Stellaris is a game chock full of sci-fi potential but underfed in the mid-game. The Asimov patch (1.2), due towards the end of June, aims to fix that. Paradox revealed the first chunk of Asimov last week, and in a new dev diary, it gives us the full picture.
Happily, Asimov addresses most of the criticism Phil unleashed on Stellaris in our review. No longer will you be trapped in your lonesome pocket of space while your galactic neighbours deny you access to fight space beasts and such. Borders will be open by default, closing through (a lack of) diplomacy or due to rivalries.
The underwhelming ‘Embassies’ feature, which gave you an ongoing bonus to your rep with other empires without cost, has been removed. Instead, maintaining relations will require active diplomacy, such as trade agreements or defensive pacts. Burgeoning superpowers will also face ‘Diplomatic Incidents’ that shake up relations, so try not to probe anything you shouldn’t.
Wargoals have also been expanded, allowing you to stand for and achieve moral victories, like the abolition of slavery. Alternatively, you can force the enemy to completely abandon a planet, committing genocide as you do.
Battles will look less like beeswarms, as Paradox puts it, wherein every ship wades into the fray and starts blasting. Weapon ranges have been increased, and ships with ‘Bombardment’ targeting computers use their short-range weapons as a last resort.
Asimov looks set to add many layers of complexity to Stellaris. I’m all in favour of needing more caution in a dark, unknown galaxy.