The Real Problems With Stellaris

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WarriorofMODS

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Bit of an update: PDX recently added sorting mechanic that will automatically put pops into the best jobs based on their slavery type, so indentured servants go into factories first, chattels are always in food and Minerals first and battle thralls are always in Soldier and Peacekeeping roles.

It's a good start, but still a clunky mechanic. Better than nothing, though.
 
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HFY

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Bit of an update: PDX recently added sorting mechanic that will automatically put pops into the best jobs based on their slavery type, so indentured servants go into factories first, chattels are always in food and Minerals first and battle thralls are always in Soldier and Peacekeeping roles.

It's a good start, but still a clunky mechanic. Better than nothing, though.
Neat.

Does it also show slavery type for the current growing pop?

Can the planet AI prioritize growing a pop which will have a job?
 

WarriorofMODS

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Neat.

Does it also show slavery type for the current growing pop?

Can the planet AI prioritize growing a pop which will have a job?

No and no. Slavery is still very much a blunt weapon. You don't get to choose what strata your pop will be in. Neither can the AI. Slavery and pop jobs in general need a lot more work to even be considered passable. Biggest issue is sorting pops into jobs based on genetics.
 

Baldamundo

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Agreed. Pretty much everything else, I can completely understand where people are coming from when we disagree on some part of the game. After all, it's a game. There's no such thing as a right or wrong way to have fun. The only test is whether you're enjoying the experience.

But I fundamentally have never understood the argument that chokepoints add strategy to the game. Nor have I ever understood why they added this mechanic, other than that some people were demanding a lazier way to use defenses. It can't be for the AI. Computers were playing with non-chokepoint mechanics all the way back in MOO II.

Chokepoints eliminate strategic gameplay almost by definition because (again by definition) they eliminate all of your options. There's nothing wrong with limiting or defining a player's choices. Poker would be far less fun with 1,000 cards than 52, for example, and chess is very well orchestrated among its handful of pieces.

But strategy requires choices while, with chokepoints, no matter what an attacker does the correct answer is "build up the chokepoint." No matter what a defender does, the correct answer is "throw everything at the chokepoint." Strategic gameplay is about making the best choice you can with the options and information at hand, not making the only choice the game allows. They designed a system which force-funnels every conflict through the same space on the map, then somehow decided this would result in players dividing up their forces and attacking multiple places on the map. The logic of this is simply beyond me.

Doomstacks have absolutely always been a problem. But fixing them by using chokepoints feels like fixing your engine by pushing the car off a cliff.
This is an extremely poor & vulgar argument.

The issue is actually something of a horseshoe, with either extreme leaving you with no meaningful strategic choice.

If there's only one chokepoint between you and the enemy, then yes - there's zero meaningful strategic choice.

If, on the other hand, there are no impactful terrain features (i.e. basically how it was before the FTL rework), you also have no meaningful strategic choice. An infinite, uniform, featureless plain is not an interesting terrain over which to fight. Particularly with the old Stellaris, you can't make fortifications, because the enemy will just go around them. And there's not really anything else in the military side of the game, so the entire strategic game is just "build a big fleet and then chase the enemy fleet".

Neither system Paradox did worked particularly well to give the player meaningful or rewarding strategic choices. Personally I preferred the the hyperlane system because 1. it meant that fortifications were at least one meaningful thing you could do other than play doomstack whackamole, and 2. the chokepoints made it easier to catch the enemy fleet - and if both systems are shit and tedious, i at least prefer the one that's faster and less effort.
 
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methegrate

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This is an extremely poor & vulgar argument.

The issue is actually something of a horseshoe, with either extreme leaving you with no meaningful strategic choice.

If there's only one chokepoint between you and the enemy, then yes - there's zero meaningful strategic choice.

If, on the other hand, there are no impactful terrain features (i.e. basically how it was before the FTL rework), you also have no meaningful strategic choice. An infinite, uniform, featureless plain is not an interesting terrain over which to fight. Particularly with the old Stellaris, you can't make fortifications, because the enemy will just go around them. And there's not really anything else in the military side of the game, so the entire strategic game is just "build a big fleet and then chase the enemy fleet".

