Stellaris: Utopia expansion blasting off on April 6th

The first proper expansion for Stellaris [official site] will launch on April 6th, Paradox announced today. Utopia adds shiny futuristic features like buildable Dyson spheres, ring worlds, and habitat stations (very utopian), psionic, biological, and mechanical ‘Ascension’ paths (also utopian), and a variety of new ways to oppress and enslave other races (very… Omelasian). Well, utopias are always meant to be rhetorical, aren’t they? While Utopia is a paid expansion, the big update ‘Banks’ will launch for free alongside it with a load of handy new features.

I’ve gone over a lot of features of Banks and utopia before so let’s do this quickly.

Along with adding fancy things like Dyson spheres, which are vast structures surrounding entire suns to capture their energy, Utopia will introduce endgame paths through Ascension perks to determine the future of your species, and expand Slavery and Purge policies so you can do awful new things to subjugated species. This recent dev diary gets more into the new megastructures, this one gabs about indoctrinating primitive cultures, and this looks at Psionic ascension, and here you can read about hive minds and new civics options. Previous diaries have gone over the rest.

Like many Paradox expansions, Utopia has many more interesting little features and bits than its name and supposed theme would suggest.

The Banks update, meanwhile, will bring features like Tradition trees with perks for different playstyles, options for per-species rights across your empire, and an overhaul of the Factions system to make represent all sorts of groups, and more.

Utopia is coming to Steam at £14.99/$19.99/€19.99, which is a couple quid more than Paradox strategy expansions tend to cost. The most expensive Crusader Kings II add-ons, for example, cost £10.99. Stellaris is all 3D and that, mind.

14 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Hm, I was planning on holding off replaying stellaris until this came out, but I guess april’s a bit long to wait. I’ll go fiddle with New Horizons instead.

  2. Solidstate89 says:

    This is what I’ve been waiting for to head back into Stellaris.

  3. Jeroen D Stout says:

    Slightly desperate use of a contextless Plato citation, there.

  4. Zenicetus says:

    I’m looking forward to finally having a true enslaving empire like the Kzin, although as usual it will depend on how well that works with the sector AI. At the least the underlying design should work better, and I can always mod sectors out when they’re too annoying.

    • Hoot says:

      The sad thing is that a lot of what’s being offered here should have been a part of the base game. The amount of streams I watched, developer diaries I read, etc, etc all lead me to believe I’d be buying a more or less complete game.

      I know Paradox has a habit of releasing small DLC often for their titles but to be honest I feel I was burned with Stellaris. This is not only because of the broken features in the main game (sector AI, slavery, purging) or the complete lack of mid-endgame content (once you’ve got a big enough empire you’re basically just waiting for your deathball to roll over the remaining enemies) but the fairly outlandish DLC prices, given what you’re actually getting , I mean £15 was a full blown expansion price back in the day.

      All this being said, I would STILL like to give Paradox the benefit of the doubt, but I can’t, given that every change they have made to the base game has resulted in the need for 17 patches or whatever over a 4 month period before the added feature even works properly.

      I imagine the same thing will happen with Utopia.

  5. Ross Angus says:

    I thought the idea of Dyson spheres was that they would be built at the distance from the sun likely to produce Earth-like temperatures, rather than a few hundred kilometers from the corona.

    This would make them stupidly big, of course.

    • Zenicetus says:

      IIRC, the original Dyson idea was more about capturing 100% of the energy output of a star, and habitation might have been a secondary consideration. If you’re just going for the energy (which is how Stellaris is doing it), then the structure can be smaller. Any remaining planets in the system go dark and frozen, so you’re basically building a powerplant in a system and killing it off for anything else.

      Ringworlds are the alternate structure in the game for 100% habitability of a star system. And even that is not to scale. An actual ringworld would provide so much room for population and food that it would unbalance the game, so they’re sort of cheating the concept there.

  6. TheManfromAntarctica says:

    Is Stellaris a game really worth playing? I like the idea of “Civilization in space” but the good article on game mechanics from Denis Ryan on this same website last July really put me off.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      Yes, however it is very unlike the Civ series, so don’t use that as your comparison, as it’s unfair to your expectations and to Stellaris.

    • Xerophyte says:

      It had a rocky launch (much like every big Paradox title) but I quite like the current Stellaris. It does the exploration part of the space game very, very well, it has some pretty neat approaches to sci-fi society customization and I think that the endgame threats/invasions are all pretty damned cool. Really, any game that takes a serious stab at semi-procedurally recreating the Vorlon/Shadow war from Babylon 5 can’t be all bad.

      On the bad part: the midgame is a bit empty, especially if you try to play peaceful builder. You’re expected to play to win, which generally means beating some people up and taking their stuff. It also doesn’t have the replayability of Europa Universalis or the other PDS games; there just isn’t that much variation between two different sessions of Stellaris, compared to the bewildering array of nations in vastly different circumstances you can pick in EU4. You can approach Stellaris in a couple different ways and you’ll get a couple of different events, but it’s limited.

      Utopia sounds like it’s fixing a lot of the issues, espcially around the midgame. I expect that I’ll give it a game or two, enjoy it, then feel like I’ve seen it all and go play something else. I admit I generally trust Paradox to meander in the right direction with their grand strategy titles and paying an early adopter fee doesn’t bother me that much. Your mileage may vary.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Ericusson says:

    I would advise anyone to wait 1 month after release to see user feedback (and certainly not professional reviewers) if this begins to solve any of the awfulness of Stellaris.

    Considering how empty the game turned out, I certainly am not ready to give these guys more money just based on the slickness of their graphics put over an awfully hollow tactical and strategic game cores.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ericusson says:

      Ring worlds … a mod feature since the early days of the game …

      Awful.