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Stellaris Dev Diary #297 - Leaders, The Council, and Agendas

Eladrin posting on behalf of the Arctic Team.

Hello everyone! I’m XM, the lead designer of Galactic Paragons. From the beginning of development, we’ve followed one simple mantra - make leaders matter. What you are going to read about in the following paragraphs are the results of months of work following that direction.

Watch the Video Dev Diary:
Wishlist Galactic Paragons now!​

Reducing Leader Count

For leaders to start being significant, there needed to be a lot less of them. With this goal in mind, we removed the research scientist positions currently in the game, and combined them into a single “Head of Research” Council position (we’ll talk in more detail about the Council later). We also allowed leaders to perform Council duties while maintaining their field positions. These changes dramatically reduced the number of leaders you need to keep track of.

The lower leader count also enabled us to make them a lot more powerful.

Improved Role-playing

To deepen the emergent narrative weaved with these new heroes, we’ve improved upon the leader interface to give you better insight into their past and how they came into service. You can see their homeworld, previous job, and even their ethical alignment.

1682524504895.png

There are so many more improvements we’ve made to leaders that I want to share with you, but I need to cede my time here now to my amazing design team, who are smarter than I am, and can better explain their areas of development in more detail.

The Council

Greetings from Karl, designer at Arctic! I’m here to talk about some of the features that I’ve been responsible for in the upcoming Galactic Paragons DLC; however, none of them would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of my beloved colleagues.

The Empire Council is the heart of your government. Every game the Council starts out with 3 seats; for your Ruler, Head of Research, and Minister of Defense.

1682524504949.png

Eladrin strongly approves of this council's species portrait.

Each position gives a unique Empire bonus that scales with the skill level of the assigned leader. For example, the Head of Research provides 2% Research speed per level.

1682524504969.png

With Galactic Paragons, we have also added a lot of new traits. Some of these traits are Council Traits, which are applied to your entire Empire but only if the leader is on the Council (more on Traits further down). This way you get to decide which bonuses you want active, by switching Councilors. To get as many bonuses as possible, you will also want to expand your council…

Unlockable Council positions

Everyone will have access to the basic council. But if you have Galactic Paragons you’ll be able to unlock 3 more positions for your Council throughout the game. What positions you’ll have access to maps directly to your Civics. As an example, the Idealistic Foundation Civic enables the Tribune of Rights Councilor.

1682524504993.png

Thus we have added no less than 95 unique Council positions for the Council to match your Empire’s design, and make it look and feel different every time you play. Including unique Ruler bonuses depending on what kind of authority you have. For example the stronger an Imperial Ruler becomes, the more Power Projection they generate.

1682524505014.png

For the kind of Empire you are running to stand out even more, we’ve crafted unique Council screen backdrops for each of the Authority types.

1682524505066.png

Council Agendas

Another important feature for the Council is that they pursue an Agenda that you set for them. The moment you assign an Agenda to the Council it gives a small bonus, but it takes several years before it’s ready to be launched and you get the full effects from it. This requires you to be somewhat strategic in your planning, if you for example expect a war.

1682524505087.png

You can only pursue one Agenda at a time, but once an Agenda is finished you gain the full benefits for another 10 years. The more Councilors you have and the higher their skill level, the faster you can complete an Agenda; while for a huge empire it takes a bit longer to finish.

At the start of the game, you have very few Agendas to pick from as they are tied to the Ethics of your Empire. But if you have Galactic Paragons you will get a new Agenda for every Tradition Tree you unlock. These are all tied to the theme of the traditions. This might incentivize you to go wide with Traditions rather than finish them one at a time.

1682524505111.png

The Gestalt Council

We felt that the Council feature didn’t sit that well with the Gestalt fantasy, but also didn’t want these players to feel completely left out. Now Gestalt players can directly level up and design not only the Ruler, but 4 new Nodes of the consciousness too. They are a little less flexible, but are on the other hand immortal!

1682524505164.png


Leaders Reworked

Hi everyone! It’s me, Marek, your new fancy (self-appointed title of course) and barely known (I guess I should talk more on forums, like Offe) Content Designer from the Northern office. I will try to warm the climate with some hot takes on our upcoming features from Galactic Paragons.

So, prepare your tea, coffee, or anything really - and let’s dive deep into the new systems and features, both free and paid.