Neither system Paradox did worked particularly well to give the player meaningful or rewarding strategic choices. Personally I preferred the the hyperlane system because 1. it meant that fortifications were at least one meaningful thing you could do other than play doomstack whackamole, and 2. the chokepoints made it easier to catch the enemy fleet - and if both systems are shit and tedious, i at least prefer the one that's faster and less effort.

I think I would say the same about your position. (And I even managed my "vulgar" post without resorting to foul language.)

You start by assuming that the only possible options are two bad ones (chokepoints that eliminate strategy vs. a featureless plane). Then you suggest that it's a "poor and vulgar argument" to say that chokepoints are bad, because if we have to choose between the two then you would rather have chokepoints.

I would suggest that this is something of a straw man argument. You're pretending that the only alternative to chokepoints is an "infinite, uniform, featureless plain." [sic] Of course that's completely untrue. There are many ways that someone could design a better system for travel and warfare. In fact that's the whole point. It's disappointing that they didn't try to do so. They redesigned warfare from one system with no meaningful options to another system with no meaningful options instead of creating a third choice altogether.

Of course if you have thoughts on why chokepoints are a good system, by all means! This is a game, people can have lots of opinions. Or maybe you have a specific reason for thinking no other system is realistically possible.

But as far as I can tell, your entire argument amounts to, "the old system didn't work, and the new system doesn't work. So it's clearly impossible for any system to work, and we might as well take the lesser of all evils."
 
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Typee

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An infinite, uniform, featureless plain is not an interesting terrain over which to fight
That's funny because I remember playing Homeworld and SOASE and not thinking to myself "man, I have no strategic options" despite neither of these games turning space into a chokepoint simulator.
 
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MichaelJanuary

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So here's the thing ... space is a featureless plane (pun intended).

However, you cannot deny that other strategy games have managed to provide strategic choices to players without resorting to hyperlanes. Hyperlanes are absolutely a solution, not saying they aren't, but it's a tired and contrived solution.
 

Ragnarok Ascendant

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It's telling that my approach to SP games consists of the following:
1) Spawn
2) Go to galaxy view. Check for 3 things: close to the core, a neutron star in the core sector, and chokepoints.
3) If not all three, reload.
4) Repeat until happy.

Two of those things are from mods. The third is not.
 
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Chiron

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Just returned to the game after a three year absence and frankly I'm just pissed off with it right now so I'll be leaving it along for another three years until I forget the pain. Not got any DLC so I'm playing pretty much vanilla.

The border mechanics and expansion mechanics are tedious micromanagement, the constant need to build starbases and the lack of any dynamic border growth just make for a bad experience. Couple that with the diplomacy system thats tied into influence and claims and you cant even go a raiding to destroy or damage the enemy starbases to leave systems empty for yourself or others as you could originally. Even orbital bombardment still takes an eternity and never kills off a planet utterly.

Influence doesn't scale well and is locked behind buildings despite a constant need for it, most of the starting origins are locked behind DLC, the jobs system and resource is opaque in the extreme. The random tech is a good idea but half of the resource or terraforming stuff doesn't appear for a good long chunk of the game, and why is auto-explore something that takes so long to find?
 
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Coconut_Cookie

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This is an extremely poor & vulgar argument.

The issue is actually something of a horseshoe, with either extreme leaving you with no meaningful strategic choice.

If there's only one chokepoint between you and the enemy, then yes - there's zero meaningful strategic choice.

If, on the other hand, there are no impactful terrain features (i.e. basically how it was before the FTL rework), you also have no meaningful strategic choice. An infinite, uniform, featureless plain is not an interesting terrain over which to fight. Particularly with the old Stellaris, you can't make fortifications, because the enemy will just go around them. And there's not really anything else in the military side of the game, so the entire strategic game is just "build a big fleet and then chase the enemy fleet".

