Stellaris Dev Diary #192 : Perfectly Balanced, As All Things Should Be...

Stellaris Dev Diary #192 : Perfectly Balanced, As All Things Should Be...

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Hansatron

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it sounds like the galaxy as a whole will be a lot poorer than it is in the current patch due to the massive loss of labour... maybe increase the output of all jobs to remedy this? or is there another solution in mind?
They are adding a line of technologies that will greatly boost job output depending on the level of the capital building on a planet.
10 pops Capital and above: +10% output and upkeep
40 pops capital and above: +20% further output and upkeep (cumulative +30%)
80 pop capitals: +30 further output and upkeep (cumulative +60%)

Now, I think players have had a tendency to really get out of hand with their late game economies, so the overall reduction in output may be intended.
 
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-Marauder-

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I have some issues reconciling this perspective with how few years it takes from start to finish of a pop's assembly, as well as the premise that the organic pop assembly seemingly bypasses not just the normal gestation period but also the whole upbringing stage in life
Except, the same holds true for regular pops too. The time frame in which they grow is EVEN FASTER. This is the constraint of having this work inside a game versus "realism".


They are adding a line of technologies that will greatly boost job output depending on the level of the capital building on a planet.
10 pops Capital and above: +10% output and upkeep
40 pops capital and above: +20% further output and upkeep (cumulative +30%)
80 pop capitals: +30 further output and upkeep (cumulative +60%)

Now, I think players have had a tendency to really get out of hand with their late game economies, so the overall reduction in output may be intended.
No, they actually do not. People did the math on this. This does not "greatly increase" things. It's a minor increase when added on top of all the other ones which already exist. It does greatly increase the upkeep though. Making the economy at large vastly more inefficient. To the point where it's debatable whether one really wants to pick up these technologies.

If they greatly change the current status quo. This would make a balancing patch on everything necessary. From ship costs to upkeep costs to research costs, etc. As otherwise you would slow the game down to an extreme degree.
 
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Jarolleon

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I disagree. I feel like it invites a change in game play that is most welcome. Instead of rushing pops you now have to "lengthen the curve" by fighting the the growing number needed for a pop with growth boons in tech.

With colonies being able to split off and merged again after a little while, this severely increases the value of the Shared Destiny perk. It actually might become viable as a strategy.

It also increases the value of Nihilistic Aquisition or Barbaric Despoilers because you can keep alive enemy empires and harvest their pops every 10 years. Their decreased pop size will result in faster growth.

I'm all for game changes that bring out niches as actually viable options.
Growth rate falling with tech is a rather recent phenomenon though, 18th-20th century Europe and it's diaspora grew ridiculously fast compared to the rest of the world at the time due to rapid advances in agriculture and medicine, and as these advances spread the rest of the world had similar growth periods. Arguably the latest decrease in growth rate is actually a return to the relative stagnation of pre-industrial population numbers.
 
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mammonmachine

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Eh, if "Tall" is just "build a lot of habits" then it's just another kind of wide, really. Compared to other games where wide would mean sticking to a few or several planets or something compared to a couple dozen. And I am honestly not seeing anything that's going to change that much. Logrithmic increases slow down pretty quickly, and linear increases in production don't. So if you have to put in 20% more or even 100% more work/time on a planet to get a pop, but you have 10 times the planets, then that's not much of a penalty. You'd need a lot more than what we are seeing here to make Tall work.
The kind of tall play I'm referring to is not the kind that depends on habitats. A lot depends on how quickly you can fill planet with pops to it capacity. If it takes a while, then tall players will have planets with plenty of capacity for growth for a while, and get highly developed worlds a lot sooner. They would then have to use that strong base while they can to intervene in the galaxy, before the logistics-based slowdown kicks in properly and they lose their advantage. That said, I do agree that tall play would probably need more than this mechanism, which would need to be very carefully calibrated in order to work at all, and would dramatically swing against tall players by the late game. Part of this might be restoring a meaningful research and unity advantage to compact empires, which was more or less eliminated by the introduction of the present sprawl/bureaucracy mechanic.
 
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Mr. Wiggles

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And I should pay a special resource in maintenance just to have a flat +2 job slots?

Nice way to throw the economy of scale out of the window
 
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Riwebo

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Many of these changes are bullshit. I hope that there will be mods that turn these changes (especially the increase in the price of buildings with fewer jobs) back.
 
