Stellaris 3.0.3 Open Beta Feedback Megathread

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MrFreake_PDX

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Hello Community!

MrFreake here with the prerequisite post-release Feedback Megathread! We’re all really happy to get Nemesis out to the community, and we’re really glad that most of you seem to be enjoying it.

We received some great community feedback from the AI Feedback Megathread from 2.8 release, and thought it would be a good idea to give players an organized way to present feedback on the updated pop growth changes introduced in the 3.0.3 Open Beta.

The objective here is to get population growth in a place where it feels better to players in the mid to late game. We appreciate all the hard work people have put into theorycrafting solutions to this issue, and we want to offer a structured place for the Community to offer their feedback on the current pop growth as it stands in the Steam 3.0.3 Open Beta.

#################################################################
######################### VERSION 3.0.3 ###########################
#################################################################

###################
# Balance
###################

* Increased the minimum growth of planets near the top of the logistic growth curve to 10% from 1%.
* Significantly reduced the effect of empire pops on the required growth of new pops to 0.25 from 0.5.
* Reduced the number of pops required to upgrade capital buildings to 10/25/50 from 10/40/80.
* Hive Worlds now also have +1 Spawning Drone job.
* Machine Worlds now also have +1 Replicator job. Resource Consolidation homeworlds begin with a blocker negating this extra job until removed.
* The Constructobot civic now also grants +1 Building Slot.
* Slave Processing Plants now also enable automatic resettlement for slaves on their planet, but reduce the rate at which the planet does so. (Which can be offset by Transit Hubs or other modifiers.)
* Ceramo-Steel Infrastructure and Durasteel Infrastructure technologies now also grant +25% Colony Development Speed.
* Increased the duration of the Prosperous Unification planet modifier to 20 years.
* Espionage related edicts that lowered operation difficulty now instead increase Codebreaking (which will still reduce difficulty, but will also have other benefits.)
* Replaced +10 Maximum Infiltration on Ruthless Competition and Shadow Council with +1 Codebreaking.
* The Criminal Syndicate civic now also grants +1 Codebreaking.
* Reduced the alloy discount of GDF ships to 25% but added an extra 10% discount to the resolution that expands the GDF.
* You can now no longer permanently lose your Aetherophasic Engine. However, losing control of it will wipe out all progress you had made in upgrading it.
* Slowed down purging by about 50%, as we have significantly fewer pops in the game now. The exception is Neutering, which has increased in speed from 500 months per pop to 10 months per pop.
* You now get four months' worth of their purge output every time a pop is purged via Forced Labor, Processing or Chemical Processing.
* Slowed down First Contact investigation times by about 50%.
* Ion Cannons, Perdition Beams, and Titan Lasers are now considered energy weapons and benefit from repeatable technologies.
* Reduced Criminal job effect on trade to -5 from -10.
* Rogue Servitor bio-trophy buildings now also increase Planet Capacity to compensate for the trophies within.
* Bio-Trophies now provide 1 Unity instead of 2, and 1% Complex Drone Output instead of 0.25%, but only provide any benefits when at or above 50% happiness.
* Increased the effect of the Rogue Servitor Expanded Breeding Program to 20% from 10%.
* Terminal Egress is now a black hole (which cannot be cracked)
* Resolution Extra Dimensional Exploration is now again a dangerous resolution (which lets you get the Unbidden a bit early)
* Medical Workers now also increase Organic Pop Assembly by 5%, and increase habitability by 2.5%
* Significantly reduced the up front energy cost of espionage operations.
* Increased the power of starbase reactors. Fully upgraded bastions should be better at actually using all their weapon slots.
* Espionage edicts unlocked by Quantum Hacking now also grant +10 Maximum Infiltration Level.
* Pops will not automatically resettle away from newly founded colonies until 5 years have passed, so your habitats will no longer have one worker flee before you can give them something to do.
* The Gather Information operation now also grants +5 Maximum Infiltration Level for 10 years, stacking with itself up to +20. (Continuing to perform the operation will restart the 10 year timer if it's at +20 Maximum Infiltration Level.)
* Espionage operations no longer gain 1 Insight no matter how bad the roll, contrary to what is stated on the UI. They now need a score of at least 2 to gain an insight. If the die rolls 10 and the score is below 2, an insight will still be gained to prevent operations from freezing entirely.
* Made Menace Rewards scale with the number of empires in game.
* Reverted the behavior that shipyards in occupied stations could be used to upgrade and build ships.

###################
# Performance and Stability
###################

* Optimised spawning the L-Gate to not freeze the game.
* Fixed CTD in opengl that might happen when kicked from an MP while empire selection screen is open.
* Further optimised yearly tick from assimilation.

