Author Topic: Stellaris state of the game?  (Read 432 times)

Offline Wingflier

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Stellaris state of the game?
« on: May 08, 2017, 04:54:25 PM »
This is one I've been interested in for a long time now. I remember that when it first came out the entire forum was in a frenzy over it, but when the hype died down I started hearing a lot of negative things too.

Amazingly the devs are still working on it which is a good sign!

I'm curious as to whether you'd recommend getting it. It's available in the Humble Monthly Bundle for $12. That seems like a steal but I'm unsure what the consensus is on it anymore.

4X games generally don't bother me but I would like to have a somewhat militaristic playstyle that revolves more around conquering and combat than empire management, diplomacy and ship design.

Can the game encompass this?
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Offline Toranth

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Re: Stellaris state of the game?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2017, 07:29:17 PM »
Not sure if you've seen it, but the Dawn of War 3 thread basically turned into a Stellaris thread  :P

Just to sum up my opinion, though - Stellaris is TERRIBLE for conquest, especially in the current state.  It's Paradox, so it uses political solutions to conflicts.  As a result, you can conquer every planet in an empire, but end up only keeping two of them once the war ends.  The rest get given back.  Then you have an enforced treaty period before you can go back to war, to conquer the entire empire again, so you can keep two more planets.
It's a dreadful, boring grind.  If you like straight up warfare and conquest, Stellaris is not for you.

Though, again, it's a Paradox game.  It's somewhat successful, so they'll keep adding and fixing and tweaking.  Just look at Crusader Kings 2, and all the wild and crazy stuff that is not in that game, that wasn't back at launch.  Or one year after.  Or two years after.  Or three years after... I think you get the point.  After a half-dozen expansion, Stellaris could morph into a thing of joy and beauty.  I don't think it'll ever be a good WAR type game, though.  But it may make a decent 4x/Grand Strategy cross.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Stellaris state of the game?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2017, 01:57:42 AM »
Quote
end up only keeping two of them once the war ends.

You're not meant to be capturing planets that way - if you want to capture them all, you have to vassalize them and then assimilate their empire. That will gave you all their planets. Takes about 50-60 years, so yeah the "grind" is there, but you can focus on doing something else. That said, from another point of view, as vassals actually help you in combat, it somewhat counts as being completely captured already, and that's achieved in just one single war. This option will make the vassal hate you and rebel though. And too many vassals will gang up against you.

Also, the "keep planet" limitation has been changed, for large empire planets can "cost" lower than 10 points in mid-late game, allowing you to conquer dozen of planets. This will create conflict though, as the captured planet seek to rebel and to rejoin their empire. And said empire wants its planets back. Sometimes it's "simpler" to just take a few planets which allow you passage to juicer targets / good ressources, and let their half dead empire in ruins. No need to take everything.


I don't know why everyone wants stellaris to be a wargame. It's a paradox game, it's supposed to be about empire management / creating stories. But as it's their first space 4X... they're trying stuff. I doubt the game will be "finished" before stellaris II is out.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 02:27:26 AM by kasnavada »

Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Stellaris state of the game?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2017, 06:57:04 AM »
I'm not gonna read any of the above responses in order to keep my opinion unbiased or rather untainted. It's obviously my own opinion, bias or not.

Stellaris is *absolutely* worth the $12 and in addition I'd say Utopia and Leviathan packs are also worth it. Only buy the cosmetic stuff if you wanna support Paradox and like the art, otherwise it's in no way needed for full enjoyment of the game.

I've spent over 270 hours on Stellaris so far, and I'm absolutely far from done. I've played a lot of different empires, civics and ethics and while the core gameplay is the same, the way you approach every new game is completely different depending on your picks. Sure, you can sit down and minmax to your hearts content, but that's not what's fun for me.

The good stuff:
The game has good graphics, great atmosphere and a stellar (sorry) soundtrack. It now provides something to do throughout the entire game, aside from very very late game when it's obvious you are winning, but you still have to nibble at the edges of an enemy empire to actually trigger the win-condition.

