Stellaris Dev Diary #198: Provocations

Stellaris Dev Diary #198: Provocations

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Last week, you said that Energy Credits were to be used (both as a lump sum and as upkeep) for operations. Would you consider making the resource used depends on the exact type of operation?

For example, when you consider this :

One Provocation that we're planning is Arm Privateers (Provocation, Economy). It's a fairly advanced Operation requiring an Infiltration level of 60, and has the primary objective of disrupting the target empire by providing weapons and funding to violent and unstable individuals.
Usually, Alloys are used to represent the military industry output of your empire. It would be more coherent for this operation to have a significant cost in Alloys (with or without an additional cost in Energy Credits).

Other resources could be used for other things : for example, Consumer Goods could be a way to represent the lavish gifts needed to motivate people to become your assets...
 
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A2ch0n

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We considered having "sabotage megastructure", but it fell awry of the similar problems as "assassination" - incredibly unpleasant, even if it's just delaying your (already long) constuction.
I would really like to see this option, not for delaying the construction but for a deactivation for a limited time. This would have a major impact if it is a dyson sphere or a strategic coordination center i.e. And it could be used to guide a war in a favorized direction, even if you don't directly participate in it.

And wouldn't it be a great idea to hide some advanced espionage actions behind a new Ascension perk? This is maybe my biggest wish actually, being able to specialize in espionage.
 
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I think that how pirates work right now is not that interesting (since they don't even move they are not a threat, just an annoyance, there is no risk of it becoming a threat to the Stability of the Empire), and so will be Privateers, I think Pirates definitively need a lot more depth

For the second operation, it's even worse. With the current state of Crisis, both for performance and AI fleet reasons, I can't see how trying to influence AI is a good investment. I know you've been working on those subject but right now I can't see it
It's a good idea on the paper, but I'm scared it will be disappointing in game.

Maybe it will be clearer with the updates about Crisis next week tho
 
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Eladrin

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Last week, you said that Energy Credits were to be used (both as a lump sum and as upkeep) for operations. Would you consider making the resource used depends on the exact type of operation?
Alternate resources do occasionally come up during operations. Sabotage Starbase, for instance, sometimes gives you an opportunity to supply some Volatile Motes to cause bigger problems for your target.

Oh, one more thing I forgot to ask about. How mod-able is the Espionage and Operations system? Will we be able to add in new Operations and tweak values?
It should be relatively straightforward to add additional Operations or modify existing ones.
 
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Saviour of Galaxy

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"Fetching the Crisis - because extermination of everybody else around is not evil enough".
 
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A2ch0n

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sometimes gives you an opportunity to supply some Volatile Motes
Is there a way to get a guaranteed upgrade option for more impact actions? This seems slightly random to me. Additional costs are ok of course.
 
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Helicopter200

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Next week we'll continue to talk about the Crisis a bit. this means crisis will get an update/rework?
 

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Provocations are the types of acts that the galaxy as a whole will generally take a dim view to, treating them as war crimes. Expect blowback and repercussions from them, even when they are successful.
provocation.jpg
 
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If I'm totally honest, I'm kinda disappointed with the Operations. Creating pirate fleets is basically going to be pointless to do to the AI (will they even actually pay attention to them?), and incredibly annoying when the AI does it to you. The Crisis Beacon idea is pretty cool, although I feel like it has pretty limited usages in terms of emergent gameplay and storytelling, and how much are you really going to care to use it by the time the endgame crisis rolls around?

I mean, so far, you can:

- Steal Technology (I guess that's ok, but does it really affect anything significant? Much like in HoI4, I imagine most people will just ignore it as it's just not that interesting to do).
- Smear Campaign (could be interesting to break down alliances, but again... how much of an effect will this really have on anything?).

Neither of those seem particularly interesting either, if I'm honest. Then you have Sabotage Starbase (maybe, maybe useful in the early game), and Arm Privateers (which just seems like an annoyance and probably won't be worth doing most of the time).

I'm sorry if this is negative, and perhaps I'm alone in feeling like that.

