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Stellaris is running a combat rebalancing open beta this month ahead of its 3.6 Orion update

They have frigates now

Galactic strategiser Stellaris is inviting players to muck about with adjustments to the game’s combat this month in an open beta, starting today. The beta is running from now until the end of October to trial planned changes and rummage up some feedback for Stellaris’ next update, 3.6 Orion. Don’t worry if you just fancy playing regular Stellaris; this is an opt-in thing. You can find out more by watching the video below.

Paradox say the aims of the combat rebalance are to “shake up the meta” and improve space combat. They’re aiming to produce more benefits for having a mixed-hull fleet too, and improve ship design options. No changes are coming to ground combat for now, and Paradox stress that the changes in the 3.6 open beta are “tightly focused” on fleet composition and balance instead of reworking fleet combat as a whole.

Among the changes are the new frigate-sized ships. These are advanced corvettes that specialise in torpedoes, but are slower and not as evasive as corvettes. Paradox say every ship's role now has a counter, and that mixed fleets are much harder to counter because all the ship types have distinct roles to play in them.

Space combat isn’t the only thing changing in Stellaris’ Orion update. Introduced in the Utopia expansion, the game’s Ascension paths – developing your civilisation into another form, such as psionic or synthetic – are being reworked for version 3.6. There’s a LOT more detail in the dev diary here, but the gist is that the reworked Ascension paths allow players to follow a steadier and more gradual route rather than saving up perk slots and completing a path in one single strategic burp. The Orion update is introducing new galaxy shapes, too.

You can read more about the open beta here. Orion hasn’t got a date attached yet, but Stellaris’ 3.5 Fornax update only arrived towards the end of last month. I wouldn’t expect Orion to arrive for another few months.

Stellaris is available on Steam and GOG, along with about a billion expansions and add-ons. The open beta for the 3.6 Orion update begins today and runs until October 31st.

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About the Author
CJ Wheeler avatar

CJ Wheeler


CJ used to write about steam locomotives but now covers Steam instead. Likes visual novels, most things with dungeons and/or crawling, and any shooter with a suitably chunky shotgun. He’s from Yorkshire, which means he’s legally obliged to enjoy a cup of tea and a nice sit down.

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