Hi everyone!

As @grekulf has mentioned, one of our key aims in the upcoming Lem update is to improve the value of our existing DLCs by adding new content to them. As part of this effort, several of our species packs have seen some love. This week, I will start us off by talking about some of the upcoming changes to the Necroids species pack.

While we were overall very happy with the content that went into Necroids (indeed, it has set a high bar for our other species packs to match!), a few of us - both within the team and in the community as a whole - regretted a few of the missed opportunities. The Lem update has provided us with the opportunity to rectify this.

Necrophage Hive Minds

There have been quite a few calls for allowing Hive Minds to be Necrophages, and with Lem, this will now be possible!

1623927984810.png


The will work similarly to normal Necrophages, but with a few differences:
  • Flavour texts that assume individual intelligences have been rewritten to fit the hive theme better
  • Hive Minds generally cannot support non-Hive individuals within their empire except as Livestock, and Necrophage Hive Minds are no different there. However, unlike other Hive Minds, Necro-Hives will allow their Livestock to procreate. The Livestock can then be subsumed into the Hive via Centers of Elevation.
    • Unlike normal Necrophages, Necro-Hive Necrophytes don’t use Consumer Goods. Instead, their upkeep of Food (or Minerals, if they are Lithoid) has been doubled.
1623935247824.png

  • Like normal Necrophages, Necro-Hives can also use the Necrophage Purge to speed things up a bit. For this purpose (but in a change applying generally to all Hive Minds), Hive Minds are now allowed to purge Gestalt pops that are not of their main species again.
  • Making Hive Worlds make sense for Necrophages is a bit complicated, as there was previously a hard block on non-Hive pops living there - the planet would eat them, effectively. The solution we are currently working on is to allow Necro-Hive specifically to bring their Necrophytes there.
  • Just as you can combine Fanatic Purifier with Necrophage, so you can also be a Devouring Swarm (or Terravore) Necrophage

General Necrophage Changes

It has not escaped notice that Necrophages are quite strong. A lot of the things that make them cool and fun to play also make them very powerful, so it’s a fine line to tread on. However, we have managed to come up with a set of changes that bring them a bit more in line with other starts while maintaining the spirit of the Origin:
  • Non-purging Necrophages no longer start with two extra pops than other non-standard origins (purging ones keep the extra pops because they are likely to lose a few pops through purging).
  • The guaranteed primitive worlds may no longer contain primitives that have advanced beyond the Iron Age (previous limit was Steam Age), and will have more defensive armies than very early primitives usually have. This is to make their start not quite as outright better than other starts.
  • Centers of Elevation no longer provide stability bonuses, and the job’s unity output has been cut by a quarter.
  • The chance of pops escaping during Necrophage purging has been increased from 10% to 25%. This is now also communicated to players in tooltips.
1623935403610.png


Death Cults

In contrast to Necrophages, with the advent of 3.0 and its accompanying pop growth changes, it has been felt that Death Cults - though interesting mechanically and flavour-wise - have somewhat fallen behind the curve in terms of bonuses. In other words, more reward is needed for sacrificing your pops.

One of the issues we had at the time when we implemented it was the limited possibilities for using proper mathematical formulas in Stellaris scripts. However, as hinted in my previous dev diary, that particular bottleneck has now been alleviated (in fact, we have gone considerably further than hinted there - Lem will have a lot of positive surprises for modders!).

Previously, when you chose to sacrifice your populace, you would gain a portion of the bonus as a fixed modifier, and another portion scaled by the raw number of pops you sacrificed. This remains similar, but with one key difference: the scaled modifier is now scaled by the % of your total number of pops you have sacrificed.

We are still working on the exact numbers, but the gist of this is that you will now tend to get a lot better bonuses per pop you sacrifice, especially in the early game.


Reanimated Armies

Changes have also been made to Reanimated Armies. While the fantasy of being able to reanimate corpses to fight for you was pretty cool, in practice the impact of unlocking a new army type - which you had to research a separate technology to unlock - was quite underwhelming. For that reason, a number of changes have been made:
  • You can now build Dread Encampments from day 1. Countries starting with the civic will have one on their starting planet
  • Dread Encampments are generally more useful to have now: they now provide two Necromancer jobs (up from 1), and Necromancers now produce 6 each of society and physics (up from 4), though their number of defensive armies they spawn has been cut from 4 to 3.
  • Building a Dread Encampment replaces your Defense Armies with Undead Defense Armies, which are somewhat stronger
1623935473810.png

  • When you defeat any organic enemy army in battle, you now have a one in three chance of resurrecting them to join your own forced - in effect immediately spawning an Undead (offensive) Army
  • Finally, if an empire with Undead Armies defeats the Voidspawn or Tiyanki Matriarch, they can now resurrect them to fight in their own fleets!
1623936542984.png



That’s all for today. Stay tuned to hear more about our plans for the Lem update!
 

