Stellaris

The Problems with Mechanist as an Origin

stellaris 2 - The Problems with Mechanist as an Origin
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Let me start with saying that I'm aware that the devs have said that the Origins are intentionally designed not to be balanced, and some of them are blatantly better than others. So I'm not here to complain how Mechanist isn't as good as Shattered Ring, but rather I want to discuss what makes Mechanist neither a very fun or competitive Origin.

For those of who you don't know, Mechanist began as a Civic before it was redesigned as an Origin. Mechanist requires that your Empire is some degree of Materialist, and the text box mentions that it's effects are:

  • Replaces 8 of your founding species POPs with Robots
  • Your Homeworld starts with an Robot Assembly Plant
  • Your empire start with the technology to build more Robot Assembly Plants (Exoskeletton & Robots)
  • -5% Upkeep for Robots

In addtion, Mechanist also has two one hidden features.

  • Increase Materialist Ethic attraction
  • Increases the weight of drawing the Droids and Synthetics tech cards)

More on that at the end)

For quite a while Mechanist, as a Civic, was considered to be a must have for Materialist Empires and those who wanted to rush Synthetic Ascension. But as an Origin it is now considered to be one of the weaker ones.

So what changed?

Well for starters the competition became much more stronger. But as I said at the beginning I won't compare Mechanist with Shattered Ring, so instead I will compare Mechanist with the new default Origin Prosperous Unification.

The text box for PU says that your Empire's homeworld "Start the game with an additional 4 POPs and with an additional 2 Districts." What the game does not tell you is that PU also gives your Homeworld a permanent buff with+15% Happiness, +25% Amenities, and +10% Resources from Jobs.

So Mechanist changed from "is it worth giving up a Civic slot?" to "Is is worth giving up an early-game economy advantage?" (and remember that Stellaris is all about snowballing).

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In my opinion, the answer is a hard NO.

Because in addition in having to compete against the other Origins, Mechanist was also significantly nerfed in 2.6

See, back when Mechanist was a Civic it also increased your starting population from 24 to 27. In fact if you pick Mechanist and check your homeworld you see that it has three open jobs (1 clerk and 2 technicians for regular empires, 3 clerks for Megacorps). With those extra 3 (Organic) Pops missing not only to Mechanist Empire have less energy credits due to the upkeep cost of the Assembly Plant and the 8 Robot POPs, but they also no longer start with an open building slot because the one you have by default is already taken up by the Robot Assembly Plant.

(Did I mention that PU Empires start with 2 open building slots?)

But hey, maybe the weaker ecomony at the start of the game is an acceptable tradeoff for the extra POP growth from Robots?

Unfourtunatetly, this is not the case. Both the Exoskeletton and Robots tech are Tier 1 and can be researched very early in the game. A PU Empire's stronger economy allows them to build and support up to 4-5 Research building within the first 5 years, and the Materialist Ethic increases the chance of drawing the tech needed for Robots. So the headstart in engineering technology granted by Mechanist only lasts about 10-15 years before a PU empire catches up and soon thereafter overtakes.

And to top it all off, Mechanist no longer increases the weight of drawing Droids and Synthetic tech cards. Making it significtantly less useful for those who want to rush Synthetic Ascension.

tl;dr: Everything that Mechanist can do is overshadowed by Prosperous Unification.

Do you agree with my points? Let me you know your thoughts in the comments.

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