Galactic Civilizations IV is about to hit a new milestone with the release of alpha update 0.60 tomorrow. With this new patch comes new civilizations, game features, and the usual round of bug fixes and tweaks, which means there’s never been a better time to pre-order Galactic Civilizations IV and join in the fun.
The core theme of the newest update is ‘loyalty’. Before now, each recruitable leader in the game had a loyalty score which could be modified, but the value itself didn’t really do anything. This system will now be fully unleashed on an unsuspecting galaxy; it will behove you to keep your leaders happy – unless you’d prefer to execute them, of course.
New galactic achievements have also been added, as well as new battle graphics and better map generation. As a player, you’ll also have a bit more control over how big your starting sector is, and how far away other empires will be at the start of each game. Last – but certainly not least – the Corporate Sector and the Xeloxi have joined the fray and are available to play for the first time. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the new features.
Loyalty and Leaders
A leader’s loyalty can be influenced by the ideological differences between the empire at large and their own personal views. It can also change due to events, or as an effect of the buildings and improvements you place on their planet. For example, if you build the newly introduced Governor’s Manor, the governor of its planet will like you better. Everyone wants a nice, shiny (and free) house, after all.
A leader’s loyalty is no joke, though. If it gets too low, it can influence the approval rating of your population, and at the extreme end the leader can just defect, taking the planet or ship they were commanding with them. Leaders who were in charge of specific government ministries will simply quit, but it’ll be no less disruptive.
To go along with this new loyalty system, there are a bunch of new interactions you can have with your leaders:
- Cybernetic implants: Requires the right techs, but this will allow you to permanently buff a leader’s stats.
- Gift: You can give Harmony Crystals to increase a leader’s loyalty to you. In some cultures, this is called a ‘bribe’.
- Fire: Remove the leader from their current position. Funnily enough, this won’t go down well…
- Execute: If you want to send a message – or you need to keep the head count down for the Christmas party – you can always execute your leaders. This also gives a boost to intimidation.
Note that if you choose that last option, your other leaders will also take a loyalty hit. Maybe some Harmony Crystals will help take their minds off it.
New Galactic Achievements
Originally introduced in the 0.55 update, these are lucrative global challenges that a player can attempt to complete for prestige, which is one of the victory conditions in Galactic Civilizations IV. Only a few were available in their initial rollout, and now the update brings three more:
- Against the Tide: Similar to the ‘Everwar’ achievement, this one instead causes every civilization in the game to declare war against you. You have to survive 100 turns before you can attempt to negotiate peace deals with anyone.
- Awakened Urges: Space monsters will spawn in increased numbers and have no restrictions on their movement patterns. You don’t have to do anything to get this achievement other than survive.
- Penultipox: A deadly disease has spread throughout the galaxy, crippling the growth of organic species and killing trillions. Only one civilization will be able to develop the cure. If it’s you, will you trade it to the other civilizations, or keep it? If it’s not you, what are you willing to do to get it?
Maps, graphics, and quality of life changes
The map generation tools have also changed, as mentioned above. Resources have been re-distributed to provide more variety. On the larger map sizes, 80-100 sectors can be generated, and the developers aren’t even convinced that a game this size can be fully conquered by any one empire. Sounds like a challenge to us.
Fun fact: To make this work, Stardock needed to add programmatic means of generating names for stars, because the existing manual lists of potential names kept running out.
Fleets on the campaign map will now show all ships within that fleet, not just a handful. If you zoom in, you’ll be able to see them all flying in formation, and you can now also zoom in during tactical battles to see your fleets in action as well.
It’s not just about new features, though. Every update also comes with tweaks, changes, and revisions to content that’s come before, and there are some interesting things to note in 0.60.
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For example, players now start with a probe, which will really help with early-game exploration. Two new types of relics have also been introduced, and colonies will no longer grow beyond their initial citizen, which will have massive implications for early growth.
On the flipside, there will be slightly fewer anomalies lying around, and anomalies will take three turns to survey. Pirates and space monsters will also travel a little bit more widely as well, so be careful where you roam – here there be dragons.
As a final note, you’ll remember that we mentioned the new civilizations coming, but we haven’t gone into any detail. You can check out the official Stardock blog post tomorrow if you want an overview of what they’re like – but don’t worry, we’ll be doing specific deep dives on them as factions in due course, just like we did with the Festron, the Yor, and the Navigators.
If you want to try out the new update for yourself when it drops tomorrow on November 3, you’ll need to pre-order to get instant access to the alpha.