The best faction to play when learning the game is the TEC. This faction is easy to understand, has good economic strength and is pretty straightforward to play. If you tend to be a defensive player use the Loyalists since they specialize in defensive structures, like having the ability to build two starbases in a gravity well. If you like offense use the TEC Rebels. They hate everyone and have the weaponry and economic base to expand rapidly.
Set the AI to an easy difficulty setting on a tiny map with no pirate faction in the game. This will allow you to really focus on your faction and get familiar with it.
Don’t forget to build your first capital ship, which is free. If you’re following these tips you’ll be playing a TEC faction, so the capital ship of choice is the Akkan Battlercruiser (even though the Kol Battleship looks awesome!). Use the available ability point to enable colonization. Take a few frigates with you and concentrate fire any enemy militia siege frigates while the Akkan focuses on colonizing the planet. If you don’t the enemy siege frigates will wipe out your new colony almost as soon as its established. One advantage to not destroying the other militia ships is that once colonized they will still protect the planet, even though it now belongs to you. It’s also a good idea to build at least one colony frigate so you can colonize planets in the opposite direction of your Akkan Battlecruiser.
Set your Scouts to autoexplore by right clicking on the Explore ability. Not only will this prevent you from having micromanage exploration, it will also prevent your Scouts from being destroyed if you forget about them after moving them into a hostile gravity well. Set the initial destination for each Scout so they don’t end up scouting the same area.
Gain control of the jump points connected to your capital world! Don’t let the enemy gain a foothold in your territory or you’ll spend precious time and resources trying to drive him out! One viable strategy to identify “choke points” and build solid defenses in those gravity wells. Another option to keep exploring and colonizing until you meet stiff resistance. In either case, establish defenses at those outer fringes of your empire by using starbases and then start colonizing those gravity wells within your borders. You’ll need to research the Raloz Heavy Constructor in the Defense category before you can build any starbases. Remember that wormholes and stars can be used as choke points as well.
Although you shouldn’t neglect your fleet it’s best to build up your economy so you can support that war machine it’s destined to become. At the start build two civic research stations and then start researching trade ports. This will provide a lot of badly needed additional income for your empire and will allow it to live long and prosper. Build trade ports at every planet, the longer the trade port routes the better (long trade routes generate more income) just remember to leave a logistics slot open for that future trade port.
Use pause liberally. There is no menu icon for pause but it’s easy enough to remember, just press the pause button on the keyboard. This will allow you to issue orders if things start moving too fast.
Once you colonize a planet improve the infrastructure as quickly as possible. If you don’t the planet will be a drain on your economy instead of an asset.
When colonizing skip the planets or asteroids that are low in value. Terran planets should always be your top priority, then you colonize the ones of lesser value later.
As a beginner you could research all tier one items first, then tier 2, etc. Not the best tactical approach but against an easy AI it. This allows you to become familiar with the different technologies and how they affect your empire.
You can read about the SINs faction differences at my Factions page, and if you like SINs you’re bound to like Stellaris too. Check out the 101 tips I have for that game!
Other Stuff That’s Good To Know
Shields and shield mitigation are confusing. Since shields already have their own rating, what exactly is shield mitigation? Shields are an energy barrier (think Star Trek) that protects the ship from hostile weapons fire. Once reduced to zero, they no longer protect the ship. Shield mitigation, on the other hand, is the amount, or percentage, of damage that is absorbed by the shields.
Fighters are for offense, bombers for defense.
Culture is spread through culture centers.
Diplomacy is good but providing military help to an ally is just as good. Help him out with his fight.
Ships and planets can be renamed.
When retreating turn group movement off; otherwise, your fleet will take a pounding while it waits for stragglers. Better to lose a few ships, that are probably lost anyway, than to suffer heavy damage to your fleet.
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