Requesting: Higher IQ for my Economy

Methone

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So I'm playing a game in 3.2, and I haven't actually played a game in Stellaris for a while. So far I'm liking it, and I'm having fun; there's still a lot of things I'm not a fan of, but I finally feel the game's going in a good direction.

... that said. How the hell do I manage an empire? I'm playing my Honorbound Warrior bugs and I just cannot figure out what to do. I need so many Consumer Goods, so many Researchers to stay on parity, so much Admin Capacity to keep the Science costs down, but those all cost so many Consumer Goods, which cost so many Minerals, which in turn mean I'm getting less food... I'm good on alloys and energy, but everything else I'm constantly doing between +6 and in the red.

Am I missing something? What's the 'magic bullet' I need to fix my economy?
 

Talanic

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Setting up automatic trades with the market is helpful - however, the brief answer that I've seen thrown about is that it sounds like you're not doing badly. You don't want huge stockpiles and excesses of consumer goods, because those are resources that could have been put to use elsewhere.
 
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Methone

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Setting up automatic trades with the market is helpful - however, the brief answer that I've seen thrown about is that it sounds like you're not doing badly. You don't want huge stockpiles and excesses of consumer goods, because those are resources that could have been put to use elsewhere.
That's a bit relieving to hear, but I can't help but feel like there's no way that can be right; if I were managing my economy properly, surely I wouldn't be always at risk of plummeting into the red.
 

Stardance

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Tech boosts to production help. I agree though, it takes a bit of practice to get the balance right. At some point you start getting comfortably in the positives. Also production edicts can make things much easier.
 
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Incompetent

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That's a bit relieving to hear, but I can't help but feel like there's no way that can be right; if I were managing my economy properly, surely I wouldn't be always at risk of plummeting into the red.

Actually no, if you're running your economy efficiently you won't have much surplus in many of the goods, at least until you get into a mid-game economy.

To a first approximation, the purpose of the economy is to produce the two resources that ultimately decide games: science and alloys. (You also need surplus minerals to keep building infrastructure, and you do want some admin cap and unity as well, but let's keep it simple.) You need to decide how many of your pops to turn into researchers and metallurgists: it's not a free choice given limited building slots, mineral costs, build time and so on, but you do eventually decide. If you don't make very many, you'll have a slack economy where basic goods are abundant; if you make more, your economy will get tighter, first because your researchers and metallurgists are eating up input resources, and second because you've effectively pulled them off making those resources. Don't worry too much about the details of which of energy/minerals/food/CGs/gases/crystals/motes to make more of, as the market can sort out any minor imbalances here and there, but do pay close attention to how tight your economy is overall.

Having a slack economy feels good in the short term, and it's good for absorbing unexpected costs; but in the medium term, underinvestment in tech/alloys bad because you have less tech and/or you are less prepared for war. Tech, among other things, vastly increases the power and efficiency of your economy, so you have to see all those researchers as an economic investment, even if right now they are chewing up CGs and building slots. As for alloys/fleets, the actual use of them is quite intermittent, but when you do need a fleet, your whole game can hinge on whether or not that fleet is good enough to win the war. This is obviously true defensively: you need to do enough to avoid getting conquered. Offensively though as well, as things are now, Stellaris strongly rewards conquest, since once you win the war, the difficulties of integrating a bunch of alien colonies are limited and temporary compared to the lasting benefit of having more pops, colonies and space resources.

Overall, how tight you run your economy is a matter of experience. If you're a real beginner, you may not want to push it too hard (and play on easy settings so you can do this without getting attacked). More experienced players though run much tighter economies, to the point of being unsustainable on paper (e.g. propping everything up by selling minor artifacts, which are obviously a one-off windfall income), but the point is that it becomes sustainable when all that heavy investment in tech starts to pay off and/or they use the fleet to conquer enough stuff to keep it all going.
 
