the 2.1 Niven version. There's just too much to worry about when you expand, The sector changes are just plain daft as the rulers don't actually seem to help with the balancing of the planets. You can no longer group sectors from what I can see either, Have over 30 now as seems random oh how it decides what's grouped with what.

Productions in general can swing from +400 to -1000 in a month, and no it's not due to edicts that have expired
Having to manage pops on 3,4,5 planets isn't a problem, when you have 40 odd + it just get plain boring/frustrating.

Some changes are for the better I admit but on the whole when deep into a game it becomes a chore. I dare say a few players like it but for me it's taken the fun out of it now which defeats the point of playing a game in the first place
Purple Library Guy 19 December 2018 at 5:20 pm UTC
One thing I've concluded, still in early-mid game at this point, is that I can't always get away with upgrading buildings even if I have all the resources needed and can afford their energy upkeep. The thing about the jobs is, there's two kinds of jobs--the basic ones, in the "districts" for food, minerals and energy plus the clerk jobs in city districts, and the advanced ones in the "buildings". The buildings do things in themselves sometimes, but mostly they make jobs available doing specialized building-things. The upgraded versions make more jobs. So like, most of the basic buildings have two jobs associated with them, while the first upgrade goes to 4 or 5 and the serious upgrade might provide 10 jobs.
All fine so far. But here's the rub: The population seems to fill the specialty jobs first. And you get a building slot every 5 pop. So if you build and upgrade all your building slots on a planet to serious 5-job versions, that means the buildings are providing enough jobs for the whole population. Everyone will shift away from mining, farming and staffing power plants to doing the snazzy stuff! Your economy would go poof. So the upkeep on those buildings is if anything the small part of the equation, the bigger issue is balancing basic production jobs with jobs in the buildings so you keep making enough basic stuff to support the researchers and alloy-forgers and Unity and "amenities" producers and whatnot.

I agree with Pete910 that the sectors are weird and pointless now. And small. And the cost of leaders is what grows most rapidly with empire size, both acquisition and maintenance. As you grow it's no longer clear to me that sector governors' general production boost makes it worth having them on most sectors. Presumably worth it if you're going "tall". I know it's a balance thing, but it doesn't make a lot of sense--why if you're a massive empire is the manager of some dinky planet in the boonies suddenly worth the upkeep on a bunch of ships, where when you're small the governor of the core systems costs peanuts?
Mal 19 December 2018 at 7:33 pm UTC
Sectors are basically gone. The only function they have is that you can assign a governor to get his bonuses on (well, you can try to use AI and let it develop the planets... but pdx has a horrible history on AI programming and I didn't even try. Given the flame threads on their forum I think you shouldn't either). Just forget about them, turn them off from the map. Only use it late in game when you swim in energy to exploit governor bonus traits (you're no more leader capped, so you can indeed hire 50-60 governors if you can afford it).

The new economy instead is interesting since, as you already figured out, developing a planet is not a matter of mindlessly fill tiles and click the upgrade button. Now buildings consume strategic resources and produce nothing, they only unlock jobs. Jobs that require actual pops before producing something.

So mission accomplished here! Finally you actually have to think what to build and when to build it (and also, what to build first and what to replace it later).
The bad news though is that worlds in 2.2 require this attention consuming babysitting all time long and as you move to later stages of the game managing like 50 or more worlds becomes is an impossible chore. They really need to figure out a sensible way to delegate a competent AI to planet development for later stages of the game.

Which also makes me think that nobody at paradox actually tested the changes for other kind of empires that are not corporations or some kind of pacifists variant. Anything that is not vertical build just get out of hands later in the game for the sheer crazy amount of babysitting you have to do give to planets and their economies. Not to mention the crazy bugs and regression they had for previous paid DLC content like Utopia ascension paths or Synthetic dawn machine empires. Seriously, I warn you here. Don't try ascension paths or machine empire unless you're in for some miserable gaming time. Neither expect interesting rewards from leviathans or DLC events either as before.

And this frankly speaking is a despicable move. The game now is unbalanced when not just plain broken for the majority of empires you can play... except the ones released in the last paid DLC! As it now it seems only mega corps and little more make for a pleasant non micro hell experience. It shouldn't be like that. As a developer you should show respect also for customers that already gave you money, not just customers that still have to. Pdx has very loyal fans. Sometimes some of them sound like zealots more then customers to me. But admittedly I too like their great strategy games so much that I'm fine in forgiving some missteps on their side. But as they continue to expand their customer base I dunno how many of their new, less fanatical customers will be so forgiving.

Now for automatizing planet management for large empires, let's get real: I don't think there is anything quick they can do. Developing good and performing AI is a long trial and error process. It's better if they take their time and do something that works well in 2.3. But I hope that at least they fix up the previous DLCs content in the coming patches because as of now this to me this looks like a gratuitous lack of respect.
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