New Stellaris expansion doubles down on humans

stellaris-humanoids

I’ll be honest – I’m not totally sure what Paradox are going for with their Humanoid Species Pack for Stellaris, which is released today. The motivation seems to be that humanoids are ‘the most-played phenotype’ in the 4X sci-fi game, and as such they’ve stuck in a whole bunch of human-like species, include cyclopes, orcish types, demonic sorts and bionic-eyed dwarves. I guess this makes playing as something other than straight-up boring humans a little more appealing to straight-up boring humans who always choose to play as straight-up boring humans.

However, what’s confusing me more is references to humanoids finally getting their own unique ship class, ‘inspired by the classics of Western science fiction.’ Is… is that a very careful way of trying to be a bit more Star Warsy or Battlestarry without making any lawyers cross?

To be clear, this isn’t a game-changing expansion. The vast majority of The Humanoid Species Pack is additional art options for portraits and ships, plus a new, more human voice option for chatty AI VIR. It’s the ships which are probably the biggest draw for those of us who were happy playing as insects and blobs, and don’t require our species reps to look more or less like someone you might see in Sainsbury’s. The other official description Paradox offer for the ships is that they’re “inspired by humanity’s imagination,” which, again, seems like a hint that they’re riffing off iconic bits of flying metal.

Looking at the video above, I’m not seeing anything so brazen as a Millenimum Falcon or Enterprise, but there’s definitely stuff with a slight Star Destroyer or Viper vibe, and a bigg’un that looks a little bit Battlestar. But it is, frankly, all a bit Some Strategy Game Spaceships, so I struggle a little to imagine this pack being one people really race out to get. But what do I know? I like to be a Fungus. And in the game.

Let’s have the Numanoid pack next, anyway. In the meantime, the Humanoid pack is $7.99/£5.79, and available from Paradox or via Steam.

31 Comments

  1. shinkshank says:

    I know it’s all semantics, but I think it’s pushing it to call a pack of cosmetics an expansion. I know, I know, all of this stuff is technically both expanding the game, and also downloadable content, but I think we’ve sort of culturally reached some degree of distinction between the two.

    • klops says:

      Especially when you try to chart out the real DLC from the unit packs when buying new DLC. Not really that hard to do, but needs effort enough so that it annoys me.

    • Sakkura says:

      Paradox are specifically NOT calling it an expansion. The only thing they describe as an expansion for Stellaris is Utopia.

  2. Imperialist says:

    I tend to lean towards militaristic human empires. The current humanoid ships we have are as generic 14 year old aspiring SF illustrator as they get. Even if these new ship models are still bland, at least they are inspired by….something that isnt a box with engines on it. If im going to create a xenophobic intersetellar Imperium, Star Destroyers kinda help in that goal (though, id prefer ram-prow 40k style ships myself).

    Also, new humanoid types are ALWAYS welcome, as currently its “human, or space squid, etc”. Having SF dwarves and orcs as menial races will also be fun. My colossal space pyramids wont build themselves.

  3. clocknova says:

    I’m not sure what to do with this. They lost me when they announced that the upcoming major update/expansion will remove all FTL options other than the one that uses spacelanes. I really like everything else that’s coming, but I refuse to play a spacelane-only 4X game, so I’ll either be stuck with the game as is, or stop playing. Probably the latter, unless modders come to the rescue. Shame. This is a great game, but it’s about to be completely ruined.

    Of course, many people have no problem with starlane-only FTL and the gameplay it brings with it. I hope they enjoy the game going forward. I will not.

    • kegman68 says:

      The expansion is making everyone only START at Hyperlanes. Through technology and exploration you can acquire the other modes of transportation. All my empires currently use wormhole but I agree with their decision as it allows for actual defensive strategy when before your best bet if you were playing defensive against a wormhole empire was to sit back and see which planet they attacked first and try to kill their fleet, if you lost war over, if you won war over. This allows for actual strategy instead of just one big hurrah.

      • clocknova says:

        No. They are actually removing the other two FTL methods. They were pretty clear about this in the developer update.

        • Sakkura says:

          They were pretty clear that there would still be access to other FTL systems later in the game.

          link to forum.paradoxplaza.com

          • clocknova says:

            They are adding late game additions to FTL but they are A) Not the same as the two starting choices that they are removing, and B) Late game additions. Players will still be forced to use starlane-only travel until then. I won’t do that.

          • dharkoshan says:

            Do you cry in the comment thread of every game you won’t play?

    • Flatbread_ says:

      While I understand the lack of enthusiasm for this change, I think calling the game ruined may be a premature assertion.

      They are going to have a slider the increases the number of lanes dramatically so there are little to no restrictions/choke points associated with space lanes, similar to warp drives.

      Due to the controversy of this change, I have no doubt that modders will come to the rescue within days, if not hours, of the update.

