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NOW OUT: Warlords Expansion & v2.5 “Ares” Update for Galactic Civilizations IV

Article posted on 4/18/2024

New Features Include:

War Aims, Combat Doctrines, Invasion Tactics, New Ship Components, New Technologies, A New Battle Viewer and much more


Get GalCiv IV Now  |  Warlords Expansion

Stardock has released a major expansion pack for its popular space 4X game, Galactic Civilizations IV.  Galactic Civilizations IV: Warlords adds a host of new features including War Aims, Combat Doctrines, Invasion Tactics, New Ship Components, New Technologies, a new Battle Viewer and much more.  

Alongside the expansion pack, Stardock has also released version 2.5, a major free update for fans of the series which has a host of new features, user experience improvements, AI updates and an improved trade system.  

“We’ve been wanting to revisit how space combat works in the game for a long time,” said Brad Wardell, Creative Director at Stardock. “We know a lot of our players are fans of military history as well as how various naval and aviation systems are developed and wanted to really incorporate some of that thinking into the game.”  

To that end, Warlord Features include:  

  • Combat Doctrines.  Players can now create custom ship classes by assigning a ship type (such as a Destroyer) with a doctrine which determines how that ship type is used in combat including targeting preferences, operational abilities and more. 
  • War Aims. Since the original Galactic Civilizations was released – over 30 years ago, declaring war meant the war would go on until one side negotiated a peace.  In Warlords players can choose War Aims which allow each side to engage in wars of more limited scope. 
  • Invasion Tactics. Previously, players who wanted to invade a planet had only one way to do it: Boots on the ground.  Warlords adds a host of additional options such as biological attacks, propaganda, mass driver attacks and more. 
  • Lots of New Ship Components. Warlords adds new exotic weapon and defense modules such as cloaking devices as well as weapons that affect the flow of time.  The v2.5 update also includes many new components to allow for more interesting ship designs rather than merely a “stat buff”. 
  • New Battle Viewer: Players can now get a real-time, per-ship engagement log in the battle viewer. Players can see how their ship designs performed during combat and adjust both future designs as well as adjustments to doctrine after the fact.   

These are just a few of the highlights of Galactic Civilizations IV: Warlords.


Helpful Resources

Guided Tour of v2.5/Warlords  |  v2.5/Warlords Comparison Chart  |  FULL Changelog


Purchase Galactic Civilizations IV or the Warlords Expansion on Steam, Epic Games Store, or directly at


Warlords Expansion Screenshots:


v2.5/Warlords Changelog:

Hot Patch 4/19/24

  • Operational Abilities are now being added to stat calculations 

2.5 Major Updates  

Battle Viewer 

The Battle Viewer received a significant visual upgrade for all players. This update focuses on providing a cleaner view with more options to show/hide UI elements and ensure each UI element provides more detail on combat interactions. Updates include: 

  • Players can toggle Show Ship HUDs to get HP Bars, Shield Bars, and combat text, including damage numbers. This is off by default. 

  • Selecting a Ship now provides a detailed tooltip that includes a Battle Log specific to that ship. It can be toggled open. 

  • The full Battle Log and ship-specific Battle Logs have been updated to include more information with an attack and defense breakdown for increased visibility. 

Trade Route Screen 

A new screen which allows players to see a detailed breakdown of trade. The screen indicates the Trade Route between Planets and who initiated each route. It is now accessible from the Action Bar and the Civilization Screen. 

Fleet Wide Commands Screen 

A new screen was implemented for an improved automation experience. It is accessible through the Civilization Screen 

Tech Tree Update 

The Tech Tree received a major update with the Warfare tree being divided into three categories to provide more focused trees and new technologies added. This update now arranges the Tech Tree into six categories. The division makes the branches more readable and provides players with more options early on.  


Ship Components 

Several new defense and weapon components are now available. More complex and unique components were introduced for owners of Warlords, including components that can increase the damage done to ships operated by species of specific biology, a component that uses damage done to repair itself, and Stellar Marines that can be deployed to take over a ship. 

Ship Components available to all players 

  • Point Defense: Shoots out a counter measure to block enemy weapons. 

  • Chaff: Reduces damage done by Missile attacks. 

  • Reflector: Reduces damage done by Beam attacks. 

  • Neuroflex  Plating: Increases Armor rating. 

  • Diamonic Composite Armor: Increases Armor rating. 

  • Gluon Disintegrator: A highly advanced beam weapon that unravels molecular bonds using targeted gluon disturbances. 

  • Gluon Capacitation: Enhances beam weapons by increasing their gluon energy storage and discharge capacity. 