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Deshiba

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For the love of god, give some love to spiritualists who try to play the game the way it encourages them by outlawing robots, and give some love to Psionic ascension where growth is concerned as well.
I personally don't want spiritualists and Psionics to play the same way as Synth or Bio ascension. Pop growth is clearly the thing bio's do best, Pop assembly is clearly the thing Synths do best. So why would Psionics compete? Give them their own field to excel in, make the population that they do get more productive.

I am not saying it can't be done, but purely from a mathematical point of view the chosen POP/job model makes it difficult to find a solution that is both neither too powerful nor too weak in the early game and neither too powerful nor too weak in the late game, when it is compared to the empires that have higher growth.
My numbers are almost always hypothetical, but the stacking modifiers are something I overlooked. A possible solution to this problem might be found in the scaling job planetary features there are. For a system not focused on amount of pop creating more jobs every 20 people doesn't do anything for you as you'd have more jobs then people at some point. However making jobs more efficient per pop count might be doable.
  • +1 basic resource output for every 10 psionic pops on a planet
  • +1 advanced resource output for every 20 psionic pops on a planet
  • +1 special resource output for every 30 psionic pops on a planet
The numbers in these examples aren't calculated at all and plotted down on a whim. The concept here is to increase base numbers on strong core planets, while being weaker on colonies. The limit to psionic pops is there mainly to prevent abuse from slaves/migrants.

An added side benefit to using the psionic trait in this matter is that the bonus slot that the other ascensions use for assembly of cloning could be used for "psionic training" to actively convert pops to psionic pops.

If a system like this could work completely depends on whether the conversion to psionic pops measures up to pop growth. In order for it to be equal the amount of psionic pops need to follow the same S-curve as growth does.

But maybe I'm just delusional. Let me know if that's the case.
 
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Deshiba

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In a truly egalitarian society, replicants would be given exactly the same rights as the other citizens, @Tannhäuser Cake. They're sapients, and thus entitled to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the same democratic rights as everyone else. To deny them that would be slavery, which egalitarians abhor (and rightfully so).
That doesn't really dissude the use of a "clone" trait though. In the end it's just a population group to which you can apply policies. For egalitarians you'd just be restricted in the policies applied and some policies would cause factions to get unhappy. Or giving clones the same rights as birthed pops could make a faction happy.

I can see it work from a gameplay perspective. I just don't know if it would keep Bio ascension distinct enough from Synth ascension. Too much overlap is bad.
 

Pale Blue

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Not at all.

You are talking about introducing yet another additive output modifier to the large number that already exists.

The economic base in Stellaris is based on POPS x (1+SUM_OUTPUT MODIFIERS)*, so introducing a new 25% modifier for specialist jobs would not provide anywhere near 25% extra specialist production.

Take my most recent game. By 2305, on my best research planet best researcher produces 14.1 of every resource due to having a total of 253.2%** output modifiers from various sources (and 4*3.532 ~14.1). It would be higher if he was intelligent. Giving +25% specialist output would thus be equivalent in this case to having (1+253.2%+25%)/(1+253.2%)-1 = 7.1% more POPs researching.

Even unity, where a lot fewer modifiers apply, the best located ruler POPS have a 113 % unity output modifiers from various sources, and for them 25% extra would be equivalent to (1+113%+25%)/(1+113%)-1 = 11.7% more POPs.

So unless the significantly increased base growth we've seen in the diary is somehow not enough to provide more than a roughly 10% POP advantage, you'd want a much higher bonus if you wanted total production to be competitive between low POP growth psionics and high POP growth genetics/synthetics.

But on the other hand, early in the game at the earliest point you can get Psionics at 3 perks and not all that many POPs (yet), players have much lower output modifiers and adding 25% or 50% or whatever value was thought to be a good mid- and end-game value would completely unbalance the game at that point.

Which leads to the obvious question, "so, Peter you smartass, how about doing this as a modifier to the POPs base production, just like Mining Guilds, Merchant Guild, Exalted Priesthood etc? Say that they get +1 to everything, or perhaps that each POP counts as 1.2 POPs?"

Then you get the problem that as planets get closer to being maxed out for jobs (and once they are), psionic POP planets will be much more productive than anybody elses planets are, for a very unbalanced late game. (Unless you add something small enough that this isn't a real problem in the late game, in which case it is unlikely to be large enough to help balance in the early- or mid-game when planets aren't filling up).

Ever since 2.0 POP growth has been king, insofar as any single factor can be said to be so in Stellaris, and it is a very difficult system to tinker with for economic balance unless the radically different empire forms nevertheless end up with roughly the same POP growth rates so can be expected to have roughly the same amount of POPs with roughly the same amount of effort.