Neither system Paradox did worked particularly well to give the player meaningful or rewarding strategic choices. Personally I preferred the the hyperlane system because 1. it meant that fortifications were at least one meaningful thing you could do other than play doomstack whackamole, and 2. the chokepoints made it easier to catch the enemy fleet - and if both systems are shit and tedious, i at least prefer the one that's faster and less effort.
I'd say this is a poor argument. It's only until the late game that you will even have the option of going through multiple different hyperlanes to attack a possible opponent. On the default settings this simply doesn't happen because there are too few connections and empires are too small to make that happen. It also not true that free movement means no terrain features, warp had limited range. In other games like Master of Orion 1 or 2 range is the main obstacle you face in the early game. Range is something you can use to your advantage. This ties into my next point the defensive strategic choices have been dumbed down because you know where the opponent will be coming from. In the old system you had to build defences in systems where you had something that was worth defending. It is now easier to catch enemy fleets because it's far more easy to predict where they're going to come from, this makes the game boring because war comes nearly at zero risk. If you are stronger than you know you are going to win with minimal losses.

I'm not arguing that you shouldn't be able to win if you're stronger than an opponent but war should always come with risks. The whack a mole chasing fleets was bad in the earliest versions of the game but this could have been solved through other means. Perhaps if ships had supplies that slowly run out and force them to occasionally visit a friendly station or planet would put a severe limit on offensive campaigns. If scouting and intel gathering was a thing in stellaris then superior intel could allow you to pin down the enemy fleet and force a decisive battle. Maybe fighters could be used to pin down fleets while backup is on the way. Ever since the other flt types are gone every battle is decisive battle before you had the doomstack but it could have been limited by making static defences/armies more cost effective. Master of Orion 1 had doomstacks too but you could counter them by spending enough on static defences in the systems that are valuable or in range of your opponent. There could have been other ways to make catching fleets less tedious while still maintaining a semblance of strategy. It is as you say less effort now, just like the game has evolved to rely more and more low effort strategy instead of actual planning and predicting what your opponent might do while at risk of making mistakes.
 
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methegrate

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Range is something you can use to your advantage... In the old system you had to build defences in systems where you had something that was worth defending.

These are the two things I'd like the system built around. Range, which gives you some structure and predictability on movement, and military/economic infrastructure which gives you structure and predictability on offense/defense.
 

Dragatus

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If you own the game on Steam you can easily revert to previous versions. It's how I got to try out Stellaris 1.0 just last year.
 
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Bravo555

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Put a complete noob to play this game before FTL change. Within hours they have crap tons of fun, they are drawn to this game and they make eveyrhing possible to make it even further. Everything was simple, you knew what happend when you put (drag unit) someone to mine or to work with energy. Everything was shown right there with numbers. Simple, easy, understandable. If you needed more energy turn that mine to energystation and boom more energy (even not efficient). Simple understandable, FUN!

Why exactly should we benchmark how fun a game is by measuring how simple it is and how easy it is to pick up for new players? Don't get me wrong, it's very good if a game can be easily learnt by beginners, but I feel we shouldn't prioritise that over giving complex systems and demanding gameplay for people who are already familiar with the game.

Paradox games have a reputation of being relatively hard to pick up, and much more harder to master, but that's exactly why they are so fun. You can have a game with a massive depth, complex systems, a lot of options, with replayability so great you can easily sink thousands of hours into them, or you can have simple. You can't have both. Or at least there's a tradeoff.

And what was exactly fun about the old pop system? You put pops in a square grid cells that have numbers in them. If a cell has food, you put farm there, if minerals, you build a mine, if energy, a power plant. Repeat the process until your grid is finished.

I feel like was simplistic, unengaging, boring and absolutely didn't fit in a 4X game like Stellaris and was glad to see it reworked, despite the new system still having some issues and room for improvement.

Put noob to play this game as of now, and they have not even after 10h frekking idea what is going on! I with 1000h games played (quit, cause had seen it all) without updating coming to this version, even as I understand FTL change, am so baffled with how far and bad has this game gone from what is was.

