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Stellaris - Paradox new sci-fi grand strategy game

Discussion in 'Chad's Strategy and Simulation & Tactical Gaming' started by Perkel, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. Space Satan Arcane

    Space Satan
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    Absolutely useless dev diary
    Show Spoiler

    Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris dev diary. As said last week, today's dev diary is not about the Cherryh update at all, but rather something much more imminent: The Humanoids Species Pack
    [​IMG]

    Humanoids Species Pack
    Over the last year or so, and especially in the last few months, there has been a lot of clamoring for more portraits and another ship-set like the one we added in Plantoids. Because of the amount of coder and content designer time we're putting into the major overhauls in the Cherryh update, we ended up with a lot of extra art time, and so we decided to oblige. Back in the Heinlein update, we added a bunch of free humanoid portraits that proved to be immensely popular - close to half of games started is with some variant of humanoid. Combine with there seeming to be a demand for a more 'classic western sci-fi' ship-set with sleeker lines and curves than the Mammalian one, and the design for the Humanoid Species Pack was born. Our artists have been quietly working away at it behind the scenes, and now it's almost ready.

    So what's in the Humanoid Species Pack? Here is the feature list:
    - 10 new Humanoid portraits
    - A completely new ship set inspired by classic western sci-fi
    - A new city set for Humanoids
    - A new pre-scripted empire, the Fanatic Authoritarian/Materialist Voor Technocracy, with a portrait inspired by the 'loading screen aliens' from our own official art
    - 3 new advisor voices offering alternative takes on existing ethics, based on the United Nations of Earth ('Dignified Xenophile'), Commonwealth of Man ('Disciplined Militarist') and Voor Technocracy ('Ruthless Materialist'). Samples from each of the new voices has been attached to the bottom of this post.
    - 3 new music tracks that are remixes of classic Stellaris songs

    Of course, the 5 Humanoid portraits that are already in the base game will remain free and available to everyone.

    The Humanoids Species Pack will come out on December 7th, 2017 and will cost $7.99 US dollars or your regional equivalent. For those who want to buy it right now, pre-orders are available through the Paradox Shop. To pre-order, follow this link.

    Next week we'll get back to talking about the Cherryh update on the topic of doomstacks (for real this time). Until then, I leave you with these awesome screenshots:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  2. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

    fantadomat
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    Sweden mate,sweden never change.
     
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  3. Zboj Lamignat Arcane

    Zboj Lamignat
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    Damn, they had me worried for a second.
     
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  4. whatevername Arcane

    whatevername
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    Oh yeah, didn't you guys pay like $50 for the base game which included those 5 portraits? But don't worry, they won't make you pay for them a 2nd time out of their kindness.
     
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  5. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

    fantadomat
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    Now,now don't rub the salt in,he is screaming without it.
     
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  6. Zboj Lamignat Arcane

    Zboj Lamignat
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    Don't tell me one can be stupid enough to not understand that joke:roll:
     
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  7. Average Manatee Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Average Manatee
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    It's not out of the question. After all, non-hyperdrive FTL types are getting removed due to being impossible to balance. Statistics show that Humanoids are significantly overpowered in race selection. I don't know how Paradox is intending to address this issue, but deleting them is entirely possible if other plans don't pan out. Modders of course will still have access to them and you can always backdate your game to play an earlier patch level, so there should be no problem with this.
     
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  8. `Hellion Arbiter

    `Hellion
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    War Doctrine Policies coming in v2.0.


    [​IMG]


    Plus, there's apparently a new option for damaged ships to start fleeing from battles.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Gaius maximus Scholar

    Gaius maximus
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    it misses deep battle doctrine.
     
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  10. Space Satan Arcane

    Space Satan
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    DD on Doomstacks
    Show Spoiler

    Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. Today's dev diary is about the 2.0 'Cherryh' update, and will delve into the long-awaited topic of Doomstacks, combat balance and some changes coming to ship design and components.

