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Stellaris Dev Diary #237 - Reworking Unity, Part One

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Welcome back! We hope you’ve all had a wonderful few weeks.

Today we’ll start with some more information about the goals of the Unity Rework mentioned in Dev Diary 215 (and briefly in 234), some updates on how things have been going so far, and our plans going forward.

Please note: All values and screen captures shown here are still very much in development and subject to change.

Identified Problems and Design Goals

Currently in Stellaris, Unity is an extremely weak resource that can generally be ignored, and due to the current implementation of Admin Capacity, the Empire Sprawl mechanic is largely toothless - leading to wide tech rushing being an oppressively powerful strategy. Since Unity is currently very easily generated through incidental means and provides minimal benefits, Empires have little need to develop a Unity generation base, and Spiritualist ethics are unattractive.

Influence is currently used for many internal and external interactions, making it a valuable resource, but it sometimes feels too limiting.

Our basic design goals for the Unity Rework can be summarized as:
  • Unity should be a meaningful resource that represents the willingness of your empire to band together for the betterment of society and their resilience towards negative change.
    • Unity should be more valuable than it is now, and empires focused on Unity generation should be interesting to play.
      • Spiritualist empires should have a satisfying niche to exploit and be able to feel that they are good at something.
      • The number of sources of incidental Unity from non-dedicated jobs should be reduced.
      • Empires that do not focus on Unity (but do not completely ignore it) should still be able to acquire their Ascension Perks by the late game.
    • Reward immersive decisions with Unity grants whenever possible.
    • Internal empire matters should generally utilize Unity.
      • Provide more ways to spend Unity.
      • Rebalance the way edicts work (again).
  • Reduce the oppressive impact of tech rushing by reintroducing some rubber-banding mechanics.
  • Make tall play more viable, preferring to balance tall vs. wide play in favor of distinctiveness, and emphasizing differences between hives, machines, megacorps, and normal empires. (This does not necessarily mean that tall Unity focused empires will be the equal of wide Research focused ones, but they should have some things that they are good at and be more competitive in general than they are now.)
  • In the late game, Unity focused empires should have a benefit to look forward to similar to the repeatable technologies a Research focused empire would have.
In this iteration we have focused on some of these bullets more than others, but will continue to refine the systems over future Custodian releases.

So What Are We Doing?

All means of increasing Administrative Capacity have been removed. While there are ways to reduce the Empire Sprawl generated by various sources, and this will be used to help differentiate gameplay between different empire types, empires will no longer be able to completely mitigate sprawl penalties. Penalties and sprawl generation values have been significantly modified.
  • The Capital designation, for instance, now also reduces Empire Sprawl generated by Pops on the planet.
1641998332819.png


Bureaucrats, Priests, Managers, Synapse Drones, and Coordinators will be the primary sources of Unity for various empire types. Culture Workers have been removed.

Autochthon Memorials (and similar buildings) now increase planetary Unity production and themselves produce Unity based on the number of Ascension Perks the Empire has taken. Being monuments, they no longer require workers.

1641998343919.png

These monuments are now planet-unique, and can be built by Spiritualist empires.

The Edicts Cap system has been removed. Toggled Edicts will have monthly Unity Upkeep which is modified by Empire Sprawl. Each empire has an Edicts Fund which subsidizes Edict Upkeep, reducing the amount you have to pay each month to maintain them. Things that previously increased Edict Capacity now generally increase the Edicts Fund, but some civics, techs, and ascension perks have received other thematic modifications.

1641998361029.png

As an example, some Bureaucratic technologies now modify the Edicts Fund.

1641998374401.png

The Imperial Cult will squander any excess Edicts Fund on icons of the God Emperor at the end of the month. No refunds!

Several systems that used to cost Influence are now paid in Unity.
  • Planetary Decisions that were formerly paid in Influence. Prices have been adjusted.
  • Resettlement of pops. Abandoning colonies still costs Influence.
  • Manipulation of internal Factions. Factions themselves will now produce Unity instead of Influence.
Since Factions are no longer producing Influence, a small amount of Influence is now generated by your fleet, based on Power Projection - a comparison of your fleet size and Empire Sprawl.

Leaders now cost Unity to hire rather than Energy. They also have a small amount of Unity Upkeep. We understand that this increases the relative costs of choosing to hire several scientists at the start of the game for exploration purposes, or when “cycling” leader traits, as you are now choosing between Traditions and Leaders..

