• We have updated our Community Code of Conduct. Please read through the new rules for the forum that are an integral part of Paradox Interactive’s User Agreement.

Stellaris Dev Diary #45 - Ship Balance

Hello everyone!

Today we will go into the sixth part in a multi-part dev diary about the 'Heinlein' 1.3 update and accompanying (unannounced) content DLC. The topic of today's dev diary is the changes to ship roles and ship balance.

Ship Roles
The new design intends to give each ship a more unique combat role. Some ships will be defensive, while others will be more offensive.

Small and aggressive ships with high evasion that can be equipped with torpedoess. They will be very effective against large ships like battleships due to their high evasion and access to torpedoes. They have very low armor, but a very high chance to evade.

Defensive ships that are designed to counter corvettes, which is why they receive an innate +10 bonus to Tracking. They can be equipped with point-defense weapons, to shoot down the torpedoes fired by corvettes. They have moderate armor, and a moderate chance to evade.

These aggressive ships should be able to put out a lot of damage, but at the cost of less defense. Cruisers, like corvettes, can also be equipped with torpedoes. But unlike corvettes, they can also be equipped with hangars for strike craft. They have somewhat high armor, and a small chance to evade.

The new role for battleships will be durable capital ships that fire at its enemies from a long distance. They are the only ship size that can be equipped with extra large weapons. They have very high armor, but minimal evasion.


Evasion, Tracking & Armor
A new feature in the Heinlein patch will be the Tracking stat. Each weapon will have a Tracking value that determines how effective they are against ships with high evasion. Every point of Tracking reduces the target’s chance to evade that attack by the same amount. Small weapons will have high Tracking, medium weapons will have medium Tracking, and large weapons will have minimal Tracking.

This means that large weapons - with a poor Tracking value - will still be very effective against large ships like cruisers or battleships, but almost useless against small ships like corvettes due to their high evasion.

The armor penetration of weapons has also been rebalanced so that large weapons have a much higher armor penetration values than smaller weapons.

In effect, this means that small weapons are good at shooting at small ships, while large weapons are good at shooting at large ships.

Another note is that missile weapons no longer ignore evasion, and can be evaded like normal. Most missiles, however, will have a very high Tracking value.


New Slots
Something new in the Heinlein patch will be the introduction of a couple of new slot types.


The extra large slot will contain powerful spinal-mounted weapons that are designed to target and take out enemy capital ships. Only Battleships will have a ship section with this weapon slot.


The torpedo slot, as evident by its name, will hold torpedoes. Torpedoes are slow firing weapons that deal massive damage, perfect for taking down larger ships. Unlike other missiles, however, torpedoes do not have good Tracking, which means they are very ineffective against ships with high evasion, such as corvettes or destroyers.


The auxiliary slot will hold components that have ship-wide effects. Crystal-Forged Armor, Shield Capacitors and Regenerative Hull Tissue are examples of components that will now be equipped in this slot.


Point-defense weapons now have its own slot size. The idea is that you should need to specialize some ships into countering enemy torpedoes


Major weapon rebalancing
Most weapons have been rebalanced to better suit the new design.

That's all for this week! Join us again next monday when we’ll be back with another dev diary!
Last edited:
  • 147
  • 51
  • 13
Looks like there is some re-balance in weaponry too.

After burners look pretty awesome.
  • 1
Have to admit I don't actually like this. Seems unnecessarily restrictive and not particularly logical. Still looking forward to the DLC and not complaining about the game as a whole by any means, I just think this particular set of changes is moving in the wrong direction.
  • 48
  • 33
That's all for today! Next week we'll be talking about Enclaves, a feature in the DLC that will accompany the Heinlein update.


Seriously though, I do like the idea of making ships have more defined roles in combat. It's nice to see the plans for this fleshed out a little more from the last time it was mentioned.
  • 10
  • 3
  • 1
Good update.
I am not sure about destroyers having innate bonus to tracking. Why not just boost destroyer-specific combat computers into giving tracking bonus?
  • 10
  • 3
Will the new torpedoes' have the same range as their current version? Or will they be short range due to represent the need of smaller ships needing to get close up to take out battleships?

Also am I dumb or am I the only one who hasn't seen afterburners in game so far?
  • 16
Will there be ways to increase ship evasion, as a counter to weapons systems with high tracking? Perhaps an ECM auxiliary system? Could be useful if you go up against someone relying heavily on missiles...
  • 1
Also am I dumb or am I the only one who hasn't seen afterburners in game so far?

They were mentioned in DD #41:

A new utility type, afterburners, provides additional combat speed, allowing you to design ships that can closely quickly with your opponents.
  • 5
So how does starting weapon technology factor into this?
Do Laser get energy torpedoes, Kinetics get Fast torpedoes and Missles get torpedo torpedoes?
  • 21
  • 1
So does accuracy still work with evasion like it currently does?

i.e. % chance to hit = (accuracy - evasion) / accuracy ? With evasion now being lowered with tracking? Or is accuracy simply %hit by itself now, so its really a damage reduction on weapons aside from the fact you can upgrade your accuracy?
So how will the extra large weapon be useful against small ships? Will handful of corvettes always be able to take down battleship?
This ship roles change seems to me a little bit like the problem of balance is swept under the carpet by rock-paper-scissor (-lizard-Spock) system. Maybe it will be for the better, dunno, will have to try how will it play out. In most other games I ended with fleets of battleships and discarder smaller vessels so if there will be mechanism to use all of ship types then good. Still this solution looks a little bit artificial to me though.
  • 19
  • 2
Point-defense weapons now have its own slot size. The idea is that you should need to specialize some ships into countering enemy torpedoes!

I've already been doing this! Whenever I find myself at war with a missile using empire I make a small corvette group with aggressive combat computers and only PDCs, and give the rest defensive computers and longer range weapons. It works so well against AI.
  • 6