First stellaris impressions

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First stellaris impressions

Post by Thanas » 2016-06-17 03:17pm

Alright, so I have been playing it for a week now in order to prepare for the LP. My general impressions are at follows:

- This game is in a very unpolished state with regards to bugs. For example, when I split a fleet, sometimes the admiral gets cloned to the new fleet. Likewise, sometimes a planet will have primitives on it that die out - but the primitive modifier is still there, preventing you from settling it. Likewise, somehow my current empress has become eternal, she is now over 220 years old.....and has outlived her great-grandchildren.
- It really needs a faster time progression. I spent six hours today just upgrading space stations. The game pace is way too slow.
- The UI is a fucking mess. Setting wargoals takes five minutes.

But my main gripes are design ones.

A) Research. Whenever you research a tech, you then have to chose from four other (randomly pulled) techs. At no time can you actually progress down a tech path of your chosing. And the options change again once you finish researching a tech. Which obviously sucks and means you kinda have to dump points into techs that are either useless or way above your research level if you really need them.

This is especially galling because some of those techs are elemental things, like being able to colonize tundra or desert worlds. Heck, due to the randomness I was able to colonize radiated planets (tomb worlds) before I was able to colonize near-earth worlds. This is completely broken, if I were to play in a MP game it would come down to chance who gets to colonize worthwhile planets.


B) Warfare is a huge mess. The AI likes to build alliances all over. Which is not a big problem in itself...except when you go to war with four nations or so. They will attack you from all sides. Given how it takes your fleet over one year to cross from one end of the empire you are always kinda fucked. Especially because you cannot create chokepoints (defensive stations are worthless). This is even more fun when the enemy splits up in smaller fleets and just blitzes all over your empire, destroying all stations...and then your economy craters.

Remember Empire:Total war where the AI would send suicide squads to attack your holdings? THis is the same, only a thousand times worse because the enemy will attack all over while you have to concentrate your forces. What is even worse is that you have no way of countering this. None at all. Sure, one will still win, but it is so frustrating.

So a war will always start with you on the defensive, then spending two years swatting flies and repairing your stuff, then finally winning. It is so very boring and frustrating.

C) Whoever designed the politics and ethos system needs to be taken out and shot. For example, you can only be a democracy if you are pacifistic (which screws you). If you want to be a monarch, the system automatically forces you into being a defender of slavery (as the only boni available to you affect you being able to enslave people).

D) Starting locations are too random with regards to anomalies, resources and strategic positions.

E) Xenos management is bad. The game forces you to become a genocidal maniac unless you want to waste countless resources in trying to reeducate unruly xenos. What is even worse is that there are no drawbacks to genociding Xenos and replacing them with your own colonists. OTOH, if you try to peacefully integrate them...have fun. I have several xeno pops who are still not integrated fully despite it having been over 200 years since I conquered them. Should just have genocided them and saved me the trouble.

Even worse is that most xenos won't even give you worthwhile boni.



Overall, I am not too impressed with Stellaris so far. It is a huge mess and an even bigger time sink.
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Steve » 2016-06-17 03:45pm

Ah. More incentive to wait for mods or patches to fix it then.
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by The Vortex Empire » 2016-06-17 05:28pm

I actually like the research system, if it was a tech tree every campaign would be the same. And techs like colonizing planets are heavily weighed to come up again.

War is definitely a mess though, especially how your allies just have their fleets follow yours instead of actually fighting on their own fronts. Though you can make chokepoints if you play a hyperspace only game, which I've taken to doing.

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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Vendetta » 2016-06-17 07:40pm

The secret to war is to always be maximally aggressive.

As soon as war happens send fleets to attack and blockade as many enemy planets as possible. Don't really worry about engaging the enemy fleet, just pin it in place so you can get loads of warscore from blockades and blowing up spaceports, and definitely never ever try and fight defensively.

Also, Pacifists are the best at conquering. Moral/Irenic Democracy will make the subjugated proles too happy to think about rebelling.

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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Thanas » 2016-06-17 07:53pm

Yeah that is not going to work considering that as soon as you approach the endgame, you are getting gang-raped by alliances of six-12 enemy states. There is no way to play aggressively against them.
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Vendetta » 2016-06-18 03:49am

At that point though you should be running around with 1k fleet strength which you can trivially break into 8 or so fleets which can individually dominate everything the AI has built, even if you are at war with half the galaxy at once, and which you can throw together into the same fight if it does manage enough strength locally to fight against one (after which engagement you'll have free run of its space because it will have no ships left and you might have taken losses to one fleet).

