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Stellaris Dev Diary #206: Directing Nemesis

Hello everyone!

Today I thought I would talk more about the process of directing an expansion such as Nemesis.

As we’ve talked about in the past, finding a strong theme is one of the most important things that we do. Whenever we’ve had ideas (and there are many) we usually categorize them in a “box”. Each of our expansions has picked features from different “boxes”; Utopia was about internal politics and customization, Apocalypse was about warfare, Megacorp was about economy, and Federations was about diplomacy.

Along the way there’s usually more ideas in a box than we can fit into an expansion, so many of the ideas we’ve had for previous expansions get moved to a new expansion. For example, the “diplomacy box” contained too many good ideas that we wanted to work with, so Federations focused more on “good” diplomacy, whereas Nemesis focuses more on “evil” diplomacy.

Maintaining a strong theme for an expansion is very important, as it makes it easier for the players to forge strong fantasies and to build up excitement for those ideas. A more focused expansion also has more opportunities for features to interact, so it's also possible to have those deeper interactions in the game that we know many of you appreciate.

Although it is important to maintain a strong theme for a DLC, we also want to make sure that any expansion we create also contains something that caters to different types of players. For example, if Federations has a lot of focus on cooperation and diplomacy, it was a good idea to add the Juggernaut so that players who enjoy the more belligerent side of the game also get some new toys to play with.

Nemesis
Becoming the Crisis, and forming a Galactic Imperium through the Galactic Community, are both examples of ideas we had that were related to diplomacy is some fashion. With the Galactic Community in place, it made sense to allow players to play “the baddies” which aims to destroy the galaxy, and by continuation it made a lot of sense to add a feature that aims to be the counterforce to such threats.

Where Federations focused on cooperation and more friendly diplomacy, the goal of Nemesis was to focus more on building up conflicts between opposing forces. We really wanted to underline how a crisis can threaten the galaxy, and then a champion (the custodian) can rise to attempt to stop it.

We also wanted to create more opportunities for a balance of power to shift, so we wanted to continue with the idea of the custodian and how power can corrupt. By allowing the custodian to turn the galactic community into the galactic imperium, we were able to continue the trend of different types of crises that can occur in the galaxy. Although not perhaps a threat to all life in the galaxy, the Galactic Imperium (and a possible rebellion) was still intended to very much be considered a diplomatic crisis of sorts.

From my perspective I’m very happy with how we’ve managed to take these ideas from earlier and really bind them together in a very thematic sense in Nemesis. It’s not often that we can take so many powerful fantasies and put them together in such a way, so it's very fun to have been able to take this holistic approach.

Espionage
I’ve wanted to make an espionage system for quite some time, as it's been a goal for me as a designer. I don’t like when espionage systems are too deterministic, or when you just sit and wait on a progress bar, after which you’ll either succeed or fail.

I wanted our espionage system to contain more storytelling and the archaeology system that I originally designed for Ancient Relics really allows for that. I like that the system plays out in phases, similar to a siege in EU4, but allows for a lot more storytelling by inserting random events and stories in the “main story” of the content itself.

With the learnings from the archaeology system, I wanted to make our espionage system work similarly. As a game director, I’m not only responsible for the creation vision of the game, but also for scope (how large a feature can be, and where we spend our development time). I knew that by basing the system on what we did with archaeology, we would be able to save time that could be better spent elsewhere. Implementing UI is actually quite time consuming with the tech Stellaris uses, so any time we can save by not having to make UIs from scratch is a good idea in my opinion. By reusing certain parts, you can also reduce the amount of risk because we already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the system or feature. Any time we spend reusing parts can be spent on polish, bug fixing or implementing cool new UIs for other features. It doesn’t come entirely free though, and you need to make sure you make enough adaptations where it's needed.

When it comes to what the espionage system itself should achieve, I wanted information gathering to be a large part of it. Espionage systems are hard to get right, because they can feel too predictive or boring, and you also have to constantly be considering the experience of the one being targeted by espionage.

