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Stellaris launches Update 1.6, hands out birthday DLC

Happy birthday, Stellaris [official site]! To celebrate the first birthday of their space strategy game, Paradox have released a new update and are giving all spaceguests party favours in the form of free cosmetic DLC. The pack of species portraits offered as a pre-order bonus are now free to all players, and Paradox have thrown in some colourful new ones too - like that ↑ spacepeacock. As for Update 1.6, nicknamed 'Adams' after the interactive fiction writer, that's smaller than many updates but still brings some good changes. The game has come a fair way over the past year.

Slide on over to Steam to download the Anniversary Portraits pack. It contains the pre-order bonus portraits along with the new Fairy Dragon, Peacock Avian, and Larvae. They're pretty enough! Even if you don't want to play 'em yourself, they do add extra variety to the galaxy.

As for Adams, it's a patch tweaking, refining, and fixing things rather than one adding big new features - the latter tend to launch alongside expansions. I've only started playing Stellaris in the last few weeks but many changes sound sensible and welcome.

The full patch notes are this-a-way and are worth reading in full so you're not blindsided by changes and can spot new opportunities. Here are some bits that caught my newbie's eye:

  • (UTOPIA) Added Devouring Swarm civic to the game for Hive Minds
  • (UTOPIA) It is now possible to find and repair ruined Megastructures in the galaxy
  • It is now possible to terraform inhabited planets if you have researched the new Ecological Adaptation tech
  • You can now set taxes for Energy Credits and Minerals on sectors separately
  • The cost of species modification projects is now based on the difference between the traits at the start and end of modification, rather than on the sum of the trait cost
  • The Prethoryn Scourge crisis will now show up more often and the Unbidden less often
  • More than doubled the base strength of the Prethoryn Scourge invasion fleets
  • Doubled the base strength of the Extradimensional fleets, and their initial fleet has been more than quadrupled
  • The power of crisis fleets now scales to the size of the galaxy
  • The power of Fallen/Awakened empire fleets now scales somewhat to the size of the galaxy
  • Increased warp wind-down time
  • Boosted the damage output, shield hit points and hull points of military stations and frontier outposts substantially
  • Increased the distance at which military stations have to be built from each other
  • Hive Minds now get a +25% Pop Growth Speed
  • Hive Minds now get +10% habitability
  • Symbol of Unity building and related technology have been removed from the game
  • AI now devotes more resources to building up a force of assault armies before declaring war

Plenty of the other changes are noteworthy too, mind. Which are your favourites, spacegang?

Saves from version 1.5.1 should be compatible with version 1.6.0 but, if yours prove troublesome, you can revert to an older version. Oh, and when you do load up a save, remember to re-set your tithes from Sectors - they'll be back to the defaults.

Paradox have also launched a new Digital Anniversary Edition of Stellaris. This includes Stellaris plus its ace expansion Utopia, the smaller but decent Leviathans Story Pack, and a plant-y cosmetic pack for £56.75. That's a saving of £6.31 on buying them separately. Given that Utopia and Leviathans are worth getting and the take-it-or-leave-it Plant pack costs £5.59, hey, this is a better option if you're planning to dive right in. And one imagines this will be a convenient package to pick up cheap in future sales.

With 1.6's Hive Mind changes and the new spacepeacock portrait, I'm already planning my next game. We'll be a charismatic and firmly insistent hive mind of spacebirds who dazzle all species with their feathers then add them to our hive mind, which they definitely do want to join because of course they want to join why wouldn't they join? That or I'll play the Fairy Dragon, who looks like a bit like my beloved Puck from Dota 2, as an empire of show-offs who are inevitably set back by hubris.

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