Stellaris Dev Diary #200: The Custodian

Stellaris Dev Diary #200: The Custodian

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Tamwin5

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Grand strategy players reinvent filibustering in space, what a time to be alive.
This was 100% intentional design. "Sorry we'd love to prioritize the Crisis, but you see these minor administrative sanctions are a much more pressing issue..."
 
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Jarolleon

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This is a valid point from the POV of those have had the chance to "git gud" at the game. Some of us like me are far more casual players uninterested in min-maxing my way to victory. The few times I tried the game on Grand Admiral, I had my ass handed to me each time. So for players like me, those "win moar" buttons must be invisible.
It's mainly because the early game is the hardest, since cheats the AI gets on higher difficulties are primarily additive percentage modifiers which become less relevant as you stack modifiers from technology and so forth, and the benefits of managing your economy properly snowball as the game progresses.

Your AI neighbour on Commodore will crush you in 2205 because his planet has the same buildings and technologies as you but his pops produce 50% more stuff, but by 2275 you will have stacked so many modifiers from tech that most of his pops will only produce 25% more resources than yours and many of his will be employed at sub-optimal buildings like precincts, gene clinics, or commerce hubs and he will probably have fewer pops because he expanded less aggressively than you did. Plus I'm pretty sure the AI doesn't get access to precursors, so once you complete yours that's one advantage they'll never get.
 
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CaptainGrimlock

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As far as I can see, the backbone of effective use of the Galactic Community in SP is to let the AI spend its Influence on bill proposals and use your diplomatic weight (bolstered by using your Influence on expansion, peaceful or otherwise, instead of interstellar politics) to support or oppose the measures you do (or don't) want.
Is it even possible to spend influence on proposals other than the very start of the GalCom in SP (I play in 1000 star galaxies with 30 empires spawned, so that may have something to do with it.)
 
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Will an AI Galactic Custodian actually be effective at fighting a Crisis? Generally, the AI do have a tendency to not be able to organise any effective response against any of the Criseses at the moment, has this been addressed at all with new AI behaviours?

Additionally... if an AI chooses to "Become the Crisis", will they actually be a threat? Will they have any unique behaviours over and above the current AI for, say, Fanatic Purifiers?
Probably a no for all of your questions.
 
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Shark7

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Is it even possible to spend influence on proposals other than the very start of the GalCom in SP (I play in 1000 star galaxies with 30 empires spawned, so that may have something to do with it.)

Even with just 20 AIs they usually have every possible proposal up before I can make it anyway. So much better to save influence for building my empire, and when its an emergency, like vetoing a resolution they propose that will put me into breach.
 
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Wartraveler

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Just saying.
But 150 Fleet Power for 5% less Trade ?
Why would I bother with that ????

Pretty much all of these are just not Worth doing.
-15 Crime for less Trade/Energy ???
Yeah.... No.


These really need to be Stronger.
Otherwise I wouldnt take them even if they didnt Cost Influence at all lol
 
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Olluzka

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Reading this diary through a second time with thought I have to say I find myself slightly dissapointed. Becoming the custodian, the shield of the galactic community, should really be a thing that comes with great powers but also with great responsibility. These responsibilities should naturally be impactful enough so that becoming a custodian is not trivial and likewise the powers granted to the custodian should be impactful enough that other members have to consider if they want to grant those powers in the first place. Key word here is impactful. If the resolutions, like the anti-piracy initiative, are only miniscule number adjustments that you won't even notice then no1 is going to care if they pass or not. Where's the fun in that? And if you don't want to get into all the responsibilities of the Custodian you can just stay at the council level and support/oppose any1 who wants to become a custodian.

I know it's too late to propose any changes as the DLC is probably fairly close by now, but here's atleast some concepts and ideas that came to mind (all numbers only rough estimates showcasing the potency the resolutions should have).

Custodianship​

Custodian War Effort (5 resolutions)

Border Patrols: -10% alloys, energy and fleet cap for all GC members, these resources are instead given to the Custodian. Custodian gets +25% dmg against crises.
Auxiliary Fleets: -20% alloys, energy and fleet cap tax, Custodian gets +50% dmg against crises.
Support Fleets: -35% alloys, energy and fleet cap tax, Custodian gets +75% dmg against crises.
Battle Fleets: -50% alloys, energy and fleet cap tax, Custodian gets +100% dmg against crises.
Titan Fleets: -65% alloys, energy and fleet cap tax, Custodian gets +125% dmg against crises.
Custodian dmg buff against crises would of course also apply for GDF as it is under control of the custodian.

