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Stellaris Dev Diary #215 - Gameplay themes & Balancing considerations

Hello everyone!

First I want to thank you for the overwhelming support that you’ve shown us with announcing the Custodians initiative. It’s been really fun and motivating to see so many positive responses, and for that we’re truly thankful. At the same time, I must admit that it is also a bit scary in the sense that we shouldn’t have the expectation that this will suddenly resolve any issues you might have with the game, or that we’ll be able to deliver large amounts of significant changes with every update. Let’s appreciate this opportunity and make the best of it :)

Species Pack Gameplay Themes
Last week we already talked about what the Lem Update (honoring the author Stanislaw Lem) would focus on, but I’d also like to go into more detail regarding some things.

We mentioned that we would be adding gameplay to the Humanoids Species Pack and the Plantoids Species Pack, and although I won’t talk about the exact details yet, I do want to talk a little about how we approached it, and the themes we chose.

Plantoids was a bit easier, because there are some obvious fantasies. Going around the themes of growth and plants we’re adding some new traits, civics and origin. We felt like it made sense to open up these gameplay additions to both Plantoid portraits as well as for Fungoids.

Humanoids was a bit trickier, because there are no direct fantasies that apply to them in general, so we instead chose to focus on fantasies that align with things like dwarves, elves, orcs or humans. The Civic we showcased last week was an example of how we made something inspired by a traditionally dwarven fantasy.

Let us know about any ideas or thoughts you have regarding those :)

We will be talking more about these in much greater detail later, but that may possibly be in August.

Game Balance
We’re going to take a look at reworking some of the major outstanding balance issues that we’re having.

One example that I want to talk about is the issue with Research Booming, where power players can essentially outpace other empires due to focusing a lot on research. What enables this is usually Districts that provide Researcher Jobs, which is relatively easy to gain access to early on through Origins such as Shattered Ring or Void Dwellers (the latter not being nearly as strong).

For Shattered Ring we are looking into changing the start from a pure “end-game” Ring World, to be more of an actual “Shattered Ring” that you need to repair before you gain access to the powerful Districts of the Ring World. Putting additional emphasis on the fantasy of restoring this ancient megastructure to its former glory can be a fun addition to the Origin itself. Although we haven’t decided exactly what we’re doing, changing the start to be a Shattered Ring that you can restore with the Mega-Engineering technology is a likely route.

Unity & Empire Sprawl
Beyond Lem, we are also going to take a look at Empire Sprawl and Unity. The design for Admin Capacity was never really something that I felt worked out, and we never finished the design that was intended for it. Continuing to use Admin Cap as a mechanic also feels a bit like a dead end due to multiple reasons (ranging from design to technical), so we’re instead going to look into another solution.

I have a design for doubling down on using Unity as the resource for internal management, removing Admin Cap entirely, and to make Empire Sprawl something that you can never mitigate anymore. More sprawling empires will always suffer harsher penalties from Empire Sprawl, and we’ll instead focus on how Unity can be used internally to mitigate some of those penalties. Examples could be Edicts that have a Unity Upkeep Cost, and perhaps reduce the Research Cost Penalty induced by Empire Sprawl. Angry Pops could potentially also have a Unity Upkeep Cost, to represent the drain on your society.

Note that these ideas are very much in their infancy and very prone to change. We will probably start talking a bit more about that once Lem has been released, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you so that we could gather some initial feedback.

------

That’s all for this week folks! We’re in the middle of reviewing our dev diary schedule, so we’re hoping to be back with 2 more dev diaries before we take a summer break. We’ll keep you in the loop as we go.
 
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Maybe labs should be moved to districts to create more tension (research vs resources), or maybe there should be some form of diminishing returns on research. (The "ahead of time" mechanic from other PDX games, or maybe researchers only contribute half as much when you have over 2k research, for instance.)

