Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn and Capek Update Released

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  • Real Time Strategy
Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn Paradox Interactive

Our new robot overlords are here! Last week, Paradox Interactive officially released two long-anticipated updates for its space-based grand strategy game, Stellaris: the free Capek Update, and the paid Synthetic Dawn story pack. The patch brought a huge host of updates and new features, while Synthetic Dawn allows for player-led Machine Empires that can co-opt, conquer, or destroy all other organic life. Both are big steps forward for Stellaris.

Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn and Capek Update Released!

If the creation of a tyrannical empire of rogue AI’s and killer robots is your name, Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn is your game. The DLC, available on Windows, Mac and Linux for $9.99, is what Paradox calls a story pack. It’s feature-rich, but also heavily event-driven, with lots of cool science-fiction storytelling to enjoy. It’s the second Stellaris story pack, after Leviathans, which added various extremely powerful creatures, automated derelict ships in the galaxy and the War in Heaven feature. By contrast, the first, and thus far only, full-content DLC, Utopias, focused primarily on adding new gameplay mechanics rather than story elements.

Synthetic Dawn’s primary feature is to let the player control a synthetic empire, but it also includes a few other new features, including an overhaul of the old end-game AI Rebellion crisis as a more fleshed-out and effective uprising. Even though the new AI Rebellion  no longer counts as an end-game crisis, it’s still a formidable threat. The DLC pack also adds a story-driven Synthetic Fallen Empire that can awaken under certain circumstances and become a major threat to organic life.

In traditional Paradox fashion, the free patch that accompanies Synthetic Dawn, called the Capek Update, delivers at least as many features as the actual paid DLC. Thematically, it’s loosely tied in with Synthetic Dawn. To compensate for the overhaul and removal of the AI Rebellion end-game crisis, it adds a new one called the Contingency, a long-dormant AI that can awaken if the number of synthetics in the galaxy rises to sufficient levels. It’s a far more threatening and interesting crisis than the prior one and has a lot more flavor. The patch also adds a new system that allows empires to further enhance its robot subjects with new modifications—increasing their versatility, but potentially also their danger.

Beyond robotics, the Capek update adds a system of traditions for empires with a selection of ethics, including Hive Minds, to further flesh out their gameplay options. It also adds a major balance check to Awakened Empires: Fallen Empires that Awaken will still be incredibly powerful, outclassing anything else in the galaxy, but as their power increases, they’ll become Decadent—and eventually potentially weak enough to overthrow. The update adds a huge slew of other balance updates, UI improvements, and other minor features like new policies, civics, and achievements, too. Take a look at the full changelog if you’re interested.

With the release of Synthetic Dawn and the Capek Update, Stellaris is becoming an ever more refined, feature-rich game. On release, longtime Paradox fans criticized the game for its relative simplicity, but that’s usually the case for the company’s games on release. And it’s now changing: Stellaris is more fun, complex, and feature-rich than ever, and it will surely go even farther as time goes on.

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