These features are only available if the accompanying DLC is activated.
- Planetary destruction – Ability to construct a special late-game planet-killer ship nicknamed "Colossus", a technological super-weapon that can, in one of its 6 configurations, shatter entire worlds.
- Titan class ships – Players are now capable of building strong capital-sized ships that offer tremendous bonuses to vessels under their command.
- Ion cannons – Starbases can deploy expensive defense modules that hit targets on the other side of the system with a powerful attack.
- Marauders – Nomadic empires can now spawn on the fringes of the galaxy and raid settled nations. Players can hire mercenary generals and admirals from them and order a raid on a rival if relations are high enough. There is also a chance these scattered hordes coalesce into a unified force, potentially triggering a mid-game crisis event.
- More civics and ascension perks to further customize the inter-stellar empires.
These features will be added to the base game on the 2.0 (Cherryh) patch meaning that they are free for all players and function without the need of the accompanying DLC.
- Border rework – Borders are now simply a reflection of system ownership meaning that the owner of a system is now almost always the owner of the Starbase in said system.
- Starbases – Each system can now only have a single Starbase above its sun. They can be upgraded, ranging from outpost to citadel, and further specialized with modules and buildings. Starbases replace spaceports in military ship construction. Constructing a Starbase costs influence and they can never be destroyed, only disabled or captured.
- Colonization changes – It is now impossible to colonize worlds outside an empires' borders, but it no longer costs influence to do so.
- FTL overhaul – The game no longer allows players to select the starting FTL type, instead everyone starts as primarily hyperlane-based, with more advanced forms of FTL unlocked through technology. Hyperlane generation has been altered, now creating more 'islands' and 'choke points', allowing for a more interesting galactic geography. Ships now need to travel to the entry point of a particular hyperlane but to compensate sublight travel has been sped up. Wormholes are now a natural formation that can be encountered while exploring the galaxy. They work in pairs and essentially function as very long hyperlanes that can potentially take a ship across the entire galaxy near-instantly. Jump drives have also been tweaked, they normally travel across hyperlanes like any normal ship but they are able to make a small tactical "jump" into a nearby system that is not directly connected by the hyperlane network.
- Gateways – New megastructures that can be built, or found and reactivated. They function similarly to wormholes in that they initially pair up with a random other Gateway somewhere in the galaxy, but all Gateways of an empire can freely connect to any other they own.
- Galactic terrain – Systems can now have environmental effects and hazards that cause profound tactical and strategic effects on ships. For example, pulsar render shields unusable, nebulas block sensors from picking up ships outside the system they are in, etc.
- Basic ascension perks – The majority of ascension perks are now included in the base game without the need of DLC to unlock them.
- War overhaul – To declare war a casus belli is now required. Different casus belli have different types of wargoals. System are considered occupied if the Starbase and all its planets controlled by the player are under enemy control. Occupying a system awards the owner control of any mining and research stations and the ability to use the Starbase.
- Claims – One way to get a casus belli is by having a claim over a system. They require influence and it is possible to claim a system multiple times, for a more ideal peace deal.
- War exhaustion – Warscore is gone and has been replaced with war exhaustion that measures the total weariness and attrition suffered by all empires. It goes up from having planets and starbases occupied by the enemy, suffering losses during combat, and passively by attrition. The speed at which War Exhaustion accumulates is influenced by factors such as ethics, traditions, technology and the amount of claims being pressed.
- Fleet Size Limit – A new concept called command limit restricts how large an individual fleet can be. There is now a Force Disparity Combat Bonus that's applied when a smaller force is engaged with a larger one in battle. This allows casualties on both sides to be more proportionate. Ships below 50% health now have a chance to disengage from battle depending primarily on the currently selected war doctrine and secondarily on the amount of damage received and ship class. Damaged ships now have their speed and combat ability reduced, all the way down to a ~50% reduction when almost destroyed.
- Fleet manager – New interface window that allows players to keep track and manage fleets. Each fleet now has a template that keeps track of how many ships, their sizes and individual designs the fleet is supposed to have. Fleets can now reinforce by use of a button, filling in any ships that are missing or were destroyed based on the current template.
- Home bases – Each fleet now has a home base assigned. It is to this base the fleet gets redirected when recalled or looking for repairs.
- Armor changes – Each point of armor is now effectively one extra hit point for the ship, forming a new health bar between Hull and Shields that will not repair itself under normal circumstances.
