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Stellaris Beginner Guide

  • from PLITCH
  • 09.01.2024

You’ll face various challenges in the 4X global strategy game from Paradox Interactive. The abundance of information alone can quickly overwhelm you. To ensure that you make optimal progress in your game and don’t leave too much behind, especially at the beginning, we provide you with all the essential tips and tricks in our Stellaris Beginner Guide.

1) Stellaris: These challenges await you

Colonization of the universe

In Stellaris, a lively and extremely extensive game universe awaits you. The focus is on the colonization of the galaxy. This can be done militarily, and diplomatically, but also economically. Which path you take with the respective race is completely up to you. But it is also a fact that you’re not alone out there.

Researching technologies, military conflicts, trade, diplomacy, and co.

The focus is on building a solid base, especially at the beginning. This often includes military conflicts. Likewise, your diplomacy is in demand when you explore foreign worlds or encounter other races. The mainspring of your civilization is the technological development as well as trade because both provide high revenues and a growing empire.

Stellaris is never linear

There is no fixed path in Stellaris. The events in space and especially around your empire can be influenced in many ways from the outside. Apart from your own decisions, there are external influences – without spoiling anything – that do not come from the galaxy itself.

Or you can expect uprisings that spread over many worlds and peoples. By the way, such events do not only affect you as a player, but also many or all other empires.

2) Stellaris Beginner Guide: How does the game work?

What are the regular “tasks”?

Stellaris is a game that scores with its game depth and inventiveness. However, this also means there are many tasks that you have to constantly take care of. A central point in this context is the resources. For Stellaris beginners, it makes sense to focus on the essential functions at the beginning.

However, you will have to deal with the management of resources regularly. The main focus here is on the efficient use of resources. For example, in the beginning, you’ll have to save energy credits. You should also keep checking the upper half of the screen. There you’ll find important information on the displayed bar.

You also have to keep an eye on the research. It makes sense to get a second researcher early on to explore space with the right research ship. Especially the systems in range are interesting at first.

Beyond that you are constantly busy with building, establishing outposts, or expanding space harbors. In addition, when things heat up quickly, there is a battle. There, too, you have to push your research and stabilize your defenses right from the start.

Important: Don’t forget to upgrade your ships!

How does the Stellaris work?

Stellaris itself doesn’t give you a fixed storyline to follow. From the selection and customization of your species to the way you play, the universe in the global strategy game is freely available to you. You’ll usually start with a small initial fleet and begin to build your empire.

Later, you’ll meet other civilizations, confront various conflicts, and have to react to events that are out of your control. Thus, Stellaris offers you a very varied gameplay, without pushing you in a specific direction. Besides all the subtleties, it’s up to you to find motivation and push things along, as well as keep the game fun.

In addition, everything in Stellaris takes place on a very large scale as well as a small one. The most important pivot is the top bar, where you get all the important information. Since the game runs in real-time, there are no half measures.

This can be seen in the example of colonizing other planets. To be able to do this at all, the necessary technology must be researched. Social, physics, and engineering are especially important.

In addition, you need minerals to supply buildings and ships with energy. To be able to use energy more efficiently, you need influence, for example, to issue a decree to save energy. At the end of this chain, you might have enough energy to send some research ships and researchers to a remote planet.

More tips

A common mistake in Stellaris, that’s why you can find it in our Stellaris Beginner Guide, is that players don’t read the notifications. Granted, it can be a lot of text to read in the game – but it’s worth it! Plus, you won’t miss any important events this way.

Info boxes are also an essential feature in Stellaris. They appear at the bottom right of the screen and give you information about the availability of resources. In addition, you get an estimate of how much of them you can still mine.

3) Setup and Control: Stellaris Beginner Tips

Especially since Stellaris offers such a deep game experience, it’s important to have the right handling of the provided controls. In addition to your individual play style – which, by the way, should match your “ethics” – it’s important to familiarize yourself with the important functions.

Right click: Hidden commands

In addition to the regularly accessible commands, some are a bit more “hidden.” These are quite useful and help the player when exploring star systems. Because just the latter point often includes the ranking of individual planets in the chain of command.

This can be extremely annoying, especially during a longer game session. It is easier with a right click on an explored planet. Following this, “Explore system” can be selected.

Such a right click generally offers interesting simplifications for the ships. For example, right-clicking on a target object can immediately trigger the desired action in the menu, if available. The use of command buttons for the ships is thus practically bypassed.

Handling notifications

As already mentioned, the notifications in the upper area as well as at the bottom right of the screen are important sources of information. If you take care of a steady processing of these notifications, you can be sure not to have missed anything important in your empire.

Introducing the overview bar

At the top of your screen is the overview bar. The individual tabs will take you to the respective sub-areas. There you’ll find:

  • Government Overview: Info on the form of government as well as the empire effects, political decrees, general demographic data as well as the budget.
  • Empire Overview: Data on ruled planets, production, or population numbers.
  • Contacts: Important to already known civilizations, relationships to other peoples, alliances, and some more.
  • Ship Designer: Provides an overview of weapons, accessories, defenses, constructible ships, etc.
  • Situation log: Tracking of research projects as well as quests are presented here.
  • Technology: Find information about researchers and projects.

Furthermore, you have all the important numbers about the empire in the overview bar. This includes energy credits, minerals, influence, research points, strategic resources, planet, and fleet limits.

4) General Stellaris tips for a good start

Which ethics to choose?

