Stellaris

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Awaras
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Stellaris

Postby Awaras » Tue May 17, 2016 4:01 pm

Been playing Stellaris for the last few days and I have to say I'm underwhelmed... I like the random events and the lore you find along the way, but the game plays more like Sins of a Solar Empire than a 'serious' 4X game.

The ship design is basic, weapons are not very diverse and tactical depth seems to be limited to building the largest blob of ships you can and throwing it at another blob.

Overall, I have to say that I like SiS as it is now more than the current version of Stellaris. They are talking about some serious changes for future versions but I guess we will have to see...

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enpi
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Re: Stellaris

Postby enpi » Mon May 23, 2016 3:26 pm

Stellaris is a great game. Many concepts are a breakthrough in the 4x genre, like complex diplomatic options, tech deck with increasing cost for expansion, faction generation and extensive event driven exploration.

It has some downsides thats true (like a stall in the midgame) but most other 4x games have this too, so its no biggie. Also Paradox is known for a ton of improvements and DLCs after release.

Fact is that I had not that much fun with a 4x game since Space Empire IV. I never thought that I could enjoy a game which is not turnbased, then Stellaris came. :)

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Tssha
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Re: Stellaris

Postby Tssha » Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:32 am

Stellaris has become my addiction. Well, okay, not quite THAT bad, but it is one of the best 4x games for the strategic layer. It could use more depth, but honestly, the entire skeleton is there, you can just hang stuff off it now!

And EUIV has been updating for 3 years and it just keeps getting better. I'm really looking forward to the Leviathans expansion.

The midgame needs a huge shore-up. But yeah, it's the best diplomacy I've ever seen in a 4x.

It's filling a niche that's all its own, and that's a good thing to see in 4x these days!

Awaras
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Re: Stellaris

Postby Awaras » Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:30 am

After playing it a lot more I have to say that I love Stellaris' early game to death but once you expand a little and get surrounded by other empires it kinda bogs down and becomes repetative, with you moving your big-blob-o'-ships from one target to the next until you hit a bigger blob than yours... :/

zolobolo
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Re: Stellaris

Postby zolobolo » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:24 pm

Underwhelming one. Diplomacy does not bring anything new to the table if you compare it to their previous games + it was missing basic diplomatic views for a long time that made the alliances somewhat visible on the map. Federation seemed like a novel idea but did not bring any real functions that can be used to enhance the game.

Exploration and and event driven story is already there in Endless Space and Endless Legend and done better

Battle is classic grand strategy, only it doesn't work that well in a sci-fi environment, where the player does not have a historical backdrop for each nation. Galciv 3 went around this by allowing players to design their own ships and use these for their custom races. Has been working well for the last decade.

With Stellaris I found myself looking at the mineral counter 90% of the time until it hit 100 and I could issue a new build command. There is no tactics to battles and very limited options for any combat strategy. It seems like more of a DLC platform

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SmaugTheDragon
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Re: Stellaris

Postby SmaugTheDragon » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:38 pm

The last 2 major patches have made it fun for me, Paradox has a weird way of developing games where they majorly change or add new gameplay systems each patch even years after release. In a weird way it even adds to the replay value.

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Mal
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Re: Stellaris

Postby Mal » Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:49 pm

Stellaris is on sale on Steam I think (33% off). Might be a good time to check it out.

Also, despite the woefully inadequate graphics and industrial UI, I would strongly recommend Distant Worlds Universe.
Nicht kleckern, sondern klotzen!

*Please remember all posts are made by a malevolent, autocratic despot whose rule is marked by unjust severity and arbitrary behavior. Your experiences may vary.

ShadowDrake777
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Re: Stellaris

Postby ShadowDrake777 » Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:43 am

I enjoy Stellaris as a 4x game. Yes combat isn't very tactical but it is strategic.
Sins was more of a RTS than a 4x and though was well done it didn't really hold my interest.

victor_D85
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Re: Stellaris

Postby victor_D85 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:28 am

I understand this is not a forum about Stellaris, but I've been playing Stars in Shadow recently and on many levels, I liked it more than Stellaris. Not that it is a bad game, it is in most ways excellent and getting better, but there is one aspect that undermines it as a space strategy game:

the utter lack of strategic as well as tactical depth.

Basically, the game is not suited for my playstyle, which is to focus on "tall" empires: smaller number of planets which I micromanage to hell to achieve optimum efficiency. But Stellaris wants you to expand and is firmly based on the "quantity>quality" paradigm. Example: I start a game in a small galaxy with 25% habitable worlds to make finding colony worlds a challenge and possibly incentivise terraforming. I am in luck, find some good planets, expand a little, fight an early war which I narrowly win, and I am enjoying the game immensely. I meet a few new races, fight another war for the sake of liberating a minor oppressed race, and win, although with heavier than expected losses. My technology is superior to everyone I've met...

