Two weeks ago Echoes of Earth passed a milestone. Play testers were given a version that included a complete overhaul of the diplomacy system. Every Diplomatic Trait and Agreement has been replaced. These changes have a huge impact on how the game is played and is the largest content update in the history of the mod. The update also marks the point at which the mod entered feature lockdown. This was the last chunk of content that I wanted to have done before the initial public release.
Most of the new Diplomatic Traits do different things at each level. For example, the Political Trait “Moonshot Projects” provides +25% Production for Wonders at level 1, adds on +3 Science per Wonder at level 2 and at level 3 adds on +1 Local Health per Wonder. If you haven’t completed many Wonders yet you may not needs to get the second level right after getting the first. Later on, even if you have Wonders, if you don’t have any issues with local Health you may decide to delay getting the third level.
By mixing up the benefits within a trait players don’t have rush a single trait to level 3 to maximize a specific benefit. Players can jump around, grabbing other traits or agreements before coming back and pushing a trait to level 3.
Domestic Traits focus on boosting specific tiles within your colony. Your trait choice will be strongly influenced by what resources or territory is around you. Your trait will also make certain areas more tempting to expand to, so if you have Advanced Aquaculture you may prefer expanding to water cities rather than inland.
Political Traits provide economic bonuses that are not as directly related to tiles. They can buff Satellites, Wonders or provide extra Trade routes for cities built in specific geographical areas.
Military Traits can do more than just provide combat bonuses — although they do do that. They can let your garrisons provide economic bonuses or make it easier to build economic Satellites for your cities.
While Diplomatic Traits provide bonuses that are useful throughout the game Agreements provide benefits that are useful during specific periods within the game. If you are fighting a war you can sign an Agreement that provides a Warscore boost or yield when you kill a unit. Once the war is over you can end the Agreement and spend your Diplomatic Capital elsewhere. If you just unlocked Solar Collector Satellites and want to get them over all of your cities you can sign an Agreement that provides extra Orbital Production. Once the initial rush of satellite building is over you can end the Agreements.
New Artifact Rewards
All the Artifact Rewards have been changed. Old Earth Artifact Rewards provide simple buildings that provide +2 Yield (Food, Energy, Culture, etc) and can be built in every city. While not flashy these buildings can be workhorses that give your colony things to build without requiring special technology.
Alien Artifact Rewards all provide +4 Global Health. You can learn a lot about surviving on the hostile planet by dissecting the native life. Managing Global Health is a key part of Echoes of Earth. Building an army and attacking nests will give you space to settle and provide the Global Health you need to support the additional cities.
Progenitor Artifact Rewards are National Wonders that all provide +1 Yield from a specific type of specialists (ei: +1 Production from Engineers). In the future when Wonders are completely redone these effects may change.
Mixed Artifact Rewards all provide bonuses to a specific type of pre-Affinity military unit. For example, +1 Vision for Tanks or Submarines can move after attacking. These advantages aren’t as useful as a real upgrade of the units people on the warpath looking to stack every quality enhancing upgrade for their units should keep these in mind.
Placeholder changes to Virtues
There are some changes to Virtues. However, these changes are intended to be placeholders until the larger Virtue revamp can be completed farther down the line. 90% of the Virtues are unchanged. What has changed is that the first and second depth synergies provide Global Health. Individual Virtues within the trees that provided Health have been changed. The advanced Affinity associated improvements (Biowells, Nodes, Domes, etc) now all have Virtues which enhance them.
Feature lockdown & What is next
This update is the last chunk of new content before public release. While play testers have been busy putting it through its paces I’ve been finalizing all the text and art that will go into the public version of the mod. If you’ve been waiting for release before playing your wait is almost over.