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Stellaris Patch Plans: Fixes, Then Mid-Game Content

What's next?

Which member of RPS do you play at lunchtime? The hot new game in schoolyards and canteens up and down the land is RPS Make-Believe - grab five pals/colleagues and act out roles - but are you Adam, John... and who'll get stuck playing Alice? (I always try to be Pip). You opinions on Stellaris [official site] might settle tomorrow's argument, as one of you will need to playwrite a news post about Paradox's new grand strategy game. Today Paradox detailed plans for the first few big updates, starting with fixes and tweaks, moving to new content like more mid-game stuff, then... who knows?

One week after launching Stellaris, game director Henrik Fåhraeus has posted a new dev diary entry. He says they've listening to player feedback, and expected some concerns more than others.

"As a veteran designer of our complex historical games, I was anticipating a fair amount of criticism regarding the mid-game in Stellaris compared to that of our historical games, but I was more concerned with the depth of the economy than the relative lack of diplomatic options, for example. I also find much of the feedback on the Sector system interesting; the GUI and AI concerns will receive the highest priority. One area I was not at all surprised to get flak for is the lack of mid-game scripted content, however. We simply took too long getting all the early and late game stuff in, and neglected a whole category of events called 'colony events', which were supposed to be the bread and butter of the mid-game for the Science Ships."

Paradox plan to settle into their usual strategy game routine of issuing big free updates alongside new paid expansions, but first are focusing on free improvements across May and June. They've detailed plans for the first two big updates, and murmured about the third.

Version 1.1, nicknamed Clarke, is due "near the end of May". It'll mostly focus on bug fixes and user interface improvements, rebuilding a fair few screens and notifications. In terms of changing how it works, they'll improve AI a bit and make Corvettes a less powerful. Paradox plan to hit more performance problems too, if they don't hotfix 'em first. Look, a mockup for a better fleet combat summary:

After that, the Asimov update (ooh have you spotted the pattern yet?) will bring bigger changes to how Stellaris works. Fåhraeus says:

"As you might have guessed, we plan to add some new diplomatic actions and treaties. Another thing that struck me during our discussions is that the normal lack of access to the space of other empires makes the game feel more constricted than intended. It limits your options since you can’t really interact much with the galaxy beyond the borders of your empire, and you only tend to concern yourself with your direct neighbors. This is bad for your Science Ships too, of course, since they might not be able to finish some of the grander 'quests'. Compare the situation with Europa Universalis, where you usually have access to the oceans and can thus reach most of the world, or Crusader Kings, where you can even move through neutral territory with your armies. We also intend to add as much mid-game scripted content as we can."

So yes, spaceborders will be open by default. The option to close them will be there, of course, but don't expect other empires to be thrilled about that. Diplomacy and politics will be expanded too. Expect defensive pacts, scripted diplomatic incidents, and fun new war goals like "humiliate."

The update after that, Heinlein, is a bit hazier. Fåhraeus points out a few ideas they have and areas they'd like to improve on, but nothing is final. Heinlein might expand sector and faction politics, add more mid-game scripted content, bop in more complex ship behaviours like fleet formations, and add nice little civilian ships pootling around solar systems to give them a "living" feel. Or it might not. We'll see!

Anyway, the dev diary goes into so much more detail on all this, so get stuck in if you're currently dancing among the stars. Patches aside, what do you want from Stellaris expansions?

More importantly, which RPSer do you play at lunchtime? Have you tried tying all your ties together to make Horace? It always feels heretical, doesn't it?

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