[Dev Team] 3.0.3 Patch Released (Checksum d281)

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

HistoricalScore1

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Time has already told :D

The team as a whole is constantly in discussion of the design and direction of the game.

"Action walks. BS talks." Even if @Eladrin agrees with you, it doesn't mean they will get the greenlight from @Obidobi or any others who are likely the final decision maker.

Is the team as a whole the studio (QA, designer, director, developers/programmers, UI, etc.)? Or actual studio and publisher/producer?

For example Amazon and companies they bought. They owned those companies, but they still operated independently. Or the relationship between Turtle Rock Studios and their publisher/producer during Evolve. The developers wanted to polish current features and the producers forced them (legally) to focus on more skins and more content.

Until there is some participation from an acknowledged (by PDX or on staff page or something) key decision maker there's nothing for a critical mind on these forums to go off.
 
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HistoricalScore1

First Lieutenant
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We agree on that. Is it clear that Paradox needs better/different processes to avoid releases like Leviathan happening again and to allow for long-term issues like tech debt to be addresses on an ongoing basis rather than building up? Yes. Does the fact that those processes aren't already in place mean that malicious/incompetent actors must be responsible for that? No.

No one is naïve enough, I hope, to think it's some fantasy villain. Are they cackling? Possibly. Mostly, they are just counting the $$$ they make with their heartless choices. It's pretty easy to see with actions, even if you never had a conversation with a publisher/producer about their plans. How many companies have released more content, and more content as DLC that people, you know, pay for, instead of or barely working on refining current features? There's a key decision maker who has final say on that matter. Usually, it's not the developers, but the publishers. But who knows. There are many naïve people out there.

Last month people were attacking devs for the problems of Leviathan - and, to a lesser extent, Stellaris pop mechanics. Then, when it was made clear that wasn't acceptable, people started couching their posts in terms of "I'm talking about the bean counters/management". But whether the forum's cackling villain has been "Devs", "Johann" or "Bean counters", the constant has been a view that problems result from malicious/lazy/incompetent actors, when actually cockup is usually more responsible than conspiracy.

Ignorance is a thing. Understandable even. There's a lot of people who don't fully understand (I certainly knew much, much less, a decade ago) the inner workings of a video game company. When they say devs they likely mean the game company. What they can understand is an office job possibly. You have a boss, you're one of 10 or so people under them. They usually have meetings with set goals, plans, and a time schedule to achieve them. That boss of yours has a boss, and so on and so on. And that task or policy you don't like about your company, yeah, someone made that a rule/policy.

When I was QA briefly, because I noticed the corruption immediately, there were some pretty hefty mechanics found by me and others on the team. The developers wanted to fix the bug. The publishers asked me to reproduce it. I did. They had me go into a room basically made of ductape, I think, to make sure it wasn't cellular interference. Again, I replicated it. I had to replicate it 8 times before they let me update the bug report. I was told that this could delay the launch. They'd decide the next day. Guess what. It was deemed a feature. That feature violated a major principle of the company about protecting children. It allows any player to make anyone their friend without their permission. Yeah, you bet that decision maker was thinking of dollars and not the children who could be affected by that over the course of that games existence.

Or maybe they could just fix the processes and the people who designed the processes can learn from their mistakes.

It is up to that decision maker whether or not the paid worker's time can be put on those tasks, period.
 
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Alexmci1

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* The very first pop colonizing a planet will no longer feel strangely compelled to abandon their duties to go work in that... Odd Factory.
Thank you! I'd reported this (along with a few others), so glad to see it fixed!
 

shaoiken

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Haha, it's always the Gray Tempest for me, 4 out of the last 4 times.


This, this so much. The current AI is just horrible at developing and maintaining any sort of economy, whether it's consumer goods, alloys, research, unity, or admin cap. I don't care about multiplayer dev streams, just fix the damn AI. This game is now 5, FIVE, years old, and it STILL doesn't have a competent AI.

Don't say it can't be done either. Normally I play Ironman only, I'm the roleplaying type who doesn't go out of his way to meta-game and punish the game, but even lately I've had to abandon vanilla Stellaris in favor of StarNet + friendship patch, something I never wanted to do. Why? While I don't like the way StarNet makes all AI empires feel pretty much the same and how it makes like 90-95% of their worlds into forge and generator worlds, it at least invests in its economy and doesn't get steamrolled by mid-game.

