Stellaris Dev Diary #162 - New Diplomatic Features

Hello everyone!

Today we thought we’d talk about some of the smaller changes coming to diplomacy with the free 2.6 update. Although the Galactic Community and the reworked federations are sure to have a large impact on galactic diplomacy, it's also important to talk about the smaller things!

Envoys
One of the more important things we’ve added are the Envoys. Envoys function very similar to Diplomats in EU4, and they are required for certain diplomatic actions such as:
  • Improve / Harm Relations – it is now possible to send an Envoy to improve or harm relations which can affect Opinion by up to (-400 / +400 ). More on Opinion and Relations later.
  • Assigned to Federation (to increase monthly Cohesion by +1)
  • Assigned to Galactic Community (to increase Diplomatic Weight)
upload_2019-11-28_10-28-45.png upload_2019-11-28_10-29-6.png upload_2019-11-28_10-29-20.png

Although Envoys are characters, they do not currently have any character-mechanics such as traits. We didn’t think it would be fun to have to micromanage and switch Envoys around to better fit certain jobs depending on their traits.

Diplomacy Interface Updates
We’ve finally gotten around to give a bunch of diplomacy-related interfaces a facelift! First up, let’s talk a little about the general diplomacy screen.

You are now able to more clearly see things such as Civics, Origins, Relative Power breakdowns, your ongoing diplomatic agreements, and also the new diplomatic stances!

upload_2019-11-28_10-30-2.png

This Hegemonic subordinate was kind enough to act as a model for the new diplo screen!

upload_2019-11-28_10-30-30.png

Declaring rivalry never looked so appealing.

upload_2019-11-28_10-30-57.png

The diplomatic offers are now a bit more clear on what is going on (not final text). A downside, however, is that it's now much harder to fool colleagues into becoming your vassal in our internal multiplayer sessions.

Diplomatic Stances
Sometimes we like concept that our colleagues have put into some of our other games, and the diplomatic stances from Imperator: Rome were a good example. Although not exactly the same, we like the general idea. We wanted empires to be able to set a diplomatic stance that dictates their behaviour towards other empires on a galactic stage.

upload_2019-11-28_10-31-19.png

Diplomatic Stances are Policies and can be changed once every 10 years. There are a bunch of different stances, and some may also be unique to certain empire types (e.g. Isolationist is called Mercantile for Megacorporations).

upload_2019-11-28_10-32-17.png upload_2019-11-28_10-32-7.png upload_2019-11-28_10-31-55.png upload_2019-11-28_10-31-37.png upload_2019-11-28_10-32-27.png

Stances are designed to be quite different, and to facilitate different playstyles. Perceptive readers might notice that the Belligerent stance seems very similar to Supremacist, and that is true, except that Supremacist stance is designed for all empires that want to be “a big player”. Supremacist empires will dislike other empires with the same stance, so it is almost like a soft rivalry of sorts.

Stances also have some effect on internal politics, as some of your factions may have certain preferences when it comes to your foreign policy.

Relations and Opinion
We wanted an easier way to measure how the diplomatic relations between two empires is doing, so we’ve added a new aggregate value called Relations. Relations exists in different levels ranging from Terrible <- Tense <- Neutral -> Positive -> Excellent, and they do have an effect on which type of diplomatic actions that are available.

We want diplomacy to be less fickle, and more mechanical. Players should now have more ability to influence what other empires’ opinions are of them. Overall diplomacy should feel less static and more prone to evolving over time.

Form Federation requires Excellent Relations, and pacts like Migrations, Research or Commercial require Positive Relations. Similarly, Rivalries require Terrible Relations. This is also the case in player-to-player diplomacy, so it’s important to maintain a good standing.

Some of these restrictions can be bypassed by having an Envoy to harm or improve relations.

upload_2019-11-28_10-32-53.png

Favors
Finally we want to talk about Favors. Although Favors were primarily added to give players agency within the Galactic Community, they can also be used to influence the AIs likelihood of accepting certain diplomatic agreements.

upload_2019-11-28_10-33-11.png

Favors is a new mechanic that allows you to increase your Diplomatic Weight for certain votes or proposals in the Galactic Community. An empire can owe another empire up to 10 Favors, and each Favor will increase Diplomatic Weight by “10%”.

