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Stellaris Dev Diary #210: A post-Nemesis Address

Hello everyone!

We hope that you’ve all had a chance to enjoy the 3.0 ‘Dick’ Update and Nemesis. We’ve had a lot fun making it, and it's been really fun to see your reactions to all the new stuff!

We appreciate all the feedback and bug reports you have submitted, as it really helps us improve the game. 3.0.2 is looking to be quite stable as it currently stands, with better performance and a very low amount of out-of-syncs in multiplayer. There are still bugs and improvements that we want to make and the current plan is to fix bugs and make improvements for a couple of weeks more, until we can release a 3.0.3.

For that patch we’ll be looking at things like:
  • Some improvements relating to Operations & Espionage
  • Tweaking and making improvements related to pop growth
  • Various other improvements, balance tweaks and bugs
We also know that pop growth has been a heartfelt issue for some of you, so we wanted to take this opportunity to address some of that feedback. With that I’ll hand the word over to Stephen aka @Eladrin to talk a bit more about pop growth in detail:

The Stellaris 3.0 ‘Dick’ update had a number of changes to economic systems, including major changes to population growth. We wanted to significantly reduce the number of pops in the galaxy and decrease the disparity of number of pops between empires with mass colonization and those with fewer focused planets, allowing smaller empires to keep pace to a degree with more sprawling empires. (The eternal struggle between wide and tall play.)

As part of this, we made some changes to increase economic output of individual pops or other sources through various means - some technologies were buffed, edicts were updated, and new bonuses were added to keep production up. Some secondary resources, such as Research, are intentionally more difficult to rush, since we believe that in 2.8 it was a bit too easy to reach repeatable technologies and technological dominance.

We do recognize that putting limitations on the previously endless growth can feel bad, and that the large number of sudden changes can be shocking. Internally, we’ve been playing with the system for months, and know that while it will take a transition period to get used to some of the changes, we believe that these changes are better for improving the long-term playing experience.

That said, months of internal testing pales in comparison to a week of live play, and the feedback we’ve received from you have been integral for us to continue to improve the playing experience and has led to some adjustments we want to make. Balancing complex systems are an ongoing process so we encourage you to continue feedbacking here on the forums as we move forward.

While we were interested in having more backwater planets in proportion to highly developed planets, we've deemed it too difficult to get to the higher infrastructure tiers. As such, we're planning on reducing the number of pops necessary to upgrade capital buildings to the higher tiers.

The growth on highly developed worlds also felt a little low, so we've increased the floor of how low logistic growth penalties can drop planetary growth, to make sure that these planets still produce a low but noticeable amount of growth. The effect on growth required from the number of pops in the empire was stagnating growth too early, so we're adjusting that value down as well. These should help make late game worlds like a Ring World or Ecumenopolis less difficult to populate, though you may still want to encourage your pops to resettle to them to get them going.

To ensure that other special planets such as the Hive World and Machine World still feel valuable when they come online, we've added assembly jobs to the planets themselves. (The Resource Consolidation origin will begin with a blocker negating this extra job until removed.)

Since colonization is taking longer than desired in the mid to late game, we've added Colony Development Speed bonuses to the civilian infrastructure technologies in addition to their Building Slots.

There's been a lot of positive feedback regarding the new automatic resettlement mechanics, so we're looking at changing the functionality of the Slave Processing Plant to expand automatic resettlement to slaves on the planet at a reduced rate instead of providing production bonuses. So much paperwork.

Constructobots have requested Building Slot parity with Functional Architecture, and we can yielded to their demands. The bio-trophies of the Rogue Servitors have also been shown some educational programs to help them multiply. And as a quality of life request from the Prosperously Unified, we're extending the duration of the homeworld buff to 20 years.

-----

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of all the changes we’re looking into for 3.0.3, but rather some of the highlights.

That is all for this week folks! We hope you enjoy the game, and continue giving constructive feedback so that it’s easier for us to keep improving the game.
 
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Hello everyone!

We hope that you’ve all had a chance to enjoy the 3.0 ‘Dick’ Update and Nemesis. We’ve had a lot fun making it, and it's been really fun to see your reactions to all the new stuff!

