Brutal Honesty from a game developer, this is whats wrong with stellaris.

methegrate

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This doesn't make any sense.

One could rack hundreds of hour of early games because he likes the initial phase of discovering the galaxy, then drop every playthrough as soon as he discovers it, because midgame is intolerably boring to him. Another guy could have racked up hours just for achievements because he is a completionist. Some others could have sunk many hours just to try and see if the game was worth the money spent on it, and then drop it. Another important factor is the sheer number of patches/DLC that allow a player to try new things quite ofted, maybe hoping the new features will ease midgame boredom, then discovering they don't and dropping the game again.

Having a lot of hours in a game doesn't mean it can't be a boring game.

I agree with the rest of your post, though.

Or you can be like me and minimize things when you aren't using them, then close your laptop and wander off. Then finally quit the application later on after Steam has logged 27 hours of playtime... of which you actually played 30 minutes. My point just being that logged playtime isn't necessarily how much time you spent playing the game. It just measures how long the application has been open. I officially have hundreds of hours in the game. I've actually played a fraction of that. A small fraction.


The problem that I have with the midgame is that sometimes I'm just waiting for the end game crisis to happen. I can't or don't want to go to war so I'm just building up my fleet to prepare for it.

Adding more exploration isn't going to fix that. The Great Khan mid game crisis can be fun but it only fires sometimes. Internal politics is the obvious solution to the "boring midgame" but Paradox simply haven't managed to get it right yet *shrugs*.

Tl;dr: Stellaris needs a strong theme to give the player goals and to drive conflict. The devs should stop adding new events, should stop focusing on "content" altogether, and should focus on tying the existing mechanics around one central idea.

I agree with this. Someone else mentioned earlier that they have been adding non-exploration mechanics in the last two major updates, and that's definitely true. It hasn't worked all that well though because game still doesn't have a sense of coherency.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I think this is a lot of why the game's mechanics don't connect together well (if at all). You need a central theme or idea to organize your game around. In CKII, for example, it was the politics of personalities. In HoI it's outright warfare and conquest. In EU I would argue that it's national destiny. Those games work because the theme gives the player goals and the mechanics can be built around advancing/hindering those goals.

Stellaris' idea is exploration. That doesn't work well because exploration is an inherently solitary and static project. Once you find something, it stays found. The map you uncover stays uncovered, the anomalies stay explored. Exploration is just a scavenger hunt. There's nothing dynamic about it, and once you meet the other players on the board it ends. Nothing drives conflict because you and the other player don't have interests that could compete.

The updates haven't really fixed things because they've been scattershot. They feel like a grab bag of cool "what if" ideas rather than coherent mechanics with a clear purpose. Stellaris needs a different, better theme to take over after the exploration ends. Then the devs can build mechanics that tie into that, helping the player achieve his/her goals and get in the way of other players achieving their own.

To put it another way, we have a whole bunch of new mechanics around fighting wars, but still no good reason to declare war. A whole bunch of new mechanics for running an economy, but nothing to build toward.

Without a theme, there are no goals. And without clear goals, you spend the game just waiting for something to happen. And it never really does...
 
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Jorgen_CAB

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I dunno, I don’t find myself lacking in reasons to declare war. There’re perhaps more reasons to do it than in Civ.

The only reason to declare war is when you get bored reacting to whatever your planet needs attention to next. You don't need to fight wars to be the strongest kid on the block since you can pretty much keep expanding forever with the territory you have until the game ends. You are not neccesarily going to be stronger or better of if you win a couple of systems here or there in the grand scheme of things and there rarely are reasons to do it either rather than just focus all your resources on expansion and just keep a fleet powerful enough to deter the AI from declaring war at you, which is not that hard... especially if you have any decent alliances or are in a federation.

The only reason I ever go to war (unless I play some natural warmongering empire) is role-play.


Tl;dr: Stellaris needs a strong theme to give the player goals and to drive conflict. The devs should stop adding new events, should stop focusing on "content" altogether, and should focus on tying the existing mechanics around one central idea.

