I want to start off by saying I don't necessarily have a better idea, and I think the concept was good – that limited materials can be used to increase the efficiency of production/necessary in military applications. However, I find that this doesn't work out in the current implementation for two reasons:
- there is no scarcity in the galactic market (vast amounts of 'rare' resources can be procured out of nowhere given enough credits) and
- the most important such resources can be synthesized.
This makes them feel much less like important resources to be fought over and much more like just another step of production. Basically I am just throwing more minerals into the economy, but I have to build another building to do so.
The best alternative I can think of would be to remove the possibility of synthesizing them, increase the amount naturally generated, but make trade much more important and make it possible for embargoes/sanctions to have a significant tactical role. Maybe replace the current galactic market system with a bid/call sort of thing and restrict transactions to empires with an unbroken line of trade routes, with piracy and distance creating the cost margin rather than it being a flat 30%?
Random secondary hot take because I don't want to make a whole nother post on it: rather than having research produced as a resource and scaled down with empire size, now that pops have all sorts of attributes attached to them, Stellaris would do well to adopt a Victoria-style pop quality system instead (literacy there, probably should be called something else). This is a much more organic and intuitive way to reward playing tall instead of just another nerf on wideness.
© Post "The implementation of rare minerals leaves something to be desired." for game Stellaris.
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