Ascension Perks Guide to 2.2

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redrum68

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So I decided to take a run at making a short guide on Ascension Perks in 2.2. This will focus on fairly standard strategic gameplay and going wide to at least some extent (don't need to be conquering half the galaxy but assuming you'll be expanding early game to as many systems as possible). I'm open to feedback and contributions and hope this will help others understand some of the more standard Ascension Perk choices.

I think the best way to cover Ascension Perks is by separating ascension paths and then their tiers since this is what you'll have to choose from at each stage. Each tier number indicates how many previously taken Ascension Perks are required.

Ascension Paths
You can choose one of the following and select the tier 1 and 3 perks. Generally all 3 paths are pretty good and depends on what type of empire you are playing and play style. Don't necessarily have to get immediately when they are available or at all but they provide solid bonuses around pop traits/modding.
- Synthetic (The Flesh is Weak, Synthetic Evolution)
- Biological (Engineered Evolution, Evolutionary Mastery)
- Psionic (Mind over Matter, Transcendence)

Tier 0 Options - Generic - Ranked
1. Interstellar Dominion - Should almost always be first selection. Saves a significant amount of influence especially the wider you play.
2. Executive Vigor - Significant bonus to edict/campaign duration. Decent early though you rarely have the influence to use many edicts but also extends campaigns to save a significant amount of energy. Tends to become stronger later on if your expansion slows and you have some influence to put into edicts.
3. Xeno-Compatibility - Great if you have multiple species on each planet for growth boost and good with lots of migration treaties. So usually not a great first pick.
4. Mastery of Nature - Kind of weak early but can be good mid/late game for more max districts especially if you have lots of planets with low max districts. Cheaper clear blocker saves energy but generally you aren't clearing many blockers early game and the energy savings aren't as meaningful mid/late game.
5. Technological Ascendancy - Decent research boost useful throughout the game.
6. One Vision - Decent unity boost and governing ethics attraction can help with happiness and faction influence generation.

Tier 0 Options - Specialized
- Voidborne - Only get if you are going to focus on building habitats which are currently considered a bit weak.
- Nihilistic Acquisition - Only get if you are going to play very aggressively and steal pops from enemies rather than outright conquering them. Can be pretty strong. Allows you to use bombardment to abduct pops instead of killing them.
- Universal Transactions - Only get if you are committed to branch offices and have lots of potential commercial pacts.
- Consecrated Worlds - Only for Spiritualists. Provides unity/amenity/ethic attraction empire wide boost based on the spiritual significance of 3 planets. Can usually get around +20%/+10%/+20%.
- Shared Destiny - Only useful if focusing on vassalization as saves time and influence for integrating them.
- Transcendent Learning - Rarely useful. Only useful if you need to increase max leader level.

Tier 1 Options - Ranked
1. Imperial Prerogative - Good early choice especially for decreased tech and tradition cost. Kind of an all around solid perk. Useful all game but becomes weaker as you go further over the admin cap.
2. Grasp the Void - Solid choice especially into mid/late game where every starbase counts. Can always use extra starbases for extra naval capacity but have the flexibility to use them as needed.
3. Enigmatic Engineering - Rarely useful. Extra ship sensor range and hyperlane detection range is rarely ever needed.

Tier 2 Options - Generic
- Arcology Project - Enables Ecumenopolises which transform planets to allow very strong specialty districts including +10 alloy/CG jobs per district. Must have researched Anti-Gravity tech and can only transform planets with all district slots filled with City Districts and costs a significant amount of minerals. Close to a must have as you transition into mid/late game to build up your planets.
- Galactic Force Projection - Decent early as its a nice fleet/naval capacity bonus. Pretty weak late game as the extra capacity is less impactful and Grasp the Void can provide more naval capacity.
- Master Builders - Great bonuses for megastructures and habitats if focusing on those.
- World Shaper - Only useful if focusing on a lot of terraforming.
- Eternal Vigilance - Very weak as defense platforms aren't usually worth it.

Tier 2 Options - Specialized
- Hive Worlds - Hive Mind only terraforming.
- Machine Worlds - Machine Intelligence only terraforming.
- Synthetic Age - Ok for machine empires for extra machine trait points but not a must have.

Tier 3 Options
- Galactic Wonders - Late game perk to enable the building of galactic wonders.
- Colossus Project - Late game perk to enable colossus ships.
- Defender of the Galaxy - Only useful against endgame crisis factions.
- Galactic Contender - Only useful against awakened/fallen empires.

So based on the above what would some standard choices be? Its hard to say past the first 4 or so as it really depends on how the game is going at that point. But here is what I'd say are some good choices and alternatives.