    Doomstacks
    'Doomstacks', the concept of rolling all your ships into a single stack in order to be able to beat your opponent's single stack has long been a popular discussion topic on these forums. It's a fairly common design problem in strategy games owing to the principles of force concentration outlined in Lanchester's Laws: A larger force engaged with a smaller one will not only win the battle, but take disproportionately less casualties. In other words, if a 13k force engages a 10k force (all components being equal so there's no other factors at work), the 13k force will not only win, but will inflict far more than 1.3x the casualties on the inferior force that the superior force inflicts on the lesser force. This, combined with the high decisiveness and lethality of combat in Stellaris (and many other strategy games) means that bringing an inferior force to battle is always a no-win situation: Not only will you lose tactically, you will also lose strategically, as whatever damage you inflict on enemy is outclassed by the damage they inflict on you in turn.

    Many people have proposed solutions to Doomstacks. Some have been simple, others complex, but what most of them have missed (and the reason we have taken so long to address this) is that there is no one solution. It is a complex problem with multiple causes and problems, and the only way to begin to address it is to tackle those problems individually. To that end, what the Stellaris designers did was break down the Doomstack issue into its component problems, and then create solutions for those problems. I will now list the problems we identified, as well as our solutions to them.

    Problem 1: Disproportionate Casualties
    Disproportionate Casualties is the problem we talked about above: Engaging a larger force with a smaller one is virtually always a losing proposition because of the disproportionally greater casualties taken by the smaller force. Naturally, a larger force should more powerful, but the fact that a force twice the size will annihilate the enemy while barely suffering any losses makes combat and warfare far too pain-free when you have the advantage in numbers. For this reason we have decided to introduce something called the Force Disparity Combat Bonus. The Force Disparity Combat Bonus is applied when a smaller force is engaged with a larger one in battle ('force' being every ship engaged on one side of a battle, regardless of how many fleets and empires are involved on each side), and gives a bonus to the firing speed of all ships belonging to the smaller force. As an example (example numbers only, likely not final numbers) a force that is half the size of the enemy might gain a 50% bonus to its firing speed, representing the fact that the smaller force has an easier time manuevering and targeting the larger enemy force. The larger force is still more powerful and will likely win the battle (unless the smaller force has a significant technological advantage), but will almost certainly suffer losses in the process, making it possible to force an enemy to bear a cost for their victories even when they have overwhelming numbers.
    [​IMG]

    Problem 2: Decisive Battles
    In Stellaris, fleets that are not ordered to make a manual retreat will fight to the death. Combined with the disproportionate casualties problem, this means that wars are often decided in a single battle, with the loser being at best diminished to the point of no longer being able to offer effective resistance. It also encourages excessive caution in warfare as every minor skirmish turns into a bloody battle of annihilation. To address this problem, we have introduced the concept of Ship Disengagement. Rather than always fight to the death, ships can now flee battle and survive to fight another day. In combat, any ship that takes hull damage while already below 50% health will have a chance to disengage from battle, depending primarily on the amount of damage inflicted, and secondarily on the ship class (smaller ships have an easier time disengaging than larger ones). A ship that disengages will instantly leave the battle and can no longer attack ships or be attacked, though it will still show up in the combat interface, with an icon clearly indicating it as Disengaged.
    [​IMG]

    If a fleet engaged in battle contains only Disengaged ships, it will be forced to make an Emergency FTL jump and become Missing in Action, limping home heavily damaged. However, if the combat ends without the fleet making an emergency FTL jump (manual or forced), the Disengaged ships will rejoin the fleet at the end of the battle, damaged and in need of repair certainly, but otherwise normally operational. The intention with this feature is that generally, more ships should Disengage than outright be killed in battle, making it so that an empire that loses a battle can pull back, repair their ships, and stay in the fight rather than having to replace every ship involved in a combat loss. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the chance for a ship to Disengage is also affected by various modifiers such as terrain (see Dev Diary #92 for details on Galactic Terrain), War Doctrine (more on that below) and whether the ship is in friendly territory or not.