For example – Empire B owes 10 Favors to Empire A. Empire A spends influence to call in all 10 Favors and adds 100% of the Diplomatic Weight that Empire B has. Empire A will add the Diplomatic Weight from Empire B, for a specific vote, without Empire B losing their Diplomatic Weight.

In effect, Favors allows an empire to manipulate vote results towards their point of view. It is not possible to Call in Favors when an empire is already voting the same way as you are. Multiple empires can call in favors from the same empire, and it's designed in this way to reduce the complexity of having to figure out which favors should have priority, or which favors should matter more.

upload_2019-11-28_10-33-30.png

Pretty please. You owe me.

In addition to the Galactic Community, Favors can also be called in to increase acceptance chance by +5 when offering certain diplomatic deals.

Favors can be gained through diplomatic trades, or or some cases randomly through events.

---

That is all for this week! Next week we’ll be back with some more details on the Juggernaut and the Mega Shipyard.
 
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Aethuse

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Finally a free diplomatic update ! That's been missing for a while now.
I like the new and updated empire diplo, particularly.
Let's hope for an update of the more...useless, shall we say, of civics with this update.


Also,
"Put your money where your calyx is, weed. Oh wait, that's right, you don't have any money..."

I felt that, and I don't even have a calyx, whatever that is !
 

Spaceception

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We wanted an easier way to measure how the diplomatic relations between two empires is doing, so we’ve added a new aggregate value called Relations. Relations exists in different levels ranging from Terrible <- Tense <- Neutral -> Positive -> Excellent, and they do have an effect on which type of diplomatic actions that are available.

We want diplomacy to be less fickle, and more mechanical. Players should now have more ability to influence what other empires’ opinions are of them. Overall diplomacy should feel less static and more prone to evolving over time.

Form Federation requires Excellent Relations, and pacts like Migrations, Research or Commercial require Positive Relations. Similarly, Rivalries require Terrible Relations. This is also the case in player-to-player diplomacy, so it’s important to maintain a good standing.

Some of these restrictions can be bypassed by having an Envoy to harm or improve relations.
This feels similar to a suggestion I made recently! (And how I thought some of this might work)
So it seems there are certain deals that almost anyone can make. I like that. And will there be reworks to trust growth, that can also impact your diplomatic deals? Will deals be able to decay if you don't maintain them?
And could we eventually see something like multi leveled agreements, like we'll have multi leveled Federations? In this, you'd get more mechanics (first: 1 way offer for non aggression pact -> second: other party agrees to this, making it a normal NA pact -> third: open borders (for former rivals))? I think this could add to making diplomacy less static, and allow more flexibility in what deals you can make depending on your relations.

Finally, will Marauders get habitats, and does the production bonus for void dwellers only apply to pops working on habitats (I imagine this is so)?

Thanks for the updates!
 
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Mauer

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Why does Isolationist stance increase Border friction so much? One would think other empires are at least neutral to having a neighbor that does not wish expand on them. Plus you already get bad relations from having closed border anyway right?
 

karloss99

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I would imagine that certain Diplomatic Stances are locked to certain civics/origins? I can't really see a devouring swarm being all cooperative with its food or an inwards perfectionist being anything other that isolationist...
 

Gorgalog

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I like how there is a mecanic so you have to actually 'befriend' other players ingame before you can do stuff like federations and alliances
Hopefully this helps prevent the thing that happens in all my games with friends where we have like 3 or 4 of us in one game and we just steamroll the galaxy due to everyone just immediately teaming up to gangbang their neighbors and making every multiplayer game boring as hell due to all players being friends and co-operating all the way through till the crisis
anything that adds more PvP or just makes players more likely to be uncooperative in general potential via conflict of interests is a good thing
 

Spaceception

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Why does Isolationist stance increase Border friction so much? One would think other empires are at least neutral to having a neighbor that does not wish expand on them. Plus you already get bad relations from having closed border anyway right?
It looks like they're following the Xenophobe FE's stance, and that Isolationist Empires don't want others on their border, and will be more upset if they do. So it would be nice if in the future, your Empire could enforce this like a FE can.
 

