Stellaris Dev Diary #193: Signal Discovered

Stellaris Dev Diary #193: Signal Discovered

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Tamwin5

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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.

While I very much agree that envoys (and indeed all leaders) should be linked to factions, I strongly disagree with making envoys a vehicle to deal with internal stuff. Envoys are the main tool for interacting with other empires, and there is (atleast in theory) a balance between using them to support a federation, direct diplomacy with other empires, and clout in the Galactic Community. And from the look of the teasers, it's likely envoys may be used for espionage as well (first contact is only really relevant early game). Instead of just having envoys directly assigned to a faction, tie in their faction and assignment together: An envoy associated with your not happy spiritualist faction threatens to sabotage your upcoming proposal unless you concede to some of their demands, or an egalitarian envoy was discovered helping slaves escape from your authoritarian ally they were improving relations with.
 
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To be honest, I don't remember the names of my governors, scientists, admirals or generals... So I doubt I will for envoys. I only care about dem levels and traits. Is this truly different for you?

For me at least, if I can rename them, it becomes a lot easier to remember and keep track of my leaders/factions/fleets/sectors/etc. In fact, I typically rename everything I can with the exception of stars and naval ships (mostly) as it helps me form a connection with these things and the stories that emerge.

I would also like to voice my support for envoys becoming full leaders (or at least being able to be renamed). If I play from a not quite min-max but purely strategy oriented angle, I quickly find myself bored and directionless. As a result, I tend to roleplay somewhat, coming up with subplots and internal drama between the leaders which at times informs gameplay choices, provides direction for my gameplay and helps me get through the quieter phases (applying this approach, I've got up to the 2390's in my current game and am still keen to keep going, until then my record by far with the more pure gameplay angle was somewhere in the 2350's at which point I gave up out of boredom). At present, the envoys have been excluded as characters in the imagined lore I come up with (partly as I cannot name them in accordance with the naming schemes I use), but with them being involved in first contact work and the like, this is exactly the sort of thing I can make a subplot around and being able to name them would go a long way to being able to make them stand out as individuals I can keep track of (as well as come up with imagined clan loyalties and other interesting story hooks). Besides, most other things can be renamed and at present (unless there is a method I do not know about), the envoys are something of a glaring exception.

Thank you

AviosAdku
 
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Roland Traveler

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after we established contact do we then instantly know everything about the empire as is the case now? Meaning every newly colonized planet will be shown on the map, every new outpost will be known instantly and so on.



I would think that would be logical maybe for empires we have a close relation with. maybe also for enemy empires that tell us "thats ours. go away" but for a devouring swarm neighbor for example... would be more a stretch.



just to brainstorm: A fog of war for empires after contact is established could be nice too. We do not know who has system ownership now because the last System Info is 2400 days old and something like that (like in... i do not remember what games.. saw it once or twice.) And it could be the perfect opportunity to establish a space news network for info about distant wars :D

If the Crises were made more aggressive (personally I’d just give them passive hull regen and hunter-killer fleets that solely goes around killing stuff with dedicated escort fleets for armies and construction ships) or they added in new threats, I could see this having some great moments come from it: let’s say the Swarm attacks. You know that they’re coming, but you don’t know where (I would personally remove knowing unless you’re right in the blast zone, due to you being able to see the horde of ships coming your way) and suddenly part of the Galaxy goes dark. Then more, and more, and more, and more. You don’t know if the Galaxy is rallying to fight back or if it’s just a slaughter.

It could also work really well with a buffed Prikki-ti, or any unknown DE, FP, or DS. Just imagine the horror of seeing known empires suddenly losing territory and unknown fleets and stations appearing on your radar just before the region goes dark.

Honestly I would love something like this. My current game had me able to completely surround a Terravore DS and control the only hyperlane into their space, and I’ve headcanoned it as my empire locking away this great unknown threat and protecting the Galaxy (even if their lack of minerals is nearly crippling them). While not something that’s going very often, the fact it could happen and you could create these unknown terrors lurking just outside your view is something I really, really want in Stellaris.
 