    Problem 3: Lack of need for Admirals
    Though not directly related to Doomstacks, one of the issues we identified and wanted to address was the fact that empires generally only need a single Admiral, regardless of whether it is a small empire with a handful of corvettes or a sprawling empire with hundreds of ships. To solve this problem, we have introduced the concept of Command Limit. Command Limit is a limit on how large any one individual fleet in your empire can be (right now it's a hard-cap, though we might change it into a soft-cap), and thus how many ships an admiral can give their combat bonuses to. Command Limit is primarily given from Technology and Traditions, Admiral Skill does not impact it. The reason for this is that we do not want a fleet's command limit to suddenly drop due to the death of an Admiral or other temporary factors that would force frequent and annoying reorganizations of your fleets. Note that Command Limit is not meant to solve the problem of Doomstacks itself, but combined with the other changes (and the FTL changes that makes it so it's harder to cover your entire empire with a single fleet) it should naturally encourage keeping several fleets, as it is now possible to skirmish and fight delaying actions without risking the entire war in a single battle. As a part of this (and the FTL changes) we have also made it so that fleets that are following other fleets will now jump into FTL together, making it possible to have fleets following each other without becoming 'decoupled' as they travel across multiple systems.
    [​IMG]

    We believe that these changes, together with many of the other changes we are making (Starbases, FTL rework, etc al) will naturally change the way wars are fought away from Doomstack primacy. Certainly, there will still be wars decided by large-scale engagements of both sides' navies, and certainly it will sometimes be advantageous to keep all of your fleets in one place. But this should no longer be the only way to play, and there should be many new tactical and strategic opportunities available to players in how they use their navies.

    Moving on from the topic of Doomstacks, we're next going to cover some changes coming to the ship designer and the way ships are built.

    Ship Reactors
    The first and possibly most significant change is that we have changed the way Ship Power works. Instead of reactors being a component like any other, requiring a fiddly excercise of swapping reactors for shields/armor and vice versa, each ship now simply has a reactor with a certain power output depending on ship class and technology. For example, a starting Corvette has a Corvette Fission Reactor, outputting a measly 75 power, while a Zero Point Battleship Reactor gives you a massive 1550 power to balance between weapons, shields and Aux utilities. To add a little bit of flexibility into this system, we have created a new line of utilities called Reactor Boosters that go in the Aux slot and provide some extra power for the ship, allowing smaller power deficiencies to be addressed without needing to downgrade components. Basic Reactor Boosters are available directly at the start of the game, and better ones can be researched as you improve your reactor technology.
    [​IMG]

    Armor, Shields and Hull
    Armor has always been a somewhat problematic mechanic in Stellaris. Originally, Armor was a direct damage reduction (where 1 armor negated 1 damage from any shot), but this effectively resulted in high-armor battleships being completely invincible, so we changed it into the percentage-based reduction system that is currently in the live version of the game. However, we couldn't simply map 1 armor to 1% damage reduction, as you once again ended up with invincible battleships and barely armored corvettes, so we created a formula for mapping armor to damage reduction that pretty much nobody understands, but largely can be broken down into 'put some armor on your cruisers and battleships, ignore it on corvettes and destroyers'. Add to this the fact that you can still get very high damage reduction numbers on bigger ships, and you begin to understand why plasma has frequently been the dominant weapon in the combat meta.

