Stellaris Dev Diary #219 - Selectable Traditions

Greetings and salutations space fans!

Today we’re back with another dev diary, and the topic at hand is the feature improvements coming to the Traditions system. Back in dev diary 214 when we announced the Lem Update and the Custodians Initiative, we also talked about how to make Selectable Traditions.

Attn. This post has been updated with some new changes following feedback from the community.

Selecting your Traditions

We know there’s been mods that have extended the amounts of traditions for some time now, and we also know that it's something that parts of the community have been asking for as well. For us, Traditions have always been an important part of customizing and specializing your Empire during play, and although we of course like giving players more customization options, we also need to maintain a balance. We didn’t simply want to keep adding new traditions without having the UI support it well, and we didn’t also want to give players too many options right away, which can lead to Choice Overload. We felt like it was a good time to review the Traditions system, because we wanted to add a few more Tradition Trees, and open up the avenue for doing more of that in the future, where it makes sense.

Let’s dive into the changes, and keep in mind that nothing is final and there’s missing art. Feedback is still very welcome though.

1628750674741.png

We are improving the traditions system so that you are no longer locked to the same set of 7 traditions (with some swaps), but you can rather pick which Tradition Tree you want to go into one of these 7 slots.

1628750700458.png

All the Tradition Trees currently available to the United Nations of Earth.


Some of the Tradition Trees, that were previously swaps of other trees (like Adaptability being a swap of Diplomacy), are now their own trees again. This means that Adaptability, for example, is now available to all non-machine empires. Synchronicity is still mutually exclusive with Harmony (one will appear if you are a gestalt empire, the other if you are a regular one). Versatility is available to all machine empires.

Changes to existing Traditions
Other than allowing you to select your own Traditions trees, we’ve also changed some of the traditions within the existing trees. Let’s take a look at some of those changes:

Domination
  • Judgment Corps: no longer increases crime prevention, but rather makes your Enforcers produce 1 Unity.
  • Privy Council: now also increases Edict Cap by +1
  • Finisher: no longer provides +1 monthly influence, but rather increases admin cap by 20%. This applies to all types of empires.

Diplomacy
  • Open Markets replaced with Diplomatic Networking: Embassy pacts now produce 3 Unity
  • Secure Shipping replaced with Eminent Diplomats: Diplomatic Acceptance increased by +5, and your Envoys that are Improving Relations have a 1% chance per month to gain a Favor from the target empire.
  • Insider Trading replaced with Trust or Bust: Trust Cap +50, Trust Growth +33%
  • Finisher: no longer increases Trust Cap or Trust Growth, but rather increases Diplomatic Weight by +10% and +1 Envoy.

Harmony
  • Mind and Body: now also increases Leader Skill Cap by +1
  • Kinship: effect on demotion time buffed from -50% to -75%
  • Bulwark of Harmony moved to Unyielding, replaced with Harmonious Directives: +1 Edict Cap

Supremacy
  • Adoption: no longer increases Starbase Cap by +2, but instead increases Naval Cap by +20
  • The Great Game: old effects removed, now increases damage done to Starbases by +20%

Prosperity
  • Finisher: no longer provides Merchant Jobs per Pops on a planet, but rather increases Stability by +5 and Pop Resource Output by +5%. This applies to all types of empires.

New Tradition Trees
We are adding 3 new Tradition Trees to the game: Mercantile, Unyielding and Subterfuge. Subterfuge is currently unlocked by Nemesis, Unyielding is unlocked by Apocalypse, and Mercantile (originally supposed to be unlocked by Megacorp) is available to everyone. The reason being that we wanted to see how it felt to have the Trade Policies unlocked through this tree. It will therefore no longer be possible to convert Trade Value into Energy + Consumer Goods/Unity unless you have the (3) Adaptive Economic Policies tradition.

1628861271338.png

Mercantile (Free)
  • Adopt: Starbase Collection Range +1, Trade Protection +5
  • (1) Trickle Up Economics: Clerks provide an additional +1 Trade Value
  • (2) Commercial Enterprises: Commercial Zones Building now provides 1 Merchant Job. Also applies to Commercial Districts for Ring Worlds and Habitats.
  • (3) Adaptive Economic Policies: Can convert parts of their Trade Value into Unity or Consumer Goods.
  • (3) (swap) Federal Trade Fleets: Tradition swap for empires that are members of a Trade League Federation. Increases fleet contribution to the federation fleet by +50%, similar to Entente Coordination.
  • (4) Marketplace of Better Ideas: increases trade value by +10%
  • (5) Insider Trading: moved from Diplomacy Traditions, -10% Market Fee
  • Finisher: increases trade value by +10%

