Make Like A Tree And Warp: Stellaris Plantoids DLC Out

Paradox today released the first bit of paid DLC for Stellaris [official site], adding a Plantoid species type to their space strategy game. It’s only a collection of cosmetic doodahs but they are pretty ones – check out the gorgeous new portaits. Aren’t those great? I’m not being funny, right, but I am enjoying imagining how they would feel to the touch. Meanwhile, Paradox have also returned from their summer holidays to work on the next major free update, nicknamed ‘Heinlein’, and they’ve started teasing features such as a new Federation victory condition.

£5.59/7,99€/$7.99 will get you fifteen new plantoid portraits, new cityscape art, and new templates for plantoid civilian and military ships. I’m not super keen on the ships, which mostly look like regular spaceships with leaf-shaped panels, myself. It seems a missed opportunity for beautiful curving, branching, organic architecture.

A wee patch has launched alongside Plantoids, bringing a few fixes and tweaks and letting Plantoids owners face them as AI opponents [Update: You do need to own the DLC to face them, contrary to what I originally said].

If you don’t fancy paying for cosmetic trifles, hey, you can hit the Steam Workshop to download player-made species for free. I like that Paradox are releasing professional-quality add-ons for players who want them – they’re really nice plantpeople! – and it’s not like the art team would be coding fixes and new systems if not for this.

Paradox played a bit with Plantoids on this weeks’s livestream, by the way.

So, Heinlein! Paradox explained in a new dev diary this week that their plans for update 1.3 have changed a bit since they first announced it.

“Ever since we released the game, we’ve received some fantastic feedback from our players, far more than we felt that we were able to address in 1.1 and 1.2,” said game director Martin Anward. “As such, Heinlein will be a patch focusing on addressing community feedback and implementing community suggestions. ”

Anward’s teased a few Heinlein features on Twitter, including a new Federation victory condition, Ctrl-Shift-clicking to add orders to the start of the queue, a border distance modifier, and rally points. Paradox plan to reveal more in next week’s dev diary.

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  1. DeadCanDance says:

    May the DLC storm begin.

  2. Fry says:

    Bit pricey for cosmetic DLC, but Paradox gonna Paradox.

  3. Shammah says:

    The price seems quite steep, especially since there is free player made content and it’s purely cosmetic. I get that the entire point of the DLC is to support the game company and provide funding, but even then I would have expected something more like $2.

    • mike2R says:

      Personally I think that’s more than fine for cosmetic DLC. People who want it will pay for it. People who don’t, won’t. You can mix and match cosmetic DLC that you want without messing around with the core experience. Or buy it all if you want to “support” them (I love Paradox, but they’re a business not a charity. I’ll buy it if I think its worth the money).

      Personally I’ll probably buy any music ones they release and ignore the rest of the cosmetic ones unless/until there’s a very cheap bundle.

      • Comco says:

        This is my first paradox title…Do they normally release music DLC? I’d happily pay for that. I’ve really enjoyed the soundtrack but grabbed a few mods to add more – you spend an inordinate amount of time listening to music when playing 4x games. :)

        • Jason Lefkowitz says:

          No idea what their plans for Stellaris are, but they have put out several music DLCs for their older titles Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis 4 (example, example, example). So add-on music for Stellaris certainly isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

      • palejouvencel says:

        Do you realize this happens because of that kind of challenged mentality?

        So you just expect everyone to be magically “more aware” of abuse.

        There are people out there who would spend all their money and their family’s money on a drug addiction, or to indulge themselves in whatever your own morals would condemn.

        But no you just expect people to pick a enlightened choice between the lesser of two evils.

    • Ur-Quan says:

      When I read the price I thought it was a bit much, too but think about it this way:
      In LoL most skins cost at least 5 dollars too and you get ONE skin.
      Here you get 15 portraits and a new ship and station design.
      Sounds ok to me.

      • Fry says:

        Yes, paying for LoL skins is just as dumb as paying $8 for some portraits and ship models.

  4. Celt says:

    I’m not sure why Paradox continue to tout that they are releasing free patches, nor why e.g. they get a pass on it in this article given the sorry if not abysmal state Stellar is in.

    I don’t recall many other games being allowed to make fixing a thoroughly flawed game as ‘free content’ and something to be lauded.

    • Comco says:

      Well, what else do you call them? Regardless of the state of any game on launch, a patch that includes content can quite legitimately be referred to as a ‘free content patch’. Referring to it purely as a ‘patch’ suggests it only contains bug fixes.

      I get the point you are making but I can’t agree with your argument.

      • Celt says:

        In the history of gaming, patch has sufficed. Occasionally content patch. Any evidence or sources for ‘free content patch’ being the common or even infrequent nomenclature to refer to software patches?