I am not saying it can't be done, but purely from a mathematical point of view the chosen POP/job model makes it difficult to find a solution that is both neither too powerful nor too weak in the early game and neither too powerful nor too weak in the late game, when it is compared to the empires that have higher growth.

---

* and for research POPS x (1+SUM_OUTPUT MODIFIERS) x (1+SUM_SPEED_MODIFIERS)

** sounds high? relic world, tech world designation, highlevel intellectual governor, highlevel research assistance, 3x+20% techs, traits, stability, research institute, event modifiers, and finally all the slave modifiers as my best researchers are all indentured servants (both worker and slave modifiers affect slaves regardless of stratum of job, so between the slave building, workplace motivators tradition, and extended shifts edict, and authoritarian that's another 40%, 45% if fanatic). It all adds up.
It would have been enough to mention synth empires get 25% production bonus to EVERYTHING and another 5% to minerals/energy. So the suggested buff is still a lot worse than synths, which get other bonuses on top of that.
 
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anro15

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Why not just make starbases have an automatic transit hub function without it needing a specific slot? Would be an easy way to define it, cuts down on an additional thing to track when setting up for each system, and avoids players getting frustrated that starbase slot is being wasted to cut down additional micro without adding any benefit to their empire.

It would also easily fit into the narrative, as starbases are supposed to be a traffic heavy place that would automatically facilitate such a function.
 
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I can totally get why scaling the amt of growth points needed for a new pop by total empire population would be helpful from a mechanical and lategame performance perspective. I just don't get what the in-universe justification for it is. What is that supposed to be simulating?
Well, there isn't an in-universe justification for a fixed 100 cost for an entity without a quantity (1 POP is less than 2 POPs and more than 0 POPs but how much is a POP?) so my answer is inflation :cool:.
 
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mial42

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I think that the productivity techs are a really bad idea as they're currently implemented, and here's why:
1. They make the economy significantly less efficient, since there are way more sources of +production then +upkeep. This makes the techs downright counterproductive in many cases. In particular, they make the production of "tertiary resources" much worse, since you'll need more specialists to provide the same output.
2. They are a straight buff on some jobs, the ones without upkeep. These are overwhelmingly worker jobs. These techs would make miners stronger and researchers weaker on higher level capitals, leading to a backwards situation in which your highly-developed core worlds are best as the centers of resource extraction while your small, underpopulated, peripheral colonies are your sites of heavy industry and cutting-edge research. That's absolutely not a good change.

Instead, either (a) make the techs multiplicative rather than additive or (b) remove the upkeep increases.
 
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Mímisbrunnr

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I think that the productivity techs are a really bad idea as they're currently implemented, and here's why:
1. They make the economy significantly less efficient, since there are way more sources of +production then +upkeep. This makes the techs downright counterproductive in many cases. In particular, they make the production of "tertiary resources" much worse, since you'll need more specialists to provide the same output.
2. They are a straight buff on some jobs, the ones without upkeep. These are overwhelmingly worker jobs. These techs would make miners stronger and researchers weaker on higher level capitals, leading to a backwards situation in which your highly-developed core worlds are best as the centers of resource extraction while your small, underpopulated, peripheral colonies are your sites of heavy industry and cutting-edge research. That's absolutely not a good change.

Instead, either (a) make the techs multiplicative rather than additive or (b) remove the upkeep increases.
Basically this.

I do think that overall you still end up more pop-efficient overall in producing secondary and tertiary resources, even factoring in the supply chain. Darvin3 on /r/stellaris has done calculations to this effect. However, they do make your economy far more resource-inefficient by making the exchange rate between input resources spent to output resources produced worse after we consider the effects of other +Production (far more plentiful) and -Upkeep bonuses. Also, they incentivize placing a greater porportion of your population in worker jobs when really they should be encouraging the opposite.

ADDENDUM: For emphasis, I agree that multiplicative throughput modifiers would be better than additive input and output modifiers.
 
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Peter Ebbesen

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I have the feeling that with the new system this problem could be slightly remedied, since the organic pops grow faster while there is much capacity (and base pop) while the pop assembly is always slow
Possibly. I'm inclined to doubt it for the following design reason:

If the organic POP capacity penalty to growth means that, as a default absent other empire build considerations, using both organic and robotic growth isn't a significant improvement over organic growth but only leads to a slight lead in POPs - then most of the case for spending upkeep, jobs, and building slots on building robots in the first place disappears. (And Hive Minds and genetic ascension with their organic pop growth buildings will dominate).