Something we also have to consider when adding a new system like this is that the player only has so much capacity to interact with existing systems. We need to create a system that is fun and engaging when you choose to use it, and be aware that it's quite risky to add new systems that the player is forced to interact with. Cognitive load is definitely something that is tricky when designing for GSG games. I feel like the espionage system has hit a good mark with not being mandatory to play the game, but also being fun and interesting when you want to use it.

We couldn’t achieve everything I could have dreamed of, and although I would very much liked to have seen a more interactive counter-espionage part of the system, I’m very happy overall with how espionage turned out. Although not perfect, the content we have there and the way it works feels very good.

The basic system of espionage, just like the archaeology system, is a part of the free update to the base game, which makes it easier for us - or modders - to add more content later down the line. Trying to make the systems themselves a part of the free update has helped us a lot in the past, and sometimes we’ve even changed systems that were entirely a part of a DLC to become free. Ascension Perks (introduced in Utopia) were originally exclusive to Utopia, but we really wanted to use the system so we made it a part of the free game and changed it so that only some of the Ascension Perks themselves (like biological ascension) were a part of Utopia. We really like this approach, and hopefully you do too. Everyone wins!

Intel
Because we wanted information-gathering to be such an important part of the espionage system, we also thought a new Intel system would be necessary to make that a really good experience for the player.

I never liked how you’d find out so much about another alien empire as soon as you established communication with them. I wanted alien empires to feel more mysterious, and just as you explore the galaxy, you have to “explore” these alien empires to learn more about them.

The focus of the Intel system was very much to enhance the early- and mid game by focusing on this new angle of “exploration”. Even if you are not a warlike or diplomatic player, it should still be fun to learn more about the galaxy and its inhabitants. Because of all the things that the Intel system touches, and how it interacts with other features, it needs to be a free update to the game. The entire Intel system is a part of the free update and should be quite moddable.

From a scoping aspect, Intel definitely ended up being way more expensive than we had originally thought due to all the edgecases and all the small places in the game where the new system would interact with current existing features. Reworking UIs to sometimes hide information is not as easy as it may sound, especially in a game as large as Stellaris.

As a game director I also need to consider where I spend my development time, and if I put too much development time on working on a free feature like Intel, then the DLC features may become too thin and that players may consider the value of the DLC to be low. It’s a careful balance between adding enough new features in the free update vs. adding new features to a DLC, because both are important for different reasons.

In the end though, I think it was definitely worth spending the extra time to make the Intel system as it currently is.

Become the Crisis
The idea to allow players to become the crisis is not a new one, but it's one that has been with us for quite some time. It’s not until now that we’ve finally been able to give it a go, and I can’t think of a better expansion for it than with Nemesis.

The goal with the “BtC” feature was to allow the player to perform “evil” deeds and unlock more powerful rewards along the way to galactic domination.

The system went through a couple of different iterations, but it wasn’t until we added a more clear progression path with “crisis levels” that I felt like we were truly on the right track.

The new UI for BtC feels very awesome and with a very visible progression path it also feels better as a more explicit challenge. Within game design, explicit challenges are those that are posed directly to the player (like a quest), while implicit challenges are those that the player can make up themselves (like befriending all other empires as the Blorg).

An inherent weakness with many of our GSG games is that we do not have a lot of explicit challenges, which can make it hard for new players to figure out what they are supposed to do. If you are entirely new to the game, it can be hard to come up with implicit challenges yourself. National Focuses in HOI4, Missions in EU4 or Imperator are examples of features where we’ve successfully added more explicit challenges to our games. Implicit challenges go hand in hand with replayability, and they can also be more powerful experiences to the player, because the player is the sole reason behind it.

With the BtC feature, we’ve added objectives to help lead the player in becoming more menacing and an increasing threat to the galaxy. Although not as direct as perhaps a quest or a mission, they should help a lot and hopefully motivate the player.