New Level Up System

For those who choose to forgo Galactic Paragons, your level system will look fairly similar, with a few changes.
  • All leaders will be capped at level 10
  • Leaders will always get trait every 2 levels (starting from level 1), for a total of 5 traits
  • Every trait will be randomized from Common trait pool
  • There will be a new tiered trait system: Common traits and Negative traits will have 2 tiers each

As you see, the Free Patch leaders will still be more powerful than before (having a total of 5 traits), but the Galactic Paragon leaders will achieve a power level of over 9000!

For those who choose to embrace the Galactic Paragons, the leveling system will give far more flexibility:
  • Leaders get new trait pick every level
  • Players can choose the trait from a randomized pool that is based on class, veteran class and ethic.

1682524505185.png
  • On level 4, leaders will get to choose from Veteran Class which give access to different types of Veteran Traits (every class has 3 Veteran Classes, which are centered around different bonuses and their leader actions). Each veteran trait has 3 tiers.
  • On level 8, leaders will get a one time Destiny Trait pick. This powerful trait represents a leader finding its destiny within the galaxy.

Potential level 10 leader with Galactic Paragons:

1682524505212.png

I bet you don’t know what I’m talking about with the Veteran and Destiny thingies…

My god it's full of… Traits

For owners of Galactic Paragons, there will be almost 700* (we decided to stay humble with the number) traits, including tiered versions. There are a bunch of new free Common traits, but the bulk of new content is gated behind the DLC.

* Some traits may require other DLCs. Number includes tiered traits.

1682524505231.png

Some of the new traits

To get into a bit more details about new traits, they are divided into 3 categories, Common, Veteran, Destiny.

Common traits:

The one that comes with Free Patch (most of them are updated versions of old traits). They are the “bread and butter” for Free Patch players, as leaders will be getting them every 2 levels. For DLC owners, they represent the first 3 levels for the new Leaders and their journey to power!

1682524505248.png

I guess it should have a doggo as an icon?

Veteran Traits:

Veteran traits are available only to players with Galactic Paragons DLC. They will cover every level from 5 to 10, and (as mentioned before) their pool for a given leader is dependent on leader ethic and their Veteran Class. They are more powerful than Common traits.

1682524505276.png

New fancy effects for leader actions? Yes, please!

Destiny Traits:

Destiny traits are One-Per Leader (in most cases, as sometimes leaders might get event based Destiny traits too!) and they represent the peak of this given leader - as such, leaders get the destiny trait on Level 8.

1682524505302.png

What is this, even? The more species, the better the trait? Madness!

Small disclaimer: Gestalt leaders operate slightly differently - rather than gaining Destiny traits, they have more Veteran picks than non-Gestalts. They do not have individual destinies like the standard empires do!

Leaders Reworked - Veteran Classes

Veteran Class is a paid feature from Galactic Paragons, and it allows you to customize your leaders more. Every leader will get to choose from 3 Veteran Classes on level 4, bringing the number of Veteran Classes to 12.

1682524505333.png

Each of the Veteran Class will focus on different aspects of the Leader. Let’s take Scientists for example, which can choose from Explorer, Analyst and Researcher Veteran Classes. Picking the proper Veteran Class is paramount to utilizing your leader in a way that you want them to fulfill. For example, Analyst Leader will get Veteran Traits centered around Assist Planetary Research action, while Researcher will get Veteran Traits focused on the Council.

1682524505353.png

Veteran Class Icon as seen on the left side of the leader - Level 1 Admiral for comparison.

Negative Traits

Let’s also mention the small detail of Negative traits. Every leader is randomized with Negative trait potential. The bigger the potential, the more (and faster) negative traits will accumulate on this given leader. With luck, you will find leaders with 0 negative potential, but you never know what it will be until your leader suddenly comes home with a new set of negative traits and starts to steal your resources to open up a new casino in his basement.

New Leader Cap System

Leaders are now vastly more powerful than before, so we decided to introduce a soft leader cap - just like with the naval cap, leaders will grow more expensive when empires are above the cap. It might take some time to get used to, but no longer are the time when in the early game it is viable to send out 20 science ships to explore the galaxy, but it also allows for players to take meaningful choices - creating an economy based on strong governors is a viable strategy, just as well as making strong navy based on many high level admirals.

In my humble opinion, this change somewhat favors smaller empires, which might feel less incentivized to go over their leader cap to fill all the roles, while huge empires will need to take choices on, for example, governor placements (or going over Leader Cap).

