Stellaris Dev Diary #193: Signal Discovered

Stellaris Dev Diary #193: Signal Discovered

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Lorenerd11

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Fallen Empires are so far advanced that they have known how to communicate with you ever since you left your puny planet, so nope, they will still tell you to keep off the grass as soon as you get anywhere near their systems!
Aw, I kinda hoped we'd get a special event describing the discovery of some particularly advanced civilization and attempting to research it from afar before getting contacted.
 
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Libertine Angel

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Maybe you could helm science ships with envoys for first contact missions. When there’s a scientist in charge, the ship can survey. When there’s an envoy in charge, it can explore and advance your contact.

I think that would slow things down a lot in the early game, unless you started out with two Science ships then whoever's first out exploring would end up finding a load of borders of people they can't talk to and could well end up boxed in until you're able to build another ship and fly it out there, by which point you might have a backlog of uncontacted empires to work through, unless you'd rather completely stall your exploratory efforts each time you find another civilisation.
 
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methegrate

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I think that would slow things down a lot in the early game, unless you started out with two Science ships then whoever's first out exploring would end up finding a load of borders of people they can't talk to and could well end up boxed in until you're able to build another ship and fly it out there, by which point you might have a backlog of uncontacted empires to work through, unless you'd rather completely stall your exploratory efforts each time you find another civilisation.

Although you wouldn’t actually find those borders. You might find lots of bustling, inhabited systems, but even in the current build borders don’t kick in until you’ve made contact.
 
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Troyen

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Second is that envoys have a cool down to assignment, meaning that it's hard to shuffle them around in the same way that other leaders are. Now obviously this could be removed, but the cool down exists for a reason. Having an envoy in the galactic senate only matters at the instant where a proposal is called or the vote is chosen, and diplomatic agreements can use envoys to ignore relationship requirements. The solution to this is simple add a "wind up" period for envoys equal to the current cool down for assignment: It takes a year for an envoys in the galactic community to build up connections and exert their full diplomatic power (probably start at half or 40% though, so you can try to last minute squeeze some extra diplo power if you need it), and in order to ignore relationship requirements for actions you need to have had your envoy there improving or harming relations for a year. Now reassigning envoys back and forth instantly doesn't give an advantage, so there is no need for the cool down.
Don't forget the monthly cohesion check from having an envoy assigned to a federation.

Third is that envoys have a cap, while all other leaders don't. This isn't a big problem, and can just be ignored (the envoy limit exists for game balance), but I could also see adding a limit to the other leader types, likely tied into an institution system. We shouldn't go back to the days where a single leader pool applied to all leaders though.
Honestly, maybe having a cap on scientists wouldn't be a bad thing and discourage some of the 8-10 science ship survey spam people feel obligated to do, which also burns through exploration/anomalies faster (and plus it'd help limit the number of Assist Research projects boosting tech even further). But I don't know about having a cap on the other leader types. Do you really want to restrict the number of governors (since you don't have full control over sector borders) or admirals?
 
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Libertine Angel

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Do you really want to restrict the number of governors (since you don't have full control over sector borders) or admirals?

Maybe those limits should be proportional to admin cap and fleet cap, so you get more governors as your empire gets bigger and you can't get more admirals than fleets to command.
 
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Tamwin5

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Don't forget the monthly cohesion check from having an envoy assigned to a federation.


Honestly, maybe having a cap on scientists wouldn't be a bad thing and discourage some of the 8-10 science ship survey spam people feel obligated to do, which also burns through exploration/anomalies faster (and plus it'd help limit the number of Assist Research projects boosting tech even further). But I don't know about having a cap on the other leader types. Do you really want to restrict the number of governors (since you don't have full control over sector borders) or admirals?

A month is the "basic unit" that things tick in, so there isn't any point to juggling an envoy around mid-month (assuming these changes are made). The two envoy actions which currently have a monthly tick are improve/harm relations, and cohesion in federations, and they are the two actions I didn't make any changes to as part of my suggestion.
 

Lorenerd11

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Honestly, maybe having a cap on scientists wouldn't be a bad thing and discourage some of the 8-10 science ship survey spam people feel obligated to do, which also burns through exploration/anomalies faster
I don't know about a scientist cap, but maybe there could be a cap of maximum 6 science ships being crewed by a scientist at any given time?
 

fodazd

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Maybe those limits should be proportional to admin cap and fleet cap, so you get more governors as your empire gets bigger and you can't get more admirals than fleets to command.

