Stellaris Dev Diary #57: Species Rights

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Game Director (Victoria 3)
Paradox Staff
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Nov 15, 2007
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Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. Today's dev diary is going to be a meaty one, covering several new features in the 1.5 'Banks' update, as well as some paid features coming in the (unannounced) expansion accompanying Banks. Please note that because of some sickness, we're a little behind in the interface department, so the interface graphics shown today are placeholders and not what will be in the final product.

Species Rights (Free Feature)
The big new feature we'll be talking about today is Species Rights. Previously, what rights your species had were controlled through a set of policies that could only discriminate between 'your founder species' and 'everyone else'. We felt that this was an area in need of more granularity, both to make playing a multispecies empire more interesting and also to create more of a sense of distinction between your pops. Thus, in Banks, it will now be possible to individually determine the rights and obligations of each species in your empire. In addition to setting rights for a species currently in your empire, you can also set rights for species outside your empire (for example granting species you would like to attract to your empire via migration Full Citizenship and a good living standard) and have a default set of rights that is applied to any species you have not specifically configured the rights for.

The most fundamental status of a species in your empire is Citizenship. Citizenship is the overall set of rights and privileges given to a species: Whether they are free or unfree, whether they can participate in the political processes of the country, what restrictions can be placed on them and even whether they have the right to live in your empire at all. In addition to rights and obligations, citizenship also affects Pops' migration attraction: A Pop that is currently enjoying Full Citizenship is unlikely to move to another empire where their rights would be curtailed, and Pops living under second-class citizen conditions are more likely to move somewhere that promises them a better life.
  • Full Citizenship: Species with full citizenship are fully integrated populations in your empire. They have the right to vote in democracies and can become leaders of all types. You are also forbidden from enacting population controls on them.
  • Caste System: Species with a caste system have a mix of full citizenship and slavery, with pops working in the farms and mines being enslaved and the rest being free to enjoy the fruits of the serfs' labor.
  • Limited Citizenship: Species with limited citizenship are tolerated but not integrated populations in your empire. While not enslaved, their right to vote and stand for political office is curtailed, and you can place population restrictions on them and restrict them from being able to settle on your core worlds (more on that below).
  • Slaves: Species with this setting are all enslaved without exception. They have no rights whatsoever and live under the most squalid of conditions.
  • Undesirables: Undesirables are species that you do not wish to exist in your empire. Depending on your purge policy this can either mean that you mean that you target them for extermination, or just try to drive them off from your worlds (more on that below).

Military Service is the martial obligations placed on this species by your empire. It can range from allowing Full Military Service as both soldiers and officers, allowing you to recruit generals and admirals from the species even if they would normally not be allowed to be leaders (for example due to Limited Citizenship) all the way down to a full exemption from all military service.

Living Standards represents how economically favored a population is, for example whether they benefit from social welfare or have restrictions placed on what kinds of occupations they can be employed in. The higher the living standards of a Pop is, the more Consumer Goods it will use, and the happier it will be (more on Consumer Goods below).

Migration Controls determines whether a species is allowed to freely migrate between worlds or not. Restrictions on migrations are always in place for slaves and pops that are being purged.

Population Controls determines whether a species is allowed to grow its population or not. Species with population control will not grow new pops, but neither will their existing pops die off.

In addition to determining what a species is able to do, species rights will also affect a variety of other factors such as happiness and consumer goods (for example, Pops are generally not very pleased about being enslaved or having population controls placed on them). Different factions in your empire will also have different preferences for what species rights you employ, such as Authoritarian pops liking Caste Systems and Supremacist factions being less than happy with granting Full Citizenship to aliens.

Purge and Slavery Types (Paid Feature)
In addition to the free species rights given to everyone in the Banks update, there is also a paid element, namely the special Purge and Slavery policies that allows you define in which manner your empire utilizes slavery and purging vis-a-vis specific species. The default options (Chattel Slavery and Extermination) are always available even without the expansion, and those without the expansion can also make use of Displacement via a policy, but the rest are only for expansion owners.

