Stellaris

Stellaris needs luxury resources – here’s some ideas.

stellaris 8 - Stellaris needs luxury resources - here's some ideas.
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I've been around long enough to remember when the strategic resource market was a mess – three colors of crystal and two colors of gases, or something like that, it's been a while. That's been largely solved, with the Big Three of crystals, gases, and 'splodey dust and the Rare Three of dark matter, nanobots, and dead god dust. Relatively simple and intuitive.

I think it's about time it gets expanded to resources that don't fuel the war machine and do raise the standard of living for your pop peeps. Y'know, space spices that the Space Dutch and Space Brits would go to war for.

First, there's the Simple Way to implement this: just make up like, six luxury resources that are functionally identical. Each deposit could easily be flavored like other geographical features are on particular planets – fungus, algae, seaweed, plant oils and herbs, animal byproducts, etcetera. In addition to extra amenities to planets in the trade network, any planet with a luxury deposit gets a boost to trade value, making the trade value mechanic more than "this planet's useless, just pack it full of clerk buildings." Trade agreements would share luxury amenities between partner empires, naturally.

Of course, this opens the way to monopolies. If you conquer or otherwise possess, say, more than 70% of all claimed (and functional; could maybe sabotage the competition's deposits with the Nemesis espionage!) deposits of a single luxury type, you get a massive trade value AND diplomatic weight boost. You have something everyone's citizens want, which gives you power – though of course, it'd also make you a target for people you don't share the wealth with, or just plain want that power for themselves.

Now, the Ambitious Way to implement this: everything above, plus make every luxury unique and provide a boost to your economy by replacing the current renewable edict system. Or, just make these luxury edicts more powerful versions of the spend-energy type. Or hell, just make it a flat passive bonus. Here, some examples off the top of my head.

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  • Electrolytes better at storing energy than any artificial substance, which makes them ideal for batteries, giving a boost to energy production and lowering robot upkeep.
  • Lubricants that allows heavy machinery to work faster without breaking down, giving a boost to mineral production and lowering robot upkeep.
  • Anorectics that make food taste great and suppress the appetite, giving a boost to food production – or reduction of food consumption, or both.
  • Psychadelics that increase creativity and outside-the-box thinking, giving a boost to science.
  • Depressants that mellow people out and make them more receptive, giving a boost to unity and governing ethics attractiveness.
  • Stimulants that let people work harder and for longer hours, giving a boost to alloy and strategic resource production.

Of course, all these things would need to be packaged and delivered, so the drawback of all these edicts would be higher consumer goods upkeep for pops. That is, unless they were a flat passive bonus from access to the luxury, which may or may not be better for gameplay. And it'd be a problem that some resources are more valuable than others; unity doesn't matter by late-game, and food hardly matters ever. Which is a problem of balancing more than anything, but I think the devs are trying to improve that, so this problem may someday be moot.

Still, I think this would make for a more dynamic galaxy than the Simple Way. Say you're a spiritualist, you're falling behind on tech because every materialist has taken the Enigmatic Engineering ascension perk, so you really need those Psychadelics. The megacorp next door refuses to sign a trade agreement so you can get that much-needed boost. So you use espionage to smuggle that shit! Or, you're an authoritarian who naturally has a strong raw resource income, but struggles to keep up with processed ones like alloys. You need Stimulants. Your neighbor has them. You demand they become a vassal and give you that sweet Space Coffee, and they refuse. You aren't in the habit of asking twice. Cowabunga it is!

Thanks in advance to anyone who managed to read this short essay of a post – longest I've ever wrote, wow. Thoughts? Suggestions? Corrections?

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