The Synthetic Ascension Path focuses on abandoning your frail biological forms for that of a perfect machine. The first step, the Flesh is Weak, requires the Droids technology and allows you to modify your entire population through a special project, turning them into cyborgs. This gives them an immediate +20% boost to habitability, as well as bonuses to mineral production and army damage, and also makes any leaders generated from those species have the Cyborg trait granting an additional +40 years of lifespan.
The next step, Synthetic Evolution, requires the ability to build Synths, and allows you to upgrade your cyborg population into fully mechanical forms, finally abandoning the frailty of flesh for the surety of synthetics. When it is complete, you will become a fully robotic empire, with a robotic primary species. Your population will benefit from all the advantages normally conferred to Synths in production and research, and all your leaders will be immortal, able to be killed only in battle or through events. You will also naturally no longer require Food for your synthetic population, instead being replaced by an Energy maintenance similar to regular Synths. You will also be able to name your new, gloriously post-biological people.
The Biological Ascension Path focuses on mastery of DNA and evolution. The first step, Engineered Evolution, requires the Gene Tailoring technology and grants a major reduction to the cost and time required to genetically modify species, gives you +2 trait points, and also unlocks the ability to research the Gene Seed Purification technology which is otherwise unavailable (it can still be researched as normal for those who do not have the Utopia expansion), allowing recruitment of Gene Warriors.
The next step, Evolutionary Mastery requires the Targeted Gene Expressions technology. It grants an additional +3 trait points, a further reduction in time and cost of genemodding, and unlocks the ability to research the Genetic Resequencing technology, which once researched unlocks Advanced Genemodding. With Advanced Genemodding you will be able to add negative traits and remove positive traits, allowing you to completely reshape species at your whim. It also unlocks five new traits that are exclusively available to the Biological Ascension Path:
Robust: Upgrades from Extremely Adaptable, adds +30% habitability and an extra +30 years of lifespan.
Fertile: Upgrades from Rapid Breeders, gives -30% growth time and +5% happiness
Erudite: Upgrades from Intelligent, gives +20% science production and +1 leader skill levels.
Delicious: Makes the species delicious and nutritious, granting +100% food yield from Processing and Livestock.
Nerve Stapled: Removes the ability of the species to feel happiness or sadness. Happiness is disabled and Food/Mineral production increased, but adds major penalties to other resource production.
Additionally, Advanced Genemodding allows for the ability for non-Hive Mind empires to remove the Hive-Minded trait from Pops and for Hive Minds to add it to Pops, as mentioned in dev diary #62.
That's all for today! Next week we'll be talking a variety of smaller features coming in the Banks update, including the ability to terraform Mars.