Just created a small mod for myself which changes the bonus to science station production from 10% to 200%. This changed game in the good direction.
- Science stations matter again. Instead of being utterly and completely irrelevant, they drive your science production for the good half of a game.
- Tech planets still matter. But they matter in the latter half of the game, when expansion is over and you need to develop the space you already have. Two or three fully developed tech worlds still outproduce all science stations you have, but science stations don't become 0.2-0.5% of science production you have – instead they are still solid 15-30% of it.
- You can focus on early alloy production to counter those predators around you without being outteched by them at the same time, and develop tech worlds at the later date.
- Anomalies matter. In Stellaris 2.2+, all joy from finding a truly unique anomaly to research is utterly and completely ruined, because 3-5 extra science is lesser than total output from 1 Researcher job. Even extra cool anomalies which give 5/5/5 are pointless now. But with total of +1000% from all five research station techs, those extra cool anomalies will drive your research for years now, losing their relevancy only when you will build dedicated tech worlds with billions upon billions researchers working in unison.
- Tech development is smoothed out. The thing which really irks me about tech development in Stellaris 2.2+ is how it is completely reverses the natural 4X order: you start with fast technological development, and then it slows down as technologies you research become more and more powerful. Here, you can research early technologies for 100+ months, and in endgame research later ones in 10 months or less. With buffed science station, this early game research malus is mostly solved, allowing you to research stuff as soon as you expand your empire to some reasonable limit and some many cool anomalies to drive your research upon.
- I never saw computer develop reasonable tech worlds… so this buffs computer as well, at the same time providing even more worth to systems without habitable worlds in them.
Summary? I think that Stellaris devs should think really hard about buffing science stations base numbers, or at least think of thing I did. It brings a certain important element of game back – namely, bringing exploration of galaxy miracles and ruins back to the table as something worth doing.
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