You should always go for the biggest blob you can, get as many planets (over size 10) as you can (conquer, bioengineer, enlighten, attract by migration treaty, or uplift people to handle other biomes for you), put your sectors on financial or research setting and focus your core worlds on energy production. That should let you support a max cap fleet which the AI will never be able to match.

Always use energy weapons, always use wormholes (if for no other reason they take no ship energy and let you have less reactors and so more protection), always use the defensive computer, try and find Crystalline Elites and use crystal forged plating in all your extra slots. Have plenty of point defence in your fleet.

Try and get your happiness bonus to +30% when planets take over as the primary resource producers (which happens as you enter the mid game).

The AI is bad at building fleets, even if it's left to its own devices with a monstrous empire size it won't even vaguely approach the kind of fleet you can support at the endgame, and even several of those AIs together have never really managed to beat fight my endgame fleets. At most they'll knock one (of the eight I will have) down to about half strength by the time the ones I sent to reinforce it have killed everything they own, and then I just blow up all their spaceports blockade some planets and win the war, and they won't even nearly get rebuilt when I come back next time.

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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by AniThyng » 2016-06-18 07:35am

Sounds like the game is gamey in an immersion breaking way then, based on the thread.

I hope endless space 2 manages to deliver...
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Vendetta » 2016-06-18 03:42pm

So far, yeah, it's quite poorly balanced in most respects (happiness OP, Xenophobia useless) and that leads to some gameyness.

But then it's a Paradox game at launch, so hilarious brokenness is part of the package until they've figured out how to actually space.

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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Borgholio » 2016-06-18 05:58pm

I wonder if it would be worth it to do a MOO 4 LP in a few months? From what I read, the game is progressing nicely and has already surpassed MOO 3 in terms of how fun it is (not like that was a hard thing to do, mind you).
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Alferd Packer » 2016-06-30 08:50am

I've found that since 1.2, the AI rarely makes strong alliance networks. The malus for differing war philosophy tends to kill their attempts to do so, and instead they use non-aggression pacts to keep the peace.

One thing I do agree on is that military stations need to be stronger. Ideally, I'd like to see a high-end fortress be able to kill a 20K strength fleet without much problem. Maybe just them innate bonuses to power generation, armor, and shield regen, along with the ability to slot 8 large weapons per section. 32 tachyon lances should make short work of all but the strongest fleets. :D
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Vendetta » 2016-07-01 04:23pm

Alferd Packer wrote: One thing I do agree on is that military stations need to be stronger. Ideally, I'd like to see a high-end fortress be able to kill a 20K strength fleet without much problem. Maybe just them innate bonuses to power generation, armor, and shield regen, along with the ability to slot 8 large weapons per section. 32 tachyon lances should make short work of all but the strongest fleets. :D
Maybe not kill a 20k fleet, but at least not die to it in a single day.

Balance seems to be improved in 1.2, can't just stack infinity happiness as easily at least.

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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Lonestar » 2017-09-21 11:19am

Cast Thread Necromancy

Anyone going to download Synthetic Dawn?
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2017-09-21 03:04pm

Not a chance, I have grown quite annoyed with how the developers are releasing small new blips of content under the guise of "An Expansion" and then has the gull of charging $15 to $25 for these things. Most of these things I'd pick up for maybe $5, Utopia was the first release that added enough new content to warrant a title like "Expansion"

That said...
Since this thread came out and died long before I first got the game, I would like to use it as a chance to in general remark on Stellaris WHICH I HAVE DUMPED 400 HOURS OF PLAY TIME INTO IN JUST 3 MONTHS!

Reading Thanas assessment of the game from over a year ago vs where it stands now... I can say some things have certainly changed, others not so much.
To start with I think Stellaris is a true mold breaker when it comes to 4X games in general.
Almost 2 years ago, I wrote up this massive 15 page manifesto of sorts going over ways to "Fix" the 4x Space Game genre. And, after getting my hands on stellaris, interestingly a GREAT deal of what I had envisioned, is in the game.

Research: The "no tech tree research = random" is something I saw as good and was something I made a point on. the original MOO-1 had something like that, and it always meant each time you play your tech was slightly different, it also made it harder to "Power Game" to some specific tech and wood your opponents. Yes it is annoying of course, but it adds an aspect to the game that forces you to think more about your tactics. After all in time you WIL Research all techs, it is just a matter in what order.