We appreciate all the feedback and bug reports you have submitted, as it really helps us improve the game. 3.0.2 is looking to be quite stable as it currently stands, with better performance and a very low amount of out-of-syncs in multiplayer. There are still bugs and improvements that we want to make and the current plan is to fix bugs and make improvements for a couple of weeks more, until we can release a 3.0.3.

For that patch we’ll be looking at things like:
  • Some improvements relating to Operations & Espionage
  • Tweaking and making improvements related to pop growth
  • Various other improvements, balance tweaks and bugs
We also know that pop growth has been a heartfelt issue for some of you, so we wanted to take this opportunity to address some of that feedback. With that I’ll hand the word over to Stephen aka @Eladrin to talk a bit more about pop growth in detail:

The Stellaris 3.0 ‘Dick’ update had a number of changes to economic systems, including major changes to population growth. We wanted to significantly reduce the number of pops in the galaxy and decrease the disparity of number of pops between empires with mass colonization and those with fewer focused planets, allowing smaller empires to keep pace to a degree with more sprawling empires. (The eternal struggle between wide and tall play.)

As part of this, we made some changes to increase economic output of individual pops or other sources through various means - some technologies were buffed, edicts were updated, and new bonuses were added to keep production up. Some secondary resources, such as Research, are intentionally more difficult to rush, since we believe that in 2.8 it was a bit too easy to reach repeatable technologies and technological dominance.

We do recognize that putting limitations on the previously endless growth can feel bad, and that the large number of sudden changes can be shocking. Internally, we’ve been playing with the system for months, and know that while it will take a transition period to get used to some of the changes, we believe that these changes are better for improving the long-term playing experience.

That said, months of internal testing pales in comparison to a week of live play, and the feedback we’ve received from you have been integral for us to continue to improve the playing experience and has led to some adjustments we want to make. Balancing complex systems are an ongoing process so we encourage you to continue feedbacking here on the forums as we move forward.

While we were interested in having more backwater planets in proportion to highly developed planets, we've deemed it too difficult to get to the higher infrastructure tiers. As such, we're planning on reducing the number of pops necessary to upgrade capital buildings to the higher tiers.

The growth on highly developed worlds also felt a little low, so we've increased the floor of how low logistic growth penalties can drop planetary growth, to make sure that these planets still produce a low but noticeable amount of growth. The effect on growth required from the number of pops in the empire was stagnating growth too early, so we're adjusting that value down as well. These should help make late game worlds like a Ring World or Ecumenopolis less difficult to populate, though you may still want to encourage your pops to resettle to them to get them going.

To ensure that other special planets such as the Hive World and Machine World still feel valuable when they come online, we've added assembly jobs to the planets themselves. (The Resource Consolidation origin will begin with a blocker negating this extra job until removed.)

Since colonization is taking longer than desired in the mid to late game, we've added Colony Development Speed bonuses to the civilian infrastructure technologies in addition to their Building Slots.

There's been a lot of positive feedback regarding the new automatic resettlement mechanics, so we're looking at changing the functionality of the Slave Processing Plant to expand automatic resettlement to slaves on the planet at a reduced rate instead of providing production bonuses. So much paperwork.

Constructobots have requested Building Slot parity with Functional Architecture, and we can yielded to their demands. The bio-trophies of the Rogue Servitors have also been shown some educational programs to help them multiply. And as a quality of life request from the Prosperously Unified, we're extending the duration of the homeworld buff to 20 years.

-----

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of all the changes we’re looking into for 3.0.3, but rather some of the highlights.

That is all for this week folks! We hope you enjoy the game, and continue giving constructive feedback so that it’s easier for us to keep improving the game.

The major outstanding question is - are you planning to touch upon acquisition of pops through warfare/raiding that is currently not affected by growth limiations?
 
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It would be nice if my machine race could automatically migrate between worlds. I don't really understand why they're prohibited from doing so (if anything shipping them should be easier!), but I'd appreciate a policy toggle so I could allow them to migrate.

