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Stellaris Dev Diary #253 - Three in One 3.4 'Cepheus' Patch Notes and more!

cepheus free features 3.png

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all excited to get your hands on our next expansion ‘Overlord’ next week! Expanding on the Subject/Ruler dynamic has been something that we know a lot of you (and us, internally) have been wanting for a very long time, so it’s really amazing to finally see it come to fruition!

So to hold you over until Overlord release, here is the usual Dev Diary containing the changelog for you to read!

But first, we have a few Community events to talk about:

Today at 1700 CEST (UTC + 2), join us on the Official Stellaris Discord for our Overlord Dev Q&A! Have a question about something in today’s patch notes? Stop by and ask!

As well, join us starting at 1400 CEST on May 7th and 8th, for our Content Creator Multiplayer Showcase. We’ll be streaming Overlord all weekend on Twitch and YouTube, with some of our favorite community content creators!

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######################### VERSION 3.4.0 ###########################
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###################
Overlord Expansion Features
###################

  • Three new advanced subject types called Specialist Empires have been introduced, which excel in certain areas while having deficiencies in others.
    • Bulwark - A bastion of defense that leaves basic resource acquisition to others.
    • Prospectorium - Excels at resource acquisition but has weaker research.
    • Scholarium - Specializes in research but relies on their allies for military support.

Similar to how Federations advance or degrade based on Cohesion, Specialist Empires improve based on loyalty, gaining additional perks and strengthening their bonuses and penalties as they level up through three tiers.

  • New Constructions and Megastructures
    • Hyper Relays - Chained together, Hyper Relays permit high speed fleet travel and projection of effects to systems connected via the network.
    • Orbital Rings - Built around your worlds, Orbital Rings act similarly to Starbases and allow further development or defense of these core planets.
    • Quantum Catapult - The galaxy is within reach as the Quantum Catapult lets you fling ships across the galaxy, though with questionable accuracy. Yeet.

  • New Enclaves
    • Salvager Enclave - A generally friendly bunch of tinkerers, obsessed with engineering, battle debris, and restoring or scrapping antiquated ships.
    • Shroudwalker Enclave - Disciples of the Shroud, the Shroudwalkers can call upon its powers to create shroud tunnels, or to attempt to divine the future - if you dare.
    • Mercenary Enclave - Empires can release a fleet to create a self-reinforcing Mercenary Enclave that brings dividends back to their patron. But remember, business is business, and concepts like loyalty don’t pay the bills.

  • New Origins
    • Imperial Fiefdom - Your first steps into space were brutally short. Immediately subjugated alongside several others by a powerful and decadent overlord, you begin the game as a Specialist Empire of your choice.
    • Teachers of the Shroud - Your civilization was identified as a civilization of interest long ago by the Shroudwalkers, who carefully nurtured your development as their visions instructed. Your species begins with the Latent Psionics trait and in contact with the Shroudwalker coven.
    • Slingshot to the Stars - The Slingshot to the Stars origin explores how a nearby Quantum Catapult could shape your civilization. The histories of your people are filled with tales of brilliant lights flashing across the sky before the long seasons of darkness.
    • Subterranean - The underground homes of Subterranean empires grant defensive and mining benefits while allowing them to avoid hostile environments on the surface, at the cost of slower expansion.
    • Progenitor Hive - Hive-Mind only (also requires Utopia). The hive relies on the presence of the powerful offspring of the progenitor, guiding the hive’s will with incredible skill. Protect them well, for the drones are lost without their presence.

  • New Ascension Perk - Profit from conflict with the Lord of War Ascension Perk.

  • New Galactic Community Resolutions - Debate the place of Mercenaries and the rights and responsibilities of subjects and overlords with three new lines of Resolutions.

  • New music tracks - 4 new songs added to the game and Original Soundtrack

  • New Achievements - Show the galaxy who leads them with 11 new Steam achievements.

###################
3.4 “Cepheus” Features and Changes
###################

  • Situations - Include a new system for tracking and interacting with ongoing stories in your empire
    • Deficit Situations will trigger if you have a negative monthly balance of a resource and it runs out.
    • Revolt Situations may trigger on planets with low stability, overhauling previous rebellion mechanics.
    • Machine Uprising Situation replaces old Machine Uprising event (requires synthetic dawn)
    • Leviathan Situations celebrate your great triumphs when besting such mighty beasts.
    • Other narrative Situations have been implemented to add even more flavor to your campaigns.

  • Negotiation of Subjugation Agreements - The terms of subjugation agreements can now be negotiated and changed. Some terms that can be altered include:
    • Integration Possibility
    • Diplomatic Freedom
    • Ability to Expand
    • Resource Subsidies and Tithes
    • Defensive and Offensive War Responsibilities
    • Overlord Holding Limit
    • Sensor Sharing

The default terms of some contracts have been updated to fit the new system, and some specific terms or settings require Overlord.

  • Allegiance Wars - The Pledge Secret Fealty diplomatic action has been added, which allows subject empires to secretly plot with a new overlord. This permits a War of Allegiance - a new war goal that allows empires to fight other Overlords for control of subjects that have pledged secret fealty to them. All subjects that have pledged secret fealty will turn on their former overlord during the war.

  • Subject Changes/Improvements:
    • Overlords can now build a holding on Subject Planets (holdings may require certain civics, origins, or DLC)
      • Overlord Garrison
      • Emporium
      • Aid Agency
      • Ranger Lodge - Environmentalist Civic
      • Noble Chateaus - Aristocratic Elite Civic
      • Recruitment Center - Citizens Service Civic
      • Gaia Seeder Outpost - Idyllic Bloom Civic (requires Plantoids)
      • Tree of Life Sapling - Tree of Life Origin (requires Utopia)
      • Dread Outpost - Reanimators Civic (requires Necroids)
      • Sacrificial Shrine - Death Cult Civics (requires Necroids)
      • Reemployment Center - Permanent Employment Civic (requires Necroids and Megacorp)
      • Franchising HQ - Franchising Civic (requires Megacorp)
      • Communal Housing Outreach - Shared Burdens Civic (requires Utopia)
      • Organic Haven - Rogue Servitor Civic (requires Synthetic Dawn)
      • Experimental Crater - Calamitous Birth Origin (requires Lithoids)
      • And twelve more holdings with Overlord.
    • Subjects now have a Loyalty value, rather than loyalty solely depending on their opinion of their overlord.
    • Subjects’ ethical compatibility with their Overlords may result in a monthly loyalty bonus or penalty.
    • Having more than one subject adds a monthly loyalty penalty to all subjects, which can be worked around with various civics and or the Shared Destiny ascension perk.
    • Subjects and Overlords have a bonus to infiltration growth on each other.
    • Operations on your subject or Overlord are reduced in difficulty.
    • Additional trade deal options between subjects and Overlords have been added.
    • Releasing a sector as subject now grants an initial 100 intel on that subject.
    • Integration is disabled by default.
    • Sectors released as subjects can now inherit the following origins from their parent empire, where appropriate - Progenitor Hive, Subterranean, Void Dweller, or Calamitous Birth.
    • Gateways (and Hyper Relays) can now be built in subject space.
    • AI Subjects of Player Empires now receive AI bonuses as if the difficulty level of the game were one level lower, rather than losing their bonuses entirely.

