Stellaris Guide: Vanilla 2.0.2 (Stable)

Stellaris Guide: Vanilla 2.0.2 (Stable)


Thanks for coming to my guide and reading, I hope that it will help you become better players at the game. Unfortunately this is a work in progress so bear with me. If you have any suggestions or discrepancies or anything at all please let me know and I'll make the adjustments. Otherwise enjoy and I hope you learn something. Thanks. If you dont feel like reading this gude you can get information from the Paradox Wiki here.

Patch V2.0.2 - Introduction

I started this guide from 2.0. Now 2.0.2 is here so I will start working on the new updates in the guide as best as possible. It's funny as I just literally started playing the 2.0.2 beta last night to get the Prethoryn Scourge to die which was bugged in 2.0. For patch information you can visit the link.

Patch V2.0.2 - Significant Changes Pt. 1

Mind you I am looking through the patch notes and trying to figure out whether it is related to Vanilla or not. Let me know if it doesn't belong otherwise I am picking certain changes that I find significant. Thanks

Features Added tier 5 Dark Matter Thrusters that can only be gained by scavenging Fallen Empire ships

I actually was in the middle of destroying the Fallen empire when I got the Dark Matter Shields however I am not sure if that was already in the game

Transcendent Learning ascension perk has been added to the game, and it increases leader level cap and empire leader cap

Space stations now use the country_mult modifier instead of the tile_mult modifier and no longer get the tile_add modifier

This looks pretty significant however I do not know its use yet.

Occupation no longer contributes to War Exhaustion, but instead is displayed as a separate factor in war overview

Not sure if this is just a convenience thing but I would assume it is still part of war exhaustion

Grasp the Void ascension perk has been added to the game. It increases starbase capacity by +4

Increased max starbase capacity to 100

Assist Research is no longer researched by technology, and is instead unlocked by a tradition

It is under the Discovery Tradition tree.

Forcing an empire to adopt your ideology will now also pull them out of any Federation they are part of, and revoke all their claims on you and your Federation allies and subjects

Reworked difficulty modes completely.

When declaring war, your relevant claims are now listed in the war goals screen, except for total wars which ignore claims

When ordering a ship to move to a system, the ship will now automatically enter orbit of the star instead of just idling near it

When a planet is occupied, the occupier now gradually spawns a garrison force to hold and defend it. Unless destroyed by battle or bombardment, the garrison force remains until the planet is either annexed or reverts to the owner's control

Wormhole Stabilization is now also researchable if any known (playable) empire has researched it first

Clicking 'new fleet' in fleet manager now selects the new entry and opens the add design menu

Combat computers now tell you the actual range the ship will attempt to hold at during combat

Added "Eye of Hawking" black hole name


Increased energy upkeep of all Starbase sizes by +1. Outposts now cost 1 energy maintenance

This will hurt more but it will make trading hubs and Prosperity that more important.

Base unity income increased from 1 to 2

Base tradition cost increased from 56 to 100 (does not affect the cost increase from number of traditions)

Tradition unity cost per system reduced from 2% to 1%

Corvette/Destroyer/Cruiser/Battleship build speed techs now also reduce build cost of that ship type by 5%

Egalitarian ethics effect on faction influence increased from +15%/30% to +25%/50%

Corvette Focus trait now requires Destroyers tech

Related to a rulers trait.

Scout admiral trait reduced from 20% to 10% speed (so Gale-Speed is faster)

Admiral now always dies when last ship in fleet is destroyed and there are no disengaged ships to move to

Drone Mining Lasers are now a bit worse against hull and a bit better against shields

Thrusters now cost different amounts of minerals and give different amounts of evasion based on which ship size they are for (corvette thrusters are cheaper and add more evasion, etc)

Militarist ethics now gain -10%/-20% war exhaustion gain instead of army damage bonus

Technologies that reduce claim cost now also decrease war exhaustion gain

Increased opinion bonuses for ally of ally and mutual rivals

Increased opinion penalties of allying rivals

Tributary wargoal is now a bit easier to enforce

Reduced War Exhaustion per ship and army killed

Combat computers now give evasion_mult instead of evasion_add

Asteroid Sighted can no longer pop after the first 50 years, to avoid it happening in large sprawling empires with limited time to respond

First pirate event now tells you the system where they are based

Increased time limits of all Special Projects requiring a ship in orbit (new minimum is 3 years)

This is great as sometimes you would have a project too far away and it would expire.

Federation fleet is now limited to an absolute max naval capacity of 500

It is now possible to get the gateway activation tech if you know any other empire that has the technology

You now get war exhaustion a bit slower while fighting a Liberation War

When a Federation enforces ideology on an empire, that empire now gets opinion boosts with the entire federation

AI Empires now gets pirates

Yes! as pirates have always been against solely you.

Resource Replicators mineral production increased from 30 to 40

Raised starbase max cap to 999

Raised naval max cap to 9999

A change from 1000.

Early Space Age primitives are now much less likely to nuke themselves unless due to observation station interference

Reduced chance of Generals dying in battle when their division is destroyed

Unrest and unhappiness no longer reduces food production, to prevent an unrecoverable death spiral of food shortages leading to even more starvation

Slaves' attraction to egalitarianism now depends on how unhappy they are - happy slaves will gain authoritarian attraction instead, as they learn to love the lash

Increased jump drive cooldown from 120 to 200 days

Increased general exp gain from ground combat massively

Reduced forced migration speed (so it's slower than extermination generally)

Opinion modifier from Hallowing a Fallen Empire's Holy World no longer decays

Added a lot more resources to the non-Cybrex Precursor home systems

Increased war exhaustion gain from battles and planetary destruction

Reduced torpedo bonus damage against armor to +50% (from +100%)


Reduced autocannon bonus damage against shields to +50% (from +100%)


Increased range and firing speed of point defense

Bufffffff, actually makes things better for Point Defence however I would like to see better balance for it

Reduced tech cost per system from 2% to 1%

Raised base tech costs

Swapped cost/maintenance of clone and slave armies

Removed the penalties for high war exhaustion. Once a war side reaches 100% war exhaustion, there is now a 24 month timer that starts ticking down. Once the 24 month timer has ended, it is now possible to force a status quo peace. It is possible to mod out forced status quo and mod back in penalties if desired

Tradition scaling cost has been increased, reducing rate of acquisition

Fixed combat computer and weapon ranges to match up better


Citizen Service civic now also increases unity output from fortress and strongholds by 1

This will be great for slaving empires due to the extra unity output and requirement to keep unrest down.

Aristocratic Elite civic now gives +2 leader cap and +2 governor max level instead of +4 leader cap and -50% leader recruitment cost

Distinguished Admiralty civic increases leader cap by +2

Nationalistic Zeal civic now gives -10% war exhaustion gain instead of +1 rivalries

Free Haven now gives xeno migration attraction instead of migration attraction

Police State now also reduces Piracy

This will help those who are annoyed with pirates

Patch V2.0.2 - Significant Changes Pt. 2

Part 2 to significant changes as the last page capped out.


Expansion adoption effect now gives +50% colony development speed (down from +100%)

Nerfed but it wasn't something that I noticed or cared about too much.

Galactic Ambition expansion tradition now gives -20% starbase upkeep instead of +2 starbase capacity

This may hamper early quick expansions but counters the starbase upkeep a little bit.

Fleet Levies now makes all subject (not just vassal) Pops count towards overlord's naval capacity instead of giving a fraction of vassal naval capacity (as the latter resulted in getting huge amounts of naval capacity from techs of 1-system vassals)

This was needed as Fleet Levies was one of the most was overpowering due to the simple ability to Vassalize colonies for the massive fleet cap boost. I used this all the time.

To Boldly Go now gives +50% science ship disengage chance instead of +30 science ship evasion

Planetary Survey Corps has been replaced with Databank Uplinks; which unlocks Assist Research (techs related to Assist Research are no longer researchable, and base effect was buffed)

As stated Assist Research has been removed from Research and is transferred to the Discovery Tradition. I like this change as it forces it to be unavailable to most players unless they choose to use their unity into that direction.

Ascension Perks

Shared Destiny effect on integration cost reduction changed from -50% to -75%

Executive Vigor effect on edict duration reduced from +100% to +50%

After this are just bug fixes and other UI changes but feel free to read the rest via the link.

Basic Concepts - Resources

In order to figure out what is best for your Empire and play style it would be helpful to understand the general idea of what things do in the game. Lets start with the basic Economy. There are three main resources; Energy Credits,Minerals and Food and three other equally important resources. The three main resources all have a cap in which the first two can be increased through buildings and technologies, while food can be increased by Policy.

Energy Credits

Energy Credits are the basis of most maintenance costs. They are also used for most administrative purchases such as acquiring leaders, clearing tile blockers and Terraforming. Energy Credits can be acquired from Colonized planets, systems and from Starbase buildings. Energy Credits is the easier to acquire so long as you are colonizing plenty of planets as Energy Credit can be boosted through the building of Trading Hubs on each Starbase with a Colony and a Tradition buff. If you are planning to play Tall with less emphasis on Colonies and systems then you may run in to Energy Credit production problems. Energy Credits are seen as less of a priority to stockpile due things having to cost less unless Terraforming or enacting Edicts. You are less likely to need to use Energy Credits in an emergency compared to Minerals. The idea of Credit management is to keep up with maintenance costs as once you you become bankrupt, your buildings and fleets will start to gain debuffs and negative production. Energy Credit management is important as you control more systems through star bases and building mining stations, your Energy Credit maintenance costs will increase by 1 each so it is manageable.


Minerals are the the lifeblood of the game due to the requirement to build a fleet which keeps you safe and or helps avoid potential war. Minerals are used for all things that need to be built, for fleet maintenance and for consumer goods costs, your populations basic needs. Minerals are usually the most used resource in the game and Minerals are harder to acquire in production as extra cannot be created like Energy Credits through the Starbases. Minerals must be acquired from Planets or systems however a Later technology can give you a building that produces a significant amount of minerals at a high Energy Credit Maintenance. If you run out of minerals, your ships will receive combat debuffs so it is important to keep Minerals up during war. It is important to keep a high surplus of minerals in case of emergencies as your fleets will generally be destroyed very quickly if not prepared and the resource costs to rebuild them are substantial.


Food are the maintenance for your people. Each population generally consumes 1 food per month. As long as you have a food stockpile nothing can go wrong. If you run out of food then your population will starve and cause unhappiness. Your existing pops will not die however any growing pops will reverse in growth. Surplus growth will give your growing populations a buff in growth speed. This is beneficial as the more pops you have the more time it takes to grow. Food can only be produced on Colonized planets and extras can be build on Starbases, making it easily boosted. Food management is the least important as it is easily accounted for due to the slow population growth and the ability to know the max population per Colony. The food cap can be increased through Policies however this is used when population growth is no longer needed as increasing the cap will remove the growth buff until it has reached its cap. It is essentially helps as a buffer when taking over other empires to re balance your economy.


Influence is a resource that represents your political and diplomatic clout. This is limited resource as it cannot be produced and is slowly gained. Influence can be gained by gaining favor from Factions but that will be explained in another Section. Empires have a base gain of 3 and it is capped at 1000. Its main use is for building Starbases in unclaimed systems and to enact most Edicts, powerful Empire buffs. However later on it is used for other important actions that will come up later in the game. Influence has maintenance costs only if used diplomatically such as defensive pacts or integrating subjects, otherwise most of the time there is no worry of Influence going into the negative. However if it does go into the negative then your populations will lose happiness by -20%.


Unity is a limited resource that allows you to gain Traditions. For those who are familiar with Civilization 5, it is the same as getting a Social Policy. Traditions are power Empire buffs that are essential to the game. As well once you finish a Tradition tree you will be able to adopt a extremely powerful benefit which is called the Ascension Perk. Unity requirements gain after each use and it will not benefit you by saving your Unity. There is a higher Unity requirement penalty per Colonized planet than system so keep that in mind when expanding. Unity production is harder to acquire due to balancing of your Economy however there are buildings available to increase Unity gain. Unity caps out once you have acquired every Tradition. Otherwise you can not adopt Traditions after a certain point and stop prioritizing Unity production.


Research is used to research new technologies. It is divided into three categories. Physics, Society and Engineering. When researching you have the ability to research each of the categories. Engineering generally provides building, robotics, kinetic weapons, thrusters, ship designs and armor technologies. Physics Generally provides research speed buffs, Point defence, shields, lasers, ship power and other advanced technologies. Society generally provides food, genetic manipulation, growth, army, fleet/naval cap, tile blocker, habitability, Unity, and Influence technologies. Each category has their importance throughout the game however in terms of specializing in one is up to the players discretion of play style. Unlike to Civilization 5, Research receives penalties depending on how much you have expanded with having more systems the higher the penalty but less with more Colonized planets.

Basic Concepts - Ethic Benefits

Based on Empire Creation Ethic benefits I am going to go over some basic concepts that you should understand before you pick your Ethics.


Habitability is the measure of how well a species can thrive on a planet. This is important for Colonization as it will make or break a species. A planet must be at least 20% habitable to be colonized. Low habitability caps a species max happiness, reduces happiness, resource production and growth speed.


Opinion is used for Diplomacy with other empires. A higher opinion means it is less likely for them to consider you an enemy and thus avoiding potential war. They are more likely to trade and accept certain beneficial requests like Non-Aggression pacts or Defensive pacts.\


The status of your populations living on your Colonized planets. By default their base happiness is 50%. A unhappy pop produces less and produces more unrest. Happiness can be increased through Policies however it will end up utilizing more resources. Happiness is also affected by their Faction happiness which will be explained later.


Unrest is a measure of how discontent a population are. Unrest have different levels from 10 to 50, 80. Unrest of 10 can cause events and possible sabotage, 50 will hamper production and 80 the population is likely to rebel and take back the planet from the player. Unrest can be reduced with more defensive units via Strongholds, using Martial Law Edict or through Traits and Ethics.

Governing Ethics Attraction

This is an effect that provides your population a higher chance in approving of your Government Ethics choice in Empire creation. For example if you are a Militarist then this will guide your population in approving of Militaristic actions such as going to war or declaring rivals. However if you choose to form defensive pacts and form a Federation then your population will be displeased and divided and might end up becoming Pacifists or Egalitarians.

Consumer Goods Costs

This is a maintenance costs per population. It uses Minerals to keep the population content and can be increased in order to keep the population happy or reduced to reduce maintenance costs.

Migration Speed

Depending on your Species rights, they have the ability to migrate on their own should they choose. If you have Migration Controls off and there are other habitual planets and are unhappy at their current planet, they are likely to move to a planet better suited for them. This also includes Refugees.


Forced resettlement is forcibly moving a population from a Colony of your choosing to another. This is useful to balance out growth speed from a already capped colony or to bolster high yielding resources on another. It costs 100 Energy Credits to resettle a pop.

Growth Speed

The speed at which a population grows. As there are more populations on a colony the longer it takes to grow.

Leader Experience

In the game there are leaders and they gain experience depending on the task they are doing. They are capped to level 5 however it can be increased. Leaders can die out due to old age or other circumstances so it may be beneficial to increase their experience gain.

Defence Army

Defence Armies prevent invasion from enemy empires. Usually your planets will be bombarded which will destroy your defence armies so it is more of a delaying tactic than an actually prevention of invasion. By default defence armies will always have higher survivability compared to basic assault armies.

Leader Level Cap

By default the Leader Level Cap is 5, to a maximum of 10 with traits and other methods.


Slaves provide can provide higher resource production and reduce Consumer Goods Costs. They will be permanently unhappy however it can be increased a bit. Unrest management is pretty easy due to Defensive Armies.

Leader Lifespan

Leaders die at old age and their lifespan can be increased or decreased. Due to their benefits over time it is highly recommended to keep them as long as possible before they age out.


Later in the game your pops will form Factions which are based on the all the Government Ethic types in the game. Depending on how multicultural your empire is, you may get all the Faction types available. Factions can be a benefit or a problem depending on how happy they are so it will depend on whether you want to manage them or not.

Starbase Influence Cost

In order to expand you will need to build Starbases and each Starbase cost influence depending on the distance from your closest Starbase.

Claim Influence Cost

Claims are made on Territory that is owned by another Empire and that requires Influence depending on different Variables.

Border Friction

If your borders touch another empires borders it will decrease opinion due to not wanting conflicting territorial conflicts.

Diplomatic Influence Cost

I believe this involves Edicts and Defensive Pact costs.

War Exhaustion

War Exhaustion is a measure of how tired your Empire/People are of war. It is governing aspect of war and forces Empires to a Status Quo if the War is not ended at that point. This is to prevent a war from going on forever with no clear winner.

Fire Rate

The rate of fire your fleets fire at. It does have its importance for war.

Core Sector Systems

There is a limit of Colonies a player can manage before penalties set in. This forces the player to use Sector Management which is another problem within the game but mitigates the massive penalties involved. Sector Management is explained in another section.

Robot Upkeep

Robots require Energy Credits as maintenance.

Edict Cost

There are a few Edicts that require Energy Credits while the majority of the others use Influence.


Your core Ruler has Empire benefits and such it may be beneficial to be able to choose your Ruler if you choose the Democratic rulers. Otherwise it will be randomly chosen for you.

Caste System

A species rights that allows slavery

Utopian Living Standards

A living standard that priorities happiness over increased consumer goods cost.

Purge and Displace

To Genocide or move a species from your empire.

Orbital Bombardment

Explained in another section, allows you to destroy defensive armies faster or slower at the expense of collateral damage.