P.S.

The 'upgrade all' option on some starbases appears to be bugged. I had about half a dozen defense platforms that only needed ~20 alloys each to upgrade, but the upgrade all button wanted about 6,500 alloys to do the same handful of upgrades at that same station.
 
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Nice! I'm actually really happy with the pop growth changes, and I think with a few tweaks, it's going to be a much better system.

Are there any plans to look at pop assembly? Individual pops end up costing absurd amounts of resources, and switching to a Synthetic Ascension later on in the game totally destroys your growth due to there being no way to jump on the S-curve for growth. Are you considering any further balancing here?
 
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The 'upgrade all' option on some starbases appears to be bugged. I had about half a dozen defense platforms that only needed ~20 alloys each to upgrade, but the upgrade all button wanted about 6,500 alloys to do the same handful of upgrades at that same station.

Can you give us a bug report with a save attached for this please?
 
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Not sure if this is the best place for this, but I've been experiencing a frustrating bug. Everytime I open the species menu the game comes to a complete crawl. Clicking on buttons has at least a 10 second+ delay.

I'm playing on a small galaxy and there are less than 200 pops in my empire. I've got a decent rig and I've never had this issue before pre-3.0.
 
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If you are going to persist with this empire growth penalty then you are not listening. That is applies both to natural growth and assembly is also a point of contention. Assembly buildings maintenance compared to the growth they provide has never been worse.
 
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It would be nice if pop growth cost can modded. (giving different sources than pop number) Theres lot of ideas running around in the community, but no means to try it.
 
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I don't like your opening of stating it's fun to see all the reaction and what not. My (and of course at least 30% of the player base due to pop growth change) experience with this new update is Overwhelmingly Bad. How is that in any way fun? Enjoying other's terrible experience, huh?

EDIT: Judging by the reaction to this post it appears my estimation of unhappy player is quite correct. 78 128 negative vs 29 61 positive (me included) seems to be quite close to 30% just slightly above 30%... So is PDX willing to accept a 30% sales reduction on this title?
 
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Hello everyone!

We hope that you’ve all had a chance to enjoy the 3.0 ‘Dick’ Update and Nemesis. We’ve had a lot fun making it, and it's been really fun to see your reactions to all the new stuff!

We appreciate all the feedback and bug reports you have submitted, as it really helps us improve the game. 3.0.2 is looking to be quite stable as it currently stands, with better performance and a very low amount of out-of-syncs in multiplayer. There are still bugs and improvements that we want to make and the current plan is to fix bugs and make improvements for a couple of weeks more, until we can release a 3.0.3.

For that patch we’ll be looking at things like:
  • Some improvements relating to Operations & Espionage
  • Tweaking and making improvements related to pop growth
  • Various other improvements, balance tweaks and bugs
We also know that pop growth has been a heartfelt issue for some of you, so we wanted to take this opportunity to address some of that feedback. With that I’ll hand the word over to Stephen aka @Eladrin to talk a bit more about pop growth in detail:

The Stellaris 3.0 ‘Dick’ update had a number of changes to economic systems, including major changes to population growth. We wanted to significantly reduce the number of pops in the galaxy and decrease the disparity of number of pops between empires with mass colonization and those with fewer focused planets, allowing smaller empires to keep pace to a degree with more sprawling empires. (The eternal struggle between wide and tall play.)

As part of this, we made some changes to increase economic output of individual pops or other sources through various means - some technologies were buffed, edicts were updated, and new bonuses were added to keep production up. Some secondary resources, such as Research, are intentionally more difficult to rush, since we believe that in 2.8 it was a bit too easy to reach repeatable technologies and technological dominance.

We do recognize that putting limitations on the previously endless growth can feel bad, and that the large number of sudden changes can be shocking. Internally, we’ve been playing with the system for months, and know that while it will take a transition period to get used to some of the changes, we believe that these changes are better for improving the long-term playing experience.

That said, months of internal testing pales in comparison to a week of live play, and the feedback we’ve received from you have been integral for us to continue to improve the playing experience and has led to some adjustments we want to make. Balancing complex systems are an ongoing process so we encourage you to continue feedbacking here on the forums as we move forward.