I agree with this. Someone else mentioned earlier that they have been adding non-exploration mechanics in the last two major updates, and that's definitely true. It hasn't worked all that well though because game still doesn't have a sense of coherency.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I think this is a lot of why the game's mechanics don't connect together well (if at all). You need a central theme or idea to organize your game around. In CKII, for example, it was the politics of personalities. In HoI it's outright warfare and conquest. In EU I would argue that it's national destiny. Those games work because the theme gives the player goals and the mechanics can be built around advancing/hindering those goals.

Stellaris' idea is exploration. That doesn't work well because exploration is an inherently solitary and static project. Once you find something, it stays found. The map you uncover stays uncovered, the anomalies stay explored. Exploration is just a scavenger hunt. There's nothing dynamic about it, and once you meet the other players on the board it ends. Nothing drives conflict because you and the other player don't have interests that could compete.

The updates haven't really fixed things because they've been scattershot. They feel like a grab bag of cool "what if" ideas rather than coherent mechanics with a clear purpose. Stellaris needs a different, better theme to take over after the exploration ends. Then the devs can build mechanics that tie into that, helping the player achieve his/her goals and get in the way of other players achieving their own.

To put it another way, we have a whole bunch of new mechanics around fighting wars, but still no good reason to declare war. A whole bunch of new mechanics for running an economy, but nothing to build toward.

Without a theme, there are no goals. And without clear goals, you spend the game just waiting for something to happen. And it never really does...

This is a really good analysis of what is fundamentally wrong with the game. I would not mind some of the gamey and shallow mechanics here and there, or even magical mana point systems if the games system had more purpose and interacted more with each other to for a coherent gaming experience.

Right now most mechanics play rather separately and rarely if ever interacts or influence each other other than using the same pool of resources which to some degree restrict each use of the mechanics to the detriment of the others.
 

LWE

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The only reason to declare war is when you get bored reacting to whatever your planet needs attention to next. You don't need to fight wars to be the strongest kid on the block since you can pretty much keep expanding forever with the territory you have until the game ends.

Granted, I play slightly overcrowded galaxies, but that's certainly not true for me. I can't expand forever with the territory I have (unless you mean the habitats... but they aren't the most effective way of expansion, plus the AI builds them, too, and has bonuses), and I often need to conquer other nations to be strong. If I hadn't conquered the Spyrans in my Cat AAR, for instance, the Bandit Kingdom would've probably eaten me when our relationship went sour, and conquering the Voor in my Gecko game was necessary to become a power of any significance (I could hardly thrive with them pestering me, forcing me to waste my resources on defending myself from them and their allies... I also conquered the Science Nexus from them - surely quite a benefit).

I am puzzled by the assertion that conquering planets doesn't make you stronger. Like in many other 4X games, acquiring new resources improves your power level. It decreases your administrative efficiency, sure, but unless you're deliberately keeping it high as part of an Irenic Empire strategy, it's always worth it.
 
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Jorgen_CAB

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Granted, I play slightly overcrowded galaxies, but that's certainly not true for me. I can't expand forever with the territory I have (unless you mean the habitats... but they aren't the most effective way of expansion, plus the AI builds them, too, and has bonuses), and I often need to conquer other nations to be strong. If I hadn't conquered the Spyrans in my Cat AAR, for instance, the Bandit Kingdom would've probably eaten me when our relationship went sour, and conquering the Voor in my Gecko game was necessary to become a power of any significance (I could hardly thrive with them pestering me, forcing me to waste my resources on defending myself from them and their allies... I also conquered the Science Nexus from them - surely quite a benefit).

I am puzzled by the assertion that conquering planets doesn't make you stronger. Like in many other 4X games, acquiring new resources improves your power level. It decreases your administrative efficiency, sure, but unless you're deliberately keeping it high as part of an Irenic Empire strategy, it's always worth it.

It depends... influence are one thing that is the most limiting factor of expanding so there are only so many ways you can use it. War still force you to build quite large fleets unless you conquer a much weaker opponent. Using all those resources to just keep expanding can in many ways be better.
Personally I don't see much use in conquering anything unless they have something especially worth conquering to make them allot weaker and me stronger.

I do agree that taking over some strategically strong system such as a Nexus or similar is a good reason for going to war, depending on your overall situation. Sometimes you might just want a decently strong buffer state between you and an even stronger potential enemy and it still is not worth it.

And yes, expanding with habitats, ring worlds and building ecumenopolises is a way to pretty much expand forever with just 20-40 system within the time frame of the game.

