Stellaris: Multiplayer Newbies’ Guide

This guide is about playing Stellaris in a multi-player contest.

Main objective is to make the newbie able to withstand the blows of more experienced players and to navigate the intricacies of multi-player experience.


Chapter I: The Very Basics

What is this game about?

This game is about MURDER.

Murder of your enemies pops, or murder of their political systems… but still murder!
You kill your enemies = you win. You wait helpless = you lose.

Then… how do I kick asses?

As any other games by Paradox, lots and lots of numbers are thrown at the player. Pops, minerals, energy, modifiers, maintenance costs, fleet capacity, etc… But, as everything else, we can reduce the whole game to just two numbers:

  • Research
  • Alloys Production

The rest is insignificant crap. Just max out these two fellas and you’ll be kicking asses.

What do you mean by research?

I mean this little number:

That represents the sum of all research points your empire produces per month.

How much research should I do?

The rough formula is this: for the first 20 years in game, you should make at least

10 * (year – 2200)

res points per month. That’s it. (Example: it is 2215. You should make around 150 res/month)

Later on, your objective is to increase the rate of change of your research output. So, after hitting 200 res7month by 2220, by 2250 you should make at least 1000 or you’re out of the big league!

How do I make research points?

You should have a “research planet”, that is a planet focused on maintaining labs and scientists, and you should buff it with all the cumulative bonuses you can.

What is a suitable research planet candidate?

There is only 1 suitable choice: your CAPITAL. That’s it.


Because you need labs to make research. And to make labs you need building slots. And those come in the number of one for every 5 pops you put on a planet. So, your capital has the highest number of pops, which means it also has the highest number of building slots.

How do I buff the Research Planet?

Build an exploration ship. Put a researcher on it. Then select it and let it perform an “assist research” mission around your Capital. Boom: +10% research (or more) for the meager price of 100 alloys and 200 energy credits.

Also: check for governors every now and then… if you get lucky you’ll find an intellectual one (+10% bonus): hire him immediately and assign him to your capital!

Chapter II: First Steps

The opening moves

So, you need to build up your infrastructure and boost your science.

  • Select your building ship and make it build a mineral extraction base (there is always one mineral and one energy source in your starting system).
  • Start building a new science ship. Recruit a scientist and send it to explore.
  • Get back alloys from your 3 corvettes (see how below)
  • Clean up the slums on your planet and get that 1 free pop.
  • Build a new research lab on your capital.
  • Build a new science ship and assign it to “assist research”.
The Next Step
  • Continue to build labs as soon as you have free building slots on your planet.
  • You should have found your 2 colonizable planets. Colonize them.
  • Your builder ship should never be idle. Continue building minerals/energy bases around.
Early resource management

As you build up labs and put those pesky researchers to work, you’ll end up with a deficit of consumer goods. That is not a problem: just buy some from the market! And if you need more credits, just sell some excess food…

Your Second Planet

As soon as your first colony is finished, start planning for it to become an administrative center.

  • Immediately put in queue the production of a mineral district and an energy district, so you have enough space for 5 people and you don’t need to worry later.
  • Watch out for population growth. As soon as you can move people from your capital to your colony and reach 5 (without losing the building slot on capital), do it.
  • Then build an administrative building and set the colony specialization to admin.
The Other Colonies

As they finish up, continue to check for “odd” numbers of pops on your planets and maximize the appearance of free building slots (that is: check the remainder of pops module 5 — if a planet has 6 pops, consider moving that one useless chap to another place in order to unlock a building slot). Then start transferring all the crappy production you have on your Capital to these outer worlds.

Example: you got a building slot on “Colony #2”. Build there an alloy factory and, at the same time, substitute the alloy factory in your Capital with another lab district!

How to explore

You should send your science ships exploring around the systems you already own, and then proceed “in concentric circles”. It is pointless to spend time (which is a very real resource) exploring a star system that you’ll never get to own.

As soon as your scientists get level 3 or more, you can start investigating anomalies as you discover them, too (but NOT things like level 10!!). Else, leave them there for later, when your level 6 explorer will have nothing better to do.

Chapter III: Expanding Into The Vast Void

In order to sustain your economy, you need more and more systems under your control, so you need to expand. Yes, that is super-simple, but too many noobs get it totally wrong…

Should I get this system?

Too many people tend to believe that “more is better”. Well, not here champ! Claiming/building an outpost around a star costs resources (100 alloys and 75 influence). You should always ask:

When will this initial investment repay itself?