We could have research be somehow sublinear, such that (for example) if a scientist produces x amount of science, then n scientists would produce x · n (0.99)n-1 science instead of x · n science. This would be explained away as diseconomies of scale as scientists end up duplicating efforts.
 
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Plantoids was a bit easier, because there are some obvious fantasies. Going around the themes of growth and plants we’re adding some new traits, civics and origin. We felt like it made sense to open up these gameplay additions to both Plantoid portraits as well as for Fungoids.

Humanoids was a bit trickier, because there are no direct fantasies that apply to them in general, so we instead chose to focus on fantasies that align with things like dwarves, elves, orcs or humans. The Civic we showcased last week was an example of how we made something inspired by a traditionally dwarven fantasy.

Let us know about any ideas or thoughts you have regarding those

Traits, civics and origins related to dwarves, elves, orcs and humans...

What can't traits do currently?
No traits relating to Naval capacity, Crime, Criminal Jobs, Crime Reduction, Alloys/CG, Stability, Happiness, Happiness from Amenities, Planet Capacity, Amenity use, political power, Bureaucracy from jobs, and unemployment

I don't have a lot of good ideas, but a couple of obvious ones:
Orcs could have a Warlike trait/civic/origin:
+1 Naval Capacity and +5% Militarist Attraction from Soldier/Duellist jobs (to build more of a job you may otherwise skip in favour of anchorages)
+0.1 Naval Capacity per pop (like lithoid passive rare resource generation, a bit simple and boring)
or +Naval Capacity from pop jobs proportional to Pop Crime generation (so giving warlike pops every comfort or pacifying them with telepaths makes them fat, lazy and peaceful, but living on the very edge of rebellion gives you lots of extra naval capacity from pops)
or +1 Naval Capacity from unemployed pops (when they have nothing to do, they fight)
or ++Happiness while at war (they just love fighting, a lot... and militarists are really hard to keep happy compared to all other ethics)

Dwarves could inspire Subterranean Miners in some form:
Traits adding Planet Capacity and reduced housing use to Miner Jobs, or
Civic swap, much like Terravore is a swap for lithoids, Subterranean Miners has all the benefits of Mining Guilds + extra housing and capacity from mining districts and Mineral Purification Plants.
Or buildings that replace a small portion of Miners with Deep Miners, with the above benefits and additional output (+1 Alloy+Minerals per job)... but can cause devastation events that spawn hostile creatures as they delve too greedily and too deep.

Elves... I keep thinking of just incorporating Guilli's Planet Modifiers and Features with the Death World/Rebirth/Lost Project Origins.
If I want elves I want to have a race old enough to know fallen empires and have an opinion bonus with them, or to have starting modifiers to represent their ancient/elder origins and lost technology, or amazing leaders that are more skilled than normal... but with a drawback (higher expectations and amenity needs, or lower research speeds, or a disinterest in the affairs of men (partial inward perfection).

Another simple change would be a life-extending trait above Venerable (+80 years), perhaps Ancient (Leader lifespan +700 years, Leader initial age +550-600, effectively +100-150 years) but costing 6 points, or being granted as an option by an origin or starting civic... it steps on the toes of lithoid a bit too much but there are times when I want to have a leader-centric build (necrophages) without having to make my empire rock-people.

Humans...
Crime and punishment.
Could have negative traits that increase crime generation and make criminals much worse, or positive traits that make enforcers much more powerful.

Trendsetters and Underdogs.
Could have research bonuses when few empires know a technology (Trendsetter - research pacts work in reverse)
Or a research bonus when your rival knows a technology (Underdog - rivalry gives similar benefits to normal research pacts)

But first I'd want to update and balance the old traits a tiny bit:
1. All Housing modifiers need to be updated now that Capacity has completely stolen its thunder.
All the things that change housing should also proportionally change planet capacity so that Communal isn't useless and Solitary isn't a free pick.
...that includes Communal, Solitary, Social Pheromones, Fertile, Double Jointed, Bulky etc can each change pop planet capacity use per pop.

