Time to fire up the rockets and head into space again, for another sojourn in the world of Stellaris. This week, I thought I’d talk about Policies and Edicts; directly corresponding to Laws and Decisions in our historical games. The general idea is to give you some additional control over the rules that define your Empire, usually with some trade-offs. Your initial choice of guiding Ethics will play a huge part in which of these Policies and Edicts are available, of course.
Policies are, as I mentioned, essentially laws. They are Empire-wide and remain in effect until directly changed by the player, or as the result of a Faction demand. For example, there are Policies regulating slavery, migration, voting rights and orbital bombardment. As the bureaucratic machinery of a galactic Empire grinds ever so slowly, there is a minimum time the player has to wait before changing their stance on a Policy again. Naturally, various Pops in your Empire will like or dislike these Policies depending on their own Ethics, etc. Should a Faction manage to enforce a change in Policy, that change will stay in effect for quite a while... In all, the system is fairly straightforward.
Say that you are playing as a Xenophobic empire. This will prevent you from passively studying any pre-FTL civilizations you might find, or sharing your technology with them; you can only study them aggressively (abducting and experimenting on them) or invade them outright! In a similar vein, Pacifist empires are not allowed to orbitally bombard planets in support of their ground forces, for fear of killing civilians.
This brings us to Edicts, of which there are two kinds; Planetary or Empire-wide. Edicts usually have a cost (Energy Credits or Influence) and an instant or temporary effect that expires after a certain amount of time. For example, there are Edicts for propaganda campaigns and production targets (something akin to communist five-year plans.)
Policies and Edicts are, like many other features in the game, to a large degree dependent on the tech system, so at the start of the game you should not have to worry about a great wealth of choices; they are made available through research. As with most features in Stellaris (and, indeed, all of our games), Policies and Edicts are very mod-friendly, and we look forward to see all the interesting and innovative uses mod-creators will make of this system.
Next week’s Dev Diary will go into more detail on pre-FTL civilizations, and the various ways of interacting with them!