  • MegaCorp Improvements as both Overlords and Subjects:
    • Empires that are the target of Impose Ideology wars or those created from Status Quo peace deals are no longer rival Megacorps, but instead Oligarchies with the Merchant Guilds civic.
    • Corporate Overlords can establish branch offices in their non-corporate subjects without having to sign a Commercial Pact. Likewise, corporate subjects with a non-corporate overlord can open branch offices in their overlord and fellow subjects.

  • Major improvements to Planetary Automation:
    • Planetary Automation scripts based on designation are now more focused regarding what they build.
    • Right clicking on the planetary automation button will now open a menu which allows you to customize your focus of planetary automation: for instance, as well as the designation based focus (“build more minerals buildings”), it lets you enable handling of amenities and housing, crime, as well as more specialized building options such as psi corps.
    • Sector automation and planetary automation have been unified into the same system (sector automation will activate planetary automation for all planets in the sector, and assign relevant planetary designation types to the planets unless overridden.)
    • Additional planetary or sector automation options have been added:
      • Added a Unity sector automation setting
      • Forge, Factory and Industrial designations are now available on Ring Worlds
      • Fortress world designation is now available on Machine Worlds and Hive Worlds

  • Automatic Resettlement Improvements
    • The Auto Resettlement formula for picking which planet pops will be resettled to has been improved: it is now easier to steer pops towards your capital and other special worlds (e.g. ring worlds).
      • Pops will now pick which planet to auto-migrate to based on which planet has the most free jobs, rather than the least. They also now take free housing into account better
      • "Ideal" worlds such as ring worlds, gaia worlds, hive worlds and machine worlds now have a 50% higher score when pops are deciding where to automatically resettle to. So they are more likely to want to move to your newly-founded ring world, for instance. Capital world planet designations also have a +10% score, and freshly founded colonies have 25% from their designation.
    • The resettlement tooltip (found by hovering over unemployment in the planet view) now provides far greater insights into how the system works, including showing the reasons pops cannot automatically resettle or the planet they are most likely to resettle to.
    • The outliner has been updated so planets with unemployed pops that are auto-migrating are now shown a yellow suitcase. The red suitcase should only appear if the planet actually requires your attention to resolve the unemployment problem.

  • Various AI improvements with a focus on military behavior - full details in section below

  • Added 73 new flag emblems, 63 new flag backgrounds and 47 new flag colors (including white!).
    • 12 new emblems each to match the Plantoid, Lithoid, Necroid, Aquatic, and Imperial shipsets
    • 6 new emblems for the Corporate and Legion categories
    • 1 new emblem for Paradox Arctic in Umeå

  • Added improved human portraits, with 5 phenotypes, 5 eye colors, 7 clothing styles and many, many hairstyles (including facial hair)!

  • Added Japanese and Korean language support.

###################
Balance
###################

  • Subjugation casus belli is now automatically granted towards inferior empires.
  • The Parliamentary System civic now allows factions to be generated much earlier in the game.
  • Defense Platforms now have increased range, fire rate, tracking, and hull points, and are faster to build.
  • Base market price for slaves doubled from 500 to 1000 energy credits to make selling pops more viable. Slave traits cost Modifiers for the Slave Market have been increased by roughly 10 times for positive ones and 4 times for negative traits.
  • Endgame Crises can now happen after 25 years rather than 50 of the End Times.
  • The Plunder wargoal now increases the chance to steal relics (that aren't the Galatron) to 50%.
  • The Numistic Administration trait no longer provides an increase to energy output, it now provides a +33% output to trade value from jobs.
  • Removed the requirement to have an upgraded capital building in order to build research labs or rare resource manufacturing buildings
  • The Shared Destiny AP no longer affects subject integration cost or trust, instead removes the monthly loyalty penalty from having multiple subjects. Additionally, it can now be taken by Corporate empires.
  • The Grasp the Void AP now grants increased draw weight for FTL travel techs.
  • The Unbidden can no longer spawn in pulsar systems (as the star will disable their Dimensional Portal's shields)
  • Resistance is Frugal no longer grants your strongholds a unity production of 3, instead it gives you 0.5 unity for each defensive army you have.
  • Strength of Legions and Warbots now start with rank 3 Admirals and Generals.
  • Espionage Operations now cost Influence to start rather than Energy Credits. Costs have been reduced by a factor of 10.
  • Low Military Intel is now gained at 30 Intel instead of 40 and Medium Military Intel is now gained at 60 Intel instead of 70. The effects of Medium and High Military Intel have been swapped - medium now allows you to view ship loadout, high now grants visibility of location of military fleets.
  • Added a nanites deposit to the Scavenger Bot system so you can use the reward you get for killing it.
  • The Subterranean empire from the Seismic Disturbances event chain now spawns with the new Subterranean origin.
  • Numistic Data Modeling technology now provides +5% Trade Value.

###################
AI
###################

  • With sufficient Intel, there will now be a notification that the AI is planning to declare war on the player.
  • Fixed a variety of AI military fleet behavior issues, including:
    • AI will be better at merging fleets where that makes sense (e.g. during peacetime, or when they have the same mission)
    • Fixed issues where your allies would follow your take point command even though they were not hostile to your targets, and several other issues with take point and follow fleet behavior
    • AI will now more actively engage hostile crises if they or their allies have been attacked by them
    • Fixed an issue where an AI fleet could get trapped in an enemy system by a disabled starbase. It will now approach the starbase to capture it.
  • AI will now enable buildings that have been disabled.
  • AI will now scale the production of rare resources according to the size of their economy.
  • Moderately reduced the frequency of how often AI will sell slaves on the market.
  • AI will now only consider jobs producing at least 3 amenities when doing the planet amenity balancing logic.
  • AI will now declare "death spiral status" if they have 0 minerals and a negative mineral income. Jobs consuming minerals will be deprioritized until a sufficient mineral income has been reached and the empire can start rebuilding itself.
  • The AI will now wait for a period of time before changing planet designations when taking over a player empire in multiplayer.
  • AI members of a federation will no longer propose a vote on a law change that has been proposed in the last 10 years by anyone in the Federation.
  • The player now gets a notification when the AI has recalled their embassy.
  • AI will now only propose an embassy if they have a positive +50 relation and remove their embassy if they have lower than -50
  • The AI is now better at dealing with non-standard colony ships (e.g. private colony ships, Lithoid colony asteroids).
  • AI will now sell resources more aggressively to buy what they need in order to recover from death spiral type situations.
  • Fixed several issues with Galactic Community voting, AI will no longer propose resolutions against their alignment, AI can recall their proposals or vote against their own proposals in some situations where it makes sense. Tooltips will now show the reasons an AI empire is voting the way they are.