  • Disruptor Pulse Array: A weapon system that emits powerful pulses capable of disrupting atomic and subatomic structures. 

  • Phasors: High-intensity energy beams with precise targeting.  

  • Enhanced Phasors: Advanced phasors with improved beam intensity and efficiency. 

  • Coil Accelerator Array: Rapid-fire kinetic weapon that accelerates projectiles to high velocities. 

  • Neutonium Piercer Manifest: Utilizes dense neutronium to pierce through the toughest armors. 

  • Neutronium Emitter Cannons: Emits high-density neutronium projectiles for massive kinetic impact. 

  • Enhanced Neutronium Cannon: Advanced cannon that maximizes neutronium projectile effectiveness and speed.  

  • Graviton Vortex Array: Generates a controlled graviton field to create destructive vortexes.  

  • Enhanced Graviton Vortex Array: Amplifies graviton vortex generation for increased kinetic impact. 

  • Quantum Catapult: Utilizes quantum mechanics to launch projectiles withe unparalleled velocity and impact.  

  • Higgs Field Crusher: Disrupts the Higgs field to momentarily increase target mass and induce catastrophic collapse.  

  • Cerberus Warheads: Missiles with complex multi-layered warheads capable of inflicting cascading damage. 

  • Leviathan Torpedoes: The Leviathan torpedo uses a shaped antimatter warhead and delivery system to devastate the enemy.  

  • Furious Leviathan Torpedoes: The Leviathan Torpedo upgraded with weight redistributed to deliver High Explosive antimatter variant warheads.  

  • Icarion Missile Cluster: The Icarion missile system uses volleys of antimatter-infused missiles to spread the damage across the enemy's hull.  

  • Orions Spear: The Orion's Spear system is a devastating single-target missile launcher that utilizes antimatter to shatter through enemy defenses.  

  • Triton’s Revenge: Built upon the original Triton Torpedo design, Triton's Revenge uses antimatter and increased missile guidance to better focus its damage.  

  • Klein’s Dread: Klein's Dread torpedoes strain against the fabric of space-time to quickly deliver destruction to the enemy.  


Additional Ship Components available to owners of Warlords 

  • Ion Cannon: Fires an ionized blast of energy to disable a target’s Evasion capabilities  

  • E-Web: Reduces the damage done by Kinetic attacks. 

  • Time Dilator: Uses intense bursts of gravitation to warp time dilation in a localized area to halt the cooldown of a target’s weapons. 

  • Assault Shuttles: Short-range transport shuttles that allow Assault Marines to board hostile vessels. 

  • Cloaking Device: Deploys a combination of visual and instrument manipulation to cloak the equipped ship, rendering the ship un-targetable by enemy weapons. 

  • Theron Ray: Radiates a beam that disorients targets to such a degree it causes them to take increased damage. 

  • Shattering Pulse: Emits signals that disorient targets to such a degree that it causes them to take increased damage. 

  • UV Field: Produces emissions that disorient targets to such a degree that it causes them to take increased damage. 

  • Vampire Module: Enhances the functionality of all weapons on the equipped ship, allowing damage done to targets to be absorbed and converted into repairs for the equipped ship. 

  • Neutron Scrambler: Excites the particles around a target to reduce the target’s accuracy. 

  • Marine Berthing: Berthing units give housing and space to Defense Marines which helps resist the boarding actions of hostile units. 

  • Repair Nanite Cloud: A housing unit that produces a dense grouping of nanite drones that will repair structural damage. 

  • Shield Bubble: Provides additional shielding to the equipped ship and its allies.  

Invasion Tactics 

Invasion Tactics allow the player more control over the nature of Planetary Invasions. They allow the player to make interesting choices at the start of an invasion for Core Worlds that affects casualties, planetary destruction, and the duration of the Invasion. 

Tactics available to all players: 

  • Planetary Assault: Follow general siege protocol to wear down the planet and eventually exert a total claim over the planet. Siege protocol focuses on minimizing casualties and collateral damage. 

Additional Tactics available to owners of Warlords 

  • Orbital Bombardment: Use ship-mounted artillery to wreak havoc and destruction across the planet. The devastation caused by an orbital bombardment makes a world easier to conquer at the cost of favor and infrastructure. 

  • Surface Invasions: Put units on the planet's surface to conduct an invasion. Units can minimize infrastructure damage, but the ensuing battles will cost some lives and those that survive will take longer to adapt to new authority. 

  • Propaganda: Employ psychological and media tactics to win the hearts and minds of the populace. Slowly bring the citizenry to accept their change in ownership, preserving morale, life, and infrastructure. 