We originally had ideas for the BtC feature to come in multiple shapes (ranging from a destructive force like an end-game crisis, to a subjugating force like the marauder, or a manipulative force that preys in the shadows), but due to time constraints we had to make the choice of either making one fantasy stronger and more engaging, or to have multiple versions that felt more watered-down. I had to make the choice, and focusing on the destructive fantasy made the most sense to me, due to multiple reasons, but simply put it's also the fantasy that makes the most sense.

After the dust has settled I’m very happy with where the Become the Crisis feature is, and I hope you will all enjoy deploying your Star-Eaters to consume the galaxy, going from one star to the next.

Custodian & Galactic Imperium
With the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to highlight how much I enjoy the cycle of electing a custodian to fight a crisis, and then for the custodian to take power and become a new, diplomatic crisis. It’s very thematic, and it's a fantasy that we’re very aware of from popular culture (and to some degree, history).

I don’t have as many insights to share for these two features, as they were largely handled by one of our trusted and senior content designers. The idea and rough design for the Galactic Imperium was borne in association with the Galactic Community, and we’re very happy for the chance to add it to the game in Nemesis.

Although the Galactic Imperium is perhaps not the most ubiquitous and common feature to come across while playing, it's very evocative and fits like a glove when it comes to player fantasy.

Rounding up
In the end I don’t think you can ever really create a perfect expansion, and it takes a lot of experience to know what gives you the best chance with the resources you have. There’s a lot more detail that goes into all of the things I talked about, but I hope this dev diary was somewhat interesting to you, as I tried to give some more insights into how to direct an expansion and some of the thoughts one may come across while doing so.

I also want to thank my team for doing such fantastic work with Nemesis. Without them, none of this would have materialized.

----

That’s it for this week, folks! We’ll be back next week on April 1st, the day most famous for being exactly 2 weeks before the release of 3.0 ‘Dick’ and Nemesis.
 
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But you kind of do need to see it from a business perspective:
Making something good for a lot of people is a lot more economically successful than making something perfect for half of the amount of customers. Expecting people to risk their livelihoods to improve their products a little is a very unreasonable demand.

I do agree the DLCs would be better if they were more focused and in depth about a particular theme, but it's just not realistic as it would be a lot riskier for them.
Just take Espionage as an example. There have been hundreds of comments of how people dislike espionage mechanics in grand strategy / 4x games in the last dev diaries. If you'd make an espionage exclusive DLC all those people would probably not buy it. And going by loudness of these people i do think they are a significant portion of the fanbase. Thus it would be a significant revenue loss.

If you don't like this, you should probably work on abolishing capitalism instead of blaming the devs for making compromises in design like that for their DLCs.
I wasn't blaming the devs, I was saying that focussing more on the core concept behind a dlc would be a better option than spreading everything to try and appease more of the playerbase, as a result spreading the content to thinly. Don't assume.
 
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And going by loudness of these people i do think they are a significant portion of the fanbase. Thus it would be a significant revenue loss.
Just because someone screams the loudest, it's most likely not the majority. It always depends on the way someone want to play "his" game and everything new that maybe corrupts or even counter this way of play is "annoying". So there are of course some people that aren't happy with espionage as a whole, but there are most likely the same amount that really want it (like me) and for sure a huge majority is thinking "it's ok, everyone likes different things and more options are always better, so why complain?"

I agree with the rest of your post.
 
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But you kind of do need to see it from a business perspective:
Making something good for a lot of people is a lot more economically successful than making something perfect for half of the amount of customers. Expecting people to risk their livelihoods to improve their products a little is a very unreasonable demand.

I do agree the DLCs would be better if they were more focused and in depth about a particular theme, but it's just not realistic as it would be a lot riskier for them.
Just take Espionage as an example. There have been hundreds of comments of how people dislike espionage mechanics in grand strategy / 4x games in the last dev diaries. If you'd make an espionage exclusive DLC all those people would probably not buy it. And going by loudness of these people i do think they are a significant portion of the fanbase. Thus it would be a significant revenue loss.

