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Stellaris Dev Diary #97 - Tech Progression in Cherryh

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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:
The Voor were once a carefree people. They evolved during an extended interglacial period, in the lush, temperate woods on their homeplanet Hiverion, where resources were plentiful. But as the planet began to revert back to a glacial state, they too had to transform to survive. The harsh climate hardened the Voor and gave rise to an authoritarian technocracy bent on dominating its surroundings through scientific advancement and the acquisition of new technologies.

Soon they had conquered their homeworld, but survival came at a steep price for the Voor people who lost autonomy of both their bodies and minds in the process. To guarantee their submission, their brains were forcibly enhanced with crude cybernetic implants, transforming them into willing instruments of science.

The Voor's deep-seated contempt for inferior intellects coupled with their need to control make them unwanted neighbors. This is unlikely to bother them, however, as what limited interest they take in other lifeforms is primarily of a scientific nature. Secretive and calculating, the Voor prefer to observe the world through the lens of a microscope, carefully plotting out their next step on the path to supremacy.
Click to expand...
That's it as far 1.9 and the Humanoids Species Pack goes. I'm personally very happy with how Humanoids turned out, and I hope you'll enjoy using it for your Stellaris empires as much as I am. On to the Cherryh update!

Technological Progression
In the 2.0 'Cherryh' update, we have made a number of changes to progression when it comes to technology. First of all, we have expanded on the number of technologies that empires start with. Rather than only starting with one type of weapon and no defensive or auxiliary utilities, all empires now start with basic Red Lasers, Mass Drivers, Nuclear Missiles, Deflectors and Armor, as well as a basic aux slot component in the form of Reactor Boosters that was covered in last week's dev diary. The reasoning for this is that we wanted to eliminate false choices and have some depth to ship design and counter-design available immediately on game start, rather than having to unlock several basic technologies before you could even start to vary your designs. With missiles moving to a dedicated torpedo slot (also covered in 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.

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!

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Category:  Stellaris


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Stellaris Dev Diary #97 - Tech Progression in Cherryh