I mostly agree with this. If you think about it, most other types of leaders could have "natural" caps based on how big your empire is:
-> The governor cap is just the number of sectors you have, since each sector can only have one governor. I wouldn't tie it to admin cap, but just to the number of sectors.
-> The admiral cap could just be proportional to your naval cap, since more naval cap means more fleets to command.
-> The general cap would mostly be irrelevant, since it doesn't make much sense to use more than 2 or 3 army-stacks anyway.
-> A scientist cap would be the most controversial, since right now you want to spam as many scientists as possible to explore in the early game and assist research later in the game... But you could argue that it isn't actually a good thing that spamming so many scientists all the time is the best strategy.
 
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Libertine Angel

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I mostly agree with this. If you think about it, most other types of leaders could have "natural" caps based on how big your empire is:
-> The governor cap is just the number of sectors you have, since each sector can only have one governor. I wouldn't tie it to admin cap, but just to the number of sectors.
-> The admiral cap could just be proportional to your naval cap, since more naval cap means more fleets to command.
-> The general cap would mostly be irrelevant, since it doesn't make much sense to use more than 2 or 3 army-stacks anyway.
-> A scientist cap would be the most controversial, since right now you want to spam as many scientists as possible to explore in the early game and assist research later in the game... But you could argue that it isn't actually a good thing that spamming so many scientists all the time is the best strategy.

I thought about governors being linked to sector numbers but then thought that could be easily abused, colonise a bunch of far-off planets and then you've got a bunch of 1-planet sectors and a huge pool of governors to rotate through for your core sector even if you don't actually have a large population that needs governing. You're right with the admirals though, I forgot the proper term for it but that's what I had in mind.
A scientist cap does pose some challenge, it certainly has its benefits because the effectiveness of spamming them renders choosing rather trivial, but how to implement such a cap is quite the question. If there's gonna be changes to keep exploration meaningful throughout the game I might even suggest splitting them into two categories of Researchers and Surveyors, one having all the usual tech bonuses and the other getting the exploration & archaeology bonuses (because realistically you couldn't just stick any scientist into any field and get good results), and have them both capped proportional perhaps to base research output.
 
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fodazd

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I thought about governors being linked to sector numbers but then thought that could be easily abused, colonise a bunch of far-off planets and then you've got a bunch of 1-planet sectors and a huge pool of governors to rotate through for your core sector even if you don't actually have a large population that needs governing.

My personal opinion: Having a large number of governors to "rotate through" wouldn't be much of a problem. I don't do that even now when I could theoretically have an unlimited number of them.
 
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Nerkos_The_Unbidden

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I feel that Envoys should not be leaders(As I stated before), instead I had a thought.

What if the Envoy Leader, let's call it the Ambassador, acts much like Governors could be assigned to regions, in this case diplomatic contact with other nations, they could have traits which give bonuses to Intel or trust growth, etc.

Then the Envoys as they are now could still be used as middlemen to other nations/your federation/the Galactic community, taking bonuses from the Ambassadors, but still Diplomatic Middlemen, which is what they currently feel like to me.

Do not know if this is possible, but I feel like it's interesting.

Regardless of what is done, I will await the future changes, they show promise.
 
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Envoys don't need to have micro. I hope the next expansion is around politics. And we need some QoL improvements around warfare like how it's impossible half the time to properly see which systems have been occupied properly and which systems you don't occupy but need to to get the victory peace deal.
 

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This change I think I will end up liking. Especially since I actually get to have some meaning input into how the first contact situation is handled.

As far as envoys go, they probably should have had traits all along, good or bad, as it at least gives you varying results. Right now the whole diplomacy mini-game, is a "send envoy here and ignore" depending on what you want to do (I actually just end up sending all envoys to the Galactic Council to increase my power there, and don't use them for anything else).
 

kwanzaabot

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Looking forward to this update, and I've got the perfect species waiting in the wings! Not only will they be SUPER super isolationist, but they're also gonna churn out spies at an alarming rate:

ick.png
 
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improving first contact and extending the exploration aspects of the game.
Looking back, Stellaris has mostly revolved around the physical exploration of space, discovering an ancient galaxy full of wonders. We believe that exploring and uncovering the galaxy is such an important and fun aspect of the game that we really want to dive deeper into those experiences.

