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Life in Utopia: First Impressions

By ScuttleShip - 14th April 2017 - 22:52 PM

The 6th April was quite a grand day for Paradox with the release of not one but two DLC's for Stellaris and Europa Universalis IV. I did keep my eye on all the trailers and developer diaries. However now that Stellaris: Utopia has been released, I, ScuttleShip, decided that I should have a look at the released Stellaris: Utopia game and share my personal thoughts regarding that.

Well, I ended up with a seemingly empty start. I had chosen the largest Galaxy I could and had set the population in said Galaxy to be around 10-15 with at least 4 Fallen Empires. Within the first decade or two, I found a Gaia World, colonising said world turned out to be a mistake as there was very promptly a rude awakening from a Fallen Empire who were residing directly to my South East. With this in mind, I knew that I would, in fact, be relatively safe from the further onslaught and that I should aim to build across the Galaxy rather than try contesting with the Empire. After a shaky start with them, we ended up getting on quite well. It was around the 100-year mark I found my first enemy to really contend with. I say the enemy, because that's exactly what playing a Hive Mind in this game is. Everyone hates you, well except other Hives and it was safe to say that any alliances I had hoped on making were instantly shattered. There seemed to be a lot of nations who were relatively tall near me but very little had the sprawling mass that I had gone for.

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Entering the mid game wasn't as interesting as I had hoped it would be. The habitats that had been recommended seem to be the relatively mid-late game and mega-structures wouldn't be experienced until I reached end game. I found myself very much wanting good techs to come up time and time again. The mid-late period is still very much a waiting game. Waiting for your empire to amass traction and good technology. I had thought I was progressing well in terms of my technology but instead found that I was always one step behind despite all the benefits I received. Was I just unlucky with what techs I was getting? Or has the AI had some sort of boost to its capabilities to acquire technology? Having entered the late game things started to really kick off. I was happy for some action but it soon became apparent that the dormant Fallen Empires are really quite weak once you have any sort of power peak and sure they might be leaps and bounds ahead in terms of tech but the reality is, is that once you have reached a decent point in the game they are meaningless. The Awakened Empire, on the other hand, is quite potent. I was successfully able to form a federation with them as they battled the Unbidden. Something that should be noted is that the Galaxy is meant to set aside their differences and fight the Unbidden together. Turns out I was more of a plague than the world devours' as it was during a period of 40 years after they arrived that everyone decided that all they wanted to do was gang up on Scuttle.

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Any of the updates that Leviathan provided were so far away from me (I owned a one-sixth of the Galaxy) that I really had to push for them. Some of which I was never able to reach before the other races cleared them out. By the time I acquired many of them it had become virtually meaningless or alternatively they were in areas that wouldn't benefit me until I conquered someone entirely. I feel like there could have been more than one of the events for each. In the maximum size Galaxy I had really struggled to find people and on top of this when I had found them they were the same level as me so I could never attack them (always with better tech though mind).

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Overall I've found the new additions to be welcome but there is still something big lacking from the mid game besides waiting for good technologies. Perhaps they need an event that happens or perhaps there need to be some more interesting tech choices that come around. I've enjoyed it thus far but even the Mega-Structures that I was really excited for seemed a bit of a distant scenario to me even when I was 200-300 years into the game. Though it might be added that the Sentry Array is poorly named, I mistook it for an Advanced Defence Platform and was a little disappointed when it turned out to be an Observatory. Don't get me wrong, it was certainly useful, but I had hoped for something that would increase my defence value for around 10k minerals just to build the basic model. A good patch but I'm hoping Paradox really have something up their sleeve for the mid game. Despite my negativity, I will be continuing to play and did enjoy the overall patch but just a few things left me wanting a little more.

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