Welcome back, space traveler. This week, Paradox has satiated our stellar appetite with information about Faster Than Light movement options for our hopefully burgeoning empires — three to be exact.
Warp drives, Hyperlanes, and Wormholes will be your modes of transportation. Since each form of FTL travel will have its own distinct advantages and disadvantages when exploring the cosmos, players will need to experiment with each form to find the one that fits their play style. Each game will be a unique and, hopefully, challenging experience thanks to the plethora of design and customization choices for your spacefaring community.
So, which way will you travel from galaxy to galaxy — planet to planet?
This is the initial and most humanly perceptible form of travel in Stellaris. As Jormungandur, a game designer on Stellaris, states
Warp requires each ship in the fleet to be equipped with a Warp Drive. These are quite costly to build and cause a major drain on each ship’s available power, but allows unconstrained travel to any system within range. When travelling to a system outside the range of a single warp-jump, the fleet has to make a sequence of jumps through a number of systems. Any jump puts a considerable strain on a ship’s Warp Drive, causing the fleet to not be able to jump again for a short while after arrival.
Because of the necessary technical requirements of making an efficient “Warp” jump, your ships will need to be far away enough from any large celestial bodies, exerting a gravitational pull, to escape the system. This makes you an easy target for patient space alien types. As Jormungandur so eloquently states “The cost of freedom is potentially high!”
Great name aside, “Wormhole” is a viable method of travel for those who don’t wish to hurdle themselves through the stars at potentially unstable speeds. You might have less freedom to cruise across the cosmos at will, but you’ll also be extremely difficult to track and defend against. Like a giant angry worm rising from the Earth… Again, Jormungandur says
These wormholes can only be generated by a Wormhole Station, a type of space station that can only be constructed on the outer edge of a system. Any fleet wanting to travel will have to use the Wormhole Station as a connecting point, passing through it whenever they leave the system. The station may only generate a single wormhole at a time, forcing all ships and fleets to wait while one is being prepared. The larger the fleet, the longer it takes for the Wormhole Station to be ready. The wormhole generated does allow two-way travel, but will collapse almost instantly after sending a fleet through. Constructing and maintaining an efficient network of Wormhole Stations is vital to any species using wormholes, as it will allow sending huge fleets from one part of the galaxy to another in very short time
In what could be the most difficult to master albeit potentially amazing if implemented properly, “Hyperdrives/lanes” offer a subspace highway for the truly courageous. While you don’t get to, initially, plot your lanes of travel, you do have access to a large and already existing network of Hyperlanes. This could create early grabs of resources and planets. Here’s another quote from our fav game designer
Ships that are equipped with a Hyperdrive can access these lanes and use them to traverse the galaxy at incredible speed. They are however bound by the preexisting network, and has to path through each system connecting their current location and target. Galactic voids lacking systems are in effect huge movement-blockers for any species using hyperlanes, having few systems allowing possible crossings. An enemy could potentially fortify these vital systems should they become aware of their existence, creating strategic choke-points. As the hyperlanes exist in subspace, fleets may access them from anywhere within a system and does not have to travel from the gravitational edge as Warp Drives and Wormhole Stations do. As such, catching a fleet using hyperlanes can be tricky. Correctly identifying the paths to intercept and interrupt their somewhat long charge-up is probably your best bet.
At the moment, Hyperlanes seem to be the most easily challenged form of FTL and the one that might have you screaming the loudest as little colored sprites move across your screen.
All forms of FTL will be available at the beginning of each game — choosing one will be a unique puzzle for each space species. Since you will be upgrading your existing FTL drives during the entire duration of your game, the information here might only be relevant for a time. Also, as you move through the galaxy with greater speed and accuracy towards your final destiny, something larger than Paradox itself might be watching… (I guess hyper-intelligent energy bubbles of pure electric radiance)
Come back next week as we look at species and their impact on gameplay.
Gaming from the swampy flatlands of Florida since 1989, Alex D’Alessandro is always looking for a way to stay inside and escape the southern heat.