Ship Design: Oh man was I impressed! considering most Space Civ games are a usually "You have so many points to fill your ship up. Its typical a case of picking one weapon type, and just cramming as many of those as possible. For Stellaris the "Slots" was something else I had in mind, S-M-L-X slots, for different weapon classes, balancing energy usage, special models. It makes the whole thing a lot more engaging. Especially since you don't just automatically build just whatever your biggest ship type is like in other games. A fleet of ONLY battleships, can still get destroyed by a mix of well armed corvettes, cruisers and destroyers.

Colonies: Here again the "Slot" systems forces you to thin k about mineral and resource allocation and use. It isn't just a matter of "building every building on every colony" like in MOO or other games. It also means you end up having more dedicated worlds. Making a "Balanced" world is less efficient then focusing on all minerals or all Research. Also, since the patch with "food sharing" you can finally have dedicated farming worlds to feed your Empire.

Politics: This... This is one that still needs work, but the base foundation is something that is so much more 'innovative' then past games. he mix of customization for making a government is something virtually devoid from past 4X games. And having several levels (Poltical/Ethos/Race) allows for even more mixing of abilities. Of course limitations like certain traits that automatically exclude others (being unable to have a militant democracy) is one at least easily fixable through mods.

MODS! And ERMERGERD Here is where my real time sink comes in! The mods in this game are amazing. from adding in awesome new ship types (9 classes instead of just four) to adding in full ship sets (LOGH, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc) Adding in extra events, extra monsters, things to do, resources. For me, everything currently "lacking" in the game I have a mod for. Yes, it means the base game is still lacking in quite a few ways, but, it is leaps and bounds above any other 4X Space game before it.
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Vendetta » 2017-09-22 08:56am

Crossroads Inc. wrote:
2017-09-21 03:04pm
Research: The "no tech tree research = random" is something I saw as good and was something I made a point on. the original MOO-1 had something like that, and it always meant each time you play your tech was slightly different, it also made it harder to "Power Game" to some specific tech and wood your opponents. Yes it is annoying of course, but it adds an aspect to the game that forces you to think more about your tactics. After all in time you WIL Research all techs, it is just a matter in what order.
I quite like the random tech cards. There are just enough ways to stack the deck to make it give you things you actually want without just following the same path through it every game. That said I do wish there were more unique and interesting techs and less "level 3 mines" techs.
Ship Design: Oh man was I impressed! considering most Space Civ games are a usually "You have so many points to fill your ship up. Its typical a case of picking one weapon type, and just cramming as many of those as possible. For Stellaris the "Slots" was something else I had in mind, S-M-L-X slots, for different weapon classes, balancing energy usage, special models. It makes the whole thing a lot more engaging. Especially since you don't just automatically build just whatever your biggest ship type is like in other games. A fleet of ONLY battleships, can still get destroyed by a mix of well armed corvettes, cruisers and destroyers.
No, you automatically use cruisers because they're over curve for HP and utility slots :P. Though I think there's a candidate for a battleship design in 1.8 that might work*. Haven't tested it though.

* By "work" I mean beat an equal mineral cost of any other design you throw at it. It used to be Kinetic Artillery/Plasma, but now I think Bomber/Missile is king.

Stellaris combat has always been pretty degenerate. At least naked corvettes are over though.
Colonies: Here again the "Slot" systems forces you to thin k about mineral and resource allocation and use. It isn't just a matter of "building every building on every colony" like in MOO or other games. It also means you end up having more dedicated worlds. Making a "Balanced" world is less efficient then focusing on all minerals or all Research. Also, since the patch with "food sharing" you can finally have dedicated farming worlds to feed your Empire.
I'd prefer if it was a bit less "pave over every planet with one type of building". My preference would be that primary production structures could only be built on the deposits (so mines on minerals) and there were a couple more ways to get adjacency bonuses and to get them for sciences as well as just minerals. And a few more special effect buildings. AI probably couldn't cope with it though.
Politics: This... This is one that still needs work, but the base foundation is something that is so much more 'innovative' then past games. he mix of customization for making a government is something virtually devoid from past 4X games. And having several levels (Poltical/Ethos/Race) allows for even more mixing of abilities. Of course limitations like certain traits that automatically exclude others (being unable to have a militant democracy) is one at least easily fixable through mods.
You can absolutely have militant democracies. Hell, the game even has a prescripted AI personality for them (Democratic Crusaders). It's actually a really easy way of conquering your way around the galaxy because your egalitarian pops get big happiness buffs when you free slaves by conquest and freed slaves love you so there's no unrest from conquered planets. Makes for loads of influence and productivity.
MODS! And ERMERGERD Here is where my real time sink comes in! The mods in this game are amazing. from adding in awesome new ship types (9 classes instead of just four) to adding in full ship sets (LOGH, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc) Adding in extra events, extra monsters, things to do, resources. For me, everything currently "lacking" in the game I have a mod for. Yes, it means the base game is still lacking in quite a few ways, but, it is leaps and bounds above any other 4X Space game before it.
New Horizons is the only one you need. It fixes a lot of the problems with core Stellaris and has unique mechanics for different species which is nice.