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prismaticmarcus

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if you're good on alloys and energy then you're fine. if push comes to shove (and it doesn't sound that bad, as others have said) you can sell alloys (as you'll usually get a high price) and bulk buy other things.
 

Methone

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So basically what I'm hearing is 'stay the course, keep teching, science will get you through'. And, well, that's a little worrying to hear because there is, on the other side of a Fanatic Purifier, a Hegemonic Imperialist with OVERWHELMING TECHNOLOGY, but I'll give it a shot. Just hope that when one of the two marauders bordering me goes Khan (No chance it'll be a third one, I'm not that lucky) I'll be ready.
 
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evilcat

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  • You can use lower living standards like basic or stratified economy (need authoritarian for that)
  • You can set monthly trades, especially minerals and CG. Actually you can buy with energy small amount of everything and it will be ok.
  • Generator Worlds + Capacity Overload is good, other basic edicts are also cool
  • Economy gets better with tech. You get easy +60% basic resources, and +1 +2 spec building.
  • You can pay alloy price for technology, crush your enemies, survey their debris, and hear lamentation of their pops
  • Admin cap... your really can ignore it for 100years, just build tech labs
  • Look for chokepoints, build the starbase there with shield distruptor and hangars. And park fleet nearby to reinforce.
  • You can have 2 defensive pacts up. Influence isnt that important after initial expansion. FP have no friends.
 
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Dragatus

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I'm good on alloys and energy, but everything else I'm constantly doing between +6 and in the red.

That's actually okay. Well, except for a lack of minerals as that will inhibit building. But food and CGs (consumer goods) are upkeep resources, you get no benefit from having a stockpile.

What you probably need to work on is pop efficiency. Basically, you want your planets to be specialized in order to get more out of each pop. You might also be lacking the resource bonus techs.
 
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Incompetent

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That's actually okay. Well, except for a lack of minerals as that will inhibit building. But food and CGs (consumer goods) are upkeep resources, you get no benefit from having a stockpile.

One tip I've heard is to set up a monthly buy order of 52 (I think?) minerals from the internal market. The reason is that at base prices, it's more efficient to hire Technicians and use the energy to buy minerals than to mine them yourself, and 52 is just low enough not to start moving the market price. This way you can have a healthy mineral surplus, while putting off for quite some time the point at which you need to start making mining worlds.

More generally, if you're not sure what basic resource to make, get more energy, as production is efficient and you can use it to buy everything else. Selling other resources to buy other things is usually less efficient, unless you have a surplus of those resources that isn't job-based (e.g. selling Zro you got from Zroni sites or selling excess food from starbase hydroponics bays). I don't recommend making alloys just to sell them, given all the resources and labour that goes into making them, although you can treat your alloy stockpile as an absolute last-resort reserve if you're not in imminent danger of war. At the other end, in the mid-game and later, if you have so much energy that you're approaching cap and don't know what to buy, adding more monthly gases/crystals/motes (whichever is cheapest) is probably the best option, as it's really important never to run out of them, and between the three you can store up an awful lot of value that can be sold in an emergency.

If you know a friendly AI, surplus food is probably the best resource for paying them (either in trade or as a bribe to improve relations), because the AI overvalues it beyond all economic rationale. At times you can get as much as 2 minerals per food in a bilateral trade with the AI, which is completely ridiculous when you consider the relative difficulty of production. This is another one of those "windfall" incomes that can sort you out in a pinch early on (it's not long-term viable because you are basically scamming the AI, making its economic development even weaker than it would otherwise be).
 
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Methone

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Want to thank people for the advice. It's a bit later in my game now - mid midgame - and I've pulled through, just like people said. I've got a few city worlds rocking, my admin cap's climbing, and my federation allies are living large.

... unfortunately I border an Assimilator that's beating the crap out of the 'Overwhelming technology Hegemonic Imperialist' I was worried about, and the Devouring Swarm just humiliated a Fallen Empire.
 
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