If you don't like this, you should probably work on abolishing capitalism instead of blaming the devs for making compromises in design like that for their DLCs.
ca proved that notion wrong
 
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Perhaps its me but I sorta feel for the price of the DLC and whats in it - this is a subtle and unsaid huge bug fix run and continuation of "ground being broken" in 2.8. If thats the case (and I'm still holding out hope that "Overwhelmed" federation members/fleets can be improved and have their own "Militiaristic" goals that dont care about economy - are apart of that run!), then it will likely be a purchase from me to support that process. At the same time, if its not, I think I'll be disillusioned and just fade away from the game.

I do find that the DD's are a bit backwards though, the DLC is clearly important for Stellaris - but more for Paradox and as a business its fine but - I don't think it would take much for the director or someone to slip in a "a community DD" talking about the biggest bug bears we all have and that's what I find a shortcoming, no discussion since December about utiilising DirectX 11 or Sector Automation... C'mon help us - help you please - these are things that matter most in this game to a lot of people :)
 
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Perhaps its me but I sorta feel for the price of the DLC and whats in it - this is a subtle and unsaid huge bug fix run and continuation of "ground being broken" in 2.8. If thats the case (and I'm still holding out hope that "Overwhelmed" federation members/fleets can be improved and have their own "Militiaristic" goals that dont care about economy - are apart of that run!), then it will likely be a purchase from me to support that process. At the same time, if its not, I think I'll be disillusioned and just fade away from the game.

I do find that the DD's are a bit backwards though, the DLC is clearly important for Stellaris - but more for Paradox and as a business its fine but - I don't think it would take much for the director or someone to slip in a "a community DD" talking about the biggest bug bears we all have and that's what I find a shortcoming, no discussion since December about utiilising DirectX 11 or Sector Automation... C'mon help us - help you please - these are things that matter most in this game to a lot of people :)

i can see why they don't realy talk about it.

evryone has a bug that hate most , and they would talk about problems instead of feature and news ( problems do not sell )

and they did talk about bug , performance and AI . and they talked about how the fixing is constant and continuative .

if i'm not wrong they even talked about having decided to have a person(or a team, i should realy read the diary again ) working principaly on fixing .


if you watched the stream on twich the other day, they talked about some problems ( secotr automation and empire AI ) and theyr progress .
 
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i can see why they don't realy talk about it.

evryone has a bug that hate most , and they would talk about problems instead of feature and news ( problems do not sell )

and they did talk about bug , performance and AI . and they talked about how the fixing is constant and continuative .

if i'm not wrong they even talked about having decided to have a person(or a team, i should realy read the diary again ) working principaly on fixing .


if you watched the stream on twich the other day, they talked about some problems ( secotr automation and empire AI ) and theyr progress .

That's great, I watched a bit of the stream but I missed that... :( I just wish that information and comments around it was more known / public . Surely it would be for everyones benefit including Paradox to tell everyone whats on "the hit list" for the free patch (as well as the wider direction of the game, to catch up on itsself) and better for their pocket too to create some trust that Paradox cares about the state of the game in the wider aspects. Hiding such information away in a stream (intentionally or not) is a missed chance. Discord / streaming is only a % of the community that play the game, a lesser % of who buys the DLC overall.
 
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I wanted our espionage system to contain more storytelling and the archaeology system that I originally designed for Ancient Relics really allows for that. I like that the system plays out in phases, similar to a siege in EU4, but allows for a lot more storytelling by inserting random events and stories in the “main story” of the content itself.