  • Biological Attacks: Use genetically engineered pathogens targeted at the citizenry. Facilitate a faster invasion without damaging the existing infrastructure but make the planet less inhabitable by organic life. 

  • EMP Attacks: Use targeted EMP bursts to disrupt production and damage synthetic citizens. Facilitate a faster invasion without damaging the existing infrastructure but slow down manufacturing and damage tech. 

  • Shatter Attacks: Use target frequencies that cause physical damage to silicon-based lifeforms. Facilitate a faster invasion without damaging the existing infrastructure but damaging the planet's raw materials. 

  • Annihilate Targets: Show no mercy. Unleash all havoc upon the planet. Bombard it with artillery and send in the troops to eliminate resistance. Use efficiency and brutality to ensure nothing of the enemy remains at the end of the siege. 

  • Liberate: Bring freedom to the people. Carefully choose targets and utilize propaganda tactics to revoke the authority of the current owner. The planet will not be conquered but instead will be allowed to become its own faction. 

Ship Types 

Ship Types represent a ship's combat specialization based on hull size. Tiny-hull combat ships can have a Fighter or Bomber type, each with a different benefit. We have introduced new types for Small, Medium, Large, and Huge hull-sized ships. 

New Ship Types available to all players 

  • Carrier: Huge capital cargo ship that carries additional Fighters and Bombers into Battles. 

Additional Ship types available to owners of Warlords 

  • Corvette: Small combat ships with +25% Hit Points  

  • Destroyer: Medium combat ship with -10% Weapon Cooldown  

  • Command Ship: Large capital ship with -10% Weapon Cooldown for Allies in Fleet and -50% Hit Points 

Operational Abilities 

Operational Abilities is a new feature that is part of a ship's design. Operational Abilities give specific benefits such as boosting fire rate, increasing speed, and more. Existing ships start with a default operational ability. Players can assign a new operational ability when editing a Ship class with Warlords. 

Operational Abilities available to all players 

  • Barrage: -25% Weapon Cooldown 

  • Defender: +50% Accuracy against Fighters and Bombers 

  • Giant Slayer: +50% Attack against Large and Huge Hulls Ships 

  • Precision: +25% Accuracy 

Additional Operational Abilities available to owners of Warlords 

  • Ace: +75% Accuracy against Fighters 

  • Assassin: +50% Attack and +50% Weapon Cooldown 

  • Blitz: +50% Tactical Speed, -15% Accuracy  

  • Ghost: +25% Evasion 

  • Hunter: +25 Attack and +25% Accuracy against Frigates and Corvettes 

  • Skirmisher: -75% Weapon Cooldown and -25% Weapon Range 

  • Sniper: +50% Accuracy 

  • Assault: -50% Weapon Cooldown 

  • Sentinel: +75% Attack against Bombers 

  • Rush: +25% Tactical Speed 

  • Focus Fire: +10 Attack 

  • Command: Allies +10% Accuracy and -25% HP 

  • Fortress: +100% HP and –75% Tactical Speed 

Targeting Priorities 

Targeting Priorities is a new feature that affects how ships behave in combat. Targeting Priorities updates the Ship combat AI to go after ships in a specific order so ships can better take advantage of their innate bonuses and focus on their combat role. While all ships are getting a default Targeting Priority based on their size as part of the 2.5 Release, those with Warlords will be able to change Targeting Priorities in the Ship Designer. 

Targeting Priorities available to all Players 

  • Smallest Combatants: Fighter > Bomber > Frigate 

  • Largest Combatants: Dreadnought > Battleship > Destroyer 

  • Bombers: Bomber > Corvette > Destroyer 

  • Return Fire Only: Capital Ships > Cruiser > Fighters 

Additional Targeting Priorities available to owners of Warlords 

  • Capital Ships: Cruiser > Destroyer > Battleship 

  • Support Ships: Unclassified > Cruiser > Fighter 

  • Gunships: Frigate > Corvette > Cruiser 

  • Frontline Combatants: Frigate > Corvette > Fighter 

Edit Ship Class 

Ship Classes are a new way of thinking about Ship Designs. A Ship Class is the Ship Type plus the Operational Ability and Targeting Priority. The Ship Designer is updated to focus on the Ship Class, each with a default Operational Ability and Targeting Priority. Those with Warlords will be able to edit Classes to change the Targeting Priority and Operational Ability before designing a new ship. 

War Aims 

When a war is declared, the aggressor civilization will declare a specific War Aim, which determines the scale of the war. This helps give wars focus and decreases the frequency of wars that drag on till one civilization is destroyed. War Aims can encompass minor skirmishes, taking a planet or two, and scaling up to more destructive conflicts.  

  • War of Defense: A short-term war with the intent to preempt aggression and protect borders. 

