Stellaris Planets, What To Build And How To Manage


In Stellaris deciding what to build on planets and deciding when to build something can appear to be challenging but it really doesn’t need to be, and it can even be automated!

Clicking on a planet in the outliner or clicking on the planet itself will bring up the Planetary Management screen. The tab where you will do most of the planet management is the Planet Summary tab. Using this tab, you can specialize your planet and build districts and buildings that increase the output of that specialty.

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Planetary Management in Stellaris

Look at the planet’s districts and make sure the planetary designation makes sense, then start building the districts for that specialty as the pops become available to man the facilities. I will usually create Generator Worlds and focus on energy districts since that’s what I’m usually the shortest on, plus with enough energy credits you can buy other resources you’re short on or don’t have, so having a lot of energy credits is a sound strategy. I also like to build any specialized buildings, like an energy grid, that increases the total output of the resource the planet specializes in.

The Planet Summary screen has a wealth of information and management options. At this screen you can terraform a planet if you have that technology available, construct buildings, turn automation on or off, set the planet’s designation (specialty) and get an overview of how the planet is doing, including shortfalls of things like Amenities that affect stability and happiness.

Two of the more important options at this screen are the options to build districts and buildings. Clicking on a district will bring up the district details screen telling you what the upkeep costs will be and what the time and cost is to build it. If a district of that type is available clicking the build button will start construction of the district. Unless there are other pressing needs constructing a district that matches the planet’s specialty or constructing a building complementing the planet’s specialty is the best thing to do.

You also can make decisions at this screen that can affect population growth, like declaring Martial Law if the planet gets too unruly or distributing luxury good to keep those unemployed pops happy. You can even expel excess population at the expense of some planet stability. All these decisions come with a cost, like energy, consumer goods, or minor artifacts.

The population tab allows you to set job priorities and monitor population growth while the armies tab is where you can see the number of defending armies you have on the planet plus it is where you recruit Assault Armies.

A planet will start out with a colony designation and will be reassigned a new designation automatically based on its districts and buildings once it reaches a population level of 10, but you can also choose the planet’s designation manually if you want to.

For example, if a planet has 7 food districts, 2 mineral districts, 3 generator districts, and 8 Industrial districts the AI will probably designate it as either an Industrial World or Agri-World and will probably use any buildings you construct as a tie breaker if needed. The planetary designation can also be set manually at the Planet Summary tab, and it can be changed if you have an immediate need for another resource that the planet can produce.

Stellaris Planet Designations

All colonized planets have specializations that provide bonuses. When a colony is first established it will automatically get the Colony designation until it grows to 5 pops, which provides 10 extra amenities, a Stability increase of 5, Happiness increase of 10% and an Automatic Resettlement Destination chance of 25%. After 5 pops it will be automatically designated something new by the AI unless you set manually. Designations are:

  • Urban World
    • Building and cost upkeep is reduced by 10%
    • City District Build speed increased by 25%
    • Trade Value increased by 20%
  • Mining World
    • Mining District Build Speed increased by 25%
    • Miner and Strategic Resource output increased by 25%
    • Worker pop resource output increased by 10%
  • Agri-World
    • Agriculture District build speed increased by 25%
    • Farmer output increased by 25%
    • Worker Resource pop output increased by 10%
  • Generator World
    • Generator District build speed increased by 25%
    • Technician output increased by 25%
    • Worker pop output increased by 10%
  • Industrial World
    • Industrial District build speed increased by 25%
    • Artisan upkeep reduced by 10%
    • Metallurgist upkeep reduced by 10%
  • Forge World
    • Industrial Districts shift one job from Consumer Goods to Alloy production if possible
    • Industrial District build speed increased by 25%
    • Metallurgist upkeep reduced by 20%
  • Factory World
    • Industrial Districts shift one job from Alloy to Consumer Goods production if possible
    • Industrial District build speed increased by 25%
    • Artisan upkeep reduced by 20%
  • Refinery World
    • Gas Refinery output increased by 10%
    • Transducers output increased by 10%
    • Chemicals output increased by 10%
    • Refinery build speed increased by 25%
    • Chemical Plant build speed increased by 25%
    • Crystal Plant build speed increased by 25%
  • Tech-World
    • Research Lab Build speed increased by 25%
    • Researcher upkeep reduced by 20%
  • Fortress World
    • Stronghold build speed increased by 25%
    • Orbital Bombardment damage reduced by 10%
    • Defense Army damage increased by 20%
  • Rural World
    • Agriculture District build speed increased by 25%
    • Generator District build speed increased by 25%
    • Mining District build sped increased by 25%
    • Worker Pop resource output increased by 10%
  • Unification Center
    • Bureaucrat output increased by 10%
    • Bureaucrat upkeep reduced by 10

You can increase these designation bonuses by constructing buildings that take advantage of it. For example, building an energy grid will provide a significant boost to the energy output of a Generator World.