###################
UI
###################

  • Added new section in outliner for loaned out fleets (lease timer and its tooltip).
  • The alert for diminishing resource stockpiles now properly only lists resources which you will imminently run out of.
  • Added tooltips for agreement presets and specialist types to the Agreements view.
  • The outliner will now tell you about blockers you can remove if you are approaching the planet's carrying capacity and therefore suffering growth penalties.
  • Improved the layout of the Host DLC icons and surrounding elements in the Multiplayer Lobby.
  • Moved the “Copy Server ID” functionality to a separate button in the multiplayer lobby.

###################
Performance & Stability
###################

  • Optimized calculations for whether you are in breach of any galcom resolutions, which should provide a boost if many sanctions have been passed.
  • Improved the performance of using triggered economic category modifiers.
  • Improved performance of bypass handling in pathfinding to account for the fact that there are now many more of them in the galaxy (via hyper relays).
  • Adjusted various ship textures for improved performance.

###################
Other Improvements
###################

  • Significantly improved pop job assignment weightings:
    • Automatic scripted handling of resource output, trade and amenity bonuses and penalties from traits, i.e. pops with the better traits for the job will more reliably take the job. This eliminated many errors where we had imperfectly attempted to achieve this result in a much less robust and more verbose way.
    • Weighting now takes into account output penalties from low habitability
    • If you are in deficit, jobs producing that resource will now be weighted significantly higher, so your pops won't ignore mining jobs while your empire burns for lack of miners.
  • Added new Subjugation War Terms policy, which sets the default Agreement Terms used when subjugating other empires through war.
  • You can now nominate other empires to Custodianship, provided they meet the requirements.
  • Idyllic Bloom has been improved by allowing construction of the Gaia-Seeder buildings (and holding!) to be built on a wider range of planet types, in exchange for increased upkeep, depending on the empire’s terraforming technology. In addition, the civic can now be combined with the Life-Seeded and Shattered Ring origins. Finally, Idyllic Bloom empires start with a Phase 1 Gaia-Seeder on their capital where appropriate.
  • Shroud Entities that propose Covenants will now prefer empires that have ethics or civics that match their outlook. The End of the Cycle is more likely to offer a Covenant if another empire is a level 5 crisis.
  • Several improvements to Baol/Zroni spawning: they will no longer spawn arc sites in your capital system, one of the Baol arc sites is now vastly less likely to spawn in someone else's territory, and they are a bit less likely to all spawn in a heap in neighboring systems.
  • Modifiers giving administrator output now correctly reflect the sort of administrators the empire uses.
  • Individual names for game objects can now be localized, allowing players to read names in their own language.
  • Renamed the Corporate and Gestalt versions of Catalytic Processing to Catalytic Recyclers and Organic Reprocessing respectively.
  • Quget.

###################
Bug Fixes
###################

  • Federation allies in Common Ground and Hegemony origins no longer start with 0 resources (sometimes therefore falling into deficit immediately)
  • Multi-path jumps should now show proper arrows.
  • Bypass travel times are now correctly specified in days.
  • War exhaustion icon now displays the correct values when resuming a saved game.
  • Fixed the appearance of invalid em dash characters in a Crisis diplomacy message and a First Contact/Diplomacy tutorial event.
  • Update to VIR's diplomatic tact subroutines: the tutorial no longer refers to enclaves as likely possessing an animal intelligence.
  • Added a scrollbar to planetary production resources in planetview so they don't overflow.
  • Fixed a variety of issues and oversights where the job weight scripts would not take into account all production bonuses given by traits.
  • Fixed certain megastructure construction positions.
  • Planet automation can now use resources from the shared stockpile even when not part of a sector.
  • Fixed some cases where you would get popups that instantly disappeared while being in a federation.
  • Fixed DLC icons in the Multiplayer lobby sometimes escaping outside of their container.
  • Fixed Ancrel.4078 "Fire" event triggering for species that don't eat food.
  • Fixed order of repaired ringworld segments for ruined and partially ruined ringworlds.
  • Added emissive_recolor_crunch on some ships and turrets that lacked it
  • Deviant drones no longer provide trade value based off their living standards.
  • Gestalts can no longer get the Numistic Data Modeling tech.
  • Fixed rare case where the empire flag would be randomized for empires created in MP.
  • Fixed certain colony designation effects not having Planetary Ascension multipliers applied to them,
  • Fixed a bug where empires could sometimes (e.g. on revolts) end up registering as owning more starbases than they actually did for a time.
  • Fixed the ship reinforce button sometimes telling you repeatedly that there are no available shipyards.
  • Enrolled engineers in the Curator's seminar on "Ringworld Repairs and You!" (Repaired ringworlds from the shattered ring origin and alpha refuge no longer have display issues).
  • The shard will no longer inform the player twice about its demise.
  • Fixed an issue where the list of supporters for an upcoming resolution in the Galactic Community didn't refresh correctly when clicking between two Resolutions with the same number of supporters.
  • Fixed armies being mistaken for buildings in some build queue tooltips
  • Here Be Dragons empires are now less amazed to see an Ether Drake (it's still a remarkable occurrence, but not something the likes of which they've never seen before)
  • Fixed an issue where only one pop would switch jobs when shift-clicking to change job priority
  • Sectors released as subjects by empires with the Pompous Purist civic will have the civic removed.
  • Fixed some issues with AI Uprising Empires, where the created empire would have unreasonably large fleets, but could also immediately go bankrupt in several resources.
  • Fixed issue with scrollbars ending up outside of the technology window in the "researched” tab of the technology view.
  • Fixed Starbase triggered station modifiers not always applying properly (which means that now e.g. Offworld Trading Companies have an effect again)
  • Fixed some cases where countries would have policies set that they were not meant to be allowed to choose.
  • Fixed players being unable to replace e.g. a Mining District with an Industrial District if they were already replacing two Generator Districts with Industrial Districts.
  • Fixed scrollbar for DLC feature descriptions not being reset.
  • Fixed unlocalized DLC names in Multiplayer lobby.
  • Fixed tooltips for Mortal Initiates.
  • Fixed truncated data percentage in fleet view (in simple chinese).
  • Fixed fleet orders and activity text localisation overlaps.
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements in the Subterfuge traditions now correctly states that it increases Infiltration Required for hostile operations, rather than saying it increased the cost.
  • Added alternate text and event rewards for when Gestalt empires with the Doomsday origin colonize their first planet.
  • Transit Hubs no longer have incorrect and outdated text referring to previous versions of the automatic resettlement system.
  • Improved tooltips for Plunder wargoal.
  • Fixed federation background not rendering correctly
  • Fallen Empires spawned from the Scion origin have the correct graphical culture.
  • Fixed some issues where Artificers had the Artisan icon in certain texts
  • Fixed missing modifier icon for Ancient Trading Route
  • Fixed a rendering issue with drop pods.
  • Fixed a rendering issue with the mammalian orbital habitat.
  • Fixed some megastructures not animating properly.
  • Fixed hyperlane shader.

