Endless Space 2 brings Vaulters in first expansion

It's her from [EVERY VIDEO GAME]

Xcess, xplain, xcacerbate, xpire. Those are my 4 Xs. What are yours? Oh, it’s the boring ones. The kind you’d find in grand strategy sci-fi game Endless Space 2. Well, it might xcite you to learn that the space race between space races is getting an xpansion featuring the Vaulters, a crowd of godly ne’er-do-wells who’ve feature in previous Endless games, such as Endless Legend. This is the first proper expansion and it’s coming out on January 25. Here’s a cinematic about a sad robot.

That was like Wall-E but with zero jokes. I don’t know much about the Vaulters or their in-game powers or specialties, being a complete Endless ignoramus. But they look a bit like space Vikings. Here they are during what I’m informed is a “mood ritual”.

Oh look guys it's Trico

I like that! But it isn’t very helpful, I admit. Here’s what developers Amplitude Studios say about the neon axe-wielding warriors:

“A new civilization means a new way to play, the Vaulters will have the ability to teleport and use the Argosy – their legacy super colonizer ship featured in the Prologue video. They will also have their own heroes (including the famous Opbot), technologies, buildings, a new starting special node, the Sisters of Mercy minor civilization that they brought with them from Auriga, and of course, a brand-new main quest. Will they discover the truth about their Gods? Will they find a new home to start all over? Will they save their people that stayed on Auriga?”

They really do mean what they say in the first line there. If there’s one thing that makes Amplitude’s games stand out from the pack, it’s the way that each faction uses a radically altered version of the game’s base rules. Whether it’s the all-consuming Cravers or the ship-bound vampiric Vodyani, playing with a new faction involves relearning most of what you already know. The expansion also includes new combat features like the ability to board and hijack spaceships, as well as letting you do some diplomacy with pirates.

Fraser liked Endless Space 2 very much, saying that it was “simultaneously confident and experimental, finding new ways to spice up a genre that can too often be bland”. Adam also blathered on about its weird aliens during one of our early podcasts and he loves him some strategy. The game has been updated a little since release. One time it got some fighters and bombers, and this other time it got some smartified AI. There’s a “community challenge update” alongside this expansion too, which includes a bunch of stuff you can learn about here.

The Vaulters pop out of their pods out on January 26, like I already told you jeez, and will cost £8.99.

27 Comments

  1. zulnam says:

    I gave this a miss, seeing as Stellaris filled my space-4x itch, but i think it might be time to give it a shot. After all i found Endless Legend pleasantly refreshing.

    • mouton says:

      These games are considerably different. Essentially, a sandbox vs a narratively driven asymmetric experience. Both are great games and I think it is unfortunate that Endless Space 2 was not as successful.

    • dontnormally says:

      I enjoyed ES1 significantly more than ES2, but am still hoping it fleshes out a bit. I was less pleased with the new combat than I thought I would be.

    • Thants says:

      They complement each-other well. It feels like Endless Space 2 focuses in on exactly the parts of Stellaris that are boring and undercooked but leaves out the larger scale and management that Stellaris does well.

    • LuNatic says:

      I spent last weekend playing it. The balance just doesn’t feel right. It’s too top heavy. If you try and play aggressive in the early to mid game, you just fall too far behind the turtlers, and get culture-rolled by them in the late game.

      Also, the AI is extremely passive. Even if it does declare war on you, it’ll just throw a constant stream of weak fleets at a single target giving your defensive fleet free veterency, and will basically ignore any counter-invasions you launch.

      It’s a pity, because the economy, colonisation, exploration and research and all quite well done. It’s also super pretty.

      I think gating the research levels behind XP requirements would solve the balance issues. You can’t unlock military tech 2 until you’ve fought X number of battles, you can’t unlock production tech 2 until you’ve produced X production, etc.

  2. morganjah says:

    I can see how their minor civilization would be a great vision thing for when you don’t see me. The Vaulters must be driven like the snow to flood the galaxy and turn this corrosion into Dominion! Stuck between a rock and a hard place above a black planet, will they walk away and never land?
    No time to cry, Marian! I was wrong, but you could be the one to save them from this detonation boulevard. You must think of something fast. They have put the torch to our colours. First and last and always, amphetamine logic dictates that we must take possession from some kind of stranger, cutting him to ribbons, or take the long train for more blood money, or maybe choose the poison door, live on the wire, and have to bury me deep, like we did Lucretia my reflection and our ‘Doctor’ Jeep in 1959.

