Stellaris Patch Plans: Fixes, Then Mid-Game Content

Which member of RPS do you play at lunchtime? The hot new game in schoolyards and canteens up and down the land is RPS Make-Believe – grab five pals/colleagues and act out roles – but are you Adam, John… and who’ll get stuck playing Alice? (I always try to be Pip). You opinions on Stellaris [official site] might settle tomorrow’s argument, as one of you will need to playwrite a news post about Paradox’s new grand strategy game. Today Paradox detailed plans for the first few big updates, starting with fixes and tweaks, moving to new content like more mid-game stuff, then… who knows?

One week after launching Stellaris, game director Henrik Fåhraeus has posted a new dev diary entry. He says they’ve listening to player feedback, and expected some concerns more than others.

“As a veteran designer of our complex historical games, I was anticipating a fair amount of criticism regarding the mid-game in Stellaris compared to that of our historical games, but I was more concerned with the depth of the economy than the relative lack of diplomatic options, for example. I also find much of the feedback on the Sector system interesting; the GUI and AI concerns will receive the highest priority. One area I was not at all surprised to get flak for is the lack of mid-game scripted content, however. We simply took too long getting all the early and late game stuff in, and neglected a whole category of events called ‘colony events’, which were supposed to be the bread and butter of the mid-game for the Science Ships.”

Paradox plan to settle into their usual strategy game routine of issuing big free updates alongside new paid expansions, but first are focusing on free improvements across May and June. They’ve detailed plans for the first two big updates, and murmured about the third.

Version 1.1, nicknamed Clarke, is due “near the end of May”. It’ll mostly focus on bug fixes and user interface improvements, rebuilding a fair few screens and notifications. In terms of changing how it works, they’ll improve AI a bit and make Corvettes a less powerful. Paradox plan to hit more performance problems too, if they don’t hotfix ’em first. Look, a mockup for a better fleet combat summary:

After that, the Asimov update (ooh have you spotted the pattern yet?) will bring bigger changes to how Stellaris works. Fåhraeus says:

“As you might have guessed, we plan to add some new diplomatic actions and treaties. Another thing that struck me during our discussions is that the normal lack of access to the space of other empires makes the game feel more constricted than intended. It limits your options since you can’t really interact much with the galaxy beyond the borders of your empire, and you only tend to concern yourself with your direct neighbors. This is bad for your Science Ships too, of course, since they might not be able to finish some of the grander ‘quests’. Compare the situation with Europa Universalis, where you usually have access to the oceans and can thus reach most of the world, or Crusader Kings, where you can even move through neutral territory with your armies. We also intend to add as much mid-game scripted content as we can.”

So yes, spaceborders will be open by default. The option to close them will be there, of course, but don’t expect other empires to be thrilled about that. Diplomacy and politics will be expanded too. Expect defensive pacts, scripted diplomatic incidents, and fun new war goals like “humiliate.”

The update after that, Heinlein, is a bit hazier. Fåhraeus points out a few ideas they have and areas they’d like to improve on, but nothing is final. Heinlein might expand sector and faction politics, add more mid-game scripted content, bop in more complex ship behaviours like fleet formations, and add nice little civilian ships pootling around solar systems to give them a “living” feel. Or it might not. We’ll see!

Anyway, the dev diary goes into so much more detail on all this, so get stuck in if you’re currently dancing among the stars. Patches aside, what do you want from Stellaris expansions?

More importantly, which RPSer do you play at lunchtime? Have you tried tying all your ties together to make Horace? It always feels heretical, doesn’t it?


  1. lordcooper says:

    I got stuck playing John and couldn’t figure out any videogames more complex than a point and click adventure or visual novel.

    3/10 do not recommend.

  2. melnificent says:

    Fingers crossed they open up the number of galaxy shapes to modding. At the moment you can only have 4 types and need to enable different mods to replace them, whereas galaxy size mods add to the base game.

