- Apr 3, 2017
This is why I think Stellaris should adopt MOO II's narrative approach. The crisis should be something that starts building from the early game. Your initial days of exploration and advancement should start something. Your era of empire building should be defined by the growing threat. Your height of power should be directed at finally facing that enemy once and for all.
The periodic attacks of the Antarans in MOO II were fantastic both for the narrative and for destabilizing the board. It's certainly a much better emergent narrative to say "I need to blob/create allies/etc. so I can fight the enemy that is growing in strength and just took out the Sirius colony."
I never played Masters of Orion, but your suggestion made me immediately think about the Mass Effect trilogy.
In the first game, it's about discovering the existence of the reapers and fighting a single one of them. The second game I think was mostly about beating their minions. The final game was about uniting the galaxy to stop a full-blown Reaper invasion.
I could see something similar like that playing out for Stellaris. So at the start, the game rolls a dice to decides which crisis you're going to get and then the story plays out with escalating stakes. So for example, the first big test is a single fleet or dreadnought that massively outclasses everyone, but cannot heal. Eventually it gets beat after tearing through the galaxy for a bit. Then maybe you discover that one of the AI empires is working to prepare the way for their masters arrival. You're then on a clock to take them out. The faster you do it, the longer it delays the final invasion. The final invasion does eventually come and we get the crisis we all know.
The game really would benefit from a light story-arc that gently takes you from beginning to end without getting in the way of your own emergent story. The pieces are all there, they just need to be adjusted and fit together. For example:
1. Precursor events leads you to discovering the existence of this existential threat out there.
2. Mysterious Leviathan/Fleet causing havoc is actually the very same mysterious threat that wiped out those precursors! BOSS FIGHT TIME
3. Mid-game crisis is actually working for the end-game crisis!
4. End Game crisis arrives.
5. Discover their weakness, rally the galaxy and win!