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when will this be live

When they release the next expansion DLC. They tend to do one a year and the last one came out in March. So most likely we'll get the one they're currently working on at some point in the first half of 2021.
 

HFY

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when will this be live
The code will be sacrificially elevated into a Necroid before release, therefore it will technically never be live.
 
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The code will be sacrificially elevated into a Necroid before release, therefore it will technically never be live.
The code is synthetic, therefore it will only be live for materialists, not for spiritualists.
 
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The idea of being a secret society of people brings a lot of roleplaying flavor to this game and that is something that is always accepted!
 
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Ikael

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It sounds really, really cool! I have long argued that the exploration phase should be extended and that knowing about other alien species should be an active decision and imply the investment of resources. I mean, you might map the stars, yet have no idea or whatsoever of how the Blorg society operates. As for more random commentaries:

- A way to avoid repetition could be to initiate that type of narrative quests only the first time you discover a new "type" of alien empire (the first time you encounter a fanatic purifier, the first time you encounter a fallen empire, the first time you encounter a regular empire, etc), with your initial decisions influencing how harder or easier will be latter, more systematic Xeno studies

- Having envoys turned into diplomat/spy leaders would certainly add quite a bit of flavor. Also, it might be wise to fuse these two types of leaders, considering that diplomatic and intelligence branches often overlap with each other

- Bonuses to first contacts and spies could also be the type of active, player agency-driven bonus that pacifist empires desperately needs

- Yesssss, we all knew that espionage was coming, yay! The only question left is: Will internal politics, faction and leaders be up to the task of fleshing out that part of the game?

- Having certain empires to be "opaque" until the mid or late game would be a great way of extending the exploration phase. For example, unlocking diplomatic options with hiveminds behind a tech, or needing a social research project in order to be able to peek into fallen empires. There are a lot of possibilities!

- Also, uplifted species and primitives are in dire need of a rework and buff. They were much cooler in the early versions of Stellaris, when only they could provide certain traits / special bonuses. I hope they get some love too!
 
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General Karthos

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Will we get an extra envoy or two? It's currently possible to start with 0 envoys, which would kinda suck. Maybe let the Inward Perfectionists have an envoy but be unable to use him to raise or lower opinion with Xeno scum?
 

Tamwin5

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Will we get an extra envoy or two? It's currently possible to start with 0 envoys, which would kinda suck. Maybe let the Inward Perfectionists have an envoy but be unable to use him to raise or lower opinion with Xeno scum?

They already confirmed in one of the dev responses that you'll never have 0 envoys. Not sure how that is being accomplished though.
 

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What they haven't confirmed is if that will be a revamp of the system or if it's just a different envoy pool for first contact stuff. Until I see changes to the xenophile bonus, the galactic assembly bonus, capital diplomacy building and the PR civics. I'm inclined to think we get a different, infinite pool for first contact. This actually makes sense given how galaxy generation choices and RNG can vastly increase how many envoys you need for first contact, while also greatly decreasing it. I've had the one game where I ended up boxed in because I as at the galactic core and IIRC most of my paths were blocked by three fallen empires, then it also having the marauders on some of the last few. Then the last two or so hyperlanes to the rest of the galaxy ran into large packs of either hostile space fauna, so I'd have to invest in a sizable fleet to force my way out. I mean it's pretty rare, I want to say at this point I've started well over a hundred different games. Anyways, it's pretty easy to have things swing pretty far back and forth on the number of envoys needed for first contact. You'll get some games where you you need more than 5 active at a time and other games where you never have more than 2 working on first contact stuff.
 