  3. MisterFurious says:

    You got the wrong game. The Sisters of Mercy are a minor faction in “Endless Legend”, not “Endless Space 2”.

    • Azhrarn says:

      To quote the Steam Store page for the expansion:
      …and Merciless Allies.
      Once living in Auriga as a group of warrior clerics, the Sisters of Mercy joined the Vaulters in their quest for a new home. As a minor faction, they will fight for justice and show no mercy to evil forces.

      So the Sisters will be added to Endless Space 2.

  4. Erithtotl says:

    I haven’t played for awhile. How good were the AI updates? To me its the biggest knock on the Endless 4x games, they are brilliant in so many ways but the AI is super passive.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It’s better but still needs work. You need to play on one of the higher difficulty levels to get a good fight and more interaction. It can feel like you’re playing all by yourself at the lower levels.

      There are still some other problems, like the way political power is shifted by things you can’t avoid. Beef up your military to deal with pirates, which really can’t be avoided, and now you’ve got a militaristic government. I’m not a fan of how that works, but it looks like they want to keep this system in place.

  5. Zenicetus says:

    The mechanics sound fascinating. I just wish it wasn’t another human faction, because Amplitude does a good job of making aliens feel truly alien. Only a third of the factions are now non-humanoid derived aliens.

    There will probably be at least one more DLC faction during the ES2 run, so I hope that one is another bizarro alien like the Unfallen or Riftborn.

  6. Couchfighter says:

    Someone at Amplitude or Sega made a booboo. If you pre-purchase the Vaulters DLC for ES2 it unlocks immediately in-game. Despite not releasing before the 25th.

    So for once, there is an actual legitimate reason to pre-order!

    • Zenicetus says:

      Yep, but it’s now been patched. If you already started a game as the Vaulters, then you can continue with that save. You can’t start a new game as Vaulters since the hotfix dropped. So that nicely balances the impact on anyone who managed to start a game early.

      It sounds like it’s a good idea to wait for release day, because from early reports there are a few unpolished bits left in the Vaulters DLC that are still being worked on.

  7. fearandloathing says:

    Meh, weak. It doesn’t add any major mechanics, only minor stuff. I played it a bit during free weekend, while pleasurable, it hadn’t had the hook of turn-based games that make you go “one turn mooaar”. Techs are especially awful.

    • Zenicetus says:

      The tech tree takes some getting used to. It’s not the usual layout where, for example, all military techs are in one place. There’s a reason for it, but it takes a while to get comfortable with the design.

      I think the game is best for people who can get deeply into role-playing the different factions, with quest lines that involve each one’s unique history and development. The factions feel very different from each other, unlike Stellaris where all the “aliens” are basically random assemblies without much personality and zero back-story.

      I like Stellaris for the sheer scale of the galaxy. ES2 is more compact. But I like ES2 for the alien designs and stories.

      • Vacuity729 says:

        I’d agree that Stellaris does do the grand scale better, but it is more of a grand strategy game after all, so that’s understandable. Endless Space 2’s factions are way more interesting and game-changing than Stellaris’ civics and traits are however, and although I certainly appreciate the questlines in Stellaris, they’re not really on par with Endless Space 2’s.
        In short; despite both being space-set 4X titles; they’re quite different experiences to play, and I’d be happy recommending both.

  8. Hunchback says:

    Magnificent trailer!

    I for one am happy that BOTH Stellaris and ES2 exist. They are very different games and both are great, yet none is “better” because they don’t “compete” in the same areas.
    Then it’s all a matter of personal taste, and i prefer ES2 over Stellaris.

  9. Carl Sagans Ghost says:

    If for no other reasons, “Endless Space 2” should be picked up so the user might explore its sexy UI while listening to that beautiful soundtrack.

    And for what it’s worth, poster above me is correct in stating that ES2 and Stellaris are both great games, and that they both exist in two different niches.

    With that in mind, I prefer Stellaris over ES2.

  10. zaldar1978 says:

    Needs a conversion of endless legend to endless space BUT also needs more focus on developer told story. Different gameplay for each faction was great but the fact the story was pretty much the same for each one and the story in the space games is pretty nonexistent is very sad.

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