It’s that time of the year again when a new expansion drops for Stellaris that looks to expand on another aspect of the game. Following on from the last couple of federation & subterfuge focused DLC, this latest looks to build on the in-game vassal system that was honestly in need of a refresher. Worth a look? Lets find out.
To start off with, a little word on the base game itself. Stellaris is a galactic empire building simulator I guess, you start off with a single planet and aim to expand and dominate the galaxy. You can’t have it all your own way though as there’s some Xeno’s out there that want to put their own stamp on the galaxy, and you’ll find yourself shaking hands or shaking fists at anyone you come across quickly enough. The custom civilization option is where its at, allowing you to create anything from an Imperium of Man to a hippy bunch of spacefaring birds.
How your empire grows and interacts with others is up to you, but that’s not the only thing you’ll have to worry about. A ravenous bunch of alien conquerors with fleet power to make your eyes melt or an interdimensional space bug razing your home planet to dust are just a couple of random events to cross your fingers over. Over the years there’s been several major DLC’s to expand on numerous aspects of the game, but honestly the base game itself is still really good and a great (and cheap!) starting point.
So what exactly does Overlord add then? The latest DLC expands on another aspect of the game like previous ones, this time the vassal system, something I can certainly appreciate as someone who likes to build unions of sorts – my own powerful empire surrounded by vassals. Overlord takes vassals up a level by allowing you to not only have them contribute to your empire, but also guide their development into something useful to you, such as a military or technological empire.
You can also now rework their standing under you by offering some autonomy, similar to how the feudal system worked previously, so their development can be left as organic as possible. For me this is the best part of the new content as it allows me to create my unions without being forced to adopt feudal government type to allow their autonomy, while also getting more out of having a large vassal following by guiding some to be more beneficial to my needs.
There’s other stuff added to that also plays into the vassal system and expands the origins with even more options. We’ve had merchant caravans and the like before Overlord, but now there are also more enclave types you can come across as you explore and they have more autonomy, with how you deal with them being at your discretion of course. You can bring them into the fold, forcefully or diplomatically, or just leave them be with a little treaty. These can also lead to new story chains to follow to whichever end you desire
As is usually the case with these expansions there’s also some other additions to the empire origins (5 new in total), new technology focused on helping an expanding empire, as well as some new customisation options – mainly centred around the symbols or flags used when customising an empire. Oh, there’s also some ‘improved’ humanoid portraits too, with the improvement being subjective.
Stellaris DLC’s are usually a hit & miss affair on whether you’ll get the most of of them or not, the past couple haven’t done much for myself, but Overlord is one to finally strike a chord with me. Players that utilised the vassal system before will find a much more expanded system that should see their added efforts bear fruit, whereas those that never bothered before may want to take advantage of the specialised vassal system for expansion. New origins, tech and customisations flesh out the DLC more, which makes it a no-brainer for long time rulers looking for a little refresher
Time to become a galactic parent as the latest expansion expands on the oft-overlooked vassal system.
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