A star should have a combined value of at least 7 in order to be somehow valuable to your empire.

combined value of a system = energy + mineral sites’ output

Research resources are valued zero, because they are crap. You can add the trade value if it is in range of your Capital’s starbase, though.

How many colonies?

Five. No more. At least in the initial phase of the game, usually 2200-2250.


Because each colony takes 200 alloys and 200 goods from your stockpile. Keep in mind that a cruiser, which will be your death-weapon for your first rush, costs 600 alloys and it is useful as soon as it is christened. A colony is not even worth looking till it gets 5 pops, and it takes forever….

But I want more!

Then conquer them. DO NOT CLAIM useless sh*t from your neighbors, go for the jugular and claim their planets! Then you’ll have colonies with pops (so worth looking at).

The exception: choke-points & bridges

It is worth taking a system just to block your opponents’ early expansion into valuable systems, or just taking it as a “bridge” to more useful resources, sometimes. In the latter case, you can average the system’s worth with those of the newly reached system.

Before going over, remember: choke points just block early expansion of your opponents. Their military value is ZERO.

Chapter IV: Waging “Simple” Wars

Once you reach a fair 250 research/month you should begin cramming out those alloys. But, still, you don’t know what to build with them… As long as you are the attacking side or have a tech edge/ more fleet power, the war should be “simple”. This section is made for you to understand how to translate your theoretical advantage into a big pile of skulls on your enemy’s capital.

Starbases: a big ball of NOPE

Let me be blunt here (even more than usual): starbases are total useless crap. They become even worse in the middle and late game, actually helping your invading neighbor murdering you out of your misery.

So what about starbases?

You just need two of them:

  • the initial one in your capital system
  • a shipyard

The shipyard should be built in a frontier/choke system (it gives some defense, so who am I to throw away that small bonus) as soon as your economy permits. Then, as the first shipyard module comes to completion, transform the capital system one into a commercial station removing the production module and the crew quarters and putting online some trade modules.

This will (hopefully) let you get all the trade generated by your other colonies without incurring in any pirates…

Cruisin’ easy to victory

Let’s face it: if you’re reading this, you are a noob. So, it is better you get off your mind that crazy idea to make a “corvettes rush”. You are not capable of it. For now…

So, your fleet will be composed of these guys:

Simply a cruiser with the middle = hangar section and the aft = small weapons. For the fore section, it depends: better is the proton/energy torpedo, but a large gun will do the same…

It is VERY important to put the battle computer to the “most right” option: carrier, as you will need engagement range maxed out in order for your fighters to inflict the most pain!

One of those guys will cost between 500 and 600 alloys and will crank 600-700 fleet strength value. Basically you’ll convert alloys into fleet strength – not bad!

Build them up to your fleet capacity (and more, if needed), then find a target and murder it.

How to fight a space battle

To win a battle, just be sure to send in more forces than your opponents. Stellaris is very unbalanced, so a 12k fleet vs a 8k fleet will almost every time result in a “no loss” vs total wipe out.

If the target has a defensive station in a system, try to rush it before they can get their fleets there. Else, just consider it just as part of their fleet, so sum up its value to their fleet power and see if you still have an advantage of 2k or more. If it is so, go in and win!

How to win the war

When you start building the cruisers, remember to put on every planet’s queue 5 ground armies, and then merge them near your main fleet. With 25 armies you should be able to invade every single planet you find on your way without needing to drop a single bomb on it…

Now, remember to go to the jugular: you want to conquer things in this order:

  • systems with a shipyard: you don’t want them to be able to build a new fleet/reinforce
  • planets: go in with your fleet and take out the system station/outpost, then rush your 25 army to the planet and conquer everything
  • all the other systems, going from one to another with your fleet, and targeting high yield systems in order to tank your opponents economy asap

Of course: you should try to intercept your opponents’ fleet and wipe it out, but remember to kill their starbases in order to kill their war capabilities.

Taking advantage of your opponents’ starbases

Every starbase that you vanquish transforms immediately in a space-hospital for your fleets.

Win the Big Battle™ and then repair your ships to 100%. When your enemy can just drop your armor to zero and hull to 10%, it means… nothing! Your ship is still alive and well, just send it to the space hospital that your opponents were kind enough to give up for free!

Chapter V: Research What?

Your objective is to have those big boyz (cruisers) up there, so your research choices shall reflect that.