And now, something to finish our little trip into this leader madness…

Ruler Creator

Well, I disliked the fact that I can’t choose my starting ruler trait - especially on dictatorial and imperial empires. Now I won’t have to restart the game every time I get a trait I don’t want to have on my ruler. Coders wept when I designed this, and UX was more than happy with coming up with the layout. I guess you can never make everyone happy.

1682524505376.png

Right now, there is only a limited number of traits to choose from, but we decided to not overwhelm players with new choices here. They should be hunting for new civics instead!

Honorable mention

Let’s talk about one last change, close to the leaders, but not exactly. This is present in both Free Patch and DLC, so buckle up this one last time!

With the new trait system and reworked leaders and cap and everything - we decided that the Governor traits should only apply to the planets he currently “sits” on.
But as the game had this nice feature of Sector Governors too, we wanted to use this system, rather than just removing it.

So now, if you would like to see the potential career of a governor, it would be - Planet Governor, Sector Governor, Councilor, Empire Ruler.

How does the new sector governor thingy work?

Whenever there is a Governor sitting on a Sector Capital planet, his level will apply bonuses to every planet in this sector, in a way like it used to be.

1682524505404.png

1682524505427.png

You can always override the “Sector Governor” by putting a proper Planetary Governor here. Just remember that Leader Traits do not work on Sectors!

Is that all? Yeah, I guess so. Don’t forget to Wishlist Galactic Paragons! See you on the next DD!
 
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I'm extremely excited about this DLC, I've been wanting a leader/character focused update since Stellaris first released, probably more than anything else.
 
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With more focus on the leaders and thus more prominent use of leader portraits, can we expect any update to portraits to more them more visually distinct? E.g. new clothes, accessories, sexual dimorphism, phenotypes (there are some aquatic portraits (and maybe others) where the differences under "color" should really count as different phenotype).
 
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Can you explain if there is any change to the Feudal Society Civic? One main feature for it is to remove the leader influence cost if employed. Is that still a thing or is that changed?

Also i would like to know if the heir is somewhat involved in the council for imperial auth empires?

And can you maybe share all council backgrounds with the government they're related to? :)
 
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Any Information about how/if the whole system works, if you play Overtuned to the max, where your leaders could die pretty much every month?
 
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Very nice dev diary, I can't wait to see all these new things in action in one of my games!

Regarding Ruler creation, I did want to ask a more minor question, is there any plan to make it so that the clothing you chose for your starting Ruler remains as such for the subsequent ones? I've always found it silly that, even if you want your Ruler to be dressed with a regal outfit, you end up with all the next ones dressed in utilitarian Scientist clothes just because your government is Materialist.
 
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I guess I am a little confused; so we drop the 3 researchers (how that is gonna affect some of the trait based research options now is anyones guess) but are trying to push for governors to be better and more needed - so actually are going to *increase* our number of leaders effectively. And we already had scaling costs with buying leaders, how is this now different with the soft cap ?
 
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Those are a lot more serious changes than what I expected from an announcement on such short notice.

+1 for making the council patch content. Hopefully it will come in handy in a internal politics rework in the future.

I only wished there to be more differences according to authority type.
 
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Destiny Traits:

Destiny traits are One-Per Leader (in most cases, as sometimes leaders might get event based Destiny traits too!) and they represent the peak of this given leader - as such, leaders get the destiny trait on Level 8.
Can these Destiny Traits be triggered by certain actions?

Kill Leviathan.
Become an immortal chosen one.
Ruler of the Galactic Empire.

Such unique acts.

Or maybe even something particularly powerful if the person does several such deeds?

Become an immortal chosen one and ruler of the Galactic Empire.

So to speak, the fate of the Immortal God-Emperor of the galaxy.
 
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I remember saying years ago that leaders should be more complex to open the path to an internal politics system, just like Imperator Rome had, but this is far deeper than what I imagined we would get.

It's great.
 
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Anonim97

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One question about it - has the leader age been rebalanced?

Previously the "top" age of 80 and all leaders that were generated were on the average 40-50. When you picked Venerable trait (+80 years leader lifespan) the average starting age was in the 80-90 bracket.

Ngl, it was kinda infuriating.
 
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lilsaihah

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Okay you're selling me. Now I really want to see what each of the Ministry positions are.
Are we gonna get Gus Fring for our Criminal Syndicate board member?
 
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nebulous0

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any changes to aristocratic elite? would noble estates increase leader xp gain and/or increase the chance of negative traits

edit: or increase the chance that a leader is created from the planet with the estates
 
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