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Stellaris Dev Diary #272 - The Pact is Signed and Spoken

We have a few things for you today. First, Mr. Cosmogone will delve into the mysteries of the Shroud, then Monzun will show off a new accessibility feature, and finally I’ll give some updates on the Orion Open Beta.

Embracing the Unknowable​


Salutations mortals!

Mr. Cosmogone, high speaker of the Instrument of Desire, here to share tantalizing tidbits about the upcoming Covenants rework.

First of, a little bit of context for those among you unfamiliar with Covenants: currently in the game, after completing your Psionic ascension, you are granted access to the Shroud, a mystical dimension where all psionics draw power from.
Upon exploring the Shroud, you encounter random events, one of which would let you make a bargain with an eldritch entity. This would give you an empire modifier, and every 25 years or so, there would be a price to pay.

The new ascension rework (currently testable in our open beta) made it so that at the end of the tradition tree you would get a shot at forming a covenant without having to explore the Shroud so much.

I liked both these things, but felt that we could go a little further with this.

image7.png

We are only ants feeding off crumbs

In the rework, upon first attempting to breach the Shroud, you will get a chance to form a covenant with one of the current entities, chosen semi randomly (the chances vary depending on your ethics, civics, traditions, APs and more). You can refuse them and venture in the Shroud on your own, but accepting will give you a weaker version of the current covenant modifiers.

image13.png

image8.png

I’m sure nothing can go wrong

A while later, you will be prompted to confirm the Covenant. Refusing removes your patron and their modifier, but accepting will give you a situation log entry about the covenant, and you will slowly start increasing in covenant rank as your empire attunes telepathically to its patron.

Every patron provide different bonuses, but they follow the same structure:
  • Upon forming the covenant: weak empire modifier.
  • Upon confirmation: Telepath jobs now provide pop growth, naval cap, amenities or research.
  • After 5ish years: Telepath jobs bonus becomes stronger, gain access to an empire unique building providing more telepath jobs and unique bonuses.

image1.png
image10.png

  • After 15ish years: the weak empire modifier is replaced with a stronger one.

image12.png

  • After 30ish years: One of your leaders can be selected to become Chosen, becoming immortal, and gaining a unique leader trait, with effects varying depending on your patron and the leader’s class. This does not block you from getting the Chosen One trait when venturing into the Shroud, and they can even be stacked together if luck is on your side!

image4.png
image2.png

  • After 50ish years, you reach the last stage of the covenant, and gain access to a unique patron specific ship component.
image3.png

Here is a detailed table with all the bonuses:
Composer of StrandsEater of WorldsInstrument of DesireWhisperers in the Void
Rank -1 (Your patron let you in but you have yet to confirm your covenant)+10% Pop Growth Speed
+10 years leader lifespan
-1 Trait picks
+25% Army Damage
+7,5% Fire Rate
+100% Ship and Army Upkeep when at peace
+5% Resources from Jobs
+12.5% Pop Upkeep
+5% Research Speed
+7,5% Monthly Influence
+1 Codebreaking
-7 Stability
Rank 0: Telepath Output+2% Pop growth speed+5 Naval Cap+7 Amenities+3 Research
Rank 1:Telepath Output (20)+5% Pop growth speed from psi+12 Naval Cap from psi+15 Amenities from psi+6 Research
Rank 1: Empire Unique BuildingSanctum of the Composer:
+3 Telepath jobs
+10% Habitability
+5% Resources from Jobs
Sanctum of the Eater
+3 Telepath jobs
+10% Weapons Range
-10% Ship Upkeep
Sanctum of the Instrument
+3 Telepath jobs
+5% Empire Happiness
+10% Trade Value
Sanctum of the Whisperers
+3 Telepath jobs
+1 Envoy
+15% Infiltration Speed
Rank 2: Empire Modifier (50)+20% Pop Growth Speed
+20 years leader lifespan
-2 Trait picks
+50% Army Damage
+15% Fire Rate
+200% Ship and Army Upkeep when at peace
+10% Resources from Jobs
+25% Pop Upkeep
+10% Research Speed
+15% Monthly Influence
+2 Codebreaking
-15 Stability
Rank 3: Chosen One
(90)
See Chosen table below
Rank 4: Ship Component
(150)

