Let me give a quick summary about the purpose and content of this post. This is to help those who are curious about buying the game, have just got back into the game since launch, or already have the game but looking at the DLC. This is not to learn new strategies, but rather to learn what content the game has to offer.
This section is for those curious about the Stellaris, but is also useful if you have recently purchased the game.
Stellaris is about starting on your homeworld and proceeding to expand across the stars. You do this by colonizing planets and building outposts to claim new star systems to acquire resources. You will encounter civilizations that wish to befriend you and others who wish to wipe you off the face of the galaxy. Some civilizations have not yet mastered FTL, while others are incredibly advanced. Within your own empire, you are able to choose governing ethics, develop planets, hire leaders, manage your population, and interact with factions. Later on, you can even terraform planets and even modify entire species at will.
Hopefully this piques your interest and gives you a broad concept of what you are able to do within the game. Stellaris is normally $39.99 USD or equivalent, but there are often deals on Steam, Paradox, Humble Bundle, and other places where the game is substantially discounted. There are some DLCs out now that offer good content, however you may want to simply get the base game before you start putting more money into the game.
If you’re still unsure about buying the game, but wish to see more content you can go to the following resources. First off, you can go to the Stellaris Wiki to see more details about the game and get more advanced information on the mechanics. There are also channels on Youtube and Twitch that produce content regularly. From Youtube, ASpec, TheXPGamers, The Spiffing Brit, and EnterElysium and from Twitch, Shenyyr. Additionally, Paradox does produce Youtube videos and stream on Twitch. Don’t forget there are also small channels that produce content as well. You can also ask around here on the subreddit to get more information.
This section is for those of you who have had the game since launch, but maybe only played a game or two early on.
Well it’s been a whole year since Stellaris came out! So far there have been six major updates to the game in the past year. There have been major changes to many mechanics to the game, but all of them for the better.
- Remember that odd habitability wheel where it was hard to know which species could settle what planet type? That’s gone now, and it is has been replaced with three climate classes wet, cold, and dry. Currently, your species can settle on any planet within its climate class. Additionally, there are now savannah and alpine planet types.
- Remember how colonization was really annoying since you had to build colony ships and then manually send them to planets? Even worse, if you built them in a sector they didn’t even show up in your outliner! Now you have the expansion planner which allows for you to order the construction of colony ships that automatically get sent out.
- Remember how weak kinetic weapons were? Well they have received significant buffs over time. So much so that they are arguably the strongest weapon class in the game. Tachyon lance spam is gone too, so you need to be smarter on your ship designs.
- Remember those annoying factions where you just dumped influence on them and hoped they went away? Like many things from launch, this too is gone. Now factions are more dynamic by having certain interests and objectives based on their ethics. You can also use this system to change your governing ethics entirely.
- Remember the governments you could get, based on your ethos, to receive certain bonuses? Well Paradox changed several times. Now there is a new civics system that allows for more empire customization, so you can choose more of the bonuses you want. This new civics system does on the ethics you chose.
- Additionally, there are other parts of the game from launch that have been altered. However, all of these changes are for the better.
The biggest critique of the game at launch was that, after the early game, Stellaris could start to become boring. However, additional content has been released, mechanics have been changed, and lots of bugs have been fixed. In fact, there have been over 600 bugs that have been fixed throughout the game’s history as stated from the patches. At launch, the game had some things going for it, but it also had a lot holding it back. One year later, the game is a lot more refined. Getting back into the game may feel weird but, considering how many changes there have been, rest assured it’s a much better game.
If you need help figuring out what has changed over time you can ask within the subreddit. If you want to learn what major changes have occurred, be sure to check out this page on the wiki. Alternatively, you can read the full patch notes for 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 directly on the paradox forums.
This section is for those of you who only have the base game, but are curious about the DLC that has come out so far.
So far in the game’s history the following DLC has been made available. This includes Utopia, Leviathans Story Pack, Plantoids Species Pack, Horizon Signal, Creatures of the Void, Anniversary Portraits, and the Arachnoid Portrait Pack. Additionally, there is the Original Game Soundtrack, Digital Collector's Book, and Infinite Frontiers. You can find out more details here on the wiki.
The three major DLC packs that add substantial content to Stellaris are the Utopia, Leviathan, and Synthetic Dawn DLC packs.
The Leviathans DLC pack adds enclaves, guardians, and the war in heaven. You can interact with the three types of enclaves to gain significant benefits for your empire. The guardians are powerful entities that will require formidable fleets to overcome. However, they too have various benefits that can be exceptionally powerful. The war in heaven is when two awakened empires of opposite ethics come to fight against each other, dragging in other empires to assist in their war. Additionally, numerous cute species portraits are also added.
The Utopia DLC pack adds megastructures and ascension perks. The ascension perks are powerful empire wide bonuses you acquire for finishing traditions. Eventually, you can direct your empire towards three ascension paths: Psionic, Synthetic, and Biological. The megastructures you can build, given you research the prerequisite tech and ascension perks, include the ringworld, dyson sphere, sentry array, and science nexus. You can also build orbital habitats which allow you to settle over every planet within your empire.
The Synthetic Dawn Story Pack adds the ability to play machine empires where you start as a robotic hivemind. There are three flavors that you could play as which you could purge organic life, assimilate organic life, or protect and pamper it. Additionally, there will also be a fallen machine empire added that will have special interactions with empires on whether they are organic or robotic. There will also be eight new robotic portraits added to the game and some other minor features and music/audio additions.
There are other minor DLC packs that add cosmetic content to the game.
- The Plantoids Species Pack adds the plantoids species group. This includes many plantoid species portraits as well as unique ship and station models.
- The Horizon Signal Pack adds the Horizon signal event chain. Note: This is considered to be a free DLC
- The Creatures of the Void pack adds several species portraits. This was made available to those who pre-ordered the game.
- The Anniversary Portraits pack adds all of the portraits available within the Creatures of the Void pack as well as three new species portraits. Note: This is a free DLC that was made available to everybody one year after the release of the game.
- The Arachnoid Portrait Pack is a DLC that is available if you have bought the nova edition of the game or have bought the nova upgrade pack. This pack gives the arachnoid species portrait only.
- Other DLC mentioned doesn’t impact gameplay nor make any cosmetic changes.
The Utopia, Leviathan, and Synthetic Dawn DLC packs all provide major content additions. For any interested, these packs are the only ones that provide meaningful changes that are worth the price. These DLC packs are, respectively, $19.99 and $9.99 USD or equivalent. Often, when updates or new DLC expansions are released, the DLC is on sale, so you can purchase the content during these times. Like the base game, you can purchase the DLC on Steam and Paradox. Additionally, deals are often posted on the subreddit. However, always be sure to keep an eye out on isthereanydeal to find discounts at numerous online game retailers.
That about wraps it up. I hope that this was able to give you a better idea of what Stellaris is, how it has changed, and/or what content it has to offer.