Stellaris

Cohesive Void Dweller Civilization

stellaris 8 - Cohesive Void Dweller Civilization
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I've just gotten back into Stellaris after a long time away, and have become enamored with the "Void Dweller" origin. After some research, I came up with my own best guess at a cohesive, logical-but-fun custom empire to play as. While I've got my own ideas, I'm interested in what others who play this origin have come up with.

Here's what I'm running:
Traits:
* Void Dweller – Resources from Specialist and Worker Jobs +15%, Pop Growth Speed −10%
* Natural Engineers – Engineering Research from Jobs +15%
* Conservationist – Pop Consumer Goods Upkeep −10%
* Intelligent -Research from Jobs +10%
* Nonadaptive – Habitability −10%

Later, I grab Enduring, then Venerable just because they are easy to add with no downsides.

Ethics:
* Pacifist – −15% Empire Sprawl from Pops, +5 Stability
* Materialist -10% Robot Upkeep, +5% Research Speed
* Egalitarian – +25% Faction Influence Gain, +5% Specialist Output

Civics:
* Meritocracy – +1 Leader level cap, +10% Specialist Pop Resource Output
* Idealistic Foundation – +5% Citizen Pop Happiness

Government:
* Oligarchy – Ruler term 20 years

Later, I grab Diplomatic Corps because I need some influence in the mid-game to navigate the Galactic Community.

I'm not playing MegaCorp but I'm not religiously against it.

Reasoning:
"Nonadaptive" is basically a freebie since my pops essentially won't breed anywhere but in a Habitat, anyway. Plus, it pays for "Intelligent", which helps me stay ahead in research. So does "Natural Engineers", which is partially flavor, but also important in researching huge Habitat projects. "Conservationist" is a "nice to have".

I chose "Pacifist" because I tend to turtle-up, anyway, plus any help with Empire Sprawl is great. "Materialist" for more research speed, and help with the droids I'll explain later. I chose "Egalitarian" because that's how I want to win, regardless of what it costs. The specialist output is nice, but there are other impacts.

I chose "Meritocracy" for the same reason I chose "Egalitarian". They have similar upsides and downsides. "Idealistic Foundation" is mostly about the story I want to tell myself, but more happiness is always helpful.

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I chose "Oligarchy" because it seemed less fiddly than "Democracy", but I could go either way.

Basic Strategy:
Keep my pops in habitats, where they are most productive. Develop droids (but not synths) to colonize and work any planets I happen to come across. I avoid Synths because they are less productive than my founding pops, and have the same migration rights. Find anyone who doesn't want to eat me and form a Federation as fast as I can to discourage expensive wars, but use my tech advantage to build strong deterrents. Build bastions and Fortress worlds at important choke-points and keep fleet size low-ish. Take Discovery, then Expansion traditions, and Voidborne and Technological Ascendancy as my first perks.

Pros:
It's pretty easy to stay ahead in research with this build. I don't have as many pops, but they are more than productive enough to make up for that. Habitats can be a bit constricting, and it's not too hard to outgrow them, but I can plop down another one pretty much anywhere. I have not found myself particularly resource-constrained at any point, with Influence and Sprawl being the only numbers I really have to manage. Well, that and the pops issues below.

Cons:
I tend to end up allied with Xenophiles, who really want a migration treaty. I have to keep turning them down (with negative relationship impacts) because their suboptimal pops end up crowding my Void Dwellers out of the habitats, and they have nowhere else to go. Well, I say that, but quite a few of them still migrate down to the planets I built for my droids, even though they immediately get a -60% growth penalty, and were already Nonadaptive (0% habitability). They then have the ability to migrate back and slowly crowd out my preferred pops, unless I console-kill them (which I do because I don't think they should even exist). This is exacerbated by the fact that I cannot easily move my pops around to less crowded Habitats because my Meritocracy does not like forced migration and we Egalitarians do not like migration restrictions.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the results of this empire build, although the population control issues annoy me. That said, I'm hoping some of you have even more cohesive build strategies.

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