- Ship designer changes – All empires now start with all basic weapons types researched. Ships now have a single reactor with a certain power output depending on ship class and technology. Missiles are now exclusive to the torpedo slot and bypass shields entirely. Ship computers can now have four different combat modes: swarm, picket, line, and artillery.
- Army rework – New mechanic has been introduced called combat width, it is determined by the size of the world and it dictates how many troops can be engaged at any moment. Defense armies are now created from certain buildings and armies on planets no longer reduce unrest directly. Assault armies are now based in space but can be directed to garrison a planet to help against planetary invasions. There's also collateral damage where civilians and civilian infrastructure can be damaged as fighting goes on. Different troop types cause different amounts of damage. This damage can be lessened by building and manning fortresses with POPs. Retreating regiments now have a significant chance of being destroyed. Army attachments have been entirely cut from the game.
- Orbital Bombardment changes – Worlds no longer have fortification levels, instead bombardment now deals planetary damage. Planetary damage can kill armies not protected by a Fortress, ruin buildings, and kill POPs. Armageddon Bombardment can now turn a planet into a depopulated tomb world if given enough time. Worlds cannot be invaded if there is a hostile Starbase in the system.
- Technology changes – Technology and unity penalties are now based on the number of owned worlds and systems. Worlds now give less of an impact on tech costs. There are now five tiers of tech as well as a special sixth tier that relates to Fallen Empire technology and is only obtainable via salvaging. More researchable technologies have been added, in general related to weapons and defense.
Major DLC changes
- The unity ambitions feature has been integrated into the base game in patch 2.2 as part of the economy rework where unity sources became more widely available.
- Main article: Developer diaries
|No.||Title and Link||Description||Date|
|1||Starbases||Major mechanics rework to affect: border growth, space stations & planetary spaceports, ship construction and more.||2017-10-26|
|2||FTL Rework and Galactic Terrain||Consolidating FTL, expanding on them, and using them to "build" a galactic terrain.||2017-11-02|
|3||War, Peace and Claims||Warfare overhaul: casus belli, wargoals, war exhaustion, starbase/system occupation, and peace negotiations.||2017-11-09|
|4||Ascension Perks & Surveying in Cherryh||Adding basic version of ascension perks to the base game. Replacing the existing surveying and star chart system.||2017-11-16|
|5||Doomstacks and Ship Design||Breaking down the doomstack issue into its component problems, and some upcoming changes to the ship designer.||2017-11-30|
|6||Tech Progression in Cherryh||Changes to technology progression in the 2.0 "Cherryh" update||2017-12-07|
|7||Fleet Manager||Adding of a new Fleet Manager interface||2017-12-14|
|8||Ground Combat & Army Rework||Ground Combat & Army Rework||2017-12-21|
|9||Titans and Planet Destroyers||An announcement of the Apocalypse expansion and reveal of the first features in it||2018-01-11|
|10||Marauders, Pirates and the Horde||Pirate rework in Cherryh and a Horde mid-game crisis in Apocalypse||2018-01-18|
|11||Edicts, Campaigns and Unity Ambitions||Expanding on edicts - the addition of campaigns and unity ambitions.||2018-01-25|
|12||Civic/Ascension Perks Changes and Additions||Expanding on changes to Ascension Perks and Civics.||2018-02-01|
|13||Cherryh Feature Roundup||Quality of Life features and other minor changes in the coming 2.0 'Cherryh' update.||2018-02-08|
|14||2.0 "Cherryh" patch notes||Ramping up for release: patch notes, achievements and new music.||2018-02-15|
|15||2.0.2 patch notes and the Road Ahead for Cherryh||A rolling 2.0.2 beta and larger than normal amount of dev time for post-apocalypse support.||2018-03-01|
|16||The Post-Apocalypse||Revisiting the list of long-term goals for Stellaris||2018-03-08|
|17||2.0 Post-Release Support (part 1)||Player feedback and changes coming to War Exhaustion and forced Status Quo.||2018-03-15|
|18||2.0 Post-Release Support (part 2)||Still in full post-release support with more details on the coming 2.0.2 patch.||2018-03-22|
|19||Creation and Beyond||Audio Director Björn Iversen says goodbye||2018-04-05|
- Forum, Stellaris Apocalypse Expansion, 2018-01-11
- Forum, Stellaris Apocalypse Story Trailer & Release Date!, 2018-01-25