Right now in Stellaris, there is really no way to expand your naval capacity outside of fitting starbases with anchorages. We seem to no long get a passive gain from just pops in general. Using precious building slots on strongholds is almost a non-starter, and the techs that directly enhance naval capacity come late and expensively. And having trade added to the game really stresses your fleet capacity and your starbases, so even more of your cap is taken up by corvettes on continuous patrol and you have less of it to begin with since more modules need to be devoted to trade and trade protection.
One thing that does seem to help is when a Megacorp sets up a Mercenary Liason Office on one of your worlds, and that +3 Naval Capacity really does help. I'm really surprised there aren't really more ways to add more soldier pops besides that branch office so I purpose a new edict: Mobilization Level, representing how militarized your society currently is.
My initial framework would go like this:
Disarmed Nation: As Now Volunteer Only: +1 Soldier pop per 50 on planet (minimum 26, new slot at 76, 126, 176 etc) Limited Conscription: +1 Soldier pop per 25 (minimum 13, new slot at 38, 63, 78 etc) Extensive Conscription: +1 Soldier pop per 15 (minimum 8, new slot at 23, 38, 53, etc) Service by Requirement: +1 Soldier pop per 10 (minimum 6, new slot at 16, 26, 36, etc)
Right now, there is really no reason to ever not be at your maximum naval capacity in the base game. Ship upkeeps are reasonable, and every ship in the fleet has a deterrent effect. But given different strategic situations, your Mobilization level could change. Every Soldier is a drain on the economy, since they are still consuming goods and food and producing nothing but Naval Capacity and Defensive armies. You need to pick guns or butter, as most governments throughout history needed too. And this choice of guns or butter could motivate the Pacifist and Militarist Factions. Pacifists probably don't want anything more than a Volunteer Army, while Militarists would want some sort of Conscription to keep the army strong. Also events could be based around your mobilization level (“Hell no we won't go!”)
This is also an opportunity to give a little more weight to underpowered civics, like Citizen Service and Warrior Culture, and traits like Strong, Resilent, and Very Strong, things no one takes except for role-playing reasons. Having these civics and traits directly buff Soldier pops would make them more viable if Soldiers are more common on worlds. Say Warrior Culture also reduces the upkeep on Soldier Pops as well as reducing the cost of armies. Or Strong increases the 'output' of Soldier pops with its Naval Capacity. I've really liked the civics like Technocracy and Merchant Guilds that change how you value certain buildings and pops, and giving Soldiers a more prominate role would push these underulitized traits into at least consideration.
Really the only downside that I see is that this makes invading heavily populated worlds require lots more resources and actions to keep troop transports safe and effective during a war. Normally adding gameplay would be a good thing, but right now, Ground Combat and shepharding your armies from planet to planet isn't the most compelling gameplay in the world. Still, it would more satisfying to have your Gene Warriors, Warforms, and Xenomorphs have a worthy opponents that requires their services and having a strong offensive ground army is more than just a RP consideration. Maybe also having a delay on how long it takes to 'train' defensive armies, so as soon as any War is declared, a bunch of defensive armies don't just appear from nothing, as fresh troops will need training and equipment before they are battle ready.
Plus, the AI has to be aware of how its Mobilization level will effect its economy, and considering how it has dealt with it in 2.2 so far, that maybe that's a bigger ask to keep the computer from crashing its economy by adding non-materially productive pop.
I'm honestly surprised that nothing like this is already in the game, but I hope it will be in the future.
© Post "A Comperhensive Fix to A Bunch of Stellaris’ Current Problems: Mobilization Level:" for game Stellaris.
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