Version 1.40 released
While I was making the expansion I also took the opportunity to review all the game rules and mechanics. This version includes a lot of changes, tweaks and improvements, usually small ones, to existing mechanics.
Overall there are 4 bigger changes:
1) New “suppressed” mechanic. Now The Hive and Parasites can not launch offensive operations from Barren or radiated planets. It adds to your disposal several strategic options, like nuking planets to prevent invasions from those race, make a sanitary cordon around Parasites homeworld or to plan your borders according to presence of Barren planets buffering you from The Hive.
2) Planetary development level works slightly different now, most races will only increase the development level and never decrease it (except some vicious primitive races which will devastate planets they live on). This is a subtle change but it opens new strategic considerations, like you can now hunt for higher development planets than your level so you clam them for yourself (you no longer will degrade those planets to your level) and you will be more conscious what the Hive and other primitive races do in the areas you wanted to conquer eventually.
3) Introduced limit to the number of subsidized planets. It was a bit too micromanagement heavy in some cases, now with the limit it’s more of a strategic choice which planets to subsidize.
4) I was looking through the save files you were sending me (actually, only like 2 people answered my call for those :)) and I examined what was unbalanced, especially in terms what was too trivial to accomplish. With this version I introduced a bunch of balance tweaks based on this examination. Things like trade value, loyalty of planets, resources, budget, glorious achievements, etc.
Since this version introduced a lot of gameplay chanages, I have added Steam beta branch “v1.3”, you can enable it if you liked the old rules better or want to finish your current game under the old rules.
– [feature] Now when you gain the ability to close transdimensional rifts you also gain an ability to open them and trigger the invasion. You can do so by an audience action event (a scientist will attend with this option).
– [feature] You will claim the title of ‘Defender of the Galaxy’ (via audience event) if all rifts are sealed and transdimensional invasion is not possible anymore.
– [feature] All races that use bio ships (The Hive & Parasites) are suppressed on Barren or radiated planets. Being suppressed means those races can’t launch any offensive operations from those planets. So, you can use nukes to hold off invasions of some primitive races or position yourself better if you stop your expansion just before a Barren planet (or you can preemptively nuke an uncolonized planet near The Hive borders to keep a buffer zone).
– [feature] Planetary development level is not decreased by races anymore (only increased). Some primitive races got “Devastating” trait which allow them to lower the value (the old way). This makes development level changes more meaningful and allows hunting for planets with a superior development level since it’s retained after conquest.
– [feature] Limit of subsidized planets introduced which is 8 + 1 planet per 100 prestige (it was too micromanagement heavy since some high income empires tended to subsidize planets massively, now you have a limit on number of planets you can subsidize at once, so it’s more of a strategic choice which one to subsidize).
– [misc] The Hive overmind will never spawn on a Barren planet.
– [misc] Renamed difficulty levels (1-2 Easy, 3-5 Normal, 6-7 Hard, 8-9 got a new designation “Insane”).
– [misc] Altered starmap generator. Outer rim planets (the very edge of the galaxy) have significantly lower chance for rare resources also the best planet types (Terran and Megacity) will never be generated there (to give the feel of inhospitable & dangerous galactic rim).
– [misc] Spellcheck and text cleanup.
– [balance] Planet’s life quality can now fall to 0 (previously minimum 1). It can affect some Barren planets orbiting certain sun types.
– [balance] Slightly reduced planetary loyalty from happiness, reduced planetary security rating from governor’s competence, reduced base planetary loyalty from 20% to 10% (the planetary loyalty/security bars were too much to the right overall, diluting the need to care about those, plus planets were too insignificant when it comes to rebel points generation compared to the court and military).
– [balance] Solar energy works on Barren now (unusable on Ice and Tundra only) which is more intuitive.
– [balance] Blue stars grant +2 research points instead of +1 (the previous effect was too small for you to bother).
– [balance] Planetary development level changes made slower (0.25 to 0.10 per turn) but faster if a very low development level.
– [balance] Nuke also eradicates The Hive’s Overmind if present.
– [balance] Farms, refineries and factories output reduced.
– [balance] Services output doubled (there was not enough income from those to make those a viable focus).
– [balance] Trade income tripled.
– [balance] Increased cost of exerting budget also the cost now scales to number of planets under imperial control.
– [balance] Increased base difficulty for difficulty levels 5-9.
– [balance] Additional rule (difficulty: 8-9 only) Transdimensional aliens open rifts much earlier.
– [balance] Adjusted number of planets for glorious achievements (cosmetic change to make the numbers look nicer).
– [balance] Adjusted number of population for glorious achievements (both a cosmetic change and rebalance, overall, much higher numbers are required for the last two population glorious achievements).
– [balance] Ironman mode: Superstrong Alien Armadas now also affects armadas cooldown (reduced from 50 to 30 turns).
– [removed] Removed Insectoid Tunnels (those were useless anyway).
– [interface] Simplified planetary development level display on Economy page (it was a bit too detailed for the needs here, especially when a full information is given on the planet overview level anyway).
– [interface] Added ”Find” to some reports (Rebels take over, Hive Overmind killed). NOTE: reports might be slightly messed up the first time you load an old save (next turn those will be displayed properly)
– [interface] Rearranged minimap buttons (Astronomy moved before Specialization map mode) and adjusted descriptions.
– [interface] “Strategic Bombardment” button renamed to “Strategic Action” and enabled for all planets.
– [interface] Hotkeys for Conquest order [e] and Strategic Action [q]. Also hotkey to cancel Priority Exploration order changed to [e].
– [interface] Hotkeys 1-5 to switch options (so options behave like the rest of the interface).
– [interface] Planetary tabs can by switched by pressing 1,2,3 keys (consistent with the rest of the interface).
– [interface] Separate markers for planets with Overminds (brain icon).
– [interface] Small interface adjustments.
– [fix] Planetary development level tooltips were inconsistent (one took into account moon and one did not).
– [fix] Empire age was unchecked after changing map size on the main menu.