With Stellaris, Paradox have always tried to make the universe a thrilling and mysterious place for the player and the chosen race of space faring sentients. But starting with Synthetic Dawn, the universe could potentially get a lot more dangerous too. By default, machine races in Stellaris run the gamut from murderous Skynet-esque AIs to peaceful Wall-E machine hordes that are just as happy serving organics as Skynet is murdering them all.
The Revamped Endgame
The Contingency event is hard to trigger, and even harder to overcome, in the base game. Synthetic Dawn is aiming to change that. But those that don’t buy the DLC won’t be left out, the changes to the endgame are being introduced as a free update as well. This crisis sees an ancient AI trying to sterilise the galaxy, but now that you can control a race of machines, it plays out a little differently. The Contingency doesn’t want to wipe out synthetic life, but it does want it to bend the knee. Machine empire players will be able to communicate with The Contingency and learn more about it, informing whether they want to fight for or against it.
It’s that penultimate series of decisions that will guide many players in Synthetic Dawn. Do you pave the way for the Contingency by building military might in preparation to attack or defend the organics? Do you play blissfully ignorant and try your best to help the organics stand on their own? The choice of how you prepare for the coming onslaught is going to be important no matter which path you take.
Should to choose the hyper-advanced military route though, be forewarned that Synthetic Dawn also introduces a potential series of robotic revolutions to the game as well. Since Stellaris launched there have been unique and powerful technologies in the game – sentient AI, synthetic workers, combat computers, and so on – and using them can bring about an AI-led endgame crisis.
As you research and exploit these technologies, as well as a robot workforce, you may be offered story choices: do you want to push your machines harder to get a resource buff or be more lenient and see your income decrease? If you push your machines too hard then there’s a chance they’ll rebel, spawning a new machine state, taking over a portion of your territory, and beginning to attack you. These attacks will no cease until one side is dead. So be prepared for an all out fight to the death if your underlings should rebel.
What kind of ruler will you be?
Aside from how you handle crises, the day-to-day operation of your synthetic empire will dictate how you play and how the inferior organics view you. You could choose to be a sort of shepard, protecting and guiding the organics by providing for their many needs. This type of game will hinge on whether you make the necessary choice to shift your race through the Civics system.
Each set of policy choices will dictate which empire type you play.
Rogue Servitors act as the peaceful caretakers of organics under their purview, maintaining massive and expensive biodomes that your organics live in like a twisted class pet. The happiness of Rogue Servitors depends on the amount of luxury and comfort you heap onto the organics, so keep the fat and happy.
The Determined Exterminators civic allows a player to live out their fantasies of murdering all life in the galaxy. So if you wanted to be Skynet, here’s your chance. The ultimate evolution of policy and technology for a Determined Exterminators player revolves around finding the most efficient ways to slaughter organics en masse. And as one would expect if you encounter a race of organics protected by a Rogue Servitor civilization, you can expect them to fight hard to protect their pampered guests.
The Driven Assimilator exists as a strange medium between the two previous civics. More akin to the Borg, they see themselves as the ultimate evolution of all organic life. They have no need for inefficiency or comfort, they only seek to become the most advanced life form in the galaxy. The goal for a Driven Assimilator is to transform as many races as possible into hyper-intelligent cyborgs, which will likely cause even more conflict than the Determined Exterminators path.
Of course, players can choose to ignore civics entirely and forge their own path, but that would be inefficient, and what inorganic life would be caught dead doing that?