Sadly my rather advanced Krenim game was lost to the patch.

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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2017-09-22 01:26pm

Yeah loosing Save Games to patch updates is an ongoing frustration with stellaris. A lot of other games, Mods tend to stay in place, of course most other games Aren’t patching the game from scratch every few months like Stellaris….
I quite like the random tech cards. There are just enough ways to stack the deck to make it give you things you actually want without just following the same path through it every game. That said I do wish there were more unique and interesting techs and less "level 3 mines" techs.]
On research, yeah I agree. On the one hand its nice to not be overly complicated, but on the other hand, it would be nice to have more of a variety. Problem is.. I have played mods that add a large “Variety” of different techs, and that bogs down into having to often research 10 things to get anything useful. Especially if you run into the “research this thing Just so you can research THIS thing” type stuff. But… Yeah, it would be nice if it was done better.
No, you automatically use cruisers because they're over curve for HP and utility slots . Though I think there's a candidate for a battleship design in 1.8 that might work*. Haven't tested it though.

* By "work" I mean beat an equal mineral cost of any other design you throw at it. It used to be Kinetic Artillery/Plasma, but now I think Bomber/Missile is king.

Stellaris combat has always been pretty degenerate. At least naked corvettes are over though.
And LOL Cruisers? I Have been making good use of Corvette ‘Fodder Fleets’ with Artillery Battleships in the background. Basically sending in a force of armed corvettes, and then immediately Battleships behind them.

Interesting, I did a spreadsheet comparing HP/Costs/Turrets loads of all the ships..
And for 100 command points, Battleships have far more HP and DPS than 100 command points of any other ships.

The “New Ship Classes” mod is one I highly recommend, for both adding more “in between” classes, and things like Dreadnaught’s and Super Dreadnoughts. Mostly things that make late game a lot more interesting then spamming 200 Cruisers

I'd prefer if it was a bit less "pave over every planet with one type of building". My preference would be that primary production structures could only be built on the deposits (so mines on minerals) and there were a couple more ways to get adjacency bonuses and to get them for sciences as well as just minerals. And a few more special effect buildings. AI probably couldn't cope with it though.
On Colonies… I completely agree about “Building Mines only on Mineral resources” and such. Either that, or having buildings NOT built on resources produce far less. Again, something to make you think about making your colony and not just blanket pave everything. And yeah, Bonuses should be more of a thing. The ‘Energy Nexus’ should give bonuses to adjacent ent power planets, and the “Mineral Process” should do the same for mines.
But, yeah, AI has enough trouble as it is.
One idea. Have bigger planets, but then also have buildings take up different sizes. I can’t imagine a “power plant” taking up the same space as a large farm for instance. Unfortunately, with something like that, you’d end up playing “Tetris” with your colonies which would get annoying.
You can absolutely have militant democracies. Hell, the game even has a prescripted AI personality for them (Democratic Crusaders). It's actually a really easy way of conquering your way around the galaxy because your egalitarian pops get big happiness buffs when you free slaves by conquest and freed slaves love you so there's no unrest from conquered planets. Makes for loads of influence and productivity.
And I had actually forgot about that, I have been playing with an Ethics mod that pretty much doubles your choices on things for a while, I forgot you could do that in vanilla.

Right now my main Civilization set up ((The Glorious Imperial Bishonen Expanse!!))
It uses a mix of Egalitarianism, Industrialism and Socialism to form a State Governed Coprotocracy. My main play method has been going on “Liberation” wars and turning the then smaller broken up empires into Vassal States. It ends up being like having a Huge federation of supporting members, who will always go along with whatever your doing ;)

New Horizons is the only one you need. It fixes a lot of the problems with core Stellaris and has unique mechanics for different species which is nice.

