2.2 robots are nearly worthless (along with Machine Empires, Mechanist, and Synethic Ascension)

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Xshu

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So I've played two games so far while using the 2.2.2 beta patch: one synthetic ascension as a fanatic materialist xenophile playthrough, one rogue servitor playthrough.

Synthetic Playthrough
I can't speak to how the synthetic ascension path stacks up against the other paths, but I can say that synthetic ascension works fine if you use it on an already mostly established empire. The build speed for robots isn't a problem because of all of the roboticist jobs produced by the capital buildings, you still get immortal leaders and 100% habitability, all of the leaders get the usual bonuses, and so on. While new colonies may be slow, by the time you have synthetic ascension you will probably be able to move them from your more established colonies to kickstart them (unless your empire is opposed to forced migration, I guess). I actually found I had way too many pops since my empire was relatively small and I had nowhere to put them all, though it's possible being a xenophile with a lot of immigrants was leading to overcrowding. Apparently everyone wanted to come to my empire and turn into robots.

Also, my economy did basically crash for a couple years after ascension. The issue of farms no longer becoming power buildings is pretty frustrating. It would probably be better if synthetic ascension took place gradually rather than all at once so you can account for the fact that your economy is going to require way less food and way more power. Luckily food was valuable in my playthrough, so I could sell it to make up for the power loss.

It's entirely possible synthetic ascension is now the weakest path — again, I don't know — but there's always a weakest ascension path and there are always less useful ascension perks. As long as synthetic ascension isn't literally worse than leaving them cyborgs, which as far as I can tell it's not, that's fine imo.

Rogue Servitor Playthrough
Oh man, this was devastating. These guys used to be my favorite playstyle, but they now feel basically unplayable, and not Stellaris meme unplayable — for real unplayable. Even at 50% growth speed, bio-trophies rapidly begin to grow faster than your machine pops, and keeping up with their needs is a losing proposition. Don't even think about conquering any planets, or you'll suddenly have a massive disparity in machine-to-bio-trophy ratio and it will crash your already fragile economy. Needing to keep up with robot upkeep and consumer goods cripples your mineral income, and good luck starting a colony. Even after years and years of waiting for them to grow enough pops for you to build a robot factory, the pop growth is atrocious.

Plus, without servitor morale, you only gain any sort of non-unity bonus from them in the form of stability, meaning you have to keep your bio-trophies on the same worlds as your machines to get any benefit from them, which means you can't really take advantage of the machines' 100% habitability or the machine world ascension perk. And don't sass me about lore and RP — if I want my robots to have high morale on a mining world knowing that their trophies are happy and safe on some gaia world elsewhere, I don't see why I cant. Remember that the drones are not individuals, they're all extensions of one AI; it doesn't really make sense that only the drones near the bio-trophies are performing better.

And speaking of the unity "bonus" you get from bio-pops, is it even advantageous? They certainly start out making a lot more than other empires, but it seems like they might actually fall behind on unity production due to their inability to make upgraded unity buildings. Maybe there's an upgrade to the bio-pops or the sanctuaries in the tech tree, I don't know, I had to quit the playthrough because achieving a stable economy was proving completely impossible as soon as I tried colonizing, let alone keeping up with the other empires.
 

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The devs have mentioned that a dual-track migration system might be hard to manage if you have both organics and free synths on a planet, especially given that they reproduce differently. It seems to me that you could have migration pressure apply equally to each, and that this would reduce/boost the build speed of new synths on relevant planets in the same manner as biological pops (representing some synths moving away/in as more come off the assembly line). Synths could even "grow" from migration on worlds with no active roboticists building them.

This would result in double speed migration if you have both bio and synth in your empire, but we already have double speed production in that case anyway.
that makes sense
 

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And speaking of the unity "bonus" you get from bio-pops, is it even advantageous? They certainly start out making a lot more than other empires, but it seems like they might actually fall behind on unity production due to their inability to make upgraded unity buildings. Maybe there's an upgrade to the bio-pops or the sanctuaries in the tech tree, I don't know, I had to quit the playthrough because achieving a stable economy was proving completely impossible as soon as I tried colonizing, let alone keeping up with the other empires.

