21 days ago - /u/ - Direct link
A lil somethin somethin: You can find the details for this event on the announcement page here.
21 days ago - MrFreake_PDX - Direct link
Hello Stellaris Community!

Today we’re here to talk about the new free features and improvements coming in the 3.5 “Fornax” update, named after the Constellation Fornax[wikipedia.org], which was initially named le Fourneau Chymique (the Chemical Furnace) in 1756 by French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. A very suitable name for the free patch associated with the Toxoids Species Pack[pdxint.at].

The free 3.5 “Fornax” Update will release alongside the Toxoids Species Pack[pdxint.at] on September 20th!

You can also read the full (English Only) patch notes here.[forum.paradoxplaza.com]

Difficulty Settings
With the improvements that have been made to the AI over the past few updates, we’ve noticed that new players are finding things a bit more challenging and there have been some requests for an easier difficulty setting. As such, we’re adding a Civilian Difficulty Setting, and making Cadet the default difficulty. Civilian difficulty further increases the bonuses that players receive from Cadet difficulty, as well as an additional bonus towards completing First Contact.

We also know that a good many of you reading this may be looking for additional challenges, and for us not to be making the game easier, so we have added new options for Scaling Difficulty. Scaling Difficulty can now be set to Off, Mid-Game or Late-Game. If set to Mid-Game, AI bonuses will scale from zero to the selected difficulty by the Mid-Game Start Year. Late-Game will provide the same behavior as previously enabling Scaling Difficulty.

Difficulty Adjusted AI Modifiers is a new toggle that can dramatically increase the strength of the AI on higher difficulty levels as the game progresses. If enabled, the AI bonuses apply to all other modifiers the AI accumulates. As an example, the Geothermal Fracking technology grants +20% Minerals from Miners. On Grand Admiral difficulty with this setting enabled, this technology would instead grant AI empires a 40% bonus.

The Crisis Type setting will now have an option for All, which will spawn every crisis sequentially, with each subsequent crisis being stronger than the previous. The galaxy is counting on you. No pressure.

New Story Content
The 3.5 “Fornax” Update will also come alongside some new story events and prescription systems. There are 2 Systems with Unique Archaeological Sites, 3 Systems where one might pick up some ship technology, and 3 systems with extra habitable planets. Additionally, there are 2 new Archaeological Sites (Larionessi Refuge and Zevox), as well as the “Singing Planet” anomaly.

Culture Workers
Back in the Unity overhaul in 3.3, a lot of you wanted Culture Workers to remain, for roleplay and flavor reasons. While we didn’t have time during the 3.3 Unity Overhaul to re-add the Culture Worker, we’ve done so over the summer!

Culture workers now have a base output/upkeep, and variable effects based on your governing Ethics (which are doubled for Fanatic Ethics). Culture worker jobs are provided by Monuments in addition to the Ministry of Culture.
  • Base Output/Upkeep:
    • 10% governing ethics attraction.
    • 4 Unity Output
    • 3 Consumer Goods Upkeep
  • In addition, Culture Workers have variable outputs depending on your empire ethics. These modifiers are doubled for Fanatic ethics.
    • Spiritualist: -2.5% Amenity Usage (Planet)
    • Materialist: +2 Amenities (Planet)
    • Militarist: +1 Naval Capacity (Empire)
    • Pacifist: +2.5% Trade from Living Standards (Planet)
    • Xenophobe: +2.5% Citizen Happiness (Planet)
    • Xenophile: -2.5% Pop Upkeep (Planet)
    • Egalitarian: -2.5% Pop Housing Usage (Planet)
    • Authoritarian: +3 Edict Fund (Country)
As Galactic Memorials replace normal Monuments, Death Chroniclers have been changed as well, they are now considered Culture Worker jobs and as such inherits the same ethics-based modifiers given above, with the following base output and upkeep:
  • 4 Unity Output
  • +2.5% Stability
  • 3 Consumer Goods Upkeep

The gestalt equivalents of Monuments now give Evaluator jobs that produce Unity and Amenities. As expected, Chronicle Drones are now in the Evaluator category and likewise produce Unity, Stability, and Amenities.

New Lithoid Traits for Plantoids owners
Lithoid pops will now gain access to the Radiotropic and Crystallization traits, provided you own the Plantoid Species Pack as well.

Lithoid pops with the Radiotrophic trait exchange 50% of their mineral upkeep for energy, and pops living on Tomb worlds have no energy upkeep. This trait also gives pops +10% Tomb World habitability, and get +10% pop growth speed on Tomb Worlds.

The Crystallization trait is the Lithoid version of the Plantoid Budding trait, each pop working as a slave or better produces 0.02 Organic Pop Assembly, this growth will stack with other sources of Organic Pop Assembly.

Relic Rebalance
In the 3.5 “Fornax” Update, you’ll find a lot of Relics Active and Passive Effects have changed! There were several main objectives for this rebalance:
  • Crisis Relics were supposed to be your “Victory Lap”, but were relatively balanced overall. Buff the Crisis Relics!
  • Precursor Relics are hit or miss at best, with many players restarting games until they got a Precursor that they liked. Buff the least popular Relics!
  • Event Relics used to vary from very powerful to forgettable, here the main goal was to Buff the Forgettable Relics! So they would be useful for a wider variety of playstyles.
  • Several Relics were extremely overpowered if you got them early, and remained powerful throughout the game. Bring these Relics into line with the current balance of all the other Relics.

Additionally, we know how some of you have struggled with the Reliquary limit to get the Galatron, and its associated - yet elusive - achievement. The Caravansary Caravan Coalition will now reward their most loyal patrons with Golden Tiyanki status. Those who have purchased a sufficient number of Reliquaries will now be granted the honor of being able to purchase as many as they like, directly for credits, with no more cooldowns for their best customers.