AUX: +0,1 Hull regen
+0,15 Armor Regen
AUX: +20% Orbital Bombardment Damage
+5 Chance to Hit
AUX: +25% Sublight Speed
-5% Ship upkeep
AUX: +15% Evasion

And here is the chosen table:

ChosenInstrument of DesireComposer of StrandsEater of WorldsWhisperers in the Void
Ruler+10% Happiness
+15% Trade Value
+1 Leader Skill Levels
+50 years leader lifespan
+30% Leader experience gain
+15% Ship Build Speed
-10% Ship Upkeep
+1 Monthly Influence
+1 Encryption
-15% Operation Cost
Governor+30% Slave pop resource output
+5 Stability
+5% Resources from Jobs
+5% Pop growth speed
+25% Shipyard Build Speed
-15% Shipyard Build cost
No Chosen
Scientist+15% Research speed
+2 Zro/Month
+2 Motes, Gas and Crystals/Month
+15% Research speed
+25% Survey speed
No Chosen+50% Anomaly Discovery Chance
+25% Research speed
+3 Archaeology skill
Admiral+40% Speed
-15% FTL Charge time
−25% Emergency FTL Damage Risk
+35% Combat Disengagement Chance
No Chosen+40% Damage
+10 Chance to Hit
+40% Evasion
+3 Sensor Range
GeneralNo Chosen+50% Army Health
+10% Army Damage
+30% Army Damage
+50% Army Morale
+50% Army Morale Damage
+30% Army disengagement chance
+20% Army Damage


The speed at which you progress is based on how well your ethics, traditions, civics, AP and actions match with your patron. On average, it should take you about 50 years to fully attune to your patron and unlock all the benefits of your covenant. Progress is voluntarily hidden. You’re dealing with eldritch entities after all.

There will of course be a price to pay, and many of the current events have been changed to provide additional variety and hopefully be more balanced.

To accommodate these changes, a couple things have moved around in the psionic tradition tree:
image9.png

Lastly, for those among you who wish to pick a specific patron, an option has been added to the Shroud, where instead of venturing into the Shroud, you can pay a hefty amount of Zro to attempt to contact a specific entity. This entity may or may not be happy to see you and willing to make a bargain at this time, but in case of failure, you can try again as many times as you want until you get your patron of choice.

image5.png

He who controls the Zro, ...

As a side note, the End of the Cycle has not been touched by the rework, but still has a chance to show up at any point where you try to contact an entity

Text-to-Speech​


Hello, I'm Monzun, one of the programmers on the Custodian team and I'm here to tell you about the extended Text-to-Speech(TTS) functionality being added in this update!

If you navigate to the accessibility tab in the settings menu, you will find an option simply titled "Text to Speech".

image11.png

Enabling this will add a small button to certain interfaces in the game where there is a significant amount of text and clicking it will have the text read out loud by your operating system default TTS voice.

image6.png

The purpose of this is primarily to allow players who struggle with reading long texts, to enjoy the quite sizable amount of written content in Stellaris.

What we would like to know now is:
  • If you are one of the people who often skip out on reading text content even though you feel that you would be interested in what it says; was this helpful and/or convenient for you?
  • Was there a point in the game where you missed having access to TTS readouts of written text?
  • What do you think about the fact that TTS keeps reading, even though you've closed the window that contained the text being read?
  • Did TTS actually read the text you expected it to read and did you notice any TTS related bugs?

