Stellaris’s next expansion is called Federations, and it will flesh out the game’s diplomatic systems – that’s according to publisher-developer Paradox in the PDX Con 2019 announcement show. The headline features are a rework for federations and the addition of a Galactic Community, which is basically like the World Congress from the Civilization series.
The Galactic Community has a senate which can pass resolutions – galaxy-spanning laws that affect all factions. They are intentionally divisive, with each resolution likely to benefit certain empires and harm others. All factions will vote on proposed resolutions using their ‘diplomatic weight’ – this is a score affected by several factors, such as fleet size, empire sprawl, technological development and so on. It’s in constant flux but it’s not a currency that you’ll earn and spend, like Civ VI’s diplomatic favour.
That said there is a favour mechanic in Federations, which enables empires to borrow weight from and lend weight to others on individual votes. The Galactic Senate can also vote on a Galactic Focus – a single, much wider-reaching project, one example of which is setting up a single Galactic Market.
Elsewhere, Federations now come in several different flavours, and can level up with experience, unlocking perks to benefit all members. Experience accrues faster when the Federation is more coherent, while the perks and actions the Federation can take get more plentiful and powerful when it’s more centralised – highly centralised federations are able to create a shared fleet which benefits from all members’ technology, for instance. Members can agree to centralise further, but doing so is likely to harm coherence, so there’s a balance to strike.
As mentioned in a recent dev diary, the Federations expansion will give you the chance to add an origin story when creating your faction at the start of a new game. These add a further touch of flavour and role-playing potential, as well as some gameplay challenges or advantages. If you decide your people are Void Dwellers whose homeworld was destroyed, they’ll get to build habitats earlier and get some advantages for living on them. The Doomsday origin, however, means your homeworld will get destroyed in the next 60 to 70 years, so you’d better find somewhere else to live.
If you’re wondering what the sweet giant spaceship in the header image is, that’s a Juggernaut – a massive new warship that’s not only devastating in itself, but can repair other ships, making it a potent forward base. It’s one of two new huge construction projects, the other of which is the Mega Shipyard, which can churn out ships with devastating speed.
Finally, a new species pack was also announced today. The Lithoids are sentient rocks, and will get a new ship set, voice pack, portraits and – in a first for a species pack – unique gameplay (they eat minerals rather than food, shed rare crystals from their carapaces, and other cool stuff). The Lithoids release on Thursday 24 and will cost $7.99, while the Federation DLC is due in the “near future” and will cost $19.99.