The pop mechanism is quite terrible in 3.0

arkangyl88

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I don't understand what they were thinking and how they didn't realize how unpopular it would be.

Ever since the initial dev diary where they mentioned the pop penalty I thought it would suck beans, but it's even worse than I imagined. Even so, I took a wait and see approach. I thought, "maybe PDX knows something I don't about how these pops and new resource distribution will work." Guess not, lol.
 
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arosenberger14

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Thing is, all the feedback I've seen for the dev diaries were overwhelmingly positive, so it makes sense as to why they would call it a day with just some quick fixes. It is not like the changes are coming out of nowhere, the dev diaries document everything, sometimes even a bit too much.
I remember writing a post back on the dev diary where they announced this mentioning some concerns with the system. Was even upvoted. Don't think any of the devs listened. I then wrote a forum post about my concerns and why I thought an empire-wide pop system would work better. This bit was pretty damn prescient (emphasis added):

If there's anything we should have learned from the economy rework, it's that sometimes it's better to keep things simpler instead of adding on additional networks of systems which will inevitably stumble the AI and scale poorly into the lategame. So again, I'd strongly suggest the devs take another look at ripping out the planetary pop growth system entirely and replacing it with an empire-wide system.
That one was downvoted strongly. Not to sound too smug, but some of us saw something like this coming, tried to sound alarm bells, and were ignored.
 
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I'm no expert, but to my knowledge, that kind of problem means looking too much at the specific numbers as being a problem instead of what's actually good gameplay, and thus time is wasted tweaking those numbers instead of taking a step back and going "What would a cool space empire realistically do?"

From that perspective, the whole "Number of pops too high! Performance needs it lower, do something!" issue melts away into "Wait a minute, why are we as the great Conquerers of Space constantly creating space housing for people over planets with no resources just so we have more people breeding? And why is maintaining all that not hurting our economy? Shouldn't we be making a damn Ringworld instead?", and then it becomes pretty obvious that the real problem is that there's a particular form of empire expansion (habitat spam) both players and AIs do to ridiculous levels that is simply degenerate.

The number of pops does need to be lowered, yes, but anything that lowers it should be looked at as bad if it hurts how cool the space empire seems, so it has to be something "on theme", like maybe your bureaucrats just can't keep up and there's rampant space piracy hurting you from overpopulation.

I really think habitats need to cost an actually important alloy upkeep so that it's mathematically infeasible to continue building them long-term. They should be strategic toys that are well worth it to put on important deposits, not every empire's main form of living space after 2350.
I could not agree more... POP should not be treated as a pure resource but as a source for the cultural, scientific and political piece of the puzzle.

In my opinion we could do with far less POP in the game where they grow in a "reasonably" stable way... or that they become more influential in a different way that impact the way you play or rather your POP will react and change due to what you the player does and what other empires in the galaxy does.

Production and resource extraction should be more about technology and opportunities and more or less decoupled from POP. You should only need a very minor amount of POP to run planet wide resource and industry production and some usually turn this over to none sapient robots anyway.

Your POP should instead be much smaller in number but be more important for giving spirit to factions and politics as well as Unity and Science. Slaves should be more about serving rather than working in mines... you have robotic equipment for that, using sentient beings for this who are weak and inefficient seems like a waste of energy. You only need a small number if sentient POP to oversee general production and resource extractions (more like mines in space). All resource extractions should basically be space oriented with upgrading or building more elaborate space mining structures or something like it. Even habitable planets should be mined like all the other planets. Space stations should then be used to enhance system resources like buildings and districts on planets.

Then get rid or Artisans and Factory workers to...more or less or just have a few operate all industry on a planet.

To be honest the POP system in Stellaris is not a well thought out system to begin with and we have the old tile system to blame for how it works even today. POP should not work jobs at all, the whole system should be very different
 
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arosenberger14

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I could not agree more... POP should not be treated as a pure resource but as a source for the cultural, scientific and political piece of the puzzle.

In my opinion we could do with far less POP in the game where they grow in a "reasonably" stable way... or that they become more influential in a different way that impact the way you play or rather your POP will react and change due to what you the player does and what other empires in the galaxy does.

Production and resource extraction should be more about technology and opportunities and more or less decoupled from POP. You should only need a very minor amount of POP to run planet wide resource and industry production and some usually turn this over to none sapient robots anyway.