  • War of Expansion: A moderate-length war with the intent to expand borders and spread influence 

  • War of Conquest: A long-term war with the intent to claim vast expanses of enemy territory. 

  • War of Annihilation: A prolonged war with the intent to wipe out the enemy civilization. 

Capturing Starbases 

Owners of Warlords will be able to capture Starbases rather than destroy them. To capture a Starbase, a player must engage the Starbase in a fight and win. 


Additional 2.5 Release Updates 


  • Reordered Generation to prevent Civilization name from being generated using the traits (e.g., Biology) from the previous generation 

  • Personality is now included in the Player Traits portion of prompt 

  • Citizen Description now describes the Citizens rather than Civilizations 

  • Implemented ‘Humanoid’ as a distinct species in prompt 


  • Updated Humanoid Citizen Portraits 

  • Updated some Event images 


  • Fixed crash related to Faction ship style set in Civilization setup  

  • Fixed Multiplayer desync related to Ship Components   


  • Slightly increased the size of Small maps   

  • Red Stars are now more likely to have Asteroids 

  • Stars now appear more frequently 

  • Asteroids now appear more frequently 

  • Durantium now appears mor frequently 

  • Fixed Targeting Order to properly target ships 

  • The Devout ability was fixed to allow access to the vestigial Krynn techs  

  • Fixed an issue where Ships created from blueprint were not getting their respective Category Module 

  • Stinky Glowy Plants approval penalty now increases 1 per level. People do not like Glowy Stinky Plants. 

  • Ammonia Biology now allows for Radioactive colonization 

  • Defensive Discipline tech now adds +20% to Evasion which is a valid effect type instead of Jamming 

  • Fighters now attack Bombers first in their attack order 

  • Balanced some weapons to be slightly more powerful 

  • Removed "Desperate Measures" Weapon Tech 

  • Improved controls for Battle Viewer camera 

  • Changed duration between declaring a War and when a Civilization enters Diplomacy from 12 to 24 turns 

  • “Artificial Gravity” has been moved behind “Colonial Policies” in Tech Tree 

  • “Xeno Factories” has been moved behind “Asteroid Mining” in the Tech Tree  

  • A balance pass was completed on Events  

  • A balance pass was completed on Krynn special improvements  

  • Dreadlord Ships are now quite a bit more difficult  

  • The Dreadlords have been made much stronger.  

  • Extreme Colonization now also grants a Planetary Terraforming improvement  

  • General Citizen types are now not quite as good as they were before. Specialist (workers, scientists, etc.) multiplier has been increased from 20% to 25%.  

  • Pirate Base spacing reduced from 35% of the sector spacing to 25% sector spacing to be able to fit more.  

  • Pirate Bases on Tiny Sectors increased from 2 to 3.  

  • Pirate Shipyard production increased from 2 per turn to 8 per turn.  

  • Planets under extreme alien influence will revolt much faster.  

  • Sentinels are now a bit more difficult  

  • Sentinels will now build new ships  

  • The Brighter AI difficulty was slightly increased 

  • The Covet Territory Diplomatic modifier has been updated from -1 to -2.  

  • Tiny Hull ship default increased from 5 to 6.  


  • Tweaked exposure to reduce the blow out of Planets   

  • Updated Point Lights with some lighting tweaks 


  • All Languages 

    • Updated for new content 

  • Chinese 

    • Updated Event text for “Everything for Sale” Mission 

  • German  

    • Large font sizes reduced to reduce clipping 

  • Korean 

    • Fixed missing title on Mission screen for The Opportunity mission in Korean 

  • Polish 

    • Updated Colony Ship string for proper placement of associated icon 

  • Russian 

    • Updated “Fear of Contamination” Event text 


  • Economic Stimulus now reflects the actual credit value granted of 100. 

  • Fixed the Broken Teleporter event tooltip to indicate that it gives the Wormhole Generator 

  • Removed reference to vestigial improvements on Growth tooltip 

  • Terran Resistance System description updated to correctly reference it as a class 23 system 

  • The Kindness Culture Trait description has been updated to mention that it applies the pacifism cultural awareness percentage as an approval percentage bonus to a player’s civilization. 

  • The upgraded version of the Entrepreneur Citizen role now displays as “Economist” instead of as “Entrepreneur” 

  • Updated Loyal ability description  


  • Citizen Transport is now using unique Tactical Zoom icon 

  • The Fertile Valley terrain tile on the Planet Screen now displays a bonus agriculture bonus icon 

  • The Opponent Setting screen in New Game setup should now always have a background image 

  • Added Citizens in transit on Citizen Transports to Population tooltip breakdown for Planet