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!
 

Koranea

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So.. it your making the Tiyanki Matriarch ressurectable? what about Normal Tiyanki whales, Amobia? as would mean a different reason to hunt them over beening xenophobic? and.. thought occurs. The scourge also living ships.. zombie scourge! idk if the zombie scourge would be player controlled or a neutral faction of its own? Just thoughts crossing my mind as read.
 
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Blackadder23

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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/
Another way to look at it is that they don't have any living soldiers or police in the first place. They take corpses dead for other reasons (accidents, murders, natural causes) and raise those for use as soldiers and police.
 

Jamaican Castle

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Yeah, but how doe it translates to the game? what happens with necromancer? they just surrender their undead armies and that's it? at least that should have consequences like j¿having to deal with rogue necromancers or something like that
Isn't that true of every civic though? Shouldn't an Exalted Priesthood or Technocracy get upset if you try to remove their exaltedness? Wouldn't a Shadow Council try to cause a ruckus if they were taken out of power?
 
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-Marauder-

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Man, when you said the community is a horrible benchmark for balance, I wasn't expecting you to prove it yourself.

About that whole VD having triple growth thing...
"Hey, If I manage my VDs badly their growth is only about twice what others start with and tanks further if I do not bother to expand quickly. Also please ignore the research and other bonuses I'm getting."

Good job, you managed to completely ignore that my primary concern were the stability and amenities nerfs, which were utterly pointless and overkill. Then again, you somehow convinced yourself double pop growth of Necrophages and tripple of what most others start out with is somehow "bad" and not a huge advantage. The whole reduction of pop growth? That hits everyone once they run out of space.


Now I know where you're coming from. Sorry for the confusion. The nerf to the chamber is rather confusing as to the necessity of it but I guess we'll see just how bad it is. I'm not to fussed over ring world and void dwellers being stronger since they've already said they're working on nerfs. I support the changes to the primitive worlds, defense army, and purge changes. But the chamber is worrisome. But the devs already assured us that if the nerfs go to far, they'll walk back on them. I'm super excited to try hive mind necrophage though.
And that's exactly my point. Nerfing the pops, I genuinely don't care. Nerfing the chamber of elevation feels, mind boggling. It's slow, it's cumbersome, it lags the game to a great degree, switching to purging was all around more beneficial especially if you have an active/existing slave market. You even get the same opinion malus with other empires when using the chamber.

And they decided it was too good and needed to be nerfed?
It seems a tad counterproductive. If people are primarily skipping it to a large degree in favor of purging due to bad yields and being too slow it would seem further incentives are needed to use it over the purge. If you need more necrophage pops you'd probably rather get them immediately by purging despite the nerf rather than wait 10 yrs for 3/6 more.

Or at least that's the impression I get from this thread.
Yeah, the pop nerfs are fine. The nerfs to chamber of elevation meanwhile seem genuinely weird and pointless.
 
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Tamwin5

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The Necrophage nerf seems a bit excessive and not aimed well. The problem was always the free jumpstart to pop growth from primitives, which gives them an overpowered early game. That seems to not be nerfed, except that maybe 2-4 armies are needed rather than just 1? That's barely changing it. A few hundred minerals is still cheaper than even a single colony ship.

Meanwhile Necrophage purge has always seemed to be heavily overrated and takes a gigantic nerf. Losing 25% of pops will be pretty awful now. The ability to assimilate foreign pops to your pops is not really that good, at most situations at best you'll gain 10-15% production from it which is far worse than the 25% overall pop loss.
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.
Emphasis mine.

Reducing the age of the primitives significantly lowers the number of pops. Stone Age has 4 pops, bronze age has 8, and Iron Age has 9. Steam age, the previous cap, has 16. In practice you are going to end up with about 6 less pops compared to before, assuming the distribution is even and my math is correct. So they are nerfing the jumpstart.
 

Meebleborp

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"Hey, If I manage my VDs badly their growth is only about twice what others start with and tanks further if I do not bother to expand quickly. Also please ignore the research and other bonuses I'm getting."

Good job, you managed to completely ignore that my primary concern were the stability and amenities nerfs, which were utterly pointless and overkill. Then again, you somehow convinced yourself double pop growth of Necrophages and tripple of what most others start out with is somehow "bad" and not a huge advantage. The whole reduction of pop growth? That hits everyone once they run out of space.

Yeah, the thing about losing pop growth due to running out of space... completely avoidable for most empires, not so for VD. Even if you spend the resources to resettle and shuffle your pops around, you have too many pops and not enough space to avoid the growth loss during the capitol upgrade and last district construction time.

But hey, I'm looking forward to seeing your example of well-managed VD and what kind of pop numbers you can reach by 2215. I'm sure you can manage to make up that 20 pop difference with VD's "triple growth", right?

As for your 'primary concern', they're nerfing the Unity output, not amenities.
 
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Tech Noir Synth

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Yeah, the thing about losing pop growth due to running out of space... completely avoidable for most empires, not so for VD. Even if you spend the resources to resettle and shuffle your pops around, you have too many pops and not enough space to avoid the growth loss during the capitol upgrade and last district construction time.