The whole point was not that taking things by force can't be one way to benefit but rather the game lacks any real reasons to do it other than that you can do it and it is more fun than not doing it.

The point was that most of what you do outside of war is waiting for the message to flash that you need to do something on a world. Make a few clicks and do it and then wait for the next thing to do and rinse repeat the same pattern.

If the game was geared towards more macro economic decisions, internal political dealings, advanced inter species diplomacy and a real trading system the game would have been allot more interesting.

I have problem with the tradition and relic system as they are basically a spell and ability tree that interacts in most cases very badly with the game other than providing the odd bonus here and there. They don't really add flare or much of any interesting game mechanic diversity to the game. Many mechanics in the game are just like that.
 
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And yes, expanding with habitats, ring worlds and building ecumenopolises is a way to pretty much expand forever with just 20-40 system within the time frame of the game..

For me, it's far from enough, especially since the other AI's build habitats, too. It often starts doing so earlier than me. And it’s always better to weaken the opponent by taking something from them, not only by building up yourself. I doubt I would be able to defeat the Bandit Kingdom in my Cat AAR by only building habitats. It was far better of me to conquer them from the Fungoid Honorable Warriors.
 
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Oh, I agree totally.
But this is an argument for a prescripted galactic map, not an argument against power differentials.

What leads to the game favouring military is that the non-military interactions you can have with your enemies are extremely limited.
(Which I guess could be the same as saying "peace is boring")
I'd like something akin to Civ VI's missionary mechanics: you have a bunch of nonmilitary cultural / espionage units, that can ignore borders and snoop around enemy civilizations pouring cultural influence on them. If you could spend your peacetime trying to zerg rush your opponents with Psyops Ships that encourage enemy planets to break away and join you, this would make peace less boring and give you a nonmilitary means of expansion, while not requiring a big new interface because it's still just ships flying around on the galactic map.

I don't want to insist on a strictly nonmilitary expansion game too much; because I like how EUIV does it. You can nonmilitary your way to a grand coalition that can stomp your enemies, but in the end you do need a war to actually enforce your will on your neighbour. The "nonmilitary" part is the clever arrangement of your pieces in the lead up to war, not a strict replacement for war.
Oh yeah. Peaceful options are very limited and not very interesting. Hopefully with diplomacy rework, this might change.
 
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moridin84

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Or you can be like me and minimize things when you aren't using them, then close your laptop and wander off. Then finally quit the application later on after Steam has logged 27 hours of playtime... of which you actually played 30 minutes. My point just being that logged playtime isn't necessarily how much time you spent playing the game. It just measures how long the application has been open. I officially have hundreds of hours in the game. I've actually played a fraction of that. A small fraction.
I don't care how many hours Steam says you've played.

My point that you have played a lot of Stellaris (actually played) then talking like it's a bad or even average game is hard to take seriously. If you have played a lot of Stellaris and are complaining about "lack of content", you should probably be conscious of the fact that it's perfectly normal to simply get bored and stop playing a game. Acting like Stellaris not having infinite replayability (although some people find it does) as some critical flaw is nonsense.

I'm not saying people can't complain about Stellaris. I'm complaining about people being exaggerated about it and seemingly lacking awareness of the things I mentioned.

Tl;dr: Stellaris needs a strong theme to give the player goals and to drive conflict. The devs should stop adding new events, should stop focusing on "content" altogether, and should focus on tying the existing mechanics around one central idea.

I agree with this. Someone else mentioned earlier that they have been adding non-exploration mechanics in the last two major updates, and that's definitely true. It hasn't worked all that well though because game still doesn't have a sense of coherency.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I think this is a lot of why the game's mechanics don't connect together well (if at all). You need a central theme or idea to organize your game around. In CKII, for example, it was the politics of personalities. In HoI it's outright warfare and conquest. In EU I would argue that it's national destiny. Those games work because the theme gives the player goals and the mechanics can be built around advancing/hindering those goals.

Stellaris' idea is exploration. That doesn't work well because exploration is an inherently solitary and static project. Once you find something, it stays found. The map you uncover stays uncovered, the anomalies stay explored. Exploration is just a scavenger hunt. There's nothing dynamic about it, and once you meet the other players on the board it ends. Nothing drives conflict because you and the other player don't have interests that could compete.