There is indeed a better building, it is the same tech then paradise dome for regular empire.
 

ComradeKroo

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Synth empire is still freaking fine!
First, pop rush is now the bottleneck of 2.2. You spawn pops faster, you win, most of the time. So, roboticist help you 2 pop points per month, after reach Flesh is weak, its 2.66 per month.
Drawback of robots is they cost 500 minerals per robot now (10 minerals/month maintain for Roboticist), but after 2 robots, minerals cost is paid. Robot building maintain is 5 energy, means you cant rush robot early, but when you have stable economy, Robot building is better than Cryo centers in pop rushing.

After transendence to Synth, you have 9~10 pop points per month, (capital with 4 roboticist will provide 12-13 points), its fastest pop growth speed in the game.
 

Melkor Bauglir

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OK, so searching through the wiki, I get this:
  • Trait points: Regular organics have 2 starting trait points and can get +2 from techs. The bio ascension gives +6 additional points, hybrid-pops can even get an additional point. That makes a maximum of 11 points and 5 maximum traits (or 6 with Xeno-Compatibility).
    Machine Intelligences (NOT Synthetic Empires!) start with 1 trait point and can get +3 from techs. The (IMO still awful) AP Synthetic Age gives +2 additional trait points. That makes for 6 trait points at maximum and one less maximum trait (or -2 if the machine trait still counts).
    Synthetically ascended empires also get +3 trait points from tech and +1 point from Synthetic Evolution.
Robot traits are pretty much exactly as strong / expensive as organic traits (see below), so MIs start with somewhat weaker production pops which in turn can live everywhere. This in itself is probably balanced. However, their maximum trait points are just HORRIBLE compared to bio ascended empires with 10 (11) points vs 5 (7) which admittedly costs one less AP! Also synths sound pretty underwhelming having lost their intrinsic +20% production trait. (Basically, weren't psionic and bio ascension repeatedly buffed to be on par with synths which were now nerfed heavily?)
Obviously that isn't the whole story so let's look at maximum productions:
  • Minerals: Organics can get +15% (Industrious, 2 points) and +2,5% (Strong, 1 pt.) / +5% (Very Strong, 3 pts.)) as base and +10% (Robust, 4 pts.), +10% (Nerve Stapled, 3 pts.) for a maximum of +40% although you need to take negative traits for that. Combinations with presapient traits or Serviles can get even higher (50%).
    Robots seem to be stuck at +15% (Power Drills, 2 points) and +5% (Efficient Processors, 3 pts.), so 20% on a pop basis at most. Their once pretty potent tech for +10% robot production was also nerfed to +5%. That is honestly pretty devastating.
    Synths are pretty similar although they do get +10% robot production for Synthetic Evolution (beta!) and their rulers and governors have additional traits for +5% minerals & EC (governors) and +5% robot production (ruler). Then again bio ascended empires have Erudite leader traits so this balances out a little bit again.
  • Energy: Organics can again stack +15% (Ingenious, 2 pts.) and Strong / Very Strong as base and Robust and Nerve Stapled for ascension traits.
    Robots are again stuck at +15% (Superconductive, 2 pts.) and +5% (Efficient Processors, 3 pts.). Same for synth empires.
  • Food: Pretty much the same story although the robotic Harvesters trait only costs 1 point instead of 2. Yay...
Furthermore, a lot of anomalies that can give special traits don't work for MIs and are removed by synthetically ascending. Considering they can be pretty potent (Brain Slugs, Somewhat Uplifted / Uplifted (not the presapient trait!)) that is a disadvantage as well.
Obviously, MIs can get Machine Worlds for an additional +10% production (which on Synthetic Dawn release kind of was +25%... although it didn't have its other advantages so whatever) but hives have their Hive Worlds so this balancing factor is gone as well. Meanwhile regular empires have ecumenopoli and terraforming is kind of wonky now anyways since it destroys special features, so I'm not sold on this changing much.