There are also the little things that StarNet does which, for years, I have strongly harped about, such as the AI colonizing off-climate worlds and sucking up the low habitability penalties which can slowly be mitigated through tech, buildings, and policies. I haven't seen any sign of StarNet AI terraforming, haven't quite gotten that far enough into a game yet (plus it tends to colonize everything lol), but I wouldn't be surprised if it does. It beats the vanilla AI that will still have like 8 uncolonized worlds within the borders of a xenophobic empire with just its 3 starting worlds at year 2400.

So despite StarNet making the AI a little too "meta" or try-hard, they've at least made it feel sort of competent at nation-building. Oh, another thing I noticed that StarNet does which I never, EVER see the vanilla AI do: it changes its trade policies. Every vanilla empire uses wealth creation, but with StarNet I see them using consumer benefits. Is that because consumer benefits is OP or the others suck? I dunno, but again, the little things, and with consumer benefits they're able to afford more research and admin cap buildings. Little things.

I've heard mixed reports about Glavius AI, if it's still up-to-date, if the mod is back, or whatever. Would prefer that mod as its goal is to simply improve the AI by nudging it better directions.
Have you tried the new variant from the same maker StarTech AI? I've run one game so far with it and it seems to tick all the boxes I would want from a competent but roleplaying AI. Build a pretty good trade federation in my game with some of them and killed of a devouring swarm together.
 

Soranya

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Why would I buy a Season Pass if its content becomes free after said "Season" (whatever that entails)?
Maybe cosmetic only content that does not become free + earlier access to new mechanics.
With Season duration around ayear i most certainly would pay premium to play the new stuff instantly (and receving bug fixes and other updates).
 

monatomic

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* Sapient robots like Synthetics (including those created Synthetic Ascension) can now utilize the auto-migration system. AI Servitude policies will restrict their migration as if they were slaves (in which case they will relocate if a Slave Processing Plant exists on the planet).
Non-slavers can't get that building, right? So they cannot have robots in servitude auto resettle?

edit: that means a robot user must also be authoritarian or xenophobe (required for "slavery allowed") to use this
 
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malakhglitch

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Non-slavers can't get that building, right? So they cannot have robots in servitude auto resettle?
The Slave Processing Facility requires only
  • Allowed Slavery policy
  • Neural Implants technology
 
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charliex3

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Mole204

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Good, that'll give people a chance to figure out how to undo the screwups that were woven into the game.
For example, what did they _do_ to the orbital habitats?! They need to be reminded that "to nerf" does not mean to make a funny toy out of something, it means "this object is now useless in all possible scenarios." I mean, it should be a funny improvement, but not all of what has been done are improvements. 3 has been a mix of minor fixes, and small but serious disasters to the player's infrastructure. If these building square limitations, to name one, had been actions in the game then it would be clear enemy action. The Espionage has been very promicing, but turned out to be flavour text only.
 

BakedPotato

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The 3.0.3 economic plans have a goal of 0 research in the early plan and 50 of each type of research in all later plans. This means that the AI can reach all of it's research goals ever by building 4 labs total in it's entire empire and that's not counting the effect of stability or tech that boosts science. That's extremely low and it's no wonder the AI is struggling to keep up with research.

I was honestly quite surprised to see it actually released as part of the official 3.0.3 patch instead of the old research targets being restored.
I know it's been said that 3.0.3 is the last patch for 3.0, but honestly this is inexcusable and calls for a hotfix. Why the hell would they do this? Is the AI really THAT bad at managing its consumer goods? I'm usually swimming in CG surplus and selling them on the market.
 
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Dragatus

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The AI thinks that the way to fix a CG deficit is by building an Industrial District. It doesn't account for the fact that if a planet is a Forge World those districts provide 2 Metallurgists and it won't produce any extra CGs, but the two new specialist jobs will require 1 more CG of upkeep. So it will see that the CG situation actually got worse and will try to fix it by building another Industrial district and if it's on the same planet it just makes things even worse. And then it keeps repeating the process and getting deeper and deeper into a CG death spiral.
 
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EustaceCS

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Glavius could fix AI issues, if modder can do it then what is the blocker for company?
Blocker - for what?