###################
# UI
###################

* The Necrophage Chamber of Elevation description now explains why the jobs provided by that building may vary.
* Added a tooltip in diplomacy view for civics when you do not have sufficient intel to see them.
* Fixed some instances of text and UI overlap in the (become the) Crisis view for some languages.
* Appended assign and unassign tooltip to espionage asset in create espionage operation view.
* Added right click to unassign espionage asset in Espionage Operation view.
* The best species for a habitable planet is now shown in the galaxy view tooltip and not only in the system view tooltip.
* Added tooltips and hidden/disabled some UI elements to show that an occupied shipyards cannot be used.

###################
# AI
###################

* Fixed Lithoid Tree of Life AI not ever colonising or using the decision to transplant the Tree of Life to conquered planets
* Fixed AI reserving food for planetary decisions even though no decisions require food

###################
# Modding
###################

* Trigger has_population_control and has_migration_control are now no longer simple booleans, but follow the format of has_colonization_control instead.
* Added intel_effects_surveyed attribute to country type for handling intel system toggle surveyed/unsurveyed planet status, was previously handled by the primitives attribute.
* has_intel trigger now works.
* Added dissolve_alliance effect.
* Fixed on_first_contact_stage_1_no_path using the wrong scope.
* Fixed a crash if you used an invalid starbase design in create_starbase; added error logging instead.
* join_war and join_war_on_side effects no longer allows you to join a war if you're already at war against one of the war participants and will log an error if it is attempted.
* "From" in the "active" trigger of resolutions now refers to the target, if valid.
* Added galactic_emperor and galactic_custodian scope changes.
* Added an "effect" field to declare_war effect.
* Menace rewards can now have modifiers to scale the reward.
* Added should_remove_response_message_when_not_possible property for diplomatic actions, to remove response messages of the diplo action type if the possible check fails.