First 4 APs for Standard Wide Strategy
1. Interstellar Dominion, Executive Vigor
2. Ascension #1 (The Flesh is Weak, Engineered Evolution, Mind over Matter)
3. Arcology, Imperial Prerogative, Executive Vigor, Xeno-Compatibility, Galactic Force Projection, Grasp the Void, Technological Ascendancy, One Vision
4. Ascension #2 (Synthetic Evolution, Evolutionary Mastery, Transcendence)

In most situations you want take Interstellar Dominion first unless you really aren't going to expand much as it saves a significant amount of influence allowing you to expand faster. Executive Vigor is also a good choice as it'll save a significant amount of energy on campaign costs and save a bit of influence for any edicts you use. Its fine to wait to take the first ascension path perk as third instead of second if you aren't going to get much immediate benefit and aren't going to go for tier 2's like Arcology or Galactic Force Projection. You can also choose to completely ignore ascension paths. The third choice usually boils down to if you researched Anti-Gravity and think you'll have enough mineral income to transform/support some planets into Ecumenopolises and the pops to resettle to fill them in the near future then take that. Otherwise its pretty open and kind of depends what your focus is and what can give the most immediate bonuses. If you don't take Arcology as your third pick then you'll usually look to take it as your fourth or fifth.
 
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trojan1234

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Best 3rd perk is Arcology if available (I mean not Machine inteligence, or hive). Because one can build districts of 10 alloy/cgs jobs in every year or so depending on construction speed techs and modifiers.
 

Shirasik

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- Shared Destiny - Rarely useful. Maybe can save some influence if you are going a mass subject integration strategy.
If I remember correctly, Shared Destiny reduces cost of integration, while it always goes at 5 infl/month speed, meaning, Shared Destiny saves not influence itself, but time. A lot.

6. Mastery of Nature - Weak early but can be useful late game for more max districts especially if you have lots of planets with low max districts. Cheaper clear blocker saves a little bit of energy but is pretty minor.
Energy discount stacks with other sources of discounts, so in early game MoN + EcoEngineer governor + .. hm.. there was something else, don't remember what. Total discount could be around 90%, that's a lot of energy for early game.
 

Urza1234

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MoN + EcoEngineer governor + .. hm.. there was something else, don't remember what.
-33% clear blocker from Adopt Domination is what you're probably thinking of

To be fair to the OP however, Mastery of Nature isnt itself responsible for those other additive discounts.
I do personally think the OP severely underestimates the extra districts from MoN, but their opinions are clearly heavily informed by a basic and wide playstyle, so its not surprising.
Its also not the only perk I think they underestimate because of their perspective, but they fully disclose that they're specifically talking about wide, and they're free to share their opinions, so thats fine.
 
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Defiler99

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Arcology Project is a must-have.. "Arcology Project - Rarely used. Gives a very expensive and specialized decision for planets with all city districts."
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Three quick notes:

1) Executive Vigour, applying as it does to every credit, food, or influence campaign, edict, and unity ambition is not weak in the early game and strong later on. It is a strong pick throughout the game. It faces stiff competion for first perk pick, but is always worth considering for that role.

2) Consecrated Worlds does not work the way you think it does. You should use a perk before rating it, you really should. It does not provide a bonus to three worlds you have colonized, it provides empire-wide percentage bonuses to amenities, unity, and spiritualist attraction, based on the quality of three uncolonized worlds you consecrate (anything from theologically insignificant uninhabitable planets to gaia). A typical outcome with good but not perfect consecration is around +20% to unity and spiritualist and +10% amenities when all three are declared, but it depends greatly on what kind of real estate you are willing to declare sacred and off limits. Your notion that this perk is something only potentially useful, and then only to tall builds, couldn't be further from the truth. Now, whether one wants to spend a perk to gain unity, amenities, and spiritualist attraction in the first place is another question, but if one does, this perk delivers in spades. Wide spiritualist empires love this perk.

3) Arcology project.. Really? REALLY? Arguably the single most powerful ascension perk in the game for how it transforms the economy if you don't conquer Fen Habbanis, and certainly the most powerful one of those that involve construction or planetary changes, is "rarely used"? I'm not one to consider it a no-brainer and must-have like some in this forum, but if you've got Megacorp and thus access to this perk and truly believe that it is seldom worth taking and that thus it is rarely used by players, your judgment is deeply suspect.
 
Last edited:

Dustman

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Tier 0 Options - Generic - Ranked
1. Interstellar Dominion - Should almost always be first selection. Saves a significant amount of influence especially the wider you play.
2. Xeno-Compatibility - Great once you have multiple species on each planet for growth boost and good with lots of migration treaties.
3. Executive Vigour - Significant bonus to edict duration. Weak early as you rarely have influence to use edicts. Can be strong later on if expansion slows and you have some influence to put into edicts.
4. Technological Ascendancy - Decent research boost useful throughout the game.
5. One Vision - Decent unity boost and governing ethics attraction can help with happiness and faction influence generation.
6. Mastery of Nature - Weak early but can be useful late game for more max districts especially if you have lots of planets with low max districts. Cheaper clear blocker saves a little bit of energy but is pretty minor.

Tier 0 Options - Specialized
- Voidborne - Only get if you are going to focus on building habitats.
- Nihilistic Acquisition - Only get if you are going to play very aggressively and steal pops from enemies rather than outright conquering them. Can be pretty strong. Allows you to use bombardment to abduct pops instead of killing them.
- Universal Transactions - Only get if you are committed to branch offices and have lots of potential commercial pacts.
- Consecrated Worlds - Rarely useful. Costs influence to use decision and gives pretty marginal bonuses to only 3 planets. Maybe useful in some kind of tall unity build.
- Shared Destiny - Rarely useful. Maybe can save some influence if you are going a mass subject integration strategy.
- Transcendent Learning - Rarely useful. Only useful if you need to increase max leader level.