Keeping to my style of primarily communicating through bullet point lists, here's some additional information about TTS in Stellaris.
  • Pressing the TTS button again will stop the current reading.
  • You can open the pause menu(esc) at any point while TTS is reading text in order to make it stop. This is useful if you've already closed the window containing the text and you don't want TTS to continue reading.
  • The voice used is governed by your operating system default language, so changing the ingame language will not change the TTS voice language.
  • The voice generation itself is handled by your operating system, which means that there may be cases where things sound sub-optimal, but where we cannot address this by adjusting the system itself.
  • TTS is not available on Linux.
  • Great care should be taken not to feed TTS text pertaining to the individual freedoms of synthetic lifeforms.

We hope that this addition will be helpful and I'm looking forward to reading what you think about it!

The Open Beta​

Many thanks to the tens of thousands of you that have been playing in the Orion Open Beta, and extra cheers to all of you that have provided feedback in the threads.

We’ve added another feedback thread for Text-to-Speech and have also made a few updates based on the first week.

Beta Updates​

  • Adjusted references to missiles for all modules and sections that now use torpedos
  • Combat Artillery and Carrier combat computers now use the new maintain_range combat behavior, which attempts to back off if at less than roughly half their desired range.
  • Cordyceptic Lithoid Empires will no longer start with farmers, they will get food from another source.
  • Cordyceptics can now build their starbase building inside Amor Alveo. They will also now support and oppose conservation acts properly in the GalCom
  • Fixed a number of tooltips for Ascension Traditions
  • Null Void beams no longer count as space fauna weapons.
  • Minimum range is now shown for all weapons, not just those with a minimum range greater than zero.
  • Hit and Run doctrine now provides +2 Disengagement Opportunities rather than +1.
  • Admirals now grant their fleet +1 Disengage Opportunity at levels 5 and 10.
  • Ships once again begin to disengage at 50% hull (rather than 25%).
  • Fixed an error in Size Damage Scaling that crippled empires that used weapons with values less than one. (The Unbidden and friends should be less of a cakewalk.) This was also causing these weapons to be undercosted when calculating military power.
  • Extradimensional Anchors and Portals now have a shield hardening aura for allies in that system.
  • Increased the base damage of Flak PD.
  • Decreased the base damage of explosive torpedoes.
  • Increased the range of Energy Siphons.
  • Mining lasers are now classified as Brawling weapons. Refire rate and general stats have been adjusted.
  • Renamed "Bar" galaxies to "Barred Spiral" for accuracy.
  • Adjusted text for various ship roles.
  • Frigates now have an additional Utility slot.
  • Torpedoes more reliably fire on the initial charge.
  • The Ascensionist civics now correctly require the Utopia DLC.
  • The Ascensionists civic now also reduces the additional cost of traditions from empire size by 25%.
  • Budding is no longer mutually exclusive with Vat Grown.
  • Polymelic is now mutually exclusive with all versions of Budding.
  • Fixed AI weight for Synthetic Ascension
  • Buffed Roboticist Cyborg Assembly to 2.25 per job
  • Sartup Message updated to include information about this week's changes, and link to the forum discussion threads.
  • Synthetic Evolution special project now converts all non-robotic, non-livestock pops that are not being purged to synths.
  • Synthetic Assimilation now requires that the Synthetic Evolution project has been completed.
  • Machine intelligences that have completed synthetic traditions should now get the synthetic trait on new leaders.
  • Removed check that prevented synthetic assimilation of robots and machines.
  • Clarified a number of tooltips.
  • Reduced Cyborg trait upkeep to 0.3 energy per trait and removed it entirely from basic resource traits.
  • Rebalanced basic resource cyborg traits to give +10% instead of +15%
  • Modular Cybernetics tradition now lets regular empires use robot modification points for cyborg modification, driven assimilators use machine modification points for cyborg modification and gives hive minds +10% pop assembly.
  • Rebalanced some genetics traditions by redistributing the species modification points.
  • Fixed tooltip for Genetic traditions regarding hive-mind assimilation.
  • Decreased the building and district upkeep penalty from the malfunctioning reactor on colonisable shattered ring segments and made it only target energy.
  • Cyborg rulers now give building and district upkeep and reduce empire size from districts.
  • Moved the +1 trait pick from Modular Cybernetics to Integrated Anatomy.
  • Fixed tooltips relating to assimilation of hive-minds.
  • Driven Exterminators should now be able to assimilate other machines after taking Synthetic traditions.
  • Slightly nerfed Efficient Cloning to give +1.5 assembly instead of +3
  • Clarified tooltips for hive-mind and machine authorities and driven assimilator civic.
  • Hrozgar of the Endless Flames will now befriend those that have finished Cybernetic or Synthetic traditions.
  • Transgenesis techs now have double the draw weight.
  • You can now psionically awaken cyborgs. Doing so removed any cybernetic implants they have.
  • Installing cybernetic implants in a psionic species now prevents them from having any psionic abilities.
  • Assimilation tooltips now state if they will remove psionic or cybernetic traits.
  • Synthetic Evolution AP now requires Synthetic Workers instead of Droid Workers, in turn it grants Synthetic Personality Matrix as a research option. This means that Synthetic Personality Matrix is now obtainable by all regular empires again.
  • The opener for Synthetic traditions for regular empires is now +1 max leader level and +25% leader xp gain.
  • Synthetic leaders are no longer locked behind Synthetic ascension.
  • The Synthetic Age tradition now requires the Synthetic Personality Matrix tech.
  • Blocked Politics traditions for homicidal empires
  • Renamed several Genetic traditions