  3. squirrelrampage says:

    I tend to play Alice, she is OP. You can always troll the other players by pretending not to know that Han Solo was the captain of the Enterprise. Never fails to get old.

  4. yogibbear says:

    I already get the jitters when there’s a gap in my space borders allowing the enemy to get a colony ship in there and deny me access to my own colonies / resources, if they have open borders by default… can I send a colony ship inside the enemy border and colonise a planet and then slowly push them out of their own space? :D Sounds actually awesome and would totally change it up. But there’s argument both ways… as long as we can control it like they say by turning it off/on would be good. Maybe like have various toggles of “No Access”/”Science access”/”Civilian access”/”Full Access”

  5. Procrastination Giant says:

    My inner 12 year old feels it’s imperative to point out that their update naming scheme has one fundamental flaw!

    I eagerly await the inevitable “Dick” update. *snickers and runs away*

    • Nauallis says:

      “BUT I DON’T WANT NORTON TO UPDA— Oh, this is for Stellaris? Oh, ok”

  6. BTAxis says:

    I’ve got a fair number of gripes with Stellaris, foremost among which is the terrible performance in mid to late game. This worries me, because optimization is by no means an easy process, or for that matter a quick one.

  7. Kabukiman74 says:

    Ok let’s start – here’s the things they really should add to the game asap:

    -colonizable planet list (currently looking for a new colony planet can be pretty tedious)

    -show control range of outposts before building them (nothing worse than building one and having the system you wanted just outside range)

    -add military options/strategies to fleets (eg. having fleets with long range weapons keep their distance instead of rushing into a furball)

    ATM it is a good game with the “typical” Paradox feeling (nothing for a quick, casual round) however I can only recommend it for die-hard SciFi-strategy players with a lot of frustration tolerance… I’ll jump into a new game right now…;)

    • Nauallis says:

      For a couple of these, the game already has a few solutions. Which I found through trial and error.

      The “advanced galactic map” checkbox will cause all systems with a potentially habitable planet to display a little world icon to the left of the system name. If you can colonize the planet, the world icon is white/gray. If you don’t have the tech prereq, the world is red.

      The control range preview is a nice idea, that would be useful.

      Combat tactics for starships is actually already built into the ship’s computer module, which (as far as I have advanced into the game at least) forces your ship design to charge in headlong or stay with the formation even if its weapon systems would otherwise be out of range. I’ve found that this is useful when grouping ships into tactical squadrons – point defense ships will always get a defense computer and typically beam & gun ships get an aggressive computer. Then assemble ships into whatever size group but specialize and group them based on their combat role, and mix in a handful of point defense ships (or not) to run with the rest.

      • Kabukiman74 says:

        …”advanced galactic map”… – yes, using this all the time, however it is tedious to check each planet on the map. I’d love a list with relevant planet values (like number of fields/blockers, bonuses, distance to nearest empire border). Especially mid-game when you have countless systems scouted that would really ease colonizing.

        Considering the combat modules – there are only 2 (with increasing values) afaik – the offensive one increasing fire rate and damage and the defensive one (I think that one increased HP and evasion) – they do nothing as far as I can see in aspect to your weapons, as soon as combat starts, all ships charge into point blank range no matter what equipment they have. I had multiple fights, where a fleet with all missile/torpedo armament closed into point blank range without using their greatest advantage, the superior weapon range.

        • Nauallis says:

          I’m inclined to believe you. I’ve yet to build anything bigger than a destroyer or more powerful than a UV laser, so I have little experience with true stand-off weapons that I’ve read about on reddit.

    • Laurentius says:

      Seriously, I can’t belive that game released in 2016 doesn’t have colonization/terrafoming,contruction plant tab. It was done by MoO2 in 1996 and it’s the only possible solution for 4X space game. Runing around the map trying to remember where was that 25 pop tundra planet that i should terraform is beyond tedious.

      Also game is barbones, no galactic trade, no cool victory condition, only three possible crisis in lat game. CK2 was complete and full fledged game at realese, this game is not.

