Stellaris Dev Diary #228 - New Content & Features in 3.2

Hello everyone!

For today’s dev diary we’ll be talking a little bit about a new wave of changes coming in the upcoming 3.2 update.

3.2 will feature some new content and features, some of which didn’t make it into 3.1, and some of which are new. The reason why I mention that is because I also wanted to shed some light on the process itself. With this new way of working, it’s fine if something isn’t done for a certain update, because it can simply spill into the next update. With our ambition of only having 3 months between the updates, it will not be long before the new piece of content will be out in the public. Speaking of which, the new Pompous Purists Civic is just such an example.

Pompous Purists Civic
This civic was designed to be added to the Humanoids Species Pack with our Buffing the Backlog initiative, but it didn’t quite make it in time to be released in 3.1. In 3.2 you will be able to try out this new addition to the Humanoids Species Pack.

The Pompous Purists Civic is a civic that allows for a diplomatic playstyle, but for xenophobes. The idea is based on an elven fantasy, where they are willing to negotiate with other species, but only as long as it's on their own terms.

1634205974017.png

Friends? Maybe if you keep a respectable distance.

Ship Browser Experiment
Back in dev diary 213 we briefly talked about the improvements to a part of the empire creation process – namely the part of the UI where you select your ship appearance. The experiment meant that only about half of you got to experience those improvements, while the rest kept the ship appearance selection as it has looked like since 2016. The reason why we ran this improvement as an experiment is because we wanted to measure how successful doing these kinds of improvements can be.

1634206012468.png

The Ship Appearance part of the empire creation screen allows you to browse different ship sizes and appearances.

The improved ship browser will be available to everyone with the release of 3.2.

Now I’ll hand over to Victor who will be talking a little bit about some new content for anomalies.

Anomaly Variety
Hello everyone! I am Victor, a Custodian Content Designer that you might have seen around on the weekly streams these past few months.

Back in 2018, we removed anomaly failure from the game. This meant that every single time you encountered the Gigantic Skeleton anomaly category, you would always get the Gigantic Skeleton anomaly, for it was the only one in the category. No longer! As one of my tasks for this patch, I decided to simply go through every single anomaly category and add new anomalies to orphaned categories that I could for the development cycle.

1634206063505.png

This is not only limited to new anomalies, but I also revisited some old classics adding options to events that previous designers created before a lot of the resources we now use were added to the game.

1634206085708.png

While this is not anything that will revolutionize the game, it is a great and interesting direction for a Custodian content designer to explore, which we are still establishing on the team. I do hope you enjoy your (slightly) more exciting and varied early game!

Terraforming Events and AI behavioral changes
Yes, hello, I am still here. My other task for this patch was to create a few varied random events for terraforming. These events vary in power and complexity and mainly break the monotony of pressing a button and getting a better planet. These bonuses vary from getting more districts of a chosen type to perhaps uncovering a dig site left by a species to enamored with war.

1634206115997.png

Before you start thinking, you will sit there and terraform a planet back and forth between two different types and fishing for events. Do know that you can only get events the first time you terraform a world, and it’s never guaranteed. Terraforming is quite the unexplored space for Stellaris events, and these were a lot of fun to create.

Finally, @Caligula Caesar has managed to restore the AI’s terraforming hunger! Previously the AI needed to gather an absurd amount of energy credits even to consider terraforming, but that has now been rectified. The AI has been spotted changing and creating optimal planets in our internal testing. They also are more likely to pick terraforming techs and appropriate ascension perks in certain circumstances.

----

That is all for this week folks! Next week we’ll be back with some exciting news!
 
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Tamwin5

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You know, then do so? I don't see why every civic should be for every taste and player. Not everyone is 100% into min-maxing.
Not everyone has interest in min/max their empires -- many of us are just interested in the RP aspect of Stellaris. Everything else is just an additional bonus.