1628750966009.png

Unyielding (added to Apocalypse)
  • Adoption: Starbase Cap +2 and Starbase Upgrade Speed +50%
  • (1) Resistance is Frugal: Stronghold buildings now produce 3 Unity and Defense Army Health is increased by +33%
  • (2) Never Surrender: reduces Planet Bombardment Damage by -25%, war exhaustion by -25% and increases hostile claim costs by +25%
  • (3) Bulwark of Harmony: moved from Harmony Traditions, effects are as before
  • (4) Fortress Doctrine: increases the Hit Points and Damage of Starbases and Defensive Platforms by 33%, and reduces the upkeep cost of starbases by -20%
  • (5) Defense in Depth: increases Starbase Cap by +2 and reduces Starbase upgrade cost by -50%. In addition, owners of Nemesis will also increase Hostile Operation Difficulty by +4 for the Sabotage Starbase Operation.
  • Finisher: Max Defensive Platforms +50%

1628750986320.png

Subterfuge (added to Nemesis)
  • Adoption: +1 Codebreaking
  • (1) Information Security: +1 Encryption
  • (2) Operational Security: +1 Codebreaking, +2 Operation Skill
  • (3) Non-Disclosure Agreements: Hostile Operation Difficulty is +1, and Hostile Operation Cost and Upkeep is increased by +50%
  • (4) Double Agents: Whenever a Hostile Operation targeting us fails, we gain 10 Intel on the offending empire
  • (5) Shadow Recruits: increases Infiltration Speed by +50%
  • Finisher: Successful Operations refund half of their cost on Infiltration Level

----

That is all for this week folks! Let us know which Tradition Trees you like to pick, and why. Any feedback is very welcome.

Next week we’ll be back to talk about the additions we’re making to the Humanoids Species Pack.
 
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I kindly ask adding tradition tree for xenocide/FP empires
1. machine adaptability swap
'Refund per demolishing'.

2.new tradition like Plundering / 'Winner takes all' - when I destroy enemy empire by conquering ALL habitable worlds and systems I acquire all supplies.
 
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Mímisbrunnr

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-the Supremacy +20 naval cap is ... underwhelming. Sure, it's great to get that early rush out, but it greatly loses value when naval capacities reach the upper hundreds. +10 and +10% would be much more significant, covering all stretches of the game while also not just instantly doubling someone's starting naval cap as soon as this is picked. (Though granted, a super-early rush isn't exactly easy to pull off anymore under most circumstances, so perhaps not as concerning as I perceive this to be)

I like your idea of adding a 10% rider to it so it has a meaningful and worthwhile effect through the entire game. Though I think we'd be fine even if it was more than +10, as the total boost from it with 10 and 10% to your initial value of 20, assuming the 10 is added before the 10%, is 13 [10, and 10% of 30]. +15 and +10% would be 18 (15 + 3.5, rounded down).
 

caffrn

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I really like the changes you are planning for the game. Here is my feedback with some ideas for the traditions.

Prosperity
  • Finisher: no longer provides Merchant Jobs per Pops on a planet, but rather increases Stability by +5.

This looks a little bit redundant with the harmony traditions tree. Maybe add +5% resource output instead. Or changing the +5 stability in harmony to +5% bio pop happiness.


Mercantile (Free)
  • Adopt: Starbase Collection Range +1, Trade Protection +5
  • (1) Trickle Up Economics: Clerks provide an additional +1 Trade Value
  • (2) Commercial Enterprises: Commercial Zones Building now provides 1 Merchant Job.
  • (3) Adaptive Economic Policies: Can convert parts of their Trade Value into Unity or Consumer Goods
  • (4) Marketplace of Better Ideas: increases trade value by +10%
  • (5) Insider Trading: moved from Diplomacy Traditions, -10% Market Fee
  • Finisher: increases trade value by +10%


There is two times +10% trade value in this tree which feels a little bit odd. Suggestion: Maybe adding a buff to trade hubs or giving +1 research in each category per 10 trade value instead.


Subterfuge (added to Nemesis)
  • Adoption: +1 Codebreaking
  • (1) Information Security: +1 Encryption
  • (2) Operational Security: +1 Codebreaking, +2 Operation Skill
  • (3) Non-Disclosure Agreements: Hostile Operation Difficulty is +1, and Hostile Operation Cost and Upkeep is increased by +50%
  • (4) Double Agents: Whenever a Hostile Operation targeting us fails, we gain 10 Intel on the offending empire
  • (5) Shadow Recruits: increases Infiltration Speed by +50%
  • Finisher: Successful Operations refund half of their cost on Infiltration Level


This is ok but I see no real benefit when picking this one. There is nothing that impacts the game.

