Play Your Last Vanilla Stellaris Game Now Before Stellaris 2.0

  • Windows
  • Real Time Strategy
Stellaris: Apocalypse Paradox Interactive

Stellaris: Apocalypse and the accompanying free Cherryh Update come out on February 22nd, and there’s a reason the update is also known as Stellaris 2.0. The patch and DLC make huge, sweeping changes to the game, bigger than we’ve ever seen before. These changes are super exciting and will bring a lot of great new features, but we will lose a few things in the transition. And that’s why, two weeks out from the release, it’s about time for you to boot up your last game of Stellaris version 1 before everything changes. Here’s how to make the most out of it.

Time To Boot Up One Last Game Before Stellaris: Apocalypse

The Stellaris Cherryh Update, and Apocalypse alongside it, will bring us a game that feels very different in many ways. If Stellaris is your first Paradox title, you may not be ready for this—we aren’t talking about the kind of (pretty substantial) gameplay overhaul you see in something like Civilization VI: Rise and Fall, which is largely additive. Paradox’s big updates add and remove major gameplay systems at will, all in an effort to make the game better over time. Vanilla Europa Universalis 4 is essentially a completely different game than the modern version.

Stellaris 2.0 will be the same way. Even besides for the features coming in the paid Apocalypse DLC, the Cherryh Update will totally revamp FTL travel, territorial control, regional defense, starbases, doomstacks, influence, the way wars work, and all sorts of other smaller stuff. These changes seem certain to make Stellaris a better game—but a very different one.

So if you want to enjoy Stellaris as it is one last time, boot up a new game and get ready for some galactic conquest. Choose or create an empire with Wormhole FTL, which is the more complex and interesting of the two FTL systems we’re losing. And then play as you would before—but with a focus on war. Most aspects of the war system are changing, and it will be harder to go on full-scale wars of galactic conquest with a single megafleet. That’s great for balance and overall playability, but there’s a good deal of fun in building up a massive doomstack so large that you can take down a Fallen Empire’s fleet in one epic battle. So that should be your goal. Before battles shift to allow for a viable strategy based around having multiple, far-flung and smaller fleets, go for one last hurrah.

stellaris wormholes
The Cherryh Update will eliminate warp and artificial wormhole FTL travel, but will introduce naturally occurring wormholes in their place. Photo: Paradox Interactive

But, in all honesty, even as you play your last game of vanilla Stellaris, remember why so much is changing. The new features will make the game more balanced, exciting and logical; it will be easier to maintain a defensive empire, easier to build tall without becoming a warmonger; there will now be galactic ‘geography’ and all kinds of new features tied into that, and all of that and more will be free. If you buy Apocalypse, you’ll also get world-destroying weapons, Mongol-style barbarian hordes (yes, in space), and more.

Stellaris 2.0 will be a better game than Stellaris is now, but it will also be a different one. Take this moment to savor what was, before we enjoy what is to come.

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