Exception to whatever is written below:

Always research the initial tech that gives +20% output in that branch as soon as you get it.


Have a void-craft scientist working on the Engineering Section. This will allow for faster draws of destroyers and then cruisers. You understood well, put that genius scientist somewhere else as soon as you have your damn voidcrafter! (once you get cruisers, you can put the genius back to engineering, though).

Research priorities should reflect this list order (when you don’t have the priority choice available, move to the “next best” in this order):

  • Destroyers, then Cruisers
  • Fighter modules
  • Armor
  • Coilguns lvl 2, then Autocannons
  • Afterburners lvl 1, then Thrusters

All the rest is crap. You don’t need bleeping robotoids that will get exploited by that alien overlord that mass murdered your people and conquered your planets. You don’t need corvettes discounts for the zero corvettes that you’ll build. You don’t need advanced space crappy stations that you shouldn’t be building.


Research priorities should reflect this list order (when you don’t have the priority choice available, move to the “next best” in this order):

  • Admin AI, then specialized combat computers lvl 1
  • FTL inhibitors
  • Reactors
  • Shields
  • Point defences
  • Sensors

Research priorities should reflect this list order (when you don’t have the priority choice available, move to the “next best” in this order):

  • Planet unification, then colonial centralization (better capital building)
  • Admin efficiency
  • Fleet capacity
  • Fleet command limit
  • Ground defences, then global defence grid (the fortress)

There is something good between the techs left out of the list. For example “The Living State” (+1 influence/month) and “Galactic Admin” (+1 civic) are really good, but you should see how the situation is evolving… being big on ideas just to be crushed is NO GOOD.

What if i didn’t get anything from the list?

Try to avoid useless crap; energy/farm/space mines production bonuses are at least useful. Planet terraforming is suicide; Robots are just a death wish; hyperlane motors are a joke, etc…

Chapter VI: Traditions and Ascension Perks

Stellaris offers the players a lot of good choices, enabling them to customize their empire in a very balanced way.

Originally posted by Mario Minaccia:


If you believed that, you ded.


Here the game is so unbalanced that it is almost mandatory what you have to pick:

  • Tradition 1: Discovery, completing the right column first.
  • Tradition 2: Supremacy, completing the right column first.
Why those?

Because researchers consume a lot and are 50% of the game (the rest is alloy producers). Discovery will reduce their goods consumption and increase their output.

Then, Supremacy shouldn’t be a surprise: you are going to kill people or get killed, so better have stronger fleets than space beans…


When you finish a tradition, you will unlock a perk. Even here, there is no choice.

  • Perk 1: Tech Ascendancy
  • Perk 2: Enigmatic Engineering
Why those?

Because +10% research is another big time bonus.

Enigmatic Engineering is a MarioMinaccia’s Trademark. It gives +2 sensor range, which is a huge intel bonus when you need to search for your enemy fleet or just need to avoid that huge neutron star base… Also it will keep everyone guessing about your ships’ config (so no specialized builds vs you) AND if you lose a ship, nobody will be able to steal tech from you.

Chapter VII: Race Customization (intermediate)

It is now time to stop playing the crappy humans. I know, I know… you always play humans – you can only identify with them and so on… but I couldn’t care less. Get out of your comfort zone if you want to survive the merciless galaxy…

This chapter is “intermediate” in name only, we’ll stay the course of basic training stuff, for the moment.

The basics about race customization are: add things that improve your in game chances of kicking asses. When you start seeing it this way, it is really easy to build up something not-so-crappy.


As I said, this is a game of tech-ing up fast and nice, so your race shall be

  • Intelligent (for the nice extra +10% res buff)
  • Engineers (for the nice extra +15% engineering buff, that combines with everything else)
  • Deviants (because it is something I don’t consider a malus, but sometimes even a bonus)
  • Fanatic materialist (+10% res buff)
  • Egalitarian (+5% alloy AND res buff, as those pesky workers/scientists are specialists…)
Government Form
  • Oligarchy is the way – you will choose the best leader to suit your needs!
  • Technocracy (so you’ll never ever need unity buildings)
  • Meritocracy (another +10% to alloy AND research buff)

With these simple configurations, you are now able to crank up a very nice:

  • +40% research buff in physics/society
  • +55% research buff in engineering
  • +15% production buff to alloys (and goods, too)

Now, let’s take a look at the origin. Many of them are considered OP and banned from many servers… we’ll discuss them in the advanced section. For now, suffice to say that, as it happens most of the time with this kind of games, my favourite OP start is the “basic” one:


It gives you another whooping +10% jobs production bonus on your capital, which translates into scientists, alloyers and even miners/farmers/etc… bonus production, adding up to your already enormous bonus. Also, you get 4 more pops at beginning than the other players – which translates into more building slots and more actual production since day zero.

