Map Modes, Nomads & Wargoals: Stellaris Patch

The Asimov patch for Stellaris [official site] is due before the end of the month and it contains a fairly major reworking of several of the game’s foundations. The focus is on diplomacy, with the addition of much-requested map modes to colour code the galaxy according to relationships and opinions, along with changes to border control and wargoals. There will also be new events and interactions based around nomadic fleets and (mostly) cosmetic alterations to battles. Full details can be found in these links, and the highlights are below.

A simple but major change on the diplomatic front targets the way that borders function. After the patch, border access will be allowed by default. In the launch version of the game, borders were automatically closed at the point of encounter. Defaulting to open borders makes more sense mechanically and thematically, I reckon, as do Paradox:

Something we did not like with how Stellaris played out towards the mid-game previous to 1.2, was how that the player tended to get locked in and blocked from exploring or gaining access to the rest of the galaxy.

In the upcoming update we aim to correct that issue by reworking how border access works. By default, everyone will have open border access to other empires’ borders. An empire may close its border through a diplomatic action, and access is denied to your rivals by default.

There will also be new diplomatic interactions, including Joint War Declarations, while some existing interactions have been shifted from the trade screen to the diplomacy screen.

Changeable map modes are the feature I’ve missed the most over my time with the game. Not only are new visualisation options coming, there will be scripting tools to help people make their own:

A highly requested feature ever since release has been the addition of more map modes, so that players can more easily keep track of things such as who their allies are, which empires they are at war with, or who has a positive attitude towards them. For Asimov, we’ve added a map modes feature with fully scriptable map modes that let modders at their own map modes, with three new map modes coming as part of the patch:
– Diplomatic Map Mode: Shows diplomatic relations with other Empires, such as whether you are at war, are allies with them, or are blocked from entering their borders.
– Opinion Map Mode: Shows their opinion of you.
– Attitude Map Mode: Shows the AI’s attitude towards you.

The other major addition is the implementation of new wargoals, details of which are below. This goes along with changes to slavery, as well as new diplomatic incidents and the aforementioned events involving nomadic fleets. For details on those, as well as the changes to combat, follow this link. Wargoals are below:

Something that has been frequently requested is more variety in the wargoals you can use on others, so that war can happen for other reasons than simply to transfer territory. This is an area we’ll be looking at fleshing out long-term, but for Asimov we’ve added at least a few new wargoals to spice things up:
– Make Tributary: You can now take tributaries in war. Tributaries is a type of subject that pays 20% of their Energy and Mineral income to their overlord, but do not join their overlord’s wars and are free to declare their own wars and colonize planets.
– Abandon Planet: If you have Purge policies allowed, you can force an enemy to abandon a planet, killing all pops on that planet in the process.
– Humiliate: You can humiliate enemy empires, making them suffer a negative modifier and giving you a chunk of influence.
– Open Borders: Forces the other Empire to open their borders towards you for 10 years.
– Stop Atrocity: Forces the other Empire to ban slavery and purging.

Stopping an Empire from committing atrocities provides an influence boost, which should allow for successful and rewarding peacekeeping operations, something that I’ve struggled with whenever forming a Federation of Friendly Factions. All of this is due before the end of the month.


  1. Steven Hutton says:

    Good game gets better.


  2. Lacessit says:

    Time for a new species!

  3. Fnord73 says:

    By christmas this will be an outstanding game :-)

  4. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    The borders thing has been frustrating me a lot.
    In my most recent game, I ended up slap between a pair of Fallen Empires, neither of whom would let me have even civilian access, for any price. That left me with one other equivalent empire stuck in there with me.

    • Nauallis says:

      Oh damn, that sucks. Were they nice FEs or were they the “don’t expand too close to me” set?

  5. Senethro says:

    First time Paradox game buyer here. These patches are moving along at a nice clip.

  6. Guzzleguts says:

    I suspect Adam has been missing the pun threads. It’s sad that they seem to come along so seldon these days.