While we were interested in having more backwater planets in proportion to highly developed planets, we've deemed it too difficult to get to the higher infrastructure tiers. As such, we're planning on reducing the number of pops necessary to upgrade capital buildings to the higher tiers.

The growth on highly developed worlds also felt a little low, so we've increased the floor of how low logistic growth penalties can drop planetary growth, to make sure that these planets still produce a low but noticeable amount of growth. The effect on growth required from the number of pops in the empire was stagnating growth too early, so we're adjusting that value down as well. These should help make late game worlds like a Ring World or Ecumenopolis less difficult to populate, though you may still want to encourage your pops to resettle to them to get them going.

To ensure that other special planets such as the Hive World and Machine World still feel valuable when they come online, we've added assembly jobs to the planets themselves. (The Resource Consolidation origin will begin with a blocker negating this extra job until removed.)

Since colonization is taking longer than desired in the mid to late game, we've added Colony Development Speed bonuses to the civilian infrastructure technologies in addition to their Building Slots.

There's been a lot of positive feedback regarding the new automatic resettlement mechanics, so we're looking at changing the functionality of the Slave Processing Plant to expand automatic resettlement to slaves on the planet at a reduced rate instead of providing production bonuses. So much paperwork.

Constructobots have requested Building Slot parity with Functional Architecture, and we can yielded to their demands. The bio-trophies of the Rogue Servitors have also been shown some educational programs to help them multiply. And as a quality of life request from the Prosperously Unified, we're extending the duration of the homeworld buff to 20 years.

-----

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of all the changes we’re looking into for 3.0.3, but rather some of the highlights.

That is all for this week folks! We hope you enjoy the game, and continue giving constructive feedback so that it’s easier for us to keep improving the game.

OK, I will take a bullet for asking, but here it is.

You say "We do recognize that putting limitations on the previously endless growth can feel bad, and that the large number of sudden changes can be shocking. Internally, we’ve been playing with the system for months, and know that while it will take a transition period to get used to some of the changes, we believe that these changes are better for improving the long-term playing experience."

Could you elaborate what is the ultimate end goal in terms of the "long-term playing experience" please? All I see is another cap preventing you from using the game mechanic players already learned/enjoy (?) while trying to fix the lag problem at the expense of the very same playing experience.
 
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I like these changes, even if I still find difficult to justify an empire-wide limit to pop growth speed. At least new colonies should be easier to kick off even in late game and Ecumeneopolis/Ring/Hive/Machine Worlds may become relevant again.

Still, I'm looking forward to test this new patch and see how it plays out.

Any plan to assess the pop-rework impact on the Necroids species? I suspect its peculiar mechanics are very affected by this rework (still have to test that out properly tho).
 
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The effect on growth required from the number of pops in the empire was stagnating growth too early, so we're adjusting that value down as well. These should help make late game worlds like a Ring World or Ecumenopolis less difficult to populate, though you may still want to encourage your pops to resettle to them to get them going.
I think that places like a Ring World are something that is built for your species comfort from the scratch, meaning that they should be more like a paradise for them...I say just remove the Empire pop limits for the growth on them entirely.
 
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Nice- though it migh be good idea to somewhat tweek the research system -

with the influx of new tech options - some critical techs - crystals, motes, gas - sometimes takes abbysmally long to get as option.
(and when it triggers its a must)

how about adding some events that would make it "permanent" options to select?


also - having the psionic theory requirement for the ascention perk (far more gated then the other two) is really bad for it. there are so many "society" techs now that the chance got even worse...
 
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Tech Noir Synth

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Hey! Nice to hear from you guys that you are looking into changing the pop growth. Many of us keep talking about it, and many of us have discussed the formula of growth needed to grow 1 pop, which is currently 100 + (Number of pops divided by 2) for every planet/habitat.

One opinion that I have seen multiple times is that fact that this slows down growth on newly colonized/conquered planets aswell as Habitats in the mid to lategame, simply because the growth needed can get so high (500 , 700 or even 1000 points needed to grow 1 pop).