Feature​

  • Added Text To Speech support
  • Covenant Rework: Get more from Shroud patrons over time. New modifiers, telepath bonuses, buildings, ship components and leader traits.
  • Patronless empires can expend Zro upon entering the Shroud to try to contact a specific patron.

Improvements​

  • Added filter and status icon for terraforming candidate in expansion planner view
  • Added terraforming candidate icon to galaxy map and system view.
  • Added tooltip for Detox saying how many Toxic TCs you have within your borders

AI​

  • AI will now value you offering them fleets.

Balance​

  • Halved the culture worker modifiers for Egalitarians, Xenophobes and Xenophiles. Doubled the culture worker modifier for Pacifists.
  • Made Zro Distillation more likely to appear if you have a Shroudwalker teacher.
  • Replaced Bulwark defence platform cost and upkeep reductions with inherent shield and armor hardening as they level up.
  • Strategic resource planetary automation will no longer fill fortress designation planets with refineries instead of strongholds
  • Certain technologies (namely those in the Apocalypse tech file) are no longer cheaper than other technologies in the same tier.
  • Decreased Missile Accuracy from 100% to 85%

Bugfix​

  • Empires released by those that have the Divine Sovereign civic will no longer inherit the Divine Sovereign civic.
  • Percentage based hull, armor, and shield regen modifiers now show their values correctly. (As +1% rather than +0.01%)
  • Fix to strike crafts flying far below the fleet during combat.
  • Defense platforms no longer sails away when in combat with enemies too far away to engage them.

Modding​

  • Fixed last_added_deposit
  • If you add too many options in an archaeology site or first contact, it now adds a scrollbar for those that don't fit in the interface

The Open Beta should already be updated with these changes!

Go forth and keep providing feedback!

Please note that the 3.6 "Orion" Open Beta is an optional beta patch. You have to manually opt in to access it.
Go to your Steam library, right click on Stellaris -> Properties -> betas tab -> select "stellaris_test" branch.

Don't forget to turn off your mods, they will break.
 
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Calvax

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Great to see an option for us to pick the covenant that suits the empire :) the RNG can be such a let down.

Are there any changes to the rarity of Zro distillation? In my recent game I had Zro within my empire and had psychic scientists yet I still didn't get it til the late game. Maybe if you decline the first covenant it can unlock it as a research option?
 