Sadly my rather advanced Krenim game was lost to the patch.
I think I have that installed. Sadly since I only just started playing in the last few months, a lot of changes I don't notice since I have the game as is.
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Vendetta » 2017-09-22 04:17pm

Crossroads Inc. wrote:
2017-09-22 01:26pm
And LOL Cruisers? I Have been making good use of Corvette ‘Fodder Fleets’ with Artillery Battleships in the background. Basically sending in a force of armed corvettes, and then immediately Battleships behind them.

Interesting, I did a spreadsheet comparing HP/Costs/Turrets loads of all the ships..
And for 100 command points, Battleships have far more HP and DPS than 100 command points of any other ships.
Command points are bunk, they are not the limiting factor on your fleet, your ability to build and upkeep it is and that's driven by your mineral and energy income not your fleet cap, because your fleetcap is only a softcap.

Also, if you think battleships have more HP/point than cruisers you're playing with a mod. Cruisers have 1600 for 4 points, Battleships have 2400 for 8. Cruisers can also reach the magic 90% armour which means that they have functionally 5-10x their actual hitpoints, especially against AI trash that never mounts serious AP. Rolling an equal power fleet of cruisers with 1 Kinetic Artillery, 1 Large Plasma, and 2 Medium Plasma into basically anything in the game it was an even chance you'd lose no ships. You could beat AI fleets at a 3:1 disadvantage with them.

Now, 1.8 has just massively shaken up the balance, and battleships might be a bit more worthwhile now because they've gotten a good deal cheaper.
And I had actually forgot about that, I have been playing with an Ethics mod that pretty much doubles your choices on things for a while, I forgot you could do that in vanilla.
I'm not a fan of mods that just bolt on more shit in order to try and hide the degenerate options under a deluge of very similar things, especially if those things are more powerful and the AI is unlikely to properly deploy them. The mods I do play with are ones designed to stand on their own like New Horizons or Galaxy Divided.
I think I have that installed. Sadly since I only just started playing in the last few months, a lot of changes I don't notice since I have the game as is.
You'd notice if you were playing New Horizons. It's a total conversion, it's basically a different game which actually fixes quite a few of the problems of the base game.

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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2017-09-24 01:45pm

Yeah, I know Command points are by no means a hard "Limiter" to forces, but I tend to use them as a comparable measure as it were. In a sort of "What does 100 command points get me between different ships"
On battleships. Yeah after I loaded up Vanilla when 1.8 came out and everything broke, Battlerships had way less than I imagined. Which makes me even more annoyed to think they are so much weaker. No wonder you go heavy on Cruisers in a fleet if your mostly running vanilla then. And for the AI, well again, Me running a bunch of mods that make the AI "smarter" IE, actually mount AP weapons and such, has made me play more conservative. Yeah I imagine if you didn't have to worry about that, Maxing out armor is the way to go. But yeah all that is out with 1.8. Which, I broke down and got yesterday ;P

On mods "New Horizon" I got mixed up, I swore there was a DLC with "Horizon" in it or something.
But I have always been a "Mod Whore" ever since my Civ-3 days.
For Stellaris, I try and keep things streamlined. Most of my mods are UI ones that cut down on clutter and improve performance.
Other mods I have are mostly more "pretty things" Adding in ships from other Sci-Fis and things like "Space Elves" lol. In terms of the mods that Directly effect gameplay... Its pretty much only four:
New Ship Classes
Advanced Ship Behavior
Smart AI's
Expanded Ethics

Full conversions like "Galaxy Divided" are very satisfying as, you say, they stand on their own.

And yeah, I will freely admit I have them specifically because there things deeply lacking in Vanilla Stellaris.
That said, curious how you so far think 1.8 will effect balancing on your end.
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Steve » 2017-09-25 10:09pm

If you have Steam, you can roll back to prior patches/versions to continue playthroughs.
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Crossroads Inc.
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2017-09-26 10:47am

Where would I do that?
Keeping mind 1: I am fairly computer literate. 2: I have a Mac ;P
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Vendetta
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Re: First stellaris impressions

Post by Vendetta » 2017-09-26 01:49pm

Don't know about the mac version, but on Windows, right click Stellaris in your Steam library, Properties, Betas tab, and choose the version you want from the drop down.

If your mods have updated they may no longer work, because it won't revert those.

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