Distant Worlds Catch All

Information is important. Long range sensors are a must especially along a (potentially) hostile frontier. I try to put one on every station that has a big enough sensor slot for it. Knowing where the bastards are heading makes a big difference.

Decent defensive fleets and defensive stations at likely attack points (or very close by at a gas station) help stave off attacks. Even a weakish fleet can devastate a fleet that is far from resupply even though the defender will take it on the chin and probably not successfully defend the system. If you lose a 2K but cripple a 12K enemy fleet (scale as appropriate for a time in the game), even if they devastated a colony, I still call that a win. They won't have too many of those fleets lying around and building new ones takes a long time. Fixing those ships will eat up their resources. Having your own attack and raiding fleets taking it to the enemy's resources help keep them out of your stuff.

I still think removing alternatives to nodes in Stellaris was a bad call. To each their own though.

Hm maybe I think it adds some terrain to space which I always feel is missing. But onto something more relevant. Is the DLC worth it? Been holding out on it so far but it sounds interesting.

Yeah I like the two new races a lot.

The new races add more flavour with their own origin stories and events. Also more art assets which is a welcome addition.

Would I pay for it with the experience I've gained since buying the DLC? Hard to say. On balance I got a fair bit of value out of it but it might also be due more to the free Aurora patch.

If you still have performance issues I would think twice on buying it.

On the topic of scanners - I hadn't researched any but intelligence is valuable especially when space is open territory. I've never really used defensive bases because of their maintenance costs but I can see why they can deter an invasion when a planet is ringed with them (one or two won't cut it but I've seen the AI put something like 6+ bases around their home world).

I think part my issue is the time compression when I play at 4x speed. I get bored letting it tick over at normal speed but when combat is engaged one probably ought slow down to assess the conflict zone. I will probably reload an earlier autosave to see if I could have fended off the aggressor.

It is interesting to hear how different folks play the game.

I play on normal or hard, depending on if I want chill exploration/development or slightly more but not super challenging. Also play with 1000 stars and 7-12 AIs, again depending on what I want from a game. Number of AIs seems to impact how chill vs warlike a game will be more than difficulty from what I have seen.

I play games to relax. Can't imagine super the hardest would be my cup of tea.

Also I max out at 2x, going to 1x for hard fights or generally sticky situations. I get the boredom but I generally play to chill out. Especially early game, I can read a book and listen for a chime when something happens I need to pay attention to. Once I get a couple of colonies, 2x works great for me. But I am slow, so slow time fits with my mental abilities nowadays.

Slightly paradoxically, I play with a lot of the automation turned off except what I find boring. I do like the new to DW2 "notify but don't execute" automation setting. That is my go to for automation except for the stuff I *really* don't care about.

For defensive bases, yes they are expensive and you generally cannot throw them around like candy, which adds to the strategic aspect of the game IMO. If you have a border with some troublesome neighbors though, the can make a big difference. Even 2-3 can make a invasion fleet get a bloody nose, far from home, with low fuel, and a friendly main attack fleet coming in. And when the bases get destroyed, you don't pay maintenance on them any more. Win-win.

I like the "notify and ask for approval", since that helps me determine a reasonable pace for the game. But I think in my next game I'm going to look closely at what I automate.

Still have not designed a ship yet.


In all honesty, pre-Aurora patch the AI was so bad, highest difficulty was what it took to make me feel like my choices had weight. I don't play Civ 6 on Deity (I can't) so I think it's a game by game basis.

Post-Aurora patch? That's 4/5 games I've abandoned after getting trounced by the AI. Really gets me thinking about research paths and spatial awareness. I'm still not sure I'll go back to that last Ikkuro-Dhayut disaster, I'll probably take your thoughts into account and research scanners and build more bases.

I've been putting on Spotify and spamming the new Fall Out Boy album as I chill with DW2. It has a far less frenetic pace than stuff like Pathfinder, Phantom Brigade or Warthunder so it makes the perfect end to a crappy work day. But I still want a bit of a challenge, like the rush to find juicy Loros Fruit / Spice / Gravellax crystal worlds and watch my trading income spike.

In fact that's one of the things I like about the revamped AI. It's not shy about declaring war to remove a mining station on a juicy planet, followed up with a constructor before offering peace! It's greedy and I love/hate it.