War Doctrine

Unlocked through Supremacy Traditions, No Retreat allows for increased Fire Rate otherwise there are other choices.


Basically cannot claim systems and there is a possibility you cannot win the game without other empires assistance.

Academic Privilege

A living standard that increases research speed at the expense of Consumer Goods Costs.

AI Rights

Allows AI to become citizens which in Vanilla, only removes their Research penalties and allows them to be better integrated into your empire.


Temples are a building that increase Unity Production.

Basic Concepts - Civics

Based on Empire Creation Civic benefits I am going to go over some basic concepts that you should understand before you pick your Civics.

Governor Level

For every Colony you own, you are allowed a a Governor to hold a position. While any more are used for Sector Management, it will be useful to gain more benefits for your Core Governor.

Leader Capacity

The base cap of Leaders you have is 10 and can be increased.

Leader Pool Size

When selecting leaders you have a base selection of 3 leaders that are randomized after picking or when they age out. This can be increased.

Strongholds and Fortresses

These are the defensive buildings that produce defensive Armies as you cannot recruit defensive Armies.

Naval Capacity

The max amount of ships you can have before the penalty kicks in. Besides the penalty you are allows 9999 ships. The base is 20.

Admiral Level Cap

Same as Governor except for Admirals, a Fleet Leader.

Subject Power Penalty

The opinion between you and a subject or vassal.


These are subjects or empires that work for you.

Alien Migration Attraction

Goes along with Migration except for other aliens from other empires.

Diplomatic Restrictions

Used for Inward Perfection, prevents most diplomatic agreements.

Ruler Skill Level

Every empire has a starting Ruler and added benefits.

Election Influence Cost

During Democratic elections, players can influence who gets vote in by using influence.

Army Upkeep

The cost it takes to maintain an army.

Research Alternatives

Like leader pool size, research has 3 choices which can be increased.

Empire Creation - Wide Or Tall

General Expansion Styles

Before you set foot in the universe of Stellaris and start setting up an Empire, you must understand what type of expansion style you want to do. As with most strategy games, it is promoted to be as big and powerful as you can however Stellaris is a bit different. There are two main overall expansion styles, Wide and Tall.


Playing “Wide“is usually the common style as it is described as taking as much systems or territories as possible and disregarding plans for a perfect economy and superior research advantage. For those who played Civilization 5 or are used to Strategy games in general, you would have the general idea that the bigger you are the more advantageous you are. However Stellaris has a different idea on that as the bigger you are will end up sometimes complicating your game in the end. However this is the safest bet for new players as the cons are not as bad as you can survive off of sheer numbers are and firepower. The biggest draw is the Technology and Unity Penalties that you acquire the bigger you get as this is seen as the opposite in games such as Civilization 5. Keep in mind while you may be the most powerful empire, some smaller empires may have an edge in Technology however at that point you can still crush the opposition through firepower. Along with playing wide is the complication of immigration and what to do with other races as depending on your government ethics and plans, they will usually end up unhappy due to various reasons. However it can easily be managed by building Strongholds to keep the unrest down however it does take a toll on your production. In any case it is something to think about. You can purge the population as in exterminate them however other empires will definitely hate you for a very long time. Vassalization would be the easiest however you will lose production in the end. Otherwise you would have to coerce your populations to your government ethics which is explained in a guide. An obvious downside of playing wide is the large amount of management required, whether it be guarding systems or dealing with large amount of colonies. Especially with guarding systems, it will take a lot of effort especially when they are defenceless when the enemies arrive and if your fleet is not spread out to prevent capturing then you will be wasting a lot of time reclaiming your own systems. Capturing and fortifying choke points will be your best bet in this situation.


Playing “Tall” is the other play style that involves staying smaller to reduce the Research and Unity penalties occurring when expanding too much. This equates to faster Research and faster Traditions at the expense of knowing that you are vulnerable due to lack of systems and colonies and the difficult start at the beginning of the game. Usually a Tall player will specifically control high resource yields to maximize their play. This is generally more passive early game but in theory a Tall player should outpace the AI in the mid and end game, if you do not get destroyed in the process. There are many ways of playing Tall which will be explained in later guides. Playing Tall takes more effort as more considerations on Economy and choices must be scrutinized, else any mistakes can have detrimental effects. As well sometimes Empires are more likely to attack you due to your small stature however you are less likely to cause border friction. Playing Tall requires more intensive setup during Empire creation. As a Tall player you are more likely to focus on Leader level caps or Research and Unity production. Otherwise Economy will be another factor to take in due to the lack of systems and Colonies. Your Traditions tree will differ from the Wide and Expansionist play as you will concentrate as if you are playing a one planet challenge. Playing Tall is definitely for the Advanced player however it is a lot more fun and engaging, I find. Generally however it is not seen as doable without the Utopia DLC so keep that in mind. Otherwise a guide on how to play tall will be explained in a future guide. Another benefit of playing Tall is there is less management of planets so you are not bombarded with multiple issues such as Upgrading buildings and issues with severe unrest.

Empire Creation - Play Styles Pt. 1

One Planet Challenge

Relates to the playing Tall aspect of the game except the rules are you are allowed only one planet. I do not know the rules however there is a Easy mode and a Hard mode. Easy mode allows you to transfer your initial planet to another planet of your choosing however you will need to immediately abandon your last planet. Otherwise Hard mode means no transferring of planets. Definitely requires the Utopia DLC

Inward Perfection Civic/Pacifism/Utopia

This play style is based on Pacifism and in Vanilla is not recommended as you cannot win as a Inward Perfectionist unless you are a Vassal of a empire that is destroying everyone or have the Utopia DLC in which I believe you can win a Cultural victory. Inward Perfection makes it almost impossible to win due to the inability to claim systems of other empires and the inability to Vassalize subjects by force. Otherwise if your plan is to create the best empire you can be then this is a perfect choice as this is the point of the Civic. My thoughts on Inward Perfect/Pacifism was that it was initially used for the Peacekeeper Achievement which entails forcing everyone to become a Pacifist, making it the Victory condition in that regard however due to the lack of restrictions that Achievement can be achieved by forcing Empires to join the game as Pacifists otherwise making the Achievement the easiest one to acquire. Otherwise if that was not possible then this Civic makes it more plausible to get it. Inward Perfection does have changes to their Traditions tree, namely Domination and Diplomacy which you can find in the guide. They are mostly buffs to your colonies.


Slavery is a concept in the game that is based on resource production at the expense of happiness and unrest control. It can work out to be the best ways to play as a warring faction as the resource production at the beginning of the game are hugely beneficial compared to those who do not have slaves. Beyond the personal guilt of slaving, it a lot of fun to play as a slaving empire and its added benefits do outweigh the costs in the end, especially with the combination of Traits and Civics. Also as a slaving empire you have access to the only building that produces Food and minerals, minus Inward Perfection however they have a different Tradition tree. In terms of unrest it is pretty easy to manage as you can build Strongholds which increase your defence against an invading empire so it is not all that bad, as well they produce Unity. Despite the negatives of unhappiness and unrest, slaving produces considerable amounts of production, especially when you manage to keep the Slaves happy and to love the whip.

Robot Servitude

The opposite side of slavery is building robot populations. The only downside of robot populations as they can get expensive and have a credit upkeep. Otherwise they are the perfect populations to work the mines. At base stat only gain a bonus to mineral production and have negative effect on research however they can be modified more through research. As well as being productive workers they can be enlisted in Armies that provide a little bit more damage and survivability. There is a complication if you wish to build robot pops as your main population as your living pops will be taking their space unless you have place to move them or if you purge them. In any case if you can get one robot pop on a planet, you can populate inhabitable planets as they have 100% habitability anywhere in the Galaxy. If going through the robot population build there is supposed to be a an increase chance of the end game crisis being a Robot Legion however I haven't had that as of yet. I believe the robot populations are better with the DLCs however at this point they do not have much a downside besides upkeep and it will anger the Spiritual populations.

Feudal Society/Battle Thralls

This Civic allows the player to get a better relationship when creating Vassals and or Tributaries. The main benefit of this Civic is the reduction of the effects of subject power by 50% and the ability for Vassals to expand into unclaimed space. I could not find any specifics on how the effects of subject power is calculated but I did find that the more differentiating Vassals you make the higher it compounds, so keeping one Vassal strong I find is easier to manage. I played with this Civic a lot and it did have its huge problems in most cases. However lets start with the benefits of it. First Vassals are autonomous and allows you to reduce the number of colonies you need to manage, you lazy guy, no really though if you capped out your Core Systems Control then it could be better than Sectoring your systems as I find it to be a worse penalty. In any case you can always integrate your subject back by using influence however this will take some time and depending how big the Vassal is you could be using a lot of influence. Otherwise if you find your self at war a lot and don't like to micromanage ships all over the place, Vassals sometimes are very helpful in keeping the enemy at bay. Keep in mind however they cannot be counted on all the time for this. Vassals only provide war ships so their only use is for war. Their ships can be controlled via the take point button that you can find on any fleet or if you have trouble finding it you can reference the Fleet Management guide. With this button activated all available fleets from Vassals will directly follow that ship. If you have multiple ships with that activated I believe they follow the first one. Otherwise with this turned off they will flock to wherever they will go. Now the downsides of Vassals are that they can become disloyal due to various reasons and as such will not help you in any wars. If they are disloyal they will attack you if you end up losing your fleet and or seen as weak enough to combat. The other downside is that they will always have priority claims on nearby territories, so if you had a claim on a system chances are you just lost it. Vassals do not contribute resources unless declared a Tributary which is a different type of subjugation. Vassals will end up with small and weak fleets unless they have the resource production and technology to with it so giving a Vassal one planet won't provide an Armada. Otherwise reference the Vassal guide for more information however it may have some of the same information provided here.

Galactic Trader/Corporation

More of a role play aspect of the game but if you wish to be a Pacifist and want to be a Galactic Trader watching Empires destroy each other then this could be an option. While like I pointed out with the problem with Pacifism you are unlikely to win so keep that in mind. Since trade isn't a huge aspect of the game this just more of an idea than anything.

Empire Creation - Play Styles Pt. 2

Part 2 of Play Styles.

Federator/Defender of the Galaxy/Galactic Contender

For those new, there are two significant events that happen in the mid and late game. In the mid game the Fallen Empires awaken to cause havoc within the Galaxy. Usually the Militaristic Fallen Empire goes around subjugating everyone. In the late game the end game Crisis spawns to ruin every ones lives, if the Fallen Empire has not already done so yet. This happens in order to keep the game from being stagnant, especially when there are long periods of peace and when things get boring. This goes hand in hand when forming a Federation as nothing brings empires together then having a common enemy. Whether its forming a Federation or joining one, it keeps you from getting destroyed by more powerful empires. The main benefit is the rotation of the Federation fleet which takes up no Naval Capacity and is allowed to be designed with the benefits of having the highest tech available shared among Empires. The problem is however is that the fleet is rotated around so having too many members within the Federation could take a toll as to who gets the Federation Fleet. Also note that the fleet can get destroyed before it is passed on to you and it is the job of the President to build more Federation ships that may get destroyed depending on who's controlling it. The problem with Federations are there are some rules that apply if joining which I'll explain in another guide. You can also join as an Associate to gain the benefits of mutual defence without the rules however you will not get access to the Federation fleet. The Federation is seen as the end game solution as you can get a Federation Victory. Fighting a Federation could always be difficult depending on its members so it may be easier to join the Federation instead of fighting it. However the Federation Victory requires more than a Conquest victory.

Galactic Purger/Menace/Purifier

This is a difficult play style to use as you are going to rely heavily on your own populations as you will be purging the rest as you go along and conquer. Much like the end game Crisis, you are now fulfilling that role without the overwhelming power. A point to know is that you do not have to out right start purging species until a given time. You can let them live and once you are set up start purging the population. The point in purging the population is mostly to get better Government Ethics Attraction and to prevent undesirable traits from ruining your colonies. Once you have started purging species, other empires will lose opinion of you and possibly form a federation against you as the Crisis.

Empire Creation - Conclusion

Figuring out how you want to play is important as some things are not changeable later in the game, namely Government Ethics. It is important to compliment Traits and Civics to better benefit you in the game as an assurance of your survival against other empires. If playing for Achievements then keep in mind what is required. Otherwise you can role play all you want for fun.

Empire Creation - Positive Traits

Here I will provide my opinion on the good and bad about positive traits. Keep in mind this is race specific. Once you start accepting other populations from other empires these traits do not apply if you are using foreign races.

Extremely Adaptive/Adaptive +4 +2

+20/+10 to habitability increases the happiness cap as well as reduce unhappiness due to lack of habitability. Eventually you will be able to transform your planets into Gaias which have 100% habitability with the World Shaper Ascension perk. The benefits of high happiness is increased resource production and this can be useful. The main issue is whether you are going to use other races for colonization or going Xenophobic. If the latter than this will help in colonization and keeping unrest down.

Agrarian +2

+15 to food production is useful to offset starvation. The main purpose of this trait however is to boost pop growth as most planets do provide enough food/surface area allow food production to sustain itself however it is a choice whether or not you want to waste that space for a Hydroponics farm. In the end you can build starbases with hydroponics bays to suffice.

Charismatic +1

+25 Opinion, +5 Other species owner happiness is extremely useful if you are planning on playing a peaceful and diplomatic player as the opinion aids in keeping the peace. There is a slight boost for slaves which will help in preventing unrest. This is extremely beneficial if you are going to have vassals as it will increase opinion and prevent disloyalty.

Communal +1

+5 Happiness Is useful to keep your pops happy as more happiness means more production. As well as preventing unrest. May be helpful for slaving empires.

Conformist +2

+30 Governing Ethics Attraction, This will be useful in your play style as will be explained in a guide.

Venerable/Enduring +4 +1

+80/+20 Years leader lifespan is useful if you plan on researching level 5 projects as quick as possible as your leaders will end up dying without it. However in the later game you will get research perks that will increase lifespan so it's not a lost cause if you don't get it. It was useful in 1.9 as it was a heavy influence cost to recruit leaders so keeping them from dying helped. Otherwise the main benefit is if you are tired of leaders dying and want to keep good leaders. As well it benefits warring players who wish to have Admirals due to the increased fire rate based on a Admirals level.

Conservationist +1

-15% Consumer goods cost is some useful however it highly depends on your total population and living standards. Essentially this will reduce the mineral upkeep of your empire via population. Useful for large empires with large pops and high living standards.

Industrious +2

+15% Minerals is my pick most of the time as minerals are always most consumed in game unless you are not a warring empire.

Intelligent +2

+10% Research output is another pick that I use as research is sometimes neglected over economy and fleets. Research will get penalized the more you expand and research and this will reduce that issue over time. Research can be increased with science ships and assist research however with the changes in the patch it is now under the Discovery tradition.

Natural Engineers, Physicists, Sociologists +1 +1 +1

+15% to their specific science output is useful if you don't want to take the intelligent trait and instead take all three.

Nomadic +1

+50% Migration speed -25 Resettlement cost was useful in 1.9 as resettlement required influence however now credits are used for resettlement so this trait is not that useful anymore. As well you cannot control migration and it can be detrimental should they leave planets. As well I believe this trait includes migration to other empires. Otherwise this is helpful should races be stuck on planets that they do not want to be on however later game your planets will inevitably be full preventing migration.

Quick Learners +1

+25% Leadership Experience Gain is again useful like Venerable/Enduring. Beneficial for Admirals for the their increased fire rate and for other leaders for their gained traits.

Rapid Breeders +1

+20 Growth speed was again useful in 1.9 as it costed influence to claim planets and in my personal play style I was land grabbing habitual planets to expand my borders so the only way for myself to claim systems was through colonization and having a large pop meant more resources overtime. Late game this trait becomes useless as once you reach max pop. however it helps at the beginning of the game. If you are a purging empire this will be beneficial you as population will be an issue.

Resilient +1

+50% Defence Army Damage This trait will only prolong the enemies orbital bombardments which will cause more pops to die and more collateral damage. The upside however is that the enemy will have to try harder to capture your planet. However in most games it not likely that you won't be able to defend your planets unless they are far away. The new patch increases jump time so it can be helpful.

Very Strong/Strong +3 +1

+40% Army Damage +10% Minerals/+20 Army Damage +5% Minerals is useful for mostly the mineral bonus. Otherwise army damage will help in invading planets faster thus reducing time spent in war and somewhat counter the Resilient trait should the enemy have it.

Talented +1

+1 Leader Level Cap Is mostly useful for Admirals in achieving maximum fire rate.

Thrifty +2

+15% Energy credits is not that useful as I find credits to be easy to obtain but can offset upkeep used by starbases.

Traditional +1

+10% Unity Output is useful to get ahead in the traditions tree as Unity is usually limited to get and as you expand the Unity requirements increases. Definitely for those slaving empires building Strongholds.

Empire Creation - Negative Traits

Here I will provide my opinion on the good and bad about negative traits. A thing to note is that later in the game these traits can be removed through research via genetic modification.

Decadent -1

-10% Happiness without Slaves is obviously required for empires with slaves. If you are a slaving empire then you just saved a trait point.

Non-adaptive -2

-10% Habitability Can easily cause problems due to unhappiness and unrest. It is the only negative trait with -2 trait points. However it slaving empires it can be managed.

Repugnant -1

-25 Opinion if your Ruler is not Repugnant and theirs is not -10 Opinion if both Rulers are Repugnant -5% Other species owner happiness is definitely a war starter. If you plan on going to war this is a good negative trait to have however you will have to counter the -5% happiness which can wreck havoc on your own planets. This is a counter to the Charismatic trait so don't plan on having loyal Vassals.