    To address this issue once and for all, we have decided to rework Armor to work more like Shields and create a more direct trade-off between the two. Each point of Armor is now effectively one extra hit point for the ship, forming a new health bar between Hull and Shields. Armor generally offers the same amount of extra 'health' as Shields of the same level, but unlike Shields will normally not repair itself over time, instead requiring the ship to head to a Starbase for repairs to restore its armor. However, Armor has the advantage of not costing any power, and is a more reliable protection, as unlike Shields it cannot be bypassed by missile weapons. Different weapons will do differing amounts of damage to Armor, Shields and Hull (for example, Autocannons shred shields and hull, but are very weak against Armor), and there are new components and resources that reward specialization (by for example making you choose between boosting all armor OR shields on a ship), making it so that specialized ships are more effective but vulnerable to other ships built to counter them. Finally, the direct effectiveness of Armor and Shields relative to hull has been increased, and a ship can now have Armor/Shield hit points directly comparable to its hull hit points.
    [​IMG]

    Missiles and Hull Damage
    Missiles, even with the buffs they were given in Čapek, occupy a bit of an odd spot in Stellaris, with no particular role of their own other than simply being somewhat more efficient weapons that are hard-countered by Point Defense. The one exception to this is Torpedoes, that have their own dedicated slot and purpose (bypassing shields and destroying heavily armored ships), but even that slot has the rather ill-suited Energy Torpedoes that aren't Torpedoes at all but just a regular energy weapon, resulting in even more confusion and diffusion. In Cherryh, we've decided to make all missiles more similar to Torpedoes, making it so that the Torpedo slot is the only slot in which you can put missile weapons, and making it so that all missiles bypass shields entirely. In addition to this, we've also made a change to ships that have taken hull damage: Damaged ships will have their speed and combat ability reduced, all the way down to a ~50% reduction when they are nearly dead. This means that missiles, unless stopped by PD, are now a weapon explicitly for softening up the enemy by damaging and reducing the effectiveness of their ships, slipping through shields and wreaking havoc directly on enemy armor and hull. It also means that empires that want to invest heavily in the power of missiles will need to use designs and ship classes that can pack torpedo slots, instead of simply putting missiles on everything that would normally mount a different weapon. There are still different missiles with different roles: Torpedoes are slow and inaccurate but excellent at punching through armor, while Swarmer Missiles are poor against armor but wreak havoc on hull and (as before) are ideally suited to overwhelming enemy PD. Energy Torpedoes have been removed from the Torpedo slot and now instead a Large slot weapon, the equivalent of Kinetic Artillery for Energy weapons.
    [​IMG]

    War Doctrines
    Lastly for today, I just wanted to mention the introduction of War Doctrines. This is a new policy that becomes available once the Interstellar Fleet Traditions society technology has been researched, and allows you to pick an overall strategic military doctrine for your fleets based on how you intend to fight. For example, the Defense in Depth doctrine gives a bonus to ship combat ability inside friendly territory, ideal for defensive wars, while the Hit and Run doctrine increases the chance of your ships Disengaging from combat and the time you need to be in battle before using Emergency FTL, perfect for players that want to use raiding or skirmishing tactics.
    [​IMG]

    That's all for today! Next week we're going to be talking about technology in Cherryh, and how tech tiers and progression is changing. December 7th also happens to be the release date of the Humanoids Species Pack, so you can count on us saying something about that as well. See you then!
     
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  11. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    I haven't played Stellaris, but World In Flames addressed the problem more gracefully, by having a surprise roll at the beginning of the combat, and using the weakest maneuver value of any of the task force engaged for your side.
    So you had a decision to make between using all of your task forces, or only using a part of them, but with a better efficiency. The result of the surprise roll could be brutal, and allowed you to select a part of the opposing fleet to ignore, to force another type of combat than the default one, like engaging carriers with your battleships without going through a painful round of plane to ship action first, and so on.
    Of course, it did not specifically address the strength disparity, but the side with the largest fleet would usually be the one with the largest disparity in maneuver values (because if you have a single task force, you have no disparity at all!)
     
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  12. Vaarna_Aarne Notorious Internet Vandal Patron

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    Surprise roll doesn't seem to be a very good solution to me, all it does is basically randomly alter effective stack sizes.