  8. Cinek says:

    Gotta love these rushed releases.

    Almost all of this stuff looks like fundamentals that should be there in a first place (seriously? Rebuilding interface right after the release? Who the heck does that?!).

    I only wonder how many patches I’ll have to wait to get non-military victories in a victory screen, or is that planned for £14.99 DLC?

    • cardigait says:

      still with the dlc polemic ?
      come on!
      i’m 30 hours in and i’m having a lot of fun, i feel that some parts are rushed, but there are many many many that are not, and almost bugless, which for a game of this size is… spectacular.
      also, the only firm with the witcher which build DLC right, so… what’s all this about ? have fun !

      • Kabukiman74 says:

        I think the game holding the DLC record might still be Payday 2 – just today Steam offered me the 34th DLC in the new releases… That said – how high is the DLC count for EU4 now ?

        • BTAxis says:

          You have clearly never heard of Train Simulator. The DLC count for that one currently sits at 258.

          • Kabukiman74 says:

            Holy crap. Is there even a base game if they can push out that many DLCs?

            With that number, they have to have a DLC for each train type…

          • Nauallis says:

            Rock Band is (was) pretty bad for the sheer amount of DLC as well, something like 255 DLC packs for full albums and song packs… almost 1700 songs.

          • Grizzly says:

            IIRC Train Simulator is also a platform where other devs develop on – eg a lot of expansions are third party. FSX has the same thing going on: Had FSX been released on steam right from the start it would now have thousands of expansions in it’s dlc store.

  9. RedViv says:

    Trying to play Pip is always so complicated. I can never manage to circumvent the gateways locked through Watcher Faces requiring the exact spelling of my name without stumbling.

    • geerad says:

      I would KILL to be Pip! They always make me play Kieron. I don’t want to make awful puns all the time!

      • Premium User Badge

        keithzg says:

        Eh, I’m fine playing as Kieron, I’m always prattling on about the original Deus Ex anyways so it makes for an easy roleplay.

  10. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I’d like the AIs military capability to be toned down a bit or a lower difficulty level to be made available. Barring that, I would like more guidance for how to develop my military. The game kept insisting that I was “equivalent” to my opponents, but they seemed to be fielding significantly more and better ships. Was I missing something? The tutorial was pretty good, if perhaps not as guided as it needed to be, but I’m at a loss for how to improve my military performance.

    • Haplo says:

      One of the things to look at if you haven’t already is to hover over the little section that says ‘equivalent’ or ‘superior’ etc. It breaks it down into fleet superiority, capacity superiority and tech superiority. It’s possible to be inferior to an enemy in any one of these and still be considered ‘overall equivalent’.

      Otherwise, a lot of it kind of comes down to tech and ship options. I’m not gonna claim to be a master (55 hours in is not enough to stop me making some silly mistakes) but I’ll try to outline some common elements…

      A lot of it comes down to weapons vs defense. There’s a fair few weapon ‘classes’ in Stellaris, and each one usually has a defense that they excel against and a defense that ruins them.

      Missiles are accurate (100%!) so they tend to be good against evasive craft (usually corvettes), but having Point Defense weapons (which are marked by a red ‘p’ hexagon and go into any S weapon slot) can simply blank a lot of their damage. Having good shields and armour is also generally helpful.

      Torpedoes are explosive weapons like missiles but they completely ignore shields- if your fleet’s shield heavy, torpedoes will mince them. Point Defense weapons are priority here, as is armour, but shields are worthless.

      Laser, plasma and lance weapons are good against armour, often ignoring half of it or all of it, and they’re reasonably accurate so the best defense here is shields, or missile weapons to get some free hits in before you close.

      Kinetic weapons are (supposedly) good against shields, but they have poor accuracy, so they can be overcome with evasive craft and armour.

      Strike Craft are a bit tricky because Bombers are very powerful, completely ignoring shields (like torpedoes) and ignoring half armour (like lasers). The best counter to Bombers is, unsurprisingly, Fighter Strike Craft; or if you’re later on in the game, you can build Flak weapons, which are kinetic weapons that counter Strike Craft and Missiles but also have some anti-ship capacity.