###################
# Bugfixes
###################

* Organic Pop Assembly now respects population controls.
* Fixed cases where destroying an empire through war would not grant you the Menace from Destroy Empires.
* Fixed various error log messages relating to Crisis Objectives, along with several edge cases where the rewards were not granted when they should have been.
* Fixed an issue where Galactic Community resolution categories would not be hidden if they contain targeted resolutions that there are no valid targets for.
* Fixed an issue where the acceptance breakdown for diplomatic actions was available even if you didn't have sufficient intel.
* Fixed an issue where an already proposed Galactic Community resolution could be passed even if not all of its conditions were fulfilled.
* Fixed scripted trigger scope validation.
* Fixed scripted effect scope validation.
* Fixed an issue where it was not possible to invite others to a federation if you were a Custodian while a crisis was ongoing.
* Systems previously made visible no longer become unknown when your intel on a country is too low.
* Fixed tooltip of active operation in spy network view to show the operations modifiers and not only the spy networks.
* Fixed an issue where the capital location of special empires, such as the caravaneers, would not be revealed after establishing communication.
* Fixed long tooltip for war goal to close branch offices if they have multiple branch offices in your borders.
* Increased chance for Auto-Research to pick certain strategic techs.
* Fixed it being possible for the Caravaneers to request one of your systems when they lost theirs even if you have never met the Caravaneers.
* Fixed an issue where tooltips mentioning joining a war would sometimes be missing empire names and be oddly formatted.
* Fixed it being impossible to repeal the Pax Galactica.
* Fixed an issue where the name of your ally wouldn't be displayed in a notification when joining a war as the Galactic Imperium ruler.
* Made ketling country intel not affecting their planets surveyed status for other empires.
* Fixed so aggressive stance does not trigger the wrong animation state to be set on ships.
* Fixed edge cases where the event to prompt you to consider first contact protocols happened quite late.
* Fixed cases where event rewards granting progress in a technology would not save that as a permanent research option.
* Fixed an issue in the diplomacy view where the Closed Borders icon would also appear when you were the one that had closed borders to the other empire.
* Fixed some scripted localization functions in German.
* Fixed some minor intel leaks when finding out why you cannot make a pact with an Inwards Perfectionist country, and similar.
* Fixed base value for upkeep/production/cost sometimes missing in tooltip.
* Fixed excessive and unhelpful messages upon completion of a Galactic Rebellion (whether it fails or succeeds).
* Fixed an issue where the Fleet Manager showed that Federation and Galactic Defense Force fleets had command limits.
* Fixed an instance of a broken event title when an Aetherophasic Engine has been destroyed.
* Unemployed Lithoids will no longer move back to a Doomed homeworld through auto-migration, even if there *are* plenty of good jobs and housing available. (can_planet_receive_auto_migration added to Game Rules.)
* Purging a pop now gives Menace even if the pop runs away to another empire.
* Updated Cradle of Life event text to account for intel levels.
* Fixed an issue where Galactic Defense Force ship sizes would just be shown as '(GDF) Name' when adding a design to a fleet in the Fleet Manager.
* Corrected an event option which follows a successful completion of Operation Sabotage Starbase. If an opportunity to also destroy a Defense Platform arises, this action will no longer consume (or attempt to consume) a Military Asset on the relevant Spy Network. Also corrected a minor grammatical error.
* Aggressive stance set on a transport fleet is now reapplied to it after an invasion is completed.
* Fixed it being impossible to abduct pops to Necrophage purge them once their species is already set to Undesirables who are to be Necrophaged.
* Winning a Crisis vassalisation war no longer gives an additional notification that the war ended because the opponent was vassalized.
* Fixed strange occurrences when a starbase is reconstructed on the monthly tick when fighting a Wipe them Out war and the system has multiple colonies of which the assailant only controls some.
* Changing species rights of a cyborg/psionic species now works properly, instead of using the species rights requirements of the base species.
* Added scrollbar to victory view summary to avoid text overflow.
* Fixed First Colony event firing (with inappropriate text) when settling Tomb and Relic worlds.
* Modifiers from Crisis perks now show up with names.
* Further fixes to Finders Keepers event.
* Planet colonizations that can never be finished will now be properly aborted on a monthly basis.
* Fixed a broken First Contact notification in Brazilian Portuguese
* Fixed an integer overflow in border distances where if two countries had no possible connections they would have 1000 reasons to be your vassal (mainly happening in modded games)
* Modifiers from Relics should show up properly.
* Fixed a bug where if you captured the Aetherophasic Engine in a Total War, it would not be destroyed (and would carry on any in-progress upgrade)
* Fixed ownerless megastructures not cancelling upgrades
* The area of the envoy portrait in the envoy selection view should be correctly clickable.
* Determined Exterminators, Fanatic Purifiers and Devouring Swarms now remain true to their purity ideology, and may no longer adopt lost Space Amoebae.
* Fixed the event for establishing communications with Caravaneers inappropriately referring to them by their pre-comms code name.
* Fixed excessive rounding on species rights indicator for speed of purging.
* Fixed an error which would prevent Operation Arm Privateers from successfully spawning a Privateer fleet inside a valid target empire.
* Fixed a typo in the purging code that meant that you could have negative progress in purging the month after a pop is purged.
* Fixed Contingency worlds wiped out by Star Eaters not counting as destroyed.
* Fixed a large number of events, particularly in espionage, where failing to account for gender-neutral Plantoids and Fungoids would cause mistakes in English grammar. In other words, occurrences of "they is" are now correctly rendered "they are".
* Grammar fixes for descriptions of the "Master's Teachings" edicts.
* Fixed oddities when a Machine Uprising is given a planet that is under colonisation.
* Fixed Hive Worlds not getting the full benefit from Food Processing Centers.
* Fixed some typos in German.
* Acceptance breakdown is now hidden when proposing diplomatic actions if intel level is not high enough.
* Fixed it being possible to pass most of the Custodian and Imperial Resolutions multiple times when they were already active.
* Fix for crash on destruction of the last planet of the Galactic Custodian.
* Fixed the Unbidden Crisis' dimensional portals and anchors being destroyed by Star Eaters.
* Fixed a bug with being unable to survey an anomaly in foreign territory.
* The Imperial Crusade resolution can no longer be proposed against Fallen Empires or Awakened Empires.
* If two countries reach crisis level 5, the Galactic Community will now correctly declare war on both.
* The very first pop colonizing a planet will no longer feel strangely compelled to abandon their duties to go work in that... Odd Factory.
* Fixed the final event in the Cybrex precursor chain firing at the wrong time.
* Fixed typo in Nemesis Main Theme name in the music player.
* Fixed bug when fleet icon appears far away from ships.
* Removed some event script that was deprecated four years ago.
* Robots can no longer be acquired as assets unless the targeted empire has unlocked droids
* Megastructure icon is now shown on the galaxy map for L-gate systems.
* Fixed bug when fleet icon appears far away from ships.
* Fixed scopes in "Caravaneers: Local Franchise" event so that the event text correctly refers to the country rather than the species.
* Fixed an issue where brain slugs would not impact colony stability as intended
* If the initiator fails to win an Imperial Crusade, the resolution is no longer left active into perpetuity
* Fixed cases where the Galactic Community would fail to declare war on the empire Becoming the Crisis because the potential war leader was already at war with them. The crisis is now removed from all wars with Galactic Community members, and a new war is created.
* Fixed various oddities where passing the resolution to Declare a Crisis by vote would lead to federation members of the newly-declared crisis fighting against them (despite remaining federation members). They will now support the Crisis in this case (note: countries reaching Crisis Level 5 will continue to not keep their federation allies).
* Fixed an issue where if the galactic community declared war on one country as the Crisis, and then passed the resolution to declare a subsequent country the Crisis, various issues would ensure e.g. the war ending immediately, or the Galactic Community's leader having to face the crisis alone without the members to back it up.
* Fixed tooltip for why you can't replace a building saying there were too few pops.
* Fixed the confirmation message for commercial pacts and research agreements showing the information on their benefits reversed.
* Fixed an issue where Extradimensional Exploration would not let Gestalts learn about Zro.
* The Superconductive robot trait no longer requires Droid technology since Robots can now work Technician jobs.
* Fixed certain First Contact stages getting stuck and never progressing
* Neutronium Armor will now properly upgrade to Dragonscale Armor.
* Fixed it being possible to target Genocidal empires with the Imperial Crusade. Better just Declare Crisis on them...
* Sapient robots like Synthetics (including those created Synthetic Ascension) can now utilize the auto-migration system. AI Servitude policies will restrict their migration as if they were slaves (in which case they will relocate if a Slave Processing Plant exists on the planet).
* Fixed Mistaken for Food espionage random event permanently stopping the operation's progress
* Envoy Substance Abuse events can now no longer happen for gestalts either as the source of the envoy or the source of the substances)
* Fixed the confirmation message for commercial pacts and research agreements showing the information on their benefits reversed (simplified statement)
* Fixed Menacing ships not displaying weapon models properly.
* Spawned Star-Eaters now use correctly-dimensioned thruster components.
* A Galactic Custodian or Galactic Emperor will now always be able to propose Council resolutions, even if the Council has been abolished.
* Replaced references to 'Spy Power' in trigger localisation, instead referring to a spy network's 'Infiltration Level'.
* Fixed Mercantile diplomatic stance being visible to Gestalt Consciousness empires, taunting them with the tantalizing yet impossible promise of internal trade.
* Wrong advisor voice is removed from available ones for the case when a planet is successfully invaded.
* Vassals created by the Galactic Sovereign no longer get the Galactic Sovereign civic
* Espionage operation asset category icons now show tooltips with category names.
* The Pax Galactica is now correctly binding on the Emperor
* Notifications for refused peace offers are now properly removed when a war has ended.
* Some country modifiers that were removed much too slowly should now be removed faster.

