TR Member Perks!

Paradox Interactive announced a double whammy enhancing their empire-building space strategy title, Stellaris. Alongside the release of the upcoming update affectionately referred to as “Banks” (a reference to beloved science fiction author Iain Banks), a new expansion will be released. The expansion, titled Utopia, is based around further perfecting the mid and late game development of your universe-spanning space empire.

Free content is revealed with each new update, but many updates of the science-fiction 4X game from developer Paradox also come with a new DLC to purchase to further expand that free content. The new DLC expansion, Utopia, features mega structures and uplifting your species to new heights in different tiers of development. The endgame has been an issue for the fans of Stellaris so far, as actually developing and building your empire has much more story and surprise than many of the later research accidents that can occur, and you can only be utterly wiped out by the ancient and mysterious fallen empires so many times before you’re tired of playing.

The paid content of the newest barrage of updates will include more ways to continue building your empire to immeasurable heights. The DLC will include the ability to put money into orbital habitats, which act as small worlds to house more population. Food and minerals are more difficult to gather in these places, but energy and research gains a boost if worked by a population. If a resource rests on the world below that could be worked in orbit, a copy of the resource becomes available in the habitat structure above it.

A Dyson Sphere Megastructure around a sun.

Of course, if you feel like building an entirely new planet instead of small habitable orbital structures, you could invest in an exciting new feature. Megastructures are multi-tiered constructions requiring vast amounts of resources for each stage of their enactment. The first stage is usually building a frame for your new project and doesn’t actually give any bonuses to your empire outside of warning everyone in the universe that you’re about to reach new heights of technological mastery. It’s impossible to hide, for example, the building of a massive sphere dedicated to completely encompassing an entire sun to produce vast amounts of energy credits. Or the enormous ringworld frame you constructed to house billions of new inhabitants. There are a few other structures to invest in as well, such as a sensor that can detect everything in the galaxy, but all of them will either financially ruin your empire or solidify their place among the stars. No species capable of such incredible creations could easily be defeated, surely.

This perfection, of course, leads your society further into the role of a true utopia, as the DLC name hints. As you achieve greater and greater feats, you’ll gain access to more of the Tradition Tree, which is another aspect of the unpaid content that will be released alongside the DLC. All owners of the game will be able to pursue paths of interest for their species by going down the tradition tree. But actually purchasing the Utopia DLC will add another layer to these trees called Ascension Perks. These go down three general paths alluding to the type of society you rule, such as an interest in replacing your feeble, frail bodies with unyielding AI husks. Or jump starting evolution to push you into new heights of modifying your own body. Or, possibly, unlocking your psionic potential to access new dimensions. Going down these tradition trees will change your empire over time, but the real end goal is acquiring these Ascension Perks. Alongside giving you new concrete goals in the domination of the universe and those beyond, the perks include powerful new abilities or modifiers to your empire as a whole, such as significantly increased attack power against those pesky Fallen Empires.

If you were tired of killing off species in a mass extermination that were troubling your empire from within, the update and DLC also includes new ways of managing your empire through policies and rights. New forms of government allow lesser aliens in your empire to act as citizens or slaves, or sometimes, even both at once. Caste systems, undesirables, and limited citizenship options will be released for free, along with new options of either keeping your core worlds pure of any alien thralls at all or managing refugees from particularly awful empires. The paid DLC will also include new ways of managing your alien populations. Instead of downright murdering undesirable species, you’ll be allowed to use them for food, displace them often enough that they decide to run, or simply neuter them and allow them to die off over time. Slavery also becomes more nuanced, changing the functions to allow for universe-wide slavery for all food-producing populations, or simply domestic servitude. There will finally be a way of declaring a species as a battle thrall as well, a race kept around entirely and completely for the purpose of using them in battle.

Paradox Interactive is releasing more information on their forums over time, giving hints and details on various  features to be included, free or paid. Either way, this addition should serve to make sure your empire rises above all others. Utopia or dystopia, you’ll control the power of the stars themselves.

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Alec Blouin

Staff Writer

When not playing video games, Alec is enjoying tabletop RPGs, landscaping, writing bad fiction, 80's music, and knocking over your trash bins. Do not feed him after midnight.