You don't want to engage in diplomacy? Go and play as a Fanatic Purifier instead. The Pompous Purists Civic was created to people that want to RP Pompous and Arrogant Space Elves or any other species with a similar mindset. If this Civic is not good to you, ignore it or wait until the Custodians to come with an "No! And stop asking" option like the one in Civ 6.
It's not about min-max. It's about having the effects given by a civic match the flavor for it. Bonus trust growth feels like a "see we are super friendly!" type civic, not the arrogance that pompous purists should have. And it's not like there aren't other effects it could have: Reduced cost to call in favors ("obviously you owe us"), or reduced influence upkeep from diplomatic pacts (easier to keep things straight when they only go one direction).

I didn't say I wasn't engaging in diplomacy, just that I was shutting down any Xeno trying to talk to me: you know, like this civic does. My point was that I don't need a civic saying "you are pompous!" for me to rp as a pompous empire.

This is a very short sighted attitude. Mechanics do influence RP. If you take a civic called Ultimate Science Mans that is much worse at boosting ultimate science mans gameplay than another civic not called Ultimate Science Mans then that's going to negatively impact your RP of playing the ultimate science mans. If you're in a position where the civic with the right RP name is just flat worse than another near identical civic then that's a problem and the solution isn't to stick your fingers in your ears and complain about filthy min maxers rargle bargle. Good mechanics and good rp are not opposite ends of a line and increasing one doesn't automatically mean reducing the other, and shutting down discussion with the same fake min-max vs RP tribalism nonsense is not cool.

That said, the civic itself is absolutely fine.
I'm not sure I'd say the civic is "absolutely fine", but it's certainly better to have it in the game then out. It just could be so much better with only a few small changes. Honestly it kind of feels like they just threw the bonus trust growth on there because they weren't able to add whatever other feature they wanted in time, and they'd already delayed it one release.
 
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Troyen

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In Civ I don't think there's a penalty for denying / ignoring someone else's diplomatic requests?

In Stellaris there is genuinely a trade off to consider when your friendly neighbor keeps asking to join a federation with another empire who hates them - do you turn them down and suffer relations penalties or put it to the federation and suffer a cohesion penalty.
I'm not sure since I haven't actually used it, but I think it might apply to individual requests. In Stellaris, if I say "stop asking me about migration treaties" that doesn't necessarily mean I don't want a commercial pact or federation association status. With federation-based proposals where there can be penalties for a failed vote, it's a little more tricky, but even then it's rare for me to change my mind and allow the vote because the consequences of the vote are often more annoying to deal with (especially since level 5 is so time-consuming to reach).

Ideally, if I say "and stop asking" it wouldn't just be an auto-decline. The AI will hopefully actually stop asking (and thus stop triggering the "no" penalty). Just like as a player I can see the green check marks or red x's on most diplomatic actions before I take them, I'd be fine if the AI would keep track of which proposals I don't want to consider again and seperate those out from proposals where I leave open the possibility of changing my mind.
 

DeanTheDull

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Huh. Pompous Purist has some disgustingly potent implications for the early and mid-game. Xenophobe may become a better Federation rush build than xenophile. Heck, stack this with Diplomatic Corps, and Xenophobes would have more envoys than Fanatic Xenophiles, and a bigger early-game pot of influence to boot with which to cover diplomatic deals.

Envoys are already one of the strongest tools players have in the early game, as they're effectively both influence-generating and threat-mitigating measures, and can be used for enabling conquest, science, or federaiton bonuses. For their role in making first contact and establishing rivalries, they are key for influence stockpiling in the early game. Parking an envoy on a neighbor is the best way to keep them neutral, enabling players to save thousands of alloys on fleets-not-needed, letting them make use of expansion and not have to worry about fleet upkeep. And spy networks are a way to scout an early conquest target at the phase of the game where you don't usually have the diplomatic insight into all of them- which, in turn, also lets you do the steal tech operation when it matters most, which pays dividends early if you focus on military techs and use it to clear your tech rolls of low-value clutter. And of course stacking envoys to get a new Federation cohesion up to max ASAP, and then being able to afford an additional Federation member per envoy to smooth out the differences.


