Posts Tagged ‘Stellaris’

All rise and no fall: how Civilization reinforces a dangerous myth

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Civilization VI: Rise and Fall wants to solve a problem. That problem is perpetual growth, and it plagues many 4X games. Whether your aim is world conquest or cultural hegemony, victory in Civilization and many of its cohorts depends on domination. However peacefully you try to play, you’re often straight-jacketed into a utilitarian-psychotic view where all resources and people are just raw material to be assimilated, Borg-like, until the whole map is monochrome.

But as the early excitement of exploration and expansion ebbs to late game stagnation, the fun runs out. Historically, stagnating empires tend to fragment and collapse. But in Civilization VI, like many games, you’re the star of the show – and there’s nowhere to go but up.

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Wot I Think: Stellaris – Apocalypse

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I’ve made a lot of galaxies and star empires this last week, and I’ve thrown most of them in the bin. The Stellaris 2.0 update and the accompanying Apocalypse DLC have blown this 4X game to bits, along with my fleets as I’ve tried to wrap my head around the almost-new game built out of its chunks. Though I’ve racked up hundreds of hours of galactic conquest over the last couple of years, I’ve had to start fresh and figure out how to run a stellar empire all over again.

The xenophobic Imperium of Earth fell behind the rest of the galaxy and quickly found itself boxed in, the possessive but friendly Automata Matrix got squished in a war between Federations, and the slavers of the Saarlan Ravagers just weren’t fun to play because they’re dicks. I should be a bit frustrated, but instead I’m hooked again. The DLC isn’t essential, but the free update completely revitalises Stellaris, and it takes big risks to do it.

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Stellaris Apocalypse enslaves and/or destroys the world today

Paradox strategy games tend to be restrained, but seems the publisher-developer has tired of being a wallflower and now fully intends to do big, noisy explosions with the best of ’em.

Apocalypse, out today, is a new expansion for their sci-fi 4X Stellaris, and is all about changing the physical rather than merely socio-political landscape of the galaxy. Which is to say, killing planets, enslaving their entire populations or otherwise removing whole worlds from the field of play.

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The best space games on PC

Space games have experienced a rebirth over the past few years, particularly space sims, but as many in the comments pointed out, you don’t need to be sitting in a cockpit to enjoy the stars. This updated list broadens our search for the best space games on PC, throwing strategy games, roguelikes and at least one RPG into the mix.

Read on to see what the top picks are.

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Stellaris’s Apocalypse DLC will blow you away on Feb 22

Though the galaxy of Stellaris is filled with traces of strange and terrible events, we don’t really leave our own mark in extravagant ways. That will change a little with the launch of the sci-fi 4X strategy game’s planet-destroying Apocalypse expansion, which Paradox today announced they will release on February 22nd. T-minus 28 days later until I demolish your planets to build a hyperspace bypass, or to mine it for resources, or simply because it was spoiling my view. Or maybe I’ll trap you in a bubble to study you. Or robotise you. Options. Anyway. 28 days. Make your peace. Later taters. Read the rest of this entry »

The Humble Paradox Bundle will net you Stellaris, Crusader Kings 2, Pillars of Eternity and more

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What’s your favourite paradox? My current one is ‘how can the many awesome games in The Humble Paradox Bundle 2018 cost so little money?’. Wait, that’s not a paradox – it’s just a really good deal. Looks like I need to finish this news post then head back to paradox school.

Fortunately I won’t need to enrol to enjoy the games on offer here. This bundle has 8 in total, with highlights including Obsidian’s RPG Pillars of Eternity and the surprisingly funny wizard brawler Magicka 2. This is Paradox though, so best of all is the selection of sprawling strategy games. Let’s dive in!

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Stellaris: Apocalypse will let you kill planets

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Too many worlds. That’s the problem with space. You develop interstellar flight and hope to find a big emptiness that you can coast around in until all of the stars fade to black, but there’s all this stuff scattered about. Planets and asteroid belts and big alien jellysquids.