With the learnings from the archaeology system, I wanted to make our espionage system work similarly. As a game director, I’m not only responsible for the creation vision of the game, but also for scope (how large a feature can be, and where we spend our development time). I knew that by basing the system on what we did with archaeology, we would be able to save time that could be better spent elsewhere. Implementing UI is actually quite time consuming with the tech Stellaris uses, so any time we can save by not having to make UIs from scratch is a good idea in my opinion. By reusing certain parts, you can also reduce the amount of risk because we already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the system or feature. Any time we spend reusing parts can be spent on polish, bug fixing or implementing cool new UIs for other features. It doesn’t come entirely free though, and you need to make sure you make enough adaptations where it's needed.
The "archaeology event system" (which needs a shorter name lol) is a cool concept.
If you had unlimited time/resources etc. What other game functions would you want to adapt to use a pseudo-random storyteller?
  • Terraforming? (showing the world developing over time, letting the player make decisions that spawn different features or sets different climates, issues with the logistics, new unexpected life-forms arising etc)
  • Colonisation (the bit before the first pop appears)?
  • Army invasions? (turning them into more formulaic affairs)
  • Dangerous scientific research? (Stuff like AI going nuts in labs etc. It currently does nothing special vs any other kind of research?)
  • With primitives - somehow?
 
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The "archaeology event system" (which needs a shorter name lol) is a cool concept.
If you had unlimited time/resources etc. What other game functions would you want to adapt to use a pseudo-random storyteller?
  • Terraforming? (showing the world developing over time, letting the player make decisions that spawn different features or sets different climates, issues with the logistics, new unexpected life-forms arising etc)
  • Colonisation (the bit before the first pop appears)?
  • Army invasions? (turning them into more formulaic affairs)
  • Dangerous scientific research? (Stuff like AI going nuts in labs etc. It currently does nothing special vs any other kind of research?)
  • With primitives - somehow?
4 & 5 would make sense. I don't think 1, 2, or 3 would, not without (another) massive overhaul of the game. I typically colonize dozens of planets, and in gestalt/world shaper games terraform dozens or hundreds. For conquest-heavy empires, I also invade dozens or hundreds of planets over the course of the game. Using the archaeology interface/needing to pay attention for each of those would be a PITA. 4 & 5 are both rare and (should be) special enough to warrant the interface.
 
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The "archaeology event system" (which needs a shorter name lol) is a cool concept.
AES system .
4 & 5 would make sense. I don't think 1, 2, or 3 would, not without (another) massive overhaul of the game. I typically colonize dozens of planets, and in gestalt/world shaper games terraform dozens or hundreds. For conquest-heavy empires, I also invade dozens or hundreds of planets over the course of the game. Using the archaeology interface/needing to pay attention for each of those would be a PITA. 4 & 5 are both rare and (should be) special enough to warrant the interface.

it is inevitable that the concept is good for the gamestarting , but is squashed by ripetitiviness in numbers .


Given the nature of 1 and 2 , events may be importants and the decision relevant , so you don't feel like giving the AI the decision making on it.

but i can see way around point 3 . , as you may have the option to leave the general making the decisions ( randomly , pick always 1 , or building a preferential based on the genral traits) and just be notified ( like we are notified when an invasion start and end ) only of the changes . there are alot of invasion,but usualy is no more than 3-5 invasions at the time.


you may be able to have an automatization on colonization too, giving governors the same tendency ( it would showcase delegation) and they may be incompetent for the job .

i think 1,2 and 3 can have a develepoment if there is will to invest in governors-generals leaders . but 1 and 2 are realy hard to implement without automatization . i think 3 would still be inside the realm of possible management.
 
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AES system .
Archaeology event system system?

I like: ASS - archaeology story system :D

I don't think 1, 2, or 3 would,
Given the nature of 1 and 2 , events may be importants and the decision relevant ,
I mean, the important thing for terraforming is that you feel like you're building a world, I think. Right now its so fire-and-forget that it doesnt feel very special or interesting (so much so that i forget about terraformed worlds).
Perhaps an ASS would be overkill, but i'd definitely like a... shopping list / checkbox menu when terraforming a world
  • Pick your climate
  • Pick your districts
  • Pick your size(maybe with an AP)
  • Pick your planet features/special features (AP)
  • other modifiers
With each thing costing more Energy vs the baseline amount (or bring back terraforming gasses/liquids as a resource to make special adjustments to the world - on top of energy costs).