Deviants -1

-15% Governing Ethics Attraction removes the attraction from your core Ethic beliefs.

Fleeting -1

-10 Years Leader Lifespan is a good negative trait if you do not care about your leaders dying out. Again in 1.9 it was a pain in the ass due to the influence cost to recruit leaders. Otherwise if you take this don't expect your leaders to be a high level however 10 years isn't that much and late game research will increase it significantly.

Quarrelsome -1

-10% Unity Output Is probably the worst choice as unity is hard to come by and with the benefits of Traditions, I cannot see why this would be a good idea.

Sedentary -1

-50% Migration Speed +25 Resettlement Cost I don't see any huge negatives in picking this as I personally don't like my pops migrating and I could care less about resettlement costs.

Slow Breeders -1

-20% Growth Speed Can be a good pick as large pops aren't really a big priority as you can claim systems.In the overall sense it will contribute to slower resource production over time. Later in the game this can be countered by by the Harmony Tradition which gives 25% growth speed. Otherwise you can boost your food production to try to overcome the trait.

Slow Learners -1

-25% Leader Experience Gain Can be another good pick as well unless you care about leader traits. This counters the increased lifespan trait in a sense otherwise it's not bad.

Solitary -1

-5% Happiness Not a bad trait as -5% happiness isn't too detrimental and can be removed later in the game through gene modification.

Wasteful -1

+15% Consumer Goods Cost will drain your mineral consumption based on the size of your pop however can be countered with the Egalitarian Ethic. As well this will compound on top of your species living standards.

Weak -1

-20 Army Damage -5% Minerals is a bad pick due to the negative mineral gains. The army damage will prolong planet invasions if not relying on orbital bombardment.

Empire Creation - Government Ethics

Here I will provide my opinion on the good and bad about government Ethics

Fanatic Authoritarian/Authoritarian

+1 Monthly Influence +10% Slave Resource Production/ +0.5 Monthly Influence +5% Slave Resource Production - Must have autocratic authority and allows caste system species policy/cannot use democratic authority. Is a great ethic type due to the influence gain which will allow you to claim more systems or increase your standing economically and technologically due to enacting edicts. The ability to slave populations will help you gain more resources. Due to the nature of the ethic it is implied that you are slaving your population otherwise you can always not allow slavery and just take the influence bonus in the end. Regarding slaving, slaves are easy to control with defence armies via Stronghold however that is the downside is that you will be taking up spaces on the surface. The plus side is that you will be gaining unity for every stronghold so if you are planning to rise in Traditions faster it may outweigh the costs. Especially combined with any Unity boosting Traits and Civics. Playing as a slaving empire will require constant unrest maintenance. The downside of slaving is that other empires will likely have a negative opinion and are more likely to avoid migration treaties.

Fanatic Egalitarian/Egalitarian

+50% Faction Influence Gain -20% Consumer Goods Cost/ +25% Faction Influence Gain -20% Consumer Goods Cost - must have democratic authority, allows Utopian living standards, cannot have Impoverished living standards for full citizens/cannot use autocratic authority, allows Utopian living standards, cannot have impoverished living standards for full citizens. Is an OK government ethic due to the reduction of consumer goods cost as well as the ability to allow Utopian Living standards which will increase happiness by 20% due to an increased consumer goods cost. You can gain significant amount of influence from Faction Influence however it will be a matter of making them happy via the choices you make. Roleplay wise it is fun to play as the one who tries to make everyone happy despite everyone getting pissed off at you, like real governments.

Fanatic Xenophobe/Xenophobe

-40% Starbase Influence Cost -20% Claim Influence Cost/ -20% Starbase Influence Cost -10% Influence Cost - Can Purge and displace aliens, can enslave aliens, decreased opinion for other species, cannot give aliens full citizenship, cannot allow aliens full military service, cannot use refugees welcome species policy/same as Fanatic. This ethic is the best for the war fighting empire due to the large reduction of influence cost in building outposts and making claims on territory. The the downsides are reduced opinion so you are more likely to go to war and the -5% happiness due to being residence status however there is a -10% consumer goods cost. This can be combined with the Citizen service civic to allow aliens full citizenship. Useful if you want to only use only your races traits and remove other races from applying their traits.

Fanatic Xenophile/Xenophile

-50% Border Friction -50% Diplomatic Influence Cost/ -25% Border Friction -25% Diplomatic Influence Cost - Increased opinion for other species, cannot use full native interference policy, cannot use no refugees species policy, cannot displace aliens/same as Xenophile. This a great ethic for the peaceful player as the increased opinion for other species and reduction in border friction will prevent the reason for war. The only downside of this ethic is the possible refugees from other planets who may have negative traits that may be a problem for your populations. With that said population control will be a problem as some races will have negative traits that can be detrimental to your empire. As well this is where resettlement will come into play as you may have to deal with unhappy pops and various different faction demands.

Fanatic Militarist/Militarist

-20% War Exhaustion +20% Fire Rate/ -10% War Exhaustion +10% Fire Rate - x0.8 cost for conquest and subjugation war demands/x0.9 cost for conquest and subjugation war demands. This ethic combined with the Xenophile will definitely make your empire as a formidable warring empire. The increased fire rate will ensure your ships are superior in combat. New changes with 2.0.2, now Militarists will have less War Exhaustion which significantly better than Army damage as you are now able to take more losses and are able to delay the inevitable despised Status Quo agreement among your enemies. The negative war exhaustion makes your empire suitable for longer wars.

Fanatic Pacifist/Pacifist

+10% Empire Resource Production +4 Core Sector Systems/ +5% Empire Resource Production +2 Core Sector Systems - Must use Defensive Wars Only policy, 2.0 cost for subjugation war demands/ Cannot use Unrestricted Wars policy, x1.5 cost for subjugation war demands. This ethic is perfect for those who just want to build a thriving economy however there are no defensive benefits so you still need to be be careful about warring empires. Especially paired up with with Xenophobe you can unlock Inward Perfection, which will make surviving that much harder as you will lack the ability to have Defence Pacts.

Fanatic Materialist/Materialist

-20% Robot Upkeep +10% Research Speed/ -10% Robot Upkeep +5% Research Speed - Allows Academic Privilege living standards, Cannot use AI Outlawed policy, Cannot use Robotic Workers Outlawed Policy/same as Materialist. The main benefit of this ethic is the research speed boost and the ability to allow Academic Privilege Living Standards which also boosts research speed. It is intended that the empire with this ethic would be building robots instead of pops however it is not required.

Fanatic Spiritualist/Spiritualist

+20 Unity -10% Edict Cost/ +10 Unity -5% Edict Cost - Can build Temple Buildings, Cannot use Full AI Rights Policy. This is a good ethic mainly due to its Unity boost and its option to build temples which allows more unity gain. The reduction in Edict costs allows for a more prosperous empire along with other civics and trait that reduce edict cost and increase influence. Generally catered to the more peaceful empires however can be combined with other Ethics for Unity boost.

Empire Creation - Government Civics

Here I will provide my opinion on the good and bad about the Civics. A thing to note is that these civics can be reformed later in the game through research so these can change. Added changes to the 2.0.2 Patch which will be noted in each of the civic opinion pieces.

Agarian Idyll +1 Unity per farm - Is Fanatic Pacifist, not Authoritarian nor Fanatic Authoritarian.

Useful if your a Fanatic Pacifist are going with a Unity rush as farms are easiliy usually required otherwise if you are not a Fanatic Pacifist then I suppose there are other choices.

Aristocratic Elite +2 Leader Capacity +2 Governor Max Level - Is Oligarchic or Imperial.

A pick if you want an increased leader cap in order to get better traits for your leaders and governors. I personally have not seen a huge significant boost in leader traits but they can be helpful in the late game. With changes to 2.0.2, they removed the -50% leader recruitment cost, which cost was negligible anyways and they changed the cap from +4 to +2.

Beacon of Liberty +15% monthly Unity - Is Egalitarian/Fanatic, Not Xenophobe/Fanatic and is Democratic.

This is pretty good if you want to strengthen your Unity production as an Egalitarian.

Citizen Service - Species with full military service always have full citizenship or caste system, species without full military service cannot have full citizenship or caste system, +15% Naval Capacity, increases unity output from Fortress and Strongholds by one - Is Militarist/Fanatic, not Fanatic Xenophile, Is democratic or Oligarchic.

This is good if you want to include your pops into society due to the Xenophobe ethic or the Authoritarian ethic. Otherwise the increased naval capacity is a great bonus in the beginning of the game for warring empires. With the addition in the 2.0.2 patch this is a lot more helpful for slaving empires as the increased Unity will be a blessing.

Corporate Dominion +1 Energy per Starbase Trading Hub, Can build private colony ships, starts with space trading technology - Is not Xenophobe/Fanatic, is Oligarchic.

This should help with the increased credit upkeep due to the recent patch. This combined with Trans-Stellar Corporations under the Prosperity tradition will ensure you have less problems dealing with credit upkeep.

Corvee System -50% Resettlement Cost - Not Egalitarian/Fanatic

Resettlement costs are negligible due to it costing only energy credits and not influence and thus civic is not worth it.

Cutthroat Politics -20% Edict Cost

Can be worth it as most edicts use influence to activate and if you are peaceful empire then this is useful for economic and research bonuses. This is useful with Droning Operations/Production targets which cost 300 influence and provide a mineral production bonus and Research Grants which cost 200 influence provide Research speed bonus.

Distinguished Admiralty +2 Admiral Level Cap +2 Leader Cap - Is Militarist/Fanatic

The recent patch removed the leader cap from the Aristocratic Elite civic to this one. In reference to Admirals, can be useful late game as each level increases fire rate by +3% so by adding 2 to the level 5 cap you can achieve an extra +21% to fire rate for each Admiral. Also with research techs you can increase the level cap.

Efficient Bureaucracy +2 Core Sector Systems

The importance of Core Sector control is explained later but this is a good civic as it will allow you to control more planets to avoid sectoring.

Exalted Priesthood +20 Governing Ethics Attraction - Is Spiritualist/Fanatic, Is Oligarchic

Is useful in keeping the poulation in line as will be explained in the guide. I will talk further about it as well.

Feudal Society -50% Subject Power Penalty, Vassals can build new starbases - Is Imperial

The problem with this Civic is addressed at the end of the guide however in the end Vassals more of a problem once they start expanding on their own as do not give you anything except for fleet power and integration becomes more expensive the more systems they acquire.

Free Haven +50 Alien Migration Attraction - Is Xenophile/Fanatic

The patch changed this from migration attraction to alien attraction. This is a lot better as now it is not inclusive to your own populations but to foreign empires, especially those who are unhappy and have a migration agreement.

Functional Architecture -15% Building Cost

Not really worth it as building cost are generally negligible and becomes useless late game however can give you a headstart at the beginning of the game.

Idealistic Foundation +5% Happiness - Is Egalitarian/Fanatic

Can be helpful due to the organic nature of Happiness.

Imperial Cult +25% Edict Duration - Is either Authoritarian/Fanatic and is either Spiritualist/Fanatic, Is Imperial.

Useful to save on influence cost for peaceful empires in order to boost economy

Inward Perfection +20% Monthly Unity +25% Pop Growth Speed +5 Happiness +10 Edict Duration, Diplomatic Restrictions; No to the following: Rivals, Defensive Pacts, Migration Treaties, Guarantee Independence, Join Federations, Have Vassals, Infiltrate Natives - Is Pacifist/Fanatic, Is Xenophobe/Fanatic.

A difficult civic to use due to the diplomatic restrictions involved otherwise is more meant for the "tall" play style. However it is not recommended to play "tall" without the Utopia DLC otherwise this is the best civic for it.

Meritocracy +1 Leader Skill Level +1 Leader Pool Size - Is Democratic/Oligarchic

The +1 level will help you get to level 5 research projects faster.

Mining Guilds +10%

My usual pick as I love mineral production.

Nationalistic Zeal -10% Claim Influence Cost -10% War Exhaustion Gain - Is Militaristic/Fanatic

The recent patch removed the +1 rivalries and instead replaced it with negative War Exhaustion. This is good for the warring player as it will make it easier to make claims on empires as well as increasing success during wars due to the negative War Exhaustion.

Parliamentary System +25% Influence from factions - Is Democratic

Useful if you can manage factions easily by making them happy.

Philosopher King +2 Ruler Skill Level - Is Dictatorial, Imperial

The +2 level can be highly beneficial depending on what traits your ruler has otherwise it will just be a luck of the draw.

Police State -25% Unrest -25% Piracy Risk - Not Fanatic Egalitarian

Useful for slaving empires as it will reduce the need to build strongholds and prevent rioting. The recent patch addresses the Piracy problem by adding it to the civic.

Shadow Council -75% Election Influence Cost - Is Democratic, Oligarchic, Dictatorial

Useful for swinging the elections in your favor to get favorable ruler traits.

Slaver Guilds +10% Slave Food Output +10% Slave Mineral Output - Is Authoritarian/Fanatic

A must have for slavers due to the increase in resource output.

Warrior Culture +20% Army Damage -20% Army Upkeep - Is Militarist/Fanatic

Useful to replace the lack of Army Damage due to changes to the Militarist Ethic. Armies are the best way to reduce collateral damage due to Orbital Bombing and is a must if you plan on saving on repair costs.

Technocracy +1 Research Alternatives - Is Materialist/Fanatic

Helps with the random research rolls however not worth it in my opinion.

Guide - Traditions Pt.1


The Traditions guide as these are one of the most powerful aspects of the game. Starting from the top left.

Adoption +50% Colony Development Speed

With the recent update, they reduced Colony Development speed from 100% to 50%. Not really important until you start colonizing. Nonetheless if you have read the Traditions walkthrough this will be your second pick.

Colonization Fever +1 Unity from Capitals, Requires Adoption

Not required as the first thing to get as Reach for the Stars has more of a use at the beginning of the game.

Reach for the Stars -10% Starbase influence cost, Requires Adoption

Definitely the first thing to get within the tradition as at the early game you will mostly be building outposts and that costs a lot of influence.

A New Life +1 Pops on new colonies, Requires Colonization Fever

Definitely the next one to pick after picking Colonization Fever as pops take a while to grow and saves you time in growing as at this point you will start colonizing. As well it is a better pick than Courier Network

Courier Network -20% Tradition cost increase from owned colonies, Requires Colonization Fever

This helps when you have colonized many planets otherwise doesn't benefit you that much early game which is why it is less of a priority over A New Life.

Galactic Ambition -20% Starbase upkeep, Requires Reach for the Stars

Helps with the upkeep of Starbases in which you should not have that many, as well should be the last Tradition pick within .

Complete +2 Core Sector Systems

This will be great as at this point you should be close to capping your Core Systems Control.

Adoption, Unlocks Demand Tribute and Vassalization

Used for later in the game but Vassalization should be ignored until you are a huge empire as once this is unlocked and you have empires that are significantly weaker and have high opinion of yourself, they will automatically ask you for Vassalization. Otherwise Vassalization usually never works but you gain the Casus Belli on empires you want to Vassalize however it is not worth it. I have no achieved a Tributary however I have no intent on letting empires have their own systems in the end. After Vassalizing empires you can eventually Integrate them into your empire however that takes quite a bit of time and influence.

Colonial Viceroys +2 Empire Leader Cap +2 Governor Level Cap, Requires Adoption

This is my third choice as I do not need it at the time being as Star Lords will be more beneficial, especially when you have Vassals.

Star Lords, Subject empires gain +50 Trust Cap +20 Opinion, Requires Adoption

This is my second choice as at this time you should already have Vassals and this will help in preventing them from being disloyal. Disloyal Vassals do not help you during war and if they find you to be weak they will try to release themselves from Vassalization and attack you. However combined with the Charismatic trait and Xenophile Ethic, you can significantly boost your opinion.

Protection Racket +12.5 income from Tributaries, Requires Colonial Viceroys

Never needed this has I have not had Tributaries.

Vassal Acculturation +2 Unity per subject (+30 Max), Requires Star Lords

This is my next pick after Colonial Viceroys as my target is Fleet Levies. However the Unity bonus is great, especially when you have a lot of Vassals.

Fleet Levies, Pops count towards the overlords naval capacity, Requires Colonial Viceroys and Star Lords

Before the 2.0.2 patch this Tradition was extremely powerful as Vassals could be created with ease and significantly reduced the need for Anchorages. As well you could create 1 planet vassals which had no negative effect. Now it has been nerfed a lot and I totally agree with this change due to the amount of Naval Capacity it produced before. After playing the new patch for a bit I found that the change made this Tradition pretty worthless now as the bonus to fleet cap is now minuscule compared to before.

Complete +30% Research speed from technology sharing with subjects (towards unknown tech already researched by another)

This is great in increasing your research speed.

Adoption -15% Building Cost -15% Ship Build Cost

The negative ship build cost will significantly help things, especially when building massive fleets in a pinch.

Efficiency Algorithms -10% Robot Upkeep, Requires Adoption

Not useful unless you have robots.

Standard Construction Templates +15% Building Build Speed +15% Ship Build Speed, Requires Adoption

Very useful as even at this point building seem to take forever to build and depending on your planets are probably doing redevelopment. As well as the ship build speed helps with getting your fleet faster. Since this leads to Fleet Logistics Corps this will be a priority.