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Tamwin5

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What they haven't confirmed is if that will be a revamp of the system or if it's just a different envoy pool for first contact stuff. Until I see changes to the xenophile bonus, the galactic assembly bonus, capital diplomacy building and the PR civics. I'm inclined to think we get a different, infinite pool for first contact. This actually makes sense given how galaxy generation choices and RNG can vastly increase how many envoys you need for first contact, while also greatly decreasing it. I've had the one game where I ended up boxed in because I as at the galactic core and IIRC most of my paths were blocked by three fallen empires, then it also having the marauders on some of the last few. Then the last two or so hyperlanes to the rest of the galaxy ran into large packs of either hostile space fauna, so I'd have to invest in a sizable fleet to force my way out. I mean it's pretty rare, I want to say at this point I've started well over a hundred different games. Anyways, it's pretty easy to have things swing pretty far back and forth on the number of envoys needed for first contact. You'll get some games where you you need more than 5 active at a time and other games where you never have more than 2 working on first contact stuff.
...what? If they were going to give an "infinite envoy pool" that's separate from normal envoys, why would they even use the term envoy? Also, no matter the size of the galaxy you should still have the same rough number of neighbors, and communications with farther away empires would be done through trading communications or the Galactic Community forming.

Now that said, I think it's quite likely that the number of envoys will be increased, as it seems espionage actions are going to be undertaken by envoys as well.
 
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No, how you setup your galaxy and RNG can have a huge bearing on how many first contacts you can have going at a time. Your science ship has to run into either a ship or station of another empire before it begins. That takes time; especially, if you're surveying all the systems. Two of the fallen empires will not let you through their territory unless you go to war with them, as far as, I know. The isolationist one is the obvious one, but I've done spiritualist, got the dudes head that earns you their favor and had a completed galactic assembly and the spiritualist FE was still not opening their borders. The other two come down to your ethics and doing them favors. Trying to remember which one that a combo of xenophile/materialist can get permission to roam their turf without completing a request. IIRC the other one, you need to complete a request for them before you have enough good standing to explore their territory or pass through it. Unless you use the console, your ships aren't going to get through marauder territory. Same deal with hostile space fauna and most of that fauna is usually in packs that require more than the initial three corvettes you get, while some can be a pretty hefty investment and this is just fauna that can block your way. Leviathans are no longer an issue on that front, so not counting those.

Even if you run max empires on the largest map and get placed in a spot between the core and the edge. Jerk neighbors can pretty much cut you off from further exploration, by closing their borders.

Throw in that most AI empires seem to run about 1-2 science ships at the start and it's pretty easy to miss them.

So no, you could have huge swings on how many envoys you actually need for first contact. Mind you, needed envoys doesn't equal total first contacts. If I clear the first contact with a species before I have the next one, I'm only going to need one envoy. I had two first contacts, but not in a way that required two envoys. If I'm still on my very first contact, but happen to run into three new empires before it's done, I'm going to need a total of 4 envoys at once. Again, needed envoys for active first contacts doesn't equal total first contacts you'll have for a game.

Looking at it this way, I can see why they'd do a separate pool, if they aren't changing how things work with envoys in regards to the GC, federations, harming relations, improving relations, xenophile bonuses, the capital diplomacy building (one per empire), the various PR civics, the galactic assembly and any maluses I'm missing. If they want those bonuses to stick, but never have us in a situation where we don't have an envoy for first contact stuff. Then the obvious solution is a separate pool and this is probably a factor in why they don't want to make them proper leaders either. They also don't have to figure out how many envoys will needs, when the total number of active first contact situations is going to very.
 

Deshiba

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No, how you setup your galaxy and RNG can have a huge bearing on how many first contacts you can have going at a time. Your science ship has to run into either a ship or station of another empire before it begins. That takes time; especially, if you're surveying all the systems. Two of the fallen empires will not let you through their territory unless you go to war with them, as far as, I know. The isolationist one is the obvious one, but I've done spiritualist, got the dudes head that earns you their favor and had a completed galactic assembly and the spiritualist FE was still not opening their borders. The other two come down to your ethics and doing them favors. Trying to remember which one that a combo of xenophile/materialist can get permission to roam their turf without completing a request. IIRC the other one, you need to complete a request for them before you have enough good standing to explore their territory or pass through it. Unless you use the console, your ships aren't going to get through marauder territory. Same deal with hostile space fauna and most of that fauna is usually in packs that require more than the initial three corvettes you get, while some can be a pretty hefty investment and this is just fauna that can block your way. Leviathans are no longer an issue on that front, so not counting those.