Edit on 25.2.: noticed I don't have explanation for this resolution chain. These might look *very* harsh resolutions by glance and that's because they are. They are all very much "extreme" resolutions, first ones being equal to tier 4-5 resolutions of other categories and Support, Battle and Titan Fleets resolutions being probably somewhere at theoretical tiers 6-8. These are resolutions you are not necessarily supposed to pass. Every time one of these is proposed the question is; is this necessary? I can easily see the Border Patrols one being passed in like 50% of the games, in cases where the crisis is really threatening some empires and GC+custodian just not having enough fleets to save them. Auxiliary fleets might probably get passed in much smaller % of games, probably in situations where crisis threatens to just wipe out all empires. resolutions after that are all very desperate moves and intended mostly to give the custodian the additional dmg buffs and some resources to just maybe save the galaxy. Overall this resolution category is intended for truly desperate situations, emergency laws enacted to fight only the most existential threats. Hence the name War Effort and as such its made to be extremely strong, extremely direct way to shift power and thus allow truly passionate debating in the senate (and most likely cause quite a ruckus in multiplayer).

Galactic Defence Force (5 resolutions)

GDF Patrol Duty: GDF upkeep increased by 20%. GDF fleet power causes scaling Piracy Suppression on all traderoutes of GC members. The bigger the GDF fleet the bigger the suppression.
GDF Fleet Excercises: GDF upkeep increased by 40%. Gives GDF ships small monthly exp gain and new ships added start at Experienced level.
GDF Rigid Training Program: GDF upkeep increased by 60%. Gives GDF ships moderate monthly exp gain and new ships added start at Veteran level.
GDF Elite Task Force: GDF upkeep increased by 80%. Gives GDF ships large monthly exp gain and new ships added start at Elite level.
GDF A.E.G.I.S. initative: GDF upkeep increased by 100%. Gives GDF ships huge monthly exp gain, +20% sublight speed, +10% hull points and +25% fire rate in GC space, admiral assigned to a GDF fleet can't be removed and they gain a special A.E.G.I.S. trait (-33% damage received from Crisis ships).

Getting through the entire GDF resolution path should result the GDF being the embodiment of entire galaxy's martial might, its finest and most motivated voidsmen and admirals, ships and engineers specifically trained to fight the horrors of the void.

The Custodianship mechanics

Make the custodianship take a page out of EU IV's HRE mechanic: Custodian accumulates Galactic Peace (GP) pts (similiar to the new resource that Become the Crisis collects).
Custodian has to defend GC members in defensive war against some1 who is not part of GC.
Killing non-GC member's ships in such a war grants GP as does liberating occupied GC member's planets. GC member losing the war reduces GP pts.
GP can also be gained by killing hostile spaceborne aliens, pirates, marauders, crisis ships etc.
GP is also gained passively every month, depending on how large % of GC members are at peace.
Custodian should keep a certain stock of GP as having low amount of it reduces empire's happiness and trust cap with other GC members (as having low amount means you're not taking your custodian responsibilities seriously) and having it high gives +to Diplomatic Weight.
GP are mainly spent to propose Galactic Peacekeeping resolutions:

Galactic Peacekeeping (10 resolutions)

Custodian Legates: +2 Envoys, +25% trust growth and +50 trust cap for the custodian with all GC members.

Police the Frontiers: -25% influence cost for building outposts, +20% dmg against pirates, marauders and Khan for all GC members, Custodian gets -50% and +40% respectively and also a unique interaction to threaten Marauder factions to cease all piracy and raiding against GC members. Depending on custodian's Fleet Strength relative to marauders, and also a bit on the RNG, marauders might just agree to succumb and thus only raid non-GC members (with increased frequency) or decline in which case Custodian gets a choice to either to go to war against the marauder empire they threatened (war goal is to annihilate all marauder stations, results the Custodian getting GP and opinion and trust boost with GC members), if Custodian chooses to remain passive it results in loss of GP, trust and opinion with all GC members.
If all marauder empires have either been destroyed or have agreed to not raid GC members, then the Custodian gets a +15% Diplomatic Weight bonus.