Stellaris‘s upcoming expansion, Apocalypse, will let you clear out some of the clutter. It brings planet-destroying weapons into the game, along with new Titan capital ships, massive orbital installations and marauding space nomads, who can be recruited to your cause, but can also trigger a new late-game crisis. There’s some non-violent stuff as well for the gentler souls among you.

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These are the top 100 Steam games of 2017

Another year over, a new one just begun, which means, impossibly, even more games. But what about last year? Which were the games that most people were buying and, more importantly, playing? As is now something of a tradition, Valve have let slip a big ol’ breakdown of the most successful titles released on Steam over the past twelve months.

Below is the full, hundred-strong roster, complete with links to our coverage if you want to find out more about any of the games, or simply to marvel at how much seemed to happen in the space of 52 short weeks.

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New Stellaris expansion doubles down on humans

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I’ll be honest – I’m not totally sure what Paradox are going for with their Humanoid Species Pack for Stellaris, which is released today. The motivation seems to be that humanoids are ‘the most-played phenotype’ in the 4X sci-fi game, and as such they’ve stuck in a whole bunch of human-like species, include cyclopes, orcish types, demonic sorts and bionic-eyed dwarves. I guess this makes playing as something other than straight-up boring humans a little more appealing to straight-up boring humans who always choose to play as straight-up boring humans.

However, what’s confusing me more is references to humanoids finally getting their own unique ship class, ‘inspired by the classics of Western science fiction.’ Is… is that a very careful way of trying to be a bit more Star Warsy or Battlestarry without making any lawyers cross?

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Cyber Monday 2017: The best deals on PC games, graphics cards, monitors, SSDs and more

Cyber Monday 2017

After a weekend of gorging yourself on turkey and elbowing people in the face to get that last discounted something or other in the shops, now it’s time to settle in and continue those deal hunts from the comfort of your own home. For today is Cyber Monday, the day that’s reserved for purely online-only deals following the shopping bonanza that was Black Friday.

This year, we’ve done the hard work for you, as we’ve scoured the web for the best Cyber Monday deals money can buy. These aren’t just re-heated Black Friday deals, either, as most retailers usually have completely separate discounts running today, making it a great time to pick up another bargain if none of the deals last week took your fancy. As always, we’ll be updating this article throughout the day, so make sure to check back at regular intervals just in case something new appears. We’ve also got tips on the best places to browse, and how to find out if those hot discounts are really as good as they seem.

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Black Friday 2017: The best deals on graphics cards, monitors, SSDs and more

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The sale event to end all sale events is here. That’s right, folks, Black Friday 2017 is here, and this year’s sales frenzy is set to be bigger than ever as we head into the Christmas shopping period. In all honesty, they should just rename it Black November, as there have been deals going on throughout the month in preparation for the big day.

To save you trawling through the web in search of a good bargain, we’ve created this handy guide containing everything you need to know about Black Friday 2017. If you’re on the hunt for a new graphics card, a bigger and better monitor, want to splash out on a fast SSD or upgrade your gaming headset and get a more reliable mouse and keyboard, this is the place to be. We’ll be updating this hub page on a regular basis as new deals get announced, too, so make sure to keep it in your bookmarks if you fancy grabbing yourself a bit of a bargain before Christmas. We’ve also got tips on the best places to browse, and how to find out if those hot discounts are really as good as they seem.

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Civ V designer Jon Shafer parts with Paradox, “creative differences” blamed

Jon Shafer, the lead designer of Firaxis’s Civilization V and his own strategy game At the Gates, is gone from strategy specialists Paradox only six months after joining. Paradox say neither that he ditched the company nor that they fired him, rather that they have all “decided to part ways due to creative differences.” How enigmatic! We didn’t even know what he was working on. Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris FTL changes are in the warp pipes

Chaos is a lapser

Paradox is packing everyone onto the space-highway, and reworking how FTL travel works in their galactic 4X game, Stellaris. While you can currently choose either Warp, Hyperdrive or Wormholes as your space empire’s means of travel, Paradox have decided that having asymmetrical movement methods – while “an interesting idea on paper” – creates too many problems for features they’d like to implement. Once the Cherryh update hits, every player will start with Hyperdrive technology only. That means every player will (with a few exceptions) be limited to travelling via pre-determined space lanes, which constitutes a major change to the game’s core systems. One of those X’s does stand for (shudder) Xploration, after all.