For colonisation, it might be cool for the first one of each type of world you colonise (e.g. continental, gaian, habitat, ring segment etc) - but yeah if it dragged on to midgame it might be an issue.

Ditto for armies, though I like the idea of army generals auto-picking options if you cant be bothered. That could make general traits (or "personalities") really important.
 
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federation is the only way to achive this.

but they will never accept to join a federation with someone they hate.

It's not just people they hate. It's people the have minor disagreements with, people with policies (often war policies) they don't like.
Reasons why empires refuse to join federations can be quite varied. and not necessarily based on pure animosity.

And when playing xenophile, aka the ethic of bringing diverse people together, having diversity being an absolute limit to diplomacy simply doesn't feel right.

The only way to achieve it is going hegemony and forcing your friends together, and thereby chancelling out many of the factors preventing federations. Of cousre that's not exactly diplomatic...


Yes. Why is this an issue? They are enemies. There's a reason for that. Are you expecting it to be easy to make them cooperate?

It is not just enemies, there are a lot of minor issues that can prevent federations.

And I'm not talking about it being easy, I'm talking about it being possible.
Which it right now isn't.
 
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It's not just people they hate. It's people the have minor disagreements with, people with policies (often war policies) they don't like.
Reasons why empires refuse to join federations can be quite varied. and not necessa
That's why we, and the AI, need to be able to mediate and sabotage relations between two or more empires.
 
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That's great, I watched a bit of the stream but I missed that... :( I just wish that information and comments around it was more known / public . Surely it would be for everyones benefit including Paradox to tell everyone whats on "the hit list" for the free patch (as well as the wider direction of the game, to catch up on itsself) and better for their pocket too to create some trust that Paradox cares about the state of the game in the wider aspects. Hiding such information away in a stream (intentionally or not) is a missed chance. Discord / streaming is only a % of the community that play the game, a lesser % of who buys the DLC overall.

the best news for me , was the fix of AI inside federations ( atm they do not propose laws, so they don't change them ) that seems to have been fixed . it was like a lighting bold in a clear sky ( out of the blue for a more real traduction of the way of saying).
 
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The "archaeology event system" (which needs a shorter name lol) is a cool concept.
If you had unlimited time/resources etc. What other game functions would you want to adapt to use a pseudo-random storyteller?
  • Terraforming? (showing the world developing over time, letting the player make decisions that spawn different features or sets different climates, issues with the logistics, new unexpected life-forms arising etc)
  • Colonisation (the bit before the first pop appears)?
  • Army invasions? (turning them into more formulaic affairs)
  • Dangerous scientific research? (Stuff like AI going nuts in labs etc. It currently does nothing special vs any other kind of research?)
  • With primitives - somehow?

Good question, and ironically enough, it's army/invasion.

I originally designed (early/rough design) a new invasion system for apocalypse, but we never had the time to implement it. The army/invasion design actually predates the archaeology one (and archaeology was based off of it). As fun as it could be to redo invasions, it's very low on my list of priorities. With the kind of game Stellaris is, I don't really see the value in spending a significant amount of development time to improve the invasion system. The whole rework would need to be in the free update, and when you compare it to other things that could be added for free (like the Intel system), it just doesn't come out on top.

My stance is, and as sad as it is to say it, invasions and ground combat are not a priority for Stellaris. That doesn't mean I will exclude any attempt to improve those areas, or to make content that lies very close to it, it just means that I don't think its worth putting a very significant amount of effort into overhauling it entirely. It's the kind of thing I would probably aim to overhaul completely for a sequel. I think building armies and sending transport ships to invade is quite tedious and not very rewarding. We all know it would feel better if you could attach assault troops to your ships, and use them either for invasions or boarding actions. We'll see what the future entails, but it's unlikely to be a priority in the near future.

