Stellaris Dev Diary #198: Provocations

Stellaris Dev Diary #198: Provocations

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Tamwin5

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So I know you and the other devs are working hard with espionage and spying and stuff but I think it would be super cool if you checked out this system about supplies for ships. I think it's really cool and solves a few issues for Stellaris and if you have time I would love it if you could check it out

link
\/\/\/\/
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/threads/a-thorough-and-in-depth-supply-system.1405973/
As much as I appreciate the love for my suggestion, I'm sure the devs would appreciate it if we kept the dev diary for related discussion. If you want to support a suggestion, put the link in your signature, use the new upvote/downvote system they added in the most recent forum patch, and engage in discussion in the comments.
 
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What about false flag operations? Sewing distrust or creating conflict between other empires? I Feel this is a must!
 
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So do the crises work now? Do they actually expand like they're supposed to? I haven't played the game in like a year because of this, so I'm honestly asking.

Otherwise I see no point to this crisis provocation.
 
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I am all for new crises, but the three we have are rather similar mechanically.
At the moment, i have no constructive criticism for how a "new" type of crises could be significantly different to make it worth the effort (for the devs and the players).

Do you have some specific ideas in mind?
  • One that is unable to use normal FTL and relies entirely on jump drives. You maybe get a short warning of where they're going, but generally they can get anywhere before your defenders. However, they're then stuck wherever they land for a good long while. They don't suffer the usual jump drive recharge penalties, and their jump range is pretty good, but each recharge still takes long enough that they're effectively slower at long-distance travel than a normal crisis fleet, just... impossible to cut off or form a defensive line against.
  • One that, rather than bombarding or invading+purging planets, instead infiltrates/infests them. If a crisis ship reaches an inhabited planet/megastructure, it begins a subtle takeover of it. Various mechanisms (implemented via decisions and/or events, and modified by things like technology and ascensions) allow the planet's owner to fight back, but in time - and not very long time, if unopposed - the colony is destroyed and spawns a new crisis fleet.
  • One that infests ships. As a ship takes hull damage, it has a chance to also be infested. An infested ship does one of the following: changes sides immediately, blows up immediately with a risk of infesting others in its fleet after a short time, or does either of those things after a period of time. Ships that successfully withdraw / retreat may be infested, resulting in the crisis gaining ships back within your systems or continuing to plague your fleets after you think the battle is over. Admirals, ship computers, perhaps policies, and maybe other factors influence how likely infestation is to occur at all and maybe what outcomes are likely.
  • One that stealthily unleashes crippling biological plagues across the galaxy. Counterpart to the Contingency, they don't affect machines at all (and bio-ascended empires are immune or at least strongly protected due to their superior biological prowess) but the plagues reduce pop productivity and kill pops as well, until you find cures. Quarantining infected systems or even empires helps - keeping your borders closed means a much slower spread of the plague across your space - but everybody gets it eventually, if not cured in time.
  • One that, in addition to having conventional fleets, attacks systems using a special star-killer colossus. This colossus is slow to fire but hard to destroy and permanently wrecking everything in the system (except the crisis faction's ships) when it goes off. The enemy has multiple of these star-killers, and can reinforce them if they're killed, but does not otherwise bother with planetary bombardment or invasion.
Several of these traits, or things like them, could be combined on a particular crisis faction.
 
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Calvax

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I am all for new crises, but the three we have are rather similar mechanically.
At the moment, i have no constructive criticism for how a "new" type of crises could be significantly different to make it worth the effort (for the devs and the players).

Do you have some specific ideas in mind?

Something I’ve felt missing from the crises are solutions other than war. If you’ve wanted to play a peaceful, smaller empire then you’re fucked. If you want to play anything that doesn’t give you a huge fleet you’re fucked.

There should be paths to counter, or at least mitigate, the crises using any other of the pillars. A megastructure that shuts down Unbidden portals, a multi-stage archeology effort that reveals turns up a contingency IFF beacon making them neutral to you, a high cost and high risk operation to assassinate the Prethorian queen.