Planetary Stability and Happiness

One important thing to manage is planet happiness, which is summarized in the upper right corner of the screen. It’s important because an amenity shortage impacts happiness and stability negatively and amenities, which have a big impact on stability, are not a shared resource like other resources, each planet is responsible for producing its own. The pop approval rating has the biggest impact. Overcrowding and Crime also effect a planet’s stability.

Constructing buildings like Holo Theaters (Entertainers turn Consumer Goods into Unity and Amenities) and Luxury Residences (provides an additional 4 in housing and 5 more amenities) are two ways to increase amenities. Any building where you can employ pops as Entertainers will help.

Planetary Automation

With the new Cepheus 3.4 update comes new planet automation settings. You get to those by right-clicking on the Automation Gear icon located on the Planet Summary screen. Before turning automation on it’s a good idea to set the planet’s designation first. Planet designation has a major effect on what the planet builds.

Using the Automation Settings screen, you can let the AI automate construction for the following:

  • Planet Designation – Allows the planet to choose what districts and buildings to focus on. Turn off and set manually.
  • Upgrade Building – Buildings automatically upgrade before constructing new buildings. Leave on.
  • Amenities – Allows the planet to automatically manage amenities by setting job priorities and constructing amenity producing buildings. Leave on.
  • Rare Resources – Enables the planet to automatically construct buildings that produce more jobs for rare resources during an Empire wide shortage. Leave unchecked Off) or it will keep increasing the jobs until you have a net 3 resources of 3 Volatile Motes, Rare Crystals and Exotic Gases. Pretty high in the early game.
  • Pop Assembly – Enables automatic building of buildings that assemble pops. Leave on.
  • Housing – Allows automatic construction of more housing, either a city district or luxury residences when you don’t have enough housing capacity. Leave on.
  • Building Slots – Allows a city district to be added if it will provide an additional building slot. Leave on.
  • Crime Reduction – Allows crime prevention. Leave off. Can be dealt with more effectively manually.
  • Clearing Blockers – Might clear blockers when not needed, turn off.
  • Posthumous Employment – Benefits planets focused on raw resources.
  • Psi Corps- If you have either the Teachers of the Shroud Origin or Mind over Matter Ascension Perk you will be able to build Psi Corps buildings, enabling this will allow the buildings to be automatically built on all planets. Recommend leaving that off and constructing those manually.

If you shift-click on a setting it will toggle it between being enabled or disabled as the default for all new colonies. If you control-click on a setting it will toggle that setting for all planets.

Sector automation has been around for quite a while, best to leave it off and let the planetary automation handle any automation.

Automation only triggers at the end of the month and it needs resources either the shared stockpile or local stockpile. You can automatically donate a monthly amount (minerals or energy credits) to the Shared Stockpile and, at least in the early game, it’s probably best to do it manually so you can keep track of it. You can’t get resources back out of the shared stockpile once there placed in one of  he Stockpiles. The best approach is to donate energy credits since it’s cheaper to use them (for the automations that is) than minerals.

If there is a resource deficit automation won’t trigger and build. Also, there must be no available jobs before it will build anything. You can create unemployment by deprioritizing jobs to turn them off. This will force the planet to build what you want.

Stellaris How To Add Planets to Sectors

The simple answer is not easily. To create a new sector choose a planet to be the capital of it, then on the Planet Summary screen click on the create sector button icon. Every planet that’s not already a part of a sector that’s within 4 jumps of the planet is included in the new sector.

The only way I’m aware of to move or add a planet to another sector is to change the capital planet of the sectors, or by removing and creating new sectors to get what you want. Not very handy.

How Many Planets Should I Have In Stellaris

The short answer is grab as many planets as you care to micromanage since there is no penalty, except for empire sprawl (now called empire size), to having lots of systems and planets. With the new automation settings the micromanagement is greatly reduced, so even that is no longer a factor.

Some players recommend 5 to 10 planets, some recommend more based on the map size. Having more planets and systems will increase empire sprawl penalties, but the planets and systems will more than compensate for that problem with the resources they produce. Empire sprawl is not a profoundly serious thing and can be handled with a strong economy. Increasing administrative capacity will reduce it as well, read my “how to increase administrative capacity” page if you want to discover some good ways for handling that problem.

I typically will colonize everything in sight if the habitability rating is 80% or better. When I get the terraforming technology, I will methodically start turning all those red planets in my empire green. Terraforming usually costs 5,000 energy credits, and usually by the time I have that technology available I have a very strong economy that can handle the cost. I like having a lot of planets since having a lot makes it tougher to get knocked out of the game, plus I enjoy having planets to manage.

Rich Gallien

I've always liked board games like chess and PC games, especially space based strategy games, which lead to the creation of this site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it and updating it with new games!

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