Suggestion for the finisher: Our high intel level lets us knowing all their weaknesses resulting in +10% weapon damage when in combat against their fleets.
Imho, something like that would make this tree more impactful and interesting.
 
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I really like the idea of having "slots" for traditions, instead of having set trees. This has been a long time coming.

That said, I'm hoping we get a somewhat larger selection of traditions to choose from in the future. While I do get that you don't want to deluge the players with way too many options, 11 options to fill 7 slots feels slightly on the "too little" side. I thought EU4's 18 possible groups, which you could choose 8 of was a good number for sufficient variety.
 
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Suggestion for the finisher: Our high intel level lets us knowing all their weaknesses resulting in +10% weapon damage when in combat against their fleets.
Imho, something like that would make this tree more impactful and interesting.

That would be a really cool thing to do, incentivizing Espionage and it making sense (as we've spied on them so throughly).
 
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EDIT: Looks like @Mommy has similar ideas, and I was probably inspired when reading one of their earlier posts, so our conclusions on the subject are similar (though I came up with a few additional variations myself). I'll credit them for giving me the idea.
I appreciate the credit, but it's a pretty easy idea to come up with so dw about it. Besides reading your posts is what inspired me to make a more in-depth one of my own ;)
I'd instead recommend making it a % multiplier so that it remains relevant for the entire game, as even 10 or 50 will eventually be outpaced by a galaxy-spanning empire that is gaining 10s, and big flat numbers (like 50) would be too titanic early in the game.
I also wanted to say, in regards to this idea, maybe keep the small flat bonus but have it provide a % multiplier for something that isn't unity, as I feel a multiplier like that for unity could get pretty out of hand. I think something like +1 or 2% diplo weight for each embassy would be perfect and make a lot of thematic sense. Getting more diplomatic power just by keeping as many people on your good side as possible.
 
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Pretty cool !

I know it's not final but some traditions seems a bit weak, like the one that gives +3 Unity per embassy because it doesn't scale at all

Even with 20 Empires, every friendly, you end up with +60 Unity which is like 7 pops, not that great, that made me think about mining stations that didn't scale, now it's clearly better!

1 Unity per enforcers isn't strong enough to make you want to have enforcers, so it won't be very strong

Also, subterfuge could be good if the espionage system was a bit more "competitive", I think you already got the feedback that it was a bit weak for the moment.

I really like the Mercantile one which could help Clerks being better than Welfare Unemployed pops !

The new military one is also cool, I like the dichotomy between the offensive and defensive trees

And of course, I agree with people stating that 3 new trees isn't that much and reduce opportunities of having a Very unique group of trees but it's fine !
 
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Well I like most of this, though I think the +20 naval cap really should be a +10% naval cap instead, +20 is nothing and is useless next to the techs and building more starbases.

Speaking of starbases, currently supremacy makes starships and starbases techs 1.25x more likely to show up. Has this been split up between supremacy(Ships) and unyeilding(starbases) or is it kept as is for supremacy?

Also, Domination has been nerfed into the ground and is now useless. Not worth picking at all unless you are a gestalt empire, and even then its an extremely questionable choice to make. I sure as hell won't pick it again.
 
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Hey there!

Looks like the update is coming along pretty fine, getting some new toys to play with, but as with the previous DD, this one also feels a bit weird at some places.

Domination:

Judgment Corps feels pretty weak with the +1 Unity alone. Maybe if it also gave something like +1 Stability or something similar to the bio-trophy-ish +2% resources to (worker?) jobs or something else would make it a much better tradition and would give incentive to actually build any Precinct House or its upgraded version even when there are no criminal syndicates in the game.

The Finisher became way weaker, and instead of +10% ruler output maybe it could give rulers flat +1 Unity output and/or reduce their upkeep by 20% (though this might still be weak). Or enhance planetary designations a bit like +10%/-10% and +1/-1 to the bonii they give e.g. bureaucratic designation increase Admin Cap output by 3 instead of 2, research designation on regular planets reduce upkeep by 30% instead of 20%. These are just examples that in my opinion give more value than +10% Unity output for rulers unless you take Technocracy (or Exalted Priesthood). Or it could be +10% Admin Cap for regular empires too which is a solid, if a bit weak bonus.