The updates haven't really fixed things because they've been scattershot. They feel like a grab bag of cool "what if" ideas rather than coherent mechanics with a clear purpose. Stellaris needs a different, better theme to take over after the exploration ends. Then the devs can build mechanics that tie into that, helping the player achieve his/her goals and get in the way of other players achieving their own.

To put it another way, we have a whole bunch of new mechanics around fighting wars, but still no good reason to declare war. A whole bunch of new mechanics for running an economy, but nothing to build toward.

Without a theme, there are no goals. And without clear goals, you spend the game just waiting for something to happen. And it never really does...
You say that it needs a "central" theme but Stellaris is a 4X game. It's basically those four things.

I get the feeling you really like exploration and don't like the other parts and so wished the game just concentrated on that.

The thing is that there are other players that actually like the other aspects of "4X" even if you don't. So I don't think Stellaris is ever going to full satisfy you.
 

methegrate

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IYou say that it needs a "central" theme but Stellaris is a 4X game. It's basically those four things.

I get the feeling you really like exploration and don't like the other parts and so wished the game just concentrated on that.

The thing is that there are other players that actually like the other aspects of "4X" even if you don't. So I don't think Stellaris is ever going to full satisfy you.

Respectfully, you have it exactly backwards. I'm criticizing the theme of exploration. My entire point is that exploration as a theme is inherently too limited. It can't grow with the game, can't push back on the player and can't drive conflict among empires. So, no, it's not that I don't "actually like the other aspects of '4X,'" it's that Stellaris only focuses on the first X.

And I think we may not understand each other on "theme." When you play a 4X game, the name describes different mechanics and stages. Exploration, expansion, exploitation and extermination are things that you do. The theme of a game describes why you do it.

To put it another way, the theme is the story. It's what drives the player's choices and actions. In a directed game the theme matters less. For example the theme of Diablo is decay and corruption (as it is with pretty much all Blizzard games, they really have a type). That doesn't give the player's any choice though. You still have to fight through the forces of corruption to save what little is left. Your goal is pre-scripted from the beginning.

However in a sandbox game you don't start with any pre-defined goals. The theme gives you that goal. Much more than a victory condition, the theme of the game describes why you play it. For example, the theme of Civilization is growth and history. You choose how to define your empire in the sweep of history, and many mechanics in the game take you along for that ride.

Stellaris doesn't have a theme. It mistakenly tries to shoehorn a stage of gameplay into its theme, but "exploration" isn't a theme. It's something you do. It's how you begin to accomplish goals which are established by something larger than the immediate objective.

Players know "what" they're doing in Stellaris. They still don't know "why" they're doing it. Until that is defined better, we'll still be right where we are now. With games solidifying into a stalemate early on and then stagnating there until the player gets bored and declares war on someone just to become generically stronger for no other reason than that there's little else to do.
 
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methegrate

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Personally, I would recommend that Stellaris borrow MOO II's theme: Survival.

This could tie in elegantly and (I think) very well. The end game crisis shouldn't wait for the end game. Something about your early explorations should trigger whatever the end game crisis is. You find something, make a choice, encounter an alien. It could be variable. This is already sort of in the game.

What should be changed is, from that point on the crisis should start to appear in the same way that the Antarans do in MOO II. Raids and disasters should begin early on to give you a sense of the disaster that's coming your way. It would create a good narrative (the hero always must have clear direction), and it would give the player a clear-cut goal. While Stellaris is a wide-open sandbox, you need to deal with this as it happens over time and must build yourself into an empire that can fight back when the crisis hits in full strength.
 

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The only reason to declare war is when you get bored reacting to whatever your planet needs attention to next. You don't need to fight wars to be the strongest kid on the block since you can pretty much keep expanding forever with the territory you have until the game ends. You are not neccesarily going to be stronger or better of if you win a couple of systems here or there in the grand scheme of things and there rarely are reasons to do it either rather than just focus all your resources on expansion and just keep a fleet powerful enough to deter the AI from declaring war at you, which is not that hard... especially if you have any decent alliances or are in a federation.

The only reason I ever go to war (unless I play some natural warmongering empire) is role-play.

