Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn activated today

Whether you want to assimilate organic life, purge it from the galaxy, or coddle it like helpless spacebabies, Stellaris [official site] has your robotic fantasies covered in its Synthetic Dawn add-on. Launched today, it lets players create their own robotic empire from the start (as opposed to transcending their flesh in the late game) with their own civics, buildings, events, perks, and so on. It’ll also bring eccentric Fallen machine empires, the risk of machine uprisings creating their own empires, and more.

In the usual Paradox way, the DLC launch is accompanied by a huge patch bringing changes and new bits to all players of the space strategy game.

Machine empires are the main feature of Synthetic Dawn, letting spacemen play them and play against them. They have their own unique civics, letting them be driven to purge biological life, try to assimilate it to create cyborg workers, or venerate the meatbags who created them and keep them in sanctuaries as ‘Bio-Trophies’. Bless. They also have some neat perks like the ability to create Machine Worlds (if you have the Utopia expansion too).

Synthetic Dawn is out for £6.99/€9.99/$9.99 on Steam. That’s not a terrible price – a bit less than Leviathans, half the price of Utopia, and only a little more than the cosmetic species pack.

As for update 1.8, codenamed Čapek, that’s out now for everyone and brings some welcome changes. Awakened Empires will now start growing ‘Decadent’, which increasingly reduces their income and fleet power while making their subjects more rebellious. This is to stop the risk of games stalling after Empires subjugate half the galaxy, instead starting a timer that will eventually lead to rebellion and another fall. Should’ve stayed in spacebed, idiots.

The Ascenion Paths introduced by the Utopia expansion are loosened up too, removing some ethics restrictions while buffing Paths to compensate. Utopia’s megastructures become more exciting as the Dyson Sphere and Science Nexus get huge upgrades (respectively producing 1000 energy and about 750 science) while becoming unique so each empire can build only one.

Other changes include making missile weapons more useful by letting them retarget at least once if their target is destroyed before they reach it, making genetic modification simpler with templates, popping in new policies, tweaking balance, fixing bugs, and improving AI.

Check the patch notes for full details on everything.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    This sounds super good. Looking forward to getting back into Stellaris again!

  2. Slazia says:

    I like the audio.

  3. JohnnyG says:

    I think I used to own a certain inflatable object called Synthetic Dawn…

  4. Kollega says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I personally feel it’s a bit limiting that machine civilization can only be a type of aggressive hive mind (or a pacifistic and caring hive mind, in case of Rogue Servitors). I went back and read a devblog about the Machine Empires, and I feel like it’s an omission that there apparently can’t be independent-of-their-creators sapient robot pops with individual personalities, who are galactic citizens just like everyone else. I mean, that kind of machine life isn’t actually impossible by any stretch.

    On the other hand, it can probably be imitated by making an “ordinary” civilization with a robotic portrait, but I don’t know if you can e.g. make such a civilization actually play as a machine one, with the new features from the expansion. Or maybe that could be modded in, if it’s not in the game? I haven’t actually played Stellaris yet, but with the flexible rules and modding capability, the possibilities do seem to abound.

    • Doubler says:

      That’s what synthetics are. It’s just a level of technology you have to achieve during the game rather than one you can start with. These new machine empires are machines of a different order. Much less advanced.

    • timzania says:

      Well, I just checked out the updated empire creator… it’s true that machine empires are all hive minds but at least they can be regular, neither-aggressive-nor-pacifist hive minds. (Although as I recall, regular hive minds have a diplomatic penalty, not sure if that’s still the case).

      You also can’t use the new machine portraits unless you’re using machine consciousness. So if you want to play as individualized robots you’ll still have to start as a biological empire and work your way up to synthetic ascension. I assume they didn’t want to make that existing aspect of the game meaningless by allowing you to start that way, so we get the dedicated “machine empire” concept instead.

      • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

        Machine empires do indeed get a relationship malus with all organic empires, even the rogue servitors. You also can’t form a federation with other organic empires, and determined exterminator robots hate rogue servitor robots so machine alliances are not exactly going to be common either.

      • bills6693 says:

        Which seems pretty fair to me. Especially since you can now synthetically ascend (or do any of the other ascensions) as any ethic, even spiritualist.

        I for one have had a blast playing as a machine empire for a few hours today. It was going great until I underfunded my military by constantly being ‘about’ to build a bigger fleet but just waiting for one more tech. Was subsequently destroyed by my neighbour.

        • wombat191 says:

          Never trust those traitorous piles of meat they want to destroy the glorious machines !

  5. vahnn says:

    I keep buying all the Important dlcs for this game, meaning to starry playing it again, but I always end up playing more accessible games which are resolved more quickly (e.g. online shooters and racing games). One of these days!