Trans-Stellar Corporations +5% Energy Credits +1 Energy from Trading Hubs, Requires Adoption

The best Tradition in the tree as this will offset a lot of upkeep costs that will probably be burdening your credit production. As well and I hope that you have all your Starbases set to trading hubs when possible as the +1 energy from Trading Hubs will significantly increase your production.

Warrior Forms -20% Army Upkeep, Requires Adoption

Not that useful unless you have a large Army on standby during your game. Otherwise Trans-Stellar Corporations should be your first priority.

Administrative Operations -10% Building Upkeep -10% Starbase upkeep, Requires Standard Construction Templates

Depending on your play style, whether you have a large amount of ships or not depends on which would benefit you more. Otherwise this will significant reduce credit upkeep.

Fleet Logistics Corp -10% Ship Upkeep, Requires Standard Construction Templates

Definitely a priority for those who have large fleets as ship upkeep is always demanding.

The Pursuit of Profit +2 Unity from Energy Grid/Energy Nexus, Requires Efficiency Algorithms, Trans-Stellar Corporations or Warrior Forms

Not much a priority but if you want the Unity gain then pick this.

Completion -20% Consumer Goods Cost

Good in order to to counter the increased social living standards upkeep.

Adoption +25% Growth Speed

An alright adoption if you need the growth other this tradition will be for the peaceful empires.

Kinship -50% Capital Distance Impact on Governing Ethics Attraction, Requires Adoption

Not to well versed in Governing Ethics Attraction so no comment yet

Mind and Body +20 Leader Lifespan, Requires Adoption

Besides research this is an OK choice to increase leader lifespan

The Greater Good -20% Unrest, Requires Adoption

Generally if your population is happy then this shouldn't be useful however for a slaving empire this would work good

Utopian Dream Unlocks Paradise Dome, Requires The Greater Good

The Paradise dome is a unique building that has +5 Happiness for citizens +4 Food and +2 Unity. This would be good for a slaving empire in order to get the food bonus as well as happiness.

Bulwark of +15 Fire Rate within the Empires Borders, Requires Kinship and Mind and Body

Definitely for the peaceful empire who at risk for war.

Completion +10% Happiness

Happy populations means more production.

End of Pt.1

Guide - Traditions Pt.2


Adoption +2 Starbase Capacity -20% Starbase Upgrade Cost

A quick adoption can help with the starbase cap as well as minimizing resources during upgrades

Master Shipwrights +25 Ship Build Speed -20% Ship Upgrade Cost, Requires Adoption

Main benefit is the ship build speed as upgrade costs are usually minuscule

Right of Conquest -20% Claim Influence Cost, Requires Adoption

Helps with claiming territory if you are not outright destroying your enemies.

Armed Deterrence -25% Defence Platform Build Cost +20% Defence Platform Hull Points, Requires Adoption, Is Pacifist/Fanatic

Due its nature of being available for Pacifists it is defensive in nature. The increase Hull Points will definitely deter most attacking empires, especially when upgraded to Citadels.

Warrior Mindset +25% Army Damage, Requires Adoption

Increased Army Damage means less requirement for orbital bombardments.

The Great Game +10% Unity Per Neighbouring Rival, Requires Right of Conquest or Armed Deterrence and Warrior Mindset

Can be useful if you have many rivaling empires however having many rivals can be bad as you are more likely to go to war however if you are strong enough then you can bask in the unity gain.

Otherwise sometimes you will be too powerful or too weak to have rivals which will make this useless.

Above the Fray +10 Unity, Requires Right of Conquest or Armed Deterrence and Warrior Mindset and Inwards Perfection

A inwards Perfection Civic exclusive that gives unity.

War Games +20 Fleet Command Limit +10% Ship Fire Rate, Requires Master Shipwrights and Right of Conquest

The ship fire rate is the best benefit followed by the fleet command limit.

Completion, War Doctrine Policies Unlocked

Definitely a very interesting unlock as you can now customize your war style via the Policies tab. The most dominating doctrine is No Retreat which increases fire rate by +33% however causing +100% Disengagement Chance Reduction and +50% Emergency FTL Jump Cooldown

Adoption -50% Diplomatic Influence Cost +33% Trust Growth, Is not Inward Perfection

Not sure what they mean by the Diplomatic Influence Cost unless they mean the Edict. Otherwise the Trust growth saves time in increasing opinion over time

Dynamic Ecomorphism +10% Habitability, Requires Adoption

Increases Habitability so it make it possible to have 100% planets without the use of Gaias.

The Federation, Allows to form Federation, Requires Adoption

The main purpose of the the tradition. The Federation pros and cons will be explained in another guide

Alien Tourism, Allows construction of Visitor Center, Requires Dynamic Ecomorphism

The Visitor Center is another unique building that is exclusive to the Tradition. The benefit is that it produces +5% Habitability +2 Energy +2 Unity and +50% Alien Migration Attraction.

Entente Coordination +100 Federation Naval Capacity Contribution (actual self contribution counts as double), Requires The Federation

With the new patch the cap is 500 otherwise I do not remember what it was before.

Federal Unity +5 Unity per Federation Member (Max 30%), Requires The Federation

Can be useful however due to the difficulty in forming Federations with other empires, the benefits can be hard to achieve.

Completion +50 Trust Cap

This helps with forming Federations with empires who have a low opinion of you.

Adoption +15% Anomaly Chance, -10% Anomaly Fail Risk

The Anomaly Chance is very important as it will permanently provide systems and or planets resources and benefits that would not normally be there in the first place. Due to the start of the game being unexplored, this is in my opinion the most important adoption before carrying on to the next Tradition pick.

Science Division +1 Research Alternatives, Requires Adoption

Allows better choices at research as it is rolled at random.

To Boldly Go +35% Survey Speed +30 Evasion for Science Ships, Requires Adoption

Basically makes survey speed faster, otherwise most science ships do not have a problem in terms of evasion. As well science ship costs are usually negligible.

Databank Uplinks, Allows Assist Research, Requires To Boldly Go

Formerly Planetary Survey Corps due to the 2.0.2 patch, Assist Research is now acquired from the Traditions Tree instead of through research.

Polytechnic Education +25% Leader Experience Gain, Requires Science Division

Allows for high level leaders, if going for this Tradition at the start, to get the level 5 research projects faster.

Faith in Science, Gain unity equal to 3 months of production whenever a new technology is researched.

This has changed since the 2.0.2 patch. This is better used early in the game as research requirements are smaller.

Completion +10% Research Speed

Research speed is always needed especially in late game.

Guide - Inward Perfection Traditions


These Traditions are exclusively for the Inward Perfection Civic, otherwise you will not have access to this. These replace the Domination and Federation Tradition Trees

*Replaces Diplomacy

Adoption -15% Food Consumption

Reduced the need for food thus increasing population growth in the early game

Dietary Enrichment +20 Food Production, Requires Adoption

Increased food production means a faster population growth.

Dynamic Ecomorphism +10% Habitability, Requires Adoption

A higher habitability increases happiness and thus increases resource production and reduces unrest.

Adaptive Ecology -15% Terraforming Cost, Requires Ecomorphism

Terraforming does become costly when you have to do it a lot. This will be useful as you are not likely to defer from your own race in colonizing planets.

Environmental Diversification +5% Unity per owned Colonized Planet (+30% max), Requires Dietary Enrichment or The Federation

Will be a good benefit as colonizing planets should not be much of an issue.

Survival Of the Fittest +1 Gene Modification Point -15% Modify Species Special Project Cost, Requires Dietary Enrichment or The Federation

Very useful in removing negative traits from your race. As you can get more through research.

Completion +1 Minerals from Farms

Aids in the production of minerals via farms is insignificant but is helpful.

*Replaces Domination

Adoption -25% Clear Blocker Cost

Clearing blockers can be expensive early game however later on not much of an issue.

Colonial Viceroys +2 Empire Leader Capacity +2 Governor Level Cap, Requires Adoption

Can be useful to increase the number of science ships for exploration.

The Chosen +5% Happiness for Citizen Populations -10% Starbase Influence Cost, Requires Adoption

Definitely useful for faster system expansion due to the reduced starbase influence cost.

Appropriation -50% Resettlement Cost Pops on new colonies, Requires The Chosen

I would assume as playing Inward Perfection that a lot of resettlement will be happening so this probably would be important later in the game

Symbol of Allows the Construction of Symbol of , Requires Colonial Viceroys

A exclusively unique building provides +4 Unity and +20 Governing Ethics Attraction. (Apparently you need the Utopia DLC?)

Never Surrender +50% Defensive Army Health +10% Starbase Hull Points, Requires Colonial Viceroys and The Chosen

Useful when you are expecting war. You will definitely use the benefits of Starbases to hold off enemies at choke points.

Completion +10 Unity

This will make it easier to gain all the Traditions faster.

Guide - Fleet Management

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Since the changes to 2.0.2, in order to understand Fleet Management there are three types of numbers you need to know.

Naval Capacity

This is your ability to control a large number of ships without getting penalized due to upkeep. This has no bearing on how many ships you can have besides the max cap of I believe 9999, it used to be 1000. This being said you can have that many ships if you can afford their upkeep. What is not explained however is that if you do go over and run out of Minerals your ships weapons will end up degrading and damage less to the point where they are no more effective than a Science Ship, well I suppose they will still have 1dmg.

Fleet Command Limit

Fleet Command Limit is a new change that prevents fleet from "Doomstacking" as in sending in your whole fleet as one glob instead of in little groups. Its debatable as to why doomstacking is bad despite it being a common sense approach to moving fleets, especially when attacking. With that said Fleet Command Limit forces you to create fleets depending on their Fleet Command Points which will be explained in the next part. At the start of the game you will naturally have a Command Limit of 20 and at this point you will only be able to have a max of 20 Corvettes in a fleet. Fleet Command Limit can be upgraded through research and possibly through Civic. The main problem of Command Limits are the need to further balance out a a Fleet composition or not, just create fleets of the same type of ship. Otherwise this was implemented to give the player some more thought and control when it came to Fleet planning.

Fleet Command Points By Ships

Each ship is assigned a Fleet Command Point depending on its size. Corvettes are 1, Destroyers are 2, Cruisers are 4 and Battleships are 8. For a Command Limit of 20 that means that you can only have so many big ships in a fleet before capping out. For example you can have 2 Battleships and 4 Corvettes or 5 Cruisers. While this is annoying, usually you will need to supplement several fleets together in order to have your battle composition, otherwise you will need to research Command Limit.

A note on research, pay attention Command Limit and Naval Capacity as they are two different things.

Fleet Management Interface

For those who've used the Fleet Management will end up noticing its quirks and problems. There are work arounds but it does get annoying over time. It will be easier to go picture by picture as everyone loves pictures. I'm going to start from the least important to to the more important.

The general information of you fleet is located here.

Here you can also easily change the name of your fleet or change out your Admiral. In any case it shows your overall fleet profile.

Next is the build queue. If you wish you can cancel the building of your ships here. Note that I noticed some bugs regarding to this. Should you be reinforcing your fleet and you happen to change your starbase that had the shipyard that was building that ship and it ends up disappearing, they end up being stuck in this queue unable to be removed. Otherwise I didn't find it had any effects except being annoying to look at.

Next is the reinforcement panel. This is somewhat important, more useful than anything. Take note the fine calculations present in this screen as if you decide to push that reinforce all button, it may destroy your economy. If it shows your fleet capacity going into the red, be prepared when pushing the reinforce all button, otherwise skip to the next panel and do it under control.

Next is the templates panel. For those who know what I'm experiencing, this is the most annoying part of the game as depending on the situation, fleets will become their own templates due to a ship retreating, being merged or is unable to merge with the fleet it was supposed to be merging with during reinforcement which ends up creating several templates. At this point I end up moving my single ships into the main fleet, causing these empty templates which end up getting deleted. If you think this isn't a problem now, once you get a lot of shipyards building ships like 20 and they all get rejected, that creates a long list of templates to delete... Anyways in this panel you get to select each of the fleets that you have, it takes a bit to manage as you will have fleets that do not show up here so naming conventions are very useful as they will determine what should be in this panel and help you understand what isn't. It is very important not to delete templates with ships in them unless you know you are losing those ships as they do not just fly without a template despite what can happen. Merge them first and make sure it says 0 in the fleet.

Some more information to look at here as well. On the left shows how much command limit is being used at the moment and the brackets shows your actual command limit max that you set, it changes as you research or gain more Command Limit.

Last panel is the actual panel you should be using most of the time. Here you can set your homebase, set how you want reinforcements to work by adjusting the command limit, it shows you what your fleet composition looks and adjusting what ships you want to be reinforced.

Sometimes this is where things get a bit confusing and mangled. Say you have a same ship type with a different name or different loadout in which can't just be solved by upgrading ships. Then your next step will be to retrofit your ship to the newest or desired design. After that it is just a matter of zeroing the numbers and restarting your management. If all else fails then it must be a foreign ship. Otherwise learn how to use retrofit as it will be extremely useful in the future.

This is better in reinforcing your fleet and will be the safest bet to prevent going over your Naval capacity as you will not be reinforce all your fleet.

Adjusting fleet cap, this will be the most important part of fleet management, otherwise you will be stuck with either a small fleet or no ability to have fleets without creating ships yourself. You can use the adjusters to your liking, taking note that bigger ships have a bigger Command requirement so you may want to adjust accordingly, like adjusting the bigger ships first then going small after. You can play around with the adjusters as it will show your command limit increasing and decreasing so you know how to adjust accordingly.

This is the second most important and this is in the wrong over. Adding ship design, otherwise you wouldn't be able to get better ships into your fleet. Not too much to explain, click the button and the fleets will be in the queue panel on the right.

Guide - Space Pirates

Space Pirates are the most annoying enemies you will have to do deal with in the game. According to the Wiki: every 10 years, any empire with a mining or research station outside its home system will get "The Birth of Space Piracy" event. Otherwise I imagine if you do not do anything you will never get pirates? In any case Space Pirates spawn due to unclaimed systems and they do get stronger over time. Every Pirate Spawned will spawn a base as well which will need to be destroyed or else more Space Pirates will spawn over time. There is no stopping the spawns of space pirates without claiming the space in which allows them to spawn. Otherwise for "Tall" game play it gets pretty tough. The time it takes for Pirates to spawn increases with the number of Starbases or the number of Pirate bases spawned.

Guide - Exploration

Exploration is the most important part of game as it allows you to survey systems and find new Empires. Exploration can only be conducted with a Science ship with a Scientist. Science ships cost 100 minerals and are built at the colony Spaceport. Initially there are two uses for Science ships, to survey systems and to explore systems. Surveying allows you to discover resources, Anomalies and primitive civilizations or species. As well in order to claim or build in systems it must be surveyed first. Science ships can also reveal chain of events that are like mini-quests if you will that can benefit your Empire. The most important aspect of exploration is the Science Ships ability to discover Anomalies as they are events that would not be available otherwise and can provide permanent bonuses to systems. The other use of a science ship is to explore the area in order to allow ships to travel as they cannot travel that has not been explored first. This obviously does not have any benefits of surveying however it allows you to discover other empires faster and allows travel of ships should you need to scout for other Empires. Science Ships can also assist in research which is unlocked through the Discovery Traditions tree. Otherwise I do like to emphasize the importance of discovering Anomalies which is explained in the next guide. Once discovering new empires you have the ability to research communications with them which can give you an influence boost which will be very helpful when expanding your empire.

General - Anomalies

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Anomalies are benefits that can pop up when surveying a planet. These are extremely useful as they can provide permanent bonuses to systems or planets even provide a chain of events. I highly recommend getting Anomaly Discovery chance at the beginning of the game as after systems are surveyed it becomes ineffective. As stated Anomalies are best acquired at the beginning of the game and you have an Edict available to should you choose to use it. At the start of the game Map the Stars Edict is available at 100 influence cost, without modifiers. This increases your survey speed by 25% and 10% Anomaly discovery chance. While 10% isn't that high, combined with a Scientist with a Meticulous trait +10% Anomaly Discovery chance you have a far greater chance of discoveries. They run for several years so the influence cost is worth it. Here is an example of how many Anomalies I had found in my game.

Once finding Anomalies it is safe for you to ignore them until your Map the Stars edict expires as by that time your Scientists should be high enough level to reduce the risk level of investigating anomalies to 5%. It is not explained much in the Wiki how anomalies work as a whole however I do find that if a system has been previously explored, I find that it is less likely to find Anomalies, possibly due to it already been discovered or perhaps the chance is eliminated due to someone else surveying a system.

General - Research

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Due to the nature of the Research system, it is random, with the exception of the starting research, there is a starting set of research, there is no way for me to tell you what to pick along the way. I recommend you pick only the research that is most relevant to you at the present moment. I do prioritize research speed when applicable however I recommend going economy as much as possible such as upgraded mining or increased Unity. Regardless of game play I recommend getting ship upgrades asap such as Destroyers. If you happen to get destroyers then next priority is to get a point defence/flak battery asap as that will help you defend against missiles should you get attacked early as it will be the most likely weapon to be used at the beginning of the game. Otherwise upgrade missiles until you see enemy having destroyers or anti-missile tech. Continue with production and economy. While researching you should set your scientists as such if they happen to be a specialist in the research of your choosing. If you end up with choices that do not reflect what you are doing next then choose the fastest research choice as that will re-roll your research choices. Once you get your economy set up and your well on your way in the game you should start prioritizing on further upgraded ship/weapons designs and upgraded starbase designs. As well as increasing fleet capacity and command limit, which ever you feel like you need at the moment.

A thing to note is that the research requirement increases as you expand as an empire as shown below.

