Thoughts on Stellaris Newcomer as an EU4 Player (is the AI broken?)

Content of the article: "Thoughts on Stellaris Newcomer as an EU4 Player (is the AI broken?)"

So Steam's summer sale came, and I decided to finally pick up Stellaris. Went with the United Nations of Earth as my starter.

The first thing I noticed is this is probably the best opening to any 4X game I've played and I was rapidly enjoying expanding through space. EU4 has that with colonization but it sorta falls flat as the New World basically generates money and runs on its own after a while. I wasn't sure what to expect. I met the Commonwealth of Man as my first nation and quickly got rivaled.

I rapidly began to expand and while I had some economic issues, I had 5-6 worlds + a Gaia world set up when I finally began meeting other alien races as I had spawned a bit far away from them. Decided to smash the Commonwealth. It … wasn't much of a fight once I figured out how the war system works. They had only their homeworld despite having four habitable worlds in their borders, including a Contential one!

I knew that sometimes the AI just kinda manages to suck, it's not uncommon to see a large nation in EU4 kinda fizzle. Expect that seems to be the theme all over the galaxy. There is a set of Fanatic Purifiers in the north, and their barely expanding or at war AFAIK.

At this point, I had 12-14 worlds going, and open migration treaties meant that all of them had pops with the habitability of 70+ (aside from my tomb world). Eventually, I unlock "Experimental Subspace Navigation", and start exploring areas of the map that were blocked off, and I found a large part of space that one of the AIs basically ignored. 7-8 systems that still had anomalies so the AI hadn't even surveyed them.

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Ok, so be it. I get in another war with a Hegemony after I declare, and it isn't so much "punch his face in" and more trying to stop their equal-sized fleets from constantly running. No real tactics involved, just waiting for the fleet to go from point to point slowly. Eventually landed an army in their capital to force warscore in my direction without a single fleet battle fought.

I'm starting to feel like something is wrong at this point. Next, I unlock wormhole tech and start exploring the wormhole near Sol. That puts me in a completely unoccupied part of the galaxy. As in a good 1/8th of the galaxy just up for grabs. Two FE are nearby, but there's at least one hyperspace lane into this area which I found has a 800 FP Mining Drone in it; the AI never cleared it out so it didn't expand.

I never felt the need to mod EU4, but this is just disappointing. My RL schedule makes multiplayer hard/impossible, so a disappointing SP experience is kinda a game killer. It seems StarNet and Glavis are two AI mods that seem to promise a less broken experience. I feel like I shouldn't be able to ROFLstomp the AI on my first game, but at this point, the only "challenge" I could find is building up to remove the marauders, maybe tech to the point I could flatten a FE, but "meh".

It's 2314 in-game, I'm in third place on the score board with the next closest AI's a full 1k point behind me. Default settings (I think it's on Ensign difficulty, but I can't seem to see it on the same screen; I didn't change the slider) except Ironman is on.

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At least when I formed Prussia in EU4, I didn't feel like I had won until I broke France and force them into a PU, and it was touch and go until I got them integrated. At that point, Europe was unified fairly rapidly.


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