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Stellaris Dev Diary #214: Announcing “The Custodians” initiative and the free Lem Update

Greetings!

Today I am here to announce some very good news! Stellaris is not slowing down, but rather picking up the pace! We at PDS Green are very happy to announce our new “Custodians” initiative as well as the next free update, coming sometime after summer.

The Custodian Team
Stellaris as a game has been very exploratory, and the game has seen a lot of big changes over the years. I want to start by giving some insight into why we’ve chosen to focus on this initiative.

As we’ve released more expansions we’ve had to take longer and longer between each release, as we’ve needed to spend more time on focusing on quality, making sure each release is as stable as possible. Paradox Development Studio also looks very different today vs. how it looked just a few years ago. Things take longer, there are more processes in place, and there are a lot more people involved. Because each release is now further apart, it makes it harder for us to address some of the outstanding issues that might be affecting the community between DLC releases.

As we’ve added more content it's also been harder to polish and maintain all of the amazing existing content that we’ve added over the years. We want to keep creating new cool experiences for Stellaris, but we also want to be able to maintain a high quality for the base game itself, and for older content.

What we have done now is that we’ve staffed up, and split the Stellaris team into two teams that focus on different aspects of the game. One team, that we call “the Custodians” team, will focus on free updates that we aim to release every 3 months, while the “expansion team” will focus on creating new content for the game.

Examples of what “The Custodians” could be working on:
  • Tweaking game balance
  • Adding new content to old DLC
  • Polishing existing content
  • Bug fixes
  • Performance improvements
  • AI improvements
  • Multiplayer stability
  • UI and quality-of-life improvements

This does not mean that the game will suddenly “be fixed” or done (whatever that means). Together with you, the community, we now have a better opportunity than ever to keep improving the game. In fact, I think working with the community is going to be crucial to really make this work well. We are going to need to improve how we communicate with each other, so that we can better understand each other.

What “The Custodians” initiative is not
It is very important that you understand that “The Custodians” initiative is no magic bullet or quick fix. We’re in this for the long run, and we hope you are too.

We will need to manage our expectations and small, incremental improvements with more regular updates should be our approach.

Honoring Stanislaw Lem
The first free Update, the Lem Update, will be named in honor of the Polish sci-fi author Stanislaw Lem, whose 100th anniversary is being celebrated this year. Stanislaw Lem is famous for works such as Solaris, which has already inspired the Stellaris you know today. The Lem Update is currently scheduled for release sometime after summer.

To set expectations more clearly, the Lem Update will be a bit more ambitious and larger in scope compared to what you can come to expect from “Custodian” updates in the future. The reason is that we’ve had a longer time to work on it than what is planned for future updates. It’s also important to note that as of now, the Lem update is scheduled to be a standalone free update, and will not be associated with a paid DLC.

The Lem Update planned features:
  • Buffing the Backlog: We’re reviewing some old DLC to revitalize them with some new content. Humanoids Species Pack and Plantoids Species Packs will now feature some new gameplay features. By the way, did anyone say Necrophage Hive Minds?
  • Selectable Traditions Trees: You will no longer be locked to the same 7 tradition trees, but you will instead have 7 slots that can be filled with a tradition tree of your choice. The number of tradition trees will be expanded, and previous tradition-tree swaps will be broken out into their own trees (Adaptability will no longer be a swap of Diplomacy for example). Some new tradition trees will also be added to existing DLCs.
  • Balance Pass: We will be doing a balance pass on some existing gameplay systems and features.
  • And more..!: Quality of life improvements, bug fixes, AI improvements...

We will go into more detail about these features in future dev diaries, but for now I will leave it at that. We’ll be back next week to talk a bit about some thoughts regarding game balance.

1622707516974.png

No longer will your empire have to suffer the mediocrity of artisans.
 
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<snip total awesomesauce>
@grekulf This is absolutely stonkingly fantastic. Admittedly, I might have less to mod, but I'm still pretty damn dizzy after reading this. Thank you.
 
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I really appreciate the clarity of comms and the decision - I understand the lack of financial incentive to revisit older content some times, so really happy to see that there's a plan for this. Also, it says 'AI Improvements' twice, so always a 'like' from me. I really like the species pack concept and the way you've expanded it with the Lithoids and Necrophages so very much looking forward to hearing about what you're doing with plantoids and squishy humans. Cheers.
 
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This is great news! Plantoids was also one of the few remaining cosmetic-only DLCs: even Humanoids came with voiceovers, so this calls for a review, I think.

I do have one question, though: does this mean that you'll be producing fewer DLC and more updates?
as far as i understand this, they just split up teams to do both more efficient
 
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Mealya

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Oh boy. The hype train is coming.

The Custodians team is already my favorite one.

What to say ? This is great. We are looking forward to see where it will lead us.

Also, the tradition specialization is a very good news !
 
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kwanzaabot

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>new content to Plantoids

Please please please don't make ALL Plantoids photosynthesize. I know that's a popular suggestion, but it would be SO MUCH BETTER if we had the OPTION.
Make it a Trait, that way if we want our Plantoids to only *look like* Plants, we can do that, but if we want them to be literally plants, we can do that too.