Intervention Act: Custodian can threaten a war between 2 GC members to cease immediately, results in a white peace if both sides agree and gets GP. If one side declines Custodian joins on the side that agreed. If both decline custodian gets a choice to either to go to war against both empires (war goal is Show Superiority, results in the first war to end in white peace and Custodian gets GP), if Custodian chooses to remain passive it results in loss of GP, trust and opinion with all GC members.

Fortify the Frontiers: -15% cost and +15% speed to upgrade starbases on border, +10 Trade Protection for all GC members, double effects for the Custodian. GC member hiring/having Marauder Mercenary fleets or leaders if at war with another GC member cause being in Breach of Galactic Law. If Custodian has a Starbase on every border they gain +10% diplo weight bonus.

Watchpost System: All GC members gain +5% trade value and +5% sublight speed in GC space. The Custodian gains a special Megastructure they can build; A watchpost. Costs 1000 alloys and can be constructed in any GC member's space. A watchpost acts as a shipyard but for repairing only, it doesn't produce any ships. It also gives the Custodian sensor information as if it was part of their empire (so the system + all the adjacent hyperlanes jumps depending on their tech level). Once the Custodian has established one Watchpost for every member in the GC they get +15% diplo weight bonus.

Peacekeeper Act: All GC members become allied to the Custodian. If a GC member declares war on another GC member then the Custodian joins on the defending side. All GC members also gain max +10 stability on planets scaling on the % of GC members at peace. The Custodian gets a +25% diplo weight scaling on the % of GC members at peace, and the passive GP gain is doubled.

Leviathan Termination Initiative: +15% dmg against leviathans for all GC members, doubled for the Custodian. The Curators enclave gives all their information about leviathans for free for all GC members, and also gift the Custodian a special ship component (think of something cool here). If no Leviathans exist in the galaxy then all GC members get a permanent +10% happiness/job output boost and in addition the Custodian gets permanent +15% diplo weight bonus.

Consolidate Power: All GC-members become vassals to the Custodian. The vassalage is special one (Grand Sectors or something) where the Custodian can't integrate any subjects. Grand Sectors can expand and retain their diplomatic independence to other Grand Sectors but not to other non-Grand Sectors. Grand Sector that is in offensive war against another Grand Sector is in Breach of Galactic Law. They are also protected by the Custodian but are not called to Custodian's offensive wars. Grand Sectors gain +20% dmg against Crisis. Custodian gets +5% diplo weight from each loyal Grand Sector.

Establish Galactic Administration: +1 influence, +1 envoy, +20% diplo weight, +60% Administrative Capacity, +25% trust and opinion growth, +50 trust cap for the Custodian with GC members.

Reform the Galactic Senate: All GC members are integrated into the Custodian empire. Launches an Event to decide the government form and civics for the new empire (can also just keep the old ones). Temporary happiness bonus for pops of empires that had high trust and opinion with the Custodian prior to integration, happiness malus for those who didn't along with high stability debuffs. Strong roaming pirate fleets (representing rebels against the new empire) might spawn in areas of unhappy empires and if too many empires had bad opinions on Custodian the Event might trigger a civil war where those unhappy empires immediately break off and declare war of independence / war against tyranny


Edit: adding a little commentary here on the Galactic Peacekeeping resolution path and reasoning for certain effects. As the Custodian's purpose is to act as the protector for the Galactic Community they should have means to lessen the chance of coming to blows with GC members (example; being directly attacked by a GC member) which where the 1st resolution comes to play. Having the envoys to throw around keeping up good relations to other GC members lets the Custodian to focus on external threats.
2nd resolution helps GC to fill in the empty expanse and fight off marauder raids while having a strong Custodian can stop any raiding towards GC members (making belonging to GC more enticing).
3rd resolution gives the Custodian power to act as a referee in disputes between 2 GC members. Having members waste their fleets in petty wars is surely dumb when Fanatical Purifiers are at the border, right? While agreeing to white peace might be disadvantegous declining the Custodian's intervention is a risk, since if the other side of the conflict agreed to it then you suddendly have also the Custodian to fight...
4th resolution helps GC members to stabilize their borders with bastions and trade protection helps with smaller trade routes. Disallowing use of mercenaries against other GC members brings stability and predictability in GC power balance.
5th resolution helps communication and travel across the galaxy but also enables the Custodian to build a vast logistics and intelligence network. The Custodian can keep up with the fleet movements across the galaxy and deploy their peacekeeping forces safe in the knowledge they'll have a front-line station to repair at.
6th resolution increases stability within GC as any agressor has to account the Custodian being on the opposing side. +10 stability is a nice bonus which further entices GC members to avoid wars, while Custodian getting big +diplo power buff is another reason for them to try safeguard peace.
7th A carrot to get rid of remaining Leviathans, supported by the Curators. Having cleansed the stars from gargantuan beasts and fearsome constructs the population across the galaxy will sleep better trusting the fleets of the GC to keep them safe.
8th GC members lose their diplomatic independence outside of GC, though they can still do it within GC (in wars the Custodian is still on the defending side). Let the Custodian handle all that is outside of GC borders. Also everyone gets some buff against Crisis so its a good deal, right? What could possibly go wrong?
9th blatant powergrab. Preparation for the last resolution, very much a step no1 but the Custodian wants to take. But can the senate stop them anymore at this point?
10th big payout for a long and difficult journey. No one wanted the Custodian to get here but at some point it became impossible to stop. If the Custodian played their cards right their empire sprawls across the galaxy, but if they were too hasty in their rise to power they might see it immediately splinter as rebel ships, leaders, planets, fleets and entire sectors break off to oppose them.

