Overlord: initial impressions

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Liggi

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I've only managed to play about 50 years so far, but here are my thoughts:

  • New Vassalisation stuff is super interesting and has a lot of potential. Diplomatically negotiating a Vassalisation and then building Loyalty to made the arrangement more favourable to you is really fun, and really cool. My two main complaints are:
    • The AI is far too reluctant to agree to give you anything resource-wise as part of a negotiation. Asking even for a 15% tithe of Basic Resources actually has lower acceptance than getting them to agree to Integration Permitted! This seems very wrong. I can offer to give them Subsidies on everything but a slight tithe on them is unthinkable.
    • I find myself easily maxing out Loyalty and not having a whole lot to do with it? All I can do with it really is get them to give me resources occasionally, but I don't want to have to keep going back into the Trade screen constantly just to get 500 Consumer Goods, so it's not super helpful. It feels like Loyalty is missing some uses, I'm not sure what though. Maybe there should be an additional Subject term that determines the effects of Loyalty? So, high loyalty translates into Naval Capacity, or Diplomatic Weight, or Unity, for the Overlord. Just something to give me a reason to keep Loyalty high and not feel like I'm wasting it. There just needs to be something I can "spend" Loyalty on that feels a bit more rewarding.
  • Building out your Hyper Relay network is super cool, I love seeing my Space Railways. I do, however, wish it was a little bit less expensive on the Influence side. It feels like maybe we've gone from having nothing to spend Influence on to having slightly too much to spend it on? Especially with Espionage now costing Influence.
  • The AI seem very competent, my Vassal has expanded aggressively and has a LOT of colonies. Nice to see! Haven't had a war yet so I'm interested to see how that will play out.
  • Situations are very cool, I love the UI, and they just have a really great feel to them. I want MORE. MORE SITUATIONS. ALL THE SITUATIONS.
  • I took the Teachers of the Shroud Origin and I've been enjoying the storyline / events so far.

I'll continue to expand on my thoughts as the game goes on!

So far, it's a great expansion. And I feel like I haven't even gotten into a lot of the meat of it yet. Can't wait to yeet some fleets.
 
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Workiwork

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Question to those who tried it. Will an Hive Mind block integration outright or have a very very low chance of accepting it? (or vice versa if hive is the overlord) it always felt wrong to integrate empires that would instantly be purged.
 
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Liggi

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Couple of extra pieces of feedback:
  • For some reason the AI seem to be sitting at massive resource surpluses, but not really bothering to build up their fleets. I barely bothered with my fleet and almost every empire was Inferior or Pathetic (this is on Admiral).
    • Jumping into Observer, the AI seem to actually be killing it economically, but they just aren't really funnelling their surpluses into naval capacity / fleets / Unity / Research like they should be.
  • My strategy was just to diplo-vassalise all my neighbours by giving them favourable terms, and they were all happy to agree. To be honest, it feels kinda weird to have a Vassal where your only real term is you'll come to their Defense if attacked. In what sense are they subjugated to you? I don't know, something about it seems off to me. What's the point in Guarantee Independence now that you can just do this? Plus then you can use Loyalty to siphon resources (it's very easy to get).
  • Having to send a ship all the way to the Scrapper home system to scrap it is kinda annoying, especially when they are really far away from you and you have to get through closed borders etc.... can't they just come pick it up?
  • Orbital Rings are cool. They look dope as hell.

EDIT: With regards to the ability to have a Vassalisation contract where you come to their defense, why not make their acceptance of this depend on how threatened they are? That would unlock some interesting narratives where you can vassalise someone under threat, but once the threat is dealt with, they no longer want to be subjugated and get a loyalty penalty.
 
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ZeeHero

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I've found its basically impossible to set up a prospectorum as the AI is hardcoded never to agree to it.
 
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Gromit

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Seems ok up to now.

Planet designation keeps defaulting to factory for me for some reason, I've had to constantly change it.
Hyper Relays came after gateways for me and seem to be a bit too expensive and aren't explained.

I wanted to test out the vassal system, but the various space slime beside me were a bit too vile so they've ended up in the blender.
 
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Coreyjet

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Finally was able to declare galactic emperor. I think there may be a bug though, every time I build an armada ship for the GDF, it shows it taking my personal naval capacity, and it's also showing it taking the capacity in the Imperium. Odd...
 
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FuzzyLogic

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Yay, I noticed that the AI is not lethargic anymore. It expands rather quickly and has a knack for identifying chokepoints. My years post-first contact have been a literal construction ship drag race

As for vassals, I've reached the point where my two vassals are more of a burden than a valuable asset. I'm keeping them for the holdings alone.
 
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Liggi

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Alright, some suggestions:

  • Vassalisation should have some sort of inherent "tithe". Perhaps a 5% Unity tithe? Currently, you can have a situation where an empire is a "Subject", but all it means is that the Overlord will come to their defense if attacked. That's not subjugation, that's Guarantee Independence. Vassalisation is supposed to be about unequal power relations, so there should be some sort of inherent benefit for the Overlord and "payment" from the subject. I would suggest a new set of terms, called something like "Obligation", which would have options like: "Nominal", "Devolved / Semi-Independent", "Puppet", simulating the level of control the Overlord has over the Vassal's internal operation. This would maybe be a scaling Unity tithe.
  • Relative power should have a much bigger effect on Loyalty, unless the deal is good enough to balance it. If you're significantly Subsidising someone with a Superior economy, for example, they might not care so much and be quite happy with the situation. Likewise, an Equivalent empire might be happy with giving you a tithe if you agree to come to their defence and they don't have to come to yours, but ONLY IF THEY FEEL THREATENED. If they have no nearby rivals or threats, they shouldn't care as much about you offering to join defensive wars.
  • Loyalty should decay towards a baseline, and the baseline should be harder to increase. A Vassal you've had for 3 years shouldn't be able to hit max Loyalty and stay there. Maybe if you've had a Vassal with a good contract and good relations for 50 years, they might have consistently high Loyalty that stays high. The further from the baseline, the quicker the decay / increase (like CK3's Court Grandeur). Things that should affect Baseline are: ethics compatibility, opinion, the favourability of their vassal contract, the length of time they've been a vassal, relative power (including combined relative power with other vassals).
  • When modifying a Vassal contract, there should be a way to push through changes, probably by spending more Influence. The more they hate the change, the more Influence you should have to spend, and the more Influence they will have to counter with in order to block the change. Optionally, at a threshold, there should be a chance that they straight up refuse the changes, which should trigger an immediate rebellion / subjugation war.
    • A potential addition here would be the ability for Vassals to form "factions", like CK3, but I imagine that's probably a bit too big of a change. I'm thinking of two possibilities: 1) the AI could swear secret fealty to another one of your vassals. If a war triggers, they join the rebelling vassal and if that vassal wins the war, they become the new Overlord (I think at the moment they can only swear secret fealty to another, independent empire). 2) a sort of "independence faction", where the AI have a secret agreement that if one rebels, they'll all rebel, and if they win, they all get independence.
 
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ZeeHero

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If you have the opposing empire at "pathetic" in everything and they dont have the militarist or xenophobe ethics, it should be an automatic surrender if you aren't so far from them they think your fleets will never arrive.
 
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Lord Valdyr

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Militarily subjugation cannot make specialist vassals, making that entire system locked out from anyone going the conquest route. This feels... weird. You no longer get a casus belli from the target refusing a deal, meaning that your only terms available for subjugation are the basic, not-really-customizable ones set by your vassilization policy. While you can change the terms later, (but vassals can just... say no to any changes and there's nothing you can do?) you cannot change the vassal type, so you can't actually subjugate a vassal and force them to be a specialist for you.

This doesn't fit with the theme of an expansion titled "Overlord". There's no real option other than being a friendly, diplomatic ruler, as going and doing a conquest run seems to lock you out of most of the mechanics in this expansion.
 
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ZeeHero

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You can make a specialist vassal some time after military conquest, but the AI seems hard coded to -never- accept becoming prospectorum.
 
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Farbros

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I would definitely mention the new OST, which is exactly what I needed. The original OST is cool, but after a thousand hours you get a bit bored with it, the new ambient tracks are perfect and are in style with overall tracks, what I like. Something I feel is still missing, the real battle epic music, something like that.
 
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monkeypunch87

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Initial impressions?
I don't enjoy the new humans, but I like the new flag options.
Overall the new Origins sound great, but I learned that the Fiefdom Origin has an event chain that kills my Overlord every time early in the game. A boring disappointment.
I couldn't create special vassals to my liking, it needs balance. I'm the powerful Overlord afterall, how can my vassals decline without power and military?
But the showstopper for me was the bug that I can't conquer systems with primitves and a planet of my enemies in it. Now I will wait for a hotfix.
 
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zZander56

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As for vassals, I've reached the point where my two vassals are more of a burden than a valuable asset. I'm keeping them for the holdings alone.
I've noticed this as well. Either I make them a Subsidiary and live with the default values, or I have to completely give up on recieveing taxes to experience some of the cool new terms such as holdings.

Holdings are extremely powerful though. The resource extraction buildings in particular are actually almost exactly what I suggested branch offices do a while back.
 
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Silens

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At least some things are a very nice surprise. Imagine, the Shroudwalkers can spawn events and anomalies for you, one of which is the Brainslug anomaly. It was notoriously hard to get it, now we have a second, more reliable way!

Also, you can buy a marauder merc fleet and use it to found a mercenary enclave. Doesn't get cheaper than that. Same for admirals on your own fleets, just buy a marauder admiral and put him on the fleet, so it won't cost you your own. :D

Once the bugs are fixed and numbers are adjusted, this will be one of the best expansions Stellaris has seen to date.
 
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andxtiltone

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One thing I feel is missing from Overlords are events that can trigger around subjects to make them feel a bit more dynamic/feel like you are managing a bunch of empires.
  • Subjects asking their overlord to go to war if offensive/all is part of the contract:
    • Yes, right now (war declared immediately)
    • Give me 1 year to prepare (declares war in 1 year). Gives time for overlord to prepare.
    • Yes, but I need some resources first... (subject gives overlord lump sum of resources. war is declared. Loyalty hit.)
  • Loyal subjects increasing their taxes for some time out of love for the overlord.
  • Loyal subjects working w/ disloyal subjects to increase their opinion/loyalty of the overlord for some time.
  • Subjects feuding w/ other subjects. Overlord takes side on dispute w/ consequences.
  • Subjects asking for contract changes.
  • Using favors to increase acceptance of contracts.
Events that allow the loyalty to fluctuate throughout the game so that once you hit +100, it doesn't just stay at that value forever, and events that make you want to fix a -100 loyal subject opinion in fear of what could trigger.
 
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Bergest

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Overall it's very positive and I'm currently having a lot of fun, there is just one major gripe I'm having with it and one annoying bug:

Even directly after subjugating them in a brutal war, a vasall will just tell you to go f*** off in contract negotiations, sometimes even when it's just about increasing the ressource tithe a single step and there is nothing you can really do about it. There should be a way to push demands through or at least more negotiating room for the overlord in the first contract negotiation after a subjugation war.

The limited diplomacy doesn't work, my vasalls didn't reliably vote with me in the GC.
 
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