Your POP should instead be much smaller in number but be more important for giving spirit to factions and politics as well as Unity and Science. Slaves should be more about serving rather than working in mines... you have robotic equipment for that, using sentient beings for this who are weak and inefficient seems like a waste of energy. You only need a small number if sentient POP to oversee general production and resource extractions (more like mines in space). All resource extractions should basically be space oriented with upgrading or building more elaborate space mining structures or something like it. Even habitable planets should be mined like all the other planets. Space stations should then be used to enhance system resources like buildings and districts on planets.

Then get rid or Artisans and Factory workers to...more or less or just have a few operate all industry on a planet.

To be honest the POP system in Stellaris is not a well thought out system to begin with and we have the old tile system to blame for how it works even today. POP should not work jobs at all, the whole system should be very different
The pop system in Stellaris is basically the 1890's economy pasted onto space. Everyone's either working in basic resource extraction, manufacturing, research, or politics, with just a few folks doing service economy functions. One would reasonably expect more automation and detachment of manpower from material production, not less by 2200.
 
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The pop system in Stellaris is basically the 1890's economy pasted onto space. Everyone's either working in basic resource extraction, manufacturing, research, or politics, with just a few folks doing service economy functions. One would reasonably expect more automation and detachment of manpower from material production, not less by 2200.
There are more tech upgrades for basic resources than other jobs.
 

npc1054657282

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Thing is, all the feedback I've seen for the dev diaries were overwhelmingly positive, so it makes sense as to why they would call it a day with just some quick fixes. It is not like the changes are coming out of nowhere, the dev diaries document everything, sometimes even a bit too much.
I will chat about what do I think when I read the dev diary #192 at that time.
I pay much attention about the S-curve pop growth on each planet, in fact the function has been realized in a mod before, and the mod works very well. I thought Paradox will use the work of the mod. In another mod industry revolution, the author realize the similar functions after the dev diaries #192, and it works well, too. In fact with pure S-curve growth, it shouldn't be a terrible thing. Maybe the pop farm can be a strategy, but since the dev thought of it, then they can punish the strategy easily.

Because of my poor English, I just comprehend an opposite meaning about the empire penalty. When the dev said "producing a new pop no longer costs a static amount of pop-growth - it incureases as the empire population does", I just thought that pop growth will increase and pop grow faster when empire has more pop. Yes, my mother language is not English and I just wrongly get the meaning because of a translation mistake.
I do not consider it a big issue even though I believed that in new version empire pop will stimulate more pop, because Paradox said they will reduce the pop number, and I chose to trust Paradox.

And since the dev said they will cut down the pop to half, I had got their meaning in two ways. First, usually I will get 4k~5k pop in the late game, and pop still continuously grows, it is disturbing and I believe that with the planet cap, pop will stop growing on a planet that touch the cap, then the total number of pop decline. Another thing is that Synthetic Evolution is very powerful because of its rapid pop growth speed. Since the dev said the assembly speed is slow, I think the base robot assembly speed would be cut down to half, or Synthetic Evolution would provide fewer robot specialist jobs. Well, I just misunderstood everything.

And, now, in fact, it is hard to get pop over 800, the pop just be cut down by 1/5 but not half. Of course if I continuously do the conquring and I'll get half the pop to about 2k in the end. But… Oh, I did not think that all the pop cut comes from the silly empire penalty. The translation mistake assumed the main responsibility
 
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Oscot

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If you want to defeat 25x crisis in 200 years
YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO DEFEAT 25X CRISIS IN 200 YEARS, IT IS A GAG SETTING FOR MASOCHISTS WHO LIKE BITTERSWEET LOSS ENDINGS

Predicating your balance complaints on your inability to win a gag setting that you're not supposed to be able to win does not really fill me with confidence on the cogency of the rest of your arguments.

Well, of course, you have another choice to prevent your empire's development from bogging down without wars, that is to release part of your planets to be your subject empires, and merge them back after the subject empires' pop growing. Anyway, it is illogical. Why my people cannot grow in my own empire, but have to grow in my subject empires?

This is how it works in EUIV, and It'sFine.jpg. Something something state capacity something something people do better when at least nominally under their own government.
Vassal-based playthroughs have been a joke since day 1 in Stellaris, now Feudal Society actually has some kind of a use and you're COMPLAINING about it?
It also kind of gimp genocidal Empires. as they effectively have limit on total POPs and no allies.
The overpowered meta civics finally got cut down to size... and that's a bad thing?
 