      I suppose the thing to take away from this is to try to learn what your targets’ weapons and defenses are (which is hard at the moment without an espionage system). Otherwise, try to aim for a generalist approach.

      Early on in the game, I often end up pouring energy into what I call the ‘Shield Gap’, where I aim to get heavier shields than all of my enemies. This served me well until last night, where I smashed into an enemy fleet. I had 10 destroyers and 30 corvettes, they had 1 cruiser and 30 corvettes, and I lost because they had nothing but torpedoes which just minced my poor ships.

      Thus the best approach I can think of right now is: pick one of the two main defenses you like: shields and armour. (Shields are great for reducing repair time, but armour tends to be more valuable in longer fights). Then build your ships based around the idea of fighting an enemy designed to counter that defense. If you have shield defenses, invest in point defense. If you have armour defenses, invest in missiles for those free hits.

      • Grizzly says:

        I actually found simply looking at the battles take place to be very informative: Those battle effects don’t just look pretty, it allows you to see what weapon impacts what or is blocked by which shield and that sort of thing. It’s a pity that you can’t digest information about the enemy designs used by scavenging debris though.

        Espionage would be great too, esp. when it could lead to design and retrofit rushes.

        • Haplo says:

          What you can do is click enemy fleets; there’s a button on the fleet display that will display all of their components.

    • Jimbo says:

      You can try to counter whatever a given enemy is using (and this may become necessary if you are losing a war) but once you have big fleets of big ships it can take forever to refit them, or be more hassle than it’s worth to split them up and send them to multiple starports for refitting.

      The combat is not very nuanced however. I’ve found that spamming one or two blueprints of the biggest ship available to me at any given time -with a good mix of anti-shield and anti-armour weaponry, and a mix of defence types- has always been more than adequate for anything the AI has come up with so far. Using 2-3 of your best Point Defence on bigger ship classes seems to be good practice for general use.

  11. Firkragg says:

    I heartily recommend using The Culture naming list you can find on in the workshop. The planet name list is repetitive, but the ship names are great (if you’ve read the novels, you’ll know what I mean, with ship names like “What Is The Answer and Why?”, “Full Refund” and “Ultimate Ship the Seoncd”).

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Grey area.

      • Meatpopsicle says:

        Personally I prefer the other name.

        On the topic of the culture, I miss Bank’s crazy universe, can anyone recommend another author or series that is similar?

        • Harlander says:

          The setting of Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy feels a bit like a society on its way to turning into something like the Culture.

        • Benratha says:

          Maybe Neal Asher (Polity series) or Peter F Hamilton (Night’s Dawn, probably)?

    • DEspresso says:

      Thanks! Looking forward to it.

  12. Grimcull says:

    Sector AI is a big one that needs improving. It’s basically broken at the moment and the player only nerfs themselves by handing planets to a sector.

    The main thing about it I observed myself was its inability to manage population. It was putting enslaved citizens (+minerals, -research) on research, and free citizens on the minerals.

    I’ve also heard of it replacing buildings /even when set not to/ and building too much food (pointless on a full planet, not even that useful on a growing planet).

    I wonder what that implies for the AI civilisations. Does the bad management extend to them? I can’t imagine Paradox writing two different methods of management..

    I want to love this game, I just can’t at the moment. (But I’ve still played 44 hours.)

    • Meatpopsicle says:

      There should be some sort of resource sharing economy, excess food needs to be able to be sent to growing colonies to help bolster pop growth. Or something like that at least.

      • Catsiel says:

        Yes, like Trade ships flying the extra food from one planet to a growing planet. That would be a lovely addition.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Serrit says:

    I’m sadly not bad-ass enough to play Alice. I’d quite like to take John’s cheerful and optimistic approach, whether that’s fronting genuine gleee or brutal sarcasm, but think I’d more naturally fall in with Alec’s calming wave of introspection.