We will continue to fix some more issues internally and update the beta branch as needed until we are happy with a final product that we can release sometime at a later date. This Open Beta will only be available on Steam.

Once again, we are looking for directed, constructive feedback on the current pop growth mechanic as it stands in 3.0.3 [1d63] Beta without mods. There is a thread for open discussion here.

What we are looking for:

  • Feedback on your playthrough from the 3.0.3 [1d63] Open Beta, specifically regarding the new pop growth mechanics.
  • The feel of pop growth rates in the early, mid, and late game.
  • The abundance of jobs in the early, mid, and late game.
  • Production levels in the early, mid, and late game.
  • The value of specialized planets including Ecumenopoleis and Ring Worlds in the late game.

Not Useful replies
  • Do not reply to other users. Reply to other users in the discussion thread here. Encourage them to change their mind and edit their post, in the discussion thread. Be nice with your comments and replies in the discussion thread. Did I mention the discussion thread?
  • Your perception of the changes, without actually playing the open beta, this includes loading a save game, and checking pop growth speed and then offering feedback
  • Other game issues not related to pop growth/production/pop jobs
  • Posts attacking the Stellaris team members
  • Off topic/Not applicable posts will be removed.
  • Feedback from playthroughs using checksum changing mods. (Ie. UI/graphics mods are fine)

To opt-in to the Steam open beta branch, right-click Stellaris, click Properties, Beta tab, and choose “Stellaris_test” from the drop-down.

Please only reply to this thread once, with your feedback on the Pop Growth changes in the 3.0.3 Open Beta without mods and after playing the new version.

We thank you all for your patience while we iron out the pop growth mechanics in Stellaris 3.0!
 
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Ketrai

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Still testing, but I can see three possible issues weren't really adressed.

1. pop growth cost for machines. At some point, especially as an assimilator, or a rogue servitor. It's just not worthwhile to keep producing robot pops en masse, due to a high alloy cost. Those alloys are better used conquering other empires for their pops, which are free! Rogue servitors also eventually struggle but in a different way, as capturing masses of organics isn't always beneficial... While robot production still gets slowed down and gets more costly, causing forge bots to grow more and more inefficient as time goes on.

2. Having higher codebreaking, max infiltration level, or any kind of espionage focused civics could make it faster to actually gain infiltration. Instead infiltration just gets progressively more difficult. Technological advantage, save for a few exceptions, only allows for a higher infiltration level without speeding it up at all. It's hard to swallow that one's super advanced spy race takes just as long as the slow, witless space rock race to infiltrate another species.

3. Cannot see how many pops an enemy empire has without really high infiltration level. Even if you can see every one of their planets, click them individually, and garner how many pops there are in the entire empire by counting the individual planet population totals. This feels like an oversight. Other than that, it also feels a bit weird having to require 90-100 infiltration to see the exact amount of pops someone has. You'll have a quicker idea just how large their armada is before you know about common demographics. It's not even that useful information from a tactical point of view.

