Stellaris’ first major patch, Clarke, now in beta

Fear not, space rulers, for the days when you had to contend with being a mere emperor instead of The Supreme Galactic Overlord(ess) are now over. The first major update for Stellaris, Clarke, is now available on Steam’s beta branch (right-click game, select properties, go to the betas tab and opt-in) and with it a slew of improvements, bugfixes and additions.

The name is in reference to Arthur C. Clarke, named after an icon of science fiction – like the next patches shall be. While he was wrong in saying that there is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum – since it’s more fun to paint a galaxy’s map with your name and color than see some flag wavering – there’s no denying he is one of, if not the, major names of science fictionYou can check the patch notes in full extent here, but I’ve highlighted the changes I felt were needed the most below. You can also have a better time by reading the reddit thread ‘Patch 1.10, “Clarke” – What it actually means‘.

Flavor

* It is now possible to set a custom ruler/heir title for your custom empires
* It is now possible to write a biography for your custom empire

While seemingly minor, if there was one thing that felt lacking in the Veran Khanate, my custom Empire comprised of warmongering space boars, was that my ruler was an Archon, and not the Khagan. Razing entire planets to create pastures for my… space horses just wasn’t the same.

Ethics

Fanatic Xenophobe
* Rivalries now provide 50% more Influence
Xenophobe
* Rivalries now provide 25% more Influence
Fanatic Xenophile
* Alliance Influence cost reduced by 100%
* Maximum number of embassies increased by 2
Xenophile
* Alliance Influence cost reduced by 50%
* Maximum number of embassies increased by 1

Several different Ethics got changed, but I felt these were the most significant. Having played a bit more than a hundred hours of the game’s release version and discussed it with other players, one thing I felt was that the Xeno- axis of the Ethics was poor both in benefits and flavor. They’re now clearly centered on improving your influence generation, and anyone who’s forged an alliance early in the game knows how heavy a hit on your influence it can have. With the cost being null for Fanatic Xenophiles, I can definitely see early, strong alliances and federations as a viable way of defending against larger empires without falling behind in influence.

Fanatic Pacifist
* Pops are now more unhappy in militarist empires
* No longer increases Food output, but rather reduces growth needed for a new Pop by 30%
Pacifist
* Pops are now more unhappy in militarist empires
* No longer increases Food output, but rather reduces growth needed for a new Pop by 15%

Not only is this a clear improvement to the growth rate of pacifist empires, conquering peaceful species’ with your militarist empire will offer a harder time to you – as it should.

Technology

* Technology costs now increase by +10% per owned planet (up from +0%) and by +1% per Pop (down from +2%)
* Spiritualists and Materialists now get tech progress towards Frequency Tuning for researching Space Whales

An overall improvement to research speeds in the late-game, since any planet with ten or more population will now yield increasingly higher amounts of research (previously a full, 25-tile planet increased your research cost by 50% – now, it’d only be 35%). Also, space whales – anyone who’s watched Star Trek will want this. Anyone who likes whales will want this (and who doesn’t like whales?).

AI

* Respect Tile Resources setting will now prevent sector from building the wrong type of building for a tile regardless of special circumstances
* Improved the way sectors determine which resources the country needs when constructing buildings
* Fixed a bug where sector AI would move Pops back and forth
* Fixed budget issues that were preventing sectors from properly managing spaceports and construction ships

Overall the much needed improvements to sector AI start to show themselves. Time will tell how effectively these changes were implemented, but as long as the AI stops moving my mining slaves to work at research buildings I’ll be a happier man.

* AI now fights Crises

Solves the old issue of the AI just passively watching as the literal scourge of the galaxy invades one of their systems and proceeds to commit wholesale genocide.

* AI should be better at trying to regain control of occupied planets

No more guerrilla warfare tactics for you, player – smuggling those eight transport ships into an enemy’s planet before they can react won’t mean uncontested invasion anymore.

These changes come alongside some modifications to the UI, other balance tweaks and a couple of optimizations that aim to improve game-speed and remove the micro-stuttering that some were reporting.

 

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