    • YogSo says:

      No need to go psycho about it. History has taught us that if you start the thread, puns will come eventually.

    • SuicideKing says:

      I see the foundation of a new, glorious pun thread.

  7. Konservenknilch says:

    Nice. I think I’ll finally jump the gun when this arrives and play with the new ruleset right away. Which will last for about a month, Paradox being Paradox ;)

  8. barelyhomosapien says:

    Bu…but everyone knows that Paradox only add new features via DLC, there is no precedent for them ever doing this kinda thing for free (if you ignore all their in house developed games)

    No! I must continue being a negative jerk wherever I can.


    There, I feel better now.

    • Alfy says:

      I’m assuming you’re jesting, especially the part about Paradox patches not being full of features (unwanted features, even, at times).

      However, releasing the game without the map modes begets the question: how much did they play their own game before releasing it??

      I am very happy this is a Paradox game, and as such will receive a ton of love, but I don’t feel like a jerk for pointing out the game came out way too soon (although I’ll probably stop soon: over-repetition indeed does induce jerkiness).

      • barelyhomosapien says:

        The lack of map modes was a design decision, that’s the sense I got from the posts about it and streams etc.

        It was a poor one, though, agreed. Now we have a new Game director and all of a sudden here they are :D

      • Jeremy says:

        As a person involved in software development, it’s surprising how easy it is to get blinders on. A feature that seems easy to use to us, since we’ve been testing and grinding on it for 3 months, suddenly becomes very obviously unintuitive when you bring new users into the mix. Testing is a highly valuable process, but one that can still very much be tainted by familiarity and bias. After collecting 3 months of data, it SEEMS obvious that something should have been a certain way, but it’s rarely so cut and dry. Additionally there is nobody in the backroom dry washing their hands cackling about how obfuscated the menu is (most of the time), and how difficult it will be for people to play the game.

  9. The Petulant Platypus says:

    The border changes are sorely needed. I have found it frustrating a few times to find myself in a position where someone has colonized a system that completely impedes progress and boxes you in. Now at the moment the juggling act of trying to get border access becomes frustrating and declaring war just to get through a simple system is massive overkill and not to mention the only choice.

    I’m hoping for a major diplomacy revamp as at the moment it seems quite, I dunno, “lite”?

    • The Petulant Platypus says:

      *sigh at lack of edit button*
      …….and declaring war just to get through a simple system is massive overkill and not to mention, sometimes, the only choice.

  10. Bleiz says:

    Dead by Daylight is amazing, and for the price it’s a steal!
    Look at the Funhaus let’s play on Youtube for an idea on just how fun the game can be :D

  11. Jim Dandy says:

    Careful or mule get what µ wish for.

  12. Zenicetus says:

    The additions to war goals are welcome, but I still think that entire system is too damn polite, too focused on negotiation. Too reminiscent of European history.

    The current system is fine as an option for resolving conflict between two alien civilizations with certain affinities. But it’s a poor fit for bug-eyed space monsters that kill everything on sight as they expand to preserve their species. Especially if that’s what you want to role play as a faction.

    There should be severe drawbacks for that play style so it isn’t overpowered, but it should at least be available, instead of ramrodding every alien into this polite war negotiation and resolution system.

    I don’t think it’s something that can just be modded, because the AI has to know how to handle a normal faction (not one of the endgame crisis types) that doesn’t negotiate.

  13. freedomispopular says:

    I’d still prefer the option to at cross into other faction’s borders no matter what, and face the consequences if necessary. It’s not like they would be physically blocking access across their borders.

  14. NephilimNexus says:

    Excellent. I look forward to the launch of the finished game next year.

  15. Zenicetus says:

    Beta for the patch is now available on Steam, under the Beta tab in Properties. No major issues so far, and kudos to Paradox for moving this fast on updates (the patch notes are yuuuuge!)

    They’re going on vacation in July, so the final Asimov will probably arrive next week.