4. Pop growth doesn't stagnate as quickly, all growth limiters have been cut in half, basically. (2x slower growth at 200 pops is now sitting on 400 pops, and 3x is sitting on 800) But it will still eventually stagnate. And makes empires who refuse to do conquest feel needlessly weak, especially later-game. Production is mostly the same thanks to the big bonuses granted by technology. If anything, there needs to be either a more in-depth rework to game mechanics related to pops, or late game alternatives to using pops for production. You still still only have one science nexus, pops are far better at producing science late game. That, and those are DLC features, meaning anyone without megastructures will feel themselves limited in the lategame, unless the growth modifier per pop is exceptionally low, thus undoing most of the rework...

(I know this mentions other features than just pop growth, but seeing as infiltration was touched in this beta I felt like it's valid enough to mention? Feel free to tell me if I'm wrong)
 
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Sedrel

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i also loaded a savegame to see what happened and played some years.

pop growth is still way to slow (800 pops still increase cost to 300 which means 3 times the cost than before not 6 times like before the fix), and migration treaty is way to powerful. Gestalt and Puryfiers have still no chance to keep up to robot empires with migration. in my opinion 0.1 or 0.05 growth multiplier would be acceptable, but still would lead to the same problem. Even the idea of backwater planets do not work since pop cost there is still also increasing so massivly that you need to settle people there to get access to more assembly jobs.
 
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Inane_Newt

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I play on huge galaxies with max habitable worlds, I have a good machine. A typical population for my games tends towards 10k by the end. With the .5 penalty, population growth screeched to a halt at about 450, with .25 it screeched to a halt at about 900(conquering other empires gets you above this number, but there is essentially no new population growth for any new worlds you colonize, which there are a lot of new worlds left to colonize), but these are unplayable low numbers for this setup

The formula has no accounting for the max population capacity of the galaxy, which is a major and fatal flaw.

I modified the number to .02 and I at least get to the point of the game where the galaxy is subdued under my thumb before the lack of population growth renders 90% of the game moot. Perhaps that is ok, as the game is decided and I just need the crisis to spawn, but at the very least the formula has to take into account the size and habitability of the galaxy. Though why should a small galaxy ever notice this growth penalty is beyond me, as it exists as an artificial performance fixer, it should just be an option to set at setup.

Or maybe just come up with a better fix, perhaps to start decreasing pop growth on worlds that are 80% of current capacity, decreasing the growth until it stops at 100% housing used, thus players control their own pop growth and can limit it when it would start impacting performance by not providing any new housing. Perhaps with some of the lost growth being pushed into immigration.
 
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cacik79

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Despite the reduced penalty, pop growth still seems to be slow and insufficient.

I am not going to talk about what the penalty does to late game habitats and ring worlds. (Because they are literally impossible to fill if you don't resettle.)

Even in the early game it effects a lot.
I personally like this idea of reduced pops mid - late game but it doesn't feel right to receive this penalty on the first day of the game.
 
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King Harkinian

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I already didn't mind the pop growth before the beta. Not needing to constantly go through my list of 30 planets to build new buildings in the late game was a welcome change of pace. I don't think a rollback on that was really needed.

However, I did mind my planets not filling up, and my building slots being empty because there's no point building anything. And that still becomes an issue now, just later on than before.

Rather than give us more pops, it would be better if planets simply had fewer available districts on average and fewer jobs per building. This would make planets feel more full even with fewer pops, while making Ecus and Ringworlds useful again.

I also didn't like in 3.0 that despite the fewer pops, the economy and especially technology still snowballs exponentially, and with the beta, we now get more pops AND they keep their boosted productivity per pop from 3.0, making the problem even worse. I feel like there's a total disconnect on this topic between the developers and the way the game is actually played. The game by default ends at 2500, but by 2300 we are already almost done with the tech tree and getting new techs every other month. Not just veteran players - even first-time players I've played with after 3.0 have this happen. Yes, we can set the Endgame Start to 2300 and turn up tech costs, and that's what I'm doing, but shouldn't the game be balanced for the default settings? Plus, turning up tech costs just means that we'll get techs extremely slowly in the early game, only to snowball into one every other month again by the late game. The costs of technology(and traditions, too) need to grow more exponentially, or we need to get less research. Making Research Labs give only 1 researcher job by default would be a start. That would also encourage upgrading the buildings again, which is currently pointless as it's cheaper to just build another Research Lab, it's not like we're using all the building slots anyway aside from on a couple of core planets.

I guess my main issue is that the fixes so far seem to only aim to placate people who hated having fewer pops, without actually taking game balance into consideration at all. We now get more pops again, but they also still produce just as much as before, so everything just gets even easier than it already was. There's never any risk of economic struggle, it's just relentless growth whatever we do. Got a massive deficit on Consumer Goods? Doesn't matter, you'll have thousands of useless Strategic Resources to sell on the market to buy what you need, and probably hundreds of Minerals per month anyway, so just plop down some Industrial Districts and it'll be fixed in a jiffy. There's just TOO MUCH of every kind of income. Please make the economy actually an interesting challenge to manage.