Also the UI should really show all changes to capacity in tooltips and a full breakdown: Capacity from districts, buildings and civics like Agrarian Idyll and other sources so you aren't having to wonder if something has been fully updated and actually works... or if perhaps it's been overlooked.

2. Deviants could be updated to increase Crime per pop, or increase the negative output of Criminal jobs, or reduce the crime reduction of Enforcer jobs. So it's less of a free pick... and could slightly increase the odds of having a corrupt governor.

3. Unruly could also change the Admin Cap output of Bureaucrat jobs so that's less of a free pick.

4. Resilient needs something more interesting, or powerful. Reduced bombing damage, reduced penalties applied to pops from all sources (devastation, shortages, etc.) or preferably leaders more resilient in events and less likely to die or be made useless in situations that normally cause leader Death/Maimed/Traumatized/Paranoid... add a few alternate event outcomes where the leader escapes death due to their resilience, or the enemy vivisection attempt fails as your resilient pops just keeps regenerating and simply wont die would be fun to see even if it's still not very powerful as a trait).
 
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Unity & Empire Sprawl
Beyond Lem, we are also going to take a look at Empire Sprawl and Unity. The design for Admin Capacity was never really something that I felt worked out, and we never finished the design that was intended for it. Continuing to use Admin Cap as a mechanic also feels a bit like a dead end due to multiple reasons (ranging from design to technical), so we’re instead going to look into another solution.

I have a design for doubling down on using Unity as the resource for internal management, removing Admin Cap entirely, and to make Empire Sprawl something that you can never mitigate anymore. More sprawling empires will always suffer harsher penalties from Empire Sprawl, and we’ll instead focus on how Unity can be used internally to mitigate some of those penalties. Examples could be Edicts that have a Unity Upkeep Cost, and perhaps reduce the Research Cost Penalty induced by Empire Sprawl. Angry Pops could potentially also have a Unity Upkeep Cost, to represent the drain on your society.

This is encouraging. I never really felt that admin capacity really worked out as a good game concept, and making unity more important seems like an interesting direction to deal with it.
 

firenze419

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Don't hives get a diplomacy bonus towards each other? Pretty sure it's a bug if they don't. The wiki says they should and I could have sworn I have seen it.
I wish. I've been trying to form a federation with my neighbour and the only thing stopping me is the malus for hives
Please, don't go with the route where people have to leave some stars unconquered and have to snake systems because if you grab some more you get less rewards than not taking it.

Why not go with the route that the bigger the Empire, the higher Empire Sprawl it generate and more bureoucrats he needs to make...?
Because they already go that route and it doesn't work because the bigger empire also has more capacity for bureaucrats than everything else. Conquering a whole galaxy should be complicated.
 

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For tech booming could you introduce a mechanic like EU4's tech tree where you get bonuses and penalties to researching techs when you are ahead or behind schedule? That way you can be super cutting edge tech-wise, but it gets more expensive the farther out you are. Similarly the reverse could help be a catch-up mechanic?

If you didn't want to tie it to an overall year-specific "era" concept you could make it based on how many other species know a given tech. First one to research costs more, but once half the galaxy knows it, the cost goes way down.
Another option could be to introduce a logarithmic approach to how fast each technology can be researched. Right now research falls foul of "the mythical man-month", or the idea that 200 people will do the same amount of work in one month as one person will do in 200. If it was logarithmic then you would get diminishing returns on your research output, so being a little better than your neighbours would be easy but being a lot better would take ever increasing dedication of resources to increase the gap.

That would also help simulate the idea that there is always a minimum amount of time required to complete a task - for instance, you might be able to really quickly think up how to make better lasers, but figuring out how to strap them to the front of ships and then setting up production lines for them are mechanical tasks that cannot be completed faster by just throwing more researchers at them.

Personally, I'd also like something like that to apply to empire sprawl (or whatever they replace it with), so as you increase your empire size you have to dedicate an ever higher percentage of resources to avoiding negative effects.
 