In fact, if anything it's even more powerful early game than Diplo Corps. Although it has a slight weakness in that there is a gap where the AI will approach you to offer deals, but won't accept the same deal offered from you, Trust growth > Diplo weight in the early game, especially for Xenophobes who have to fight against their starting negatives to get people comfortable with them. This is a faster reaching of the trust point where people offer trade deals to develop further trust, which you leverage to get federation acceptance. Which will take less time to do so, because, again, trust growth.


Envoys are powerful. Anything that gives envoys is powerful. Being able to handle two more first contacts at once, or negate two neighbors at once, is powerful. And since this doesn't seem to be mutually exclusive with Diplomatic Corps...


Add to it the reworked diplo-tree- including +3 unity for every embassy (potentially massive on crowded maps in terms of getting your 3rd tradition online), and how Embassies build trust and the trust cap aspect that can offset your xenophobe opinion penalty-

If not an optimal first tradition, it can definitely make opening the galactic community ASAP an interesting option. Build a few extra science ships to explore ASAP, using your 3-5 envoys to reap all the first contact influence while embassies provide the unity to rush the second and third traditions...

If this applies to mega-corps, saving influence for early branch offices while getting increased trust growth will be a big enabler as you exploit branch office buildings earlier than otherwise possible.

Void Dweller can likely also make use of it. Not having to worry about neighbors means not needing a 20 corvette fleet, aka having an extra habitats worth of alloys in your first two decades. With the massive influence gain from a first-contact splurge, and unity from embassies to catch up on the Expansion tree as a second choice, there's some potent xenophobe-merchant set-up builds (though your empire will probably want to transition to xenophile later).
 
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Kapitalisti

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TBH I also don't understand the flavor behind trust growth for that civic. Why would they trust me more when I am being bossy, shut them down and only talk to them when I want something?

Why do humans in Lord of the Rings like the elves even though the elves are arrogant and haughty?
 
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Nebbie Zebbie

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I gotta ask: What would be the benefit of that?
Most archaeology sites are already clickthrough, once you know them. All you'd add to terraforming this way would be more clicks.
"Clickthrough" is a problem with what's being proposed too, the point of using the dig site system is that it breaks things into multiple stages, which allows for both rewards and decisions to be made in the middle of the project rather than just at the very end.
Dig sites having pretty much no decisions and meager rewards sucks, but even with no decisions, terraforming with the dig site system would mean that you could have a planet first go from being a Tomb World to a Continental before it becomes a Gaia. And there could be decisions like spending extra resources to speed up the project vs. slowing it down to do research as it goes.
Really confused with how people see the new civic and think it's going to be F tier. At worst it's a solid B. Again, 2 envoys and 30% trust growth are huge things in the early game; especially, given that you'll eat an opinion hit for being a xenophobe.

Like I do get the concern with not wanting choices that are traps, but I can see where a fair number of disgruntled RPers are coming from because if 2 envoys and 30% trust growth put something in F tier, well not sure how to make someone with that mindset happy with any civic that doesn't end up being an S tier one.

Though also think some of the dislike is that some players play rush builds and aren't happy that this civic really doesn't work with that kind of play style. Not every civic needs to play well with rushing to build a fleet to burn down the first empire you find.
Not F tier, this isn't like Idyllic Bloom where it literally hurts you to use and takes up a civic slot forever to boot, but I think B tier is a serious overestimate; 2 envoys is good, but it's not +1 base minerals per miner like Mining Guilds, an actual B tier civic, and trust growth I don't think is as huge as you claim.
This civic really could use a change into something more like this:
  • No non-military pacts
  • +1 monthly influence while not inferior to the majority of non-FE neighbors
  • +25% research speed in technologies known to a non-FE neighbor
  • Diplomatic actions will never require an envoy improving or harming relations
  • +25% diplomatic weight
  • -50% enemy infiltration speed
This would be a B tier civic that much more fits the theme of being all closed off and feeling superior.
 