I'm naturally a 'builder' when it comes to 4X games, but in Stellaris, I regularly start wars for perfectly good reasons other than crude blobbing. For example:

- Sometimes it really is more economically efficient to 'end the threat' of a genodical empire early, rather than having to fight them later when they have blobbed;
- Forcing ideology can substantially change the balance of power in the galaxy, so you actually need less fleet to stay safe in the long term;
- Forcing tribute gives very useful bonus income, especially as a Megacorp (subsidiaries will also fight for you and have to accept your branch offices);
- Sometimes a system has something important for your empire, such as a black hole when you don't have any, a ruined megastructure, or access to your precursor homeworld system;
- If you can raid pops, it really speeds up the process of populating your existing planets.

Of course, you have to consider the cost to benefit ratio: generally speaking, you don't want to fight attritional wars to make limited gains against Equivalent foes, you want to be delivering summary beat-downs of Pathetic empires, allowing you to harvest the benefits of total victory without taxing your own economy too much.

I don't agree with other posters that the game is all about conquest, though. As you say, you can build a really strong economy without that much territory, in a way that is in stark contrast to other Paradox games (with the possible exception of the Victoria series). You can absolutely dominate the galaxy in every sense that matters without directly taking up all that much space on the map.
 
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Rinholm

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Respectfully, you have it exactly backwards. I'm criticizing the theme of exploration. My entire point is that exploration as a theme is inherently too limited. It can't grow with the game, can't push back on the player and can't drive conflict among empires. So, no, it's not that I don't "actually like the other aspects of '4X,'" it's that Stellaris only focuses on the first X.

And I think we may not understand each other on "theme." When you play a 4X game, the name describes different mechanics and stages. Exploration, expansion, exploitation and extermination are things that you do. The theme of a game describes why you do it.

To put it another way, the theme is the story. It's what drives the player's choices and actions. In a directed game the theme matters less. For example the theme of Diablo is decay and corruption (as it is with pretty much all Blizzard games, they really have a type). That doesn't give the player's any choice though. You still have to fight through the forces of corruption to save what little is left. Your goal is pre-scripted from the beginning.

However in a sandbox game you don't start with any pre-defined goals. The theme gives you that goal. Much more than a victory condition, the theme of the game describes why you play it. For example, the theme of Civilization is growth and history. You choose how to define your empire in the sweep of history, and many mechanics in the game take you along for that ride.

Stellaris doesn't have a theme. It mistakenly tries to shoehorn a stage of gameplay into its theme, but "exploration" isn't a theme. It's something you do. It's how you begin to accomplish goals which are established by something larger than the immediate objective.

Players know "what" they're doing in Stellaris. They still don't know "why" they're doing it. Until that is defined better, we'll still be right where we are now. With games solidifying into a stalemate early on and then stagnating there until the player gets bored and declares war on someone just to become generically stronger for no other reason than that there's little else to do.

First how does Stellaris try to make exploration a "theme" to me it just seems like it is a part of the early game. Second Stellaris has pre defined goals such as surviving every other empire, mid and end game crisis and whatever else the game throws at you all while building the most powerful empire in the galaxy.

The how is left to you the player to decide such as conquest, subjigation, confederation, isolation, ect. You write your own story and set your own "theme" through the choices you make and in how you deal with the galaxy around you.
 

moridin84

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Respectfully, you have it exactly backwards. I'm criticizing the theme of exploration. My entire point is that exploration as a theme is inherently too limited. It can't grow with the game, can't push back on the player and can't drive conflict among empires. So, no, it's not that I don't "actually like the other aspects of '4X,'" it's that Stellaris only focuses on the first X.

And I think we may not understand each other on "theme." When you play a 4X game, the name describes different mechanics and stages. Exploration, expansion, exploitation and extermination are things that you do. The theme of a game describes why you do it.

To put it another way, the theme is the story. It's what drives the player's choices and actions. In a directed game the theme matters less. For example the theme of Diablo is decay and corruption (as it is with pretty much all Blizzard games, they really have a type). That doesn't give the player's any choice though. You still have to fight through the forces of corruption to save what little is left. Your goal is pre-scripted from the beginning.

