The Asimov patch for Stellaris [official site] is due before the end of the month and it contains a fairly major reworking of several of the game's foundations. The focus is on diplomacy, with the addition of much-requested map modes to colour code the galaxy according to relationships and opinions, along with changes to border control and wargoals. There will also be new events and interactions based around nomadic fleets and (mostly) cosmetic alterations to battles. Full details can be found in these links, and the highlights are below.
A simple but major change on the diplomatic front targets the way that borders function. After the patch, border access will be allowed by default. In the launch version of the game, borders were automatically closed at the point of encounter. Defaulting to open borders makes more sense mechanically and thematically, I reckon, as do Paradox:
Something we did not like with how Stellaris played out towards the mid-game previous to 1.2, was how that the player tended to get locked in and blocked from exploring or gaining access to the rest of the galaxy.
In the upcoming update we aim to correct that issue by reworking how border access works. By default, everyone will have open border access to other empires’ borders. An empire may close its border through a diplomatic action, and access is denied to your rivals by default.
There will also be new diplomatic interactions, including Joint War Declarations, while some existing interactions have been shifted from the trade screen to the diplomacy screen.
Changeable map modes are the feature I've missed the most over my time with the game. Not only are new visualisation options coming, there will be scripting tools to help people make their own:
A highly requested feature ever since release has been the addition of more map modes, so that players can more easily keep track of things such as who their allies are, which empires they are at war with, or who has a positive attitude towards them. For Asimov, we've added a map modes feature with fully scriptable map modes that let modders at their own map modes, with three new map modes coming as part of the patch:
- Diplomatic Map Mode: Shows diplomatic relations with other Empires, such as whether you are at war, are allies with them, or are blocked from entering their borders.
- Opinion Map Mode: Shows their opinion of you.
- Attitude Map Mode: Shows the AI's attitude towards you.
The other major addition is the implementation of new wargoals, details of which are below. This goes along with changes to slavery, as well as new diplomatic incidents and the aforementioned events involving nomadic fleets. For details on those, as well as the changes to combat, follow this link. Wargoals are below:
Something that has been frequently requested is more variety in the wargoals you can use on others, so that war can happen for other reasons than simply to transfer territory. This is an area we'll be looking at fleshing out long-term, but for Asimov we've added at least a few new wargoals to spice things up:
- Make Tributary: You can now take tributaries in war. Tributaries is a type of subject that pays 20% of their Energy and Mineral income to their overlord, but do not join their overlord's wars and are free to declare their own wars and colonize planets.
- Abandon Planet: If you have Purge policies allowed, you can force an enemy to abandon a planet, killing all pops on that planet in the process.
- Humiliate: You can humiliate enemy empires, making them suffer a negative modifier and giving you a chunk of influence.
- Open Borders: Forces the other Empire to open their borders towards you for 10 years.
- Stop Atrocity: Forces the other Empire to ban slavery and purging.
Stopping an Empire from committing atrocities provides an influence boost, which should allow for successful and rewarding peacekeeping operations, something that I've struggled with whenever forming a Federation of Friendly Factions. All of this is due before the end of the month.