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I'm not sure since I haven't actually used it, but I think it might apply to individual requests. In Stellaris, if I say "stop asking me about migration treaties" that doesn't necessarily mean I don't want a commercial pact or federation association status. With federation-based proposals where there can be penalties for a failed vote, it's a little more tricky, but even then it's rare for me to change my mind and allow the vote because the consequences of the vote are often more annoying to deal with (especially since level 5 is so time-consuming to reach).

Ideally, if I say "and stop asking" it wouldn't just be an auto-decline. The AI will hopefully actually stop asking (and thus stop triggering the "no" penalty). Just like as a player I can see the green check marks or red x's on most diplomatic actions before I take them, I'd be fine if the AI would keep track of which proposals I don't want to consider again and seperate those out from proposals where I leave open the possibility of changing my mind.

I mean that because there are penalties for saying no, not getting asked is sometimes better - which is why it's being tied to this civic. It shouldn't be commonly available to everyone because sometimes being friendly with that large militarist on your border means agreeing to treaties you don't really want, just to keep them happy.
 

Veras

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TBH I also don't understand the flavor behind trust growth for that civic. Why would they trust me more when I am being bossy, shut them down and only talk to them when I want something?

In my view the rare opportunities to talk to them somehow force other empires to make the most out of that particular dialogue?
 

Critical Ethics

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TBH I also don't understand the flavor behind trust growth for that civic. Why would they trust me more when I am being bossy, shut them down and only talk to them when I want something?
Please stop owning my teenage self TYVM.

But seriously, this is the "mechanics supporting RP" thing. This civic is presented as "An empire who doesn't talk to people much", but can also be viewed as "Xenophobes who DO talk to people, sometimes".

A lot of the talking to people activities annoy xenophobe factions or are outright forbidden by the ethic, and going Isolationist stance does bad things to the influence costs. Trust cap is based on your highest agreement, so while stacking agreements doesn't increase trust cap it does increase trust growth. All this together means very slow or expensive diplomatic growth, which works against the base flavour of an otherwise standoffish empire cultivating a set of exceptional contacts.

Getting +30% trust growth solves, or at least mitigates, these issues. An embassy and a nonaggression pact gets you the same growth as an embassy and a nonaggression pact and a research agreement and either a migration treaty or trade agreement. So while the idea of increased trust growth might not fit someone's personal empire flavour, not having it (or some equivalent) would impact the civic's flavour even more. Because it just wouldn't work.
 
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Primarch Victus

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This is a very short sighted attitude. Mechanics do influence RP. If you take a civic called Ultimate Science Mans that is much worse at boosting ultimate science mans gameplay than another civic not called Ultimate Science Mans then that's going to negatively impact your RP of playing the ultimate science mans. If you're in a position where the civic with the right RP name is just flat worse than another near identical civic then that's a problem and the solution isn't to stick your fingers in your ears and complain about filthy min maxers rargle bargle. Good mechanics and good rp are not opposite ends of a line and increasing one doesn't automatically mean reducing the other, and shutting down discussion with the same fake min-max vs RP tribalism nonsense is not cool.

That said, the civic itself is absolutely fine.
And like I said, not everyone is interested in WASTING TIME min/maxing their empires -- some of us just play for the fun of a good RP that -- unlike what yout think -- can be well played without min/maxing.
 
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Tamwin5

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Huh. Pompous Purist has some disgustingly potent implications for the early and mid-game. Xenophobe may become a better Federation rush build than xenophile. Heck, stack this with Diplomatic Corps, and Xenophobes would have more envoys than Fanatic Xenophiles, and a bigger early-game pot of influence to boot with which to cover diplomatic deals.

Envoys are already one of the strongest tools players have in the early game, as they're effectively both influence-generating and threat-mitigating measures, and can be used for enabling conquest, science, or federaiton bonuses. For their role in making first contact and establishing rivalries, they are key for influence stockpiling in the early game. Parking an envoy on a neighbor is the best way to keep them neutral, enabling players to save thousands of alloys on fleets-not-needed, letting them make use of expansion and not have to worry about fleet upkeep. And spy networks are a way to scout an early conquest target at the phase of the game where you don't usually have the diplomatic insight into all of them- which, in turn, also lets you do the steal tech operation when it matters most, which pays dividends early if you focus on military techs and use it to clear your tech rolls of low-value clutter. And of course stacking envoys to get a new Federation cohesion up to max ASAP, and then being able to afford an additional Federation member per envoy to smooth out the differences.


