Stellaris Dev Diary #20 - War & Peace

By Rebecca Smith, 10 months ago
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Hello everyone!

For today’s dev diary, I thought I’d talk about a crucial part of Stellaris; waging wars and making peace, because as you know, not all ETs are nice... The system is different from most strategy games out there, but should be familiar to anyone who has played a Paradox Development Studio title. In fact, it is probably most reminiscent of how these things work in the Europa Universalis games.

Let’s start at the beginning. When you declare war in Stellaris, you have to state what your aims are; what the war is actually about. You simply choose from a list of possible goals, where each one is listed with a certain cost. The total cost of your picked goals cannot exceed 100. If you have a good reason to take something, the cost will be reduced. This might be the case if, for example, members of your founding species happen to live on a planet, or if it has previously been a part of your empire.

If you are a member of an alliance, the other members will need approve your list of selected goals before you can actually start the war. This is of course more likely if you are not too greedy and want to take everything yourself. That is, you will probably want to assign some goals to other alliance members to get them to approve the war.

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When a war has been declared, the defending side is allowed to add war goals in the same manner, but they have an important advantage; they have a one-year grace period, and can thus choose targets depending on how the war is already progressing.

You need to gain “war score” in order to win, just like in our other games (-100 to 100.) At any time, you can negotiate for peace by selecting specific goals from your own list or that of the other side, very much like in Europa Universalis (except that you are limited to the stated war goals.)

Of course, wars are not always waged simply to seize territory: Other valid goals could be vassalization, for example, or securing a treaty of some kind. Sometimes, you might not really care about your stated goals at all, but just going in there and destroying the enemy’s space ports and stations...

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Like in most of our games, occupying a planet with your armies does not mean it immediately becomes yours, of course; you need to demand it in the peace talks. There is a notable exception to this rule though; so called “first contact wars”. Before you have established communications with another civilization, it is possible to simply attack them and even take one of their planets (but once you take a planet, communications are immediately established.) Of course, such early hostility will never be forgotten, and will sour your relations for the rest of the game… There are other exceptions to how wars are waged, in the form of special types of civilizations, but that will have to wait for another dev diary.

That’s all for this week folks, stay tuned next week for “Administrative Sectors”!
Rebecca Smith
Written by Rebecca Smith
Rebecca is the Newshound Manager at TrueSteamAchievements, TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies. She has been contributing articles since 2010, especially those that involve intimidatingly long lists. When not writing news, she can usually be found sharpening her very, VERY, pointy grammar stick in anticipation of its imminent use. Outside of TSA, TA and TT, she works in an independent game shop so that she can spend all day talking about games too. At home, with a variety of PCs and consoles on hand from which to choose, starting with a ZX Spectrum, games are never far away there either. However, as you're not supposed to have an unhealthy obsession with just a single subject, she also likes to read and dream about owning her own tribe of minions. She'll occasionally go outside.