However in a sandbox game you don't start with any pre-defined goals. The theme gives you that goal. Much more than a victory condition, the theme of the game describes why you play it. For example, the theme of Civilization is growth and history. You choose how to define your empire in the sweep of history, and many mechanics in the game take you along for that ride.

Stellaris doesn't have a theme. It mistakenly tries to shoehorn a stage of gameplay into its theme, but "exploration" isn't a theme. It's something you do. It's how you begin to accomplish goals which are established by something larger than the immediate objective.

Players know "what" they're doing in Stellaris. They still don't know "why" they're doing it. Until that is defined better, we'll still be right where we are now. With games solidifying into a stalemate early on and then stagnating there until the player gets bored and declares war on someone just to become generically stronger for no other reason than that there's little else to do.
> With games solidifying into a stalemate early on and then stagnating there
I don't get why having a "consistent theme" changes that. What does it even mean to have a "consistent theme"? What could change?

Stellaris actually does have "goal", even if you ignore the traditional 4X goals there is also the late game crisis.

The latter half of the mid-game is generally spent preparing for the late game crisis. The problem is... preparing is boring.

Personally, I would recommend that Stellaris borrow MOO II's theme: Survival.

This could tie in elegantly and (I think) very well. The end game crisis shouldn't wait for the end game. Something about your early explorations should trigger whatever the end game crisis is. You find something, make a choice, encounter an alien. It could be variable. This is already sort of in the game.

What should be changed is, from that point on the crisis should start to appear in the same way that the Antarans do in MOO II. Raids and disasters should begin early on to give you a sense of the disaster that's coming your way. It would create a good narrative (the hero always must have clear direction), and it would give the player a clear-cut goal. While Stellaris is a wide-open sandbox, you need to deal with this as it happens over time and must build yourself into an empire that can fight back when the crisis hits in full strength.
In the early and mid game, you "survive" the other empires.

The purpose of the late game crises to stop the game stagnating at the end. Where you've gotten strong enough to defend against your neighbours but expanding is difficult or pointless.
 
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Monturiol

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Where you've gotten strong enough to defend against your neighbours but expanding is difficult or pointless.
Expanding in Stellaris is always difficult or pointless, though.
When it's early game and you're small, then sure, you expand to survive and it's difficult because you're fighting people at pairity with you.

"I'm going to attack the Kzzindi Star Empire because I need that chokepoint system to fortify my borders"
"I'm going to attack the Tezark Grand Duchy because my economy needs that 3-Volatile-Mote system just inside their borders"

These are fine reasons. These are satisfying reasons. Fighting to survive is good. But once you're powerful, say 1/6 the galaxy, there's no reason to go to war with anyone any more - this being the pointless part. Survival is no longer a challenge. There's nothing you can get outside your borders that you can't get inside your borders. There's no reason why you'd attack Bordering Nation A rather than Bordering Nation B, and indeed there's no reason you'd attack anyone at all other than map painting.

That's what's lacking.

I don't think you can point to the Crisis as "This is why your Empire expands" for two reasons:

  1. Crisis-prep is geographically agnostic in that it still doesn't tell you whether you should be killing Bordering Nation A vs Bordering Nation B; it only tells you "Become BIG". The question of "Why am I fighting in this region of space" remains unanswered.
  2. Also it's metagamey. When the Calactora Star Senate meets in 2310 to determine policy for the next electoral cycle, they don't go "Right Lads, there's ancient robots gonna rise up and try to kill everyone in 90 years, and we need to be BIG to fight them". Going to war because you know you'll have to fight the Crisis is almost cheating - you're premising your actions on knowledge your empire isn't supposed to have. Even if it's not actually cheating, it's... very RP unsatisfying.
 
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methegrate

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Expanding in Stellaris is always difficult or pointless, though.
When it's early game and you're small, then sure, you expand to survive and it's difficult because you're fighting people at pairity with you.

"I'm going to attack the Kzzindi Star Empire because I need that chokepoint system to fortify my borders"
"I'm going to attack the Tezark Grand Duchy because my economy needs that 3-Volatile-Mote system just inside their borders"

These are fine reasons. These are satisfying reasons. Fighting to survive is good. But once you're powerful, say 1/6 the galaxy, there's no reason to go to war with anyone any more - this being the pointless part. Survival is no longer a challenge. There's nothing you can get outside your borders that you can't get inside your borders. There's no reason why you'd attack Bordering Nation A rather than Bordering Nation B, and indeed there's no reason you'd attack anyone at all other than map painting.