All that being said, I actually do like the Intel-gathering aspect of espionage, and I LOVE the changes to First Contact, so I'm excited regardless. I'm just hoping there's more to this DLC than Espionage now, maybe some internal politics / factions stuff.

I don't want to be purely negative, so here's my constructive criticism:

What I would consider more interesting Operations:

- Operations that boost ethics attraction in particular empires (to any ethic of your choice)
- Operations that increase crime and instability on particular planets (ie. Sow Unrest), and stronger versions of this could cause full on rebellions and secessionism
- Operations to fabricate special types of casus belli, for example, as a Fanatic Egalitarian, you could fund protests on a particular planet and, if the target empire takes any action against them, you get a special CB to intervene (there could be a LOT of variations of this based on the empire type you are and the empire type you are targeting, lots of flavour opportunities)
- Operations to make smaller empires more amenable to vassalisation or to joining your empire over time
- Operations to damage cohesion within Federations and damage relations between empires within Federations, or similar operations to attempt to break apart larger empires
- Operations to attempt to provoke wars between two empires (this would be hard, and they’d have to be not far away from war with each other to begin with)

In addition, it’d be nice to have a “international intrigue” system. I want to be able to find out the nefarious activity of my rival and expose it, damaging their reputation on the galactic stage. Or, alternatively, blackmail them into signing a favourable deal with me.

Essentially, what I was hoping for was EMERGENT GAMEPLAY (think Hooks in CK3), and not just generic Operations that you can basically just ignore.
 
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By curiosity, how many provocations are already planned so far?

Is crime and stability being impacted by operations and will they be reworked to be nastier and more "usefull" or crippling? Will there be exclusive operations?
 
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Any plans not only to arm pirates but alos Freedom fighters?
Might be nice so see a planet successfully rebel after some encouragemnet.

Speaking of pirates or privateers. While it is nice that they are hostile to everyone, some sort of renumeration by those enterprising free spirits might be appreciated
 
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Pancakelord

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They say that to escape any rampaging beast, you don't need to outrun it - just whoever you're with.
- Diuuret, Spymaster operating within the Anathurian Nation.


Hello again!

Now that we've gone over several of the basic Operations, this week we want to go over Provocations.

Operations vary in risk and consequences. The simplest Operations such as Gathering Information and Acquiring Assets will only rarely cause major issues between the two Empires, while Stealing Technology or Sabotaging Starbases is more frowned upon and can cause some diplomatic issues. Provocations are the types of acts that the galaxy as a whole will generally take a dim view to, treating them as war crimes. Expect blowback and repercussions from them, even when they are successful.

Part of these repercussions is modelled by the loss of Infiltration - whether it be that parts of your Spy Network are compromised, security holes have been closed in response, or "friends" within the empire stop being quite as friendly. The flashier and messier the operation is, the more your network will be impacted.

Provocations will usually cause the greatest losses of Infiltration, making it difficult or impossible to run other operations in that network until it is built back up.

One Provocation that we're planning is Arm Privateers (Provocation, Economy). It's a fairly advanced Operation requiring an Infiltration level of 60, and has the primary objective of disrupting the target empire by providing weapons and funding to violent and unstable individuals.

View attachment 675215
Surely nothing will go wrong with this plan.

The weapons are untraceable, so it'll be fine.

View attachment 675221
These are a trustworthy group, right?

Your spymaster makes a good point there though.

View attachment 675223
Last chance to back out.

View attachment 675225
Privateers or pirates?


The Privateer fleet disabled the local starbase and set up their own little pirate base. Their fleet strength is based to a degree on the fleet strength of the empire it was created in, so while it is likely to be only a temporary annoyance, it can prove incredibly useful if deployed at the right time.

As noted during the events, these fleets are hostile to everyone, including their original patrons.

The nastiest Operation to date is the Crisis Beacon (Provocation, Technology).

View attachment 675184
Surely nothing will go wrong with this plan either.