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In principle you could say that "food" resources for Plantoids is organic matter which plants do need for growth. Soil is very different from regolith, after all.
Inversely scaling plant and mushroom food requirements with habitability could be a neat mechanic.
 

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[...]

Species Pack Gameplay Themes

Plantoids was a bit easier, because there are some obvious fantasies. Going around the themes of growth and plants we’re adding some new traits, civics and origin. We felt like it made sense to open up these gameplay additions to both Plantoid portraits as well as for Fungoids.

Humanoids was a bit trickier, because there are no direct fantasies that apply to them in general, so we instead chose to focus on fantasies that align with things like dwarves, elves, orcs or humans. The Civic we showcased last week was an example of how we made something inspired by a traditionally dwarven fantasy.

Let us know about any ideas or thoughts you have regarding those :)

I hope plantoids gets some abilities directly into their species trait, like lithoids currently do. Having "photosyntesis" or similar be a normal plantoid exclusive trait means that randomly generated AI plantoids will rarely have it. Similarly, I'd love to see ALL species have unique traits like that - avians, arthropoids, etc. I find the Necroids portraits very cool for "villain" races, but unless you pick one of the three undead-themed civics/origins, there's nothing in those portraits that makes them "undead-ish" from a gameplay perspective.

Also, this haven't been mentioned or even suggested anywhere, but I sincerely hope we can eventually fulfill the theme of a fully nomadic empire - massive generation ships that collect resources from the systems they pass throught, without laying down starbases.
 
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Herbivores and carnivores can have food shipped in from another world but it feels like plants should be more dependent on fertile soil on the planet they live on to expand and thrive.

Perhaps there could be a plantoid housing district that can be built in place of an agriculture district (dunno if the engine even allows that?) that gives bonuses to plantoid pops instead of food output, so they compete with regular pops for agricultural output in a different way and prefer different planets to regular pops - after all, lots of agricultural potential sounds like a good planet for plantoids?
The thing is, it's kind of impossible to generate the calories needed for a sentient brain via photosynthesis alone. It's just not an efficient enough process. So any kind of sentient plant would probably have to at least eat other plants. Fertile soil just isn't good enough.
 
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First of all, I have got to say that I am very excited for this changes. I am particularly stoked about the renewed focus on Unity. At the moment it kind of feel like Technology's less capable cousin. Having it play a more prominent role in the management of your empire is a welcome change. Hopefully Spiritualist empires will soon be able to show those godless Materialists their place have their bonuses mean more and be more competitive (maybe with the help of a boon to psionics? but that is probably a whole other issue). That, together with the added love to Plantoids and Fungoids, are what I have liked the most about these Dev Diaries.

At first I was also very keen on the removal of Admin Cap, a mechanic that is very clearly unfinished. However, thinking it over I now believe that fusing it with unity is not that good of an idea. The issue is that bureaucratic and organizational capacity and cultural and ideological cohesion are not the same thing. It is not implausible to think of a society that has a strong sense of shared identity but a very inept government; or, alternatively, a society where the (space) trains run like clockwork, yet there is much ideological strife (granted, the second one sounds much less stable than the first one, but isn't that also a part of what Unity is meant to do?). In short: bureaucrats don't (necessarily) make good agents of culture, and vice-versa.

I still think that a good tall vs wide experience will not be achieved until there is a faction rework (though very clearly out of the scope of these changes/update). The Unity changes are a good starting point in that direction, with the angry pop Unity upkeep and whatnot. In my opinion, what could be done until then is not eliminate Admin Cap, but make it more punishing. After all, bad management has worse consequences than making research progress and policy implementing harder. Production, for example, is affected when resources and equipment do not come in time (or at all). Maluses to resource production and building upkeep would make it less of a non-issue (though I don't know if that would mean that getting bureaucrats should be easier or harder than it is already).