Remember: Options? Good!
 
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Am I... dreaming?

That's exactly what the game needs, omg!
 
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>new content to Plantoids

Please please please don't make ALL Plantoids photosynthesize. I know that's a popular suggestion, but it would be SO MUCH BETTER if we had the OPTION.
Make it a Trait, that way if we want our Plantoids to only *look like* Plants, we can do that, but if we want them to be literally plants, we can do that too.

Remember: Options? Good!
Same for robots and lithoids! Should be zero cost traits you can only choose with those species types but should be optional.
 
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OMG! More tradition trees! This alone would make this patch great.

Hopefully they will also buff traditions a bit since its really really weak compared to research.
 
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I absolutely love it, gameplay for plantoïd is a very good way to :
1) give more value to this DLC
2) Have new customization which is something very important in Stellari

New tradition is what people asked for a long time, MORE BUNS FOR THE PEOPLE

Also, what I think is a new civic about artisans is interesting, it sounds like a pretty solid choice

Finally, having a second team here to balance old content is a great idea, since the "main" team is probably very busy creating new content to do that
 
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Communication and a good link to the players was already well received after the 3.0 update, it felt kind of different from other updates. This is the right direction, lets see how far we will get with that.

I am really looking forward to these developments.
 
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What we have done now is that we’ve staffed up, and split the Stellaris team into two teams that focus on different aspects of the game. One team, that we call “the Custodians” team, will focus on free updates that we aim to release every 3 months, while the “expansion team” will focus on creating new content for the game.

Bravo. This is the way to do it! When everyone is supposed to focus on maintenance AND new projects, maintenance will always fall behind, with the exception of true emergencies. Having a team of people whose dedicated mission is maintenance and polish of existing features shows that y'all are really taking that seriously. Thanks!
 
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Fantastic news. Yes, there are issues with the game currently but you've done so much so far. It'll be great to see effort put into the base and older parts of the game while new content continues.
 
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Custodian Team is a good name for this. What do we name the team that comes in every DLC cycle and leaves a huge mess everywhere? The Crisis Team?
 
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This is the best direction that the game can take and the most intelligent choice
 
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FortunaDraken

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This sounds like an amazing idea, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

Also. Hive Mind updates! Even if it's only the one thing, it's still an update I can look forward to! Love my Hive Minds.
 
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kwanzaabot

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I just hope the devs don't reform themselves into the Galactic Emperor team.
 
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Liggi

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In fact, I think working with the community is going to be crucial to really make this work well. We are going to need to improve how we communicate with each other, so that we can better understand each other.

100% agree on this. The changes to how the community / devs communicate over Bug Reports was a great start. Looking forward to how this can be further improved in terms of balance improvements, improvements to existing features, desired new features etc.
 
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Anonim97

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As we’ve added more content it's also been harder to polish and maintain all of the amazing existing content that we’ve added over the years. We want to keep creating new cool experiences for Stellaris, but we also want to be able to maintain a high quality for the base game itself, and for older content.
Yay, that's what I love to hear!

Examples of what “The Custodians” could be working on:
  • Tweaking game balance
  • Adding new content to old DLC
  • Polishing existing content
I'm especially excited about the second point, because Stellaris was already the best when it comes to PDX DLC policy, since some stuff that was used by others DLC was put into base game, rather than requiring 2 DLCs to function.
Also the last DLC while it had some good ideas, felt halfbaked to me (especially Custodian). Seeing that there is now team dedicated solely to building on it makes me hyped for it!

UI and quality-of-life improvements
Yay! Never too much QoL improvements.

Honoring Stanislaw Lem
Praise upon Lem.

  • Buffing the Backlog: We’re reviewing some old DLC to revitalize them with some new content. Humanoids Species Pack and Plantoids Species Packs will now feature some new gameplay features. By the way, did anyone say Necrophage Hive Minds?
  • Selectable Traditions Trees: You will no longer be locked to the same 7 tradition trees, but you will instead have 7 slots that can be filled with a tradition tree of your choice. The number of tradition trees will be expanded, and previous tradition-tree swaps will be broken out into their own trees (Adaptability will no longer be a swap of Diplomacy for example). Some new tradition trees will also be added to existing DLCs.
Oh yeeeeaaahhh. We will finally get that Plantoid trait to the game! I do wonder what Humanoids will get tho.

Also the Selectable Traditions Trees is especially good, since traditions felt like a complete aftertought after some time. It's always "Expansion first, then go and pick whatever you need in that very moment, cause later you will get them all eventually".

***

I do however have one question - who will be responsible for events? Will it be responsibility of Custodians ("polishing existing content, expanding DLCs") or rather Expansion Team?
 
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baldrs

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Please finally make that "Commonwealth of Man speaker from Apocalypse trailer" advisor pack! The one who said "With this attack we have no choice but to protect our kind with our own almighty weapon"
 
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