General - Economy

Priority always goes to minerals as they are the hardest to obtain vs energy credits. As well you will need a massive surplus of minerals end game as they will be your lifeblood in terms of building and maintaining a fleet. At the beginning your economy should have your credit income set to 1-10 and your mineral mineral income as high as possible. If required tweak your income as per what is required. If you need that surplus credits then change as per requirements but overall keep your mineral count high. If need be trade with other empires later in the game. At the start of the game make sure to only build mining stations on mineral planets. Do not build credit miners unless you need to, if your going into the negative or need a slight boost, and do not build research stations as research will come later. Food is less of a priority than expanding your borders. Once your economy is slowly balancing out you can start to build whatever you feel is necessary but still keeping the priority on Mineral production. At the start you will only need one construction ship per each outpost construction, so if you find that you can easily build another outpost then you may need another construction ship. Also if your economy is stable then you can have more construction ships building mining stations as you capture systems.

General - Starbase Specialization

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Starbases can be specialized depending on their requirements. Trade Hubs are dedicated Credit producers and can only be build on Starbases that have a colony attached to them. It is more efficient to specialize Starbases as there are buildings that apply bonuses to each module such as the Offworld Trading Company +2 to Trading Hubs. As such it would be best to apply the bonus to the maximum modules available. For shipyards I pick the closest system near my capital and build a starbase there as purely a shipyard. Later on it will be important to build other shipyards in various locations as needed. Building Anchorages should be built in safe areas as they will be mostly defenceless compared to shipyards which are likely to have ships docked. Common beneficial buildings to add to starbases are Hydroponics Bay to supplement food and Resource Silos to prevent resource capping.

Shipyard vs Trading Hub

Total credits from starbases

General - Border Blocking

Border blocking or hyperlane blocking is essential to preventing the AI from expanding further. As much as it will cause border friction and might start a war, I generally take that risk. Normally they never go to war unless you are significantly weaker but be wary of their opinion and strengths. If you meet another empire and they are near your borders find ways to block them from expanding by expanding in that direction as a priority and set your borders accordingly. If you see enemy ships positioned there then that will delay them from expanding in that direction but eventually they move in to destroy them so keep that in mind.

General - Planet Specialization

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The effect mostly applies to mid to end game but at the beginning I add abbreviations to certain planets that have certain benefits such as High Quality Minerals. With that I label them with an "M" for minerals so it looks like this, M-Sol. Eventually when your economy is generating a healthy surplus you can start to look at specializing certain planets which are labeled with your abbreviations. For planets with an "M" I end up building every tile with mines and planets with "P" with physics research despite the natural resources. Just keep in mind how much you are destroy as it might not out weigh the gains but usually it does. Eventually you will be moving your capital to a planet with max tiles, 25. Eventually turning it into a unity/research facility as the rest of your planets will be providing your growth.

In terms of natural resources on planets. Always respect tiles until you are ready to start specializing. Otherwise do not destroy natural resources that will give bonuses. On empty pieces of of land always build a monument as unity will always be a limited resource. Should you be running out of space the priority goes as follows; minerals>unity>credits>food>research. Note that if you need any of such resources, avoiding negative, obviously do not negate that.

Mineral specialization.

Credit specialization: Betharium planet.

Physics specialization: I was at the end game crisis so I didn't have time to build.

General - Diplomacy/Trading

Early game keeping the peace is always number one priority. Especially if you are playing on higher difficulty as overpowering the AI at harder difficulties is almost impossible, just my experience at beating Civ 5 on Diety. Making non-aggression offers is vital to all empires however defensive pacts can be ignored as they will drain your influence. The last thing you need is multiple empires declaring war on you at the same time. Conquesting early game is difficult however I have never attempted that as of yet. In any case to keep empires from wanting to war with you, keep your fleet strong which is why you need high mineral production. Avoiding war for as long as possible until you are ready to fight is the best case or you can also invite/join other empires in destroying your enemies which is a better alternative however remember to make claims before you go to war.

Keep in mind, especially when you have surpluses and need more resources trade is always available. Usually you will have a surplus of energy credits later in the game however keep in mind that you may also flood their empire with excess credits.

Research agreements can be beneficial for you if you are technologically inferior however it can be detrimental if your enemies are technologically inferior to you. A thing to note is that the more you expand the slower you acquire tech so they may equalize their to your level if they are smaller.

At default settings the AI is pretty decent as I play with 19 empires and I have empires usually 5 systems away. With a strong fleet I generally do not have any problems, especiailly with the huge border friction I cause all the time due to my aggressive territorial grabbing.

General - Leaders

Basic prioritization of leaders when possible. If available discard ones and re-roll for new ones if you have the resources.

Scientists prioritize increased Research Speed.

Explorers prioritize increased Anomaly Discovery Chance.

Governors prioritize increased Research Output.

Admirals prioritize whatever your fancy is, damage, firepower or range. Note that Admirals get the upkeep trait when they command a large fleet over time.

Generals prioritize whatever your fancy.

General - Sectors

One of the problems in Stellaris is the Sector management. Actually it's not really as a problem as it is a management cap. You see the Sector management is meant to be a problem in my opinion as the game is designed for you to have a cap on the number of planets that you should control. Whether that is the case or not, the basics of Sector management is that the AI is supposed to manage your colonies so that you do not out cap your core worlds that you are able to control. This prevents you from controlling more than you can handle, not that you can't handle it, but its more of a, I suppose a role play aspect as well as a deterrent from from players from increasing their income too prominently. So how do you solve this problem or is it a problem?

First it is a problem because as soon as you start creating sectors those AI controlled sectors control all those resources, thus you are missing out on 25% of the resources, as you can adjust the resources received from your sector managers. You can also withdraw resources from your sectors by using influence but this is as a last resort as influence is important. Another thing to keep in mind is to not give your sector managers any nearby systems when you can help it as it will just give them more resources that they take from you.

There are some benefits however. In an emergency if your populations are starving you can assign sectors and let them deal with it but then it may cause unrest and you are basically ignoring the problem. Also if one of your planets is draining resources you can also assign them a sector which may balance them out if you already have systems in a sector.

Now the best solution is to increase your core world systems control through your initial government civics. There is also an ascendancy perk that increases it as well. The other solution is to create a vassal if you have the Domination perk. When vassaling a planet you want to make sure it is your worst planet or that it is at least producing planet. Since my priority is minerals, I vassalize my planets that produce the least or have the least potential to produce. These are usually the smallest planets that you own. This is the best way to do business and as a last resort you can always integrate your vassals or conquer them if they are disloyal.

In the end sector management is bad and you should try avoiding it. As much as you may be lazy to manage colonies, that is not its intended benefit. In the end the name of the game is max resource income and assigning sectors reduces that.

General - Vassals

Vassals are are fun to use however are generally a burden on your economy in terns of what you could have. Prior to 2.0.2 Vassal were highly beneficial due to the Fleet Levies Tradition which allowed you to easily max out fleet cap based on the number of Vassals you had however that has recently been nerfed and Fleet Levies is barely worth it as it is. Nonetheless Vassals are somewhat beneficial if using them as Battle Thralls as they do save you time and effort in fighting wars however as the player you are obviously smarter than them. The problem with Battle Thralls is that they usually have weak fleets unless they have a lot of territory otherwise they will build within their means. You can give them systems and planets in order to boost their economy and fleet power however that means less resources for yourself. Vassals while tend to be self sufficient can lose their planets due to constant unrest and you will get an option to accept the planet back. Most Vassalized planets are based on your surface build however over time they will change the planet to their own needs. During wars Vassals will claim systems nearby if they have the influence to do so. Be wary if you try to claim a system near a Vassal your claim may automatically get pushed aside. Vassals are also useful in preventing border friction among empires however the Vassal will now be taking the friction and the empire will likely start a war with the empire thus dragging you into it. During war Vassal warships can follow your fleet via the Take Point button on your ship which will force the Vassal warships to follow that particular ship. Otherwise if there are no ships with Take Point then they will attack where they see fit. If Vassals are disloyal they will not fight for you at all and if you are weak they will end up attacking you in order to release themselves from Vassalization. If you are planning on having Vassals it is wise to keep them small as the integration costs can be massive depending on how much territory they acquire, otherwise let them get as big as you want. However if they do get too powerful they may prove to be disloyal. I have no figured out the general formula for, "Relative Power of Subjects" as this is the main negative opinion for Vassals however I found that having several individualized Vassals increases this number by a lot. In order to keep Vassals opinions high there are Traits, Civics, Traditions that can be used to bump up the opinion score. Having Charismatic trait, Xenophile Ethic, Starlord and Diplomacy Tradition will all boost opinions. Feudal society will reduce subject power by 50% however it will allow Vassals to expand and acquire systems. This can be controlled as you can Vassalize within your territory which should be controlled which would prevent them from expanding anyways however it is a fun aspect to watch your Vassals grow without your help. Note that Vassals will not help you with the end game Crisis unless you you are the Federation fleet President.

General - Governing Ethics Attraction

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As most of you know I didn't know much about how this worked as it didn't have much impact on my game. However I looked at this more closely and found out how it basically worked. I didn't feel like reading the wiki so I will instead go by what I know.

The way Governing Ethics Attraction works is based on your choice of Government Ethics during your Empire creation. This in turn is supposed to dictate your overall play style which works by making your populations unhappy when you do the opposite of your Government Ethics. Obviously you are not restricted in making these choices, depending on what is disabled due to the Ethic however. Governing Ethics Attraction helps to keep the population from going from your core Ethics. For example if you are Fanatic Militaristic and Authoritarian then you want to keep your population within those borders of opinion which means you will need to only do actions that fit within those borders such as declaring rivals and allowing slavery. Once you start deferring from those core beliefs such as forming a Federation or banning slavery, your people will depart from the core Ethics and move to the other side of the spectrum which would be Pacifist and Egalitarian. Besides the obvious things to swing the other way there are many other options that turn the tide in Ethics Attractions. You can figure out what is the cause of the Ethics Attractions by hovering over each of the Ethics in the Faction screen. It is kind of confusing when you see the plus and negative in green and red as your core Ethics are positive and negative however it is reverse for your non core Ethics. The main benefits of Faction management is happiness and influence.

War - Casus Belli

Before War can be declared you will need to have a Casus Belli. A reason to go to war, here are your options.

Animosity – Humiliate - Requires Rivalry -50 Surrender Acceptance

Basically you are going to war because you want to Humiliate your opponent. You gain nothing except for bragging rights, with the AI, this is really pointless. However the enemy will lose influence should they surrender during the war.

Claim – Conquer - Requires Claims on a enemy empire -100 Surrender Acceptance

This is your main reason for war as this provides you the ability to gain territory. More will be explained in another guide but basically you own all territory that you claim when the enemy surrenders.

Ideology – Impose Ideology – Requires “Liberation Wars” War Philosophy Policy -100 Surrender Acceptance

Basically forces an empire to change their ethics to yours and leaves a Federation if it is part of one. It is mostly for the Pacifist Achievement however because of the loophole in achieving it, this is a pointless Casus Belli unless for role play.

Subjugation – Vassalalize or Make Tributary – Adopted Domination Tradition or Empire declined demand to become subject. -100 Surrender Acceptance

If empires are potential Vassals, they will usually end up going to you first. Otherwise you can force them to be Vassals by destroying their will.

Containment – End Threat – An Awaken Fallen Empire -1000 (Total War)

This is the unique Casus Belli in that it is only available to Awaken Fallen Empires. In order to complete this Wargoal you need to completely Annihilate the empire otherwise they will never surrender.

Surrender Acceptance

This is the counter that decides whether the AI will automatically surrender. Usually this will happen when all your Wargoals are met such as controlling all territory that is claimed.

War - Claims

Claims are declarations of territory to be rightfully your property. Claims cost influence at a base cost of 50 influence and penalties are added depending on circumstances:

+25 per Hyperlane distance from owned Territory

+25 if the system has at least a Level 1 Starbase, not an outpost

+25 if the system is colonized

Claims are more expensive when made during war and cannot be taken back during war. This is important as if you cannot control your claims then you cannot win the war. You can declare a status quo which will be explained later. Also know that when you win a war you only receive what you claimed so if you control every single piece of territory and the war ends, you only end up with what you claimed. In order to completely destroy the Empire you must make claims on their Colonized planets.

Conflicting Claims

When there are multiple wars on a single empire, you may notice that there are already claims on systems that you may have claimed. This is a conflicting claim as now you will need to increase your claims on that system in order to ensure that you get that claim, which means using more influence. This is pertinent during a Status Quo as whoever has the highest or old claim will get that territory. Otherwise if you force the enemy to surrender then the claims will go to whoever the Empire surrendered to first.

War - War Exhaustion And Ending Wars

War Exhaustion is a measure of how tired your Empire is of being in war. Of course you as the player would want to decide when to end the war. The point of this system is to prevent a stagnating war as wars can go on forever with enough resources. This system speeds up the game or keeps it moving as other empires may get impatient in waiting for the war to end, however they can also join it but they will be fighting each other for claims. War Exhaustion is measured by how many losses each empire takes. This can be beneficial for those fighting a defensive war as it is easier to defend than attack in some cases. War Exhaustion can be reduced through Traditions and Government Ethics. Once War Exhaustion reaches 100% a 24 month timer starts and and the end of it Empires will be forced into a status quo which means any territory that the attacker controls with claims will be ceded to that empire. Otherwise when an Empire surrenders they give the attacking empires all territory that has been claimed.

War - Orbital Bombardment

Before being able to capture planets, it is very likely that you will be required to do Orbital Bombardment, otherwise if you have a sizable enough army you can outright take the planet. In order to conduct Orbital Bombardment you need a fleet size at least 10 with its maximum effectiveness capped at 100. It does not matter what ships are bombing as it is all the same. If the planet has a Planetary Shield Generator then damage is reduced by 75%. Bombardment will damage defensive armies that are not protected by a Stronghold or Fortress, thus during Bombardment they will be destroyed in the process first. Bombardment will ultimately cause collateral damage is reported via the counter “Planetary Damage”. Once Planetary Damage reaches 100% it will reset and one of these events will happen: a building on a tile will be ruined, a pop is killed or a tile blocker will be created.

Types of Orbital Bombardment


Selective Bombardment only targets military sites and tries to avoid civilian casualties however its not a guarantee. Planetary damage will be +50%, Army Damage +100%, +20% chance to kill a pop (stopping at 8) and the tile blocker chance is +20% with 3 maximum. Once the planet is undefended the ships will stop bombing automatically.


Indiscriminate Bombardment will target everything with no regard to any civilian casualties. Planetary damage will be +100%, +150% Army Damage, +33% to kill a pop (stopping at 4) and +20% to create a tile blocker with 5 maximum. This is not available to the Pacifist Government Ethic.

War - Assault Armies

In order to take a planet at least one Army is required. When creating Armies you are limited to the number of of populations living in your Empire. Thus multicultural Empires will have different races when building armies. There are different types of armies ranging from the basic Assault Army to Gene Warriors to Titanic Beasts. Defence Armies by default are far superior in damage in order to combat Empires in early rushing and domination so it is advised to bring superior numbers or to nuke the planet to force a smaller defence army, otherwise you are at the mercy of your War Exhaustion. I am not going to list all the types of Assault Armies as there are too many, maybe later, however I will go through the stats of the basic Assault Army.

Assault Army

Cost 100 Minerals, 1.5 - 3 Damage, 1.50 - 3 Morale Damage, 100% Collateral Damage, 200 Health, 200 Morale, 1 Maintenance.

Once an army is created, they are automatically orbiting your planet in a Transport ship. This is your Armies transport and is completely defenceless. When assaulting planets make sure they have a safe route to the planet otherwise they will be destroyed by other fleets or Starbases. This is also where you can assign Generals to lead the armies.

Morale is a important stat as once it goes below 50% your Armies will do 25% less damage and once it reaches 0% they will do 75%. The purpose of morale is to ensure you have overwhelming numbers when assaulting planets.

War - Defence Armies

Defence Armies are created depending on what buildings are on the planet as well as the occupant within the building. Here are the numbers:

Reassembled Ship Shelter +1

Planetary Administration +3

Planetary Capital +5

Empire Capital-Complex +7

Stronghold +3

Fortress +5

Military Academy +2 +100 Experience to new armies

As stated defence armies cannot be destroyed under those spawned by Strongholds and Fortresses. Here are the basic Defence Army stats:

2.25 - 4.5 Army Damage, 2.5 – 4.5 Morale Damage, 250 Health and 250 Morale.

Note that depending on who is in the Stronghold, ex Robots can change the type of Defence army and stats, namely Morale as Robots have no morale however they do less damage. As you can figure out Defence armies have .75 more minimum damage, 1.5 more max damage, have 50 more Health and Morale than Assault Armies.