The ship building AI is not min-max. It tries to make jack of all trade builds (some point defence, some bombardment, then max shields/armour and squeeze whatever sized weapons it can in the remaining hull size).

But like all games, you really have to build around specialisations for best firepower per space buck. Screening Escorts with PD weapons and standoff ships launching fighters/bombers and salvos of missiles/torps and large beam weapons will undoubtedly do better than a hodge podge AI fleet yet you probably won't need that level of customisation unless you're playing the higher levels of difficulty.

Should you concentrate weapons research on short and long range pairings, with a defensive weapon, and maybe some crowd control, or just research everything (maybe as they get down to like 42 days each)? I know in some games, you want to have both kinetic and energy weapons to beat the rock-paper-scissors aspects, but I suspect in this one you could bull your way through with one or the other type... Missiles too.

What do you folks think?

To be honest, I have been RPing weapons research. Before Aurora, they were tweaking so much stuff that trying to figure out the rock-paper-scissors of combat seemed like a sucker's game. Starting out, each race has preferred weapons; I would just focus on those and, if I had spare research, would catch up on some not preferred weapons. Except Ion weapons, those are must-have, mainly for Ion Defense. You need that to get at the goodies inside nebulae.

But I would research a standoff "main" and a close in "main". I'd use whatever seemed the best for PD. Then specialize ship designs.

Before Aurora, I'd re-design hulls to change their roles as I got better ships. For example, escorts would be my close in design until I got destroyers (frigates would always be standoff), then I'd make them be PD specialists. Now of course you can specialize within the hull type so can have closein escort, standoff escort, PD escort once you get improved escorts (or whatever it is called).

Now that things seemed to be in a less tweaky mode, I want to go back and read up what the current best practices are for the rock-paper-scissors are for weapon systems. I learned in my last game that torpedoes suck against Vordaukar. RIP Small Raiding Fleet 3, you did your best, I asked you to perform beyond your capability.

Edit: Also noticed that there is an update to Scott's Guide to DW 2 that contains changes for Aurora. Highly recommend reading through this.

Thanks tboon, much appreciated!

Yeah you probably want race specific weapon techs for their slight improvement on base tech equivalent.

Beyond that, pick one PD, one close-in and one standoff tech. Unlike Pokemon you really don't need to catch em all.

Scott likes the beam PD (I usually take that too); he likes pulse for close-in / PD, then missiles for standoff.

I like rail guns and sentinel PD for close in / pickets, then starfighter bays and missiles for standoff - they distract the enemy counter-fire which gives your outer layer a bit more longevity.

I also like a few manual boarding fleets (30 or so mix of escorts frigates and destroyers to capture 60k firepower Hive carriers).

Oh man I had a ripper of an evening in an Ikkuro playthrough.

Dhayut event empire three systems away declared war; its close ally, a Boskaran Hive empire six systems away ended its war against my human ally and pivoted to me. I started both conflicts with a 6k fleet, ended with 24k+.

I had found 3 derelect ships one of which was a 1.3k power destroyer and the final one a 6k light carrier. This doubled my fleet power to 12k against the Hive's then 20k+ fleet. At this point I only had Heavy Escorts with 2 Epsilon Torpedo and a PD BUT they all carried a splinter pod for boarding action. While this was occuring, my third colony was invaded and flipped to the Boskarans.

Then the actual Shakturi sent 2 lower tech Hive carriers (one was 12k, another was about 6k) to my second colony. I managed to capture the strongest carrier with relatively minimal losses followed up by the second carrier. From there I took the fight back to the Boskaran Hive.

This is nail-biting stuff!


By George, they have really done it! They've made the game good!

In the haste to share the story I omitted some interesting details.

The beautifully terraformed Ikkuro "Scythe" world is adjacent to the angry Boskarans. But due to my colonisation range limit (deliberately set very low) and very rare hospitable colonies (again deliberately set very low which basically drops hospitable ratings sub-zero) I used a metallic rocky world with +4 habitability as a stepping stone. Did I mention this otherwise useless piece of rock is sandwiched between the Dhayut and Boskaran empires?

At this point I was making good money and banked around 500k credits. My plan was to subsidise the operating costs of that barren rock with the colony revenue from the Scythe world. As events would unfold, I never planted foot on the Scythe world.