End game crisises I'd say are still too easy for an experienced player, but they allow for absolutely destroying the midgame stalemate that can happen when the entire galaxy is colonized and all that is left to do is diplomacy and war. Throw a crisis in there and the entire map falls apart. Great fun.

Combat is more balanced now than it was on release. You can't just spam corvettes throughout the entire game anymore (although they still absolutely dominate the early game).

TONS of lore and events that keep you entertained.

Many goals that show up on the map and assorted event chains coupled with them (Enigmatic Fortress etc).

Warfare has more goals to pick from and it feels like war have more purpose now than it used to. Especially with really powerful strategic resources and "gold mine" planets/systems. There are far more unique systems (such as "Sanctuary) and if you own Utopia, you have several end game goals (the three ascension paths and megastructures).

So, on to the problems:
Early game consists of one thing: Build more corvettes. In order to not get instantly conquered you need to have a fleet cap of corvettes. That's just a matter of fact. Unless you have a full fleet cap of corvettes when you face your first xenophobic/militarist neighbour, you *will* get wardecced and conquered.

If you want to play aggressive early game, you need 2-3 times your fleet cap in corvettes to be competitive. The AI regurlarly overcaps it fleets, even for defense, so you need to have even more ships than they do.

Playing tall is possible, but subpar in the early game and relies a little too much on RNG in the starting position. Wide is still king.

Early tech is 100% useless when it comes to warfare. Until you need either loads of Point Defense (missile neighbour) or you need to go up to Cruisers (late midgame) there is no point whatsoever to waste your research on weapons and defenses. Baseline corvettes are infinitely superior to any kind of vehicle when it comes to DPS/Minerals and upkeep cost. Adding even T2 weapons to a Corvette more than doubles its price and maintenance cost for a 10% increase in DPS. This only gets worse the further up the tech tree you go. So early game combat is dull as balls.

The lack of tactics settings and wing assignment in combat makes for even less interesting combat.

Happiness bonuses are OP as crap. Playing a Spiritualist empire allows you to reach 100% happiness way too easily and then snowball into oblivion with your +25% resource bonus.

Factions are still lacklustre, but far more interesting than before.

Empires are still not very unique even though you can pick different ethics and civics. I'd still like to see gas giant dwellers and see terraforming be far more interesting. Like in Space Empires where you picked at planet type AND an atmosphere type for your race and that would determine what planets you could colonize.



Am I forgetting anything? I don't think so. Anyhow, most of the problems I've listed above are problems that the devs are acutely aware of (as stated in their latest dev corner video) and they also discuss ideas they're tossing around to fix, or work around several of these issues. They have a combat overhaul in the making (because the current system is basically a mishmash of several "just prior to release" systems and therefor doesn't work well), they're planning to completely rework how one holds and conquers space, they're considering FTL changes to make the map more progressive as the game goes on, far more unique systems with resources, tech and events.

I'm having a lot of fun and while there are problems they're not bad enough to keep me from continuing to play. I'm mostly trying to wiggle as much fun out of the game I can *right now* so I can start over and enjoy it all over again when the big changes happen.
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Stellaris state of the game?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2017, 07:06:53 AM »
Not sure if you've seen it, but the Dawn of War 3 thread basically turned into a Stellaris thread  :P

Just to sum up my opinion, though - Stellaris is TERRIBLE for conquest, especially in the current state.  It's Paradox, so it uses political solutions to conflicts.  As a result, you can conquer every planet in an empire, but end up only keeping two of them once the war ends.  The rest get given back.  Then you have an enforced treaty period before you can go back to war, to conquer the entire empire again, so you can keep two more planets.
It's a dreadful, boring grind.  If you like straight up warfare and conquest, Stellaris is not for you.
Well, if you truly want to play by Conquest, you pick Ethics to support this playstyle and if you have Utopia, you pick the Domination or Supremacy Tradition tree (or both) which both give you bonuses to combat, conquest, planets you can control, unrest reduction, FAR cheaper war goals and similar. I've been able to conquer in the order of 12-15 planets from other empires when playing as a Conquest style empire. Or cleanse, if you're the Fanatical Purifiers type.