... and then I get war declared on me by two neighbouring races; one with roughly comparable fleet power of approx. 7k, the other with a stronger fleet of 10k. And I am fu**ed. There is NO WAY TO WIN this in Stellaris. The enemy fleets will either systematically reduce your worlds and you can do nothing about it, or you try to beat them in a battle and lose, because more "fleet power" equals win in 95% of cases. It doesn't matter your ships are a generation ahead of the enemies in technology; there is simply more of them and you'll lose. And worse, the number of ships you can support is tied to the number of spaceports: yes, spaceports, not population, not your overall economy, but an arbitrary number of stations you build. I.e., you can build five crappy colonies with 1 pop each, construct a spaceport in each, and you will have massive fleet capacity. On the contrary, my small-but-well-developed empire could not afford more ships because arbitrary number told me I couldn't.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying quantity should be irrelevant, that would be an opposite extreme. But the player should be able to leverage technology and ship design against raw fleet strength. This problem is, however compounded by the fact that system defences suck big time in Stellaris. Basically, there is no way to create chokepoints, to make a system so heavily defended that the enemy would take heavy losses trying to take it; even the most powerful "fortresses" get wiped out in seconds by large enemy fleets. Even if you build many of them (and ruin your budget), they're just a minor speedbump. There are no "warp inderdictors" or anything like that to protect your core systems. The enemy can fly all over your territory and bomb your planets. When the enemy destroys the spaceports, which are again weak and incapable of causing any damage midgame and later, you lose any chance of winning because you can't build ships and/or lose ship capacity, so your existing fleets get prohibitively expensive.

And there are no planetary defences capable of hitting enemy ships. No planetary missile bases, batteries, fighter squadrons, no orbital defence stations, etc. There is no way to "fortify" a frontier planet and its system to make it a key battleground in order to protect "core systems".

All of this could be mitigated to a certain degree if there was tactical combat; perhaps a skilled player could in fact defeat a larger fleet by employing brilliant tactics. Alas, there is no such option, so you watch the AI lose all your ships because its inner spreadsheet told it that more ships beat fewer ships.

This makes the game basically unplayable for me; I am not allowed to play as *I* want to play a 4x game. I am forced to either constantly expand, even if I don't want to, or... well, lose the game first time I get attacked by a slightly stronger enemy. The game says it is a Grand Strategy game, but there is no strategy in it. Strategy, tactics, focus on quality and technological superiority is what allows countries like Israel to beat enemies outnumbering them 20:1. It should be possible to do this in space, but Stellaris doesn't let you.

tl;dr: I am grateful for Stars in Shadow and other indie games trying to give player control and challenge that doesn't seem unfair or unbalanced. Keep up the good work guys, I am going to buy your DLCs or expansions rather than the ten thousand expansions Paradox will release for Stellaris without fixing the lack of strategic depth.

zolobolo
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Re: Stellaris

Postby zolobolo » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:26 pm

victor_D85 wrote:All of this could be mitigated to a certain degree if there was tactical combat; perhaps a skilled player could in fact defeat a larger fleet by employing brilliant tactics. Alas, there is no such option, so you watch the AI lose all your ships because its inner spreadsheet told it that more ships beat fewer ships.

This makes the game basically unplayable for me; I am not allowed to play as *I* want to play a 4x game. I am forced to either constantly expand, even if I don't want to, or... well, lose the game first time I get attacked by a slightly stronger enemy. The game says it is a Grand Strategy game, but there is no strategy in it. Strategy, tactics, focus on quality and technological superiority is what allows countries like Israel to beat enemies outnumbering them 20:1. It should be possible to do this in space, but Stellaris doesn't let you.

tl;dr: I am grateful for Stars in Shadow and other indie games trying to give player control and challenge that doesn't seem unfair or unbalanced. Keep up the good work guys, I am going to buy your DLCs or expansions rather than the ten thousand expansions Paradox will release for Stellaris without fixing the lack of strategic depth.


Agreed. Most of the above have to do with how grand-strategy is interpreted by Paradox and not really anyone else as they are basically the only ones on the market :) For them, grand strategy is a numbers game, but war is anything but that. In fact, looking at most historical battles, the army with the larger numbers quite often ends up on the shorter end as technology, cohesion, tactics and yes even strategy are the dominant factors in victory.

Having two plumps of fleet shooting at each other mindlessly until the one with the higher battle number wins is not much fun, nor realistic (though that is never the goal)

Agree, Stellaris is a lost cause (haven't managed to player over 10 minutes with it since SiS is out), but SiS has a great system. It supports large number of diverse ships, has a strong defence mechanism, and tech is very important in tactical combat. The AI just needs to use these assets properly.

Another interesting route is taken by Endless Space 2, where only high-level decisions are made via "cards". Haven't tried it out yet but can't be worse then Stellaris as it at least has some player agency in the matter, question is only how much fun that is going to be.

blazenclaw
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Re: Stellaris

Postby blazenclaw » Sat Mar 11, 2017 2:22 am

zolobolo wrote: snip
Another interesting route is taken by Endless Space 2, where only high-level decisions are made via "cards".
\snip

If it's anything like the first Endless Space, it's basically a 4-5 sided rock-paper-scissors game played 3x per combat where winning can up to double your fleet's efficacy. Of course, if you outnumber your enemy by 3 times or so, it doesn't really matter other than slightly reducing losses taken which does kinda make sense.

zolobolo
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Re: Stellaris

Postby zolobolo » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:33 am

blazenclaw wrote:
zolobolo wrote: snip
Another interesting route is taken by Endless Space 2, where only high-level decisions are made via "cards".
\snip

If it's anything like the first Endless Space, it's basically a 4-5 sided rock-paper-scissors game played 3x per combat where winning can up to double your fleet's efficacy. Of course, if you outnumber your enemy by 3 times or so, it doesn't really matter other than slightly reducing losses taken which does kinda make sense.