EDIT: Also, the empire-wide penalty needs to scale with galaxy size, and there need to be more penalties for conquest and pop stealing in order to make them not objectively the best choice at all times. I'm sure others will cover those aspects in more detail though.
 
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Tbh, I think this will do it. We might be able to fill the planets little better now.
Half is better than I hoped for. That rubber band effect really sucked, the better you did the harder the game pulls you back.
 
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The pop growth of your empire is an essential part of the game. From the beginning and in every version of the game the growth of planets and pops was an important thing. The empire growth penalty makes no sense from a gameplay and obviously is only technical orientated.

Maybe it would be a better solution for the performance of the game to reduce the details of pops instead of the number, organize them in groups or stuff. I mean in Victoria 2, there are thousands of provinces with several pop groups in every province and there weren't performance issues.
 
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Yeah, this makes parts of the game less painful, but ultimately all the same problems exist. Assembly feels awful, and conquest is incredibly powerful to the exclusion of everything else. Also, bonuses to housing usage interact with the system in a weird and counterintuitive way.

But by far the biggest problem is the insane amount of micro you need to do now to maximize pop growth. You can't fix this by tweaking multipliers, it's baked into how housing and logistical pop growth interact. It's hugely tiresome, and it really makes no sense that you have to have tons of empty city districts to grow (even if your pops have housing use reduction, which doesn't get factored in at all). The fact that solitary pops are better than communal ones for carrying capacity is nuts. Ditto for the fact that a rural world with tons of free housing and free jobs will develop slower than an urban world with lots of housing and no jobs.

I don't get why you're so committed to this vision for the game, honestly. If it's just about slowdown, I have to believe there are better ways to address is without making the game so much more tedious for everyone with a computer that could run the game.

Otherwise it's a problem in search of a solution.
 
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So my thought's on the beta.

Pro's:
-good addition that unemployed pops resettle only after 5 years

-like the small, specialized additions to pop resource production like giving medical workers bonus to planet habitability. Makes them more special and giving them a more "realistic" depth. Keep those coming.


Con's:

-Some weird framedrops early game that didnt happen before.

-50% cut of purging speed is too much imo

-Pop growth still too slow. I feel it still even in early game. Its a bit faster but its just wrong.

So let's add a quick note about the whole pop cap empire wide. PLEASE STOP FORCING changes like these on the playerbase. The pop cap is just a bad mechanic overall. Make it optional to begin with but beside that it's no secret that the overall pop system needs a lot of tweaking and just capping the population mid to late game is no perfomance "fix". Even with halving the cap penalty it's just too gamebreaking and killing a lot of fun for players that want to play the "gigantic, ultra empire" or many, many other playstyles. Stellaris is a galactic 4X game, freedom of choice for the playerbase is key. So stop destroying entire playstyles for many players by these changes.

Endnote:

I thank you guys a lot for the quick and decisive respond to the feedback and that you were willing to push out a beta just a few days after the patch.
Huge respect and hugs to the stellaris developers but please dont forget where stellaris comes from. Remove or make the empire wide pop growth cap atleast optional.
The population perfomance issues should be your number one priority so that we shouldn't even have this entire conversation about the pop cap :D

Thank you guys and keep up the good work.


edit: forgot one point.
 
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We need some form of permanent pop consolidation mechanic. My idea is to allow pops to change itself in to "Superpops" - based on a level of capital buildings.
Pop growth on more populated planets will not create new pops, but will turn 1 normal pop in to 1 "2x pop"
1. Reassembled Ship Shelter - will not allow changing
2. Planetary Administration - will allow changing normal pops in to "2x pops"
3. Planetary Capital - will allow changing "2x pop" in to "3x pop"
4. System Capital-Complex - will allow changing "3x pop" in to "4x pop"

This method will keep effective pop count on the same level all game. This should also reduce late game pop micromanagement, at cost of some generalisation and more difficult job management (One 4x Superpop will take 4 jobs, or reduce it by number of 3).
 
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First, I like the idea of a soft cap on pop growth and S-curve - makes the galaxy feel more realistic with a focus leaning towards quality over quantity. But current implemenation brings two major problems.

Imo, current changes make only one thing better:

- growth feels a bit less stagnating at late game

But:

- pops grow faster from mid game, so at late game you just have more pops but still with little growth

So the problems remain:

1. filling ring worlds and ecum is still not that fun

2. conquest is still required - an empire built only on its colonized worlds will be significantly weaker than empire doing conquest (it may or should be weaker but not by that much)

What can potentially be done imo to help this "conquest is required situation" and "I cant fill my ringworlds" quickly, etc.:

1. make the pop growth also be reduced (our pop cost increase) with the number of colonized planets. This is even realistic as 1000 people on 10 newly colonized planets (100 per planet) cant grow 5 times faster than 1000 pops on just one new planet. The overall penalty to pop cost from pops can even be reduced then.