That's what's lacking.

I don't think you can point to the Crisis as "This is why your Empire expands" for two reasons:

  1. Crisis-prep is geographically agnostic in that it still doesn't tell you whether you should be killing Bordering Nation A vs Bordering Nation B; it only tells you "Become BIG". The question of "Why am I fighting in this region of space" remains unanswered.
  2. Also it's metagamey. When the Calactora Star Senate meets in 2310 to determine policy for the next electoral cycle, they don't go "Right Lads, there's ancient robots gonna rise up and try to kill everyone in 90 years, and we need to be BIG to fight them". Going to war because you know you'll have to fight the Crisis is almost cheating - you're premising your actions on knowledge your empire isn't supposed to have. Even if it's not actually cheating, it's... very RP unsatisfying.

Agreed in all aspects, although I would argue that this stage sets in even earlier than that. Certainly by the time you're 1/6 of the galaxy, but honestly in my experience you hit that power level long before. My games ossify pretty completely by the early mid-game.

Really, unless you got completely hosed during the early game land rush, once all the borders fill in you've got all the expansion that you need. Everything after that is pointless. I just bump the game up to "fastest" until I eventually get bored.
 
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moridin84

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Expanding in Stellaris is always difficult or pointless, though.
When it's early game and you're small, then sure, you expand to survive and it's difficult because you're fighting people at pairity with you.

"I'm going to attack the Kzzindi Star Empire because I need that chokepoint system to fortify my borders"
"I'm going to attack the Tezark Grand Duchy because my economy needs that 3-Volatile-Mote system just inside their borders"

These are fine reasons. These are satisfying reasons. Fighting to survive is good. .

You say it's expanding is "always difficult and pointless" and then list all the situations where it isn't. o_O

But once you're powerful, say 1/6 the galaxy, there's no reason to go to war with anyone any more - this being the pointless part. Survival is no longer a challenge. There's nothing you can get outside your borders that you can't get inside your borders. There's no reason why you'd attack Bordering Nation A rather than Bordering Nation B, and indeed there's no reason you'd attack anyone at all other than map painting
Yeah, that's what I'm saying in the line you quoted.

We aren't disagreeing at all.

I don't think you can point to the Crisis as "This is why your Empire expands" for two reasons:
  1. Crisis-prep is geographically agnostic in that it still doesn't tell you whether you should be killing Bordering Nation A vs Bordering Nation B; it only tells you "Become BIG". The question of "Why am I fighting in this region of space" remains unanswered.
  2. Also it's metagamey. When the Calactora Star Senate meets in 2310 to determine policy for the next electoral cycle, they don't go "Right Lads, there's ancient robots gonna rise up and try to kill everyone in 90 years, and we need to be BIG to fight them". Going to war because you know you'll have to fight the Crisis is almost cheating - you're premising your actions on knowledge your empire isn't supposed to have. Even if it's not actually cheating, it's... very RP unsatisfying.
I'm not saying that you should attack your neighbours to prepare for the crisis. In fact, it's mostly likely the opposite. Once you start preparing for the crisis you'll probably completely stop attacking your neighbours. Concentrate on building up your infrastructure and your fleets. Getting involved in some big war with some other empire is probably the last thing you want to do.

And personally, I like the idea of it. No empire can expand forever so getting to a certain point and having to stop, to consolidate your empire makes sense. The problem is, in Stellaris that is boring.

In Stellaris, "managing your empire" consists of adding districts and buildings to your planets to increase your research, unity and resources. In CK2 managing your kingdom has a lot more depth, with vassals and many other mechanics. It's a lot more fun and meaningful then juggling numbers.


As for not wanting to metagame about the crisis. Well, that's playing the game. If that bothers you then nothing there's nothing I can say that will change your mind.
 
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Monturiol

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You say it's expanding is "always difficult and pointless" and then list all the situations where it isn't. o_O
I'm not sure what post you were reading.
EARLYGAME: Expanding is difficult
LATEGAME: Expanding is pointless
Ergo, expanding is always difficult or pointless.