###################
Modding
###################

  • Script Values, Variables and Modifiers:
    • Added scripted_modifier directory where you can define new modifiers you can use in static_modifiers and apply via modifier:<modifier>
    • Solved issues where certain modifiers (or static modifiers in modifier fields) were not useable in certain places due to load order issues
    • Added the ability to use mult = value:script_value in triggered modifiers
    • Added support for “square = yes”, “square_root = yes”and “pow = x” in script values
    • The game will no longer spit out errors about event targets if you try to feed a parameter with decimal places (e.g. 0.5) into a script value
    • Added trigger check_economic_production_modifier_for_job to simplify job weights; rolled out script values across job weight calculations
    • Amended the distance_to_empire to support use of script values (both it in them and them in it)
  • Agreements, Subject Types and other Subjugation Topics:
    • Added new 'agreement' scope type
    • Added new database in common/agreement_presets for scripting presets of subject agreements
    • Added new database in common/agreement_term_values for scripting different options for subject agreement terms
    • Added new static database in common/agreement_terms for scripting terms for subject agreements
    • Replaced triggers can_be_subject, is_subject_type, and has_tributary with as scripted triggers
    • Added new 'subjects' trigger to check how many subjects a country has, regardless of agreement preset
    • Added agreement_event as an event type, along with an agreement_event effect
    • Added on_agreement_change_accepted on action that triggers when a subject agreement negotiation has been accepted
    • Added remove_secret_fealty effect to remove a secret fealty pact between two countries
    • Added trigger has_secret_fealty_with to check if there is a secret fealty between two empires
    • Add 'has_monthly_loyalty' trigger to check a subject's monthly loyalty
    • Add 'has_loyalty' trigger to check a subject's loyalty
    • Added an agreement_preset trigger for checking the selected preset in the agreement scope
    • Added new effect for setting the preset of a subject agreement
    • Added the effect set_agreement_terms for setting the terms of a subject agreement
    • Added a trigger to check if a subject agreement has an active specialization for a specified specialist type
    • Added a trigger to check the specialist level of a subject agreement
    • Added a trigger to check if a subject agreement has a specific specialist perk active
    • Added use_demanded_terms parameter to set_subject_of effect for applying agreement terms of previously demanded agreement diplo action
  • Added highly scriptable Situations system with many flexible parameters, effects and triggers
    • Situations are now their own scope (accessible via “any_situation”)
    • You can fire a new Situation via start_situation effect
    • The properties of the Situation are customizable in the common/situations folder. A documentation file provides full information on what parameters are available within the system (e.g. how fast the Situation progresses, what happens at various stages of it, and how the interface should look)
  • Added ImGui UI System
    • DearImGui is a third party UI development tool that helps us rapidly develop debug UIs.
    • Use “ImGui show” command to view a list of available views.
    • Use “ImGui show <view name>” to open an ImGui view.
    • Current release contains demo views and a “fleets” view for viewing internal fleet and ship data.
  • You can now specify a pop faction as the location of your event and the button will take you there.
  • Added scripted checks to diplomatic actions such that it is possible to forbid AI from doing diplomatic actions via script.
  • Country types can now be given limited_military_construction and limited_leaders, which will let them build fleets and hire leaders but bypasses most other construction.
  • Turned effects store_galactic_community_leader_backup_data and restore_galactic_community_leader_backup_data into scripted effects using new, more flexible effects for storing and restoring backup data of a country
  • Added on_colony_yearly_pulse
  • Added on_colony_25_years_old on_action
  • Added planet_garrison_strength trigger
  • Converted has_citizenship_rights from a scripted trigger into a trigger. This makes its performance significantly better (useful as it is checked a lot)
  • Added disable_building and ruin_building effects
  • You can now use num_districts in country scope
  • Global script variables can now be accessed in localization with $@VariableName$
  • Added "direction = corewards/rimwards" parameter to spawn_system
  • Added trigger to check if a country has a Secret Fealty pact from a subject of the target country
  • Error logs within scripted effects and triggers will now have useful file locations again
  • Shifted script for how many of each ship an AI wants to build from country_types to ship_sizes.
  • Shifted script for which armies an AI wants to build to the army_types entries from country_types
  • It is now possible to limit which ships an aura will affect by using a 'limit' trigger in the aura block of the ship component script
  • Add support for scoping to last_created_design
  • Add script lists for owned ship designs
  • Added remove_ship_design and remove_global_ship_design effects
  • Added modifiers ship_friendly_territory_fire_rate_mult, ship_friendly_territory_accuracy_add, ship_friendly_territory_accuracy_mult, ship_friendly_territory_evasion_add, ship_friendly_territory_evasion_mult, ship_friendly_territory_shield_add, ship_friendly_territory_shield_mult, ship_friendly_territory_tracking_add, ship_friendly_territory_tracking_mult that is only active while in a friendly territory
  • Added count_starbase_buildings trigger
  • System scope is now supported on count_starbase_buildings and count_starbase_modules.
  • Added owner_type option to buildings to specify if a building is a holding or not
  • Added effects add_starbase_component and remove_starbase_component to add and remove ship components to starbases that are standalone from modules and buildings
  • Added empire and ship wide windup modifiers for all bypass types. Following the "mod_<bypass_type>_<empire|ship>_windup format
  • Added quantum catapult modifiers
  • Added on_pop_resettled on_action
  • Added the ability to do country_add_ethic = random
  • Added triggers num_researched_techs_of_tier and can_research_tier
  • Added a replaceable block to starbase modules taking scope From: Starbase, FromFrom: Starbase.Owner
  • Added a script folder common/tradable_actions that can be used for scripting actions that can be traded in trade deals
  • Improved performance of checking “all” on count_x script lists, and also fixed some cases where it was not possible for it to return true.
  • Added define for how long the AI will wait before proposing a federation law change after a change in that category has been proposed: AI_FEDERATION_PROPOSE_LAW_CATEGORY_COOLDOWN


Wishlist Overlord today!