- this shouldn't be a five times penalty (from planets), otherwise colonozation becomes unnecessary, but some penalty may allow an empire with smaller number of more developped planets to be competitive with a larger empire with more planets that are less developped (given that developped planets are more efficient)

2. Make ringworlds/ecum reduce empire pop cost and/or increase pop growth bonus applied by an s curve until they are filled to a certain extent

- in ideal situation smaller empire with less pops and planets should be able to fill ecum/ring world at relatively the same speed as a larger empire, negating the difference between their power in the late game further

- this may further improve the viability of peacefully developped empires. They may still be less powerfull/less populated than an empire that conquered a couple of others but the force disparity may be much smaller

Overall I think the major problem is not the speed of growth, but it affects small/large empire balance. Conquest should not be required for growth, to make both (peacefull and conquest) options viable a smaller empire should grow faster naturally. And ecum/ring worlds may provide empire growth buffs to make them usefull for both types, more for peacefull oprions, less for conquest option.

Espionage:

- The reduction in cost is nice and should stay
- But we should fill the difference/understand that espionage investment is worth smth in the end . The effects are just not that significant to bother even with such low cost. Increase % of tech gained? Starbase gets -50% damage on success? A couple of smear campaigns and fed disbands?
- If the effects are improved for the purpose of counterbalance - may be at some encryption differential an empire may just be made immune to espionage?

Districts:

- the idea of pre-building city districts (and having immense unwanted housinig) to get building slots is still counterintutive (not yet touched in the patch, but nevertheless)
- may be just first city and say two other districts will unlock new building slots?
- the rest can be obtained through planet capital upgrades (just increase the number of new districts unlocked in such a way)
 
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I'm also still testing, but I'd like to reiterate the thoughts as follows:

1. Population penalty being strictly a function of global Empire pop is impossible. I strongly believe that there must be a planetary modifier or mitigation to the current state that says this new, extremely empty planet currently undergoing extreme property development cannot have new population because I have 10 planets on the side that has 100 population each. I know that local population and planet capacity does provide such bonuses, but this does not resolve the 400 cost per pop growth problem. One possible suggestion is to have the cost per pop also be a function of a mix of local and global modifiers, and crank up internal migrations such that while population grows normally on the new planet, any additional growth is "taken" from the existing planets in the form of internal migration penalties such that the rapid growth in new planets strongly deters pop growth in already developed planets.

2. Due to pops having become impossibly more valuable than before (esp. because of the economical re-balances), trade has become meaningless. The "optimal" way to manage regular Empires is to ban all clerk jobs and instead switch amenity, unity, and consumer goods gain into specialist jobs instead. I do not believe this is intended behavior from Paradox and would encourage a second look on the balance of trade, because I previously greatly enjoyed trade mechanics and am saddened that attempting this play style will inevitably mean your empire will fall behind simply because clerks are not as valuable as other types of pops, and you can no longer push past this barrier through numbers.

3. Somewhat unrelated, but previously when you modified pops to a better state they would simply stop growing the lesser pop genome. For whatever reason, in this patch the lesser genomes persist in 2/3/4 numbers, and it takes an enormous numbers of gene modding to actually wipe out the remnants where before once, and maybe twice to take out the stragglers were enough. Perhaps see if anything changed here?

Thanks as always for your brilliant work. For whatever problems the new pop system caused, Nemesis as an overall has been exceptionally enjoyable.
 
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The new pop growth mechanic is interesting. I like the idea, but the implementation seems lacking. And I dont have a perfect solution.

One point I want to bring up is that colonizing planets no longer seems to be inherently better than not colonizing. Not neccesarily a bad thing, but what it leads to is empires no longer benefit from organically growing their pops. It's just WAY faster, easier, and cheaper to just conquer another empire and absorb their pops.

I noticed this issue in stephon anon's playthrough on youtube. He vassalized two ai empires and annexed them. The result was an easy tripling of his population while other players fell behind so hard and he snowballed to an easy victory.

Peaceful players seem to be at an inherent disadvantage even more now. Non expansionstic players have always been at a disadvantage, but it seems even worse now. Annexing players is significantly better than growing your pops.

One solution may be is adding a peace time growth modifier. The longer you have not declared war on someone or annexed a player, the larger the modifier. Or maybe it's not an increase percentage but something that reduces the negative modifier of having more pops in your country.

Also, another solution I thought of is having two separate base modifiers to growth. The first modifier is the planetary modifier and its base growth per month is maybe 2. While second base modifier is the empire wide pops where having more pops in general leads to a lower value. You would have to roll back the other decision that more pops in an empire raises the neccesary amount of growth. So on a planet, it always has a base growth of two and on a fresh game the other base growth from empire pops is 2 as well for a total of 4 base growth on a planet. As pops continue to grow, the second base modifier reduces to 0 eventually leaving your fresh planets to only have a base modifier of 2. Itll still grow, but no as fast.

