I’m not going to pretend to be anything other than a novice in a complicated space universe. Delving into Stellaris for the first time is somewhat overwhelming as is the case with all Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy games. Interstellar universes are often riddled with complicated features. Thankfully the helper in the game is actually helpful.
After a few hours the game began to make more sense and the addiction really started to kick in. Before long, time had flown by and my Human enterprise was expanding and competing for territory against rival alien species.
My Stellaris install includes the MegaCorp and Distant Stars Story Pack DLC’s. As a new player I honestly don’t know where the base games ends and the DLC kicks in so the opinion throughout this article includes the content.
Starting a session provides a generous selection of various races from humans to obscure alien species. All of which have their own unique traits and specialties. Some favour trade and diplomatic relations whilst others are incredibly hostile and aggressive. For my session I chose the humans. Earth was struggling to maintain it’s integrity. New hospitable planets needed to be explored and researched as to their viability to be a host planet for colonization.
There’s much to manage and navigate. Plenty of micro-management though it’s not tedious and boring. Research needs to be regularly updated to keep the enterprise progressive and within the technical advancements of rival factions.
Whilst there are a variety of ships to build and design the options are simpler and less daunting than first appear. To break it down simpler there are ship types for specific tasks;
Military Ship – Navy attack vessels which protect the colony and invade rival territories within war declarations.
Science Ship – Research unknown territories and debris.
Construction Ship – Build Outposts on researched territories. After an outpost has been established resources and research opportunities can be retrieved by assigning the construction ship to build mining and research stations. When alien species occupy the area an observation station can be built to monitor and learn from the them.
Transport Ship – Assault armies are kept and maintained. These need protecting by the navy as they have no defence.
Colony Ship -Settling the empires onto habitable planets.
Understanding the differences helps hugely with building and managing the fleet. Knowing which ship is required for a given tasks becomes second nature. With the help of research new parts and technologies become available. Regarding ships the defence, attack, speed and maneuverability can be enhanced though it’s a slow process. The fleet can be upgraded to the latest technological advancements by the click of a button within the fleet selection. The requirement is for them to return to the nearest Starport for engineering work to be completed. This is the same process to for recovering the fleets health after an attack.
Battles are incredible and thrilling. Laser lights flashing with hostility inflicting damage upon rival ships. Missiles launching and guns firing. Starports can be upgraded with defence capabilities which advance and improve in line with research. In the event of an ensuing annihilation it is possible to retreat and teleport away from danger to save the fleet. Their whereabouts will be unknown temporarily until they reappear randomly somewhere in the universe on the map.
Caravan traders and pirates regularly travel through either offering a service or stealing from the colony. Military ships and star port defences make light work of them. Fighting fully fledged alien factions is a lot more troublesome. They are often more advanced with incredible fire-power and speed.
Diplomacy is an integral and useful feature. I’m insulted regularly by species that hate humans or don’t like that my territory is within close proximity to theirs. Before long hostilities worsen beyond classing each other as rivals into a full blown declaration of war. Sometimes the war is only declared to humiliate the other and provide prestige to the victor. Other occasions are to conquer though it’s not easy.
During my session after a long period of expanding and exploring a friendly species made me an offer They would like to form an enterprise together. As time progress others joined. The benefit of this is that when any of us are challenged to a war or we declare war ourselves there’s support for one another. Increases the odds somewhat of a successful or neutral outcome. Wars can be surrendered, mutually ended or demand the other surrenders. The chances of a successful agreement are portrayed by a green tick or red cross. Both sides are harmed by attrition from the affects of war. The longer it lasts the worse the effects on the empires. Eventually a conclusion has to decided.
Gathering resources is integral to everything. Energy must be mined and gathered or purchased at the market in trade for other resources. Each resource has it’s only use and gathered uniquely. Special building may need to be built on colonolised planets. Food and goods are generated via industry and consumed by the populace. Having a positive stockpile is essential for their health and happiness. Energy is required to power everything. This can be mined from galaxies or industry on a planet. Edicts can be purchased to provide a boost to a variety of options including energy. During my session it was essential to keep a positive output. Even then I was substituting mined crystals for energy. There is a maximum limit to how much of anything can be stored. Silos need to be built to increase the storage capacity.
There’s a lot more layers and detail within Stellaris. The longer you play the more you notice the extra features and information. There’s regular text dialogues and pop ups of incidents to decide a choice. The result will either have a negative or positive consequence.
Stellaris is a game of exploration, resource gathering, diplomacy and warmongering. There’s a real sense of survival and an eagerness to endure. Without realising time has elapsed and the session has continued for hours.
Fascinated with gaming since the old cassette based computers. Custom-building and repairing computers for 20 years and have been creating websites for 5 years. I’ve been a geek way before it became fashionable. Video game collector and gamer. Mainly a PC gamer though do enjoy console exclusives. Created Zorf Gaming to share my passion for gaming. I’m the web-designer/developer, content creator, editor, video creator. In essence this is my passion and I like nothing more than to share it with you. Currently writing my first book ‘A Father’s Daughter’.