    Best solution would really be to have maneuvering before battle along limited and varied routes (strategy), supply constraints (strategy), and the armies leaders in battle (tactics) be the important factor. This is how Nobunaga's Ambition does it, and has provided to me what's probably the best war experience in strategy. Having a simple but robust core is better than worrying about how to have Shields and Armor mechanics balance out.

    Of course, one cannot really for example have leaders do too much on a "lions led by a sheep vs sheep led by a lion" style dramatic influence on combat outcome in a game like Stellaris where the combat is handled on a very abstract and distant level that really is just about entirely strategic. It'd be an element of randomness rather than a predictable tactical factor like in Nobunaga's Ambition for example.

    So what they should really focus on rather than modifiers is making the combat involve ship positioning and maneuver. A larger fleet caught between two small fleets only quarter of its size should lose every time. Expanding space "terrain" factors beyond nebulas affecting FTL range would also be of great import, so there really would be bottlenecks and limits to maneuver within.
     
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  13. Space Satan Arcane

    Space Satan
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    How are you expect to add a surprise factor when two space flotillas with known positioning and fleet compositions are moving to engage each other?
     
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  14. Vaarna_Aarne Notorious Internet Vandal Patron

    Vaarna_Aarne
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    Not surprise factor, surprise roll. Meaning essentially like that dice in Europa Universalis and Victoria games that hates YOU.
     
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  15. Grotesque ±¼ Patron

    Grotesque
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    Divinity: Original Sin Divinity: Original Sin 2
     
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  16. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    Nah, space isn't all that hostile at all. Objects in a terrestrial environment are subject to biochemical attack from said environment and its inhabitants. Objects in space are only subject to Space Radiation, which, once shielded against, poses relatively little threat in comparison to something that continuously attacks. This is why a piece of electronics like the Voyager 1 space probe is, despite 40 years of continuous operation, still functioning, and the only thing that is really killing it is that the batteries are slowly running out. In contrast, no such piece of equipment on Earth will still be operational after 40 years.

    Incompatibility with human life should not be considered as a directly hostile element, that inhospitality is largely a passive function, space has relatively few actively hostile environmental factors. It's not actively attempting to eat your face off with chemicals, blowing sand, or much of anything else (aside from Space Radiation). It's just...not helpful. If your corpse is in the shadow of something to keep it from being cooked by space radiation, it will just stay that way for millions of years.
     
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  17. Average Manatee Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Total war-style wars is interesting. Paradox has always generally had better modeling of war goals and limited wars but has failed in modelling wars that result in potential large scale gains and losses on both sides.

    Influence to claim planets though, yuck. It's now fully space book mana. At least special CBs can ignore claims and take what they want.
     
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  18. trais Arcane

    trais
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    One step forward, two steps back. I lost all hope for this game ever getting good.
     
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  19. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

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    I am surprised that you had any hope for that shit.
     
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  20. Space Satan Arcane

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    Show Spoiler

    Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. Today's dev diary is about two topics: Technology in the 2.0 'Cherryh' update, and the release of the Humanoids Species Pack that is coming out today and will be available for purchase around 15:00 CET.

    Humanoids Species Pack
    We already covered the details of the Humanoids Species Pack in Dev Diary #95, so rather than repeating myself, I am simply going to post the changelog, along with a short excerpt on the new prescripted empire, the Voor Technocracy, that we modeled on the 'loading screen aliens' and which are coming in the species pack along with the portraits, ships, city graphics, new advisor voices and music.


    On the Voor Technocracy:
    Dev Diary #96, this also means that the Torpedo/Missile Boat corvette layout is also immediately available.

