It was difficult to sit down and write this blog post. Every time I thought of something I wanted to say about Stellaris, I was reminded of something I wanted to do in my save file.
I think I'm nearing that subtle turning-point that most large-scale strategy games have where you stop thinking about the moment-to-moment tactics and start thinking about long-term strategy. It's the point where your economy shifts from "how will I get enough to survive" to "how do I use my surplus to win?"
It's a bittersweet moment. I'm becoming a major player in my corner of the galaxy, sitting at the center of an alliance between three wealthy pacifist states, technologically advanced, and beginning to experiment with the use of robotics to automate most of my civilization's most menial jobs (such as municipal government or the operation of tourist attractions). Yet the frontier is rapidly closing in front of me. I'm almost entirely hemmed in by my opponents and it's only a matter of time before my science ships have nowhere else to go.
I think I'll miss that part of the game, but as compensation, I really do enjoy micromanaging my colonies and I've still got a couple more habitable planets that I need to grab before the aliens do. I'm not sure what I'll do after that. And I mean that literally. Up until now, I've been playing the game a certain way, but what happens when that becomes impossible?
One of the things that excited me about this game enough to make it a day 1 purchase was the sheer breadth of its ambition. I'm looking forward to seeing if it can successfully change gears into a different kind of game. I'm hoping that it will intrigue me in a different, but equally compelling way as the early part of the game. I'm afraid that I'll wind up missing the heroic space-explorer phase so much that it sours me on the mid-game strategy.
I guess we'll see.