    I feel taking on Adam would really require a trip across the Pennines to first soak in the Mancunian atmosphere and truly understand the role.

    As for Pip – well I don’t own a frog onesie. Presume that rules me out? :-(

  14. fredc says:

    Things that struck me very early on:

    1. I have yet to see a multiple star system and it appears that they just don’t exist, despite the fact that lots have been observed in reality.
    2. For some reason neutron stars are shown massively out of scale compared to other stars (they’re tiny and super-dense but in the game they’re huge).

    • Koozer says:

      Pointing out physical incoherences in a 4X space games is a looong, dark rabbit hole.

    • Fishslap says:

      This is true. But if you start doing this everything will be wrong. For example, the Suns’ diameter is 1.3914 million KM. The Earth’s diameter is 12,742 KM. In other words, the Sun is 109,4 times wider than the Earth. Now go look at a solar system in Stellaris, or in any other space strategy game for that matter, one more time. Stars are so much larger than they are displayed in these games it’s not even funny, and if it was done accurately you wouldn’t even be able to see the planets in a zoomed out system.
      The list of nonsense is endless, such as being able to see the enormously overscaled planets on the opposite side of a solar system. Dimness and distance alone would make this impossible, not to mention the glare from the star in the middle.
      I’d like dual systems though. They are really common and they seem to have remembered everything else. Although, let’s face it, their systems are ludicrously small as it is. If they were ten times their current size they would still be completely unrealistic. But then you might have room for binary star systems at least, so I vote for that.

  15. Sardonic says:

    If nothing else, it would be great if they could fix the bug that causes none of your allies, federation partners, or even vassals to help you against the extradimensional assholes. Ended a nice 19 hour run with that bug, which was lame.

  16. teije says:

    So far it’s a very good game, and with these plans should turn out to be a great one. Read the details on the “Heinlein” release to get a real sense of where they’re taking this, since Clarke & Asimov are more major patch releases.

    Even though I can see all the flaws and some unfleshed out mechanics, still having a great time with it. It does many things very well indeed.

  17. celticdr says:

    The RPSr I play at lunchtime is Alec – we’re both around the same age and dislike these whippersnappers with their fancy rap music and constant bubblegum chewing, plus I plan on shutting out reality and living in VR when the tech becomes more affordable, Alec the lucky bastard already gets to do that.

  18. rote_locke says:

    Still disappointed there is at the moment no way to create a superior race of intergalactic cows (aka “The Holy Bovine Empire”). A game without cows is certainly incomplete.

    Had the same problem with MoO, where it was even worse, because the acronym led me to believe it was all about cows…

  19. DEspresso says:

    In some parts, the game is weirdly incomplete. The most obvious one being the techtree. To elaborate: Modules go to level 5, engine/sensors max out at 4, weapons at 4 except missiles who go to 5 and heav large weapons at 2?

    The Credits include thanks for someone who wrote the manual.. which is not included with the game?

    The other problem areas were already mentioned, so i’ll just add the macromanagment part is besides the sidebar somewhat lacking. The Supreme Being can’t even goto ‘next planet’ to upgrade buildings or heaven forbid include a ‘upgrade all’ button?

    Still its fun although whoever decided you shall not be able to upgrade Milbases shall be flogged, flogged I say!

  20. kentonio says:

    Damn I was actually enjoying default closed borders. Feeling closed in by the nations around you gives the game a different feel, and forces you to interact with your neighbours rather than just wander past them. Also if I was a space ruler I would be deeply unimpressed by foreign space armadas just wandering through my territory.

    • Fishslap says:

      Being able to cross a border doesn’t necessarily mean no one will react to it of course. It is just realistic to be able to cross a border in this game because it’s just empty space, right? There just needs to be appropriate consequences, which at the moment there really isn’t for anything else.
      This is basically a release without mid game content, meaningful diplomacy and with very poor AI, even by Paradox standards. It’s shame because the early game is very good. I just don’t get this new trend of releasing games in a half finished state.

