Sadly the only way I enjoy Stellaris is trying to find best min max strat, and I guess I finally found one for 2.2.6.
Played on grand admiral (like it matters?) small galaxy, everything default, except 2 FE. You can conquer FE by +-2290 on reasonably good map, or by +-2270 if you neglect tech, and just go alloy into massive trash fleet. I had outstanding map, and invaded their capital in 2284, but it can be done much sooner, i didn't have access to cloud lightning, and i had too much tech, and too little alloys.
Currently the best strat for organics is to go negative energy basically whole game. Negative energy means -50% mineral production debuff, and army and fleet damage debuff. What it actually does in grand scheme of things is it saves you energy pop jobs, so you use those jobs to tech rush. You can take negative energy income and divide it roughly by 6 to estimate the number of pops I’m saving this way. And since it doesn’t matter if your negative energy tick is -100 or -1000 you can allow yourself to field more leaders or expensive buildings than usual. It allows you to tech rush so fast, that after galaxy market was established in 2255 i could start terraforming everything to gaia, saving on tile blocker removal costs… It also means that you can go over starbase or fleet limit.
You may think it’s an exploit, but it’s known for months and there were like at least 3 patches since this strategy was public knowledge, and it wasn’t addressed. Adding more penalties to negative energy would take just a couple of lines of code so…whatever.
I kinda did a 180 on my previous guide to min maxing organics. It’s mainly because if you are planning to attack FE in 2280 there is just very small window of time for inward perf. & xenophobe pop growth to pay off. It’s way better to have non pacifist empire that wants to invade primitives asap.
I went with:
-2 Non adaptive (it basically means +10% CG upkeep, I’m still colonizing every planet)
-1 Deviants (free point, especially if you’re gonna hunt primitives, you are likely to have every faction spawn anyway)
+2 Industrious (best trait in the game)
+1 communal (it allows you to delay -500 mineral investment into housing early game)
+2 Rapid breeders (duh)
Fanatic authoritarian, Materialist, Mining guilds (duh best civic in the game, every 4 miner jobs, you get 1 miner for free, that doesn’t cost any upkeep), Technocracy.
You need authoritarian to run stratified economy which is the best living standard in the game. Most of your economic hardship is early, stratified allows you to have less consumer goods factories, so you can spam colony ships faster, save jobs, and minerals. In my opinion it’s better than shared burden, which costs civic slot. You are likely to have more than 50%+ of worker pops all game, very few rulers and rest specialists, so upkeep on workers is the most important of them all.
Secondly you can have slaves, this is important for conquering primitives, since on day 1 you make them slaves, auto demoting rulers and specialists, you resettle everything above 10 pops on your prepared planets for 50 energy/pop, and on day 2 you make them citizens, they promote where needed. Pops on your other planets will have no debuffs, and 10 pop planet will have stellar shock penalty for 10 years. Ezy. More influence and better workers also helps, democratic government is inferior you get one less bonus, and you can lose scientist in the middle of tier 10 anomaly…pff.
You need materialist for technocracy, you get better robot tech roll chance, and nice 10% research speed edict.
Why technocracy? It’s kinda very weak civic, we are aiming for 5k research tics, technocracy will not help much there, but it serves a specific purpose. It’s needed to get to the synthetic gass refineries tech, and upgraded research labs (and all the other goodies in between). Without technocracy you will have a gap, where you have pops, you have economy, you are ready to start spamming tech labs, but you don’t have enough building slots, for civil industry and labs. So it’s not mid or late game, it’s specifically early game. It sacrifices unity especially early. But since +-80% of traditions are useless garbage, it’s no sacrifice at all. Why not intelligent? Intelligent is worst trait in the game, and ironically it’s for stupid players. Tier 1 tech provides +20% to each research type, and you will have like 4-5 of them, + governor and other planetary bonuses, simply put +10% output is very small buff.
Ecumenopolis in the pics I had first league, so very lucky map, but I’ve tried no enrgy strat without it and you don’t really need ecumenopolis to tech rush, there is enough building slots for gass refineries, crystal plates, and tech labs with civil industry. The greatest benefit of ecumenopolis is that it saves energy costs (industry building+rafinery resource), and since you don’t care about energy it’s not that important. Without first league I had 3 civics and tech by +-2255, the problem is it takes 10 years for decision to finish, and then It takes long time for districts to build. And when you’re aiming to finish in +-2280, ecumenopolis is not that great. And if you don't have small planet (like 11-12 size) you may have to delay ecumenopolis further, because you don't have blockers removed and districts built.
How to keep AI from attacking? If you’re not unlucky with purifier neighbors just give AI trade deal some food per month for 30 years. Guarantee their independence until you can get non aggression pact. I had militarist advanced start neighbor, who initially hated me…
Otherwise 2.2.6 is still pretty bad. Ignoring technical issues like AI or late game lag, game design is lazy and all over the place…
Doomstacks not fixed.
Moving fleets takes so long, even with max tech, it’s just annoying.
Unclaimed space, still unresolved, it’s still better to not claim system without planets.
Micro. Omg, the longer you play, the more you have to do. GSG? Nothing grand here .
Wars are nuisance and not fun at all.
Diplomacy…pretty much non existent. Trade treaty anyone? How much influence for 10-20 energy per month?
Civics are all insignificant, with no effect on gameplay.
Piracy, unrealistic, immersion breaking, more micro.
Strata demotion mechanic, what’s the point? In what way, in what situation it was supposed to be impactful interesting mechanic? You can change job from researcher to strip/dancer in an instant, but you can’t go from striper to desk clerk? It’s like something from different game, completely out of place with other mechanics. And you only interact with it, when specialist or rulers somehow migrate into different planet and become unemployed.
New economy is pretty arbitrary and weird. You need green farts for bigger tech labs? Why? You need more population to build more buildings? Why not allow for empty buildings? Because of AI? Overall it’s deeper economy than we had before, but it’s not very immersive, nor does it make much sense intuitively, and it’s defiantly not deep enough for 4x game.
Galactic market, new big mechanic, but it’s event to establish it, is just basically a die roll. Lazy. And probably broken, I lost strong claim (cca 500 influence) to a system with no claim at all. Trade value is completely irrelevant.
Pop growth and way it’s implemented is just silly.
Some buildings are just clutter for build menu to scroll through.. hydroponic farms anyone..? lazy game design…
And planetary decisions..omg, how many times do I have to scroll through my planets and that press -1000 food button…
And late game pop overpopulation nuisance…. Ugh, luckily I play for 80-90 years tops :)).
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