Stellaris

Anyone else feel like Federations is a hard nerf to Synthetic Ascension?

stellaris 7 - Anyone else feel like Federations is a hard nerf to Synthetic Ascension?
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TL;DR Divinity of Life, AI voting weights, and the way Spiritualism spreads can quickly cripple Synthetically Ascended empires unless they wage total war on Spiritualist Empires to wipe the ethic out.

This mostly applies to singleplayer and a very specific resolution chain, but hear me out. I was playing a game last month and noticed that a new resolution branch/tree was added: Divinity of Life. Since I generally play a Materialist empire, I looked through, decided it didn't fit well with how I was gonna play, and just opposed it at every opportunity I could. Then, about a week or two ago, I was playing a game with a Spiritualist empire and took the first step towards Synthetic Ascension when I got a notification: an empire somewhere in the galaxy became Spiritualist. A few years later, I got another such popup, then another. I decided to take a look and realized what's going on: the spiritualist empire was forming migration treaties with everyone it could, as the AI often does.

See, the thing with this is, Spiritual empires apply "pressure" on any empire they have treaties with to increase spiritualist support. Spiritualist pops also apply pressure to pops on the same planet as them in the same way. What was going on was pretty simple: pops from the spiritualist empire (A) would migrate to other empires (B), brining their ethics with them. These pops would then apply pressure to any planet they're on to make the existing pops support the spiritualist ethic, along with the pressure from the treaties with the Spiritualist empire. These spiritual pops would then spread the ethics to any empire (C) that had a migration treaty with any other empire they're in. Once one of the B empires embraced Spiritualism, it'd increase the pressure on the C empires, which would cause them to switch over more quickly.

But it gets worse. See, Divinity of Life increases Spiritualist ethics attraction and almost everyone but materialist, corporate, and authoritarian empires would support the first level of Divinity of Life. For the second through fourth tiers, only Gestalts and empires that have a robot-oriented personality would care to oppose it. For the last tier, Rogue Servitors are also guaranteed to support the resolution and are guaranteed to oppose it being repealed at all times. While this is going on, a Spiritualist empire would be spreading their ethic across the galaxy like wildfire, making it harder and harder to oppose this trend, especially as the AI won't try to support you if they're your friend.

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In the end, if you can't stop the downward spiral this is what a Synthetic Ascended empire is likely to be forced to deal with until they can break the Spiritualist power block if one forms:

  1. From Divinity of Life at tier 5: -100% diplo weight from tech, +50% pop assembly cost, +20% pop upkeep, -25% pop assembly speed, -25% diplo weight. Permanent breach of Galactic Law.
  2. From sanctions at second tier each: +20% market fee, -40% Diplo weight from economy, -20% admin cap, +50% influence cost, -10% research speed, -40% Diplo weight from tech, -20% naval capacity, and -40% diplo weight from fleet power.
  3. Increased chance of rivalries due to the prevalent Spiritualist ethic, increasing AI willingness to increase sanctions.
  4. At least one Spiritualist federation forming, making it harder to engage in war
  5. If you leave the Community to escape 1 and 2, there's a chance that you'll end up the primary target of the Counterattack and Preemptive War CBs due to the potential for multiple rivalries, making war even harder as you might be attacked by multiple empires or Federations at any time. At the worst, you will also likely be the preferred target for Castigation Denouncement if that becomes available, hitting you with sanctions anyways.

The end result of this is, possibly, the only example of an ascension perk choice putting you on what could be a no-win path: after the first tier of Divinity of Life, almost everyone in the galaxy will be either supportive or indifferent towards the idea of later resolutions. With each resolution past, it becomes that much easier for the galaxy to become completely hostile to synthetic life. Not only that, but leaving the Community to escape this situation will only make a cold galaxy all the more hostile. The only solution for an empire planning to go down the Synthetic Ascension path is to get onto the Council by any means necessary and ensure you stay on it to constantly veto Divinity of Life resolutions or to actively wage war against any Empire that embraces Spiritualist ethics to force them away from it. This is, arguably, made all the worse since the Materialist alternative, Unchained Knowledge, doesn't increase support for the ethic and, outside starbase upkeep and banning the outlaw of AI, provides nothing but bonuses to everyone.

What do you think of this? Am I exaggerating or does this sound accurate to anyone else?

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