1641998387012.png

And then some empires go and break all the rules.

Most Megastructures now cost Unity rather than Influence, with the exception of any related to travel (such as Gateways) or that provide living space (such as Habitats and Ring Worlds).

Authority bonuses have (unsurprisingly) undergone some changes again, as several of them related to systems that no longer exist or operate differently now.

When Will This Happen?

Since these are pretty big changes that touch many game systems in so many ways, we’ve decided to put these changes up in a limited duration Open Beta on Steam for playtest and feedback. This will give us a chance to adjust values and modify some game interactions before the changes get pushed to live later on in the 3.3.x patch cycle, and we will continue improving on them in future Custodian releases.

We’ll provide more details on the specifics of how the Open Beta will be run in next week's dev diary.

What Else is Planned?

As noted earlier, we’d like Unity to also reflect the resilience of your empire to negative effects. A high Unity empire may be more resistant to negative effects deficits or possibly even have their pops rise up to help repel invaders, but these ideas are still in early development and will not be part of this Open Beta or release. They’ll likely be tied to the evolving Situations that we mentioned in Dev Diary 234 - we’ll talk about those more in the future once their designs are finalized.

Next week I’ll go into details regarding the Open Beta, go over a new system that is meant to provide “tall” and Unity focused empires some significant mid to late game benefits called Planetary Ascension Tiers, and share details on another little something from one of our Content Designers.
 
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From Eladrin:
Silens said:
Aside from factions not generating influence anymore, can we expect more changes to them?
I'd like to go more in depth into empire institutions, factions, and the like in a future release. The scope of factional changes will be minimal for now.

Kaoru Sen'nin said:
I just hope wide playstyle is not killed on the spot with those sprawl change.
From my experience with the systems thus far, wide is still very effective (and if I want to be less diplomatic, it's still more powerful overall) but these changes give tall play some niches that skilled players can exploit.

Darth. said:
Playerbase appeased: +10 unity per month
Time to activate some more edicts!

Aexrael said:
The wording of this suggests that the changes outlined above in this DD won't be released to coincide with the 3.3 Update, but sometime later as a point update to 3.3.x, is that correct?
Unless the Open Beta overwhelmingly tells us "Ship it! No additional changes needed", I ideally want to move it live in a 3.3.x patch. We can gather so much more data with even a week of player testing and feedback than we can do internally, and these are touching so many systems that I'd like to be able to iterate on it some more before taking it live.

DeanTheDull said:
For rogue servitors, how will this affect bio-trophies and will Servitors get access to Coordinator Drones?

In the current build, Servitors rely on Bio Trophies for incidental unity, and are blocked from the normal Machine unity buildings. If the goal is to reduce incidental unity, will bio-trophies be rebalanced to less unity and servitors able to focus planets on unity production?
Bio-trophies will remain the primary source of Unity for Rogue Servitors. (And they'll remain cut off from the other normal Machine sources.)

DeanTheDull said:
Will planets get a unity-cost reduction designation akin to the industrial designations, or will your unity worlds still be best as the urban world designation for building upkeep reduction?
The Bureaucratic designation will be turned into a Unity based designation.

DeanTheDull said:
If factions no longer give influence, how will the Authoritarian influence roles be adjusted? The current balance is Egalitarians get more influence over time thanks to factions, but authoritarians have a flat influence buff at game start. If Egalitarian goes unity-boons, will authoritarian also get a flat unity boon, or will it keep influence but have fewer internal things to spend it on?
Currently Authoritarians retain their Influence bonuses, and Egalitarians get extra Faction Unity rather than Faction Influence.

DeanTheDull said:
If factions give unity, will non-state ethics reduce unity, since they are ideologically opposed to the ruling government?
Not at this time, but we've discussed things along those lines, including rebellious pops gaining Unity upkeep. We may explore such ideas more in the future.
Agamidae said:
So in Feudal Society you won't be able to change resarchers until they die? I don't know if that's worth the extra unity.
You'll be able to reassign their jobs, but won't be able to permanently fire them. While they have a job, they don't cost Unity, so that scientist that developed half a dozen negative traits gets put on a ship and sent to explore until he dies.

