Maybe this has come up before, I'm not terribly active on Reddit in general, but I have seen the discussion of Armies being the most boring component of the game, and I can't help but agree. Its a game of spamming minerals into a planet until you have a bigger number than the next guy, then just throwing them at the enemy until the enemy falls over. No real thought put into it, the costs are low, and the consequences for failure equally so. I think there's, mechanically, a really simple way to make it more interactive, that might even put a bit of a band-aid on bigger issues: tie soldiers to pop growth. Make drafting soldiers be something that passively happens on any given planet, and you can increase or decrease the speed through a policy. Forced drafting in war time for instance, would reduce pop-happiness dramatically, AND would reduce pop-growth. By reducing pop growth, you make drafting soldiers less spammy, and a MUCH more tactical decision, simply by the very nature of how valuable pops are. This dramatic reduction in Pop growth speed might alleviate the extremes to which Stellaris slows in the late game; if you have to take on a fallen empire, and you're forced drafting pops from every planet in your empire, that should CRASH the rate at which you grow normal pops, you're making a MASSIVE army.
From a functional perspective, making an army is taking individuals from the general populace and specializing them for combat, keeping them ready to deploy at any time. From a mechanical perspective, pops and armies are almost entirely unrelated. Further, lets say I spit out three armies from a random planet, Earth for example. Then, lets say that army is comprised of close to half a Billion individual humans (pops aren't tied to a real world body count, but imagine for a moment that this is humans, and each army/pop is like, half a billion people). So in this hypothetical (early game) war, you draft 1.5 Billion people, and send them to their deaths, without any real chance of success, they're just canon fodder for you. How does that effect the people back home? On Earth, you have families left behind, and the last thing they saw, was their children flying off into the sky, being shipped a few trillion miles away, and the last thing they hear is that their kid died on a rock so far off in the distance that you cant even see the star from home. That SHOULD effect the happiness of the planet that produced that army. They would RIOT. So why does army death have NO effect on anything but war exhaustion, and even that in minimal amounts? This can be pushed even further. What if instead of just requiring energy, armies required, you know, the things people need to be alive??? Lets say 1 food, 1 energy and 1 luxury good? And if there is no clear route back to wherever they get food, they start to decay? Make it, you know, actually tactical? There's the old idiom "An army runs on its stomach". Maybe some of this might be difficult to implement, but its not like these types of things don't exist. You could still hit the "recruit" button on a planet, and instead of costing X amount of minerals, you instead impose a planetary pop growth malus on that planet until the army is recruited… easy-peasy. That alone would make a world of difference, and wouldn't require a massive change in how armies actually function.
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