Federations is the latest DLC to the Stellaris game and boy is there a lot to cover (especially if you include the 2.6 Verne Patch) and its all good for the franchise. In this review I am going to breakdown and focus on the major enhancements to the game without spending too much time on the base game as there is just too much to unpack without writing a book. This expansion focuses mostly on Diplomacy. Paradox games released this expansion along with the 2.6 Verne patch which includes alot of the underlying rework done to the federations that is expanded upon with the Federations DLC. So the line between what you paid for and what is free as part of the patch is a bit blurry here. However what is definitely specific to this expansion are some new Constructions and new Origin stories that do have an impact on gameplay.
This is where a bulk of the DLC and the Verne patch focus. If you are new to Stellaris it wont be as apparent to you on what was added. They have added a ton in what was considered a shallow investment into diplomacy. Federations is a system that allows you to connect with other empires. Federations now allows for different types, for example trade or research federations with different starting templates. Paradox refers this to as “United Nations in Space”. Which is funny cause it realistically matches the real UN in that it can set policy but most members can ignore them and that there is no real way to enforce it. Puns aside these different types of Federations have different bonuses that are granted to the members and or president. Federations can vote on rules that will affect game play. Becoming president of a federation is based on the influence score you have within that federation. Influence score unfortunately is mostly based on the size of your navy. The bigger dick wins in this case. However the Federations DLC also added Envoys which allow you to bolster relations with other empires improving your score as well.
When it comes time to vote on policy your influence score will make a difference on how much weight your vote to support or the rejection of proposed policy is. Each policy will show what buff and detractors a policy will have to your empire. You can also propose policy yourself to make sure you are getting the right benefits that your empire needs.
Another place where a lot of rework was done due to the Federation overhaul is the addition of Origins. Origins are starting scenarios for you empire. For veteran players this took the place of Civics. These origins can add a bit of flavor and challenge to your gameplay. Starting scenarios like Hegemon where you start already in a federation with two other empires, or Doomsday where you home planet is on the verge of destruction and you have a time limit to colonize a new home planet. One of my favorites is the Shattered Ring (HALO anyone). You start on a shattered ring world which can be repaired in late game. This one adds the difficulty of starting with a ring world that is very expensive to upgrade at first but will pay out dividends in the late game. There are a dozen or so of these scenarios that really help with replay-ability.
New Constructions & Enhancements.
Some new toys to play with in this DLC are the MegaShipyard as well as the new ship Juggernaut. The MegaShipyard is pretty self-explanatory. It will allow you to build a lot of ships very fast, turning out fleets in no times.
The Juggernaut is basically a mobile starbase. It can repair ships on the move as well as build new ones.
With the 2.6 Patch they addressed a lot of underlying performance problems, especially in the late game. There are also some UI updates in terms of “prettfying” the options screens with some new graphics.
Stellaris Federations along with the 2.6 Verne patch provides a good foundation for diplomacy which was arguably lacking from Stellaris. I include the 2.6 patch cause really you cannot talk about one and not the other as the patch really provides a lot of the framework that the DLC relies on. Origins is the best part of this DLC providing a very good reason to back to this game. Only drawback is that they are not editable. Federations with the addition of Envoys provides a nice addition to late game to “tweak” and role play within your Galactic Community, but satisfying your dreams of being Palpatine building the “Galactic Senate” will be a bit lackluster as the benefits are not as configurable as some would like. With enough Influence you can get to a point where you can single handily control the polices applied and rejected with your voting power therefore further tightening your grip on the galaxy.
Stellaris Federations definitely provides enough content into the game to provide some great replay-ability aspects and definitely more substance to the late game to keep both new and veteran players engaged. You can check out the best price and place to pick up Stellaris: Federations over at DLCompare.