Stellaris, the space-themed grand strategy from Paradox Interactive, has some new story DLC coming soon. The Ancient Relics story DLC promises an opportunity to flesh out the past of your space race through archeology.

The journey into your Stellaris universe’s history begins by sending out scientists to explore planets per usual. Each planet has a chance to hold an artifact or relic site, making it a Relic World. Relic Worlds used to be the home of ancient races now long extinct. Upon finding one of these sites, you’ll set up an archeological dig site, allowing you to chase down the history involved there. These digs will set off a quest that can last anywhere from one to six chapters depending on the significance of the piece.

At the end, you’ll get a reward whose value corresponds to the length of the quest. One of the smaller rewards is a minor artifact. These are items of smaller significance that were left by Precursor civilizations. You can use minor artifacts to perform Artifact Actions, which provide minor bonuses such as small boosts to production, increased military slots, or stopping population growth on a planet. While these rewards may be small, they can give you a critical edge needed to assert your space dominance.


Unlike the nameless minor artifacts, there are also the Relics. Each Relic is unique and packed with lore. Relics provide both a passive effect — like reducing the influence cost of a claim — and more powerful active effects that run on a cooldown. The Khan’s Throne shown in the preview trailer shows the ‘Drums of War’ ability, which boosts ship weapon damage by 20% and military ethics attraction by 25% for 120 months. You’ll march to the beat of whatever drum you want with that kind of power.

Other relics may generate random resources, boost research, or even breed a fleet of living ships in the case of the Prethoryn Brood-Queen. Owners of previous expansions get artifacts from those stories as well. One example given is taking a trophy from the Elder Drake in the Leviathan DLC.

The new old

The Ancient Relics DLC introduces two extinct Precursor civilizations, the Baol and the Zroni. The Baol were a hivemind species of planetoid sized beings. The Zroni were incredibly powerful psionics who basically became 5th-dimensional gods. Finding out how these ancient species lived, and died, will play a big part in the story of Ancient Relics.

These two new races join the five other previous Precursor races: the Vultaum Star Assembly, the Yuht Empire, the First League, the Irassian Concordat, and the Cybrex.

Patching it all together

Stellaris‘ 2.33 update will arrive alongside the new Ancient Relics DLC and brings some big changes to the game. First up is the first step towards a rework of the sector system. The change in this patch allows for easier setup of new sectors where you want them. Also coming in this patch is the Designation System. This allows you to designate the role of a planet. Previously, this was an automated process, but now you can choose to make a planet a Colony, Urban World, Mining World, or an Agri-World, among others. Megastructures and Habitats are receiving a rebalance too, changing how these are obtained in-game from ascension perks to technology. Finally, Ring Worlds will now be divided into unique districts called segments

How did the Precursor races affect the modern day? What do these artifacts say about the nature of your species? How will my bird people cash these bad boys in to crush those dang crab people?! We’ll get least some of these answers when Stellaris: Ancient Relics drops on June 4.

Stefan Bahruth
A PC gamer ever since he first laid eyes on Civilization II. World's worst Rainbow Six Siege player. Ametuer Professional Scientist. Ranker of all things.

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