Chapter VIII: Diplomacy (intermediate)

Ok, now you know the basics of single-player Stellaris: it is time to explore the features of a multiplayer game!

Don’t be shy

The title says it all: communicate with your neighbors and make clear what you want from them – be it systems or just friendship and a safe border. Failure to state clearly your stance on the galactic grounds or simply being acknowledged as a human player will always yield bad results: being considered an AI makes your empire just free real estate

Evaluate the situation

Take a deep look at the galactic map once you start discovering other people. You can simply be polite but otherwise ignore players that are so far off from your borders that diplomacy with them is really unnecessary. Concentrate your brain power on what is next door, so focus on the immediate menace/opportunity.

Choose your friends…

You cannot possibly go to war with ALL the galaxy at the same time. Even 2:1 wars vs bad players are kind of difficult to pull off without losses so be smart and choose some friends (permanent or temporary, your choice) and sign that non aggression pact.

Remember: this is NOT infinite protection from backstabs, but at least it will give you a heads up and 10 years to prepare before they come for you!

…and your foes!

Once you secured a border or even managed an alliance, choose your target. It should be, in order:

  • Someone you can beat
  • Beating them should give you a boon (planets/resources/high yield systems)
  • Winning the war should make you safer

It is totally pointless to wage a war where nothing is to be gained – and even worse if you just beat up some random guy just to discover that the very thicc player that you – now – border, started taking a good second look at you, and is considering evisceration, as you become a threat!

Chapter IX: Defensive Wars (intermediate)

Someone just declared war on you. This means that you are weaker and they consider it very probable to crush you and gain something, so you’re now in a Big Bad Situation™. How do you make them regret their decision?

Battle avoidance

If your fleet is weaker than theirs, avoid at all cost an all out battle. You will have nothing to gain and will be wiped out, leaving your systems up to conquest and you’ll be unable to fight back.

Move your fleet away from danger: move it even into the territory of a neutral and friendly neighbor that can (maybe) close borders with your enemy.

Build up a coalition

Talk to other players asap and explain that the Big Bad Enemy will be too powerful once they kill you. Try to form a coalition with enough fleet power and reverse the course of the war! Make reluctant players send you resources!

Buy yourself some time

Read again the chapter about winning “simple” wars, and think: what would make a simple war more complex? Try to put yourself in your enemy’s place and ask yourself: what would be a pain in the ass in this war? Then make it real!

For example: build some armies and put them down on your planets, so they cannot wipe out worlds without resistance. Slow them down, make their war exhaustion tick up with difficult ground battles!

Be sneaky and opportunistic

Your attacker will probably have just one main fleet – and that cannot be everywhere at the same time. As they advance into your territory and away from home, see if you can sneak your fleet and an army into your enemy’s territory. Remember, though: don’t get cornered and avoid big battles that will leave you without teeth…

Chapter X: OP Start – Voidborn (intermediate)

Let’s delve a bit into more convoluted stuff and focus on one of the most overpowered start this game has to offer: the Voidborn origin.

What about it?

It makes your peones live into habitats since the start of the game, giving you 3 habitats. Colonized planets will have reduced habitability and you’ll see a little reduction in pop growth overall.

Why it stronk?

Despite the reduced pop growth, you’ll crank up people 3 times faster than anybody else at start, as people are NOT made out of other people in this game, but out of colonized planets and stations…


Your capital will always have the science districts buildable! Start building those as soon as you have the 500 minerals, and see your science going up as crazy. Close the ♥♥♥♥♥♥ farm building and replace it with another science lab! Then, as soon as you build your second science district, your capital designation will automatically change from “capital” to “science station” which will give you another 10% research bonus and makes the next science districts 10% cheaper to build.

What about the other habitats?

Use them as breeding grounds in order to feed your science habitat with scientists. When you don’t need any more, crank up alloys and start accumulating them. Depending on your game settings, use them to build another habitat (and so on) or to cruise your way to victory, as you will be the science guy for the rest of the game, being able to get up to 700 science by 2210

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Post Author: Robins Chew

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