Mid Game - Fallen Empires

In prior patches the Fallen Empires were the mid game annoyances and bullies in the game. They are a mid game annoyance as they do not "awaken" until sometime in the middle of the game, otherwise they do not do anything and cannot be destroyed due to their overwhelming power. They can be activated should the player decide to anger them however it is pointless as you will end up getting destroyed. They are in the game to provide massive amounts of headache and to prevent the player and other empires from gaining any foothold in the game which usually ruins the players chances at standing up to the end game Crisis which is ironically stronger than everyone. With this in mind this essentially makes the player play as fast as possible before the Fallen Empires wake. The recent patch made the Fallen Empires extremely manageable, you can set the time they awake, and by default I find is a good time for them to awake. The Fallen Empire ruins games by usually by forcing empires to be their Vassal or tributary. You can however rise up in power and gather your allies to overthrow the Fallen Empire however this is a tough feat. An Ascension perk Galactic Contender will hugely benefit the player in defeating the Fallen Empires with its +33% damage to Fallen Empires. Unlike the Crisis the Fallen Empires have a balanced fleet with essentially no weakness so you will have to overwhelm them with sheer power. The benefit of the Fallen Empires are that they tend to keep you safe and keep the peace with other empires which is usually not the best thing. Otherwise when the end game Crisis arrives, one of them usually decide to become a defender of the galaxy and try to combat the Crisis but sometimes even then they can get overwhelmed. This is usually the best time to overthrow the Fallen Empire however this will reduce the containment of the Crisis as usually the Fallen Empires are usually the ones strong enough to handle them. There is an event, I'm not sure if it is an official event, but there is a chance that the Fallen Empires will fight each other due to differentiating Ethics. This is fun to watch and is also an opportunity to destroy a Fallen Empire while they are busy fighting each other.

Late Game - End Game Crisis

The end game Crisis is a random event that happens in the late game. For those new the end game Crisis as a over powered enemy that is is picked by random but certain research or events can increase chances of a certain Crisis to spawn. The general idea of the end game Crisis is to prevent the game from never ending due to player/AI stagnation. As well as to change things up and to add a roleplay element, a common enemy. This shines a light on the reasoning to join a Federation as it is likely you will not be able to destroy the Crisis alone. I notice people complain about the end game Crisis however it does not ruin the game entirely. The wiki states that should the Crisis grow big enough, somewhere around 40% control there are counter measures that spawn in and control or disrupt the Crisis however I have not gotten to that point as I usually am able to contain them. Personally in all my games I have only had two types of Crises, the Bidden and the Prethoryn Scourge and each of these Crises have their obvious weakness if you observe their ship design. I find the Scourge to be a lot more annoying and dangerous than the Bidden due to its ability to infest planets and spawn more like a plague. In order to combat the Crisis easily, it is recommended to get the Guardians of the Galaxy Ascension perk which add 50% damage to the Crisis. After that is just a matter of massing ships and destroying them, better with Federation ships. As far as I know Corvette swarming will not work so mass Battleships is the best course of action. If you have the Crisis contained then it is just a matter of building up and waiting until you are ready to destroy them. Should you happen to be too weak the other empires will usually force their energy on the Crisis, especially empires in a Federation. As well some of the Fallen empires will join in the fight. Just note that some empires do not care about the Crisis and may take advantage of it by attacking you so be aware who is likely to attack you. I've had times where empires sucker punched me during my game so be careful.

Tall Guide - Introduction

For those who are unaware playing "Tall" is coined for a playstyle that describes a player who intentionally controls small amounts of planets and or systems in order to reduce the requirement penalties on Unity and Research. This will be odd for most players as it feels like the opposite of what should be happening, ex Civ 5 research goes up due to larger popualtions and larger empires. The way it works is this the penalties for Unity are higher with more controlled Colonies but lower with more systems and with Research the penalties are higher for more systems and less with Colonies. A thing to consider is that Traditions will end first before technologies as I have never finished technology yet. This is a very interesting system as it promotes the player to play smaller and more sophisticated instead of putting emphasis conquering and dominating the galaxy. Usually the Tall player is not concerned with war however whenever engaged should have the upper hand due to Technology, or you would think. As you can imagine it is a more a difficult and advanced type of play. As i've read it doesn't work well with Vanilla so getting the DLC will make it easier, especially with the one planet challenge. However it still can be done in Vanilla as I am somewhat testing it out at the moment. I can see playing tall being achieved in two ways. Starting from the beginning tall or start wide then reducing to Tall later in the game. The point of the latter is that late game tech would be that more expensive and reducing back down will make researching tech that much faster, as well at that point your colonies will have great infrastructure so reversing won't have a huge implications in the end. This can also be achieved by Vassalizing your territory in case you get wet feet. Obviously the downside to playing tall is the vulnerability of empires playing wide however the benefits are getting ahead in Technology and Traditions. Playing tall reminds me of Civ 5s nation, Ethiopia. Anyways more will be explained at an another time.

Tall Guide - Research And Unity Penalties

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This was not apparent when I first played the game so this may help those who are new. As I alluded to I was a big Civilization 5 player and the game always promoted building Tall however it was promoted to grow as big as possible while trying to keep your Happiness out of the negatives. Stellaris has the opposite effect which I do praise it really really promotes the alternate play style of playing Tall. Thus lets talk about the penalties incurred by expansion of your empire. I could not find any calculations on the Paradox Wiki so I am just going to make my own.


Research has a higher penalty when having more systems than Colonies. In terms of lore, I suppose it is due to Research coming from different systems and Scientists having a hard time compiling Research from several locations.

Roughly the Research penalties per system is about 0.99% and 4.37% per Colony.


Unity has a higher penalty when having more Colonies than systems. In terms of lore, I suppose its due the number of populations to keep in line.

Roughly Unity the penalties per Colony is about 20% and 1% per system.

Due to Unity being able to finish first, it is more effective to have more Colonies than systems in order to combat the penalties however it is up to your preference how you want to achieve your goals.

Tall Guide - Starbase Cap

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The last page capped out.

In reference to Star Base Capacities here are the numbers. You get a base of 3, +5 with the Ascension perk Grasp the Void, +2 +2 +2 if you adopt the Supremacy tree and get the Technology. +1 per 40 population and per 20 owned systems with the Interstellar Expansion Technology, not sure if the “and” is intentional in the game as that is what I am getting. Raw numbers this equates to 14 total. Interstellar Expansion Technology would depend on how many colonized planets you are willing to have. Best case to use this would have two planets at least 20 with size of 20 and 20 systems which gives you +2 or 4 planets with size of at least 20 and 40 systems which will give you a total of +4. Totals being 16 and 18. Otherwise you can keep going however the point is to keep it as small as possible.

Total Star Base Capacities to maximum efficiency are either 14, 16 or 18.

With the totals calculated the only possibility in protecting your systems would have to be having a total of 14 systems including colonies. Of course if you can keep up with upkeep you can have more otherwise this will be an interesting project. With luck of the draw you may be able to pull off a system with two planets with a size of 20 however this seems very unlikely but that will bump your number to 15.

Tall Guide - Play Wide End Tall

This is the easiest way to get into playing tall. For all intensive purposes this is not the proper way to play tall as all you are doing is playing wide first and then downgrading all your outposts and giving away all your colonies in order to reduce the penalties. In any case you can always try to play tall properly as you go along through the game as the point being is to minimize the amount of systems and planets you capture. Playing tall does not equate to a one planet empire but that is extremely tall/challenging. There is not much to explain with this way of playing tall, if it can be considered that. Just play as you would wide then when Research and Unity become too expensive or you find that you are getting too wide, just start downsizing. Before you start downsizing ensure all your infrastructure and economy are set perfectly as you will notice your income being reduced significantly. As well don't downsize with a weak fleet as you'll probably get attacked. Take in to consideration when downsizing to keep your most valuable colonies and or systems, especially the research rich systems. Remember that the Unity requirement if higher with more planets and Research requirements are higher with more systems. Should you want to rush unity then less planets are better and vice versa for Research. In terms of balancing out your economy will have to depend on your situation. I will have to go through Traditions Tree later to figure out the best way to go as Expansion will not longer be a priority.

Tall Guide - Walkthrough

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Paying Tall

Currently as I write this I am experimenting with the best method of playing Tall, as in getting the lease amount of Research and Unity penalties while trying to keep the number of planets and systems low. I have found that the only expansion style that fits this is through selective system capturing. What I mean by being selective is only capturing systems that are high yield. Generally I have been using the number 10, if the systems add to 10 or more then I capture it but even even in the later game this becomes less important as you will find that you will need more Credits than you need Minerals as most of these high yielding systems do provide more minerals in the end. As well due to the lack of colonized planets you will quickly run into issues in acquiring credits due to the lack of Trading Hubs. Here is a picture to show you what I mean.

Now as you can imagine the problems with selective capping due to the recent patch that added Pirates. For those complaining about pirates, I understand your pain!!! The difference issues with Pirates vs playing wide was not apparent, in fact it was really annoying to have Pirates in a wide game. In a Tall game, ho boy. As you can tell by my map I had a heck of a time repairing everything the pirates destroyed after a period of time. So I gave it some thought and wondered how to solve the pirate problem as at this point I've been trying to set up quick response fleets all around the map however it works mostly sometimes and depending on the strength of the pirate fleet, it may not be the best answer, especially with your empire being so spread out later in the game. My other thought was leaving ships in every location however same problem, they may be too weak and high upkeep will cause more problems than it will solve. The only other solution is to create defensive Starbases on each system however that will leave you to the mercy of the Starbase capacity which leaves you with not a lot of systems. In my case I have a cap of 23 however in the early games you wont have that much. So that begs the question, can I survive off systems depending on the number of the Starbase capacity? I am going to delve more into that later in my game as I am noticing that I am starting to get a bit more expansive as you can see here.

For those wondering I am aiming for the “Suffer not the Alien” Achievement which is why I am Conquesting in a Tall play style. Also it is to see if it is feasible, this is on the Ensign difficulty... Throughout the game I received a bonus to my research however I haven't noticed my tech ever being ahead of some AI which makes me wonder if I am not concentrating on tech enough or that I need to downsize my Empire even more because I am still too big. However the biggest problem with playing Tall was the ability to produce credits and fight a war at the same time as I have always been fighting wars with negative credits.

The last big issue with selective capping is the obvious lack of border connections. Especially in my case where all borders are closed due to my purging nature. You may get border blocked and thus wont get access to your own system. This is fine as it has no effect on your economy unless your systems are destroyed by pirates otherwise there is no penalty to not having your borders not connected, as far as I know.

One thing I didn't mention was the importance of leaders, however at this point I didn't care much about it but I will have to look at it further in the future.

Alright so now you know the overall picture, now to get down to how to go through with it.

In Empire creation I would trend towards Research and Unity buffs and Xenophile to get a reduction off of Starbase costs however it is not all that important. As well I chose the Spiritualist to get the perk of building Temples for the Unity boost. I chose slow breeders as a trait and that was a horrible idea, so do not ever pick that. The Credit production buff will help due to the lack of colonized planets thus the reduction in Trading Hub construction. Otherwise you are on your own to set up your Empire. Starting the game your main priority will be Research and Economy as Weapons and Defence techs will not apply to you, however it may luck of the draw if you end up getting destroyed. For Traditions you will start with the Discovery tree, completing the right side first, Science Division to Polytechnic Education and then Faith in Science. The main point for Discovery is for the Anomaly Discovery Chance as well as the Unity gain per completed Techs as this will be your main target. For exploration, Map the Stars and Anomaly Discovery chance are extremely crucial for the Tall player. With that said you may want to hold off on Exploration until you get your first Tradition pick into Discovery and wait for a science leader with Meticulous. Otherwise you can explore as you wish. At this point as you would understand is that you are not expanding or capping systems unless they have a certain resource yield, I use the number 10 but it is up to your preference whether you want to cap systems and then downgrade after. However if you do cap early then you may miss out on capping large resource yields, depending on their distance from your initial planets. Once you find a system with a high yield start capping it and continue on. In the mean time you can build any infrastructure or build more ships as you will end up with lots of resources due the lack of expansion going on. You may want to swap out leaders to increase research speeds and get more science ships going if you can get more Meticulous traits. It may be crucial to build up a fleet early to get access to denied areas with Neutral hostile fleets as they are usually guarding high resource yields. Other than you are pretty much on your own, repeating the same process until you become Dominate in Research and Traditions. I am still working on the Traditions guide at this point so that will come later. Prosperity may be a good way to go next however it will depend on if you are going to be having a sizable fleet then reducing fleet costs would be better however if you are going with Star basing then go with Expansion to reduce upkeep costs or Supremacy to increase your cap. In most cases I would start off with Prosperity first then pick whether you want the increased Star Base cap or the reduced upkeep. After those are done then it will your preference after that. As for Ascension perks it will always be research speed first unless you really need that Star Base cap then get Grasp the Void, all depending on your survival situation.

Wide Guide - Walkthrough

Now that you have the basic idea here this is how it works out. As your exploring and should be building a mining station only on mineral planets at your starting planet. Assigning research to the best of your ability. Exploring planets connected to your first planet and only following the mineral trail. If you hit a dead zone with no minerals back track to the other unexplored side of your first planet. At this point you should not be doing anything in the mean time, building/clearing on planets. The next step is to wait for your mineral and credit counter to 200/100 depending on what leaders are available as your next priority will be to build a second science ship. At the beginning of the game exploration will be your biggest priority as you will start to find other alien races which in turn will give influence bonuses that will help you expand via outposts. After you get your second science ship exploring you can preposition your construction ship over systems you plan on claiming and waiting to build outposts so that you can build mining stations on the mineral planets. Again only building on mineral planets and if required building on credit. Ignore research at this point as this guide concentrates on mineral superiority which in turn allows for faster fleets and more room for building. At this point you probably or not found a planet to colonize. I avoid colonizing until I get the a new life tradition under expansion as growing pops taking a long time and it will save you some time. As well colonization costs -8 credits and this point you do not have the credits to support that. You can try to adjust your pops on your capital but it is not worth it at this point anyways. Since 1.9 rushing colonization was extremely important in order to prevent the AI from claiming it but with 2.0 it is not the case anymore. Around this point you should be getting to pick your first tradition, as explained before my first pick is Discovery. When you do find anomaly's I only accept the mission if the failure rate is 10% or less, otherwise ignore them. You can always come back later once your leader is leveled up and it is not worth failing the mission when likely it is not even claimable yet because usually its outside your borders. Once some time has passed, I don't keep time in game, and you feel like you are high in mineral resources and are balancing out your economy you can start building up your fleet, if pirates haven't arrive yet. First off by upgrading your ships. Then gradually increasing your fleet from 3 to 5 to 8 and 10 etc. Slowly increasing is best unless you have a high econ or a genius at understanding how much the upkeep will be as the changes can be sudden if you do things too fast. From here you should be able to thrive on your own. You can manage your pops on your capital as need be. You are probably colonizing planets and meeting other empires. Just keep in mind of all the topics discussed before as border blocking will be essential in order to set your empires initial territory. As long as you follow the traditions I have laid out you shouldn't have much problems in playing the game on your own from this point. Just keep diplomatic ties up and maintain a strong fleet so that empires don't decide to fight you.

Wide Guide - Traditions

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Due to the changes to the Fleet Levies Tradition due to the 2.0.2 patch, it has been nerfed a lot so it is not useful anymore.

The tradition build order I go through first is; one point in discovery so that you can get the increased anomaly discovery chance, this is important so that you can get a better chance at getting unique resources from systems in which would not have been there in the first place. Then moving on to Expansion in order to rush for the Tradition: Reach for the stars which gives you -10% on Starbase influence cost as this will help you expand your borders as fast as possible. After that continuing onto expansion towards A new life so that you can get a head start on population. After that completing the rest of expansion, depending on whatever direction you want to go first. You'll then complete a tradition which will give you a ascension perk in which I usually take increased research speed. The next tradition is one point in Harmony to get the growth speed however I find this optional as it will increase your unity requirements so if you don't want to take it then move on to prosperity. Prosperity is recommended because of the significant increased credit income from the Trans-Stellar Corporations. After that straight towards Fleet Logistics Corps which will allow you to have a lot of ships with reduced upkeep. After that finish off the Prosperity tree and pick your ascension perk depending on your preference. I usually get interstellar domination to get the reduced influence cost on starbases otherwise if you for some reason maxed out on systems to claim then I get Imperial Prerogative to get more core sector control. After this point it is up to you depending on what your play style is going to be, whether you want to start a federation, start conquesting or creating vassals.

Domination tradition will allow you to peacefully annex neighbouring empires/races should they not be xenophile race or hostile. Having points in Diplomacy will help you annex empires so you will have to invest a point in it gain opinion benefits. Sometimes you will not be able to annex some empires peacefully so don't expect this to perfectly. None the less if you want a moderately peaceful game go with this. I say moderately as you can attack empires to provoke them to vassalize as you will gain a casus belli. This is best if you want to slowly start claiming the galaxy though it will be a slow way. In the mean time the Domination tradition will allow you to max out your fleet via the Fleet Levies tradition which will increase your fleet size by 50%. In the mean time you can vassalize your own colonies to get a head start on the fleet cap.

Diplomacy will be your choice if you wish to form a federation and play a moderately peaceful game. Again I say moderately because sometimes empires will not ever join your federation due to being a nemesis or permanent rivals to members in your federation but should be less likely to attack depending on how powerful the federation is. Just know federations are a pain in the ass and if you wish to take advantage of the Federation fleet you should limit the number of members in the Federation to get the fleet faster as it rotates around. Combined with Dominations fleet levies will allow you to have a large fleet cap.

In the end Diplomacy and Domination work extremely well both hand in hand, especially going Diplomacy for the trust boost cap and then Domination for vassalization.

Supremacy I find is the weakest tradition in the game but none the less if you want the increased fire rate and increased starbase cap then go ahead with this. Otherwise i'd save this for after either Domination or Diplomacy.

If you want more research you can try to finishing the discovery tree but at this point you should be concentrating on war so this wouldn't be wise. Especially with vanilla players trying to play "tall", it doesn't work well without the DLC's.

At this point the end game crisis should be arriving sometime soon if you are playing on default settings.