Outside of that, I think a similar system for primitives could be very fun, and could provide a good amount of value for less development time cost.
 
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Good question, and ironically enough, it's army/invasion.

I originally designed (early/rough design) a new invasion system for apocalypse, but we never had the time to implement it. The army/invasion design actually predates the archaeology one (and archaeology was based off of it). As fun as it could be to redo invasions, it's very low on my list of priorities. With the kind of game Stellaris is, I don't really see the value in spending a significant amount of development time to improve the invasion system. The whole rework would need to be in the free update, and when you compare it to other things that could be added for free (like the Intel system), it just doesn't come out on top.

My stance is, and as sad as it is to say it, invasions and ground combat are not a priority for Stellaris. That doesn't mean I will exclude any attempt to improve those areas, or to make content that lies very close to it, it just means that I don't think its worth putting a very significant amount of effort into overhauling it entirely. It's the kind of thing I would probably aim to overhaul completely for a sequel. I think building armies and sending transport ships to invade is quite tedious and not very rewarding. We all know it would feel better if you could attach assault troops to your ships, and use them either for invasions or boarding actions. We'll see what the future entails, but it's unlikely to be a priority in the near future.

Outside of that, I think a similar system for primitives could be very fun, and could provide a good amount of value for less development time cost.

Yeah, I agree. A ground combat rework would be cool, but there's so many other things that would be a lot cooler.

That being said, if there was a simple way to add a touch of flavour to ground combat, or make invasions less tedious, without taking up drastic amounts of dev time, I think a lot of people would find that valuable.
 
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Good question, and ironically enough, it's army/invasion.

I originally designed (early/rough design) a new invasion system for apocalypse, but we never had the time to implement it. The army/invasion design actually predates the archaeology one (and archaeology was based off of it). As fun as it could be to redo invasions, it's very low on my list of priorities. With the kind of game Stellaris is, I don't really see the value in spending a significant amount of development time to improve the invasion system. The whole rework would need to be in the free update, and when you compare it to other things that could be added for free (like the Intel system), it just doesn't come out on top.

My stance is, and as sad as it is to say it, invasions and ground combat are not a priority for Stellaris. That doesn't mean I will exclude any attempt to improve those areas, or to make content that lies very close to it, it just means that I don't think its worth putting a very significant amount of effort into overhauling it entirely. It's the kind of thing I would probably aim to overhaul completely for a sequel. I think building armies and sending transport ships to invade is quite tedious and not very rewarding. We all know it would feel better if you could attach assault troops to your ships, and use them either for invasions or boarding actions.
That's a great point about opportunity costs or alternatives' ROI - I think most players would agree, in the end, too.

If we're talking about small(ish) convenience tweaks, aside from loading them on to ships, I think that using fewer armies in general (maybe by scaling army stats/costs up by 5x-10x) might help reduce quite a bit of micro.

It's better on your finger-muscles to send a stack of 20 clone armies (all 10x as strong/as long to make/as expensive), rather than having to click/spam a stack of 200 clones, even if the other bits of invasions don't change.
 
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We all know it would feel better if you could attach assault troops to your ships, and use them either for invasion

50b16c7e2f7c3b955811d32b3167d7ae.jpg
 
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Yes i do! And it's huge issue. It's called mediation and is under normal circumstances a standard diplomatic procedure. In Stellaris is such a diplomatic option that help two empires to overcome their differences desperately missing. It should need nothing more than to send an envoy to improve relations, but this time not for your own empire and one target of your choice but for two target empires. Maybe there are some adjustments to make in case of the improvement rate per envoy (slightly lower per month most likely).

So why do you think it's not an issue?
If they are directly enemies, why should that even be possible?
 
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If they are directly enemies, why should that even be possible?
Don't answer a question with a counter question ;). And i explained that already. It's all about diplomacy and making the galaxy to a safer place
 
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