Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn DLC adding proper robot civs

It’s robo a go-go with the next Stellaris [official site] DLC, Paradox announced today. Due later this year, the Synthetic Dawn Story Pack DLC will let players start as mechanical men, with new events, ships, traits, story beats, and so on. The spacefaring strategy game already lets players transcend their flesh and become synthetics deep down a tech tree but ick, who wants to have ever been meat at all? Shameful.

As is customary, a big free update will launch alongside this paid expansion. Update 1.8, nicknamed ‘Čapek’ after the Czech writer who popularised the word ‘robot’, brings changes to habitability, hive minds, and more.

Paradox load these bullets into the cylinder of their marketing gun and fire it into the air while screaming “SYNTHETIIIIC DAAAAAAWN!”:

  • You, Robot: Play Stellaris as a customized robotic civilization, complete with a series of robotic portraits for science robots, worker robots, and more
  • AI, eh? Aye!: Follow new event chains and story features to lead your robot race to greatness as an intergalactic AI empire; pursue mechanical perfection in the stars
  • Rise of the Machines: Oppressed synths may rebel against their masters and form new empires — or you may even discover a fallen synthetic civilization deep in space
  • Digital Enhancements: New synthetic race portraits, and expanded voice packs for VIR

Paradox haven’t announced a price yet. The Leviathans Story Pack costs £7.49 so I’d expect a similar price.

As for Čapek, Paradox have written plenty about its changes over recent weeks. The full patch notes aren’t settled yet but you can read about expanding habitability and improving terraforming, adding genemodding templates to make genetic manipulation less of a faff, combat rebalancing including letting missiles retarget, hive mind improvements, different models of robots, and new narrator voices for different ethics.

They’ve also written about the new synthetic Fallen Empire coming in the expansion, the unpredictable Ancient Caretakers.

I’ll be glad to have a reason to return to Stellaris. I do enjoy it but too many paths end up essentially the same, stories become familiar after a few games, and too few surprises pop up. Robofun should draw me back for a bit.

23 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    To me, the most exciting change is simply the one that makes planets both easier to colonize and ensures that there are less planets: We had a big stellaris MP game on the RPS discord a few months back, and there wasn’t all that much friction between all of us.

    Admittedly this is in part because nearly everyone picked the pacifist ethic but still, this will help too.

  2. Rince says:

    I’m happy that they’re fixing the missiles.
    Hopefully I will be able to do the Macross Missile Massacre properly now!
    Can’t wait.

  3. Honsou says:

    Once they fix being able to build ships from sectored planets, I’ll be back in.

    • toshiro says:

      This. A lot of improvements are needed with the sectors so you dont have to micro so much with them.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I wanted an excuse to get back into Stellaris again. I guess I’ll be getting one!

  5. MarkCM says:

    “Paradox haven’t announced a price yet. The Leviathans Story Pack costs £7.49 so I’d expect a similar price.”

    Nah, expect it to go higher. There’s quite a bit more content. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doubled, but at least £10.

  6. Fnord73 says:

    “I built a space empire and then nothing happened”. Is there a midgame yet? I so wanted to like this, but doomstacking and no midgame really turned me off it originally. Is it worth diving back into now?

    • mpk says:

      This ^

      I’ve only played 50 hours or so of Stellaris, but the biiiiiiiig hole-of-not-much-happening in the middle of my first full game was hard to miss.

      In my second game, I’m playing as a full on militaristic xenophobe society, and properly struggling to defeat multiple enemy doomstacks, when my own fleets can’t be in two places at once. I’m having to… make friends first. What’s a racist attack mushroom (IN SPAAAAAACE) to do?

    • Zenicetus says:

      I keep hoping they’ll solve the doomstack problem, which is the main thing keeping me from getting back into the game. The early exploration is still the best part of the game. Once you get to the point where you’re running a reasonable military force, the only thing that works is doomstack. And that’s boring. The mosh pit battles look ridiculous too.

      Are the devs even talking about doing something about this? I haven’t been back to the forums in a while.

      • napoleonic says:

        I don’t know why people complain about “doomstacks”. It’s just the natural application of Clausewitzian logic.

        • Zenicetus says:

          Well, Clausewitz (the man, not the software engine) dealt with geographically restricted warfare, where one big army might make sense. He had no concept of world wars that might be fought on different fronts, let alone on a Galactic scale.

          Besides, for the player (some of us, anyway) doomstack strategy just isn’t fun. Right now in a TW Warhammer game, I’ve got one big invasion army and a smaller home guard, and I’m trying to decide if I can risk building another invasion army to open a second front. That’s an “interesting decision” in the Sid Meier sense of game design. Building a single doomstack because that’s the best strategy, involves no decision at all.

          • Blurqe says:

            I’ve been trying to articulate exactly what my problem with the doomstack combat was, and this is perfect! There are no real decisions involved, reducing combat to a numbers game and the outcome of your economy. It essentially takes the military strategy out of a “grand strategy” game.

      • Troubletcat says:

        The devs occasionally respond to questions about a major combat overhaul to make things other than doomstacks viable on the forums. Basically they’re working on it but there are no details yet. Won’t be in this update.

    • EvilMonkeyPL says:

      Yea, there is a perpetual thread on the forums about doomstacks. After thousands of pages still no clear solution.
      I think the mid-game thing has been mostly dealt with, as FEs awaken around 40k player fleet power, if I remember correctly, which is mid-game-ish. It is also usually when you can start considering going after leviathans. Also the new focus trees add a bit of depth as well.
      Haven’t played in a while, mind, so might have fogotten about something.

      • syndrome says:

        That’s funny, because the solution is to simply introduce an ‘organizational penalty’.

        So, if
        CE is Combat efficiency (%), essentially a multiplier
        FS is Fleet size (in command points), and
        OQ is Logistical & organizational drawbacks (0..n, where 0 is the best)

        then
        CE = 1/(FS^OQ)

        It’s pretty fucking obvious, and very easy for the AI to grasp, as well as to find out what the optimum Fleet sizes should be (not to mention that certain ships/leaders could also improve the OQ parameter).

  7. Jmnea says:

    I’m waiting for them to massively overhaul combat. As it is, you just build a shit ton of the same unit and that’s all you do to win. Incredibly boring for me

  8. Allafif says:

    I’ve seen free mods to do this already, just like there were with Utopia’s megastructures and extra ethics.

    Here I deleted some wee hours rambling about officially bringing on modders Valve-style, but I think it’s a trigger for the Lawyers Descend endgame crisis.

  9. Keasar says:

    There never is a “nice” robot civilization is there?

    There is a never a group of robots hailing from another planet going “Hello! We are really nice [PEOPLE] and would love to [COOPERATE] with [ORGANIC BEINGS] through [SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND TRADE].”

    It’s always “YOU WILL SUBMIT AND INTEGRATE INTO THE MACHINEMIND OR BE TURNED INTO ENERGY PASTE, FOR YOUR FLESH IS WEAK AND UNECESSARY!”

    Never trust toasters.