The slavery types are as follows:
  • Chattel Slavery: This represents forced labor on a massive scale. Chattel Slaves have a bonus to food and mineral production and a large penalty to energy/science production and under a Caste System all Pops producing Minerals and Food will be enslaved.
  • Domestic Servitude: This represents a combination of plantation slavery and indentured servitude. Domestic Servants have no boost to any resource production and a small penalty to mineral/energy/science production, but increase the happiness of all non-enslaved citizen pops on the planet.
  • Battle Thralls: This represents a system of enforced martial serfdom. Battle Thralls have no boost to any resource production and a moderate penalty to energy/science production, but armies recruited from them are stronger.
  • Livestock: This represents a species that is regularly culled to be used as food. Livestock produce a fixed number of extra food, but are completely unable to produce any other kind of resource.
The purge types are as follows:
  • Extermination: The species is systemically killed off by any means available. This is the fastest form of purging, but pops subject to it are unable to produce any resources while they are busy dying off.
  • Displacement: The species is driven away through the use of forced resettlement and destruction of their homes. Displaced pops will not be killed, but rather will attempt to flee the empire to other, more welcoming empires, and might even try to settle uncolonized planets. This process is slow, but generates less outrage among other empires than the other forms of purging.
  • Forced Labor: The species is placed in camps and forced to do hard labor under brutal conditions with inadequate food and shelter, effectively working them to death. Pops doing Forced Labor will be killed off more slowly than through extermination, but will continue to produce minerals, food and (at a significant penalty) energy.
  • Processing: The species is processed into food for the consumption of other Pops. Pops being Processed generate a fixed amount of food and die off at a fairly fast pace, but cannot be put to use producing any other resources.
  • Neutering: The species is prevented from reproducing through chemical castration or biological modification, eventually dying off naturally. Neutered Pops continue to function normally and may even be given a high standard of life, but have a large penalty to their happiness. The speed at which they die off varies based on the species' natural lifespan, but is typically very slow.

Consumer Goods (Free Feature)
Another issue we're trying to tackle in Banks is mineral inflation. Mineral production has a tendency to snowball in the mid- and lategame, particularly in large, sprawling empires. In order to address this we've introduced a new mineral cost called Consumer Goods. Consumer Goods represents the portion of your industrial base that is occupied with seeing to the needs of your population, ie producing butter instead of guns. Each Pop in your empire will use a certain amount of Consumer Goods each month, with the amount primarily dependent on their living standards. Each unit of consumer goods costs a certain number of minerals dependening on factors such as ethics, traditions, whether your empire is engaged in a defensive war and so on.

Refugees and Core Worlds (Free Feature)
The last thing we'll be covering today is some new policies that tie into the mechanics of species rights. The Core Worlds Population policy determines which Pops are allowed to live on your core (non-sector) planets, and can be set to either allow only citizen Pops (Full Citizenship/Caste System), citizen and slave Pops (Full Citizenship/Caste System/Slaves) or open them up to all species. If you restrict your core worlds and there are prohibited Pops living there, they will move away, either migrating to your sectors or fleeing your empire altogether if there is another empire willing to take them. It is also possible for Pops that are enslaved or targeted for extermination to escape your empire, particularly if there is an influential Xenophile faction that is helping them flee.

Whether or not another empire is willing to accept those fleeing purges, slavery and resettlement depends on your Refugees policy. You can choose to accept other species will open arms, allowing refugee Pops to freely move into your empire, be more restrictive and accept only those Pops you have deigned to grant citizenship, or simply shut down acceptance of refugees altogether.

Right, that's all for today! Next week we'll be talking about something I know a lot of people have been wanting for some time: Orbital Habitats. Don't miss it.
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Is it also possible to set on a per sector level if xeno's are allowed in a certain sector? (with the same settings as the core worlds, all xeno's/citizens and slaves/only citizens?)

As of right now, no. It's something we're considering if there's time.
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Is there also going to be an ethos based restriction on refugees?

No. With the changes to ethics keeping a completely homogenous population is simply not possible, you'll always have some minorities to deal with once your empire gets to a certain size. You could of course choose to only invite species that have similar ethics breakdowns to your own though.
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Will it be possible to have all races in a lower class of citizenship such as limited citizenship or slavery or will you need at least one race with full citizenship?

Your founder species can only have Full Citizenship or Caste System.
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Those features rocks!

The only things i have hard time understanding is how you can separate Slave\Purging feature from others. I'm not against it (as it's totally up to PDX to decide), just technically. Those two, purging especially, sound like very important. Especially the ability to expel POPs instead of purging.

We're not removing the ability to enslave or purge, it's only the special-flavor types of purging/slaving that are expansion locked. Displacement is also available to everyone, as the DD explicitly says.

At the end of the day, developing Stellaris not free. We have to charge for some things, and in this case we choose to keep most of this massive feature free and charge for extra flavor.
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Sounds amazing. And I could be wrong but it sounds above and beyond what any other similar type games has to offer in terms of species management. Distant Worlds was even more lacking in these types of tools and I don't remember What Gal Civ offered.

