Stellaris 2.2

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Ophiuchus
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Stellaris 2.2

#1 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri May 17, 2019 9:30 pm

So i finally went around to trying Stellaris. Just playing a single single-player without AI to get a feel for the mechanics. Here is a writeup from FO perspective:

Micromanagement
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Quite a lot I think.

For a starter there are many different resources which can be transformed into each other in various ways. Probably this is not real micromanagement, but you first need to figure out how much of what is worth what. And that is not really interesting in itself.

I fell for micro-optimising science ships and scientists for three reasons boosting the experience gain of the right scientists in order to level up, trying to maximise the number of anomalies which get created (use different scientist to explore systems and research anomalies) and speeding up exploration. The main reason for this mechanic is that you can "teleport" your scientists between the science ships and the ships move really slow. Also the scientists only gain experience when exploring the systems - not on the long way inbetween. Also the interface is horrible for switching scientists.

Next thing is planet population management. E.g. i have population which is well suited to produce energy, but i cannot directly assign them to the right jobs. But you can play some kind of click back-and-forth lottery to more or less get what you want. Reeeeeeeally stupid micro.

In Stellaris 1 it seems the planet management was even more micromanagy, with a 2D grid layout of the planet. So it not only mattered what was on the planet but also where. Paradox killed this off in version 2

One nice thing i am currently exploring are vassals made from my own sectors. I think this is actually intended as anti-micro. There is a upkeep mechanism like in freeorion - if you have more districts,colonies,... than a certain admin cap, techs and other things get more expensive. By putting those districts, colonies... into a vassal state they do not count against your admin cap. So instead of having to micromanage a lot of districts, colonies you have some simple diplomacy options with your vassal state which manages the sector instead of you. So the admin cap gives an incentive to let control go. Love it.

Tech Tree
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There are actually two kinds of tech tree.

First the one closer to ours. A big one ordered into tiers. Three different kinds blue green yellow of research researches in parallel. Cost of tech is varied and goes up with the tiers.
If you finish researching a tech, you get offered a small number (i think in the beginning three) of random researchable techs. You have to choose one of those. If you dont like the options you research the cheapest one to get some new options. There are changes to probabilities of which techs you are offered - some of those changes are hidden (e.g. depend on your ethoi). There is also no tech tree visualisation in-game.
Also you can use your research to finish open research projects.

The other tech tree is powered by a stackable resource called union. This tree is rather small (seven themes with about five techs each) and is completely visualised in the game. It is also shallow: you have the theme unlock effect and then a depth of up to two, if you research all the techs of a theme, you get another tech effect for free.
You pay for the unlock and for each tech. Finalizing a theme does not cost extra and gives an ascension tech (slot) for free. The ascension techs also have dependencies and tiers but you are also storable.

Galaxy
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Stellaris had before three different kinds of FTL travel for fleets but Paradox could not make that an strategically interesting game (because you could simply sidestep fortifications AFAIGI). With Stellaris 2 there is only starlane travel like in freeorion.

There are a lot less planets than in freeorion and getting the right habitability techs takes ages. But the map does not feel so different from FO.

The biggest difference I think is that there is no fuel in the game. For exploration you can send your ships basically anywhere (if nobody stops you). Also you can either scout the starlanes or take your time to explore the systems.

Combat is nicely visualized but in its essence not very different from FO. (Note I have not so much combat experience yet.)

What FO has: stealth and I hope that we will improve on that and also add some ways to outmanouvre the opponents - on the galaxy map there is usually no space to do that.

Species and Diplomacy
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Lots of traits and factions and interactions and whole lotta burrito i didnt have the time to try yet.
Looks nice. Not sure if it looks like micromanagement if you keep looking.
I like that ethos restricts your possible actions and reactions. That makes for some good storytelling

Effects and Granularity
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In Stellaris there are no growing max meters or target meters. I also do not know why FO has these, it creates a lot of fuzziness and inbetween-states with connected meter-dances etc. I guess it is because in FO the effects of a tech can be so high; e.g. +5 PP on every planet. If that kicks in in a single round it would feel crazy. In Stellaris there are lot of different sources for changes something but these are rather +5%, +10%, +15%, and rarely +20%. Not like typical doubling of values like in FO.

Before Stellaris had sector-dependent stockpiles and made those imperial now because of the suckish micromanagement which was involved.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Vezzra
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Re: Stellaris 2.2

#2 Post by Vezzra » Sun May 19, 2019 2:56 pm

I own Stellaris myself and had a decently enjoyable experience playing it, but it definitely has it's weaknesses, and interestingly those are related to the Paradox designers not adhering to some of the design principles FO is committed to (IMO). A bit odd, considering their experience with creating "grand strategy" games, some of which have been/are a major influence on the design of FO (Europa Universalis 2 has been cited in the original vision statement!).

However, the most glaring and annoying weakness (in my eyes), which Stellaris shares with a lot of other space 4X games is the resource distribution mechanic, or better, the lack thereof. In theory you can colonize a planet on the other end of the galaxy, with multiple enemy empires in between (provided you find a way to get a colony ship there), and you can fully utilize all your resources there to build things up. How these resources are supposed to get there, no one cares.

And this is not me advocating realism here. It's just that this is so far outside what you'd intuitively expect, that it breaks the "fourth wall", so to speak. It puts a serious dampener on immersion, because it is so silly. This is why I like FO's supply lines so much, and that you can only distribute PP along these lines. It is one of the most distinguishing, superior features FO has over other 4X space games, something which sets FO really apart.

Just mentioning this here, maybe that helps you understand why I've always been so, hm, reserved, when it came to the IS...

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