As my instincts warned me the Dhayut were going to launch a surprise war, despite me paying annual gift money to keep them from getting too upset, I strongly pivoted research into military tech to get a fleet up. Turns out the research into enhanced frigates and base destroyers was meaningless as I would subsequently lack the credits to build them. Instead I went for cheaper and plentiful Heavy Escorts which helped me push back their attempts at landing an invasion on my home world.

The war with the Dhayut lasted quite a few years with no real harm suffered but a few losses in mining stations. But it turned a handful of empires against them and the Boskarans, making it easier for me to break the ice with these formerly indifferent empires. So I spent a big part of my warchest getting trade agreements to shore up my economy. As I was holding that war at an impasse, my war weariness was 0.

Once the Boskarans declared their surprise war, I knew I was on borrowed time and money to get a serious fleet ready. They pushed my war weariness to -20 through double flipping the barren colony and bruising my fleet, creating major unhappiness and crippling my trade economy. It really was a stroke of luck 2 Shakturi hive carriers warped in to volunteer to my cause. Had this been pre-Aurora, I would never have captured any of them as the combat power on those ships were always somewhere around 50-50k.

Armed with 3 advanced ships punching well above their weight, I was micromanaging the space combat and biding my time. I focus fired their heaviest and best combat power cruisers (one sucker had 6k firepower) and boarded them. Some I never got to enjoy (the Boskarans then focus fired those disabled ships before I could get them back to my homeworld for repairs). Once I'd bloodied their strongest fleets, the Boskarans limped away to nearby mining stations as I also reinforced with a stream of new Heavy Escorts and sending the remaining captured ships back home for repairs. I couldn't hold the barren rock permanently (Caslon deprivation and the need to repair), which is why the colony flipped back and forth as I captured and lost it etc while trying to repair my fleet (the Boskarans kept warping in and blowing up the space station under construction so I couldn't repair in situ).

Eventually though, my fleet was repaired; my invasion fleet was fully loaded and I was ready to take the fight to the Boskaran home world. This was now do or die as it would represent the only time I could attempt to crush them permanently with fleet power on my side, notwithstanding the powerful defensive stations ringing their homeworld. My treasury had been emptied and the peace loving Ikkuro citizens were fed up with this war.

Then I looked up and it was 11:30pm

Not sure how I'll continue this playthrough. However, once an angry empire declares war once, they'll come back again. Thus I'm minded to press the attack over suing for peace and turtling up. Either way, I'm saving a checkpoint save to come back to this one. Why? Because I'm yet to see the Ikkuro story events to their fruition!


This is what we need from Stellaris...

I took the Boskaran homeworld. It went down fairly easily although I had to bombard them to reduce their ground troop strength. Apologies to the 3 billion Boskarans who perished in the process.

The rebuilding process is long and painful. That cursed barren rock is costing me -8,000 credits to sustain. It worsens over time as my allies with migration treaties are sending their people there. I'm going to be cheeky and set the population settings to send most citizens offworld - but that represents a drop in the bucket as far as empire is concerned.

Similarly, the Boskaran homeworld was a poisoned chalice with 7 million angry insects and -30,000 credits upkeep due to their slow assimilation into my Ikkuro empire. I'm sure they will become productive citizens over time but dude my treasury is literally in the red. I can't even research new tech for lack of credits

With no other major objective open to me, I repaired my fleets and went Shakturi hunting shopping and picked up another 12k Hive carrier. Lo and behold, the galaxy is lauding me as its saviour! Pirates surrendered their bases and fleets to me, further burdening my economy. I was able to sign most of the galaxy up to trade and non aggression treaties. This Ikkuro empire has never been so popular.
Guys, just ignore the fact my random AI research choice unlocked ion shields and a couple of my explorers woke up a handful of 65k fleet power Hive carriers...

Robear wrote:

This is what we need from Stellaris...

It'll never happen.

Veloxi wrote:
Robear wrote:

This is what we need from Stellaris...

It'll never happen.

Why not? Maybe Stellaris 2 perhaps?

Whenever I play Stellaris -- and I admit it's been a while -- I always think, "I could be playing Distant Worlds instead." I just find it a boring mess of a thing that's basically a cool character/race generator surrounded by a subpar game.

It's been months since I booted up Stellaris. I wasn't really keen on the ground development minigame but it does have more content (admittedly it's also been out for quite a while).