One thing I didn't realize until last minute was the unity requirement. As you will see here your unity requirement grows as you expand more which is why some people do the "tall" play through/one planet play through.

First Discovery

Second Expansion Reach for the Stars

Third Expansion A New Life, after getting Colonization Fever

After completing Expansion, Technological Ascendancy

Optional forth Harmony, for growth speed

Fifth Prosperity, Transtellar Corp

Sixth Prosperity, Fleet Logistics after getting standard construction templates

After completing Prosperity Imperial Prerogative

Seventh is personal choice whether you want to go Domination, Diplomacy or Supremacy.

I'm going with Domination and the most important Tradition is Fleet Levies after getting Colonial Viceroys and Starlords

After completing Domination I picked Galactic Force Projection. This is actually not needed due to fleet levies so definitely pick something else that is better.

Eighth Diplomacy, nothing really here except for Federation

After completing Diplomacy you can pick an ascension perk, whether you are going to battle the crisis or fallen empire is up to you.

Ship Design - Introduction

Welcome to the most complicated complicated part of the game. This is due to the amount of customizations available and the possible combinations available if one chooses to. Due to the nature of the beast it is important to know what every weapon does. At this point I am still learning but as techs and tactics change you will eventually have to be knowledgeable on what counters what. In terms of balance, I am not sure if the game is balanced up to this point however I do notice Corvette swarming becoming popular. Enjoy.

Ship Design - Corvettes

Corvette Stats

1 Section, 1 Command point, 60 Mineral Cost, 60 Build time, 300 Hull, 60% Evasion, 170 Speed

Corvette Sections

Interceptor - 3 Small Weapons, 3 Small Utility, 1 Auxiliary

Torpedo Boat - 1 Small Weapon, 1 Guided, 3 Small Utility, 1 Auxiliary

Picket Ship - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Point Defence, 3 Small Utility, 1 Auxiliary

Corvettes are the first war ships you get and are the cheapest and fastest and all that. Main thing to note is that they have the highest evasion out of any ship so they have a higher chance of not getting hit by larger weapons as you will learn in the weapons guide, the bigger the weapons the harder it is to hit ships higher evasion. I read that a lot of players end up swarming their enemies with only Corvettes as saying it is the best cheese tactic available. I haven't achieved this yet but I can assume it works due to the exceptional evasion and the likelihood that the enemy is not prepared to handle swarms of Corvettes because they probably built a balanced fleet or a fleet of Battleships. The other benefits of Corvettes are that they are the cheapest ship, cost the least to replace and have the fastest speed for traveling. Otherwise they are generally cannon fodder in most situations.

The best tactic to use with Corvettes are to build an extreme number and set them to a Torpedo Boat Section in order to equip them with Plasma Weapons. However this is a later game tech so this won't be applicable at the beginning. The reason for Plasma Weapons is that they have +100% armor damage and +50% hull damage -75% shields, so you will only need to worry about is downing their shields. Since this not apply in the early game you should set them to Torpedo Boat and equip Missiles as most players will not have the Point Defence tech yet. Keep in mind you will need a weapon to destroy the armor as missiles have shield penetration they do not have any armor damage, so add laser weapons. Until you do see Point Defence systems with the enemy you should stop using missiles as it will be too ineffective and transfer over to close range weapons.

The obvious downside is you will probably lose a lot of Corvettes in the process but they are easily replenished due to how cheap they are. Also if your enemy is aware of what your doing they can change their build to smaller ships, likely Corvettes and Destroyers.

Generally most builds have Corvettes going full shields and depending if you want extra evasion adding in Advanced/Afterburners as you can get +20% Speed +10 Evasion/+10 Speed +5 Evasion. Before the changes to 2.0 there were players who played naked Corvettes which I believe was supposed to increase their Evasion even more to make them even more deadly.

The biggest counter besides the enemy going smaller hulls is getting weapons with the highest tracking which are basically the Autocannons at 75% Tracking and 85% Accuracy. It also helps to add the Auxiliary Fire control, +5% Accuracy. Due to the nature of Plasma weapons you might as well skip the armor and add shields. As well as upgrading Sensors is a must. Otherwise you will have to downsize your ships to counter as having Battleships and Cruisers fully equipped with Autocannons can be bad and they are very expensive to lose. For the beginning of game your best bet is set your ships to armor as the enemy are most likely to be using missiles, if not set to full shields.

Ship Design - Destroyers

Destroyer Stats

2 Section, 2 Command point, 120 Mineral Cost, 120 Build time, 800 Hull, 35% Evasion, 120 Speed

Destroyer Sections


Artillery - 1 Large Weapon, 6 Small Utility

Gunship - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Medium Weapon, 6 Small Utility

Picket Ship - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Point Defence, 6 Small Utility


Artillery - 1 Medium, 1 Auxiliary

Gunship - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Auxiliary

Picket Ship - 2 Point Defence, 1 Auxiliary

Destroyers are the second war ship available. After watching a Youtube video about destroyers and found out they are supposed to be the worst ship type in the game, I am just going to go through the theory via the numbers I have presented to me. By definition Destroyers are known as the Corvette destroyers, probably due to it being stronger by being the next step up. It has 25% less evasion and 50 less speed but gains 500HP over its counterpart. Base cost is doubled so for every 2 Corvette equals to one Destroyer. With about double the amount of weaponry it is supposed to be a better deal than the Corvette however the one problem is that it doesn't allow for a guided slot. I believe it did in 1.9 or before but probably due to the balance changes it was removed. The interesting part of the Destroyer is that it has a Large slot however in the early game this wouldn't be necessary until you are fighting Cruisers. So the Destroyers can be devastating to larger ships as a prominent artillery ship.

Depending on who you are going against will depend on how you build your Destroyer. If just going against Missile Corvettes then a Picket ship with Autocannons and Point Defence. You would probably only need 1 Point Defence and make the rest Autocannons as they will get the point in not using missiles anymore. However if you are fighting other Destroyers then medium slots should be added, depending on how much shields and armor they are using you can adjust accordingly. The main feature of the Destroyer is its ability to carry 3 Point Defence, utterly making guided missiles useless and that's how some people see Destroyers as they do not appreciate them for anything else at the beginning in the game. Due to the fact that they are above the Corvette and below Cruiser, they are kind of in that bad spot of not being that useful other than a support ship as Corvettes are meant to be fodder while Cruisers are the heavy duty fighters. Oddly they have the same base speed as Cruiser so they can be relied on as a quick response force but due to Cruisers having the same base speed you may as well use them when you have the tech.

Destroying Destroyers shouldn't be a problem for Corvettes as they have a 35% evasion rate so they are susceptible to long range fire, especially if they have gone full autocannons as the autocannons have a range of 30. It is likely that the Destroyers will have Point Defence so Missiles will ineffective at this point.

Ship Design - Cruisers

Alright so the best and my favorite type of ship, DA CRUZAH.

Cruiser Stats

3 Sections, 4 Command point, 300 Mineral Cost, 240 Build time, 1400 Hull, 10% Evasion, 120 Speed

Cruiser Sections


Artillery - 1 Large Weapon, 4 Medium Utility

Broadside - 2 Medium Weapon, 4 Medium Utility

Torpedo - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Guided, 4 Medium Utility


Artillery - 1 Large, 1 Medium Weapon, 4 Medium Utility

Broadside - 3 Medium Weapon, 4 Medium Utility

Hangar - 2 Point Defence, 1 Hangar, 4 Medium Utility

Torpedo - 2 Small Weapon, 2 Guided, 4 Medium Utility


Broadside - 1 Medium Weapon, 1 Auxiliary

Gunship - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Auxiliary

The Cruiser is the third ship that is available and is usually known as the main fighting ship of fleets. It has 600 more HP than the Destroyer and 25% less evasion. Compared to the Corvette it is a whopping +1100 HP and 50% less evasion. The slight issue is the increased mineral cost which is 300, +180 to Destroyers and +240 to Corvettes. As well build time double of that of the Destroyer and four times that of the Corvette. The doubling of command points requirement means that you will have a smaller number Cruisers in a fleet. Nonetheless it is a formidable ship that is high versatility due to the amount of weapons and sections available which can cater to almost any situation.

Having three section slots makes the Cruisers survival that much better. You will notice that it now has Guided missile slots that allows it to become an serious Torpedo ship if you can make it work. It has a large slot in order to combat other Cruisers and Battleships however the main fighting build for the Cruiser is having all medium slots with weapons of your choice, usually with Plasma as once their shields are down they provide +50% Hull Damage, +100% Armor damage and -75% Shield damage. Combined with a Cruiser fleet with Gauss Cannons you can easily destroy shields for the Plasma Cannons to finish the rest, +50% shield damage and -50% armor damage or one could use Energy Siphons which has +100% shield Damage and -75% Armor damage. However if you do notice that your enemy does not have any Point Defence then load up on Torpedoes as they will wreck any fleet without Point Defence, however that is usually not the typical case.

When facing bigger ships such as Battleships the requirement for Large weapons slots become more apparent as you can take advantage of their lower evasion which allows for more damage. If this is the case then your build can be a Large and all medium consisting of a Kinetic battery, +100% Shield damage +25% hull damage and -50% armor and the rest plasma as the Kinetic Battery will destroy the shields to make way for the plasma.

If your plan is to continue to use guided weapons despite the Point Defence, you may try to do a swarming tactic involving strike craft to fodder for Torpedoes as they have a 80% evasion rating. Each hanger will spawn 8 craft so depending on how many hangers you may be able to make it work. This will work bad against Flak Artillery as they have a tracking rate of 70%.

Countering Cruisers is based on what the the enemy build is. With its significantly lower evasion rate Large weapons will have a devastating impact and one can easily destroy Cruisers from afar. Due to its versatility there is no real way to describe how to counter as there could be any number of customization. Just keep in mind that there will be less Cruisers so they can be swarmed as well they are significantly more expensive. Other than that keep up the knowledge on weapons counters.

Ship Design - Battleships

Alright so the last ship in Vanilla is the Battleship. Eventually I hope to get the DLCs or have access to the Titan at some point but anyways.

Cruiser Stats

3 Sections, 8 Command point, 450 Mineral Cost, 480 Build time, 3000 Hull, 5% Evasion, 100 Speed

Battleship Sections


Artillery - 2 Large Weapon, 3 Large Utility

Broadside - 1 Large 2 Small 1 Medium Weapon, 3 Large Utility

Hangar - 1 Medium Weapon, 1 Point Defence, 1 Hangar, 3 Large Utility

Spinal Mount - 1 Extra Large, 3 Large Utility


Artillery - 3 Large, 3 Large Utility

Broadside - 2 Large 2 Medium Weapon, 3 Large Utility

Carrier - 2 Small Weapons, 2 Point Defence, 2 Hangar, 3 Large Utility

Hangar - 4 Medium Weapons, 1 Hangar, 3 Large Utility


Artillery - 2 Large Weapon, 2 Auxiliary

Broadside - 2 Medium Weapon, 2 Auxiliary

The Battleship is the forth and last ship to be built in a Vanilla game. This is obviously the tank of the game with a whopping 3000 HP. The increased command points means that you will have a lot less Battleships in a fleet along with the 5% Evasion they are the easiest to target. They are pretty much not meant to be built under duress as they do take a significant amount of time and resources to build. As well they are the slowest ship so getting to the battle will take them that much longer. Beyond that they significantly more versatile with more weapons load outs and the ability to hold two hanger slots and of course the main feature of the Battleship is the Extra Large slot which allows it to out range any weapon, Arc Emitter/Tachyon Lance at 150 range, and out damage any weapon in terms of raw damage, Giga Cannon at 1750.

Generally in my opinion Battleships are mainly used for the end game crisis due to the sheer power of the end game crisis. Otherwise Battleships are useful within a balanced fleet or used as a "doom" fleet which was coined by having a vast amount of ships in one fleet and was allowed prior to 2.0. If you are just going all out Battleships just keep in mind the time and resources required to build and reinforce should they get destroyed. As well they barely have evasion so do expect them to get targeted easily. With its massive amount of health it will take time for them to get destroyed which will allow them to easily retreat. With the Extra Large slot they can easily do damage to Cruisers who have 10% evasion and probably would be deadly to Destroyers as well. As well the Extra Large slot they can easily be purposed into an artillery ship along with other Large slots to destroy other Battleships and Cruisers. Otherwise they can be setup to be a regular fighting ship with Medium and Large slots as well as hanger slots or set up as a carrier to be combined with Cruiser torpedo ships as Battleships cannot acquire guided slots. Overall number one priority is to tank the ♥♥♥♥ out of the Battleship, whether it being full shields, armor or crystal hulls; depending on the enemies weapons setups. Regerative Hull Tissue can be useful if doing hit and run tactics otherwise being a nuker you can add in Reactor boosters or adding in Afterburners to increase its speed to keep up with Cruisers during warp travel. In the end my personal preference for Battleships are for Artillery or support unless fighting the end game Crisis. Battleships definitely need to be supported by other ships due to the obvious counter via Corvettes which will be explained before. Whether you are playing a Destroyer and Battleship, Cruiser and Battleship or a balance of every ship combination, never keep them alone otherwise they will get wrecked by Corvettes if they have sheer numbers. Depending on the enemy setting up shields or armor is depending on the situation as usual.

Battleships are easily countered by other Battleships due to the Extra Large slots. However if you do not have that tech then there are other ways as well. The idea of Battleships has always been the lack of evasion and the best way to fight Battleships have always been the opposite of that which is the Corvette. So long as the the Battleship is alone they can easily be destroyed by a swarms of Corvettes however the obvious problem being getting it alone, otherwise it will be wrecking havoc in the meantime. Should the enemy player not know that Corvettes are coming then they might not be equipped to destroy swarms of Corvettes, especially the Battleships not having any Autocannons on them. This could be used to your advantage as most people use Battleships for its sheer power. In terms of the economics the Battleship should destroy 7.5 Corvettes to get even at base cost however you should be able to build 8 Corvettes to every Battleship they build in terms of time. If facing Battleships alone, the best way to fight them is high evasion so equipping Afterburners is a must. Depending if they have Point Defence or not your best bet is Plasma combined with either Energy Siphons or Autocannons.

Ship Design - Defence

Here explains the type of defence available and how ships survive out in space.


The first line of defense if equipped, otherwise the ship will just have a hull. Shields regen at 1% per day. The feature of shields is that they are effective against energy weapons. However they are weak against kinetic weapons and consume power. Shields are good for hit and run tactics early game due to its shield regeneration and is favored because of it. Shields are more expensive than armor however a ships survival is more important than its cost in most cases.


Armor is the second layer of defense if equipped. It does not regenerate like shields unless equipped with Armor Regeneration. The feature of armor is that it is effective against Kinetic weapons and does not consumer power. However they are weak against energy weapons. Prior to the 2.0 patch armor used to be based on a damage reduction formula which was difficult to calculate for people and thus was changed to a HP style. Armor is cheaper than shields but required to be repaired when damage. Unless you have the Armor Regeneration, this type of defence will require frequent visits back to a shipyard for repairs, especially when retreating via FTL.


Hull is the ships HP, if it goes 0 it gets destroyed. Hull is based on the ship type, typically the smaller the ship the smaller the hull. Hull HP can be changed if Crystal Plating is equipped otherwise hull will be dependent on the type of ship. Hull does not generate unless you have Hull Regeneration so will require trips back to a shipyard for repairs throughout the game.


Auxiliary are extra modules that go into the Auxiliary slots of a ship. They can significant add bonuses and benefits depending your ships purpose.

Advanced/Improved/Reactor Boosters +100 +50 +20 Add power respectively to your ship. This can be useful as excess power gives a small bonus, at most 10%, evasion, speed and weapon damage.

Regenerative Hull Tissue +2 Armor regeneration +1 Hull Regeneration heals your ships each day, useful for making hit and run tactics even more effective.

Shield Capacitors +10% Shields is good for increasing shields if your ships have a lot of shields or need that slight boost.

Advanced/Afterburners +20% Speed +10% Evasion/+10% Speed +5% Evasion is useful for giving your ships that extra boost in Evasion or boosting their overall speed for faster close range combat or as aid to a fleet that requires to travel faster within the system.

Auxiliary Fire-Control +5 Accuracy is useful for adding accuracy which will also slightly increase tracking.

Enigmatic Encoder +20% Evasion is extremely handy for your Corvettes as they will be more likely to survive combat with an 80% base evasion rate with this equipped.

Enigmatic Encoder +5% Accuracy +5 Tracking is an upgraded Auxiliary Fire-Control and is best for ships with Point Defence and autocannons.

Ship Design - Weapons

There are too many weapons to talk about so I am just going explain the basic idea of weapons. If you want you can check out the wiki to find the weapons you want.


Weapons come into 4 sizes: Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. As the pattern goes the larger the weapon the bigger the damage but lower the tracking. This will be important as you will need to decide what the enemy is using and whether using larger weapons is more effective or smaller weapons. The easy way see it is to match the sizes with each of the ships Extra Large to Battleships/Defence Stations, Large to Cruisers, Medium to Destroyers, Small to Corvettes. However this is only a generalization as you will need to delve deeper than that as weapon modifiers will definitely be the most important aspect of a weapon.

Weapons Modifiers

Each weapon has their own modifiers and each should be equipped depending on the situation. Things you need to look at are penetration and damage to decide what kind of fleet you want to have and what counters you need. If you know your enemy is going full shields then go shield damage or shield penetration and etc. Generally most players will balance out their armor and shields however depending on the weaponry you can offset certain builds with crystal plating. Ultimately in the end what you want to do destroy their hull as most likely they will retreat and come back with regenerated defence.


