What's galactic drama without an evil empire to rally against or a mighty hero to save us all? A bit of a damp squib. The latest Stellaris expansion, Nemesis, today spices up the end-game by offering extra powers for domination or liberation. It's got big Star Trek baddie vibes, enough that it even adds new ship designs which look like Star Destroyers. And as ever, the expansion is accompanied by a patch adding and changing loads in the 4X strategy game.
Nemesis introduces a new ascension perk which lets you become the end-game crisis, unlocking powerful bonuses to not only dominate the galaxy but destroy it. Or if you want to be a goodie you can lobby the galactic community to be declared a Custodian, with emergency powers to defeat a crisis - then maybe consider not relinquishing them, becoming an evil overlord of a different sort. The expansion opens extra options for the new espionage system too, letting you covertly steal tech, sabotage bases, and more. And it gives you the Nemesis ship style for an imposing fleet.
Also out today is Stellaris v3.0.1, a patch codenamed 'Dick' in honour of notorious galactic mastermind Dick Cheney. It changes a lot all over the place, enough that I have no idea how it'll play out in reality.
Dick has reworked first contact, meaning we'll have to send Envoys to initiate first contact and start building relations to gain knowledge about them. Envoys can also build spy networks to gather info, as part of the new espionage system. It also reworks building slots, population growth, and migration, hopefully improves automation of planets and sectors, tweaks AI a bit, fixes bugs, and loads more. And one nice wee touch is the option to pick the end-game crisis when starting a game, if you want.
I bounce back to Stellaris every so often, always a bit out of touch and overwhelmed by how much has changed since the last time. While I do think new end-game excitement sounds good, I'm less stoked about it coming as a paid expansion. When I last played Stellaris, the end-game was just bad - a problem so big I think should be improved for all players, not only those who pay extra. But as I say, I'm out of touch. You reckon it's worth a return at this point, spacegang? I admit I mostly like trying different weird aliens in the early years then lose interest once it settles into the grind.