Granted, the synthetic ascension path gives other boni as well, but they kind of only replace baseline boni: For example, the +33% robot build speed is certainly nice but regular organics get 20% just from tech (pretty early techs to be precise!). Also, once again: That's not helping MIs!
I get that for regular empires robots are now just a supplementary growth so synths actually might be fine - then again looking at the numerical nerfs they took I still can't believe synthetic ascension is really worth the effort. Bio seems superior.
And I honestly have no idea how MIs are supposed to be played. They just seem week on paper and even with high pop growth in the lategame (which I still don't think SHOULD be their main thing (to drown everyone with quantity - what are HMs for then?)) the game adds quite some annoyances to that like their inexistant auto-emigration, the high cost of building pops, their resource upkeep unbalance, the combination of regular extraction (advantage of HMs) and no trade (advantage of regular organics).

I would actually say they need to be buffed quite a bit to really work:
  • They need better resource extraction. I like the idea of hives favouring quantity (3 production jobs) and MIs getting +1 base production.
  • Some wonky problems need to be looked at: It makes no sense that a supercomputer / superintelligence would just annihilate super rare resources in optimising (!) a planet (i.e. terraforming it to a Machine World). It is weird that their Coordinators produce society research (good for HMs) when MIs need engineering. It is just annoying that you can't auto-resettle unemployed bots creating constant micro hassle.
  • And pleeaaasseee: Buff the Synthetic Age perk! This one has been garbage since release, it was eliminated in like 1st or 2nd place in the AP Elimination Bingo some weeks ago and it is just utterly inferior to even the first bio ascension perk. Just give it some bonus on robot upkeep or robot construction speed or +1 additional trait slot (which is now precedented in Xeno-Compatibiliy - the code is probably already in place) or some other small boon.

Edit: BTW, I just changed to the beta version. MIs now have even lost their alloy production efficiency since all other empires got buffed (all no convert 6 minerals to 3 alloys, previously all non-MIs would use a 6:2 conversion rate).
 
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Kuronan

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Bonus: Synth Ascension

I do feel that Synth Ascension is actually sufficently powerful - it has very high pop growth and quite efficient pops. The problem is that the whole process of switiching your empire is even less smooth than before. Just like Machines, Synthetics run into trouble with E deposits and all that build-up F production isn't converted into a useful yield anymore. Also, the fact that you end up with unmodded robots and that you'll need a decade or so to fix that is annoying. Reduced Robo-mod project time would certainly be welcome.

Bonus 2: Special Machine Empires

While these are also suffering from setup issues, I think Driven Assimilators and Rogue Servitors should not be underestimated. They need to care about F (and in the case of Servitors CGs), but in return their pop growth is by default better than any organic empire, plus a bunch of other neat boons.- - - - -

Anyway, that is my take on the whole thing. I'll talk to the Stellaris team on monday and see what they think about the current situation.
I'm currently checking if anyone else in the thread brought this up, but two things: One: Synthetic Evolution's robomodding problem could be easily fixed if you set it up so your build a template BEFORE you start the project. Let's say I want Double-Jointed and Durable for all of my pops? Simple and universally useful. I open a Synthetic Template, set that up, and then when I choose to begin Synthetic Ascension project, I pick one of the Synthetic Templates and then when it completes, all of my organic pops will convert to that template.

Two, Rogue Servitors could be buffed in two easy ways: Remove Machine population from the Happiness equation which will drastically improve stability, or give Biotrophies 1 amenity per population to really reflect that they fulfill some inner directive of the machine population.

Population should also shift jobs faster if population A has a +10% bonus over pop B for any job. It should really be hard-coded (even a 5% increase can make an extra resource per month, but there should definitely be some coding that makes it so they automatically change jobs if there is a 10% difference or greater, and robots should be hard-coded to always work mines first unless modded otherwise.)