As a side note: since you are already looking at Unity, maybe it is time to change the "Marketplace of Ideas" trade policy? I get that there was a need of another Unity source, and that the tooltip says that it is not really an encouragement of the free exchange of ideas but more of a "we spread propaganda through our trade routes"; but it still feels kind of odd to have it active at the same time there is an Information Quarantine Edict active. Maybe each ethic should be able to have its own variant? Just an idea.
 
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Miguelinileugim

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I feel like consumer goods cost should scale up in some way. Global GDP has increased massively in the past few decades, yet we find that people tend to find more and more needs to fulfill as they get richer and richer (across all socioeconomic classes). Consumer good needs should probably always remain as a portion of total resource production (say 10%) and this number will change alongside its distribution based on system. So utopian abundance could have a very high 20% amount with even distribution, social welfare could be 15% uneven distribution, stratified economy roughly 10% with extremely uneven distribution, etc. This way more efficient empires will still require lots of consumer goods as they will be dependent on their GDP rather than exclusively on the number of pops, which would make consumer goods trivial late game even with utopian abundance.
 

Dark_Lord_Alan

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perhaps reduce the Research Cost Penalty induced by Empire Sprawl.

Please! I know it is a standard convention of the wide vs tall play, but I have always hated cause more scientists should mean more science, not less. Raising the costs of traditions which arguably represent cultural shifts, that makes sense empire sprawl would mess with that. Heck I could even see it messing with upkeep or poping off an event that breaks a building cause the infrastructure was looked after by such a bad bureaucracy.
 
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splodgenik

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The thing is, it's kind of impossible to generate the calories needed for a sentient brain via photosynthesis alone. It's just not an efficient enough process. So any kind of sentient plant would probably have to at least eat other plants. Fertile soil just isn't good enough.
That just sounds like an argument against having plantoids, and since star lanes and FTL travel (nevermind psychic powers) are scientifically unrealistic too I don't think realism should stop us getting our tropes on.
 
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Psieye

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Give Criminal Syndicates a way to stabilize their branches. T_T
I consider criminal branches to be a time-limited early/midgame investment that expires after a while. Their Codebreaking buff is where I see them getting more mileage. Perhaps additional espionage operations that require certain civics (Criminal Syndicate being one option) to use.
 

zZander56

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I consider criminal branches to be a time-limited early/midgame investment that expires after a while. Their Codebreaking buff is where I see them getting more mileage. Perhaps additional espionage operations that require certain civics (Criminal Syndicate being one option) to use.
I just don't see the branches to be good enough as such a temporary investment. If there were some mechanic allowing for a few branches to stay or last longer, I'd be happy.
 

Kharrus

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Hello everyone!

First I want to thank you for the overwhelming support that you’ve shown us with announcing the Custodians initiative. It’s been really fun and motivating to see so many positive responses, and for that we’re truly thankful. At the same time, I must admit that it is also a bit scary in the sense that we shouldn’t have the expectation that this will suddenly resolve any issues you might have with the game, or that we’ll be able to deliver large amounts of significant changes with every update. Let’s appreciate this opportunity and make the best of it :)

Species Pack Gameplay Themes
Last week we already talked about what the Lem Update (honoring the author Stanislaw Lem) would focus on, but I’d also like to go into more detail regarding some things.

We mentioned that we would be adding gameplay to the Humanoids Species Pack and the Plantoids Species Pack, and although I won’t talk about the exact details yet, I do want to talk a little about how we approached it, and the themes we chose.

Plantoids was a bit easier, because there are some obvious fantasies. Going around the themes of growth and plants we’re adding some new traits, civics and origin. We felt like it made sense to open up these gameplay additions to both Plantoid portraits as well as for Fungoids.

Humanoids was a bit trickier, because there are no direct fantasies that apply to them in general, so we instead chose to focus on fantasies that align with things like dwarves, elves, orcs or humans. The Civic we showcased last week was an example of how we made something inspired by a traditionally dwarven fantasy.

