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Distant Worlds 2: Free Stellar and Faction Updates

Distant Worlds 2 continues its trend of major update patches improving the quality of life in the game, revamping old content to be more engaging, and adding new content to provide greater breadth of play to its already exceptionally deep game play. Recently this involved the release of the free Stellar update on February 13 and now we have news of the Game Faction update releasing on April 9. CodeForce and Slitherine’s continuing support for Distant Worlds 2, despite its rocky reception largely due to players not knowing how to approach this unique game, is great to see and part of why I’m happy to keep supporting them where I can.

Stellar Update

We are pleased to announce that the Stellar update for Distant Worlds 2 is now available, bringing significant improvements to gameplay and overall game quality, enriching your interstellar journey through the galaxy. This completely free update is to address stability issues, significantly reducing crashes and launch problems that players may have encountered previously. With these fixes in place, we aim to ensure a smoother and more seamless gameplay experience for all explorers

Enhanced Guided Ship Design
Embark on your voyages with newfound confidence as the Stellar update expands the policy system, offering enhanced guidance for automated research and ship design priorities. With a new Weapon and Component Focuses section added to Empire Policy settings, players can exert greater control over automated decisions, aligning research and ship designs more closely with their strategic objectives.

Refined User Interface
Discover a universe of possibilities with the addition of a new measurement tool, providing intuitive ways to gauge distances and plan your next move with precision. The user interface enhancements included in this update aim to streamline navigation and improve overall accessibility, ensuring that every aspect of your cosmic odyssey is within reach.

Charting a Clear Path
Navigate the cosmos with confidence as the Stellar update resolves commonly reported pathfinding issues, smoothing the way for seamless exploration and conquest. Whether charting courses through nebulous clouds or plotting trajectories across star-studded skies, your journeys will be guided by newfound clarity and efficiency.

AI Enhancements and Beyond
Experience a more dynamic and responsive galaxy with improvements to AI behavior, construction, diplomacy, colonization, and more. From the intricacies of interstellar politics to the challenges of managing burgeoning colonies, the Stellar update enriches every facet of gameplay, ensuring that each decision shapes the destiny of your empire.

The Stellar Update added a lot of new features and improved many others, including the single greatest issue I had with the game – the inability to have the AI focus on hangars in auto designs/upgrades of ships. Each races ships behave very differently in many ways, not least of which is their focus on different weapon systems. Races such as the Ackdarians and Gizureans focus on fighter craft but the AI would consistently remove hangar bays in favour of weapon systems which ruined how I wanted to play those races – this no longer happens! This is also one of the smaller changes overall, but it has a large impact on how I will be able to enjoy the game so I’m very happy to see this in particular.

In the same vein, there are even more automation options to customize ongoing development of your ships which will help get the fleets designed how you want them.

One of the principles of Distant Worlds 2 from the start has been to add more “guided automation” to find a better middle ground for players between full manual play and fully automated play. Ship Design and Research are two of the key areas where we heard a great deal of feedback from players who wanted more guided automation.

In Ship Design, players have the option to fully automate this area, design all of their ships manually, or mix things up by assigning some ship roles to manual design and keeping others automated. The fully automated and mix and match players wanted more influence over how those automated designs looked and we agreed that this would be a good thing.

In order to fully achieve this goal, we also needed a way to better guide research (when it is automated) because the ships and bases that you can design depend in large part on the research you have done in terms of what components are available to you. It made sense to connect the two systems in order to achieve the desired end result.

– MuHa Games

The automation will then focus your weapon research in those weapon categories and use those weapons in its automated designs. When a faction has a faction-unique component within these categories, it will be further preferred and weighted for research and design.

For example, you can see in the Mortalen ship below, that it has Blasters and Torpedoes as the preferences state, but in the choice of which Torpedo to use, the automation has researched and included the Mortalen-unique Pulse Torpedo.

There are other categories where the player can also choose the priority of a particular weapon type, which ship role should be the smallest to try to fit those weapon types in its designs and even state that he does not want that type of weapon used at all to free up space for other priorities.

For example, see the screenshot below of the choices for Ion Weapons. These three options give you maximum flexibility – if you don’t want Ion weapons on your ships at all, or you do want them but only on your Battleships, or you want lots of Ion weapons on all of your ships, you can achieve that through these automation policies. The same flexibility now applies to Intercept Weapons (Point Defense and Fighter weapons), Area Weapons and Bombard weapons.

There are plans to further expand this system for example additional preferences for fighter designs and civilian ship and base designs as well as more from community suggestions which is great to see.

Game Factions Update

The upcoming Game Faction Update revamps two of the originally released races to match the higher quality, more in-depth development of the DLC added races, something the community has been asking for since seeing the much fuller featured DLC races. This update marks the beginning of a number of free patches that will eventually update all the original races. Included in this update is Human and Mortalen factions, as well as many other changes including improved border graphics and a new visualization for Fleet Engagement ranges.

My hype for Distant Worlds 2 only increases over time. It saddens me that community reception has been so poor when I see so much to love in the game. It seems like people do not know how to approach the unique game that Distant Worlds 2 gives us, treating it more like Stellaris or other straighter forward 4X sci-fi games. The game definitely has a niche audience of which I am well and truly a part, so I’m happy to support the game and devs wherever possible. I think they do great work, and their ongoing free support of the game is admirable.

Lastly there will be a special streaming event with Erik Rutins, producer and co-designer of Distant Worlds 2, on March 26 at 9PM AWST on their Twitch channel where he will pre-show the Game Faction update so make sure you tune in if you can! If not, you should be able to catch the VoD on YouTube if we’re lucky.

You can buy Distant Worlds 2 on Steam currently 35% off on the Steam Spring sale for $AU 47.77.


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