Dragatus said:
This all sounds very good. My one point of disagreement is that you're going with Bureaucrats as Unity producing job for regular empires and scrapping Culture Workers. I would've preferred it if Culture Workers were the standard Unity job and Bureaucrats were a Culture Worker replacement job provided by the Byzantine Bureaucracy civic (much like Warrior Culture replaces Entertainers with Duelists).
Planets full of bureaucrats maintaining the order of the empire are a common sci-fi trope, but admittedly a little dystopian. Maybe there's still a spot for Culture Workers out there.

Cat_Fuzz said:
I do like the idea of using influence for espionage - makes way more sense as well.
Influence may benefit from a few additional sinks. We'll keep an eye on some of this, but it's possible that it would be a better resource for it than energy.
Pancakelord said:
Re Power projection, just so i understand, maximising fleet power whilst minimizing empire size, will increase/maximise power projection? (i.e. small country big fleet)

To maximize bonuses from your power projection you'll try to keep your fleet size above your Empire Sprawl.

DarkSafire said:
If all means of increasing Administrative Capacity have been removed does it mean its cap will increase dynamically/automatically? Otherwise after colonizing few planets or just by building districts you could very fast get to, as example, 200/30 AC and get something like +100% tech cost in early game, leading to same tech lab rush you want to avoid.

The penalties for Sprawl are unavoidable in this system, but numbers have been reduced. One of the things I plan on watching during the Open Beta is whether we'll want some base Admin Capacity to exist. (For example, "Sprawl under 50 is ignored.")
Critical Ethics said:
Small niche UI comment: Part of why being over admin cap feels bad is the UI presents it as bad. It's red, and everywhere else in the UI red = bad. If going over admin cap is expected then high sprawl should be a neutral yellow or blue or similar. If anything being under your admin cap should be red because you haven't picked up all your "free" systems, which is bad, while being over just means you've got a lot of stuff, which is good.

Empire Sprawl will be displayed in a neutral manner in the UI.

Tech Noir Synth said:
This does sound very interesting. So somehow unity is going to turn into repeatable techs like 5% mineral output bonus, Energy weapon attack speed, naval capacity?

No, they'll get a different system to improve their empire. We'll talk about it in next week's diary.

Anarcomu said:
Mmmmh, like others have said, your capacity to field a large fleet make sense in offering capacity to project on international politics, aka influence.
And, it might not be clear, but I did understand that you get a fixe amount of influence per month, which is then reduced if your fleet doesn't match your empire size.

This is an accurate interpretation of how Power Projection will work.

From Alfray Stryke:
EzekielRaiden said:
1. Does this mean Spiritualists will still build the Temple building sequence?
2. If yes, given the Autochthon Monument is being turned into this other building, will non-Spiritualists get a different building, or are Temples now a special distinctive perk of having Spiritualist ethics?

We're looking at which empire configurations get which buildings as part of the rework, not everything we're changing could fit in a single dev diary.
TheRevanchist25 said:
...an army of slaves...

Regardless of any of your other arguments, the Egyptian pyramids were not built using slave labour.

That said...

TheRevanchist25 said:
Explain to me how Megastructures needing Unity makes ANY effing sense at all?

Megastructures still require alloys for construction as the material resource, the non-material resource (previously Influence) is now Unity as we are making Unity the "resource" to model internal political pressure, while Influence is external pressure.

TheRevanchist25 said:
The Force Projection concept is asinine, since it's based only on size of fleet.

There's other factors that play into it as well.
Cassilda said:
Just a thought, but please don't rename bureaucrats to managers. While managers has perfect sense for a corporate authority, the name seems quite out of place for states that are bases on a monarchical or republican government form.

Managers are for corporate empires already, so no need to be worried about that :)
 
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I really like the concept of having Unity be for internal government usage, and influence for external foreign policy.

And the use of unity for leaders is really good! Will make the early game more interesting for sure deciding between traditions and scientists.

Very excited to see the Situations stuff in the near future, especially if it is alongside a greater rework of factions, ethics drift and government departments/institutions.
 
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I just hope wide playstyle is not killed on the spot with those sprawl change.

Investing ressources to war and actually commiting is a gamble that involve way more risk that just turtling in one corner and I feel like there should be some kind of trade off.
 
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Not sure how this will play out in detail, but I like the general direction this is going in.

(Please consider some rework to the faction mechanics as well while yo're at it, they are pretty bland at the moment.)
 