Yeah, 10h in other Paradox games like EU4 or CK2 was not enough to be even somewhat proficient in these games. But comparing Stellaris to CK3 and HOI4, which are easier to pickup for new players, I feel like your "even after 10h not frekking idea what is going on" is an overstatement.

Who the heck think this is fun, understandable or anything even close to those, has lost their head to somewhere where sun doesnt shine. WTF! Happend to this game? How something so fun, easily to adopt and hard to master turned to crap show, where even veteran, yet noobie it seems, doesnt know whatta heck is going on!?!?!?! Planet screen doesnt tell anything anymore, earlier it was nice screen of blocks, mines etc, no more. You as empreror, ruler etc. cant anymore order people to their place you must "make vacancies". WTF!

Well, the game has more than 10k daily players, so unfortunately some people still find it fun. Try asking them if they lost their heads.

And was how exactly the game hard to master in the past as opposed to now? As I mentioned before, you just moved pops on a grid, made trivial decisions about what building to place on which cell. There was no concept of urbanization, population density, overpopulation, you had like 5 or 6 jobs max, and the concept of strata was not clearly visible, you had to manually hover over each pop to see it or remember which jobs correspond to which strata. Now it's clearly visible and there's movement between strata by the pops. The old system was so basic it didn't fit the game.

And contrary to your claims, people do understand the game and some even find it enjoyable. Try projecting and complaining less and maybe being more constructive instead.
 
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NYI

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I don't understand the gutting and bamboozling of the purge feature. Or even why it was renamed to "fOrCeD dEcLiNe". I have many more gripes, but this one boggles me? Why ruin a perfectly good functioning feature? Is there any actual legitimate reason this happened? All they had to do was NOT TOUCH THE CODE. I mean from a functioning gameplay standpoint wouldn't this mean i'm stuck at 2.1.3 if I wanted mostly functional gameplay? I liked the pop rework, but the system had a lot it needed fixing, coupled with the newer issues its hard. Either I make half my dlc useless, or I put up with degradation of features and play...
 
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Frank327

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About the population mechanics: I think the original idea in Stellaris (tile system) was the right one but it needed a different touch. Turning it into a puzzle with adjacency bonuses was probably the wrong call because it cripples the AI too much while just adding a little stand alone puzzle. A more interesting approach is making forts protect the tiles around them, having volcanoes give risk of destroying buildings adjacent to them etc. Also a colony planner where you could plan ahead what buildings to build would be huge.

In terms of FTL types: I think a balance still needs to be found. In the original game, an FTL like Warp was too cheap for the versatility that it offered. I can see how hyperdrive only in the early game makes the game more strategic but it would be great if the midgame offered more alternatives and the origin system allows for options to bring FTL variation back.

We already have an origin that gives you gateway tech (essentially wormhole tech on steroids) incredibly early but it runs into the issue that tech and alloy costs are still lategame stuff. Having a midgame version of jumpdrive/gateways would be more interesting and with origins you could make an empire that has guaranteed access to it relatively early on. Obviously midgame jump drive would need a much lower range and longer cool down while the midgame gateways wouldn't have unlimited range and a cooldown after transporting fleets (based on size).
 
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methegrate

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Obviously midgame jump drive would need a much lower range and longer cool down while the midgame gateways wouldn't have unlimited range and a cooldown after transporting fleets (based on size).

I think this is particularly important. One of the issues that I think comes up fairly often is that Stellaris is a much smaller game than it thinks it is.

I think this was one of the big things that crippled warp and wormholes so much in pre-2.x. One of their biggest limiting factors was supposed to be range, but that was never really an issue. Especially with warp, until the late game blobbing really set in just a hop or two was all it ever took to cross most empires.
 
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HFY

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Regarding the power of Jump drives and such, yes. They're too effective, but that can be fixed.

IMHO the answer is to change how the map works.

Right now, and even in early Stellaris, the hyperlane system provided terrain with connectivity implications -- and with terrain comes barriers. Jump drives (and 1.x Warp and Wormhole) avoids this terrain, and has no comparable terrain features within its domain.

The answer is to create Jump / Warp / Wormhole terrain.