Let us know about any ideas or thoughts you have regarding those :)

We will be talking more about these in much greater detail later, but that may possibly be in August.

Game Balance
We’re going to take a look at reworking some of the major outstanding balance issues that we’re having.

One example that I want to talk about is the issue with Research Booming, where power players can essentially outpace other empires due to focusing a lot on research. What enables this is usually Districts that provide Researcher Jobs, which is relatively easy to gain access to early on through Origins such as Shattered Ring or Void Dwellers (the latter not being nearly as strong).

For Shattered Ring we are looking into changing the start from a pure “end-game” Ring World, to be more of an actual “Shattered Ring” that you need to repair before you gain access to the powerful Districts of the Ring World. Putting additional emphasis on the fantasy of restoring this ancient megastructure to its former glory can be a fun addition to the Origin itself. Although we haven’t decided exactly what we’re doing, changing the start to be a Shattered Ring that you can restore with the Mega-Engineering technology is a likely route.

Unity & Empire Sprawl
Beyond Lem, we are also going to take a look at Empire Sprawl and Unity. The design for Admin Capacity was never really something that I felt worked out, and we never finished the design that was intended for it. Continuing to use Admin Cap as a mechanic also feels a bit like a dead end due to multiple reasons (ranging from design to technical), so we’re instead going to look into another solution.

I have a design for doubling down on using Unity as the resource for internal management, removing Admin Cap entirely, and to make Empire Sprawl something that you can never mitigate anymore. More sprawling empires will always suffer harsher penalties from Empire Sprawl, and we’ll instead focus on how Unity can be used internally to mitigate some of those penalties. Examples could be Edicts that have a Unity Upkeep Cost, and perhaps reduce the Research Cost Penalty induced by Empire Sprawl. Angry Pops could potentially also have a Unity Upkeep Cost, to represent the drain on your society.

Note that these ideas are very much in their infancy and very prone to change. We will probably start talking a bit more about that once Lem has been released, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you so that we could gather some initial feedback.

------

That’s all for this week folks! We’re in the middle of reviewing our dev diary schedule, so we’re hoping to be back with 2 more dev diaries before we take a summer break. We’ll keep you in the loop as we go.
While the idea with unity and empire sprawl is well-intentioned, it wouldn't fit very well in relation to how the game is currently balanced with empire sprawl scales things, so you'd have to look at how unity as a resource functions internally compared to other essential resources like research.

It's understandable that you'd want unity to be as important as research since unity bonuses and Spiritualist gameplay are all about unity gen, and stand in direct opposition to research-focused materialist empires, which have always been the go-to meta with research booming being as universally important as it is. You want to have something to offset it, and bundling unity with empire sprawl does that, since expansion (wide play) is as important as research spam (tall play).
With that in mind, there's a compromise that I think would work out fairly well towards pushing unity parity with research. Spiritualist empires could have the Temple building replace the Admin offices building with temples, and have priests take over the duties of all bureaucrat jobs. This would have a number of positive benefits, not the least of which would be the fact that temples have a t3 upgrade that regular admin buildings do not have, with gestalts being the only others with that distinction. While this would by default eliminate the Byzantine Bureaucracy civic for spiritualists, that's a fair tradeoff.

What this would do, most importantly, is that it would make temples a required building for spiritualists. Technocracy is as powerful as it is not just because of the unity gen or special ruler jobs, but because research jobs are ALWAYS required and always grow with the empire relative to its size. This is also in large part of why the AI falls behind a bit too since they don't focus on scaling their research anywhere near as much as players do, so they pose very little challenge in the mid to late game.

This would scale unity for spiritualist empire far better than others, in the same curve as materialist ethics buffing research output. You could further expound this by swapping the base influence increase that Authoritarian ethics get with the edict cost reduction Spiritualists get, allow both ethics to scale better since edict cost reduction scales better with authoritarian government authorities better as it is, and authoritarian is already the strongest ethic choice next to materialist due to how powerful slavers are in the current meta.