Overall the Custodian resolutions should give the feeling that a proper Custodian brings universal stability, unity and peaceful prosperity to the galaxy, but be careless giving them power and they might end up having so much diplomatic weight from all their accomplishments, the finest fleet (GDF) in the galaxy and such web of alliances that you can't stop them. Not in the senate, not in the field of battle.

Diplomatic Victory

If the Custodian manages to pass Reform the Galactic Senate resolution, all "rebel fleets" have been destroyed, all civil war empires have been defeated and integrated and a Crisis has spawned and been defeated then the Custodian wins a Diplomatic Victory. (Since Become the Crisis already introduced a Monument Victory I think we can add more options, especially the kind that rely more on the politics side).

Basically make all the Galactic Peacekeeping resolutions be something that makes the custodian(s) and the GC members to want to progress them to a certain point but also make the non-custodians wary of giving in too much as the Custodian can really start getting out of control with the extra diplopower from the resolutions.
 
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Gilbert95

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I am not that interested in playing genocidal empires so the "become the crisis" showed off last week didn't really interest me. However I was looking forward to this week's reveal of the "good guy" side. At first I was excited about the idea of a galactic custodian, but the more I read the more underwhelmed I became. What I don't see is how game play will be different with a custodian in play. Either as the custodian yourself or with an AI controller (I only play SP). As many have already noted most of the associated resolutions are pretty weak and at best only tangentially related to fighting a crisis.
At least the Become The Crisis material gives you some new things to play with and do.
Right now I see little reason to get this DLC, which is big disappointment. I have been an early adopter of most DLC since I got into Stellaris in 2017.
However I remain excited for the free update coming and the changes to planetary management, pop growth and resettlement, first contact and intel.
 
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Anonim97

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Honestly it all looks good @Olluzka, but the one thing I disagree is this one:

Leviathan Termination Initiative: +15% dmg against leviathans for all GC members, doubled for the Custodian. The Curators enclave gives all their information about leviathans for free for all GC members, and also gift the Custodian a special ship component (think of something cool here). If no Leviathans exist in the galaxy then all GC members get a permanent +10% happiness/job output boost and in addition the Custodian gets permanent +15% diplo weight bonus.

Many Leviathans can be left alone as they are contained to systems and also it wouldn't fit a pacifist/xenophiles if they in theory were to become Galactic Custodians. However if that bonus were to be changed for Marauders I can see it work.
 
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Olluzka

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Honestly it all looks good @Olluzka, but the one thing I disagree is this one:



Many Leviathans can be left alone as they are contained to systems and also it wouldn't fit a pacifist/xenophiles if they in theory were to become Galactic Custodians. However if that bonus were to be changed for Marauders I can see it work.

Do note that even if you're a pacifist + xenophile Custodian nothing actually *forces* you to go and slay all the leviathans :) You only miss out on the +15% diplo power and the happiness/job output boost rewards. You can pass the resolution, leave the leviathans be and proceed to the next resolution. Of course in usual game the AI will go after the leviathans sooner or later so they won't stick around forever. I can see though that certain leviathans should be exempt from this, such as Infinity Machine.

Also regarding the Marauders; dealing with them is in the Police the Frontiers resolution (dmg bonus to fighting them + reward for destroying/threatening them to stop raiding Galactic Community)
 
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Mímisbrunnr

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Some aspects of the custodians seem underutilized.