I'm not saying that you should attack your neighbours to prepare for the crisis. In fact, it's mostly likely the opposite. Once you start preparing for the crisis you'll probably completely stop attacking your neighbours. Concentrate on building up your infrastructure and your fleets. Getting involved in some big war with some other empire is probably the last thing you want to do.
No?
That's not how anyone prepares for the Crisis.
You prepare for the Crisis by conquering a bunch of chumps so you have a huge economic base that can support 10 fleets.

And personally, I like the idea of it. No empire can expand forever so getting to a certain point and having to stop, to consolidate your empire makes sense. The problem is, in Stellaris that is boring.

In Stellaris, "managing your empire" consists of adding districts and buildings to your planets to increase your research, unity and resources. In CK2 managing your kingdom has a lot more depth, with vassals and many other mechanics. It's a lot more fun and meaningful then juggling numbers.
It's worse than that in that you don't have to stop and consolidate at all. Just pause the game mid-war, cycle through all your planets in an hour-long resettlement and building shuffle, unpause, continue.
Stellaris' problem is not just that internal empire management is boring, it's that internal empire management doesn't put any actual brakes on the conquest train.

YAs for not wanting to metagame about the crisis. Well, that's playing the game. If that bothers you then nothing there's nothing I can say that will change your mind.
I'm trying to get YOU to change YOUR mind.
I hope to be able to get you to realise that there is a qualitative difference between "I am fighting the Tezark Grand Duchy in order to win this videogame" vs "I am fighting the Tezark Grand Duchy because that Extragalactic Music I discovered in an anomaly boosted my Xenophilic faction attraction to the extent that xenophilic faction leader Chief Sociologist Zargax III won the election to President and was able to push a war declaration against the fanatic xenophobe Athallids whom the Tezarks had a Guarantee Independence treaty with".
And the second one is better, please give us the second one.
 

moridin84

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I'm not sure what post you were reading.
EARLYGAME: Expanding is difficult
LATEGAME: Expanding is pointless
Ergo, expanding is always difficult or pointless.
Difficult... in the sense that playing Stellaris is difficult?

I meant difficult in that the only empires around you are equivalent size to your empire or are in federations and equivalent size.

Of course, these days I've gotten better at the game but haven't increased the difficult so I'm not challenged like that. But assuming that the AI is challenge, that is the situation you have to deal with late game.

No?
That's not how anyone prepares for the Crisis.
You prepare for the Crisis by conquering a bunch of chumps so you have a huge economic base that can support 10 fleets.
You already said that expanding is pointless right?

How can attacking other empires to pointless when you need to conquer other nations to deal with the Crisis?

When I say "expanding is pointless" I mean that it's actually better to colonize inside my borders or increase my population than attacking other empire and dealing with new unrurly pops.

Although, the reason I don't want to do that these days is that I don't want to have to micro manage more planets.

It's worse than that in that you don't have to stop and consolidate at all. Just pause the game mid-war, cycle through all your planets in an hour-long resettlement and building shuffle, unpause, continue.
Stellaris' problem is not just that internal empire management is boring, it's that internal empire management doesn't put any actual brakes on the conquest train.
Going to war require resources. Building and resettling pops requires resources.

If going to war doesn't slow you down at all then you are just fighting easy wars.

Maybe part of the problem is that the game is too easy?

I'm trying to get YOU to change YOUR mind.
I hope to be able to get you to realise that there is a qualitative difference between "I am fighting the Tezark Grand Duchy in order to win this videogame" vs "I am fighting the Tezark Grand Duchy because that Extragalactic Music I discovered in an anomaly boosted my Xenophilic faction attraction to the extent that xenophilic faction leader Chief Sociologist Zargax III won the election to President and was able to push a war declaration against the fanatic xenophobe Athallids whom the Tezarks had a Guarantee Independence treaty with".
And the second one is better, please give us the second one.
What you are saying is that you want factions within your empire to force you into a war with another empire? Because that doesn't appeal to me at all.

I like the late game crisises. I think they are cool. Much more interesting than being stuck with warring with your neighbours, for whatever reason, for the entire game.
 

LWE

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I think that Factions should play a bigger role than mostly just Influence, but there's nothing wrong in declaring on someone because it makes you stronger.
 
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LWE

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Jul 10, 2015
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