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Steam’s Halloween Sale is great for grand strategy

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With Halloween fast approaching, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about typical spooky things: ghouls and ghosts, vampires and werewolves, marrying off my daughter to an appropriate suitor and the best trade strategy to dominate the Aegean. The Steam Halloween Sale is in full swing until November 1, and thanks to Paradox Interactive, it’s full of grand strategy games.

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Has Stellaris been improved by its updates?

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Hi! I’m an incredibly charismatic space otter, and I love you! Not just you! I love everyone, be they otter analogues, bird people, or particularly advanced fungal infections! I even love murderous robots, which I’m aware is not a great idea because they’re murderous robots!

At least that’s what StellarisScyldari would say, if they could do anything apart from bat their ears adorably on the game’s menu screens. Paradox’s Stellaris is freeform grand strategy, in the mould of the developer’s other games Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings, and as such is much more about numbers and menus than cut-scenes or narrative arcs. Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris timelapse shows 200 years passing in 5 minutes

Chaos is a lapser

One of my favourite genres of internet video is “Map of the world being rapidly warped by the rising and falling of civilisations as loud and menacing classical music plays in the background”. I like this one and this one and – ooooo – this one. So when confronted with a video suggestion of the same thing being done in interstellar strategy game Stellaris [official site], my heart was filled with a grubby, map-loving glee. Here you can see Volodymyr Valkiv’s game in which a scary red faction called “Chaos” slowly envelops the galaxy over 200 years. But with the magic of YouTube, it only takes 5 minutes. Come see. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam Charts: Stellaris Edition

A funny old week in the charts, which is to say, H1Z1 and The Witcher 3 have been shoved out by the hatrick of appearances from Stellaris. Also it’s worth noting that Dishonored: Death Of The Outsider has disappeared after just one week, which seems a bit of a shame.

Oh, and as correctly predicted last week, absolutely no sign of XCOM 2 making nearly as much money now it’s back to £34.99 for both the base game and the War of the Chosen expansion. Shocking! Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn activated today

Whether you want to assimilate organic life, purge it from the galaxy, or coddle it like helpless spacebabies, Stellaris [official site] has your robotic fantasies covered in its Synthetic Dawn add-on. Launched today, it lets players create their own robotic empire from the start (as opposed to transcending their flesh in the late game) with their own civics, buildings, events, perks, and so on. It’ll also bring eccentric Fallen machine empires, the risk of machine uprisings creating their own empires, and more.

In the usual Paradox way, the DLC launch is accompanied by a huge patch bringing changes and new bits to all players of the space strategy game. Read the rest of this entry »

Rise up against the meatbags in Stellaris’ Synthetic Dawn DLC this month

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Paradox Interactive have, unfortunately, shed their fleshy shells and embraced the ways of the machine, and they’re now slyly spreading pro-robot propaganda through the latest DLC story pack for Stellaris [official site], Synthetic Dawn. It’ll let you make all manner of machine societies when the singularity begins on September 21.

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Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn DLC adding proper robot civs

It’s robo a go-go with the next Stellaris [official site] DLC, Paradox announced today. Due later this year, the Synthetic Dawn Story Pack DLC will let players start as mechanical men, with new events, ships, traits, story beats, and so on. The spacefaring strategy game already lets players transcend their flesh and become synthetics deep down a tech tree but ick, who wants to have ever been meat at all? Shameful.

As is customary, a big free update will launch alongside this paid expansion. Update 1.8, nicknamed ‘Čapek’ after the Czech writer who popularised the word ‘robot’, brings changes to habitability, hive minds, and more. Read the rest of this entry »