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Thing is, all the feedback I've seen for the dev diaries were overwhelmingly positive, so it makes sense as to why they would call it a day with just some quick fixes. It is not like the changes are coming out of nowhere, the dev diaries document everything, sometimes even a bit too much.
And… Well, Paradox really introduced a lot of things in diary#192, the S-curve growth is awesome, reduction of pops is generally a good idea but readers do not know the implementation details. The mechanism is quite silly but dev only take a sentence to describe it, it is quite easy to be ignored or be misunderstood.
Then the dev described other things, the nerf about labs can be easily found silly, I believed many readers were not happy about it.
Organic pop assembly is a good concept. The buff of medical worker is of no use, but ok ok, at least it is better than before.
The Shattered Ring need a nerf and the dev showed an attitude to nerf it, it is good(though it is more powerful in fact because of industry districts).
Void Dwellers need a buff, and the dev shoed an attitude to buff it, it is good(tough it is weaker in fact because of lack of houses).
The idea of specializing the foudry and factory worlds is very good.
Automatic moving, well I did not think it very good or very bad. I'm concerned that it will decrease the performance at that time.

Well, the dev diary quite included so many things, good ones, neither better nor worse, bad ones, and more things sound good.
The worst thing only have one sentence to be described, it is so easy to be ignored.

And, we just tried to trust Paradox, because we believed that the dev would test the game. But it seems that the game is not fully tested and Paradox is unworthy of our expectations.
 
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YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO DEFEAT 25X CRISIS IN 200 YEARS, IT IS A GAG SETTING FOR MASOCHISTS WHO LIKE BITTERSWEET LOSS ENDINGS

Predicating your balance complaints on your inability to win a gag setting that you're not supposed to be able to win does not really fill me with confidence on the cogency of the rest of your arguments.



This is how it works in EUIV, and It'sFine.jpg. Something something state capacity something something people do better when at least nominally under their own government.
Vassal-based playthroughs have been a joke since day 1 in Stellaris, now Feudal Society actually has some kind of a use and you're COMPLAINING about it?

The overpowered meta civics finally got cut down to size... and that's a bad thing?
I'm not supposed to be able to win? Then Paradox remove the 25x setting please. Since Paradox add the option then players just want to take the challenge. When you called me a masochists, you've just made personal attacks on me.

The big empire's drawback should be realized by the empire administrative scale penalty, but not the empire pop penalty, since the empire is colonizing new territory, it may comes up against administrative difficulties, but not the pop growth hinder. Since EUIV does not colonize new planets, the condition in EUIV only fit in a single planet in Stellaris, that is the planet cap.
When Feudal society has some kind of use, you should be reminded that it is just a way to escape an unreasonable penalty, its use has nothing to do with the realistic logic .
 
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YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO DEFEAT 25X CRISIS IN 200 YEARS, IT IS A GAG SETTING FOR MASOCHISTS WHO LIKE BITTERSWEET LOSS ENDINGS

Predicating your balance complaints on your inability to win a gag setting that you're not supposed to be able to win does not really fill me with confidence on the cogency of the rest of your arguments.



This is how it works in EUIV, and It'sFine.jpg. Something something state capacity something something people do better when at least nominally under their own government.
Vassal-based playthroughs have been a joke since day 1 in Stellaris, now Feudal Society actually has some kind of a use and you're COMPLAINING about it?

The overpowered meta civics finally got cut down to size... and that's a bad thing?
It could be challenging to beat x25 crisis at the first try, and it totally reasonable if someone just doesn't find this setting attractive. But claiming that people are "not supposed to beat" x25 in 200 years? Why would you even say that? I assure you it was very doable in 2.8. Heck, it had been so since when x25 crisis setting was just released.
Beside, assuming that you're talking about single player, are you serious about how genocidal civics are "overpowered"?
 
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If you have "breeder planets" that don't have jobs, the pops will migrate to your more populated planets. The logistic curve on purely a planetary basis would do almost nothing to reduce endgame population counts.

In many of my recent playthroughs I've got some developed planets and a number of semi-developed resource planets. The pops that grow on those resource planets move from their rural backwater over to get jobs in the big city, eerily simulating urbanization. (Unemployed pops will almost always move to the planet with the most available jobs.)

I think that the amount of pops you're allowed to have should be based on how large your current empire is. Currently, if you control 80% of the galaxy you'll have roughly the same population as the person who controls 20% of the galaxy, which doesn't really make that much sense. It also nerfs genocidal empires pretty heavily as the only way to gain more pops in excess of the current limits is by conquest... something genocidal empires will purge.

