The just released “Diplomatic Affinity” update includes a complete redesign of all the Diplomatic Traits. While Echoes of Earth already had unique Diplomatic Traits this second pass is designed to bring Diplomatic Traits in line with the new Virtues. The biggest change is that Diplomatic Traits now all provide a source of Affinity points! You can see pictures of all the new traits below:
Each trait category (Domestic, Orbital and Military) has 9 traits in total, 3 traits associated with each Affinity. No matter what Affinity you choose you will have multiple options in each category.
The 2nd level of every trait provides a source of Affinity points while the 1st and 3rd provide other bonuses. These bonuses often depend on your colony’s terrain and long term strategy so you will need to pick carefully.
It is not always the best plan to pick a single trait and maximize it as fast as possible. Getting multiple traits to level 2 quickly can provide you with more Affinity points. You can opportunistically grab a trait of the “wrong” Affinity type because you need the level 1 benefit. However, if you don’t want the Affinity points on the 2nd level than spending two trait upgrades to grab the capstone is often inefficient. This indirectly helps tie the options provided by traits to specific Affinities. In non-Harmony games you generally won’t have access to the extra Health provided by “Xeno Adaption’s” level 3 benefit.
Domestic Traits focus on boosting specific tiles within your colony. Domestic Traits provide Affinity when you settle next to specific resources or terrain features. To maximize the impact of your trait you should pay close attention to what your current and future territoriality looks like.
Orbital is the new name for Political Traits. Traits in this category provide alternative ways to get extra Orbital Coverage. This can allow well positioned cities to support economic satellites without first requiring them to divert production into coverage providing structures like Launch Complexes or Observatories.
The extra Orbital Coverage can also be useful for scouting the planet with Spy Satellites in the early game or supporting a military attack against a rival colony.
Military traits provide more than just bonuses in combat. They can also make it cheaper to build units, including economic satellites. The yields from kills can help boost your economy in the early game, as you fight through the initial aliens, but in the late game the bonus when fighting in orbital coverage can allow you to defend and attack more effectively.
Even if you don’t plan on conquering other colonies you will still find useful bonuses in the military traits. Three of the traits (one for each Affinity) provide Affinity points when pillaging Alien Nests. These can be an effective source of Affinity points in the early game when Alien Nests are plentiful. Just make sure you are ready for the hostile Alien counter attack.
What is next for Echoes of Earth?
With Civilization 6 coming soon I am considering winding down active development on Echoes of Earth and transitioning to working on Civilization 6 projects. This statement should not be taken as meaning this update will be the last one for Echoes of Earth.
I’m looking at doing a military overhaul that will make the power jumps between Affinity tiers less extreme. There will also be other changes that make it easier to fight against a rival who has more Affinity points than you.
I also have some smaller UI and quality of life changes I want to make. I want to find a way to combine the current “Affinity from Signal Satellites” mechanic into Orbital Traits.
I’ve also got a collection of blog posts I’m working on that will talk about some of the design challenges designing Virtues and Traits. Along with a longer series looking back on all the mods of worked on since Civilization 5, what I’ve learned, and what I’m planning for Civilization 6.