Moddability Changes in 3.4 ‘Cepheus’ by @Caligula Caesar

I’m going to keep this one fairly brief, by my standards. Recent updates have given modders plenty to get their teeth into, and 3.4 is no different. We already described the Situations system a few weeks back, which will doubtless see much use and abuse from modders, so I’ll focus on other scripting language changes.

The biggest improvement that springs to mind is in the field of modifiers. In triggered modifiers, you can now define a “mult” value, which lets you apply a modifier or script value to that triggered modifier:
Code:
triggered_pop_modifier = {
    potential = {
        NOT = { is_same_species = owner }
}
    modifier = { pop_citizen_happiness = 1 }
    mult = modifier:non_main_species_happiness_mult
}

As you can see, I’ve defined a modifier that we do not have in the game there. That is because we can now define our own ad hoc modifiers in script, for instance:

Code:
non_main_species_happiness_mult = {
    icon = mod_planet_happiness_mult
    percentage = yes
    good = yes
    category = pop
}

This modifier will of course only do something so long as it is applied somewhere, but nowadays there’s plenty of places where that is possible (everywhere that script values are valid). For instance, we have refactored species traits’ amenities and trade output from jobs to use this system, which cut down on the effort it takes to tweak their numbers (and let us track down a few bugs in that regard).

As a low-key but quite nice improvement, you will also no longer get load order errors where certain modifiers do not work in certain contexts (e.g. ethos modifiers in traits).

That’s not all we have done. Developing Overlord naturally provided some opportunities to rework old systems. For instance, thousands of lines were saved in the scripts for enclaves by using the new “event inheritance” system. With this, an event can be specified to inherit properties from another via “base = <some_event_id>”. Then, various properties can be overwritten via “desc_clear”, “option_clear”, “picture_clear” and “show_sound_clear”. Basically, this lets us inherit the behaviour of a given event while changing its flavour.

The list goes on. A new common/tradable_actions folder now lets you define custom actions that you can trade with other empires. For instance, subjects can pledge loyalty to their Overlords in return for other benefits. The folder is also extensively documented:

Code:
# trade_action_my_example_action = {
#   # If this is set to 'yes', then the action will be fired and then removed from the trade deal.
#   # If 'no', then the trade deal will be treated as a treaty that lasts for at least 10 years.
#   fire_and_forget = no
#
#   # Determines if the action will show up in the list in the trade deals view.
#   # SCOPE: Country "giving" the action
#   # FROM: Country "receiving" the action
#   potential = {
#       has_overlord = from
#       is_specialist_subject_type = { TYPE = bulwark }
#   }
#
#   # If this trigger returns 'no', then the trade deal will be cancelled. Checked on daily tick. Only relevant if fire_and_forget is 'no'.
#   # SCOPE: Country "giving" the action
#   # FROM: Country "receiving" the action
#   active = {
#       has_overlord = from
#       is_specialist_subject_type = { TYPE = bulwark }
#   }
#
#   # Effect that fires when the trade deal is accepted.
#   # SCOPE: Country "giving" the action
#   # FROM: Country "receiving" the action
#   on_traded_effect = {
#       from = {
#           set_galactic_custodian = yes
#       }
#   }
#
#   # Effect that fires when the trade deal ends. Only relevant if fire_and_forget is 'no'.
#   # SCOPE: Country "giving" the action
#   # FROM: Country "receiving" the action. Not guaranteed to be valid, since a trade deal is cancelled if one of the countries dies.
#   on_deal_ended_sender_effect = {
#   }
#
#   # Effect that fires when the trade deal ends. Only relevant if fire_and_forget is 'no'.
#   # SCOPE: Country "receiving" the action
#   # FROM: Country "giving" the action. Not guaranteed to be valid, since a trade deal is cancelled if one of the countries dies.
#   on_deal_ended_recipient_effect = {
#       set_galactic_custodian = no
#   }
#
#   # Used to determine how much the AI will value the action in a trade deal.
#   ai_weight = {
#       weight = 1
#
#       modifier = {
#           weight = 2
#           from = {
#               is_galactic_custodian = no
#           }
#       }
#   }
# }

Speaking of the AI and diplomacy, diplomatic actions are now a little bit more controllable from script. While they (and AI logic surrounding them) are still handled to a significant degree in code, additional reasons for the AI to accept or decline the proposals can now be scripted in an “ai_acceptance” field, while a “should_ai_propose” field lets you block the AI from proposing it.

Finally, something that modders need to know about is our changes to synced localisation. Or rather, the fact that we have completely removed it. This means that, everywhere where it was used, we now use the normal localisation system instead. There are several advantages of this:
  • Multiplayer will now work, even if one player is playing in Chinese and one player in English (this does not currently work)
  • It is theoretically possible to translate all names into other languages now. (Unfortunately, however, I can’t promise that we’ll ever do that, because European languages all have complicated grammar rules, and we have yet to work out a reasonable way to deal with them. But still, the possibility is pretty cool).

Unfortunately, there are also some complications, which can be summed up as: we need to save a property as it is at the time something is named (i.e. the property may change later - but this should not affect what it localises as), and also make sure that it is localising correctly no matter which language you are playing in.

Basically, this means that if you want to use bracket commands in setting names, you need to register it in the place where you are setting the name, e.g.:
Code:
set_name = {
                    key = "NAME_Absorbed_Species"
                    variable_string = "[Root.GetSpeciesNamePlural]"
                }
 NAME_Absorbed_Species:0 "Absorbed [Root.GetSpeciesNamePlural]"

Empire names in the random_names directory have a new “lookups” line to serve this purpose:

Code:
# Imperial Spiritualist 2
empire_name_format = {
    random_weight = {
        factor = 0
        modifier = {
            add = 1
            has_government = "gov_theocratic_monarchy"
            is_pirate = no
            is_primitive = no
            NOT = { is_country_type = fallen_empire }
            NOT = { is_country_type = awakened_fallen_empire }
        }
    }
    lookups = "<imperial_spi> [This.Capital.GetName]"
    format = format.imp_spi.2 # <imperial_spi> of [This.Capital.GetName]
    noun = format.homeworld # [This.Capital.GetName]
    prefix_format = format_prefix.imp_spi.2 # [This.Capital.GetName] <imperial_spi>
    # Empire of Earth
}

In cases where names were defined inline in script, which is quite common in mods, it will likely continue to work as it used to (so long as no square bracket commands are used). I can’t entirely vouch for this, since we don’t use this functionality inhouse as it would break Chinese (and now also Korean and Japanese) translations, since they have always translated names. It may also cause issues if the name you are setting something to is a key that is localised, but which you did not intend to refer to… (N.B. name lists now also use localisation keys).