      • mitrovarr says:

        I wish game designers would quit making huge, sweeping changes to things that are already released. Three games I used to really enjoy either made or are making huge changes I absolutely despise (Overwatch, Paladins, Stellaris). Games like this require huge investment to get any fun out of and it sucks a lot when I get invested and the developer makes big changes that ruin the things I liked about the game in the first place. It makes it impossible to ever trust that developer again.

        And I know Paladins is technically early access but let’s face it, it’s going to have lived and died as a product before it ever leaves EA. It’s as released as it will ever get while it’s relevant (see also basically every game in the multiplayer survival and battle arena genres).

        • clocknova says:

          All of the strategic advantages and opportunities that they claim the FTL consolidation will foster are things I don’t care about at all. Space doesn’t have “terrain” and “chokeholds.” Space is vast and empty and wide open; tactics that work on terrestrial battlefields shouldn’t be applied to space travel. I like the game as it is BECAUSE those strategies don’t work.

          Again, this is just me. I’m not trying to take anything away from those who like these changes.

          • Asurmen says:

            Only if your game works by 3D is the vast and empty argument relevant. Also, you say you like the game because those strategies don’t work. Well, without those strategies, there are none when it comes to war and expansion at the moment. This adds some.

      • clocknova says:

        It will be “ruined” for those if us who really hate the kind of gameplay that develops as the result of starlane-type FTL. It’s the reason I gave up on Endless Space, and the first of many reasons I hated Master of Orion 3. It’s just the way I am.

    • napoleonic says:

      You will be able to vary the density of the hyperlane network at the start, to the point that there will be hyperlanes connecting the web as much as possible. This will effectively be the universal movement that you want.

      If that’s not enough, I wonder if you’re thinking about it the right way. After all, there was nothing in medieval Europe that required armies to march from fixed point to fixed point along vertices, but that is functionally what the province maps of Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis do. This is likewise just a way of modelling the setting so as to make a good game.

    • Megatron says:

      I welcome the changes! Can’t come soon enough!

      Combat at the moment is fucking terrible. Doomstacks are the only viable option, and if, like in my last playthrough, you don’t quite get those numbers up high enough you may as well give up because there’s no win condition possible. Everyone sees you as too weak to trade or ally with, or as ripe for conquest. No subtlety; no finesse: size is everything.

      And fleets taking out space stations, even defense stations, like they were made of glass? Why bother building them at all. It’s the worst aspect of Stellaris by far, nearly game-breaking for me.

  4. JanusNode says:

    Paradox calls it a “Species Pack”, and there has been no attempt to pretend it’s something essential. A number of fans wanted some more “space opera” style of ships since the Mammillian ships are a bit blocky (though not without their appeal). As a cosmetics/art add-on it meets my needs just fine. Will likely pick it up a bit later as I do like the art assets they added in for this.

  5. Someoldguy says:

    Star Trek has managed to produce about a million episodes (give or take) with 99% of aliens being people with a bit of makeup on, so this should be wonderful for making Trekkie universes. Unfortunately I haven’t felt interested in playing the game for months. Like HoI4, its sitting there waiting for something transformative to happen to re-energise gameplay.

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      teije says:

      Then you should perhaps revisit when 2.0 is released (in 3-4 months?). They are majorly overhauling borders, wars, space terrain, battles, fleet composition, changes to tech, influence/unity, you name it. So much of the core is changing (for the better mostly, from my reading of the dev diaries) I can’t be bothered to play right now.

  6. napoleonic says:

    It’s worth mentioning that the art team had lots of time on its hands because the coders have been bug-stomping and are overhauling the game with mechanics improvements. There’s no point paying the art staff to sit on their hands, so they got them make this. Far from this getting in the way of bug fixes and mechanics overhauls as some people suggest, this is actually a result of so much attention being focussed on those things.

  7. Denthris says:

    New pics and ship design I’m all four. I don’t mind grabbing them for a couple bucks, and supporting the devs.

    As to the FTL changes, I’m looking forward to them. I tried many times to play Hyperspace, simply for that reason of being able to build Defense. Defensive building only use right now, is to die rather quickly at my death fleet, or to randomly kill my science vessels exploring system.

    It was painfully impossible to try and defend against enemies. Having an even playing ground at the begining, makes defense an actually strategy.

    Ontop of that I love the new idea for Gates.

  8. TheAngriestHobo says:

    The other official description Paradox offer for the ships is that they’re “inspired by humanity’s imagination,”

    Good. I was getting so tired of the ships inspired by chipmunks’ imagination. A little balance, please.

  9. Ducce says:

    Where’s my goddamned Blorg expansion? Green blorgs, red ones, nice blorgs, blorg ships.

  10. kymlaar says:

    I’m all for this DLC (expansion is a bit over the top for it). Art assets require a very different portion of their company than normal game patches do, and one of the best ways to add a lot of variety to the feel of the game is to expand the available portraits, ship types, backgrounds, symbols, and similar.

    It is also a great way to fund future development with small cost additions that are entirely optional, as if someone does not have this DLC, they can still play with someone who does. I hope they make even more of these going forward!

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