Plancklength

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I do kind of wonder whether the buff to Reanimated Armies will be enough to make it worthwhile.
It's been massively improved in functionality, especially for providing more and better defensive armies.
But it's still a civic that basically only affects ground combat, and in general, I feel that ground combat is currently one of the least important mechanics in Stellaris.
Wars are largely won in space, ground combat basically just exists to help raise enemy war exhaustion faster-- if I control a system's starbase, the unoccupied planets in it aren't exactly threatening.
 
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Caligula Caesar

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One thing I will say, re Necrophage nerfs, is that Necrophage is one of my favourite ways to play (creator's bias, one might say), so if the nerfs go to far, then I can assure you that I will see to having them toned down. Balancing is an iterative process, after all.

Though they were pretty strong on several counts, e.g.:
- Easy access to two planets with up to 16 pops on them (the number being fixed to 8 in 3.0 is a separate bug)
- No need to ever worry about stability, unity or amenities.
- Can quickly convert pops from other species to your own (great synergy with Xenophobe ethos)

Which is all still the case, except for the stability bit :)
 
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Kami-sama

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I hope defeated titanic or azizian armies can get resurrected as special undead armies and not standard ones. Everyone's gangsta till Godzilla rises from the grave ;)
 
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James Fire

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Is there any particular reason why Ether Drake can't be resurrected? It seems pretty biological to me.

It doesn't leave a corpse behind when defeated atm?
 
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15JTaylor

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One thing I will say, re Necrophage nerfs, is that Necrophage is one of my favourite ways to play (creator's bias, one might say), so if the nerfs go to far, then I can assure you that I will see to having them toned down. Balancing is an iterative process, after all.

Though they were pretty strong on several counts, e.g.:
- Easy access to two planets with up to 16 pops on them (the number being fixed to 8 in 3.0 is a separate bug)
- No need to ever worry about stability, unity or amenities.
- Can quickly convert pops from other species to your own (great synergy with Xenophobe ethos)

Which is all still the case, except for the stability bit :)
Thank you for the clarification. I know that nerfs are never set in stone and that balancing is a work in progress. The overall spirit of the necrophage playstyle doesnt sound like it's different, just slower, which is what was needed. Who came up with the idea of swappable tradition trees, btw?
 

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One thing I will say, re Necrophage nerfs, is that Necrophage is one of my favourite ways to play (creator's bias, one might say), so if the nerfs go to far, then I can assure you that I will see to having them toned down. Balancing is an iterative process, after all.

Though they were pretty strong on several counts, e.g.:
- Easy access to two planets with up to 16 pops on them (the number being fixed to 8 in 3.0 is a separate bug)
- No need to ever worry about stability, unity or amenities.
- Can quickly convert pops from other species to your own (great synergy with Xenophobe ethos)

Which is all still the case, except for the stability bit :)
Those are nice, but the real strenght of this origin is that a significant proportion of your population are slaves (+some extra pop as you mentionned), with cheap upkeep, with little to no downside compared to other origin.
Don't worry, i'm also, in fact, very biased toward necrophage. It's just the game doesn't reward you by being as such (except if you go play harmony), you can instead consolidate into a pseudo better syncretic evolution and call it a day with your cheap menial force.
 

Caligula Caesar

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Who came up with the idea of swappable tradition trees, btw?
Not sure, honestly I think it's a thing we've wanted to do for a while, but have never quite had the time for before now. But it's definitely something I'm very excited about, myself!
 
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Not sure, honestly I think it's a thing we've wanted to do for a while, but have never quite had the time for before now. But it's definitely something I'm very excited about, myself!
Thank you for the response. I love everything from these dev diaries so far, but the tradition swappable are my favorite thing so far. And so much modding potential.
 

Daedwartin

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Wait, including the armies spawned by police and soldier? I'm wandering would the crazies kill their soldier and police to revive them for a more powerful army?
That's unbelievable/
I mean...remember that there has been a calculated 100 billion humans who have ever lived. The phrase "silent majority"? Actually refers to the dead.

Its likely really easy to scrounge up enough dead to form entire armies if you been doing necromancy for long enough.
 
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SunSun7777

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I dunno if this will be pushing things but a cool thought I had was an alternate to the 'Nerve Stapled' gene moding project available for Necrophages to esentaily turn a race into undead slaves who cant reproduce, have full habitability and arent affected by happiness.

Or give this to undead armies...