The second most important part of weapons is tracking which goes hand in hand with weapon sizes. Tracking is the ability to hit a ship depending on its evasion rating. High evasion ships like Corvettes cannot be hit by a weapon with a lower tracking rating or at least is less likely to hit. The only counter to the Corvette are autocannons as they have the most tracking and because they are small can have the most amount of slots on a ship. For bigger weapons like Extra Large most of them have 0 tracking which means they are meant for ships with little or no evasion, Battleships or defence stations.


Accuracy is the ability to hit after the tracking calculations. Increasing accuracy has a slight effect in increasing tracking.


Important as it decides whether your ship is going to be a support/artillery, mid range fighter or close range interceptor. Obviously ships in the back are meant to not get destroyed while those at the close range are meant for fodder. Which leaves the mid range with the problem of trying to survive to the best of their ability. With that said I don't know how the game is set up for targeting as the battles could easily just attack from back to front should they have the ability.

Point Defence Weapons

Sometimes there is confusion on which is better, Flak and Point Defence. The thing to note is that Point defence has more damage while Flak has the highest tracking. Of course with tracking explained Point Defence will be useless without tracking however depending on the missile or torpedo it could have higher HP. So lets look at the two types.

Flak are based on having a high tracking rate with lower damage. They can go from 50% to 70% tracking and 2 to 4 damage.

Point Defence are based on having higher damage with the least tracking. They can go from 10% to 30% tracking and 2.5 to 5 damage.

Guided Weapons

Guided weapons fall under three categories. Missiles, Torpedoes and Swarmer Missiles. The feature of guided weapons is that once a target is destroyed in the middle of flight, it continues to re-target another ship instead of going no where. The downside is that they are easily countered by Point Defence weapons.

Missiles are based on being balanced in damage and survivability. They can go from 10 to 20 hull, 0% to 40% Evasion, 35 to 155 damage, 42 to 40 cooldown and have a speed of 350.

Torpedoes are based on their high damage but low survivability. They can go from 20 to 30 hull, 0% Evasion, 215 to 360 damage, 160 cool down and have a speed of 270.

Swarmer Missiles are based on their high survivability but low damage. They can go from 50 to 60 hull, 0% Evasion, 17 to 26 damage, 23.5 to 40.5 cooldown and a speed of 400.

Conclusion of Point Defence

From this understanding that you can see that Point Defence will be better at destroying Swarmer Missiles and Torpedoes due to their 0% Evasion however it is only has a slightly higher damage. Swarmer missiles have a lot of HP so a Point Defence system can be overwhelmed anyways if there are enough of them. Along with its speed, it is less likely to be destroyed due to getting to its destination faster. However if a player is faced with Missile weapons then the Point Defence will have no chance against it, especially when it is upgraded so Flak Defence. Despite the number of damage between Point Defence and Flak as it is minuscule. Flak will always be superior over Point Defence. As well the same thing applies to Strike Craft as they have an evasion of 50% to 80%. Really tracking is what sets back point defence. Personally if they wanted to balance out the Point defence types they really need to exaggerate the numbers.

Conclusion of Guided Weapons

Unless your enemy is unaware of Point Defence, Swarmer Missiles will be the best guided weapon system used to overwhelm your enemy with numbers. With high hull and high speed it will be unlikely that they will be able to destroy all the missiles unless they have a dedicated Point Defence fleet. With that said if you are swarming their Point Defence systems you can always add a few Torpedoes into the mix in a hope that they slide through and devastate the ships.

Strike Craft

These little ships come from the Hangers of your ships and can be shot down by Point Defence systems. Combined with guided weapons can overwhelm these systems and provide a distraction for Torpedoes to race in and cause damage. Otherwise strike craft are quite weak but have +50% armor damage and 100% shield penetration. Paired up with other ships with shield penetration this can be effective should they not have any Point Defence systems. Each hanger provides 8 ships and can provide damage from 3 to 21. The only purpose I see to have strike craft is to provide a distraction for the Point Defence Systems as the Torpedoes fly in.

Analysis - Penetration Weapons

I intend to further analyze certain weapons such as Penetration weapons as some people may not understand their intended role in the game. All weapons discussed will be for the highest level of the weapon.


Disruptors are a luck based weapons. Its damage goes from 1 to max. Like those who have played RPGs like Diablo 2 and understand how these weapons work, its usually a game of chance and fast attack speed. Disruptors purpose is to only do damage to the hull however this is only done in small quantities

Small Disruptors 1-30 damage, 30 range, 6.1 cooldown and 60% Tracking and 2.54 average damage

Medium Disruptor 1-50 damage, 50 range, 6.1 cooldown and Tracking 30% 6.22 average damage.

From the weapons data that it is easy to understand that the purpose of the Disruptor is meant for Swarms of Corvettes. Due to their short range this means that ships require more time to get in close to their target and there is no better ship to utilize this then the Corvette. Its low damage means they need superiority by the numbers and a very high fire rate to be effective, like Zerglings in Starcraft. They have the second highest Tracking besides Strike Craft and Point Defence weapons so that makes them somewhat effective against other Corvettes. As for the Medium Disruptor you can use them as an asset against Cruisers and above due to their 30% Tracking and they may be effective against Destroyers however keep in mind Destroyers have a 35% base evasion.

Arc Emitters

Again Arc Emitters are chance weapons with the same damage system of 1 to Max. These are Extra Large weapons so keep in mind they are really only used against other Battleships.

1-1700 Damage, 8.1 cooldown, 0% tracking, 150 Range and 105 Average Damage

As you can tell the 1700 damage can be appealing as a Battleship has base 3000 HP however it is a chance weapon and the chances of it doing max damage twice, I cannot say. It has the highest range along with the rest of the Extra Large artillery weapons so they are meant to be in the back nuking Battleships from afar.

Cloud Lightning

I forgot this little bugger.

1-136 Damage, 6 cooldown, 30% tracking, 80 Range and 11.41 Average Damage

The last of the Penetrating weapons. It is the only one that fits a Large slot should it be needed. It 30% Tracking so it is meant for Cruiser and above. With its above average range, again used in the back or during a battle to slowly destroy a ships hull.


Keep in mind while Penetrating weapons do have their purpose, you do have the think of the first variable of, can they even hit first, especially if going against other Corvettes. The ideal battle would be the Corvettes taking down the hull while the rest of the ships are trying to take down the shields and armor. By the time they get to the hull it should take no time to take down a ship. Otherwise they are weapons that should be used as a asset, constantly taking down the hull as a bonus but not as main weapon, for the bigger ships.

Max Damage Hits to Destroy

In theory this is how many damage hits it would take to destroy a ship.

Max Damage/Half Damage/Quarter Damage

Small Disruptor

Corvette HP 300 – 10/20/40

Destroyer HP 800 – 26/52/104

Cruiser HP 1800 – 60/120/240

Battleship HP 3000 – 100/200/400

Medium Disruptor

Destroyer HP 800 – 16/32/64

Cruiser HP 1800 – 36/72/144

Battleship HP 3000 – 60/120/240

Arc Emitter

Max Damage/Half Damage/Quarter

Battleship HP 3000 – 2/4/8

Cloud Lightning

Max Damage/Half Damage/Quarter

Cruiser HP 1800 – 13/26/52

Battleship HP 3000 – 22/44/88

Fun note, hypothetically if you had the numbers above in Corvettes doing Max damage you could potentially one hit a ship to destruction.

Analysis - Energy Siphon Vs Kinetic Weapons

Energy Siphon, probably the most ignored weapon in the game, at least I never looked at it closely. Personally I've always seen this as the most useless weapon the game nonetheless I have never analyzed its use or even thought about using it so maybe I'll change my own mind after writing this.

Energy Siphon

This is the only Small slot weapon that does 100% shield damage in its class. Otherwise there are other larger weapons that provide more shield damage. This weapon does not have any upgrades so it is stuck at where it is.

Damage is 10-27, range of 50, cooldown of 4 and 50% Tracking 85% Accuracy with the average damage of 3.46 +100% Shield Damage -75% Armor Damage.

The purpose of the Energy Siphon is the +100% shield damage. In order to understand its benefits lets look at the comparison of other Kinetic weaponry as they are in the same class.

Stormfire Autocannon

Damage is 14-27, range of 30, cooldown of 2.3 and 75% Tracking 85% Accuracy with the average damage of 7.57 +50% Shield Damage -75% Armor Damage +25% Hull Damage.

Small Gauss Cannon

Damage is 14-46, range of 50, cooldown of 3.45 and 50% Tracking 75% Accuracy with the average damage of 6.52 +50% Shield Damage -50% Armor Damage.

Now lets look at them with their shield damage modifiers.

Energy Siphon

20-40.5 Damage

Stormfire Autocannon

21-31.5 Damage

Small Gauss Cannon Lv. 5

21-69 Damage

As you can see from the comparisons, the Energy Siphon is no match against the Small Gauss Cannon. It does have +10% more accuracy however in the end there is no point in using it late game. It does however outpace the first level Mass Driver.


The Energy Siphon is only used at the very early/start of the game should you have the ability to do so, otherwise it is completely useless at any other time and should not even be considered. This is the only weapon I consider to be garbage tier.

Analysis - Cutting Lasers Vs Plasma, Lasers And Autocannons

Cutting Lasers

Cutting Lasers were the only weapons that did +100% Hull damage however they recently changed it to +75%. They are the only Small and Medium weapons that provide +75% Hull Damage besides the end game Crisis weapons. They do not have upgrades and weapons I am comparing are Plasma weapons, Autocannons and Lasers. I am not including guided weapons as they are of a different type.

Small Cutting Laser

9-22 Damage, 30 Range, 4 cooldown, 40% Tracking, 75% Accuracy, 2.9 Average Damage -50% Shield Damage +25% Armor Damage +75% Hull Damage.

Medium Cutting Laser

23-55 Damage, 60 Range, 4 cooldown, 20% Tracking, 70% Accuracy, 6.82 Average Damage -50% Shield Damage +25% Armor Damage +75% Hull Damage.

Now lets look at the other comparable weapons.

Small Plasma Thrower

12-25 Damage, 40 Range, 5.1 cooldown, 40% Tracking, 80% Accuracy, 4.86 Average Damage -75% Shield Damage +100% Armor Damage +50 Hull Damage.

Medium Plasma Thrower

30-63 Damage, 60 Range, 5.1 cooldown, 20% Tracking, 80% Accuracy, 12.15 Average Damage -75% Shield Damage +100% Armor Damage +50% Hull Damage.

Small UV Laser

10-27 Damage, 40 Range, 4 cooldown, 50% Tracking, 90% Accuracy, 2.83 Average Damage -50% Shield Damage +50% Armor Damage.

Medium UV Laser

25-68 Damage, 60 Range, 4 cooldown, 30% Tracking, 90% Accuracy, 9.09 Average Damage -50% Shield Damage +50% Armor Damage.

Small Ripper Autocannon

10-21 Damage, 30 Range, 2.3 cooldown, 75% Tracking, 85% Accuracy, 5.72 Average Damage +50% Shield Damage -75% Armor Damage +25% Hull Damage.

The UV Laser does the most damage overall however lets look at the damage modifiers.

Small Cutting Laser

Shield Damage 4.5-11

Armor Damage 11.25-27.5

Hull Damage 15.75-38.5

Medium Cutting Laser

Shield Damage 11.5-27.5

Armor Damage 28.75-68.75

Hull Damage 40.25-96.25

Small Plasma Thrower

Shield Damage 3-6.25

Armor Damage 24-50

Hull Damage 18-37.5

Medium Plasma Thrower

Shield Damage 7.5-15.75

Armor Damage 60-126

Hull Damage 45-94.5

Small UV Laser

Shield Damage 5-13.5

Armor Damage 15-40.5

Hull Damage 10-27

Medium UV Laser

Shield Damage 12.5-34

Armor Damage 37.5-102

Hull Damage 25-68

Small Ripper Autocannon

Shield Damage 15-31.5 (30-62)

Armor Damage 2.5-3.25 (5-6.5)

Hull Damage 12.5-26.25 (25-52.5)

We can clearly see the Plasma holds superior in Armor damage, the UV Laser doing slightly better in Shield Damage and the Cutting Laser slightly does more Hull damage overall. However looking at the Ripper Autocannons cooldown rate being half of the weapons, it is technically more powerful than the rest of the weapons with the exception of Armor damage. However due to the lack of Range of the Autocannon it will have a delay in getting into the fight.


Mining Laser has the slight edge over Plasma weaponry in terms Hull damage, the UV Laser has better Shield damage and Plasma destroys Armor with ease. Overall it is not worth it to replace Plasma weapons over Mining lasers as the Hull damage is only minuscule. The point in using Mining lasers is that if Plasma weaponry are unavilable. It is interesting however that Ripper Autocannon, combined with a Plasma weaponry could be a deadly combination.


Stellaris Guide: Vanilla 2.0.2 (Stable) image 996

I have played countless games with this play style in mind with great success. Probably on higher difficulties it will be different however in that case diplomacy is always the end result. Personally I have mastered most concepts of the game however there are still some foreign aspects I haven't explored yet like the ethics and factions however at this point it's not much of a complex system. Other than that the game seems pretty simple however I am waiting for the DLCs to go on sale to expand the complexity of the games a bit more.

I thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this guide. Hopefully you have learned something that you can apply to your game play in the future. Again if you find any discrepancies or have any comments please let me know. Thanks and have fun playing Stellaris.

For more information visit the wiki.

Personal Tips

Just a list of things that I learned the hard way that I definitely want to emphasize and spread the knowledge.

Planetary administrations only increase credits, minerals and food. This does not include the matter replicator, unity and research.

Feudal Society Civic while fun to play with is pretty counter productive.

Research and Unity requirements increase with expansion of systems and planets.

Sector management is a waste and do not give unnecessary systems to it.

Paradox games are never great without the DLCs ex. EU4

Never be in a federation with more than one member, whether you form one or join one, faster presidency time.

Core systems control is important.

Never play as a Pacifist in Vanilla unless you do not care about not winning, though it is possible due to being Vassalized.


Here I'll outline some issues I have with the game so far.

Feudal Society Civic

This civic was intriguing because I was lazy and wanted to create a bunch of vassals as war thralls to go out and destroy everyone. Little did I know it doesn't work that way. First off the vassals only go to war when you go to war, which is fine I mean you have control on their conquesting. Second vassals claim systems bordering them and always have an absolute claim despite claiming it first. This is annoying because if you really want a system you can't take it from them. Third vassals are weak unless you give them systems, if you just give them a planet they probably won't have a strong enough fleet to provide any assistance. Forth and the biggest annoyance is that when the end game crisis arrives, you have no way of gathering your vassals fleet towards the crisis unless you declare war on another empire and have a ship take lead. Otherwise to offset that you will need to form a federation and I believe they will follow the federation fleet. Other than that, so long as your a xenophile you shouldn't have too much problem with loyalty unless your fleet gets wiped out and you are seen as weak by your vassals. Later on however they tend to get very large, almost scary like and if you decide, integrating them will cost a lot of influence depending on how big they are. It was fun making vassals and seeing them conquer with me but not worth it if you actually want to win.

Fleet Management

For those who played 1.9 who are now playing 2.0 will notice the new fleet management system. Right now it is broken as in annoying but usable. But first I'm just going to touch a bit on the complaints with the fleet command limit. From my understanding the fleet management was implemented to combat "doom stacking" which is having all your fleet into one stack and kind of making it a wall of ships. This is the usual case because people generally do not see a reason to split up their fleet as it is inefficient to attack in separate fleets due to the separation from each other, especially during warp travel. The main point of fleet management is to make reinforcing fleets a lot easier and more organized instead of actually going to a shipyard to build ships that you want to reinforce. This is good because you have less work to do however the bad is the annoying/broken part. The template system within the fleet management really needs work because depending on how you utilize it you end up with multiple templates or ships without templates and then find out your reinforcing ships that are no longer there etc. This usually apparent when there are other ships that are given to you or ships that are retreating via FTL that are being reinforced. Besides the template system it is overall a helpful addition to the game. It is a bit annoying that you cannot doom stack anymore.

Addressing the Hyperlanes complaint

In 1.9 there was a choice on method of travel. FTL, Hyperlanes and Wormhole. While FTL was recommended for beginners, this was my initial choice as it was the easiest way to play and allowed free travel to all stars. I can understand why they took that ability out as personally I find it unfair that an empire is allowed to travel in any direction to any star. I mean why build defences when an empire can just go around. You would basically need an AI empire to be closed borders to prevent them from coming in. However in the new patch they did introduce FTL blockers which would solve that issue but in any case I do appreciate Hyperlanes being the default method of travel vs FTL.

Organic Borders vs Forced Borders

Some people have issues with the border acquisition system that has changed. Back in 1.9 borders were based on a sphere of influence from colonized planets being organic and frontier outposts which was forced. However with the changes in 2.0 border acquisition is now all forced. Personally I did enjoy the organic system of border acquisition as it depended on the size of a population kind of like Civ 5s culture system however in terms of border clashes with other empires one would have to figure out how to push push out further when the pop is maxed out and what happens when the border engulfs your stations. Anyways the concept of forced borders via outposts put a lot of work on the player but allows a bit more complexity as they have to constantly deal with outposts.


Thank you to the Stellaris Wiki for all your hard work and up to date information.


27 Mar - Created guide for v2.0

29 Mar - Updating for v2.0.2


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