    • LexW1 says:

      Pretty sure no-one but you and a handful of extreme grognards think that Stellaris is in an “abysmal” state, or even a bad one.

      • Celt says:

        Strangely the qt3 thread is pretty negative and died entirely weeks ago. Also, it’s generally considered good behaviour online to post something other than an insult as your sole content.

  5. Ur-Quan says:

    Well that seems a bit pricey ….maybe I’ll…
    Take all the money!

  6. Cinek says:

    Of all the ideas for DLCs they could come up with – that’s the one they decided to build, and then charge for it as much as for a full, large DLC for Europa Universalis IV that’s actually adding gameplay features?

    Laughable. Paradox slowly slips into EA-level of greed.

    • Ur-Quan says:

      You might want to take a look at EU IV’s dlc list.
      This isn’t new.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Except they are adding gameplay features in free patches currently?

    • Saii says:

      I’m not a fan of half-made games getting fixed up with paid-for DLC but that’s not how Paradox tends to do it. They’ll usually release and fix up for free, with plenty of content both original and secondary, and then add on to it with entirely optional DLC. I played through CKII/EUIII/EUIV quite happily without any DLC at all, and bought a bit extra later on for variety.

      Which is fair enough, if I’ve already bought a complete book I don’t mind paying again for another in the extended universe. It’s paying for a book while only getting half the chapters that’s out of order.

  7. crowleyhammer says:

    I wont be buying it but it’s a nice touch that the A.I races use cosmetic dlc even though I don’t have it.

  8. Zenicetus says:

    “A wee patch has launched alongside Plantoids, bringing a few fixes and tweaks while also making Plantoids appear as AI opponents even for people who haven’t bought the DLC.”

    Are you sure about that? The patch notes say “Randomly generated empires are now able to use DLC portraits,” which I don’t think implies you’ll get the Plantoids as AI opponents if you haven’t bought the DLC. That would kill half the motivation for buying the DLC, for one thing.

    There is some pushback on the Paradox forums about the pricing. While I think the price is a bit steep, especially if you’re not thrilled with the ship designs (I’m not), I think the grumbling is due to the devs being on vacation for a month while the game has been festering with bugs that need fixing, including some fairly major ones that weren’t addressed in this small patch. It’s just not good timing for a purely cosmetic DLC.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Plff you’re right, I mis-read something.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Well, except this kind of DLC is most likely the product of a wholy different team than contents patches/expansions. So it’s either that or let the graphists sits idly on their chairs.

  9. Chaoslord AJ says:

    I’d rather pay for some crazy completely new ideas.
    Plant race? Guess they’ll be just like anybody else with different portraits.
    Granted I had a lot of scifi in my time but what about actually new ideas not done in Star Trek, B5, Mass Effect and Gala Civ over and over.
    End game threats: 3, all of them tropes. Would buy an end game threat expansion.

  10. palejouvencel says:

    Paradox needs to stop this.

    Enough of those overpriced cosmetic DLC, they just exploit shamelessly the love of their customers.

    Something is very wrong in that company seriously. They have a couple great devs but something somewhere really sours everything.

    I don’t want to see link to this again in 2016 or later. This is just shameless corporate abuse.

    • Ur-Quan says:

      Ohh yes they abuse you by putting out cosmetic DLC that you really don’t have to buy.
      Literally worse than EA! /s

    • Logeres says:

      “Exploit the love of their customers”? What are you talking about? They’re a company, not your ailing mother. You don’t have any obligation to buy their stuff.

      Just buy whatever DLCs strike your fancy and ignore the rest.

  11. Premium User Badge

    TehK says:

    I really don’t understand the whole “controversy” about the price point.

    Especially CK2 did a great job with DLCs. Yes, there were a lot of them, but 90% were a) cheap and b) purely cosmetic, while the actual expansions were marked as such and were well worth their price.

    Also, just because something is purely cosmetic doesn’t mean there’s not quite a lot of work involved to create the images, models, animations and then put in in the game. Additionally by doing this, Paradox not only manages to keep their art team busy (whereas we’ve read quite a few times from other studios who had to lay off their artists after a release); they’re also able to finance the development of those free patches we already got that brought a lot of fixes and adjustments (and yes, some of this should’ve been in the game already, but that’s why it is free ).

    Maybe I’m just a bit annoyed.
    I worked in the games industry for a few years (and a lot of my friends still are) and those guys and girls are working really hard. Even with an already released game, 50+ hours per week are sadly quite normal. Having seen that, the amount of disrespect for that work and the constant demand for free stuff that I’m seeing lately is just really getting to me.

  12. Chiron says:

    They managed to make diplomacy really shit last time I played.

    It was already fairly bare but at least it worked previously, now its just horrific and not worth even attempting to bother with.