April 15 saw the release of Nemesis, the newest expansion for Stellaris, the grand sci-fi strategy empire builder game from Paradox Development Studio, and publisher Paradox Interactive. Accompanying the Nemesis expansion was the free Stellaris 3.0 “Dick” Update. The two items made for a huge content update to Stellaris, and may seem a bit overwhelming, even to veteran Stellaris players. But no worries, because The Nerd Stash is here for you with this handy guide to help break down and explain the scope and details.
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The Nemesis expansion adds in multiple new items that change the gameplay in both subtle and intensive ways. The two most important changes include two new ways to play, allowing you to either become a force of good as the Galactic Custodian or embracing your dark side to Become the Crisis. This guide will help clarify what these new modes are, and how they affect gameplay. As an added bonus, you’ll also find some gameplay advice that comes directly from the Paradox devs to help get you into your mode of choice, and that’ll help you play those modes better.
This guide will also briefly cover the free 3.0 “Dick” Update, which, no, doesn’t have anything to do with making the in-game species ‘anatomically correct’. The update is a sizeable one, so much so the devs decided to name it after famed science fiction author Philip K. Dick, who graced us with a galactic scope of profound and astounding sci-fi stories. The update almost totally reworks First Contact, Population Growth, and the Economy, while also adding in the new Espionage and Intel systems.
Prior to release, the devs began whetting our appetite for Nemesis with a two-part story trailer. Both videos can be found on Paradox Interactive’s YouTube channel, with Story Pt. 1 embedded below, and Story Pt. 2 linked right here. Together, they act as an intro into the Nemesis storyline and an early basic overview of what you can expect during gameplay. The overview is followed up and confirmed by the Nemesis Expansion Release Trailer, which also provides plenty of its own tantalizing hints at gameplay.
The base Stellaris game challenges you to establish a thriving empire among the stars in familiar 4X (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) gameplay. The subsequent expansions and story packs support and freshen your game with various bits of new content, all designed to help you grow your own empire.
The core of the Nemesis expansion super nova’s your standard gameplay by allowing you to control not only your individual empire but also the fate of any and all other empires you meet during your campaign. During the course of your campaign, a crisis will begin developing, one that affects you and all other factions throughout the galaxy. Then, at some point, you will be faced with a game-altering decision – to either become the Galactic Custodian and help your fellow galactic citizens take on and conquer the crisis, or Become the Crisis yourself in an attempt to conquer and rule the galaxy as head of the Galactic Imperium.
Many of the details on these two modes of play are listed in the Stellaris: Nemesis Expansion Feature Breakdown video (embedded below). In the vid, some Paradox devs briefly cover what it means to be either the Galactic Custodian or the Galactic Imperium, including new resolutions you have available to be used for the good of all, of for the good of your all. There’s even a glimpse of the game’s newest and most powerful ship, the dreaded Star Eater, capable of destroying entire systems to gather the valuable dark matter needed to power the ship’s Aetherophasic Engine.
I was fortunate to be gifted a free Nemesis upgrade Steam code a day before the expansion launched, and with it came some developer specifics and gameplay tips for the two-game modes that add to what’s explained in the above vid. Allow me to share them with you.
The Galactic Community can elect a Galactic Custodian, thereby granting an empire leader emergency powers to be used to help the galaxy face and deal with the crisis at hand. The Custodian can use those powers to enact a wide range of emergency resolutions meant to benefit the entire Galactic Community. However, the Custodian also has much greater control over which resolutions get proposed, can freeze resolutions outright, and even end the voting on resolutions prematurely. The Custodian initially holds office for a 30-year term limit, after which they may seek re-election. The Custodian may choose to give up their powers, could be unseated by the Galactic Community, remain as Custodian, or form the Galactic Imperium.
In order to become the Galactic Custodian, there must first be an active Galactic Crisis, such as Great Khan, Gray Tempest, or the End Game Crisis, among others. You may then propose the Elect Galactic Custodian Resolution under Galactic Reforms, add Envoys to the Galactic Community, and seek favors from allied and friendly empires to help swing the Galactic Custodian vote in your favor.
Become the Crisis
After your empire has received its second Ascension Perk, you may choose to Become the Crisis. Doing so will open up the new ‘Menace’ resource to you, which can be earned and collected by doing various evil deeds throughout the galaxy. By spending Menace and completing Special Projects, you will unlock Crisis Levels, with each one making new and more powerful abilities and bonuses available, allowing you to destabilize the galaxy as little or as much as you want.
If you plan to Become the Crisis in your campaign, it’s best to start that process early in gameplay. When you have the chance to conquer an AI empire, break it into smaller parts. This will make them easier and quicker to farm for Menace later after you’ve publicly declared your intent.
Once you reach Crisis Level 2, you’ll unlock Menacing Corvettes. These ships are bought and paid for with Minerals instead of Alloys, which will give you a clear advantage over your galactic neighbors. Therefore, try to reach Crisis Level 2 as quickly as you can.
Be aware that two things happen once you complete Crisis Level 5: the Galactic Community will immediately declare war on you, and the Aetherophasic Engine megastructure will appear in your Home System. To complete its construction, you’ll need an enormous amount of Dark Matter. Put the Star Eater quickly into operation eating stars to collect this resource. Completing the construction of the Aetherophasic Engine will result in the destruction of the galaxy.
3.0 “Dick” Update
As mentioned earlier, the 3.0 “Dick” Update that came along with the Nemesis expansion includes an overhaul of the First Contact, Population Growth, and Economy systems. It also introduces the new Espionage and Intel mechanics, as well as greatly improving how Industrial Districts and many Planetary Buildings operate.
Espionage is briefly described and shown in the above Stellaris: Nemesis Expansion Feature Breakdown video. But for a few more details on Intel and the other systems, you’ll want to watch the Stellaris 3.0 Update Feature Breakdown video (embedded below). And for the lengthy and complete master list of 3.0 Update details, click over to the Stellaris Dev Diary #208: Nemesis patch notes on the Paradox Forum.
Finally, if you’d like to see all of the new content in action before jumping in-game yourself, click over to the Paradox Interactive Twitch channel to watch the Stellaris Nemesis Release Stream video. Fast forward to the 50:25 mark to bypass the countdown timer.
So now that the relevant Nemesis info has been gathered in one place for you, we hope it helps guide you to the info you want to know. And just in case you don’t yet have it, the Nemesis expansion is currently available for $19.99 on the Paradox Store, Steam, and GOG.
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