In fact, if anything it's even more powerful early game than Diplo Corps. Although it has a slight weakness in that there is a gap where the AI will approach you to offer deals, but won't accept the same deal offered from you, Trust growth > Diplo weight in the early game, especially for Xenophobes who have to fight against their starting negatives to get people comfortable with them. This is a faster reaching of the trust point where people offer trade deals to develop further trust, which you leverage to get federation acceptance. Which will take less time to do so, because, again, trust growth.


Envoys are powerful. Anything that gives envoys is powerful. Being able to handle two more first contacts at once, or negate two neighbors at once, is powerful. And since this doesn't seem to be mutually exclusive with Diplomatic Corps...


Add to it the reworked diplo-tree- including +3 unity for every embassy (potentially massive on crowded maps in terms of getting your 3rd tradition online), and how Embassies build trust and the trust cap aspect that can offset your xenophobe opinion penalty-

If not an optimal first tradition, it can definitely make opening the galactic community ASAP an interesting option. Build a few extra science ships to explore ASAP, using your 3-5 envoys to reap all the first contact influence while embassies provide the unity to rush the second and third traditions...

If this applies to mega-corps, saving influence for early branch offices while getting increased trust growth will be a big enabler as you exploit branch office buildings earlier than otherwise possible.

Void Dweller can likely also make use of it. Not having to worry about neighbors means not needing a 20 corvette fleet, aka having an extra habitats worth of alloys in your first two decades. With the massive influence gain from a first-contact splurge, and unity from embassies to catch up on the Expansion tree as a second choice, there's some potent xenophobe-merchant set-up builds (though your empire will probably want to transition to xenophile later).

Fanatic Xenophile gives +2 envoys, so a xenophobe stacking Pompous Purists and Diplo Corps would have the same number of envoys as a Fanatic Xenophile Diplo Corps empire. And the bonus trust growth doesn't come anywhere near the opinion divergence between a xenophobe and a xenophile. Even assuming the same archetype (currently a 10% chance, soon to be 9% with aquatic species pack), the difference between a normal xenophobe and a fanatic xenophile is 45 opinion. If it's the 91% of the time that you have a difference archetype, then it's 90 opinion. A 30% trust bonus, in the optimal scenario of defense pact + diplomacy finisher, at the exact moment where trust hits 150, an empire without that bonus would be at 115.4, a 34.6 difference. And that difference will only last for around 2 years before it's completely gone as the alternate empire maxes out trust.

A pompous Purists + Diplo Corps build could be viable for early game diplomacy, but it still falls short of just fanatic xenophile (and honestly probably regular xenophile too) + Diplo Corps. Not to metion that being xenophobe prevents you from using proactive first contact, so you get less influence. Not sure if the reduced outpost cost makes up for that or not.
 
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Alfha Robby

Private
Aug 9, 2018
10
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its nice to see old anomaly being updated though still no news about comet hit the planet event & Watchful Regulator no longer ban other empire to research dangerous technology (if only there's event that awaken said fanatic materialist fallen empire into awaken fallen empire once other empire beside fallen empire finish research dangerous tech similar with destroying holy world instantly awaken fanatic spiritual empire) is kinda a let down.

also any idea to add new variant of planet since only 9 ordinary planet seem the main reason why the game become monotone after reaching mid game, adding new planet diversity like dune world, snow world while dry planets have awesome energy but fewer food, wet planet have awesome food but fewer energy & cold world have awesome mineral but fewer energy planetary modifier.

though thanks to planetary diversity mod and its add on stave of my hunger for more planet & planetary anomaly event variation.
 