Supremacy:

I think the adoption bonus should be +30 Naval Cap or even a bit higher like +40 to make it comparable with Tier I-IV Naval Cap research. It's an instant and cost-free value vs. the old version which could potentially give from +16 to +48 (+24 to +72 with Naval Logistics) after spending alloys to build up and paying upkeep costs. Though the +20 could also work since it's free Naval Cap.

The Great Game also feels a bit lacking. Sure, +20% damage seems weak, but it helps quite a bit in the early game. Losing fewer ships against starbases makes first wars easier when alloys are quite rare and expensive. But after that, it's just simply weak.

The 3 new traditions are pretty good. Awesome job in making all these stuff, even if they are still in experimental phase. It would be super cool if you guys could add a few more tradition trees in the future, but I shouldn't get ahead of myself.

Keep up the good work and don't overdo it.

Cheers~
 
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I wish the traditions would define the path you are taking as an empire and species... rather than the 5-10% bonuses etc. are too boring and just a number at the end.

I see a few people saying this... but this is largely how these games work, isn't it? Civics are mostly modifiers and bonuses, Traits, same thing, most Agreements, most Galactic Community resolutions.

I'm a little confused about what you want? A totally different game?
 
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We didn’t simply want to keep adding new traditions without having the UI support it well, and we didn’t also want to give players too many options right away, which can lead to Choice Overload.
From the linked Wikipedia article:


"This phenomenon in particular has come under some criticism[3] due to increased scrutiny of scientific research related to the replication crisis and has not been adequately reproduced by subsequent research,[4] thereby calling into question its validity."
 
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From the linked Wikipedia article:


"This phenomenon in particular has come under some criticism[3] due to increased scrutiny of scientific research related to the replication crisis and has not been adequately reproduced by subsequent research,[4] thereby calling into question its validity."

Yeah, I tend to agree with this. I'm not sure "Choice Overload" really applies here.

I felt a bit of Choice Overload with Hearts of Iron 4's tech tree, because there's just so many possible options. I didn't know what I needed.

With Stellaris Traditions, however, they are all fairly straightforward "concepts". When I design an Empire, I have a large choice of Traits and Civics, I know what type of Empire I am designing.

So, when I get to choose a Tradition, I know if it makes sense to pick "Expansion", "Discovery", "Supremacy". I don't really need to worry too much about the specifics, I can take it situationally just based on how it sounds.

Do I need to go to war? Supremacy.
Do I want to make friends? Diplomacy.
Do I want to focus on exploration and tech? Discovery.
Do I want to spy on others? Subterfuge.

I don't think Choice Overload applies here. You could easily double the number of tradition trees without hitting this issue.
 
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In DD #215 Grekulf mentioned changes to Unity coming after Lem, and tying it into the Administrative Capacity mechanic so Unity will have more uses.

"Unity & Empire Sprawl
Beyond Lem, we are also going to take a look at Empire Sprawl and Unity. The design for Admin Capacity was never really something that I felt worked out, and we never finished the design that was intended for it. Continuing to use Admin Cap as a mechanic also feels a bit like a dead end due to multiple reasons (ranging from design to technical), so we’re instead going to look into another solution.

I have a design for doubling down on using Unity as the resource for internal management, removing Admin Cap entirely, and to make Empire Sprawl something that you can never mitigate anymore. More sprawling empires will always suffer harsher penalties from Empire Sprawl, and we’ll instead focus on how Unity can be used internally to mitigate some of those penalties. Examples could be Edicts that have a Unity Upkeep Cost, and perhaps reduce the Research Cost Penalty induced by Empire Sprawl. Angry Pops could potentially also have a Unity Upkeep Cost, to represent the drain on your society.

Note that these ideas are very much in their infancy and very prone to change. We will probably start talking a bit more about that once Lem has been released, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you so that we could gather some initial feedback."
Emphasis mine.

I've seen a lot of people commenting on this post as if it were gospel. It was clearly an idea in beta. Empire Sprawl/Admin Capacity will be reformulated, that's as much as we know, but the idea of tying it to Unity was just something that Grekulf was trying out, never committed, and possibly never passed the design stage.

I'd hate if devs had to cut back on telling us what they're experimenting with because people happen to canonize every idea that they mention to be testing.
 
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Any chance of an example file section or two to give us a head start updating mods? It’s a free feature after all?

Please?