While this might not be exactly what you're looking for with a unity rebalance, it DOES solve some major issues with ethics balance, and gives Spiritualists a more solid, equal standing to the overwhelming power of materialist tech boom.


Additionally, here are some ideas for civic choice alterations that would help immensely with increasing civic build variety for the Custodian team to consider:

Police state: Enforcers gain +2 unity and +2 stability. Barred from Pacifist and Egalitarian ethics.
This mirrors it a little better with Byzantine Bureaucracy, giving benefit to a secondary job type that scales with planet growth. It has +2 modifiers instead of +1 modifiers because building Precinct Houses isn't common outside of very large, diverse worlds with high crime or a high percentage of slaves, so there are significantly fewer overall enforcer jobs.

Environmentalist: -10% pop consumer good usage, +10% habitability
While 10% might seem like a relatively large bonus, consider how underused this civic is. It's bottom-tier, and there is 0 reason to pick it outside of a highly optimized egalitarian empire that wants to run Utopian Abundance. Extra habitability reduces amenity usage, and while that may not be as important in the mid to late game, extra habitability from this would be pretty strong for early rush and origins like Life-Seeded. It would have a niche without crowding out other choices.

Beacon of Liberty: 15% monthly unity, +50 Opinion from other democratic empires
As an empire that exemplifies the benefits of democracy, your empire should be held in high regard by other democracies as an ideal society, both for political benefit as well as ideological consistency. This would compound with other positive modifiers in diplomacy, making it that much easier to build federations with friendly democracies.

Idealistic Foundation: 5% happiness, 20% society research
This one has always been heavily underused, and giving it a unique modifier for society research is in-line with the people in this society being more concerned about the political health of their empire, believing in the ideas behind its founding more strongly. The 20% modifier is in line with the 20% engineering research speed Introspective gets and the 20% to biology research Devouring Swarm gets as well. As it is independent of both of these not being an option for gestalts, and not having any tangible military or resource output benefits, I'll stand by this being balanced.

Parliamentary System: 25% faction influence gain, 50% governing ethics attraction
Faction influence gain is important, and one of the main reasons people end up picking Egalitarian ethics. Having that and maintaining that when you acquire more pops and aliens, becoming more politically diverse and divided, are two different things, making it that much more difficult to keep your people in just a few, highly popular political parties instead of a bunch of fractured unhappy ones. Governing ethics bonuses are pretty huge for mid to late game political management, so this would be a pretty strong pick that can be placed in any ethics category outside of authoritarian, as well as providing a counterbalance civic to Imperial Cult.
 

Blayze

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Plants and hives should be able to grow their buildings with Food.
 
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TheGrinningMan

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I'd also like to throw in my two cents in favor of plantoid and humanoid special stuff being open to all portrait classes, even if built around the plantoid and humanoids, thematically. Giving necroid civics and origins to everyone was a great decision for many reasons; for instance, even if they could use a balance pass, lithoid necrophages are conceptually awesome.
 
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Kharrus

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Would it be possible to make a subterranean trait or civic? I always loved the idea of vast underground empires that carve out their civilization from the earth. It is a much to RP as a dwarf, and I think it'd match up with Lithoids rather well too.
might be better as an origin tbh, since traits and civics can be swapped out. I like the idea though; something like city districts giving a mining job or giving mining districts more housing, and city districts less.
 
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firenze419

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That just sounds like an argument against having plantoids, and since star lanes and FTL travel (nevermind psychic powers) are scientifically unrealistic too I don't think realism should stop us getting our tropes on.
I agree with you, I was just arguing against the need for soil or whatever for plantoids as opposed to standard food. It's just unnecessary.

I love plantoids. I'm playing them right now.
 

adil3tr

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changing the start to be a Shattered Ring that you can restore with the Mega-Engineering technology is a likely route.
It would be a lot better to break down the binary that that tech is. I don't like how anything connected to megaprojects is just non functional in every way until you have that tech.
 
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