Even if you run max empires on the largest map and get placed in a spot between the core and the edge. Jerk neighbors can pretty much cut you off from further exploration, by closing their borders.

Throw in that most AI empires seem to run about 1-2 science ships at the start and it's pretty easy to miss them.

So no, you could have huge swings on how many envoys you actually need for first contact. Mind you, needed envoys doesn't equal total first contacts. If I clear the first contact with a species before I have the next one, I'm only going to need one envoy. I had two first contacts, but not in a way that required two envoys. If I'm still on my very first contact, but happen to run into three new empires before it's done, I'm going to need a total of 4 envoys at once. Again, needed envoys for active first contacts doesn't equal total first contacts you'll have for a game.

Looking at it this way, I can see why they'd do a separate pool, if they aren't changing how things work with envoys in regards to the GC, federations, harming relations, improving relations, xenophile bonuses, the capital diplomacy building (one per empire), the various PR civics, the galactic assembly and any maluses I'm missing. If they want those bonuses to stick, but never have us in a situation where we don't have an envoy for first contact stuff. Then the obvious solution is a separate pool and this is probably a factor in why they don't want to make them proper leaders either. They also don't have to figure out how many envoys will needs, when the total number of active first contact situations is going to very.

I get your point, however I do have some reservations.
  1. You don't have to do all first contacts yourself. Any empire will be able to do the first contact event. I'm assuming once 1 empire completes it they both know about each other (Wouldn't be much of a first contact otherwise).
  2. Envoys got added with Federations, undoing the bonus that Xenophiles gained and reverting it to pre-Federations functionality isn't particularly hard.
  3. Reworking civics isn't particularly hard
Especially the first point on the list makes it so that you don't have to figure out how many an empire would need. They could just up the limit to +1 if they keep the envoy limit.

To me it's equally as obvious to remove the envoy limit and rework the envoy bonuses to traits, as it is to have them in a separate envoy system like they have now. Neither is more likely in my eyes.
 

Millbot

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If you don't do the first contact, you don't get the influence if it's a normal empire or an enclave. It's possible to get setups where you have lots of normal empires and enclaves you just came in contact with that you want to get that first contact stuff done for the influence.

Yes, they can change those bonuses, but that is actually easier said then done. Right now the things that give envoys are considered pretty good. If you make that pointless, you have then have to come up with something that continues to make those worth taking. Yes, some will still have the diplomatic weight bonus but the current one will only get you so far. Also IMO I find the envoy setup more interesting as a finite resource because it means having to make trade offs. Do you boost your clout in the GC or federation even more, but risk having the jerk neighbor be more keen on going to war with you? Do you pop an ambassador out of your federation to boost you GC clout so you can kill or help a bill. Do you pop one out of the GC or off of improve relations so that you can stop your federation's cohesion from tanking? There are a few other things you can do. Yes, most will probably just throw every envoy they have into the GC, but that doesn't remove the fact that we have some interesting decision making with the current finite envoy setup. I bring this up because I know the obvious solution people will suggest if increased envoys won't matter and let's be honest, you'll never have zero envoys kind of implies infinite number, would be to increase diplomatic weight or add it in the case of xenophile ethics. Yes, diplomatic weight is strong and useful, but it lacks interesting decision making choices and IMO that would make that route a step back overall.

I'm leaning towards we get finite envoys for what we currently have and first contact works off it's own thing because I'm pretty sure if the devs were going to scrap the current system, they'd come out and say it now. Maybe not give us the details, but given the lack of confirmation despite people asking, it seems like an overhaul of the current system isn't in the cards.
 
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