But hey, I'm looking forward to seeing your example of well-managed VD and what kind of pop numbers you can reach by 2215. I'm sure you can manage to make up that 20 pop difference with VD's "triple growth", right?

As for your 'primary concern', they're nerfing the Unity output, not amenities.

I'm not a Void-Dweller player myself, but I noticed the official discord has a VD-challenge going on. So I simply copy pasted this here. Its 2219, 58 pops and the amount of Habitats is as you can see. You can find many more examples and surely lots of good VD players in the official discord. I think its save to say you can easily manage your Habitats properly and you will not run out of space.

1624532204021.png
 
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I'm not a Void-Dweller player myself, but I noticed the official discord has a VD-challenge going on. So I simply copy pasted this here. Its 2219, 58 pops and the amount of Habitats is as you can see. You can find many more examples and surely lots of good VD players in the official discord. I think its save to say you can easily manage your Habitats properly and you will not run out of space.

View attachment 734366
Uh I never play VD in this patch but how did they manage to have 13 habitats in 2219?

Just realized how noob I'm in Stellaris, mind-blow lol
 

Meebleborp

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I'm not a Void-Dweller player myself, but I noticed the official discord has a VD-challenge going on. So I simply copy pasted this here. Its 2219, 58 pops and the amount of Habitats is as you can see. You can find many more examples and surely lots of good VD players in the official discord. I think its save to say you can easily manage your Habitats properly and you will not run out of space.

View attachment 734366

Funnily enough, this is a screenshot from.... my submission. I use the same username here and on the discord; see for yourself.

This isn't a reasonable expectation of VD play at all, though. It's a run completely optimized to hit 13 habitats at the earliest possible year, sacrificing literally everything else. The pop number isn't from growth, it's from the extra pops per colonized habitat. Here's what it looked like closer to 2215:

20210622082158_1.jpg


41 pops, comfortably 20 behind again, with an amazing +85 research compared to my previous example that had +600. When I say I'm sacrificing for this, it's no joke. In fact, this run has even less growth on the initial 3 habitats than my earlier VD example had at that point, because I needed as many alloys as possible.

You wouldn't really want to play this run from the end point onward. It would be more than winnable, of course, but things are not in great shape. 20 years in with almost no tech rate for the entirety of that time, half of my favors traded away to AI for alloys per month (which will end soon), and almost no mineral income to develop the habitats that are coming online. My civics, traits, and everything were also optimized just for this exact outcome, and would hold me back as things progressed.


Uh I never play VD in this patch but how did they manage to have 13 habitats in 2219?

Just realized how noob I'm in Stellaris, mind-blow lol

Mostly through First Contact influence gain, min-maxing for the best early economy I could get, and buying/trading for tons of minerals and alloys.

It's possible someone will beat my time, but it's still fairly optimized and not trivial to replicate.

As I alluded to earlier in this post, it's also not necessarily a strategy I would recommend employing. You'll eventually be pretty strong, but you have no tech, no defense against any attacks, and the gambit won't pay off until ~40-50 years or so into the game.
 
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The Exile

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So.. it your making the Tiyanki Matriarch ressurectable? what about Normal Tiyanki whales, Amobia? as would mean a different reason to hunt them over beening xenophobic? and.. thought occurs. The scourge also living ships.. zombie scourge! idk if the zombie scourge would be player controlled or a neutral faction of its own? Just thoughts crossing my mind as read.

Oh, it should definitely be possible to resurrect some of the scourge -- maybe a lower percentage than the armies mechanic, but enough to get a small scourge fleet. After all, there's already a way to do this (captured Queen event) which, since such an empire would be more interested in death than studying the ecology of the living, that Queen event could be blocked.

However, I strongly feel that any ability to create zombie armies or, much more, zombie Prethoryn Scourge fleets, should come with a small chance of some of them.... escaping. Actually, a potential mid-game ZOMBIE PLAGUE CRISIS (modeled on AI rebellion, but could spread to any empire with pops of the originating empire) would be a fantastic incentive to pick up Necroids by making that package distinctive and valuable (which I expect is the point of the whole Caretaker initiative).
 
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I was playing today as the necroids and noticed that necrophage was unavailable due to purge not being available because I was not xenophobe... Could it be tweaked so necrophage can always be available for necroid origin?
 
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spacefiddle

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ahahaha this is now reminding me so much of my favorite Total War - Warhammer 2 faction: Luthor Harkon

"Orders, Cap'n?"
"Kill the beast"
"....resurrect the beast"
"...rule the waves void"

Edit: btw, do yourself a favor:
- Go into empire creation
- Choose Necroid
- Go to advisor voice, click "based on government," listen to the sample voice lines play. Wait.
- When it finishes, click it again

The second time you click it, it plays a slightly-altered quote from The Rocky Horror Picture Show
 
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Mohreb

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Will this update fix "Raiding bombardment stance" ? so that if you are raiding to purge pops (or to livestock or to slave, or to anything other then citizen/resident), it works with that?
That is what i found the most lacking for a necrophage playtrought.