UI Improvements
The Stellaris Dev team has been hard at work all summer, adding various UI Improvements to the game for 3.5 “Fornax”. We won’t go through all of them, but we’ll briefly discuss some of the biggest changes:
  • Megastructures and Megastructure Construction Sites will now show in the Outliner!
  • Starbases will now indicate they can be upgraded in the outliner
  • The tooltip and description for Commercial Pacts will now give info on the best locations for new Branch Offices in their empire if you are a Megacorp and have sufficient intel
  • Tooltip for cannot afford fleet reinforcement now says what resources you are lacking
  • Added an icon to the situation progress elements that more clearly shows if situation progress has halted
  • Situation tooltips will now display time until the next stage as well as time until the situation is completed
  • Added planetary designation icon to the species modification UI

AI Improvements Improving the AI is something that we are constantly iterating on, and trying to get right. While we could just make an AI that plays the meta, and wins every time, it wouldn’t feel very good to players if that’s the way the game played out every time -- there are mods that do this already and to great effect. Our goal is to make the AI competitive, but also make it believable from the perspective of the empires you’re interacting with inside Stellaris.
  • Added a 10-year cooldown before AI can propose a Diplomatic Action which was previously timed out by the player.
  • AI will now try to assign otherwise idle fleets to the nearest fleet group as auxiliaries during war, which will make them follow other fleets with current military objectives, effectively reducing the amount of AI fleets idling during wars
  • AI will now actively attempt to increase its fleet capacity via buildings such as strongholds when they have researched a repeatable technology in the end game
  • AI will now downgrade Bastion-type Starbases which are no longer close enough to a valid threat in order to free up their Starbase capacity.
  • AI will now have a higher acceptance of Status Quo Peace if they are in an unreachable war for an extended period, fixing issues where AI empires need to wait for war exhaustion to reach 100% before setting a status quo
  • Fixed AI not being able to use defense platforms and made it focus on building those in the capital system and on Bastion starbases
  • Fixes an issue where AI would rather downgrade an existing starbase rather than cancel the construction of a new one when over the starbase cap
  • Hive mind AI will no longer build solar panels on their anchorage starbases
  • Improved AI's budgeting and rationale for building orbital ring modules and buildings, so it will now build the most useful ones more consistently
  • Improvements to AI logic for building megastructures. It will no longer cease building any other megastructures because it is currently making a hyper relay, and it will now build habitats and hyper relays even if it is capped by the megastructure build limits.
  • Made the AI more likely to build defensive platforms if it is near but not at the naval cap
  • Made the AI more likely to try and upgrade orbital rings (and less likely to attempt to downgrade them, which was meant to be impossible)
  • Necroid Empires will now force grow their subservient species on their planets
  • Necrophage empires will now correctly use their special Necroid purge type on all species that are not their subspecies
  • Pacifists now have an increased desire to build bastion starbases, changed from Militarists
  • Removed AI directive to delete all its upgraded buildings using a special resource if it fell into a deficit in that resource. Going bankrupt will downgrade all those buildings anyway, and downgrading is less disruptive than deleting

These are not all the AI improvements coming in 3.5 “Fornax”, you can read the full patch notes here (in English only).

Performance Improvements
Performance is one of the big three issues that we are constantly iterating on and trying to improve in Stellaris. In 3.5 “Fornax”, we have made some progress in this area, which will hopefully improve the late-game performance for at least some of our Community.
  • Parallelised batch modifier updates (large reduction of lag spike potential in the late game), Situations progress, strike craft movement, country migration, spynetworks' daily updates, ship jump drive and experience calculations, checks of policies' validity, country opinion caching and some parts of planets' handling of monthly pop growth
  • Multithreaded working out trade value and resources for systems' map icon displays on the galaxy map
  • Added Caching of colonies in system, starbase types, and wars, things that were previously calculated “on the fly”
  • Optimized AI decision-making for where to build Megastructures and Branch Offices
  • Optimized checking whether a country can use a certain hyper relay or gateway
  • Improved performance of the game checking if a planet is a colony, slightly (it does this a lot, so this speeds up e.g. intel updating non-negligibly)
  • Optimized a few events frequently called via on_planet_surveyed (since planets can be surveyed and unsurveyed via the intel system)
  • Reduced the performance cost of auto migration on the monthly tick (by about half)
We hope to hear your feedback on how much this has helped when 3.5 “Fornax” releases on September 20th!

More Achievements!
Our Art Department had so much fun making art for the new achievements in Overlord that they have demanded that we add even more achievements. We have added a total of 19 new achievements, 3 for each Species Pack (including Toxoids), as well as 1 for Synthetic Dawn.. because.. Well, why not?

We didn’t design the achievements based on puns. We swear.

Accessibility Improvements
Accessibility is something we always try to be conscious of when designing new systems for Stellaris, and while there is more in our development pipeline for Accessibility Improvements, with 3.5 “Fornax” we have added:

Mouse Side Button Mode
  • Maps Mouse 4 and Mouse 5 to toggle pause state and galactic/system views
  • Options are Normal, Inverted, or Off

Keyed Zoom Level
  • Page Up and Page Down will now also change the Camera Zoom Level

Keep in mind this is not all of the Accessibility Improvements that we have planned, this is just what we were able to fit in for this patch and if you have an Accessibility issue, we want to hear from you!

When can I play it?
The 3.5 “Fornax” update will release alongside the Toxoid Species Pack (which you can Preorder Now![pdxint.at]) on September 20th!

You can also read the full (English Only) patch notes here.[forum.paradoxplaza.com]

Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoy these latest additions to Stellaris!