War only becomes a giant boring grind if you are not a conquest type empire, or if you are a pacifist and can't fight anything but defensive wars. Then it's really grindy and boring. But then again, you're not supposed to fight anything but defensive wars by then. You are supposed to win by other means. Tech and diplomacy for instance.

I've only really felt war and conquest to become really tiresome when you end up in a situation where you and one other GIGANTIC blob empire are left at the end of the game and you have to nibble at their borders by conquering 10-15 planets at a time, slowly working your way through their territory. That becomes really tiresome with the 10 year forced truce. Also, if you're a Fanatical Purifier, you can't use the "Cleanse Planet" war goal in these cases as the AI will just instantly recolonize the planets and you're stuck with a 10 year truce instead.

What *is* fun however is to instead liberate 5-10 planets every war and have the enemy empire broken up into little chunks of smaller empires with your ethos. The divide and conquer really works.

Though, again, it's a Paradox game.  It's somewhat successful, so they'll keep adding and fixing and tweaking.  Just look at Crusader Kings 2, and all the wild and crazy stuff that is not in that game, that wasn't back at launch.  Or one year after.  Or two years after.  Or three years after... I think you get the point.  After a half-dozen expansion, Stellaris could morph into a thing of joy and beauty.  I don't think it'll ever be a good WAR type game, though.  But it may make a decent 4x/Grand Strategy cross.

It's not a war game, this is entirely true. It's a grand strategy with some 4x thrown in there. But from what I've heard from the devs they have some pretty interesting ideas up ahead on how to spice the game up a lot. Ideas that you really don't see in patches from other devs normally. Things like changing fundamental game mechanics (such as static defences, how to hold and conquer space and border control).
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Offline Toranth

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Re: Stellaris state of the game?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2017, 03:05:35 PM »
Quote from: Toranth
end up only keeping two of them once the war ends.
You're not meant to be capturing planets that way - if you want to capture them all, you have to vassalize them and then assimilate their empire. That will gave you all their planets. Takes about 50-60 years, so yeah the "grind" is there, but you can focus on doing something else. That said, from another point of view, as vassals actually help you in combat, it somewhat counts as being completely captured already, and that's achieved in just one single war. This option will make the vassal hate you and rebel though. And too many vassals will gang up against you.
Maybe they've fixed it recently - I haven't played since Leviathans was released - but vassalizing a 15-20 world empire took 100 years or more, and was a huge drain on your influence while doing so.  It was actually faster to conquer planets two at a time, and avoided all the extra happiness penalties that resulted from vassalizing anyway.  Mostly, though, even with the large empire modifiers, it was just BORING.  A 100 planet empire vs a 10 planet empire was dreadful.  You had no chance of losing, but it was so hard to get the game to let you just finish winning!

The War in Heaven was a nice break from that - when it triggered.  That, I will say, was an awesome addition to the game.

Quote from: Toranth
Though, again, it's a Paradox game.  It's somewhat successful, so they'll keep adding and fixing and tweaking.  Just look at Crusader Kings 2, and all the wild and crazy stuff that is not in that game, that wasn't back at launch.  Or one year after.  Or two years after.  Or three years after... I think you get the point.  After a half-dozen expansion, Stellaris could morph into a thing of joy and beauty.  I don't think it'll ever be a good WAR type game, though.  But it may make a decent 4x/Grand Strategy cross.
It's not a war game, this is entirely true. It's a grand strategy with some 4x thrown in there. But from what I've heard from the devs they have some pretty interesting ideas up ahead on how to spice the game up a lot. Ideas that you really don't see in patches from other devs normally. Things like changing fundamental game mechanics (such as static defences, how to hold and conquer space and border control).
I have hopes.  I mentioned Crusader Kings 2 and all of its expansions.  Fortunately for me, I didn't start CKII until the first four or five were already out, so many of the release flaws with the game were already fixed.  But that is also why I'm suggesting that people wait a while (at least another year, or 2-3 more major DLCs).  By that point, I think they'll have a better idea of the they want to the game to be, and how to get players to enjoy it. 
$12 is not a bad price - the base game of Stellaris has never been less than $20 otherwise.  But if I were to buy it now, I'd just buy it to put on the backlog, and wait to play until the DLC had come out to fix stuff.