Since I seriously doubt PDS would implement mechanics that as default discouraged the use of robots making it the norm not just for Hive Minds and genetic ascension but for normal empires as well, since the overall game setting is one where using all labour is good and robots are extra labour, I don't see that happening.

Hence anything that can balance organic growth to be competitive with organic + robot growth has to require more of the organic empire than going with the default - it has to be the result of a deliberate strategic choice and one that has significant opportunity costs (as is indeed the case for Hive Minds and genetic ascension.)

Don't take me wrong - the S curve described and the difference between how organic and robot growth is treated may well be intended to be a partial remedy for this issue, but my expectation as a mathematician is that it won't do the job because design constraints favour it not doing so to avoid the risk of creating even bigger problems.
 

Peter Ebbesen

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I personally don't want spiritualists and Psionics to play the same way as Synth or Bio ascension. Pop growth is clearly the thing bio's do best, Pop assembly is clearly the thing Synths do best. So why would Psionics compete? Give them their own field to excel in, make the population that they do get more productive.
I understand the desire. I truly do. And I'd love to see it work out well that way.

And I'm not saying that it is impossible to do something of the sort that makes Psionic ascension competitive with the others without being either too weak or too strong in either early, mid, or late-game.

I just don't see how to do it well given that the game's economic model is very solidly nailed to the POPSxOUTPUT mast, and PDS despite launching games with sound mathematical models based on strong metaphors traditionally are much better at coming up with interesting and fun game mechanics than mathematically sound ones in their DLC. (Which perhaps shouldn't be surprising given different development cycles and opportunities to iterate and collect feedback than initial development and the need to sell DLC based on features rather than on working well.)

That being said, if anything is done, it is more likely to be something along the lines of things you suggest than what I suggest, because I merely want to make the game mechanics work well, while you have a vision of distinct behaviour that, while it might not end up working well, is more interesting.
 
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Deshiba

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I just don't see how to do it well given that the game's economic model is very solidly nailed to the POPSxOUTPUT mast, and PDS despite launching games with sound mathematical models based on strong metaphors traditionally are much better at coming up with interesting and fun game mechanics than mathematically sound ones in their DLC. (Which perhaps shouldn't be surprising given shorter development cycles than initial development and the need to sell DLC based on features rather than on working well.)
It isn't just simply POPSxOUTPUT though, it's more nuanced then that. When you take the new cloning vats for genetics into account it's
  • Synthetics: Robot+Pop*job modifiers=output
  • Genetics: Pop+Pop*job modifiers=output
I see absolutely 0 reason why psionics couldn't take a different route to this popA+popB*modifiers standard.
  • pop+base modifier*job modifiers=output
The reason why we grow pops is to put them into jobs so we get double to base value. Let's take a standard mining job as an example. 1 job privides a base output of 4 minerals, we put 2 pops on that job you get a base value of 8 minerals.

Why then couldn't psionics make your species better at a thing? For example if latent psionics added +2 base value to worker jobs and psionic added +4 base value to that same worker job. In that scenario latent psionic pops would be worth 1.5 bio/synth pop and psionics would be worth 2 bio/synth pops. In this way you are basically doubling your output trough quality rather then quantity.

The numbers in the example are of course just there to illustrate a point, for this to be solid bio and synth ascended would need to grow twice as fast. But I'm sure that when the math is done you can get to a point where psionics is both competative and fair, without needing to follow the same play style pattern.
 
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The reason why we grow pops is to put them into jobs so we get double to base value. Let's take a standard mining job as an example. 1 job privides a base output of 4 minerals, we put 2 pops on that job you get a base value of 8 minerals.

Why then couldn't psionics make your species better at a thing? For example if latent psionics added +2 base value to worker jobs and psionic added +4 base value to that same worker job. In that scenario latent psionic pops would be worth 1.5 bio/synth pop and psionics would be worth 2 bio/synth pops. In this way you are basically doubling your output trough quality rather then quantity.

The numbers in the example are of course just there to illustrate a point, for this to be solid bio and synth ascended would need to grow twice as fast. But I'm sure that when the math is done you can get to a point where psionics is both competative and fair, without needing to follow the same play style pattern.
I already examined the issue of how "let's just add a bonus to base output instead" creates a different kind of problem in my original answer to you here,in the self-referential "Peter you smartarse" section, because your suggestion is indeed one that obviously suggests itself once one has realized the problem of merely changing output modifiers, but ignores that jobs on planets are limited in number. (Not saying that that's the only problem with the idea, but it is an obvious one to start with.)

