Difficulty levels/options

Content of the article: "Difficulty levels/options"

I'm generally curious as to what folks think about different difficulty options in Stellaris. I'm presently playing a game at Admiral/scaled with 2x research time, largest settings for galaxy size and number of all the different kinds of civs in it. That's going really well as of late 2300's. AIs are getting some resource boosts from the difficulty level and that's made things really challenging for me. Also I make certain assumptions about AI limitations which aren't always true, and that hits me hard when it happens. I had set up two starbases on a hostile border covering both access points. I didn't yet have warp inhibitors, but I thought the AI only goes system by system when at war. Much to my pleasant surprise and horror, when war occurred the AI just skipped past the two defended systems and attacked my weak inside systems. I nearly got clobbered in that war as a result, and just got a lucky save by another civ declaring war with my opponent.

I think the AI over-limits itself in initial colonization. I believe it won't colonize any system more than 3 systems away from a current border. That makes it easy to really lock off systems for myself, and at the same time I am free to skip past AI borders and grab additional systems. My current empire is actually scattered across the galaxy in three big masses of systems, and the AI just won't compete on that level. But the resource boost for the AI probably balances that.

I really like having the scaling option for difficulty, because I always hate in the higher difficulties of the Civ series how I'm immediately facing AI players with double or more my starting cities/population/etc. But I'm curious as to whether others play with scaling off. Likewise with AI aggression, that right there would have probably killed me in my above war, because I needed to be saved by a friendly AI.

Read:  idea for a mobilization mechanic

I've also thought about downloading an AI mod. Starnet is very widely praised for instance. To what extent do people do that instead of relying on difficulty sliders, and what difficulty slider settings do they typically use for Starnet, as compared to vanilla?

Thanks for any feedback and thoughts!


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