I made a simple suggestion that could adress this. Its not perfect, but maybe you want to apply this idea:


I would also like to remind you about the discussion of cost for pop assembly. Cloning Vats are extremely expensive with 30 food upkeep per month and as pop numbers increase, these get less and less efficient.

Since mid to lategame is all about pop efficiency, Synth Ascension still outclasses every other Ascension in the game by far. There is simply nothing that beats Synth pops with their > 30% ressource output to every single ressource. Ontop of this, you can turn every single pop into a Synth when conquering, so you don't rely on pop assembly for making the best pops.

Organic pops have no traits to compete with the efficiency of Synths at all. Sure you can stack Edurite and Engineer trait. But there is nothing for every specialist/complex Drone job output apart from 5% due to Robust.

You should consider adding more traits or better traits for Biological Ascension and especially Hiveminds to offer more efficiency. In the lategame, there is merit to get rid of fertile and get a direct ressource output bonus instead. But these, like I said, cannot compete with Synth output.

Spiritualists have also not improved. They still suffer from having a terrible ethic that yields no substantial bonuses unlike Xenophobe, Materialists or others. Their Ascension is still RNG, doesn't offer great growth and the pops can't compete with Synths either (obviously nothing can).

Sadly, Spiritualists are a joke and cannot compete with Synth Ascended Materialists since patch 2.2.5 up until this day.

Please, take a look at Stefans Balance mod to learn how to properly balance this game.

Edit: Link to said mod (currently 2.8 version only, should get updated soon though):

This gives players more opportunities to play the empire they want, without feeling bad because they picked bad civics, ethics or governments. Gestalt civics still need some overhauls to make them more interesting. Surely you can do better than "10% admin cap bonus" or "20% less empire sprawl from pops" or the Army civics which are widely considered useless by most players. Why pick a civic that improves armies and lessens upkeep if I could simply pick Mining guilds to have more minerals? Again, this goes back to poor empire balance. See the balance mod to make sure picking somethign for flavor doesn't mean getting bad bonuses.

Also about research:

such as Research, are intentionally more difficult to rush

This has not been my experience at all. In fact, its EVEN EASIER to rush tech. Simply unlock building slots by building housing districts and you have more research labs than ever before! You're way less reliant on strategic ressources like gasses, because you can simply build more science labs now due to having way more building slots than you used to.
 
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Viengua

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Will you be looking at adjusting pop growth on Habitats at all? They don't seem to have much chance of getting access to the logistic pop growth due to their relatively tiny capacity, so they struggle way more than others.
 
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Liggi

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Will you be looking at adjusting pop growth on Habitats at all? They don't seem to have much chance of getting access to the logistic pop growth due to their relatively tiny capacity, so they struggle way more than others.

Yeah, I think it could be worth revisiting what habitats are for. They aren't really good for anything anymore, because growth on them is so slow. Could they be given some sort of other advantage as a balance?
 
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Medu Salem

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To be honest I noticed that if you don't play organic+robots you miss out on so much pop assembly that in late game you lag behind extremely. No matter if you go full organic or full synthetic.

The best approach still is to use both.

I think one way to fix this issue is allowing a combination of a maximum of 2 of any kind of growth boosting buildings... may it be Gene or Robot assemble plant or Spawn pool and giving them ALL the same % bonus to growth per building level.

That would effectively allow you to choose either going full organic with 2 gene or full synthetic with 2 robot or a 1+1 mixture of both.


The other way I can think of fixing the issue is if the maximum growth of organic/robot is split up/shared between them so that you can't get any unfair population growth advantages.

There's been a lot of positive feedback regarding the new automatic resettlement mechanics, so we're looking at changing the functionality of the Slave Processing Plant to expand automatic resettlement to slaves on the planet at a reduced rate instead of providing production bonuses. So much paperwork.

So Slave processing plants provide no more production bonuses, only resettlement stuff... Do I understand that correctly?

If so you might as well remove them entirely because I doubt anyone will ever build them anymore. At least I wouldn't.
 
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