Blurb

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You mention that favors are introduced as a way to increase player agency within the galactic community. I think one could further increase player agency by letting diplomatic weight be influenced by relations with other empires; having low relations with other empires causes a penalty to diplomatic weight based on the relative base diplomatic weight of the two empires in question, analogous to how a trade embargo works in EU4. Depending on design choices, these "diplomatic embargoes" could either be universal and constant or something you would have to declare upon specific empires (similar to rivalry).

Letting relations affect diplomatic weight would allow a beloved (but small) empire to have far more diplomatic weight than an empire that has gotten large (and unpopular) via conquest, which would hopefully help diversify possible playstyles. This further opens up the possibility of affecting an empire's power within the galactic community by sabotaging their relations with other empires: empire A sabotages relations between B and C, thus making B carry less weight in the community, possibly swinging the outcome of a vote.
 

mammonmachine

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Looking good overall!

Form Federation requires Excellent Relations, and pacts like Migrations, Research or Commercial require Positive Relations. Similarly, Rivalries require Terrible Relations. This is also the case in player-to-player diplomacy, so it’s important to maintain a good standing.

Definitely like that these rules apply to multiplayer. Does a declaration of war require a break down in relations as well?

An empire can owe another empire up to 10 Favors, and each Favor will increase Diplomatic Weight by “10%”.

One thing I don't quite understand is how you actually earn favors in the first place? I assume also that players can owe favours to the AI. Can two empires simultaneously owe each other favors, or is it one linear value (e.g. if I owe 5 favors, and earn a favour back, I now just owe 4 favors).
 

Aethuse

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Why does Isolationist stance increase Border friction so much? One would think other empires are at least neutral to having a neighbor that does not wish expand on them. Plus you already get bad relations from having closed border anyway right?

I thought I'd disagree, but you're probably right on the extent of border tensions, at least. Why would Expansionist increase border tension by only 100%, when Isolationist increases it by 200% ? Especially when Belligerent and Supremacist don't increase border tensions at all ?
Unless we're misunderstanding what border tensions are completely, this feels quite strange...
 
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Annihilat0r

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Looks good! However, the resolution "Military Readiness Act" seems kind of weird...as it would encourage players to have a smaller naval cap. Like, someone with 190/400 fleet power would be in breach, but someone with 50/100 not?
 

Mauer

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It looks like they're following the Xenophobe FE's stance, and that Isolationist Empires don't want others on their border, and will be more upset if they do. So it would be nice if in the future, your Empire could enforce this like a FE can.
That works fine as a quirky mechanic of a FE. For regular empires any empty system on a Isolationist Empire's border will be taken either by them or a neighbor, it makes no sense as an isolationist would want no trouble and prefer well-defined and unchanging borders.

EDIT: The isolationists par excellence in Stellaris are the pacifist Inward Perfectionists, every time I have one of them on my borders I know I can leave that part undefended because they'll never attack me, and one can assume they would also not want a huge relations malus that would make their neighbors gang up on them; they already get enough bad relations by being xenophobe.

Otherwise it just becomes this constant state of war where the IP will either take systems from neighbors, increasing their borders, thus in fact becoming expansionist, or getting systems taken from them, the thing they wanted to avoid in the first place with the choice of ethics and civics.
 
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Verx90

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Why does Isolationist stance increase Border friction so much? One would think other empires are at least neutral to having a neighbor that does not wish expand on them. Plus you already get bad relations from having closed border anyway right?

i was thinking the same , kinda , but then again ... immagine being an isolationist , and you have someone bordering your close borders, watching evry move you make plotting for your demise ... i think it should have a heavy 200% borderfrictions in the isolationist empire, not so much on the bordering empire .