Stellaris Dev Diary #205: Announcing the 3.0 ‘Dick’ Update

Hello everyone!

I hope the word about the release date for Nemesis has already reached you, but in case it has somewhat eluded your perception, here is a refresher:

Nemesis will release on April 15th, and here is the second story trailer:

As per usual, our expansions are released together with a significant free update, and this time is no different!

We’re happy to announce that Nemesis will release together with the 3.0 ‘Dick’ Update on April 15th! The update is of course named after author Philip K. Dick, famous for works which inspired, among other things, movies like Blade Runner and Total Recall (which also happens to be one of my favorite movies!).

Why 3.0?
We felt that the changes introduced with the new Intel system and the reworked First Contact system has enough impact on how different the game feels to warrant the change. Early- and mid game feel quite different now, in a very positive manner. Alien empires feel so much more mysterious, and charting the entire galaxy is no longer so easy. Changes like the pop growth system and the addition of industrial districts also felt impactful enough to want us to make the change.

Going forwards, we’re also gearing up to be able to be a bit more agile and deliver updates to the game a bit more frequently. I don’t want to make any grand promises quite yet, but 2021 is looking to be a very good year for Stellaris!

3.0 ‘Dick’ Features:
  • New Intel system
  • Reworked First Contact
  • Reworked Pop Growth
  • New Industrial Districts & some changes to production of Alloys/Consumer Goods
  • New Espionage system & Gather Intelligence Operation (other Operations will be a part of Nemesis)
  • Numerous bug fixes & improvements

Espionage Update
The Espionage system has undergone some changes since the Dev Diaries that previewed them. Based on playtesting and qualitative feedback, we simplified a few of the systems that seemed to be adding unnecessary complexity or were difficult or awkward to understand. The way Encryption, Decryption, and Counter-Espionage all interacted were one of these points of frequent confusion, so we decided to scrap Counter-Espionage entirely, renamed Decryption to Codebreaking, and apply standardized rules when using them:

Encryption is always used as "Espionage Defense"
Codebreaking is always used as "Espionage Offense"

In earlier iterations, which modifier was being referenced varied based on the exact circumstances, which muddled the stats a bit and made it difficult to tell which one would help you more when you're attempting to infiltrate an empire. We renamed Decryption in order to further reduce confusion. Relative Encryption is used often in the system, and will now always compare the "offensive" Empire's Codebreaking with the "defending" Empire's Encryption.

1616066569235.png

Relative Encryption tooltip. In this example, our Codebreaking is lower than their Encryption and their Codebreaking is higher than our Encryption.

1616066587607.png

The refined Operations UI. Envoy on the top left, Infiltration Level (current/max) as progress bar & value. Intel categories in the top-right.

We've streamlined the Operations UI significantly, reducing the sheer amount of numbers associated with a network and the Operations themselves. As part of this streamlining, we've removed the concept of spy power and bandwidth, so it's no longer possible to run multiple simultaneous Operations on a single Empire simultaneously - you'll have to run them one at a time. This change also alleviates a problem we had where it wouldn't always be immediately perfectly clear which mission random events were affecting, so the "mental burden" of running Operations is lower.

Upon completion, Operations will now almost always cause a significant hit to Infiltration to represent lost contacts and heightened security. Operations also used to have varying difficulty per chapter - we've standardized them so we can now list the Operation difficulty on the UI, and let you know if you have an Asset that is especially good at this one.

First Contact Update
Although not much has changed with the system itself since we first showcased it in dev diary #193, there’s still some changes that can be interesting to see.

1616066605514.png

The finished first contact UI. The silhouette in the bottom-right is supposed to be generic, and will reveal a portrait once you’ve progressed far enough into the first contact chain.

Early hostilities can now lead to pre-contact conflicts as well. If you anger a neighboring alien civilization, there’s the chance that they will come and visit you.

More aggressive empires like fanatic purifiers or devouring swarms are also less likely to take your encroachment into their lands very kindly early on.

1616066627081.png

Abducting aliens is no longer a risk-free undertaking.

1616066643790.png

It seems like they weren’t too happy about our abductions…

Outliner Update
We’ve added some small quality-of-life improvement to the outliner. One of these improvements lets you reorder planets in the outliner.

1616066662736.png

Planets will be reordered within the sector listing or planet listing, depending on which option is active.

1616066679716.png

The outliner can also be toggled to show the icons for the designations instead of the icon for the planet class.

With these two options it's now possible to list all your planets as you wish, and to show the designation icons. Our product manager, Simon, can now finally list his Mining 01, Mining 02, Mining 03 etc. planets in the correct, and fanatically organized, order.

---------

That’s all for this week folks! I hope you’re as excited for the upcoming Nemesis release as we are!
 
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Calvax

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In this example, I fully occupy Ydria, but only partially occupy Rabinoc. The little spikes on the occupation flag show the difference.

I don’t know if it’s my eyesight or what but I always find these icons a struggle to see at a glance. At least not without zooming in and moving about the map.

Would you consider making a visual marker along the lines of CK/EU/Vicky where the space around an occupied system becomes lined? An occupied station could be dotted lines, a fully occupied system could be straight. The colour of the lines comes from the occupying empire and you could still keep the flag icon for more info.

On larger maps especially this would be a really good QoL feature.
 
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Shrike

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On steam it's referred to as the Philip K. ❤️❤️❤️❤️ update.

Good to see that there are so many people who love his work on Steam too and that positively has grown around Stellaris since the performance was fixed.
 

grommile

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On steam it's referred to as the Philip K. ❤️❤️❤️❤️ update.
Aaaaaa that's reminded me of how Steam's autocensor is enabled even in places that make no sense like the discussion forums (and reviews etc) for H-games.
 

Mímisbrunnr

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Diplomatic Vassalization basically always works IF the relationship and relative powers are good enough, they have low enough population AND they are not in a federation. That is to say, it almost always works if there is a green checkmark next to it.

Being Unfriendly to them will make Diplo-Vassalization impossible, with Wary taking a -20 hit to acceptance, Neutral +0 (I think the same with Cordial) and Friendly a +20 bonus to acceptance.
 
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A.J.

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. . . and now for something completely different . . .

Wow. I've been waiting for three years for spy's and intelligence stuff. This is really the only thing that a space game as this lacked. Now, some other power can tech rush, only to find their civilization is riddled with spies. I love it!

I haven't played for a year or so now, but looking forward to 3.0 and will be on board with DLC's.

-V