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we’ve decided to put these changes up in a limited duration Open Beta on Steam for playtest and feedback.
Playerbase appeased: +10 unity per month
;)
 
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I thought you guys were going to replace Admin Cap & Empire Sprawl with a Unity-based mechanic as well. Where are the details on that? I've been waiting since before Christmas for that news, and I can barely contain my excitement to know how it's going to unfold!

EDIT: Oh it's coming next week. Sorry for getting ahead of myself. Nevermind!
 
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When Will This Happen?

Since these are pretty big changes that touch many game systems in so many ways, we’ve decided to put these changes up in a limited duration Open Beta on Steam for playtest and feedback. This will give us a chance to adjust values and modify some game interactions before the changes get pushed to live later on in the 3.3.x patch cycle, and we will continue improving on them in future Custodian releases.
The wording of this suggests that the changes outlined above in this DD won't be released to coincide with the 3.3 Update, but sometime later as a point update to 3.3.x, is that correct?
 
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DeanTheDull

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Bureaucrats, Priests, Managers, Synapse Drones, and Coordinators will be the primary sources of Unity for various empire types. Culture Workers have been removed.

For rogue servitors, how will this affect bio-trophies and will Servitors get access to Coordinator Drones?

In the current build, Servitors rely on Bio Trophies for incidental unity, and are blocked from the normal Machine unity buildings. If the goal is to reduce incidental unity, will bio-trophies be rebalanced to less unity and servitors able to focus planets on unity production?


Additional questions-

What sort of changes can the Memorialist civic expect? It's currently a high-unity civic, but if other unity methods are being buffed and are available at start, it's value would go down.

Will planets get a unity-cost reduction designation akin to the industrial designations, or will your unity worlds still be best as the urban world designation for building upkeep reduction?

If factions no longer give influence, how will the Authoritarian influence roles be adjusted? The current balance is Egalitarians get more influence over time thanks to factions, but authoritarians have a flat influence buff at game start. If Egalitarian goes unity-boons, will authoritarian also get a flat unity boon, or will it keep influence but have fewer internal things to spend it on?

If factions give unity, will non-state ethics reduce unity, since they are ideologically opposed to the ruling government?
 
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I don't understand why the Admin Capacity should be entirely removed for the Unity system, sure, they're almost useless (unity), but I don't see how that makes sense for an Empire to grow, this reduce a lot our expansions capabilities, doesn't it??

I mean can't both have a middle ground? Admin Capacity makes more sense to maintain a large Empire than Unity does.. After all you do need clerks/burocrauts to maintain an Empire.

Let the Unity on Empire size affect only those who has inclination to Spiritualist.

P.S: It's funny seeing ppl disagreeing with an opinion when the first thing I said is: I don't understand
 
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DeanTheDull

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Aside from factions not generating influence anymore, can we expect more changes to them?

Them producing unity will be significant, since that will likely become a significant part of how many edicts you can support beyond your edict fund cap. That means high-cohesion governments could possibly afford more 50% worker edicts or such, which would be a large boon.
 
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Please please make edicts and policies into a toggle with monthly upkeep, I absolutely hate toggling them all back on every 10 years.
 
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Flamie

Moonfox
66 Badges
Jun 25, 2017
20
247
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  • Reward immersive decisions with Unity grants whenever possible.
I feel like a cool idea would be to give unity to the player if they pick event options in line with their ethics. Like picking an aggressive option would grant you unity as a militarist empire and picking the option to research something gives unity to materialists, etc..
 
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DeanTheDull

Lt. General
Aug 21, 2021
1.527
3.529
I don't understand why the Admin Capacity should be entirely removed for the Unity system, sure, they're almost useless (unity), but I don't see how that makes sense for an Empire to grow, this reduce a lot our expansions capabilities, doesn't it??

I mean can't both have a middle ground? Admin Capacity makes more sense to maintain a large Empire than Unity does.. After all you do need clerks/burocrauts to maintain an Empire.

Let the Unity on Empire size affect only those who has inclination to Spiritualist.

Admin buildings are your unity producers now, and one of the uses for unity, as previously mentioned in other diaries, is to mitigate the impact of sprawl.

You don't just endure sprawl penalties, you build admin buildings to generate the unity to spend to mitigate. It's the same function, but different form, of the admin cap raising.
 
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