For fixing it themselves:
1. A list of issues which have higher priority. If you'd like to keep 3.0.0 (sic!) version with crashes and performance issues while having top-notch AI - well, please do.
2. Stabilization. Testing AI, even if each and every its nuance is well-documented and the new code is fully stable, is a chunk of ITERATIVE work so huge... Modder can afford having playerbase as alpha testers, big company can not. So you'll prefer not simply having lagging crashing 3.0.0 but with top-notch AI at somewhere around the end of Year 2021, do you?
(and that's testing only AI and systems directly related to it. Looking for weird behavior in a game as a whole after new AI implementation and stabilization is a completely different can of worms)
3. Backlash. Backlash is inevitable. If you prioritize AI - users which experience crashes and performance issues will yell at you. If you prioritize crashes and performance fixes (and, by extent, rebalanced pop growth system - with 'patch 3.0.1' iteration of which I was absolutely content but majority of community was not...) - you get 'what is the blocker...' questions. If someone would donate a million hours worth of developer's working hours to have BOTH categories fixed and polished - some other group of persons with questions would emerge. Would you like to donate a million hours worth of developer's working hours to prove me wrong?

Unfortunately, it's a top of the iceberg. 5.5 years in this industry part allow me to justify this.

You (personally you, person which is thinking about pushing dislike button for this post of mine) should praise Stellaris developers for not following
- The Sims 4 path (more than a year to make DLC playable again - and it happens regularly with different DLCs)
- or World of Tanks path (despite my dirty little secret, I still can't understand extraterrestrial reasoning behind their decisions of 'which bugs to fix' and 'which features to implement' kinds)
- or Diablo series path (do what your boss told you to until some red-shirted daredevil would make said boss answer for it on a huge press-conference)
- or any other AAA-by-value soul-less series/company.

It could be worse. But could it be better? I don't think so.
 
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Nebbie Zebbie

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Blocker - for what?

For fixing it themselves:
1. A list of issues which have higher priority. If you'd like to keep 3.0.0 (sic!) version with crashes and performance issues while having top-notch AI - well, please do.
2. Stabilization. Testing AI, even if each and every its nuance is well-documented and the new code is fully stable, is a chunk of ITERATIVE work so huge... Modder can afford having playerbase as alpha testers, big company can not. So you'll prefer not simply having lagging crashing 3.0.0 but with top-notch AI at somewhere around the end of Year 2021, do you?
(and that's testing only AI and systems directly related to it. Looking for weird behavior in a game as a whole after new AI implementation and stabilization is a completely different can of worms)
3. Backlash. Backlash is inevitable. If you prioritize AI - users which experience crashes and performance issues will yell at you. If you prioritize crashes and performance fixes (and, by extent, rebalanced pop growth system - with 'patch 3.0.1' iteration of which I was absolutely content but majority of community was not...) - you get 'what is the blocker...' questions. If someone would donate a million hours worth of developer's working hours to have BOTH categories fixed and polished - some other group of persons with questions would emerge. Would you like to donate a million hours worth of developer's working hours to prove me wrong?

Unfortunately, it's a top of the iceberg. 5.5 years in this industry part allow me to justify this.

You (personally you, person which is thinking about pushing dislike button for this post of mine) should praise Stellaris developers for not following
- The Sims 4 path (more than a year to make DLC playable again - and it happens regularly with different DLCs)
- or World of Tanks path (despite my dirty little secret, I still can't understand extraterrestrial reasoning behind their decisions of 'which bugs to fix' and 'which features to implement' kinds)
- or Diablo series path (do what your boss told you to until some red-shirted daredevil would make said boss answer for it on a huge press-conference)
- or any other AAA-by-value soul-less series/company.

It could be worse. But could it be better? I don't think so.
There's also the Paradox path where you release a constant stream of DLC that is a mix of irrelevant and vital to basic gameplay while your free updates try to fix old problems by adding new stupid mechanics that break things worse, never stopping to rethink things properly or solve more than a few trivially-obvious design flaws at a time. That's the one they're currently on, and the tying of Nemesis to 3.0 in ways where both were clearly rushed should be incredibly worrying to you, as it signals things aren't going to change soon.
Basically, the "higher priority issues" are largely DLC content being cool and not making someone mad they lost in singleplayer because they completely screwed up counterespionage (the system we got is explicitly nerfed into uselessness to prevent it ever negatively impacting a player from what the AI does).

Stellaris a year down the road could very well be in the position where pop growth is even worse as we bicker about whether the internal politics DLC's new and completely useless resource sinks to control factions are "cool" or not.
 
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MathyM

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Believe me, us in QA have a lot of attention focused on balance and raising our concerns to design team (in particular @Eladrin).

That said, some imbalance in intentional.
May we ask what's intended to be weaker, so we don't bother suggesting buffs to it?