But then again, can just roleplay that that's how my nerve stapled piggies work in necrophage playthroughs.
 

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General Necrophage Changes

It has not escaped notice that Necrophages are quite strong. A lot of the things that make them cool and fun to play also make them very powerful, so it’s a fine line to tread on. However, we have managed to come up with a set of changes that bring them a bit more in line with other starts while maintaining the spirit of the Origin:
  • Non-purging Necrophages no longer start with two extra pops than other non-standard origins (purging ones keep the extra pops because they are likely to lose a few pops through purging).

This is a pretty good change. Can you tell us which species will lose the pops?

  • The guaranteed primitive worlds may no longer contain primitives that have advanced beyond the Iron Age (previous limit was Steam Age), and will have more defensive armies than very early primitives usually have. This is to make their start not quite as outright better than other starts.
  • - Easy access to two planets with up to 16 pops on them (the number being fixed to 8 in 3.0 is a separate bug)

Could you clarify this further? This sounds like you're saying the change to 8 pops per planet was a bug and not intended, but now a similar nerf will stay. Will the # of pops be very random again? This was part of the problem with Necrophages previously, as some starts would be so much more incredibly broken than others. RNG on that level incredibly early in the game is not healthy.

Also, how many armies are we talking about? If it takes the Necro player just 2 armies or something, this will not actually change much at all.


  • Centers of Elevation no longer provide stability bonuses, and the job’s unity output has been cut by a quarter.

That is worrisome. The building and job are not at all what make Necrophages powerful. The building is often not even built on many worlds, and the job is already a borderline one that is often deprioritized in favor of more productive jobs. It was nice to have this be somewhat useful for builds that need Unity, but now I will be even more likely to choose one of the few Civics that actually helps with that instead.

What bothers me most though is that this change will barely effect Necrophages power, while adding even more annoying pop/job micromanagement to an origin that already suffered from too much of it (try playing non-slaving Necros, I dare you).


- No need to ever worry about stability, unity or amenities.

Which is all still the case, except for the stability bit :)

Necrophage stability problems were only ever due to the culture shock penalty, and not solved by building Centers of Elevation anyway. It is far better to simply move Necro pops over to those planets as normal, utilize Stratified Economy or Academic Privilege living standards, and then prioritize building what your new planet actually needs - an upgraded capitol building and worker districts so that your new 'friends' have some jobs.
 
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V-Metamorph

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Not sure, honestly I think it's a thing we've wanted to do for a while, but have never quite had the time for before now. But it's definitely something I'm very excited about, myself!
It's def a step in the right direction i think. what do you think of the idea that unity "opportunies" should be weighted by how you managed your empire/ interacted with your neighbors / etc... that could be used as an excuse to turn an empire identity mid-game (a machine that got bullied by organic turned into an exterminator for exemple through a dynamic unity system)
 
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Lorcogoth

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So, why would your necromancers limit them selves to only using the Voidspawn or Matriach?
you already have these bonuses for Hunting each of the "neutral" faction in the galaxy, why not have a unique variant for the Necromancers?
 
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Pale Blue

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Exactly. And Memorialist is one step towards giving Hiveminds actually good civics and not just worse or boring civic versions of what non-Gestalts get.

You are complaining about Memorialist, which was just recently added. Did you complain about Meritocracy aswell when it was changed from a bad civic to a top tier civic? As a non-Gestalt player you're really not in a spot where you should be complaining about civics. You have so many strong civics to choose from:
Slaver guilds, Technocracy, Meritocracy, Mining guilds which are among the best civics. But that doesn't mean the rest are bad civics. In fact a lot of other civics are straight up better versions than what Hiveminds get.

Meanwhile, Hiveminds have Ascetic as the only really "good civic" and its not even close to Technocracy's power level. Now we have Ascetic and Meritocracy. And some other mediocre 3rd civic.
I really don't know why you drag the problem of hives having bad or boring civics into this. That's another problem. It should be addressed in the patch but it is another problem.

Memorialist is just so much better than any other stability boosting civic and tech that it should be addressed because it is part of the necroids dlc, which this Dev diary is about.
 
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Finally, if an empire with Undead Armies defeats the Voidspawn or Tiyanki Matriarch, they can now resurrect them to fight in their own fleets!
Excellent.


Quick question: would it be possible to mix the non-machine Necroid portraits into the existing categories? Like how the adorable spider-bot got mixed into the Machine portrait group.

Some would be Humanoid, the bat-like one would be Mammalian, and so on.
 
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MadCrow96

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About death cults, that fixed bonus is very promising but also don't forget to buff Mortal Initiates, they are completely useless and they should be giving at least some unity...

I mean, +1 society research? come on! They can do better than that
 
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