In the beginning, you can choose your people. It’s interesting to take a closer look at ethics. Among other things, these have a great influence on diplomacy with other civilizations. If you want to expand peacefully, you should not choose a military ethic.

Which propulsion technology is interesting?

For the method of transportation, warp technology is a good choice to start with. It offers you a solid travel option without a lot of frills.

Military is not a top priority at the beginning

Once a military ethic has been established, the military is secondary at the beginning. The focus should be first and foremost on the economy, research, and exploration of the surrounding regions. However, you should not neglect your defense completely, as smaller fleets can cause trouble in your systems.

Colonize planets

You should also quickly start to build a second research ship and order researchers for service. This way you can expand faster and find anomalies that bring various bonuses. In addition, you can quickly find out if there are enemy races in your vicinity.

In this context, it is helpful to secure star systems that are rich in resources with outposts. This way you’ll prevent enemies from settling there. In addition, it helps you to spread out quickly, since there will soon be hardly any uninhabited areas, especially for Stellaris beginners who first have to learn the ropes.

Important: If you’ve expanded beyond the regions secured with outposts within your borders, you should dismantle them. They only cost you influence unnecessarily.

Hands off sacred worlds

Even if sacred worlds sound interesting; leave them be for now. The reason for this is that, in the beginning, the powers of an old empire awakened by the annexation attempt can lead to the downfall of your empire.

5) Resources

What resources are there and which ones are crucial?

The most important resources, especially at the beginning of the game, are energy credits as well as minerals. You can find the sum of your resources at the top of the overview bar. Your credits are marked with a yellow lightning symbol. The current amount of minerals, on the other hand, is shown next to the red diamond.

Be smart with your resources!

Embassies are also important. They are one of the rare resources in Stellaris. Therefore, you should use them carefully. Just like outposts, they cost influence. If an embassy does not meet your expectations, it makes sense to tear it down, just like with the outpost.

Improve buildings

It’s also essential to take a look at the planets and the buildings you have constructed because upgrades are unlocked with research progress. However, these are only visible in the planet view. And only if you have the necessary resources available for the upgrade. This way, you reliably increase the effectiveness of your buildings.

Mining resources

At the start you should find out if you are located in a system with rich resources. You can also tap into resource sources with construction ships. However, you should avoid doing this on resources that offer less than 2 resource units. If you have no other choice, this is of course possible. Otherwise, it is hardly worth it.

Tips on building and managing

As already mentioned, it makes sense to improve buildings if possible. Also make sure that you always build a spaceport. This not only allows you to defend and build ships, but also increases food production and has a positive effect on your credits.

6) Important things about your ships

Ship improvement that makes sense

While it is not a priority to significantly improve your military at the beginning, you will still need some ships. In terms of upgrades and improvements, it’s also important to focus not only on weapon systems. This is because all parts of a ship should be upgraded in a meaningful way.

Build a second research ship

To get to know your environment better and to expand faster, it is not only recommended for Stellaris beginners to purchase a 2nd research ship including some researchers at the beginning. This allows a more extensive exploration and the explorers level up very early in the game.

Updates via AI

Game developer Paradox always delivers new improvements with current updates. For example, the AI can now manage jobs better, perform updates, specialize planets, or select technologies. This leads to increased performance, but also various facilitations for you as a player.

Accordingly, you can leave ship upgrades to the AI. To do this, simply add ship classes to the AI, which are then confirmed with “Automatically complete”. Now, improvements will be made automatically.

Hint: Battleships, like a few other things, are excluded from automatic upgrading.

Tips on fleet management

To start, you should get a second research ship, as already mentioned. Round it off with a small war fleet. For the colony ship you have to research the blueprints first. So it will be added later.

Using the fleet navigation commands, you can easily explore systems (the hidden right-click helps here) or fend off attackers. Important functions of fleet management are:

  • Combine fleet
  • Stop fleet
  • Back
  • Relocate
  • Attack target
  • Ground support
  • Maintain fleet
  • Repair fleet
  • Improve fleet
  • Split fleet
  • Create new fleet

7) Research pays off

As in all great strategy games, research plays an important role in Stellaris. It even represents a decisive strength for your empire, which constantly provides you and your people with innovations. In addition, especially in the early game, research allows you to get a quick overview of the starting system, which makes planning easier.

Research every anomaly

In general, you should research anomalies in your environment as soon as possible. These bring various bonuses. Like other events, they can also increase your influence.

Always try to have ongoing researches

It’s crucial for your success that active research is always underway. The technology sector should never be idle. When choosing researchers, it is helpful to match their specific expertise with that of the research project. This gives you a bonus on the research time, so it sometimes significantly speeds up your projects.

Build research labs and research stations

The last thing you should focus on is special research projects. These include the “Scientific Methods.” These allow you to build research laboratories on the surfaces of planets. Also important is the research of the “Physics/Engineering Lab.” This allows you to specialize the labs on the surface.

The research stations in the individual systems are also interesting. With these, you can increase the research output of your researchers. An increase in this output can also be made possible by researching “Self-aware Logic.”

Improve your Stellaris gaming experience with PLITCH!

Stellaris can quickly become quite a challenge for new as well as advanced players. However, with our Stellaris Beginner Guide, you should get off to a good start. If you want to make further changes or adjustments, you can simply treat yourself to our PLITCH Stellaris trainer.

There you’ll find 37 codes to enjoy your interstellar adventure in the vastness of space. Customize the game to your liking with research points, influence, exotic goods, credits, and more! Play the game by your own rules and enjoy it to its fullest.

Happy Gaming!