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DeanTheDull

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Aug 21, 2021
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Fanatic Xenophile gives +2 envoys, so a xenophobe stacking Pompous Purists and Diplo Corps would have the same number of envoys as a Fanatic Xenophile Diplo Corps empire. And the bonus trust growth doesn't come anywhere near the opinion divergence between a xenophobe and a xenophile. Even assuming the same archetype (currently a 10% chance, soon to be 9% with aquatic species pack), the difference between a normal xenophobe and a fanatic xenophile is 45 opinion. If it's the 91% of the time that you have a difference archetype, then it's 90 opinion. A 30% trust bonus, in the optimal scenario of defense pact + diplomacy finisher, at the exact moment where trust hits 150, an empire without that bonus would be at 115.4, a 34.6 difference. And that difference will only last for around 2 years before it's completely gone as the alternate empire maxes out trust.

A pompous Purists + Diplo Corps build could be viable for early game diplomacy, but it still falls short of just fanatic xenophile (and honestly probably regular xenophile too) + Diplo Corps. Not to metion that being xenophobe prevents you from using proactive first contact, so you get less influence. Not sure if the reduced outpost cost makes up for that or not.

Fair points all. I was overstating it as my first thoughts went towards how it'd compare to regular xenophobes but let it bleed to xenophiles. Definitely not as ideal for deiplomacy as being a filthy xenophile, but at least you're not being a filthy xenophile with their Mercantile trade value stacking and hyper-attractive faction that's trivially easy to keep super happy and grumble grumble grumble...

That said, while it's definitely not 'as good', the real question is whether it's good enough to let xenophobes play at the Xenophile diplomacy play house, by which I mean the real standard of comparison isn't the Xenophiles of themselves, but other empires who'd also have to be investing civics into diplomacy. As long as it's good enough to get your Federation up and running, then that's all it really needs to do, even as

The influence economy bit is... I don't think wash is the right word, because it's what the envoys can also be doing that also matters, and the Xenophobe's own expansion savings. Xenophobes can't get the extra first-contact influence, but they also get a influence cost savings per system they expand to- another way of looking at the dynamic is that everyone else needs proactive first contact influence to dump into their starbase expansion influence cost, while xenophobes have a safer and quicker first contact cycles. Not sure off-hand what the exact influence savings is- something like the influence savings of 2-3 xenophobe influence savings?- and the estimated First Contact time is a big ambiguous. I've heard the player gets a hidden advantage against the AI regardless, but xenophobe 'cautious' stance making others take longer does give them the chance to have tighter turn-around cycles, ie finishing one first contact and then finishing a second before the second target could finish their own first contact. That beats them to the punch, giving you more influence and denying them theirs. Stack on two additional envoys to do that with...

I suspect it'd be north of positive, but the other gameplay dynamic change would be the competitive advantage of a safer and start. Xenophobes are already an early-expansion/growth advantage empire- using influence savings to snap up more chokepoints and systems sooner, letting the pop-growth modifier get colonies up and running faster- but this is restrained by the fact that early expansion is alloy-intensive and makes you 'brittle'. If you're spending your early alloys on expansion and colony ships, you're not spending them on the fleets to defend against your enemies.

Envoys getting relations into the positive are your best defense against that against anything but purifiers, but with your early-game first contact also needing envoys, that creates a tension that usually is resolved by xenophobes not mitigating their unpopularity, and then being rivaled as soon as they have the military strength to be worth rivaling. This has been the dynamic that has made xenophiles so safe by constrast. By being popular and with the extra envoy to spare, they don't need to build those defenses early on, meaning that while they can be limited by the influence needs, they can usually spare the alloys to afford the outposts and expand at equivalent rates.

Giving xenophobes more envoys and faster-growing trust will enable them to better exploit their intrensic early-game expansion/growth advantage. That may not be meta or necessarily viable in competitive co-op, but it's certainly a significant change compared to their current dynamic where they're often forced to stop expanding and turtle in the early game as they build fleets to defend against being unpopular, even as the galaxy fills up and their system expansion advantage goes away.
 
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Primarch Victus

Captain
20 Badges
Feb 10, 2017
471
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I prefer to trust that the Stellaris's game devs know what thye are doing than waste my time answering questions to someone complaining without any logical reason.
 
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