What you say about breeder planets is correct, but I think the growth rate should be based on the overall "empty space" in your empire, rather than a predetermined number that's identical regardless of how large or small your empire is, or whether or not you're a conqurer or a genocidal empire. Genocidial empires probably need a bonus that greatly reduces the pop cap limitations since they can't acquire more pops via conquest. (Example: 100 + ({[Empire Population / 2] / % of unused pop cap} * .5 if Genocidial))

Another option could be that the pop-cap limitation is galaxy-wide rather than per-player, so that if a genocidial empire genocides a thousand pops, everyone else grows proportionally faster. It'd also mean that having higher growth rates would help long-term as your empire will more quickly eat-up the limited galaxy pop count giving you a larger proportion in total. (Example: 100 + Galaxy Population / 10)
 
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I think that the amount of pops you're allowed to have should be based on how large your current empire is. Currently, if you control 80% of the galaxy you'll have roughly the same population as the person who controls 20% of the galaxy, which doesn't really make that much sense. It also nerfs genocidal empires pretty heavily as the only way to gain more pops in excess of the current limits is by conquest... something genocidal empires will purge.

What you say about breeder planets is correct, but I think the growth rate should be based on the overall "empty space" in your empire, rather than a predetermined number that's identical regardless of how large or small your empire is, or whether or not you're a conqurer or a genocidal empire. Genocidial empires probably need a bonus that greatly reduces the pop cap limitations since they can't acquire more pops via conquest. (Example: 100 + ({[Empire Population / 2] / % of unused pop cap} * .5 if Genocidial))

Another option could be that the pop-cap limitation is galaxy-wide rather than per-player, so that if a genocidial empire genocides a thousand pops, everyone else grows proportionally faster. It'd also mean that having higher growth rates would help long-term as your empire will more quickly eat-up the limited galaxy pop count giving you a larger proportion in total. (Example: 100 + Galaxy Population / 10)
I'm personally not a fan of an empire based growth penalty. If you have 10 worlds, and they're all full, and they all have a growth malus due to that, then it has the same effect.

The problem with pop numbers and game lag would be better solved by having some kind of pop tier system that makes it so 1 pop on a larger world is worth more than 1 pop on a less developed world. If you have 20 pops on an Ecumenopolis and 20 pops on a colony, but the Ecumenopolis pops are 4 or 5 times more productive and costly, the net effect is the same with fewer pops.
 
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LWE

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I'm not supposed to be able to win? Then Paradox remove the 25x setting please. Since Paradox add the option then players just want to take the challenge. When you called me a masochists, you've just made personal attacks on me.
Presumably, this setting can be of potential use for long games that take more than 200 years (it's not like 200 years 25x crisis is the default setting, and it makes sense that unbalancing one opinion would require you to unbalance others for the same gameplay effects). And the only reason it was beatable in 2.8 was the Crisis AI being completely borked. But yes, combinations of unworkable settings is the drawback of customization.

I agree with you on the gaminess of "vassal play", though.
 
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Presumably, this setting can be of potential use for long games that take more than 200 years (it's not like 200 years 25x crisis is the default setting, and it makes sense that unbalancing one opinion would require you to unbalance others for the same gameplay effects). And the only reason it was beatable in 2.8 was the Crisis AI being completely borked. But yes, combinations of unworkable settings is the drawback of customization.

I agree with you on the gaminess of "vassal play", though.
Well, in fact it is still playable with continuously conquering now. When I refer to 25x crisis in 200 years(it is not the extreme difficulty, because you do not need to set late game year at 50, and do not need to set the tech speed 5x), I just take it as an example to show that along with the illogical concept itself, the idea of empire pop penalty is also widening the gap between different auth, ethos and civics, making the game more unbalanced. We can see it from the different performances of different strategies when they try a game with 25x crisis in 200 years, some is still playable but some cannot win any more though they are playable in the last version. That means that the diversity of the game is damaged.
Since the empire pop penalty is unreasonable itself, it also destroy the gameplay, then it has no reason to exist.
 
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Nebbie Zebbie

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This is how it works in EUIV, and It'sFine.jpg. Something something state capacity something something people do better when at least nominally under their own government.
Vassal-based playthroughs have been a joke since day 1 in Stellaris, now Feudal Society actually has some kind of a use and you're COMPLAINING about it?

The overpowered meta civics finally got cut down to size... and that's a bad thing?
The problem is that Stellaris has a system like that, in empire sprawl, but then bureaucrats were made too good (they're linear, and you only need a few planets of them even in utterly ridiculous empires), so now we get yet another system to penalize having many pops.