On a side-note, can you consider allowing Machine Intelligence to access the Harvesters trait since we now have Food production in our tech tree?
With regards to food and robots: having an option to make biofuel is not bad, but we should have an option to opt out too. Do this via policy, “organic matter protocol” or whatever. If off - no food buildings or technology.

If yes - make a food tech option for robots, don’t have multiple food tech options, make 1 merged food tech that scales and comes up less often.

In my machine empire game the whole tech list was populated only by food tech options - and I wasn’t using it at all.

So yeah, a bit more player control there would be nice.
Literally the biggest complaint I have for 2.2 Machine Intelligence. I liked when food was not any of my building or research options in 2.1, it made me feel like machines were efficient because I didn't need to consider Food so I could output more raw energy/minerals on all of my planets. I know that Machine Worlds are a thing, and some people liked to cheese the AI with "Trade them food for a Century, then stop and watch their economies collapse!" but it'd be nice to disable Food entirely if I don't want to build it.

EDIT: Yeah, it's hypocritical I'm saying this after asking for Harvester to be added to Default Robot Traits, bite me :p
Pop/Production ratio is no longer zero-sum, the fact that 1/3 of the pops might be biotrophies doesn't mean they are taking production slots, if you check any DE or DA empire, they'd have the same amount of machine pops/production but no biotrophies.
They were never Zero-Sum. They are advertised as "You get +10 production for each 10% of organics, up to 40% at 40% organics!" Except you need to build food for the organics too, and you need to build consumer goods and Amenities too, both with detract from your potential resource output of other things. It'd need to be a ratio of 40% population = 50% robot production to come close to breaking even. They do get much stronger Unity generation though, so take that calculation with a grain of salt.
I really want to quote this entire post in Bold Underline but it's much larger than my original post and also on the same page so... Yeah, go read that post too.
 
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Xshu

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There is indeed a better building, it is the same tech then paradise dome for regular empire.
Oh, does it? Well that's nice, at least. I'm curious: does the building require rare resources as upkeep in its upgraded form?
 

Streletz

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Hi

I didn't find a tread about what I wanted to ask, and as it's a minor question, i'll post it here as it's the closer topic that I've find.

Just gave a try to the new Stellaris, a lot of things that i' liked, but another one leaved me perplex.

I was playing an egalitarian empire, going to the bio path. However I notice that I have absolutely no control on which pop works on which tile. So my strong industrious species are working in labs, my thrifty guys loves mining, my intelligent and natural sociologist specie decided that farming is the best they can do. I'm exaggerating a bit, but the immigration seems to have been boosted, so even specializing planets don't save me as each have at least of 50% non local species.

Is relocating pop from one job is now reserved for authoritarians? Or is it just impossible manually?

In the second case won't it made ressources focused traits as absolutely trash compared to traits that enhances your leaders/reduce consumer goods, etc?
 

Xshu

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Is relocating pop from one job is now reserved for authoritarians? Or is it just impossible manually?
I believe it is impossible.

In the second case won't it made ressources focused traits as absolutely trash compared to traits that enhances your leaders/reduce consumer goods, etc?
The AI is supposed to sort the pops so they do jobs best suited to their traits. The AI for it is a little wonky right now.
 

Subcomandante

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then again looking at the numerical nerfs they took I still can't believe synthetic ascension is really worth the effort. Bio seems superior.

Synth ascension stands at 55% for energy and minerals and 50% for everything else. I didn't take into account synthetic thought patterns in my earlier posts. You forgot some bonuses too.

That looks pretty good. You can also enslave your synths now, arriving at +80% in minerals compared to unmodded non enslaved pops. Maximum Bio gets you about the same I'd say.
 

Melkor Bauglir

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Synth ascension stands at 55% for energy and minerals and 50% for everything else. I didn't take into account synthetic thought patterns in my earlier posts. You forgot some bonuses too.

That looks pretty good. You can also enslave your synths now, arriving at +80% in minerals compared to unmodded non enslaved pops. Maximum Bio gets you about the same I'd say.