As a word of caution, each square bracket command we make available has to be defined to work in the C++ code. We have tried our best to cover all the cases which one could want to use, but there may be some we’ve missed (in this case, the error log will complain about invalid property “GetXPersistent”). If there are any particularly egregious cases we turn out to have missed, please file bug reports and we’ll see what we can do!



But wait, there’s more, from @Eladrin :

This week’s origin reveal from Nivarias is the Progenitor Hive!

1651752843139.png


In the beginning, the Progenitor was.

Life on your homeworld was harsh and competitive, yet still the mighty Progenitor expanded its territory. Running such a vast dominion soon grew untenable, so the Progenitor created the first Offspring. In time, it became apparent that the Offspring could not manage alone. In turn, they produced menial drones to assist in taming our home.

As you took your first tentative steps across the stars, the Progenitor sequestered itself into a specialized nest. Endowed with greater, streamlined control, you are now ready to spread the Progenitor's influence to all the stars of the galaxy - for the Progenitor was, is, and will be.


The Progenitor Hive origin is a new Hive Mind origin coming in Overlord, and as such it also requires Utopia to play.

The hive relies heavily on the presence of powerful Offspring. While they are near, the hive thrives and functions with great efficiency.

Offspring Vessels can be included in your fleets, providing an aura that cancels out the inherent penalties of your ships, providing a net small bonus. You are limited in the number of Offspring Vessels your empire can support at any given time, based on your overall naval capacity, similar to the Titan limit. The Offspring Vessels share a pool, with larger ships taking a greater portion of the pool.

1651752853800.png


There’s also a starbase building to protect your empire space, which provides greater benefits than the ships.

1651752863307.png


The Offspring Nest replaces the Spawning Pools of regular hives, providing additional bonuses. You’ll want one of these on each of your planets.

1651752871020.png


Make sure someone is working the Offspring Drone job, since otherwise the directionless menial drones on your colonies face difficulties.

1651752877859.png


All employed leaders within a Progenitor Hive, passively gain experience at a steady rate, gaining skill levels at a much faster rate than leaders of other empires. On average, with no experience boosts or other sources of experience, they will passively gain a level about every (1.5 * level they’re going to) years.

Unlike other hives, the Progenitor is able to release sectors as vassals, placing the fate of the sector in the tendrils of an Offspring which is promoted to Progenitor status and becomes the ruler of the new empire. Progenitor subjects released inherit the Progenitor Hive origin from your empire, with all the bonuses and penalties that it entails.

1651752885012.png


Should you have a subject that is not a Progenitor Hive, you can build an Offspring Nest on their world, providing some much needed oversight to their dro- er, workers. They’re basically the same thing, right?

1651752892011.png


There’s also one other (non-Progenitor Hive related) holding to reveal!

Overlords with the Environmentalist civic can build a Ranger Lodge, which reduces consumer goods usage on the subject planet but also creates a Nature Preserve blocker, which cannot be removed as long as the lodge exists.

1651752900413.png


1651752906885.png


The Ranger Lodge can only be built on natural planets that have districts available to block, and cannot be built on Ecumenopolies, Hive Worlds, Machine Worlds, or Relic Worlds.

banana.png

Banana for scale.


Wishlist Overlord today!
 
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grommile

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in order to keep this thing that I
... had to fight a thrice-damned space dragon (and possibly watch a colony get burned to the ground by same) to obtain.
... had to fight the Xenophobe FE to retain ownership of the system the dig site was in to obtain.
 
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simultaneously too weak and too strong.
The sets "too annoying for me to put up with my opponents doing it to me" and "not actually cost effective against an opposing empire controlled by an emotionless digital automaton" significantly overlap.
 
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SirBlackAxe

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I think Stellaris´s espionage system is quite fun, if a bit underdeveloped, partially because it mostly works through giving bonuses (tech, information etc) to the infiltrator, rather than hurt the target for something they had extremelly limited ability to prevent. And I hope that if they do give ways to attack more directly through infiltration, there will be ways of defending yourself that are not about simply having better spies.
I can certainly think of a few more operations that benefit the player using them without directly hurting the target.
  • Set a modifier that causes you to steal a relic if the empire is destroyed.
    • Automatically triggering a galaxy-wide espionage war for all their stuff (not just relics, but also their resource stockpile, leaders, claims, surviving ships) via situations would be more interesting, but probably much more work to implement.
  • Get a one-directional active sensor link, with varying levels of success possible
    • May reveal information from some combination of: Inhabited systems, systems with trade routes, systems with civilian ships, systems with starbases, systems with military ships
    • May reveal a varying level of system info
  • Steal their hyperlane map
  • Steal their survey data
  • Steal an L-Gate clue
  • Learn how many L-Gate clues they currently have
  • Gain first contact with empires they have contact with but you don't.
  • Learn exactly which traditions and ascension perks they have
  • Learn any secret allegiances they're a part of
  • Learn what their intel on you is, and whether they've got a spymaster assigned
  • Learn their resource stockpiles and income
  • Learn their faction sizes, support, and approval
  • Steal pops that are being purged by setting a temporary modifier causing any refugees they create to come to your empire.
  • If you're gestalt, steal pops that are dying off from being disconnected as long as they could survive in your empire
  • Set a temporary modifier causing a portion of the trade value they lose to piracy to be given to you instead of just vanishing.
  • Set a temporary modifier causing a portion of the resource output or trade value they 'lose' from stability penalties (or from not having the max bonus for 100% stability, if you do well enough) to be given to you
  • Set a temporary modifier increasing the research and tech progress you get from the debris of their ships
  • Steal uncollected trade value
  • Reducing the cost to claim their systems
  • If you have a migration treaty, allow you to pick which of their species will migrate to your empire
  • Spawn a colony ship of their species, unless it's mechanical or hive-minded
  • Double the MIA or subspace navigation speed of your ships through their systems
  • Increase the approve or harm relations rate
  • Temporarily prevent the approve or harm relations opinion modifier from decaying
  • Add a leader of their species to pool of leaders available for you to hire (with a limit on the number of foreign leaders you can acquire this way)
  • Steal a DNA sample to create a level 1 clone of one of their organic leaders
  • Synthetic ascension: The next time one of their leaders would die of old age, instead you gain control of them and convert them to a synth
There also are some potential operation effects that do harm the target more directly, but feel fairer to me because the target needs to take some action to make them vulnerable to the operation in the first place.
  • If you're in a defensive war against the target, increase their war exhaustion. Works better if they have a lot of pops with ethics matching yours.
  • Increase purge refugee escape chance
  • Steal unhappy slaves, particularly if they're your species
  • Removing claims they have on your systems
  • Lower their ships' sublight speed in your systems
  • Prevent their ships from repairing at occupied starbases you own
  • Steal trade value from trade routes they own that pass through your systems
  • Inflict penalties on their ships while they're in your systems
  • Change which ethic any unrest modifiers on their planets are attracting pops to
  • Convert the penalty to governing ethics attraction their pops get for being under 50% happiness to attraction to your ethics (as long as they're different)
  • Reduce the voting weight they gain from your favors in the galactic community
  • Learn if they're enslaving any pops of your species, and gain a casus belli to free them if they are
Another category I think is fair with a cooldown is forcing events they meet the conditions of to fire, bypassing the random factor or mtth.
  • Trigger a low stability or high crime event
  • Trigger a machine uprising event