EDIT: And again, I'm not saying that this can't be done, or that it can't be done to give us a better situation than the current one, but as a mathematical model it has serious problems that makes it likely to create problems since it can be balanced to be competitive with higher growth empires for either early, mid, or end-game, but is likely to be either considerably weaker or stronger compared to the others in the eras it isn't balanced for.
 
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I already examined the issue of how "let's just add a bonus to base output instead" creates a different kind of problem in my original answer to you here,in the self-referential "Peter you smartarse" section, because your suggestion is indeed one that obviously suggests itself once one has realized the problem of merely changing output modifiers, but ignores that jobs on planets are limited in number.
The problem you pose though isn't really a limiting factor. Filled planets doesn't stop bios and synth from growing more pops and creating more jobs. Habitats and ring worlds kick in late game, so there will never be a point in the game where you run out of jobs.

The difference here is that synths and bios need to keep expanding by either taking territory or simply creating planets on which they can have more jobs which in turn create output. Psionics wouldn't have that need as much, because if they try to expand at the same pace as the others they will never have enough pops to fill up the jobs they are creating.
 

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It isn't just simply POPSxOUTPUT though, it's more nuanced then that. When you take the new cloning vats for genetics into account it's
  • Synthetics: Robot+Pop*job modifiers=output
  • Genetics: Pop+Pop*job modifiers=output
I see absolutely 0 reason why psionics couldn't take a different route to this popA+popB*modifiers standard.
  • pop+base modifier*job modifiers=output
The reason why we grow pops is to put them into jobs so we get double to base value. Let's take a standard mining job as an example. 1 job privides a base output of 4 minerals, we put 2 pops on that job you get a base value of 8 minerals.

Why then couldn't psionics make your species better at a thing? For example if latent psionics added +2 base value to worker jobs and psionic added +4 base value to that same worker job. In that scenario latent psionic pops would be worth 1.5 bio/synth pop and psionics would be worth 2 bio/synth pops. In this way you are basically doubling your output trough quality rather then quantity.

The numbers in the example are of course just there to illustrate a point, for this to be solid bio and synth ascended would need to grow twice as fast. But I'm sure that when the math is done you can get to a point where psionics is both competative and fair, without needing to follow the same play style pattern.
The issue with this is that would make psi ascension overwhelmingly stronger in the early game or still pathetic later on, depending on the numbers. This is because it takes time for a pop-growth advantage to accrete; if psionic pops were twice as strong as synth or bio pops, it would take a very long time for synth or bio to catch up by having twice as many pops as psi, which is compounded by the fact that psi is already the strongest early game ascension. If the number was smaller, then synth or bio would catch up quickly and you'd be in the same situation.
Tying these bonuses to the psionic trait would also be almost as much of a buff to bio empires as it is to psi empires, since you can get the psionic trait without the ascension, either via genemodding from a template created by a different empire's ascension or via the rackets/ketlings/spiritualist FE.

IMO, psi's buff should be done by making the shroud actually good. This can be done by adding more unique shroud techs (and buffing the ones that already exist; in particular the combat computer), increasing shroud odds, including the odds that you get the good stuff earlier, improving shroud boons, and decreasing the cooldown (IMO, the psionic archives effects should be the default settings). This would be a buff for ascended empires in particular, not any empire that can acquire psionic pops.
 
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The problem you pose though isn't really a limiting factor. Filled planets doesn't stop bios and synth from growing more pops and creating more jobs. Habitats and ring worlds kick in late game, so there will never be a point in the game where you run out of jobs.
It is a limiting factor. That there are jobs on other planets that POPs can migrate to doesn't change that the base production modifier applies to all existing POPs and jobs on planets/habitats/whatever and that POP growth by the new design slows the closer to capacity planets are. (EDIT: And that we are dealing with a game where mass manual resettlement to change the location on the growth-capacity penalty curve is supposedly no longer an option due to influence costs.)

Thus the speed of POP creating on filled worlds will be very slow compared to the earlier speed while filling up, so is your "extra production per POP" balanced around something that makes sense in the early- or mid-game while trying to keep up with genetic and synthetic empires that are rapidly increasing their POP count while psionics are not, or the situation where most POPs live on full or nearly full planets and both psionic, genetic, and synthetics are only slowly increasing their POP count on filled planets, psionic somewhat slower than the others, and having them automatically migrate away to the new planets/habitats that are themselves growing at speeds equivalent to what the old settled planets did in their youth?

You can balance for any situation by proposing base productivity increases, but you can't balance for every situation, and which you choose will determine when psionics get shafted compared to the others unless you make it a large enough that they get shafted most of the time.