  21. Lanfranc says:

    Whilst reading:
    PDX: “…Clarke…Asimov…”
    Me: “If the next one is called ‘Heinlein’, I’m getting a refund.”
    PDX: “…Heinlein…”
    Me: :-|

  22. EveryEmpireFalls says:

    Really, no one is going to say it? REALLY? Proof read your article before posting it…

  23. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    What I’d really, really like, is an addition to the “Your contract with $aliens has just expired” box, which tells me what the bloody contract was.
    And a button to re-open negotiations starting with the same terms that just expired would be the icing on the cake.

  24. sundawn says:

    i enjoy the game despite lots of shortcomings.

    first thing i did was grab a planet limit removal mod to not have to run sectors. early midgame now i will start forming sectors after all the basic needs have been filled and 20 colonies start becoming too much work to manage. but i prefer the options to micromanage and not being forced into bad sector management ai.

    the ship designer is much too simplified for me. custom ship designs should matter.
    stardrive and distant worlds did a good job at that and on top they had combat interaction. really made you feel that designing your ships mattered unlike the automated design stuff in stellaris.
    with stellaris the rockpaperscissors decisions on ship design are there, but with the lack of combat interaction they don’t really matter and all that matters is fleet strength – don’t attack a 3k fleet with a 2k fleet – no tactics here will help you.

    borders are the worst. nothing to add to the comments and upcoming changes – hopefully they will make it feel less constricting. here again colonizing planets and building in “foreign” space always makes for nice border conflicts.

    aside from that some minor complaints about warp (too powerful i believe) and i would like to litter my space with warp inhibitors to prevent enemy fleets warping in from anywhere.

    there quite a lot of cues they could and should have taken from other games like distant worlds, stardrive and galciv i believe. some design choices lack the insight from other games i feel.

    in a year or two the game will be in a much better state.
    for now its only a quick fix for 4x addicts.

  25. maphisto2000 says:

    I wish it would consistently tell me when one of my leaders has died or one of my science ships isn’t actually working on something because the leader level is too low.

  26. Rythe says:

    I like the heart and soul of Stellaris, which is more than I can say about most 4X games, a genre I’ve finally come to admit that I’ve a love/hate relationship with.

    I love the scope and the planning and the strategy and the ideas and the tech tree and space armadas that this genre presents.

    I hate to play the things, because they always do something to infuriate me, and never quite live up to the promise, and get dreadfully grindy and boring after a point.

    SotS I – AI stacks 100+ of the smallest ship size and just uses shear mountains of junk vessels to grind down vastly superior vessels over countless rounds of combat.

    SotS II – An absolutely terrible and rather buggy 4X game wrapped around a pretty good and very pretty Battlefield Gothic 0.1 Alpha Concept Demo.

    Endless Legend – The Board Game of 4X Games.

    Distant Worlds: Universe – Ignoring my initial buggy/half baked experience (that got patched over eventually) and UI hell (that seems intentional), the game’s premise is a lie. You do not want your AI managers to manage anything, because they will do it wrong and be your empire’s Achilles Heel. Turn them all on to have eight or so handicaps in play (while not actually be playing the game yourself). That having AI managers for the game systems you don’t want to deal with is a supposed selling point of the game, and them being total pants, I ended up rather despising the title.

    Well, except for the army manager. It gets a gold star sticker.

    Stellaris – A touch half baked (par the course for a game release of this complexity), but just about has the core of everything I want in a 4X game… Except for combat and war. My armada is not suppose to begin the siege of the alien homeworld only to pack everything up and wander home for ten years the very next moment when said aliens sue for peace because I didn’t understand how the whole war bargaining thing worked at the onset of hostilities. That is, the siege doesn’t end until I say it does, nevermind the war. Your ships getting in and out of combat is pants too, like swarms of mindless drones embracing a slow dance to the death upon making eye contact. Combat computers are suppose to spice that up a bit, tho’…