I cannot upvote this enough. Exploration phase of the game should be longer and slower before the territory race starts and the galaxy is divided between empires.
 
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kwheeler

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I feel that Envoys should not be leaders(As I stated before), instead I had a thought.

What if the Envoy Leader, let's call it the Ambassador, acts much like Governors could be assigned to regions, in this case diplomatic contact with other nations, they could have traits which give bonuses to Intel or trust growth, etc.

Then the Envoys as they are now could still be used as middlemen to other nations/your federation/the Galactic community, taking bonuses from the Ambassadors, but still Diplomatic Middlemen, which is what they currently feel like to me.

It would also be interesting if Envoys or Ambassadors came from or were linked to your Empire's factions. If you are supporting a particular faction, you are more likely to gain an Envoy that supports that faction's policies, and that envoy will make the supported faction happier. If you are suppressing a particular faction, you will not gain Envoys that support that faction's policies--or even unrest from the factions that don't want your Envoy sent to other empires.

Then, the envoy gains bonuses of some sort when interacting with alien species of similar attitudes, and lessened efficiency for interacting with dissimilar alien cultures.

It might also be interesting if you could assign envoys not just to alien empires, but to factions within your own government to manipulate them or keep them in line.

My thinking here is that it would force some one-time strategic choices for each envoy:

(1) I can obtain envoys that match my political ethos, which will make my supported faction happier, but at the cost of upsetting dissident factions in my empire.

(2) I have to choose whether to use an Envoy to balance out unrest in my own factions, or whether to use it to make nice/make mean with neighbors.

(3) The game could add traits to Envoys that reinforce government policies. For instance,
  • Some Envoys would be more effective at insults.
  • Others could encourage commercial pacts with an assigned alien empire.
  • Others might make be intimidators /pacifiers that discourage aggression from an empire.
  • Others might make it more likely that an alien empire will form research agreements.
  • Others might make it more likely that spiritualist values or pacifist spread to an empire you interact with.
The kicker for #3 is that the Envoy has some beneficial trait that you lose access to if you send them abroad, forcing players to focus more on inward development or more on outward relations.
  • Maybe the envoy that encourages commercial pacts with other empires would actually slightly increase trade value in your own empire if you choose instead to assign the envoy at home with a trade faction or with a Megacorp office another empire established on one of your planets.
  • Maybe the effective insulting or intimidating envoy would grant +X damage to your own ships or +X weapons range if it was kept at home and assigned to a militant faction you support.
  • Maybe the envoy that encourages research agreements would increase the "assist research bonus" provided to an orbiting science ship for the planet with the most research production in your empire.
  • Maybe the envoy that spreads spiritualist or pacificist values will instead increase happiness if he's assigned at home to work with your spiritualist or pacificist-supported faction. (Or conversely, maybe your pacifists and spiritualists that are xenophobes will become *unhappy* if you send the envoy as the Space Dalai Lama to alien heathen elsewhere?)
You could also tie such a system in with a variety of other mechanics. For instance. maybe you only get specialized envoys if you build a certain type of building on your capital planet (or maybe upgrade a particular type of building on your capital planet) in addition to an Embassy Complex:
  • So, Citadel of Faith + Embassy Complex might let you produce spiritualist envoys
  • Vault of Acquisitions (or Galactic Stock Exchange?) + Embassy Complex might let you produce commercial-encouraging envoys
  • Research Institute + Embassy Complex might let you produce science-pact encouraging envoys.
  • etc, etc.
The player who has Embassy Complex + multiple types of buildings would be able to access a wider variety of specialized envoys, gaining a larger tool box for diplomacy

Here the strategic choice is you have a limited number of slots to build on your capital planet. Do you want to use two of them to gain specialized envoys? Three of them? Four of them? It would force players to strategize if they want to use their capital building slots in their most effective manner for another industrial or scientific or energy-production purpose, or whether they want to really dig into intergalactic relations, or seek a balance somewhere in the middle.
 
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PalmettoExplorer14

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I wonder if the difficulty of the translations is based on species type (i.e. A mammal species trying to translate a fungoid's language).
 
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