Yes it would, but I am rather hoping that this would go hand-in-hand with the per-battle maneuvering MGMT screen and ship layout decisions so that it doesn't :)

Optimally, the player needs to have full agency. Needs to see where things went wrong and has to have a feeling of being able to fix it. This has to mean that numbers alone should not determine the outcome of a battle unless there are ridiculous proportions like: 1:10 (in total war games it is mostly possible to win a 1:2 ratio battle, and even 1:3; 1:4 depending on tech, empires involved and map situation).

Thus in ES2 I would expect to be able to win a 1:3 battle if:
1. Ships are designed for a specific maneuver (e.g.: getting quickly into full broadside from long range and keeping distance)
2. Player takes the optimal maneuver for the layouts per-battle
3. Enemy does not have an optimal counter tech and does not chose an optimal counter maneuver
4. In-game, the player is monitoring events, has, and chooses cards that eliminate the actions of the AI which try to counter the above

Thus I would only image the card system as the last decision part of the whole process, that gives the parties a chance to react to the others tactic. From that point onward, it is all hands off, and that is ok, as we already had several layers of decisions making:
1. Strategic tech and ship development decisions.
2. High level battlefield maneuver
3. 1-3 high level direct commands from the admiral during the battle

Accordingly, the command cards need to reflect this and have to be an extension of the chosen maneuver like: Sacrifice left wing to protect the middle section; Attempt to pierce through weakened enemy flank and attack their middle section from behind ...etc

If the cards turn out to be: +20% defense - The game has already failed, as it reduces the whole concept to nothing more then a bonus that might as well have already been applied in the ship designer

zolobolo
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Re: Stellaris

Postby zolobolo » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:19 am

Stellaris is coming out with its version 2.0 update and among the plentiful redesigns of colonization and combat rework I found this point especially curious:
# Marauders
* Added a new type of non-playable empire, from which you may hire fleets, admirals, generals or pay them to attack your rivals. A Marauder empire can "awaken" under the leadership of a Great Khan, constituting a mid-game crisis. When that happens, the Marauder empire will begin to expand and attack its neighbors.

I think I have even read somewhere that these Marauder factions would raid civilizations for slaves, imagine that concept ;)

I don't think copying elements from others work is bad (that is basically the basis of all types of evolution), was just wondering if the influence is clearly coming here from SiS. If yes, it could be considered as a praise

Though one of my main issues with Stellaris has not been addresses: the incredibly blunt UI (its like looking on a dashboard from the early 90s), they do seem address my main concern regarding tactical combat.

With the new update, they plan to redesign the combat from the ground up (which I honestly thought they would never do so kudos for that) and make battles meaningful despite not having a dedicated combat control mechanic for that. Though that is an ambitious plan, the promised changes seem like they might actually achieve this, so I will give the game another chance despite its GUI dancing on my battered nerves (if I look at it after SiS it feels like it is cutting my eyes with its bloated blandness - no personality whatsoever just data dump)

It's real shame, as on paper the game had everything going for it: it has directly set out to address all issues with past space 4x games, they just forgot to put some actual style into the GUI and meaning into the combat along the way - lets see if they can at least resolve the later ;)

silverkitty23
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Re: Stellaris

Postby silverkitty23 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:43 pm

Maybe they're based on the Gremak, OR maybe they just heard about the Mongols. 'Great Khan' is indicative of that influence. Or maybe they watched Game of Thrones and wanted something like the Dothraki tribes (which, in turn, are based directly on the Mongols, but some people find fiction more influential than history). The Gremak and the marauders planned for Stellaris are similar in vague ways like "fallen empire, believes in slavery, reduced to marauder bands" -- but they're both similar to other things from history, other games, and other fiction. Unless their marauders look like snakes, have cloaked ships, and will sell slaves and cloaked ships to you; I don't think you can definitively draw the line of influence to Stars in Shadow.

zolobolo
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Re: Stellaris

Postby zolobolo » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:49 pm

Fair points. Mongols is an obvious candidate for inspiration, but since this cultural "genome" only manifests itself in the name of the event (which is usually not the first thing an author comes up with :)), I think we can safely relegate this influence to that part only (capturing slaves was not a particularly Mongolish thing to do: taxation or slaughtering the defenders of a city and civilians during penal campaigns was more their thing)

GoT is an interesting idea, but I do not know the meme enough (only saw the movies)

Since the faction name is identical to a faction with similar game function in a contemporary game in the exact same genre (space 4X) in which there are only a handful of references, the correlation seems pretty probable ;)


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