For example, the Galactic Police, GALPOL. -15 Crime is laughably weak (most competent players will either not have meaningful crimes or will have purposefully embraced it for Crime Lord Deal).

But there is something that could be really interesting that we could do with it. What if GALPOL gave a special enforcer job to each planet in the galaxy (representing the GALPOL officer), or at least the option of having that job, and whenever a GALPOL officer is employed both the empire who employs the pop in the job and the Custodian Empire (to whom GALPOL ultimately reports) get some sort of benefit.

Kind of like Corporate Branch offices.

That would seem far more interesting (and worth it, if the bonus offered was good enough) than what we have right now.
 
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satoru

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Is there a significant chance to become custodian and gain all these privileges without any crisis being at hand?

What are the diplomatic repercussions for "clinging" to the power that comes with the custodian seat?

Did i understand correctly that a crisis being averted doesn't kick you from the throne, but empires want to vote your ass off it? (Through time limited seats)

I'd say probably you could vote on it in the senate but unless there's a crisis you'd be hard pressed to get the support necessary for it.
 
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CaptainGrimlock

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I'd say probably you could vote on it in the senate but unless there's a crisis you'd be hard pressed to get the support necessary for it.
Correct!
Becoming the Custodian
As soon as there is a Galactic Council, the Galactic Community can propose to elect one of the council members to become the Custodian. It is possible to have multiple proposals going at once, but as soon as a resolution is passed that elects a Custodian, others cannot be proposed anymore, as the choice has already been made.

View attachment 680133
Concrete evidence that my lithoids should rock the Custodianship.

The AI is more likely to vote for a Custodian when there is some sort of crisis going on, which can be a Marauder crisis, end-game crisis, “Become the Crisis”-crisis or any of the other things that can happen.
 

NilartPaxs

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And yet, You can bring a horse to water but cannot make it drink.

Or gift an AI all the Fleet cap and buffs it needs - but you cannot make it fight.

For a coordinator role it's going to be utterly useless without the ability to place map pins/pings/commands/whatever that order the AI "Attack this cluster, defend this choke point, patrol this cluster" etc.
the "assign ship as lead", which is supposed to summon other fleets to follow it, doesn't even work. some basic "tactical request" tools would be great, even if you have to spend influence of favors or something to get them done.
 
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adil3tr

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Definitely love the idea of refusing to give up this power and becoming the galactic empire.
 
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kwanzaabot

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Adding more "win moar" buttons to a game that lacks any challenge in achieving a victory position that allows you to press those buttons to begin with.
If you're the single largest military power in the game by 2350, you don't need to become a crisis, nor custodian, nor wait for the already obsolete crisis with it's terribad AI, or a pointless War in the Heavens, or megastructures, or fancy big ships that let you destroy planets you have no trouble seizing instantly, or flying shipyards that can replace ships your superior fleet never loses.
I wouldn't be surprised if Paradox is developing this game with multiplayer as the focus.
Being the Crisis or the Custodian doesn't matter much when you're up against dumb AI, but against human opponents that's a whole nother story.
 
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kwanzaabot

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Just saying.
But 150 Fleet Power for 5% less Trade ?
Why would I bother with that ????

Pretty much all of these are just not Worth doing.
-15 Crime for less Trade/Energy ???
Yeah.... No.


These really need to be Stronger.
Otherwise I wouldnt take them even if they didnt Cost Influence at all lol

There's a few suggestions earlier in the thread about "Peacetime" vs "Crisis" versions of these policies, and I totally agree.
Reducing crime is handy when there's no Crisis happening, but when there is, I'm gonna have more pressing concerns.

For instance what if we could get that -15 to crime, but it's because we're hiring pirates out as privateers to bolster the Custodian fleet? (there's the reduced energy, but it comes with bonus ships for our fleet, or an increase in DPS, or access to "Black Market" hyperlane routes through the galactic core previously only known to pirates, thereby reducing travel time and allowing us to meet a crisis that spawns in far-off corners of the galaxy?
 
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Shark7

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Honestly, I'm all-right with the bonuses helping out the AI, since the AI needs the help.

Truth is though, that most of the resolutions presented to us thus far are not that impressive.

Some good ideas already in the thread, so I'm not going to repeat them. Main thing is I want to see this turn into something that will buff the AI so that it can compete against me.