[spoilers]Some thoughts, impressions, but mostly critiques from a semi-4xnoob after my first full playthrough.

Stellaris, dlc: Utopia, leviathan. Hyperlanes only. Playing on iMac w/ trackpad/mbp.

Background gaming experience: 90's & 2000's rts, sins of a solar empire, civ 3/4/5/6/ac/be, total war, simulation games a la sim city/tycoon/tropico.

First off I loved the game. Its my current favorite strategy game but I fear that sentiment won't be apparent from this largely critical post.

Tutorial-I felt it was really inadequate. My biggest issues was the lack of milestones/ability to know if I'm doing good/poorly without consulting online forums. Getting dropped immediately into a sandbox was rather overwhelming.

I think a semi-scripted scenario could really shine here. Getting dropped immediately into a sandbox while also trying to learn the ui and game mechanics was an overwhelming experience for me. Get me into a routine. I know I SHOULD be redesigning my ships after researching a new applicable tech but I'm too busy trying to figure out XYZ feature and what to build/research/etc. Remind me. Get me into a routine. Full sandbox can come later.

UI- Minor issue but, please let me continuously scroll to the galactic map from the system map. Similar to Total War: Warhammer's continuous scroll from battle to tactical map.

Static defenses- I REALLLLLLY wanted some impenetrable systems. Think Reach or Earth from the Halo universe. I think the proximity restriction needs to be drastically reduced to allow far more overlap. Beyond that, here are a few different ways I think this could be altered for the better:

  1. Global military station limit- either kept as a simple limit or maybe exclude military defenses within the capital system and/or systems with fully upgraded administrative buildings/some new unique building

  2. Make the maintenance cost extremely expensive outside of capital/fully upgraded administrative building/some new unique building. Similar to the above but no hard limit

  3. system military station limit-pretty straight forward.

Some combination of the above three. I also think something similar to the ftl inhibitor from sins of a solar empire could work well. The snare is great but I'd like to see a station that doesn't snare but either completly prohibits or greatly increases the ftl jump time system wide.

Spaceports-allow me to make these at least as powerful as a fortress even if that means some sacrifices ie longer build times no battleships etc.

Megastructures- Whats up with the maintenance cost of the ring world? I can only upgrade one section at a time because of the lack of engineering talent but…-5 energy? Thats it? idk seems wildlyyyyy disproportionate to me. Its a giant fucking ring around a sun but costs less monthly maintenance than colonizing a planet? I can rp this and say solar panels etc but it just seems…odd

Border growth-I'd like to see something like border growth via force projection from ships. IIRC sins of a solar empire had a feature like this. I'd also like to see something like private frontier stations or something similar. Maybe via an ascension perk.

Research/unity cost- I think this would better if it were based on core/sector systems rather than planets. It'd greatly incentivize building a ring world. It'd also incentivize terraforming/colonizing small habitable planets in a system with a large planet you already colonized. Passing up on a habitable planet because its too small while also being in the same system as, say earth, hurts the rp experience, at least for me.

Diplomacy-I think this needs a lot of work but haven't given it a great deal of thought. That said, one feature I would like to have is the ability to disrupt federations/sew discord. Maybe convince the small human population of a rival alien empire to rebel? Maybe gift those super nice and trusting xenophiles a xenomorph? Seems like theres a lot of potential here!

War-needs work. I do think the above military station suggestions would greatly improve war but the way war score is calculated seems…broken. i.e. if I literally destroyed the enemy's entire fleet and spaceports while my fleets literally orbit every single enemy planet then I think the war should end after a certain amount of time without me needing to invade.

I'd also love to see reverse engineering be an aspect for war beyond researching debris (is the debris reward even determined by the ship/owner's tech?). Some ideas I had were a successful planetary invasion giving a chance of offering progress towards a tech the enemy posses that you do not. Calculating two waring empires tech score and giving the technologically inferior nation a bonus towards any techs the technologically superior empire possesses. Maybe increase the bonus after certain milestones ie 5 years, 10 years, 20, etc. Maybe give both nations a bonus but give the technologically inferior a much greater bonus. There's tons of historical examples of this from the roman quinquiremes to more recently the adoption of US Special Forces tactics by an elite unit of the Taliban.

Events/mysteries-I really enjoyed this aspect of the game. I'd just love to see it expanded a bit i.e. meteor blowing up some mining station etc. These kinds of things are easy to implement while potentially adding a ton of flavor to the mid and late game. Maybe some setup customization i.e. frequency of random events, frequency of passive events, frequency of neutral events, frequency of hostile events etc.

Unique structures-I'd love some more planet unique structures. Maybe allow more building choices for betharian crystals/alien pets as well as some more planet unique buildings/resources.

Bit of a discombobulated rant/wishlist with many of my suggestions probably needing to be brought behind the shed like old yeller but yeah this game is a lot of fun; I just see it as having a ton of potential beyond its current state!

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