Maybe, except the arguments in this thread, for opposing the Relic Stealing, is the definition of "I want to be lazy". They boil down to "I shouldn't have to focus on Espionage in order to keep this thing that I found sitting in the dirt, it's too much work."
Getting a relic is more involved than just finding it in the dirt, though. You need to invest the alloys and unity in science ships and scientists to find archaeology sites or precursor anomalies, you need to invest alloys and influence and construction ship time in claiming a system with an archaeology site, and you need to invest scientist time in excavating the site or researching high level anomalies. Possibly you need to militarily defend an archaeology site, or declare war to gain access to an anomaly behind closed borders or claim an archaeological site for yourself.

Relics are considered special enough that they have their own interface, mechanics, and graphics, instead of just being a set of empire modifiers and an edict. They're supposed to be rewards for engaging with the game's story and exploration mechanics.

The arguments against relic theft you need to address include:
  • Currently, there is absolutely no interesting gameplay in defending yourself from espionage and it's not actually possible to meaningfully invest in encryption. Once you've got the techs, decided whether or not you're taking Subterfuge, and chosen all your civics, there is nothing else you can do. It's just compare the numbers, then roll some dice; there are no further choices to make.
  • Relics feel less the like the special rewards they're supposed to be if they get passed around around the galaxy.
  • If empires are all forced to invest in encryption, espionage becomes weaker because you no longer have soft targets.
  • In normal gameplay, there are far more empires for most of the game than relics. If stealing relics is worthwhile they're all going to infiltrate the handful of empires that own relics, and then even if you can only have one relic theft situation every 20 years you're still basically guaranteed to lose it because every other empire in the galaxy will be rolling dice against you and one of them is bound to win.
  • It creates weird disincentives around the archaeology and precursor mechanics. If you haven't raised your encryption number yet, you don't want to find your precursor's home system or excavate archaeology sites because not only will you lose the reward, you will be actively making your enemies stronger.
  • Relics are artifacts that are not only going to be extremely well guarded, but must be also actively in use to provide their bonuses. They're either being actively researched, used for manufacturing, or on public display. Movies aside, national treasures really only get stolen when a war reaches them.
  • You're setting up a situation where many people will consider the Nemesis and Ancient Relics DLCs incompatible. From a business standpoint Paradox won't like this, because they'd rather prefer it if you bought both.
  • How, exactly, is this fun gameplay for the targeted empire?

Well I shouldn't have to focus on fleet production in order to not have my star systems that I found floating in space stolen from me either, that's not fun. Why should I have to devote time to that? That star system is mine, I should never be able to lose it.

The argument is stupid, because if you flip it to apply to any other major feature in game, it sounds childish and ridiculous.
  1. There are plenty of things in the game that it's not possible to lose, including ascension perks, traditions, technologies, and empire modifiers.
  2. Why is needing to invest in espionage fun? Making the Subterfuge tradition tree mandatory to keep rewards you earned from separate gameplay mechanics takes away choice in how to develop your empire, and hoping you roll encryption techs isn't exactly engaging gameplay.
  3. Equipping and fielding a fleet is one of Stellaris's core gameplay mechanics. The entire game is built around the assumption that you'll need to have some level of investment in fleet power in order to win, and players know this coming into the game. If they don't want to maintain a fleet they either attempt a diplomacy challenge run with the understanding that they're deliberately restricting their options, or they play a different game. Players don't come to Stellaris for the espionage, which is an optional DLC mechanic.
Why not add an edict with a 20 year cooldown that steals an ascension perk from the empire with the least food each time you activate it? If they wanted to keep their ascension perks they would have focused on food production, after all. Investing in raising your food stockpile is even a far more interactive mechanic than investing in raising your encryption!
 
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Weyird

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  • Espionage Operations now cost Influence to start rather than Energy Credits. Costs have been reduced by a factor of 10.

Did i miss this announcement earlier? Does this mean each operation costs 20 influence? That's a bit steep for things you spam frequently... (i dont have Nemesis, so my only operation is the intel one)
 
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Lorenerd11

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Getting a relic is more involved than just finding it in the dirt, though. You need to invest the alloys and unity in science ships and scientists to find archaeology sites or precursor anomalies, you need to invest alloys and influence and construction ship time in claiming a system with an archaeology site, and you need to invest scientist time in excavating the site or researching high level anomalies. Possibly you need to militarily defend an archaeology site, or declare war to gain access to an anomaly behind closed borders or claim an archaeological site for yourself.
I had someone conquer an archeological site from me on the last stage, and frankly, it's frustrating to never be able to steal the reward back.
 

A2ch0n

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I can certainly think of a few more operations that benefit the player using them without directly hurting the target.
I don't know how many times i've already said that...It is all about hurting the target. The goal is to prevent the target from doing what it normally does. It is a kind of warfare but mure subtle. If you use espionage extensively, you want to control the enemy. Boni for yourself are secondary and come along the way.

If espionage and especially sabotage doesn't hurt your target, the mechanic simply failed it's goal and whats most important, it left open what players that like that system really want. It's always the same arguement that i hear "why can't we do things that give the spy some benefit instead of hurting the target". That is not what espionage/sabotage ment for and not what i and other espionage fans want.

