Stellaris

Planets lack meaningful uniqueness and that makes them boring

Yes we have the different planet types, and the slightly differing mix of available districts (with perhaps a crystal or motes deposit or two), but come on, planets could be FAR more unique than this. If planets have meaningful uniqueness, that gives them more RP flavour, and more strategic value.

With a lack of significant uniqueness between planets, there is little strategic incentive to desire one planet over the other. There are no planets with a rare naturally occurring mineral, or planets with a unique fauna that yields tons of food, or holy worlds that are the envy of multiple empires of that faith. What difference does it make for me to colonize Planet X or Planet Y, or conquer Planet A or Planet B.

Here are some suggestions on how you could make planets more unique, which could be done via planet modifiers or planet deposits:

  • Unique atmospheres: Have a planet where the atmosphere is comprised of a particularly unique combination of gasses that interferes with traditional starship shielding and can damage ship hulls. As a result, orbital bombardment damage is reduced by 75% since ships need to navigate this dangerous atmosphere. Have a planet which is coincidentally under near constant fog, and thus all crime is doubled on this planet since it's so easy to hide on this planet. Have a planet where the atmosphere is partially hallucinogenic, which reduces resource output but increases stability (I know there is a similarly themed Aphrodisiac modifier but there's potential for way more alternative modifiers here too). Have another possible modifier where a unique combination of the magnetics of the planet and the atmosphere interferes with traditional scanners, and as such the planet/system is hidden from traditional sensors.
  • Unique minerals: Have unique planet modifiers that represent unique minerals that occur naturally on different planets. Make them only spawn 1-3 times in the galaxy to ensure they are rare. Perhaps Planet X is the only known source of Bloopium in the galaxy. Bloopium, once refined, acts to greatly magnify any energy weapons. As a result, whoever owns Planet X gets an empire-wide 5% bonus to energy-weapon damage. Perhaps you need to build a Bloopium Mine and employ some Bloopium Miners to access this bonus or perhaps you just get it straight. Maybe another planet, Planet Y, has a rare mineral called Zidium which acts as a truth serum when injected into subjects, and as a result increases the crime reduction produced by all of your empire's enforcers by 3. Now think of all the other possible options available with this approach.
  • Unique geography: You get the idea. Perhaps there is a planet with extremely small and scattered islands, so the maximum number of districts is reduced, but the islands are each so small and idyllic with such small and cute creatures that all amenities production is doubled on this planet.
  • Unique flora/fauna: Perhaps this planet is covered in a thick jungle that is difficult to navigate for newcomers, so all defending armies get a +50% bonus on this planet, but the planet also generates double the crime because criminals can hide in these jungles. Perhaps this planet has a unique species called Blorfs that can change its colours to create beautiful displays, and so owning this planet gives you a +10% amenities production boost to all Entertainers since they are able to buy Blorfs off of this planet and use them in their performances.
  • Unique cultures: Think of all of the different local cultures that have developed on Earth and the different specialties they've developed as a result. Now imagine if there were events in Stellaris to add local planet modifiers to different planets to represent local cultures developing. Like for example maybe one planet begins to become known for its exceptional shipbuilding techniques, and as such gains a new modifier that gives you a +5% ship hull health bonus empire-wide so long as you control that planet (but will now also give it to an invader if they conquer that planet). Perhaps there's another planet where the people develop a tradition of political debate and statesmanship, and as a result ownership of the planet grants an empire one additional envoy. Perhaps there's another planet where a local Food Processing Company becomes highly successful, and so a new planet deposit is generated on that planet granting 2 local clerk jobs but also granting +3% empire food production. Perhaps another planet develops a culture of deceptiveness and espionage and begins producing a lot of spies for its empire, generating a new planet deposit that increases empire-wide infiltration speed by +0.10. Perhaps another world develops into the Holy World of your empire's faith (though this would probably fit better into a larger religion based expansion)? You could even make the chance for these different events firing be based off of the ethics makeup of the planet.

Wouldn't you see a planet having one of these modifiers as having more strategic value? I mean those are just some possible categories of planet modifiers and planet deposits that could be added to the game to greatly improve the uniqueness of planets, but I'm sure there are countless more. What's important is to have a ton of them, but make them RARE, so they only occur a few times in the galaxy. And make their bonuses worthwhile, there are so many unused possible bonuses in the game! And most importantly, they are tied to the planet. Now there is sooo much incentive to conquering and holding strategic planets across the galaxy, beyond the usual basic (and honestly boring) reasons.

Now compare these modifiers to a planet modifier currently in the game:

  • Low Gravity: −10% Building cost, −5% Habitability

Ok, so I save some minerals but spend some extra food and CG on this planet. Plus I'll prob see this modifier on 30 other planets as well so I will eventually ignore it even and will never factor it into my decision-making. I mean it's good for a little but of flavour, but it adds ZERO strategic value to that planet.

What do you guys think, would such a thing help improve Stellaris' gameplay?

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