Half way through I did stop reading and thing oh god how are they going to interface all of these options. But that pop up is a nice easy way to do it.

You did intend to write enabled here? I read that and said wait why are slaves and pops destined to death able to move freely through my empire? Perhaps this is a mistype and you meant disabled, or it isn't and it's enabled for systematic purposes probably for the purge methods that require freedom of movement?

As in, Migration Controls are enabled. I'll reword to be clearer.
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Since this new system works on a per-species basis for slavery and purging, does that mean it replaces the ability to selectively purge/enslave individual pops, or is it in addition to that?

Correct, you no longer do it on a per pop basis.
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Everything looks very promising but I am not sure about the consumer goods. These upkeep costs are already very frustrating to deal with, especially with the energy upkeep of ships, thus you always focus all your sectors on energy as it is always the bottleneck. Will we be able to drain a sectors bank to compensate for this increased upkeep costs for minerals in the next patch? As it is very likely that the "old" energy upkeep bottleneck will just simply shift to become minerals which is just frustrating imo and not very helpful.
We need to be able to manage our economy much better for sectors and ourselves as we dont have right now. Sectors just keep wasting resources, military stations use your upkeep not the sectors, etc. So there are a ton of issues right now with the economy and sectors. Can we expect a fix for these?

Sectors pay for consumer goods on their planets.
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When you chose policies for species do you have to do it for every variation or you can group them somehow? Because with every empire genetically modifying their pops you end up with a big amount of species by then end of the game

Also would it be possible to have polices for groups, all humanoids one set of polices all fungi and plants are food and so on? That would save a lot on the micromanagement

Modded offshoots share rights with parent species.
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So is the menu where you can set each species' rights seperately also part of the paid stuff? Or is the screenshot just to show off where to set the slavery/purging rights, but the menu itself is in the update?

I hope we can change that part anyways. For example having a modified Terran species (btw, can we rename modded species by now?) and then enslaving them while normal Terrans are having Full Citizenship.

Only purge type/slavery type, rest is free.
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I love everything in this dev diary!

Just one question, can you also purge people with... ''bothersome'' ethos? In my opinion it is one of the most important reasons gameplaywise to purge.
If not from the start, maybe it could become a tradition?

No. The new way pop ethics work you could never kill off all the minorities anyway, you're supposed to handle them through the faction system.
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So we can enslave the whole species but are unable to root dissidents in our own ranks? How serious those "minorities" among our core POPs could affect Empire stability? Especially for builds that imply ethic unity?

The idea is to bolster your government ethics through things like propaganda, buildings (like temples for spiritualists) and surpressing/supporting factions. How serious the minorities become depends on how good you at keeping their numbers down, pretty much. The idea that you could run a political system by just regularly wiping out a few billion people based on ideology really has no place in any real attempt to simulate politics.
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It's been tried on more than a few occasions, the nazis and USSR did put political dissidents in their camps and many countries have made holding certain beliefs illegal in various points in history.

There were still plenty of dissidents in both Nazi Germany and the USSR. Purging pops is not on the level of throwing a few people into secret prisons, we're talking about slaughtering billions here. It would be like Nazi Germany rounding up and shooting the whole population of Bavaria.
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@Wiz to what extent will marking a pop as undesirable prioritize them for purges? Say, for example, we keep the pops in a sector. Will the sector regularly go on large-scale death marches and murder every living thing from the dandelions on upwards? Will there be a way to say "we're done keeping these pops around and we want to kill every last one of them." ?

Sectors have nothing to do with it. Species marked as undesirable will automatically be purged/displaced.
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Wait, not even in case of Caste System? Reading the description I sort of assumed that would be quite close to our current slavery system...

Under Caste System pops are automatically enslaved if they work certain jobs. Originally the design was that a certain % would be enslaved, but that turned out to be a huge hassle to manage, and getting rid of micro of slavery/purge is an important objective with these changes.
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@Wiz How does this interplay with the current options to let Sectors enslave/free pops, or is that being removed in favour of simply setting species rights to control enslavement?

Sectors no longer get any kind of say over who's enslaved and purged.
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Hereditary rulers still have heirs of the same species, of course.
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The options covered by the tooltip are
Military Service: Full Military Service / Soldiers Only / None
Migration Controls: Yes/No
Population Controls: Yes/No
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