The overpowered meta civics did not get "cut down to size", they got sent through the woodchipper along with a lot of things that weren't meta. Nobody was asking for Skynet in space to need 10 years and the alloys for a whole battleship to build a single robot once it had too many robots in its sprawling mess after killing its neighbors.
 
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It could be challenging to beat x25 crisis at the first try, and it totally reasonable if someone just doesn't find this setting attractive. But claiming that people are "not supposed to beat" x25 in 200 years? Why would you even say that? I assure you it was very doable in 2.8. Heck, it had been so since when x25 crisis setting was just released.
Beside, assuming that you're talking about single player, are you serious about how genocidal civics are "overpowered"?

"I was able to do a thing" != "I was supposed to be able to do a thing".

The 25x Crisis setting always was intended for people who actually want to lose at this point. It was never supposed to be beaten. It was supposed to actually give a Stellaris game an end date.
It's like the end of Halo Reach. You cannot win. The fun is in seeing how long you can survive.

Beside, assuming that you're talking about single player, are you serious about how genocidal civics are "overpowered"?
Yes.
Well, not in 3.0, but the fire rate increase has caused them to be fantastically OP in the majority of patch versions since their introduction.
 
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The problem is that Stellaris has a system like that, in empire sprawl, but then bureaucrats were made too good (they're linear, and you only need a few planets of them even in utterly ridiculous empires), so now we get yet another system to penalize having many pops.

The overpowered meta civics did not get "cut down to size", they got sent through the woodchipper along with a lot of things that weren't meta. Nobody was asking for Skynet in space to need 10 years and the alloys for a whole battleship to build a single robot once it had too many robots in its sprawling mess after killing its neighbors.
I understand the problem the devs were trying to fix, and I think I have a better solution. Make pop growth increase by 0.1 by every point of empire sprawl over the cap.

As you said, bureaucrats will just be used to keep you under your empire sprawl limit. A single bureaucrat increases admin cap by 10, which with my suggestion would decrease pop growth cost by 1. That means if you are over your admin cap, each Admin Office would reduce the cost to grow/assemble a new pop by 2, not counting repeatables.

But bureaucrats shouldn't be a linear scale. After all, you can continue throwing people at a pile of paperwork but it has diminishing returns. I think bureaucrats should be less effective for every additional bureaucrat. This prevents you from just spamming them to rapidly increase empire sprawl, and thus maintain pop growth/research efficiency/etc.

I'll be honest, it's late for me and I'm tired. I can't work out specifics on how this would work. I've considered making them 1% less efficient per bureaucrat, which seems like it could work. I've also thought about reducing efficiency when multiple are stacked on a planet. Hell, making the Admin Office planet unique and just giving it a flat empire sprawl penalty might be an idea. Regardless, I think pop growth/assembly cost should be tied to empire sprawl, since that system makes the most sense to me.
 

Nebbie Zebbie

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I understand the problem the devs were trying to fix, and I think I have a better solution. Make pop growth increase by 0.1 by every point of empire sprawl over the cap.

As you said, bureaucrats will just be used to keep you under your empire sprawl limit. A single bureaucrat increases admin cap by 10, which with my suggestion would decrease pop growth cost by 1. That means if you are over your admin cap, each Admin Office would reduce the cost to grow/assemble a new pop by 2, not counting repeatables.

But bureaucrats shouldn't be a linear scale. After all, you can continue throwing people at a pile of paperwork but it has diminishing returns. I think bureaucrats should be less effective for every additional bureaucrat. This prevents you from just spamming them to rapidly increase empire sprawl, and thus maintain pop growth/research efficiency/etc.

I'll be honest, it's late for me and I'm tired. I can't work out specifics on how this would work. I've considered making them 1% less efficient per bureaucrat, which seems like it could work. I've also thought about reducing efficiency when multiple are stacked on a planet. Hell, making the Admin Office planet unique and just giving it a flat empire sprawl penalty might be an idea. Regardless, I think pop growth/assembly cost should be tied to empire sprawl, since that system makes the most sense to me.
Empire sprawl affecting pop growth won't work, because you can always just steal pops.
Civilization has it right with growing tech costs I think. Technology is fundamentally different from resources like pops in that you can't just grab a chunk of it from someone (sure, you can steal individual techs, but the problem is that if they're on par with you, they'll have the same techs, it's not combinatorial like normal resources), and it's unique to your empire.
 
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