Imagine if black holes warped space-time around them such that you just plain couldn't Wormhole over one, out to some radius.

Imagine if the powerful magnetic fields of pulsars / quasars / neutron stars induced electroweak instability such that you just plain couldn't Warp over one, out to some radius, and furthermore your Warp radius was reduced somewhat by the presence of a black hole near your origin or destination.

Imagine if nebulae could only be explored via Hyperlane. You could Warp or Wormhole in after you explored one, but not before.

The OP value of non-Hyperlane engines seems solely due to how they allow you to ignore the map.

Make the map constrain all FTL, and those should become better balanced.
 
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zZander56

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Goal the second: they wanted to encourage players to play more tall builds. This was accomplished at the cost of wide empires being nerfed into the ground, as to stay under your administrative capacity you have to build tons of buildings which increase the cap, buildings you don't have space for because building slots are now extremely valuable, meaning you have to either take massive sprawl penalties or forsake your economy in order to keep up with the new system.

I agree with most of what you said, but this is pretty severely wrong. Sure, there are penalties to wide expansion, but the penalties completely pale in comparison to the benefits of gaining more territory. Quite simply, the resources produced via new territories outweighs the detriments of going over admin cap, especially given correct management of admin cap.

My main complaint about this game is that, almost completely regardless of empire type, simply eating neighbors and expanding constantly is the only prevailing strategy.
 
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MichaelJanuary

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A possible solution/alternate is for all species to have two FTL drives.

1 Warp. Slow, freedom of movement, can go anywhere, ignores hyperlanes, but moves slowly between star systems.

2. Hyperlanes. Restricted routes, but very fast travel.

This way, warp becomes an alternate to long circuitous hyperlane routes, but it's slow enough that you dont use lightly, and you can see fleets coming, and have time to respond.

It would reduce the value of choke points, and encourage a more distributed defense, as well as reducing frustration of having to take 7 to 10 jumps to get to a system that's right next door.
 

WarriorofMODS

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I'd say this is a poor argument. It's only until the late game that you will even have the option of going through multiple different hyperlanes to attack a possible opponent. On the default settings this simply doesn't happen because there are too few connections and empires are too small to make that happen. It also not true that free movement means no terrain features, warp had limited range. In other games like Master of Orion 1 or 2 range is the main obstacle you face in the early game. Range is something you can use to your advantage. This ties into my next point the defensive strategic choices have been dumbed down because you know where the opponent will be coming from. In the old system you had to build defences in systems where you had something that was worth defending. It is now easier to catch enemy fleets because it's far more easy to predict where they're going to come from, this makes the game boring because war comes nearly at zero risk. If you are stronger than you know you are going to win with minimal losses.

I'm not arguing that you shouldn't be able to win if you're stronger than an opponent but war should always come with risks. The whack a mole chasing fleets was bad in the earliest versions of the game but this could have been solved through other means. Perhaps if ships had supplies that slowly run out and force them to occasionally visit a friendly station or planet would put a severe limit on offensive campaigns. If scouting and intel gathering was a thing in stellaris then superior intel could allow you to pin down the enemy fleet and force a decisive battle. Maybe fighters could be used to pin down fleets while backup is on the way. Ever since the other flt types are gone every battle is decisive battle before you had the doomstack but it could have been limited by making static defences/armies more cost effective. Master of Orion 1 had doomstacks too but you could counter them by spending enough on static defences in the systems that are valuable or in range of your opponent. There could have been other ways to make catching fleets less tedious while still maintaining a semblance of strategy. It is as you say less effort now, just like the game has evolved to rely more and more low effort strategy instead of actual planning and predicting what your opponent might do while at risk of making mistakes.

I also wish there was some concept of unique fleet doctrine. I wish we had some strategies like those in BFGA2, where certain factions were good at boarding ships, others had exceptional long range artillery ships, others excelled at fighter capacity and some were fast moving skirmish ships. Let us choose a fleet doctrine that might fit nicely with our empire rather than just have ships slog forward and commit suicide.
 
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