Crisis Beacon is an extremely difficult Operation to pull off, but if successful, will add the target's capital system as a target of interest to an ongoing End-Game Crisis. It currently has the highest Infiltration level requirement (80) and cost of any Operation. This will typically require an extremely well developed Spy Network with numerous Assets.

If all goes according to plan, this will usually result in the Crisis sending a fleet to "investigate" it in the friendly way that they do when visiting systems.

View attachment 675185
Goodbye! We'll miss you!

As with many Operations, things can develop in different ways depending on what's going on.

View attachment 675186
The last time we'll hear from them.

Shortly thereafter, the bait is set.

View attachment 675187
It's like Prethoryn catnip.

The sacrifice of our operatives (and the rest of the Spy Network that we had built up in the Anathurian Nation) bought us a bit of time as it diverted a Prethoryn fleet away from our own territory. The Swarm chose to support that fleet with other resources, leading them away from our border nicely.

Now, this sort of Operation is definitely an act of war, and we're currently discussing exactly what the consequences should be if you get caught performing such a heinous deed. At the very least, your target is not going to be happy at all with you. (And if you have a Xenophilic faction they might not be too pleased.)

That's this week's dossier of secret information. Next week we'll continue to talk about the Crisis a bit.
1611839411979.png

Will these symbols have any meaning associated with them? (I assume there will be more than just that squiggle with a dot?) Like progress events having one icon vs decision events having another, or good vs bad outcomes having their own symbols.

Will any Operations be modified by or locked to certain civics or governments or APs? e.g.
  • will crime syndicates be able to arm privateers far cheaper or at a lower influence cost (either in general or if they have a Branch office in that empire) or
  • could barbaric despoilers run slave/pop abduction operations cheaper/faster etc.
Will crisis beacon work on nanites, Marauders or even the prikki ti if they open soon enough? (not sure the last one is really flagged as a crisis).

Will there be any interactions with FEs or the war in heaven?
  • Could be cool to use it on the machine FE too, hack them and send them into a haywire rampage against someone.
  • Or try and plant fake evidence that Nation X insulted the gods of the spiritualist FE.
Edit you mentioned not wanting to sabotage megastructures and fair enough as that will have big economic effects. But how about sabotaging Juggernaughts and colossi that are under construction?

Often you will get view over enemy superweapons in strategy games, so the player can decide how to act.
  • Perhaps at a high intel level you can see when an empire is researching/assembling these two weapons and attempt to sabotage the final ship
  • (either slowing constructiontimes or adding a secret flag to the entity "Exhaust port" lol that makes it take increased damage),
  • with their own counter intel having a chance to reveal it.
 
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They say that to escape any rampaging beast, you don't need to outrun it - just whoever you're with.
- Diuuret, Spymaster operating within the Anathurian Nation.


Hello again!

Now that we've gone over several of the basic Operations, this week we want to go over Provocations.

Operations vary in risk and consequences. The simplest Operations such as Gathering Information and Acquiring Assets will only rarely cause major issues between the two Empires, while Stealing Technology or Sabotaging Starbases is more frowned upon and can cause some diplomatic issues. Provocations are the types of acts that the galaxy as a whole will generally take a dim view to, treating them as war crimes. Expect blowback and repercussions from them, even when they are successful.

Part of these repercussions is modelled by the loss of Infiltration - whether it be that parts of your Spy Network are compromised, security holes have been closed in response, or "friends" within the empire stop being quite as friendly. The flashier and messier the operation is, the more your network will be impacted.

Provocations will usually cause the greatest losses of Infiltration, making it difficult or impossible to run other operations in that network until it is built back up.

One Provocation that we're planning is Arm Privateers (Provocation, Economy). It's a fairly advanced Operation requiring an Infiltration level of 60, and has the primary objective of disrupting the target empire by providing weapons and funding to violent and unstable individuals.

View attachment 675215
Surely nothing will go wrong with this plan.

The weapons are untraceable, so it'll be fine.

View attachment 675221
These are a trustworthy group, right?

Your spymaster makes a good point there though.

View attachment 675223
Last chance to back out.

View attachment 675225
Privateers or pirates?