I'm sorry but where are you getting these numbers? You have now twice claimed a high production of synths which I can't find anywhere, neither in the wiki nor in the code. I have no problem to be proven wrong but if you are right I have overlooked a +15% EC bonus and a +10% bonus for all other resources (again, assuming beta-synths with Synthetic Evolution and synthetic governor + ruler).
Furthermore, I don't think you can count slavery as an advantage of synths - it's probably simply not a disadvantage compared to organics since they can be enslaved as well. I have never completed a synthetic ascension, so I might be wrong about the following point, but doesn't synthetic ascension turn your primary species into synths - which you can't enslave because it's your primary species? Granted you could get the perk, pretty much only use synths and not transform you species, but then I'd argue it's bad perk design because that sounds pretty cheesy.

And lastly, even if synths are still that strong, that doesn't make MIs any better.
 

iniudan

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Oh, does it? Well that's nice, at least. I'm curious: does the building require rare resources as upkeep in its upgraded form?

Forgot, but probably crystal, as that what paradise dome require according to the wiki, only ever seen the paradise dome tech appear a single time since 2.2 release.
 

Valjean27

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This may have been mentioned somewhere, but I've seen people saying they have played synth empires totally fine, but when I finished Synthetic Ascension all the sudden no "Ruler" stratum jobs will be worked. Basically crippled my playthrough. :(

One other issue I've seen with synths is they seem to not "lock-in" to which type to build. Even when I select my new synth type, it just seems to build a random pop type.

I hadn't noticed to much of an issue in the speed of actual building of robots/synths. The nerfs to their production bonuses certainly is noticeable compared to previous versions, but speed-wise I had no issue.

Hopefully these other bugs get worked out soon (or someone can tell me what I'm doing wrong!)
 

Bentusi16

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Why the heck are machine empires so great for society research??

Just a random music as I play one. I've got more then double society research compared to engineering and physics.
 

Random Players

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Why the heck are machine empires so great for society research??

Just a random music as I play one. I've got more then double society research compared to engineering and physics.
In short, Coordinators. They give Unity, but also society for some reason (Engineering makes far more sense, or some split like 2-1, or even 1 of each). And one of the traditions gives you one coordinator on the planet per 20 pops.
 

Bentusi16

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No no I get WHY, like mechanically, but from a design standpoint.

I love machine empires. I love playing buildobots who just want to build giant things in space as a monument to their lost makers.

But for all the "robot empires are supposed to be good at making complex items", I find that not to be true. They don't seem to excel at anything and struggle with energy.

What are machine empires supposed to do?
 

sillyrobot

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This may have been mentioned somewhere, but I've seen people saying they have played synth empires totally fine, but when I finished Synthetic Ascension all the sudden no "Ruler" stratum jobs will be worked. Basically crippled my playthrough. :(

One other issue I've seen with synths is they seem to not "lock-in" to which type to build. Even when I select my new synth type, it just seems to build a random pop type.

I hadn't noticed to much of an issue in the speed of actual building of robots/synths. The nerfs to their production bonuses certainly is noticeable compared to previous versions, but speed-wise I had no issue.

Hopefully these other bugs get worked out soon (or someone can tell me what I'm doing wrong!)

The no-ruler issue seems to be a product of your AI policy pre-ascension. Unfortunately, once ascended, you can't change the policy as it is removed from your list.
 

Valjean27

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The no-ruler issue seems to be a product of your AI policy pre-ascension. Unfortunately, once ascended, you can't change the policy as it is removed from your list.

Ah well, I assume that is probably just been overlooked. Hopefully will be fixed in the next update.
 

Salamander8

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Machine Empires are definitely having issues in 2.2. I've been playing some short games just to get more used to the significant changes to the game and going from my determined exterminators to my fanatic xenophile/militarist fungoids, it quickly became apparent how much better the fungoids were at pretty much everything, even with more things to juggle (consumer goods, pirates, etc.).

As others have said I think we just need a few tweaks to some values more than anything else and they should be competitive on the galactic stage.