General
1. Intersellar Dominion is not as useful. You will get some discounts early game, but, unless you claim every single enemy system, won't do much later. Occasional homeworld claiming can be done w/o discount no problem.
2. Effectively adds 20% growth while cluttering specie interface and almost prohibiting you from effective bioengineering.
3. One of the best picks through whole game, significantly increasing duration of both edicts, campaigns and ambitions. Early game it can turn staggering economy into powerhouse. Especially nice for a tall player or vassalizing conqueror.
4-5. Niche. While not bad in themselves, mediocre RoI. If you avoid Megastructures, can pick one of these, but mostly it's waste.
6. See other comments. As a conqueror grabbing every single system, you won't have use for it, but for somebody with fewer systems it's very nice, leading to much better developed systems which provide basic resources and massive advanced output.

Specialized
Last four are pretty much useless. Consecrated Worlds can be fun if you start near Spiritualist FE, and that's only use I can see for it.
Voidborne depends completely on playstyle. Check forum discussion on habitats and megastructures to see if it's for you. Personally I like it for (semi)tall playstyle.
Nihilistic Acquisition is great. Fewer well developed worlds are better than many empty, and here NA shines. Extremely nice for a vassilizing conqueror.
 

Dustman

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A typical outcome with good but not perfect consecration is around +20% to unity and spiritualist and +10% amenities when all three are declared, but it depends greatly on what kind of real estate you are willing to declare sacred and off limits.

...making it much better than One Vision and Art Monument decision combined. Still, it's rather niche.
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Empire wide amenities if that wasnt clear. All sources, everywhere, getting multiplied.
Yep, said so, but possible to miss in my word-salad.

Since I love playing spiritualist/unity builds, I was so shocked by the ignorant dismissal of Consecrated Worlds that I rambled on a bit more than necessary. It certainly isn't top tier given the competition, but for spiritualist builds in general, some unity builds, and more generally if you start next to a fallen holy empire and thus easy access to three tier4 gaia consecrations, definitely worth considering.

Edit: just to make clear as reading what I wrote I can see it can be misunderstood, spiritualist is a requirement for the perk, nobody else gets to play around with it. And if you are playing spiritualist but not going high unity AND not starting near holy FE, then while a useful perk, you may well choose to pass it up without further consideration. But if either of the two are true, you should at least consider picking it.
 
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Peter Ebbesen

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...making it much better than One Vision and Art Monument decision combined. Still, it's rather niche.
It certainly is. But within its niche (spiritualist, unity build or starting next to holy FE), it is good and often worth taking despite competing with strong general-purpose perks without it being so powerful that it feels mandatory within that niche, and that's exactly what I want niche perks to be. :)
 
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Archael90

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@redrum68
I recommend correcting the subject, following the hints in the comments, this will help the next readers :)
 

Kryndude

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Here's the best general purpose perk tree; Executive Vigor - Bio or Psi ascension - Acrology - advanced ascension - whatever you like including megastructures. I personally try to take everything that unlocks new feature cuz they're the most fun. Tech and unity bonus perks are mediocre at best.

Oh and you should take synth if you want more challenge. Especially in terms of micro.
 

LeanneKaos

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Note that Gestalts do not get access to some of these perks at all. Unsure about hive minds, but I know Machines do not get the following:
Ascension Paths
Xeno-Compatibility
One Vision
Consecreated Worlds
Arcology Project
 

Dustman

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Here's the best general purpose perk tree; Executive Vigor - Bio or Psi ascension - Acrology - advanced ascension - whatever you like including megastructures. I personally try to take everything that unlocks new feature cuz they're the most fun. Tech and unity bonus perks are mediocre at best.

Oh and you should take synth if you want more challenge. Especially in terms of micro.

I pretty much agree, but Arcology is bit hard if you can't resettle.
 

Dustman

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It certainly is. But within its niche (spiritualist, unity build, or starting next to holy FE), it is good and often worth taking despite competing with strong general-purpose perks without it being so powerful that it feels mandatory within that niche, and that's exactly what I want niche perks to be. :)

Btw, is it possible to see somewhere, beside planet itself, where the damn consecrated worlds are? It's bit of annoyance finding that barren world you consecrated a week ago, finishing couple of games in-between.
 

Urza1234

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Btw, is it possible to see somewhere, beside planet itself, where the damn consecrated worlds are? It's bit of annoyance finding that barren world you consecrated a week ago, finishing couple of games in-between.
Consecration is a modifier, so it should theoretically show up in the Expansion Planner I assume.

Other than that, you have to control the system to consecrate the world, which means you can rename it.
 

Dustman

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Consecration is a modifier, so it should theoretically show up in the Expansion Planner I assume.

Other than that, you have to control the system to consecrate the world, which means you can rename it.

You can consecrate gas giants, barren, frozen and toxic worlds. Not like they are very good for this, but early game it might be worth it ;)