I don't see why not. Here's an example:

Code:
tradition_discovery = {
    desc = {
        trigger = { is_regular_empire = yes }
        text =  tradition_discovery_desc
    }
    desc = {
        trigger = { is_hive_empire = yes }
        text =  tradition_discovery_hive_desc
    }
    desc = {
        trigger = { is_machine_empire = yes }
        text =  tradition_discovery_machine_desc
    }
    tree_template = "tree_11_111"
    adoption_bonus = "tr_discovery_adopt"
    finish_bonus = "tr_discovery_finish"
    traditions = {
        "tr_discovery_to_boldly_go"
        "tr_discovery_databank_uplinks"
        "tr_discovery_science_division"
        "tr_discovery_polytechnic_education"
        "tr_discovery_faith_in_science"
    }
    potential = {
        always = yes #country scope triggers
    }
    ai_weight = {
        factor = 10
        modifier = {
            factor = 5
            years_passed < 10
        }
        modifier = {
            factor = 2
            has_ethic = ethic_materialist
        }
        modifier = {
            factor = 3
            has_ethic = ethic_fanatic_materialist
        }
    }
}

That's a tradition tree. No swaps in there allowed anymore, I think. Traditions themselves are pretty similar. The locs are also similar but you can and should delete a whole lot for it to look right, you'll see immediately what I mean.

"tree_11_111" is this in the gui file, and is used as a set template for a 2:3 shaped tradition tree (so you can have 15 tradition trees just using the same gui layout by specifying it in the tree, if you so please):

Code:
containerWindowType = {
        name = "tree_11_111"
        position = { x = 0 y = @three_layer_tree_h }
        iconType = {
            name = "arrow_1"
            spriteType = "GFX_arrow_single"
            position = { x = 112 y = 100 }
        }
        iconType = {
            name = "arrow_2"
            spriteType = "GFX_arrow_single"
            position = { x = 182 y = 100 }
        }
        iconType = {
            name = "arrow_3"
            spriteType = "GFX_arrow_single"
            position = { x = 182 y = 170 }
        }
        containerWindowType = {
            name = "tree_11_111_tradition_1"
            position = { x = 96 y = 55 }
        }
        containerWindowType = {
            name = "tree_11_111_tradition_2"
            position = { x = 96 y = 125 }
        }
        containerWindowType = {
            name = "tree_11_111_tradition_3"
            position = { x = 166 y = 55 }
        }
        containerWindowType = {
            name = "tree_11_111_tradition_4"
            position = { x = 166 y = 125 }
        }
        containerWindowType = {
            name = "tree_11_111_tradition_5"
            position = { x = 166 y = 195 }
        }
    }
 
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Agreed, this is a problem; as amenities and trade value don't benefit from this, this is mostly a dead trait, except for unity and very specific build like Technocracy which has Science Directors.

ADDENDUM:

Also, responding to the dev's original post now, these two feel like really big nerfs.

  • Adoption: no longer increases Starbase Cap by +2, but instead increases Naval Cap by +20
  • The Great Game: old effects removed, now increases damage done to Starbases by +20%
The damage dealt to starbases being the only benefit of the Great Game feels of Questionable value, and while Supremacy's +20 naval can outdo the 16 naval capacity you'd get from two first level starbases (2 slots) without a Naval Logistics office without spending slots, its gets VERY quickly left in the dust as you get better tech. I really feel it needs a secondary effect to give more relevance later on.
Well, supremacy was the strongest tradition (by far). So it really deserves a nerf.
I will still pick it in every game. Maybe now i may delay it a bit according to circumstances.
 
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I see a few people saying this... but this is largely how these games work, isn't it? Civics are mostly modifiers and bonuses, Traits, same thing, most Agreements, most Galactic Community resolutions.

I'm a little confused about what you want? A totally different game?
For them to matter more... affect the gameplay, open a specific path of gameplay.. right now only Diplomacy tree offers that, locking federation behind it.. You can choose the rest of the traditions in any order without affecting your game significantly.
 

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We shouldn't canonize every idea that they show us.

But it's not unreasonable to operate from a standpoint of "if they've shown us this, it has at least moved from the less serious concept phase to a more serious trying it out phase."

And I still hope they reconsider the unity change wholesale. Sorry not sorry the system we have now is fine, not the most compelling gameplay loop in the game perhaps. But certainly not one in need of such a sizeable overhaul.

Much less for the purpose of chasing the fiction that is, and probably will continue to be, tall gameplay.
 
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Well, supremacy was the strongest tradition (by far). So it really deserves a nerf.
I will still pick it in every game. Maybe now i may delay it a bit according to circumstances.
I think making Supremacy a bit weaker is fine, but imo it seems kinda counterproductive to add a whole tree of buffs to starbases which are currently far too underpowered compared to ships, then undercut all of those buffs by giving ships a large damage buff against starbases. Imo something like -10% claim cost would be better, or maybe bringing back the increased Influence from rivals stat.
 
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