The Privateer fleet disabled the local starbase and set up their own little pirate base. Their fleet strength is based to a degree on the fleet strength of the empire it was created in, so while it is likely to be only a temporary annoyance, it can prove incredibly useful if deployed at the right time.

As noted during the events, these fleets are hostile to everyone, including their original patrons.

The nastiest Operation to date is the Crisis Beacon (Provocation, Technology).

View attachment 675184
Surely nothing will go wrong with this plan either.

Crisis Beacon is an extremely difficult Operation to pull off, but if successful, will add the target's capital system as a target of interest to an ongoing End-Game Crisis. It currently has the highest Infiltration level requirement (80) and cost of any Operation. This will typically require an extremely well developed Spy Network with numerous Assets.

If all goes according to plan, this will usually result in the Crisis sending a fleet to "investigate" it in the friendly way that they do when visiting systems.

View attachment 675185
Goodbye! We'll miss you!

As with many Operations, things can develop in different ways depending on what's going on.

View attachment 675186
The last time we'll hear from them.

Shortly thereafter, the bait is set.

View attachment 675187
It's like Prethoryn catnip.

The sacrifice of our operatives (and the rest of the Spy Network that we had built up in the Anathurian Nation) bought us a bit of time as it diverted a Prethoryn fleet away from our own territory. The Swarm chose to support that fleet with other resources, leading them away from our border nicely.

Now, this sort of Operation is definitely an act of war, and we're currently discussing exactly what the consequences should be if you get caught performing such a heinous deed. At the very least, your target is not going to be happy at all with you. (And if you have a Xenophilic faction they might not be too pleased.)

That's this week's dossier of secret information. Next week we'll continue to talk about the Crisis a bit.

The crisis one is great, and the privateer looks great too. I hope the scale on the privateer is good enough and that we have more provocation than a end game thingie and an overglorified pirate incursion
 
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V-Metamorph

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Alternate resources do occasionally come up during operations. Sabotage Starbase, for instance, sometimes gives you an opportunity to supply some Volatile Motes to cause bigger problems for your target.
A good opportunity to use nanites, dark matter, zro and living metal
 
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MrGuyPerson

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Will there be any special operations between megacorporations? Like plotting to take over a trade post in CK2? I really enjoy megacorporations but they are quite limited in what they can accomplish when a galaxy spawns with a ton of other megacorporations. It would be really cool if there were some additional covert actions to make them more generally playable.
 
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arosenberger14

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We considered having "sabotage megastructure", but it fell awry of the similar problems as "assassination" - incredibly unpleasant, even if it's just delaying your (already long) constuction.
I can see why it'd be annoying to have megastructure construction constantly delayed by sabotage, but I think this is not a good philosophy. The AI really needs more asymmetric tools to be incredibly unpleasant to snowballing empires, and the times when the AI does manage to piss you off are usually some of the most memorable. I still remember the time a decade ago in EU3 when AI Britain ground my massive Germany to a standstill when I made the mistake of trying a naval invasion in December...
 
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FortunaDraken

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I'm curious about the time limits between when you and the AI can do operations like this. Take the privateer one for example, will there be a cooldown between when AI empire A and AI empire B can do this to you, or can they both do it at the same time? Because that's getting close to my fear that the AI will just gang up on you when you're winning and while some players will enjoy managing stuff like that, it's going to get annoying really fast for me...

I don't like the idea of the crisis one at all, but then I also barely get to the point when the crisis spawns...
 
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H_B

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Will pirates be gaining some improvements to go along with this operation? Like stronger fleets?
 
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ErringMelkor

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In case it hasn't been said: will you change the "excavating" icon of making progress? It feels a little weird to see it.
 
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Mithridat

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Sounds great but I hope there will be more civic/government specific operations. For example, slave-based empires should be able to steal pops.
Also, I think criminal syndicates should have a bit of love. Specifically, instead of just producing, it's branch offices should be actually stealing resources from other empires. And what if we'd have a criminal syndicate with indentured assets civic have a special Branch Office for human trafficking?
 
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