    Secondly, we have decided to increase the number of tech tiers in the game to make technological progression a more consistent experience. For those that do not know, each technology currently belongs to a tier between 1-4, with a certain number of tier 1 technologies being required before you can research tier 2 technologies in the same field, and so on. However, because the 4th tier is only used for end-game technologies like Mega-Engineering, this means that technologies with more than 3 steps such as reactors, shields and armor are spread haphazardly over the tiers, and it's not uncommon to have Cold Fusion research come up as available immediately after researching Fusion, for example. To better fit the tiers to the technologies we have, we have decided to increase the number of tiers to 5, with the tiers looking roughly like this:
    • Tier 1: Basic Early Game Tech (Fusion, Automated Exploration, Robotic Workers, etc)
    • Tier 2: Advanced Early Game Tech (Cold Fusion, Destroyers, Planetary Capital, etc)
    • Tier 3: Basic Mid Game Tech (Antimatter, Cruisers, Wormholes, etc)
    • Tier 4: Advanced Mid Game Tech (Zero Point Power, Battleships, Empire Capital, etc)
    • Tier 5: Late-Game Tech (Mega-Engineering, Ascension Theory, Repeatables, etc)
    We have also added a large number of new technologies to the game, both in the form of techs that handle new features (like Wormhole Stabilization and Space Trading) and to improve on existing ones, like a line of techs for each ship hull (Corvette, Destroyer, etc) that improves hull points and construction speed. Additionally, we have changed the general progression of ship components so that each upgrade is now more significant. For example, blue lasers now offer approximately 30% higher damage than red lasers, rather than a mere 10-15% as in the current live build. This should mean that focusing on technology is now an actual valid alternative to simply massing ships, though we still want to avoid the tech-as-only-viable-path-to-victory problem that many 4x games suffer from. Finally, we've also added some new highly advanced 'tier 6' technologies to Fallen Empires that cannot be researched normally and are only attainable by scavenging the wrecks of their ships.
    [​IMG]

    Another thing that is changing in 2.0 'Cherryh' is tech costs and the tech penalty. Because of the new Starbase system and the fact that planets are no longer needed to control space, we felt that the old tech penalty based entirely on planets and pops was overly punitive and strongly encouraged having as few planets as possible and relying on space-based resources instead. For this reason, we have changed the Tech and Unity penalties to no longer be based on pops, but rather purely on the number of owned planets and systems, with each owned system and colonized planet adding to your tech and unity costs, and planets overall having less on an impact on tech costs than before. We have also raised the base cost of techs, particularly high tier techs, to compensate for the lowered penalties and slow down late-game tech progression so an empire doesn't have all technologies unlocked within the first century. This should not be taken as playing 'tall' now being unfeasible, just that it is no longer strictly about keeping few planets, but rather limiting the number of systems you expand to in order to benefit from lower tech/unity penalties and the ability to maintain a high ratio of upgraded starbases.

    That's all for today! Next week's dev diary will also be about the Cherryh update, talking about a little usability feature that we call the Fleet Manager. See you then!

    Follow me on twitter for regular tidbits about the projects I'm working on.
    Wiz, 53 minutes ago
    #1


     
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  21. Infinitron I post news Patron

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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
     
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  22. whatevername Arcane

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    Good job! You will never enter Valhalla for this heresy. Probably will end up as dog food during the fimbul winter.
     
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  23. Zboj Lamignat Arcane

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    What the fuck? :lol: can we just get rid of modern game design already and just reset everything to zero? I'd be willing to get back to pong times if it meant we will start getting good games again in a couple decades.
     
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  24. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

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    We just have to write a bunch of encouraging messages to the only steam account from TRUE Korea.
     
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  25. Dayyālu Arcane

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    I feel like I'm on drugs.

    It's not proper design to guarantee that a superior force can easily broke through a clearly inferior one ("inferior" as defined by tech level, organization, terrain etc)?

    Snowballing is a good thing in 4x games, as it avoids annoying stalemates. Furthermore, bigger and more advanced forces in the Real World annihilate enemies with few casualties (golden example, the Pacific War).

    It's like that designer never played a proper 4x, a proper tabletop game, or a match of Axis&Allies.

    I feel like I'm on drugs.
     
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