Stellaris – Federations DLC first impressions

Last Tuesday saw the release of the Federations DLC for Stellaris. While others have been eagerly awaiting for the the release of other games I’ve been waiting for this DLC. And for good reasons too, as they not only they completely revamped the whole Federations system but they also made all aspects of diplomacy a lot more interesting. Plus a lot of other interesting bunch of stuff as par for the course. 🙂

But even though I knew everything that was coming with this DLC there were still a few things that confused me at first but I think I am starting to understand how they work.

The first of those was a new addition, the Origins. They are basically a way to further customize your species start. For instance, you can start on your home planet with another alien species, or start in an Habitat or in a Federation. There are a bunch of different Origins, with most of them having some pros and cons.

What confused me about it was that I thought it was going to be our first option when creating our own custom species but it is actually right before choosing our government ethics. This threw me off and made me wonder if my game was actually updated with the DLC. I had to actually look again at the species creation to notice it. XD

For this playthrough, I chose to play as a Lithoid, a species I was always curious to play with. With this DLC they have a special Origin called “Calamitous Birth”. It basically allows them to have an alternative to a colony ship, a meteor that they can crash into a new planet. The advantage of using a meteor is that it creates a lot more mining sectors. The disadvantages are that it eliminates any native life form in the planet, creates a huge crater on it and lowers its habitability.

Funny enough if you have other alien species in your lithoid empire you can also use the meteor option to colonize a planet with those alien species. I haven’t tried that though and I wonder if those species would actually survive the impact. XD

Let’s go crash into another planet! Wee~

Another cool thing is that now we can more directly affect our diplomat relations with other empires. We can do that by sending envoys to them, either to improve our relations or harm them. They can also do the same towards your empire but I think it only affects their stance towards us.

Envoys are pretty limited though and once put to work we can’t change it for some years. So they need to be used carefully. There are also some other ways to get more envoys but from what I’ve seem so far their number won’t increase by that much.

The second thing that threw me off was with the Federations itself. Since I was really curious to see how they would work now, my priority was to create one as soon as possible. So I created a Trade League with my immediate neighbor with whom I had some pretty good relations already.

What I didn’t expect was a new mechanic called “Cohesion”. Cohesion is basically, a way to represent that the members of the federations share the same ideals. It also serves as XP to get new levels for it, which in turn unlocks more bonuses for its members depending on the Federation type.

In practice that means you would want the other members of your Federation to have the same Ethics as you as opposing ethics end up having a negative effect on cohesion.

I knew that Federations would have levels now and a way to earn XP for it. I just didn’t know the details so I was very surprised when my newly formed Federation started with negative cohesion since I only shared one ethic with my neighbor at the time. I quickly put some envoys to work in the Federation to fix that.

Another surprise was that I couldn’t just invite anyone to join it. First not only do we need a good relationship with the prospect new member but it also can’t be rivaled by any of its current members.

Because of that my federation is still me and my neighboring civilization. All the other ones I would like to invite are being rivaled by my neighbor, are already part of another federation or aren’t interested.

Can we vote for me to be the sole emperor of the galaxy? No? Ok, I thought there was no harming in asking.

Lastly, there is the Galactic Community. The impression I had from the developer’s diaries was that we could just make proposals to it, willy-nilly but there are actually some mechanics to make each proposal have some weight to it and to be countered, in case it turns out to not be that advantageous to you.

I am still trying to get the hang of it and I am curious to see how they deal with certain crisis like an horde uniting under a Great Khan, a Fallen Empire Awakening or the end-game crisis.

In my current game there were two hordes, one that I tried to eliminate as fast as possible, before it united, because it was near my borders. The other one is still nomadic and I think I am already past the point where they could become a threat.

One of the Fallen Empires just woke recently too but so far I haven’t seem any option to bring it up as a threat in the Galactic Council. I don’t know if it is because they are very far away from me at this point or because they haven’t done anything that others would consider a danger.

If you don’t want to be part of the Galactic Council you can also leave at any time. Or maybe not even join it to begin with (I am not too sure about this point). But to leave you need to pay a lot of influence to do so. I am not sure what are the disadvantages of not being part of the Galactic Council, besides not enjoying the benefits of any proposals and using it to mess with your rivals.

Overall I am greatly enjoying this DLC. It brought much needed depth to a lot of parts to the game and there are still things I haven’t even touched yet, like the new Juggernaut ship. I already loved Stellaris before and now my head is swimming with a whole lot new kinds of new games I want to start just to test all these new options. 🙂

If you love Stellaris too I’d say this is one of those must-have DLCs as it gives interesting options to the game that adds a lot of replayability to it.

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