I don't see myself really heading back for a solid run in Stellaris? It doesn't have that chill factor the automation provides in DW. Then again the best part of DW for me is jumping on the micro when it suits me.

If they keep adding more races with unique playstyles and more general content (taking the best of Stellaris and Endless Space 2) this game will only get better with time.

I admit I started a new game and immediately went back to DW2.

Love all of the reports, Bfgp! Looking forward to playing again when I get some time.

Bfgp wrote:

But due to my colonisation range limit (deliberately set very low) and very rare hospitable colonies (again deliberately set very low which basically drops hospitable ratings sub-zero) I used a metallic rocky world with +4 habitability as a stepping stone.

I like the idea of this kind of setup with low colonization range, but remember it causing issues for the AI in DW1 (which makes sense since usually colonizing something like your stepping stone system is a terrible idea). Do they seem to be coping okay in your experience here?

Umm, I think it's a mix of results? Pacifist AI empires struggle because they don't use the leap-frog / cost-benefit analytics to settle into more profitable colonies. In contrast, warmonger AI empires expand relentlessly (there's no limit to range of conquest).

I've only played a handful of Post-Aurora games so it's hard to get a good read on (peaceful) AI expansion capabilities.

That Ikkuro playthrough is a good example. During the conflict period I was intensely microing everything and the subsequent decades of economic consolidation, I didn't look outward. Or rather, having a constant nil or negative credit balance meant I couldn't do anything active diplomatically.

In that timeframe, a galaxy which had about 5 strong empires with networks of colonies had evolved into one where an expansionist Haakonish empire had swallowed a number of tiny empires and medium sized ones and practically held 50% of the galaxy.

Once I finally had my credit problems under control, I set about expanding as well.

In similar vein to the concept of military mining ships, I started with sub-20 habitability planets and abused the carrying capacity of colony ships - set them on manual control and I commanded like 10 of them to ferry citizens from overpopulated worlds to new colonies. Each ship initially could ferry 30M citizens, and with successive techs medium sized colony ships were moving 80M+ citizens per trip. Once I found a tasty 4*+ planet I'd flood it with citizens and watch the credits roll in. Heck, a particularly huge Forest planet with 80% habitability was generating over 350k credits alone once it hit close to 11 billion citizens - my homeworld was producing a modest 180k but I planned this deliberately by building the best happiness / colony revenue structures on the planet I predicted/planned as the cash cow for the empire.

I'm kind of torn as to whether I should go back to default colony range and influence range. Initially I wanted a more challenging low planet count environment but yeah it seems to disproportionately favour warmongers.

I should also add I shelved that Ikkuro game as it didn't seem like I could locate the next world(s) to finish the end of their story. I had a surplus 1M credit income and 200k fleet power (vs the Haakonish empire which had 1.2M+ fleet power and double my research capacity). I probably could have used my economic strength to contest the galaxy but the best fun is found in the early to mid game.

So, I started a new Dhayut game on highest difficulty but second highest galactic aggression. Found a derelict Mortalen colony ship(!) with 50M sleeping colonists; they felt right at home on my sandy desert homeworld and their ship is now being repurposed into a taxi carrying millions of docile Dhayut to two new settlements.

Meanwhile, the AI is just bonkers.

My Dhayut homeworld holds 3.3 billion citizens and the two latest additions to the empire hold 300M citizens each. I kid you not but the AI pop algorithm is so broken, my nearest Boskaran and Zenox neighbours have 10-12 billion citizens on their homeworld, each ringed with the maximum number of defensive bases. Bro, chill out! We're in the first few decades of the game!

Their economic strength is therefore magnitudes higher than mine. Moreover, an Akdarian independent colony which started at 125M population (which I had been frantically wooing thinking I would settle them into my empire) was invaded by the Boskaran Hive. Its population is currently 1.5 billion. Even with this level of hacks, a more distant Haakonish empire took their offshoot Ackdarian settlement.

I did set the level of colonies to "rare" thinking this might help peaceful AI but only time will tell if the logic holds up. Meanwhile I suspect I'm not playing to the Dhayut strength of capturing and enslaving alien races. I dislike invasion mechanics so I wonder if I can adapt my playstyle to exploit their mechanics.

