Stellaris – Recent AI Upgrade and the War in Heaven

Paradox recently updated the AI in Stellaris and it’s definately got more interesting!

Usually I can roll over most empires by mid to late game, but this time I was definately having to pick my battles and not overextend my self. I opted for a 1000 star system playthrough and hoped I’d be able to roll as normal.

The game had other ideas. For those that don’t play Stellaris, the idea is that you guide a civilisation from it’s first discovery of “warp” tech to colonising the Galaxy. The freedom it affords you in how you want to play is phenomenal.

During you game, you’ll eventually run in to “Fallen Empires” These are space faring civilisations that have been around for a very long time that have pretty much withdrawn from the galaxy and keep themselves away from the lesser races. They are so far advanced, it’s a death sentence early game to even think about breathing near them.

Due to the random nature of the Stellaris, everything is chance based and once of these events that can trigger is called “The War in Heaven”. If you’ve ever seen Babylon 5, it’s straight out of the Vorlon/Shadows playbook in using the younger races in their games. 2 Fallen Empires “Awaken” and resume their old feuds, getting more powerful than when they were dormant. They eventually force the younger races to pick a side, with no side being considered as being an enemy.

Giants in the playground indeed…..

Before the recent AI update, I’m normally so far ahead of the other empires that I can a) Grind down both fallen empires and b) Convince most of the galaxy to stay “unaligned” and fight for the younger races.

The harder difficulty this time around meant I hadn’t managed to “snowball” my power as I normally had and the game awakened it’s first Fallen Empure if 2404.

So the War in Heaven still isn’t guaranteed at this point but within a few months, sure enough the next Fallen Empire had awoken. Even at this point, it’s not a guaranteed fight but the odds just went up significantly

The “War in Heaven” began in 2413. An ultimatum from the 2 giants was sent to the galactic community. Join us or face our wrath. Seeing the initial rush of some of the lesser races to each side caused me a moment of concern. I’d never seen this many side with the Awakened before and I was in no position to take on 2 Fallen Empires and their vassals by myself for any length of time. I just wasn’t ready

Thankfully, Stellaris offers a decision, to invite the other non-aligned empires into a “League of non-aligned Powers” as a defensive measure to stand as one against any offensive measure by the Awakened empires. It doesn’t take long but the galaxies battle lines are drawn with a near 33% split. The League was slightly larger but the Awakened certainly had the technology advantage.

The initial 3 Sides in the conflict. The 2 fallen empires has similiar colours. The League of Non-Aligned Powers shown in grey.

It doesn’t taken long for the awakened to notice the formation of the League and war is declared. At this point, the League is outmatched. Thankfully however, we have some tricks up our sleeve. We skirmish with the Awakened who at the moment seem more intent on killing each other, our fleets background noise to their larger conflict while our diplomatic efforts push for greater cooperation. A plan is hatched.

Stellaris has the equviliant of a space UN where issues and resolutions are decided upon. It’s first order it to appoint me as Galactic Custodian, a way to help push through the required resolutions to bringus up to speed. The first thing I do is order the creation go of the “Galactic Defence Force” or GDF. A fleet under the control of the Custodian taking the best from each empire and built and paid for across all members of the League. The fleet would give us the numbers to punch holes in enemy lines alonside our own fleets. In 2421 the AI actually goes along with but also heavily contributes to the GDF

The GDF is formed.

What followed was 78 years of War on a galactic scale including numerous planet killing atrocities on all sides as lines hardened and progress of systems rocked back and forth but eventually, the strength of the younger races united overcame the hubris of the older ones. In 2491, after 78 years,the war drew to a close, the awakened empires scattered to the wind, her people liberated and integrated into the galactic community.

Stellaris is all about choice and I still held the title of Galactic Custodian and with a little maneouvering I could proclaim myself as Galactic Emporer (star wars anyone?). But at this point, I am so damn tired of looking after everyone and vote to remove my power which thankfully, my fellow members granted.

Time for a well earned retirement break on one of my empires many resort worlds I think…

Time for a break

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