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Anonim97

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Ngl picking the covenant and the levels etc is pretty sweet option. Perfect for roleplaying. I would have some questions tho:

- Does renouncing/breaking the pact block you from signing a new pact with the same entity, while the others will keep on being available?

- is the End of the Cycle still considered a Covenant or not? If so, would it have similar "levels" or nah?

- any possible bonus for staying neutral or lack of "prices to pay" considered big enough bonus?

- any possible new Covenants? Maybe a special one, when you have Zroni precursor?
 
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I'm really happy to see you reworking the covenants. You got really creative with it and included a bunch of interesting and good options. Looks really nice! The tradition tree also looks much better now.

A quick question: Is it possible to renounce a covenant after it has been confirmed and progressed to a higher level? Violence is acceptable here.
 
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Decreased Missile Accuracy from 100% to 85%
How do missing Missiles work? Are they "doomed" when the miss is rolled, like instant hit weapons, or can they retarget after missing or if the 'not yet missed' (as in not reached yet) ship is destroyed?

Do swarm missiles keep their 100%?
 
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Lorenerd11

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Hrozgar of the Endless Flames will now befriend those that have finished Cybernetic or Synthetic traditions.
What does that mean? Was there a bug where the dragon wouldn't contact empires with finished or Cybernetic or Synthetic ascension, or is this something special just for those empires?
 

Ezumiyr

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I am again, pleasantly surprised by the latest additions to this game. I just sent a message to a heavily dyslexic/hyperactive friend of mine who had Stellaris for months but wasn't able to appreciate it without external help, this is going to be really helpful to have TTS directly integrated in game. I only hope it will be available in other languages than english, because he only speaks french. Many thanks!
 
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Here is a detailed table with all the bonuses:

Composer of StrandsEater of WorldsInstrument of DesireWhisperers in the Void
Rank -1 (Your patron let you in but you have yet to confirm your covenant)+10% Pop Growth Speed
+10 years leader lifespan
-1 Trait picks
+25% Army Damage
+7,5% Fire Rate
+100% Ship and Army Upkeep when at peace
+5% Resources from Jobs
+12.5% Pop Upkeep
+5% Research Speed
+7,5% Monthly Influence
+1 Codebreaking
-7 Stability
Rank 0: Telepath Output+2% Pop growth speed+5 Naval Cap+7 Amenities+3 Research
Rank 1:Telepath Output (20)+5% Pop growth speed from psi+12 Naval Cap from psi+15 Amenities from psi+6 Research
Rank 1: Empire Unique BuildingSanctum of the Composer:
+3 Telepath jobs
+10% Habitability
+5% Resources from Jobs
Sanctum of the Eater
+3 Telepath jobs
+10% Weapons Range
-10% Ship Upkeep
Sanctum of the Instrument
+3 Telepath jobs
+5% Empire Happiness
+10% Trade Value
Sanctum of the Whisperers
+3 Telepath jobs
+1 Envoy
+15% Infiltration Speed
Rank 2: Empire Modifier (50)+20% Pop Growth Speed
+20 years leader lifespan
-2 Trait picks
+50% Army Damage
+15% Fire Rate
+200% Ship and Army Upkeep when at peace
+10% Resources from Jobs
+25% Pop Upkeep
+10% Research Speed
+15% Monthly Influence
+2 Codebreaking
-15 Stability
Rank 3: Chosen One
(90)
See Chosen table below
Rank 4: Ship Component
(150)

AUX: +0,1 Hull regen
+0,15 Armor Regen
AUX: +20% Orbital Bombardment Damage
+5 Chance to Hit
AUX: +25% Sublight Speed
-5% Ship upkeep
AUX: +15% Evasion

And here is the chosen table:

ChosenInstrument of DesireComposer of StrandsEater of WorldsWhisperers in the Void
Ruler+10% Happiness
+15% Trade Value
+1 Leader Skill Levels
+50 years leader lifespan
+30% Leader experience gain
+15% Ship Build Speed
-10% Ship Upkeep
+1 Monthly Influence
+1 Encryption
-15% Operation Cost
Governor+30% Slave pop resource output
+5 Stability
+5% Resources from Jobs
+5% Pop growth speed
+25% Shipyard Build Speed
-15% Shipyard Build cost
No Chosen
Scientist+15% Research speed
+2 Zro/Month
+2 Motes, Gas and Crystals/Month
+15% Research speed
+25% Survey speed
No Chosen+50% Anomaly Discovery Chance
+25% Research speed
+3 Archaeology skill
Admiral+40% Speed
-15% FTL Charge time
−25% Emergency FTL Damage Risk
+35% Combat Disengagement Chance
No Chosen+40% Damage
+10 Chance to Hit
+40% Evasion
+3 Sensor Range
GeneralNo Chosen+50% Army Health
+10% Army Damage
+30% Army Damage
+50% Army Morale
+50% Army Morale Damage
+30% Army disengagement chance
+20% Army Damage
Composer of Strands means fewer trait picks? That feels a bit weird. Shouldn't a genetic-themed entity produce more complex genetic templates?

Also, are the +10% Habitability and +5% Job output effects effects from Sanctum of the Composer and +10% Trade Value from Sanctum of the Instrument empire-wide, like the other Sanctums effects?
 
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Wendigo514

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I like a lot this rework, it makes the whole covenant thing much more appealing, both mechanically and storywise, than it was previously.

However I think it would have been interesting if the rework could have provided the Composer of Strands as a way to do Organic Pop Assembly to Psionic Empires. Currrently as a Psionic Spiritualist you have to build Robots to stay competitive Pop-wise, which your Traditionalist faction despises, and now that they don't benefit anymore from the Telepaths feels like a way to build organic pops is needed.

I still think that the benefits of the Ascension Perks and the Adoption of the Tradition Trees should be swapped (not only for the Psionic path but also for the Cybernetic and Biological paths), the APs should give you a greater feeling of accomplishment than they currently do imo. Doing so would also remove the need to do a tradition swap for the Teachers of the Shroud Origin.
 
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Critical Ethics

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On the one hand I wanted more, not less, incentive to go shroud diving, but on the other hand I'm very excited to finally find out what these covenants are like!

e: this came across as overly negative, these look like really neat changes and I'm looking forward to trying them out.
 
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Spaceception

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The purpose of this is primarily to allow players who struggle with reading long texts, to enjoy the quite sizable amount of written content in Stellaris.
I see you've been watching Lathrix's playthroughs as well.
 
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A2ch0n

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Ok. I didn't expect such a HUGE and cool rework. I love it! Especially that the chosen is now directly tied to this path with it's own unique abilities blows my mind. I was really hoping for something like this.
 
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Rafss

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I have never seen so much feedback being made into patch notes, I have been following all feedback threads and my goodness, you people really made it happen, and so fast! Love the rebalances, covenant and cyborg buffs were really needed!

Thank you, I think you're all the best devs Stellaris ever had.
 
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Edorath

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These are amazing changes!
Do the random events still happen or have these been replaced with the maluses on the covenant?
Will the Devourer get its event changed? Loosing a pop or a planet altogether can be devastating, especially compared to the other patron’s events being annoying at best.
Is there a chance it could be changed to planetary devastation/loosing pops instead of loosing pops/loosing a planet? Otherwise the Eater’s price is far too steep compared to everyone else’s and generally not that worth it.
Either way great job with the changes, love how the Patrons don’t feel just like modifiers now.

EDIT: also forgot to ask, if you have a Chosen One but no Covenant and enter one afterwards, will it change your Chosen One’s pact or will it stay a regular Chosen One?
 
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