So i would really appreciate if those that dislike this kind of playstyle don't try to weaken it by intent. Espionage should be on par with warfare and diplomacy in case of power and if the essential part that make others fear it is missing, it could simply be ignored by them. And that should never happen!
 
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Still no fix for the contingency crisis and colossus weapon relationship yet? That's kinda what I was hoping to see. These crises are old and definitely need to be updated to fall in line with the relevance of all the DLC.
 
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Verx90

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  • Espionage Operations now cost Influence to start rather than Energy Credits. Costs have been reduced by a factor of 10.

Did i miss this announcement earlier? Does this mean each operation costs 20 influence? That's a bit steep for things you spam frequently... (i dont have Nemesis, so my only operation is the intel one)
Erh.. Everyone is sitting on 1000 influence right now as soon as there is nothing more to expand to.
Apart from empires that make claims, there are no way to spend influence. So this is a new sink for the purple mana, make purple mana great again.
 
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grommile

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Sabotage should be on par with warfare and diplomacy in case of power
If it is, then genociding (or belligerently befriending) the Darloks is the only rational strategy for the rest of us.

Or, y'know. Not buying Nemesis, because all sabotage is paywalled behind it.

A small addendum: Paradox have to consider how to make the AI Darloks fun to play against – and "the Darloks get bonuses when they pull off covert ops" is, thanks to the psychology of gaming, a lot more fun to play against than "I get penalties when the Darloks pull off covert ops".
 
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Darklight731

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Ya`ll can gush all you want about the new DLC, but I am most excited about the AI and balance improvements.
 

TheRevanchist25

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Yes, that is good, that is how I hope any potential aggressive operations are constructed. I just have a very hard time seeing how such an operation could be balanced to be satisfying from both directions, where you either end up in a situation where the infiltrating player does not feel rewarded for their good subterfuge or the infiltrated empire is completely incapable of defending themselves because somewhere in the galaxy the ninja-empire has set their sights on them.

As an aside, it is also important to maximize the ratio between rewarding the aggressive player and frustrating the defending one. Leader assasinations in particular seems like it could really strike a sweet spot of being really unfun to have happen to you while not very rewarding to pull off.

All that being said, I am not saying it is impossible to make a relic heist good. It is just that espionage systems in particular are incredibly vulnerable to ideas that sound really cool but play terribly, so I am a bit leery of trying to thread that needle. But what do I know.


Well, I have already outlined why I do not think that espionage should be compared to core game systems like combat or the economy. It is to limited and hard to predict, and defending against it is purely passive. I think it is a perfect amount of indepth for a system that you can specialize in, but should not be required to engage with to play the game. You may, of course, disagree with this.

But why are we even talking about if people are "lazy"? What does that have to do with anything? What does it even mean? Why shouldn´t the game cater to lazy players? Should the game never include any QOL features because people are just "lazy" when they do not want to micromanage everything?
Sir I hate to break it to you, but Espionage is clearly intended to be a core game system. It has Ascension Perks for it. It has whole Tech Trees dedicated to it. It has it's own dedicated Tradition tree...as a game designer you don't give a system that much stuff if it's not a core system, period. The idea that it isn't a Core system is coming from thin air basically, to try and justify why it shouldn't be important, despite the overwhelming evidence that proves the devs want it to be important, because they wouldn't have added all that otherwise.
 
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TheRevanchist25

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... had to fight a thrice-damned space dragon (and possibly watch a colony get burned to the ground by same) to obtain.
... had to fight the Xenophobe FE to retain ownership of the system the dig site was in to obtain.

So? I had to fight a 4 faction Federation in a war that lasted 75 years for these 3 Star Systems here. I shouldn't ever have to defend them or worry about losing them ever again because I had to do something to get it.
 

TheRevanchist25

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There are plenty of things in the game that it's not possible to lose, including ascension perks, traditions, technologies, and empire modifiers.
  1. Why is needing to invest in espionage fun? Making the Subterfuge tradition tree mandatory to keep rewards you earned from separate gameplay mechanics takes away choice in how to develop your empire, and hoping you roll encryption techs isn't exactly engaging gameplay.
  2. Equipping and fielding a fleet is one of Stellaris's core gameplay mechanics. The entire game is built around the assumption that you'll need to have some level of investment in fleet power in order to win, and players know this coming into the game. If they don't want to maintain a fleet they either attempt a diplomacy challenge run with the understanding that they're deliberately restricting their options, or they play a different game. Players don't come to Stellaris for the espionage, which is an optional DLC mechanic.
Why not add an edict with a 20 year cooldown that steals an ascension perk from the empire with the least food each time you activate it? If they wanted to keep their ascension perks they would have focused on food production, after all. Investing in raising your food stockpile is even a far more interactive mechanic than investing in raising your encryption!

So, I don't have time right now to respond to everything, the post was quite massive, and agree with most of it. Very quality ideas that should be seriously considered.

Ascension Perks, Traditions and Modifiers are not tangible objects in the universe, they are concepts, philosophy's, and in the case of modifiers, 4th wall changes. These are not things you can logically lose, or have stolen.

1 and 2, see my response above. Saying Espionage is not a core mechanic is a thin air fabrication with no basis. CK2 locked core mechanics behind DLCs constantly. Paradox does that, so saying "because DLC" does not really apply to this studio. Espionage is clearly meant to be a core mechanic, that they've simply failed at developing atm. Thus using arguments from the standpoint of a core mechanic are wholly consistent and logical.
 
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grommile

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Covert sabotage is a terrible mechanic.

It has been terrible in every 4X that has ever implemented it.

It has also been terrible in every Paradox title that has ever implemented it.

It's almost like making a good implementation of covert sabotage requires you to build the game around being the CIA/KGB/MI6, rather than being the USA/USSR/UK.
 
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Blackadder23

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Espionage should be on par with warfare and diplomacy in case of power
That isn't remotely realistic. Espionage and sabotage, at best, are effective in conjunction with military activities - i.e., gathering information about enemy dispositions before attacking, or blowing bridges and railroads to pave the way for a massive military invasion like D-Day. Saying "I should be able to win wars just by blowing bridges and railroads" is frankly preposterous. At most, in my opinion, espionage and sabotage should offer small military bonuses to the one carrying them out (or small penalties to the target). You would still have to field an actual functioning military to get any benefit from it. It's no coincidence that the most effective espionage agencies belong to the nations who also have the most powerful militaries. Espionage is a luxury good, weak tea without a powerful military to make use of the information it gathers. It would have been better left out of the game entirely IMO, and just assumed to be taking place (to the extent that it matters at all) as part of normal military activities.
 
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