I guess as the resident Stellaris apologist, I'd say that I find Distant Worlds a really anodyne experience, possibly just due to me not being able to find the right level of automation between micro hellscape and rubber stamp, and that's been true for both DW1 and DW2.

Stellaris has so much more personality and whilst I still think the midgame needs more work to make it into the Space EU game it wants to be. I have a bunch of mods to give more world types so habilitability means something, more civics so there's more civ variety, and more events so the worlds vary more.

Mm I don't think there's any apologies required for Stellaris. In my opinion, Stellaris is a great game. It shows its influence from earlier games, especially Sins of a Solar Empire, but personally it has enough merit to rightfully claim its position as one of the greatest space 4X games.

I think why Distant Worlds does not necessarily gel with some players is that lack of narrative that Stellaris somehow manages to bring together notwithstanding the diverse nature of the various anomalies and events spread through each galaxy randomly.

However, what Distant Worlds 2 presently lacks in cohesion and structure (and star lanes give space "structure" as opposed to the untamed wilderness of the void in DW) it makes up for, at least in my opinion, with the grounding of astral logistics (no global resource pool but stockpiled resources at geographic locations) in space constrained only by nebulae and influence bounded by star systems. This nitty gritty approach to galactic conflict is welcome in an era of simplification of game systems. Sometimes games should be difficult to master. Perhaps that's a key difference in the two games - one was designed to be more accessible whereas the other unapologetically is a system of spreadsheets.

I think, if you've bounced off Distant Worlds previously? Try it again at higher difficulties and in smaller galaxies. I think it really shines when choices matter and you can watch a story unfold in a vast sandbox that has less spatial structure. Yes there's an option to increase automation. That's a valid way to play this game. There's also the opposite style of play where automation takes a back seat for the most part while someone with my gaming aesthetics prefers a heavier micro level of control.

I squeezed a couple of hours in last night into my Dhayut playthrough.

My angry Boskaran neighbour declared war again. I had to reload several times to work out how to counter them. Skirmishes went poorly. Despite having similar fleet power, they somehow crushed me. Instead, I started building even more fleet power to the point they didn't warp in for an invasion. I noticed the AI kept ignoring my "manual" settings to leave my custom ships alone in both auto upgrade and hull upgrade - it kept upgrading the custom designs and that was a little infuriating.

Despite the brief reprieve, I then had a second surprise war against my largest Haakonish empire neighbour. Heck, I'd been pivoting to take them on when the Boskarans declared war. This one went a lot better. I think the Boskarans had depleted the Haakonish fleets, such that I was easily repelling the Haakonish invaders. I took that one ice planet they forward settled in my face. That was nice because neither Dhayut or Mortalen enjoy ice worlds. I tried to take a second ice planet (a former independent Zenox colonly they invaded a few decades prior) but alas my invasion force was not up to the task. They were completely wiped out. I decided to call a truce and keep their forward settled ice planet as a souvenir.

Next steps? I'm waiting on a couple of derelict cruisers and carriers to be repaired which will double my fleetpower, hopefully giving me the capability to repel the angry Boskarans. I'm sure they're only a decade away from mounting another suprise war. In that time, I need to get my economy beefed up and a few defensive stations around my frontier planet closest to the Boskarans.

One thing to keep in mind when designing ships specifically for use in a fleet is to make sure that all the ships have approximately the same range. I will trade firepower for range if needed to accomplish this. It's great that my new heavy destroyer design does 107 attack but is next to useless because it only has 300 space units of range. Might as well park it and use it as a monitor.

The fleet needs to have similar range so everyone can go in, do the job, and get out as a cohesive unit. Nothing sadder than watching little Timmy the Destroyer who cannot keep up. Ask me how I know this.

One of my beefs with the salvage ships is their range generally sucks. In my current game I have been adding all the salvage ships to one fleet called "Fleet of Misfit Toys". It is at ~16k, my strongest fleet. Yet it is unusable because it can barely make it to my next colony. It is extra defense for my capital world right now but I am thinking of just retiring all these for the possible research.

One thing I learned about retiring ships in my last game: it takes time and eats up a docking slot at a port. It also seems to take resources, although I am not 100% sure of this. I just had one retiree sit at one of my big space stations eating a slot for a couple of years for some reason. Bug? Missing some hexodorium or whatever? Docker workers strike? I have no idea.