Stellaris has done a good job fleshing out other pillars of gameplay over the years like the economy and diplomacy. It would be good if there were more direct ways to leverage these against the crises. We’ve had small steps, like the GC focus, but it’s too slow and ineffective to be fun or useful.
 
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kwheeler

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Rebellions were more common in early versions of Stellaris. It's definitely something that got completely shafted over the course of the many reworks. I hope it will be brought back at some point and with even greater impact than before. Large empires should really have to struggle to keep themselves cohesive.
Absolutely. I tend to play cruel slaving Empires, and in early iterations of the game, I had to be extremely careful not too expand too quickly or conquer terrain too fast, or I'd end up with significant rebellions--sometimes more than one at the same time. It kept me on my toes.

Then, in later iterations, rebellions seemed to be limited to one star system at a time, and they were easy to dampen with martial law and bribes of consumer goods. Hardly an empire-wide threat the way they were once were.

I'd love to see not just break-away systems, but break-away sectors under appointed governors. With espionage, it would be amazing if you can target espionage operations against sector governors of an opponent empire, rather than just blanket operations targeted against the whole empire. You could focus on a governor and bribe or black mail them to....
  • diminish sector production of goods by a certain percentage
  • slow production of ships or armies in their sector
  • become lackadaisical about crime so that crime rises across the entire sector
  • encourage ethics attractions in one sector to become militaristic, while in a different sector encourage that governor to become pacifist, making a growing rift between two halves of a foreign empire.
  • allow piracy in that sector to become more common and/or pirate fleets to increase in size.
Then for higher-level espionage after a few decades of the above, if the target doesn't start clamping down on your spies, you could eventually blackmail or bribe that governor to....
  • stop production in that sector of one particular product or rare resource
  • stop production of one ship type entirely in that sector
  • form a splitaway nation for that sector with the governor now allied to you rather than the originating empire
  • form a splitaway pirate movement with complete breakdown of law as pirate bases and pirate fleets generate in every system in that sector.
 
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grommile

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You could focus on a governor and bribe or black mail them to....
Four different AIs could focus on your governors and bribe or blackmail them to... :D

(If you're OK with that, then fine, but we have to agree to differ :) )
 

Tamwin5

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I just thought of a sabotage operation I would use: as a megacorp, destroy a competitor's branch office.

I'd much rather an operation to take over a branch office. Both more powerful, but also doesn't result in actual destruction.
 
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Draelian

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Would you modify aiming Marauders as well? Mechanics for such enemies should change simultaniously?


What about aiming Spaceborne aliens or FE on some empire?

P.S. Waiting date of DLC ;-)
it's not a dlc, it's the next version of the game
 

adil3tr

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The privateers one sounds like a terrible idea. Same as criminal enterprises are in the game already. It will be way too much investment and micro for the player to use, which is a problem in all the PDX espionage systems, and incredibly annoying to deal with as a player. Stellaris isn't like Hearts of Iron, where flipping a balkan state could have big consequences for the one war.
 
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The privateers one sounds like a terrible idea. Same as criminal enterprises are in the game already. It will be way too much investment and micro for the player to use, which is a problem in all the PDX espionage systems, and incredibly annoying to deal with as a player. Stellaris isn't like Hearts of Iron, where flipping a balkan state could have big consequences for the one war.
HoI also is completely differently designed. The espionage system ties in other mechanics that in some way previously existed and the game was designed around. Being able to destroy factories with espionage isn’t that much of a problem if you could previously do it with bombers and they get auto repaired by other factories. Having to deal with increased resistance isn’t a problem if securing conquered territory was necessary anyway.

Stellaris espionage has no previously built systems and designs it can built upon, so I guess it will end up like in most games were espionage is an annoying afterthought.
 
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Another suggestion: instead of a Smear Campaign, I'd like to do the opposite; improve the relations between two empires, more specifically the relations between a member of my federation and another empire I'd like to invite to the federation, but for which I don't yet a majority of YES-votes for the invite.
 
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Are we going to be able to scrap an operation before it concludes or once it's been kicked off it concludes for better or worse?