I've seen other solutions such as simply reducing the number if jobs on a planet so planets can fill up faster. I like that idea as well.

But my main cause of concern is just how much better it is to conquer another empire, absorb their pops, and double or triple your popation; instead of organically growing your pops yourself. Growing pops for a non expansionist empire should be a Possibility
 
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I really think that instead of a wide empire modifier for the pop
You should put a modifier for each planets
When a planet reach like 75% of it's full housing capacity, the pop growth decrease and so on that when it reach 100%, the pop barely grows.
That would be a good way to fix the over pops without nerfing the pacifist empire that doesn't rely on conquer to get pops.
 
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All these changes are welcome. But you need to balance how every empire obtain new POPs now. They are stronger playstyles by far.

Maybe you can increase the number of refugees when there is a war. Make the current conquered planets lose 50% of their population and turning them into refugees, and make Ecus and Ringworlds the perfect places to recieves these new pops.

So agressive empires grows (conquering) at the same level than pacifist empires (receiving refugees) and give some bonuses to fill preferently special planets (ecus, rinworlds...).


Expand migration and refugees mechanics

(You can even do that pops can flee their empires looking for another one which share their ethics in the future. ethics are not important now)
 
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fourteenfour

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Lets get silly with numbers to prove a point.

Pop assembly should not be affected by growth limits because you have no means to increase is. Base rate is +2 per month and Clone Vats hit +3

So if you consider that base growth cost is 100 that means it is 50 months and 100 alloys. The Clone Vat takes 34 months which is 1080 food. Machine Assembly rates are very odd, on my Assimilator specie I get all sorts of bonuses which means it can actually outstrip the organic pop growth rates.

When you have 560 pops your new assembled pops at 2 alloys each month cost as much as a battleship to produce but instead of 480 days to build that battleship you will spend 3600 days. 560/4 is 140 which added to 100 base cost means 240/2 or 120 months at two alloys each plus the energy cost and cost for not using the building for something productive

The true issue is the pop system is rotten at the core and no throttles at the empire level will fix it. You can effectively thwart what supposed savings the empire throttle gives by using max galaxy with max empires. suddenly there are too many pops! seriously, go multiply it all out.

if they truly want to reduce pop load on their system as designed they need to first start by reducing planet sizes. it they truly wanted to reduce calculation complexity then they would need to change how pops are even handled; there have been numerous examples on how to do that with simply multiplication


I just want game where pop growth feels natural at the colony level with no arbitrary illogical limit placed on my empire for "reasons".


Right now the only thing that saves Stellaris for me and this was true before this debacle is that we have modders with the skills necessary to fix Paradox when Paradox does not want to be fixed.
 
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GnoSIS

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O.25 is too low. I feel 0.5 was ok. The pop micro feels heavier now, 0.34 or 0.4 should be ok, but still a compromise, since on some systems the processing slowdown will be felt. And this is coming from someone who just upgraded his PC.

The game was never about filling the galaxy with pops. Mid to late game it should be about the galaxy and pops that are *already* there, giving a sense of time acceleration and evolution of the board and interaction with the existing pieces.

Realise that for those who complain, the only correct value is zero, because they wish to fill new planets, by colonising in the end game. I suggest you add a parameter on the game setup with a range of values.
 
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Joefesok

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Stealing pops is still very strong. The solution to this in my opinion is that any stolen pops- pops that are not purged but instead are permanently available to your empire- contribute .5 instead of the new .25 to your empire's growth penalty. You can either play around taking lots of pops and suffering from low growth rates (Determined Assimilators, Barbaric Despoilers) or you can grow your own. Maybe the special pop-stealing empire types should have the old .5 value baked in so that their pop stealing is even more emphasized.

Otherwise, the system is essentially fine. Building your economy takes some effort and planning now and feels a lot better than in 2.8, where you could do basically anything to end up with a very strong endgame economy.
 
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Valanoir

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So for starters I wanna say I think that if fixing late game performance isn't possible and this is the next best thing, thats totally cool and I'm fine with that since playability is most important imo! That being said, I'm fairly new and have been optimizing my play more and more (by watching stellaris vids and comparing how/what I'm doing and what they're doing) and the last game I played I was able to maintain a higher tech/pop (as ravenous swarm) than stefan in this video
up until he absorbed his first neighbor, boom he had 100-200 more pops than me... Np... Was still beating him in science... Then he absorbed the second empire... and completely blew me out of the water and there is no way for me to compete in pops. Conquering/raiding civs doesn't give me enough return on my investment to offset that if I'm raiding the pops I'm not growing the pops (on those systems) and if I'm conquering the planets are growing just as slow as the rest.

In short please, please give Ravenous Swarm (and other purge civics) some kind of increased growth mechanic to keep up with empires that can simply raid/conquer/absorb for more pops or apply harsher penalties to them for doing so. The balance of the game is extremely skewed atm.
 
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