Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy masterpiece Stellaris is a game full of alien races, strange worlds, and unexpected adventures. Like other grand strategy games, Stellaris has players starting off small and building up to a powerful intergalactic empire that is both feared and revered. The core concept and gameplay mechanics are enticing to many people, but just a quick look at the game in action can put some people off. Dense menus, complex star charts, and complicated space battles can be a lot to swallow if you aren’t familiar with the genre. However, you should not let this deter you from experiencing everything Stellaris has to offer. Yes, it is a complex game, but the reward for learning its mechanics and systems is a truly satisfying video game.
If you need some guidance for your first foray into grand strategy, I have a few tips for you in this Stellaris Ultimate Beginner’s Guide for 2022. If you’re ready to begin, summon your fleet, and let’s get started!
Select Your Starting Empire
When you first jump into Stellaris, you will be presented with an option to choose your starting empire. There are many to choose from, especially with all of the DLC, but you can also create your own. If this is your first attempt, I would recommend sticking with a pre-made empire to cut down on complications. Also, I would recommend that you select an empire that is friendly so that you can easily make friends with other nations and forge powerful bonds. An easy empire to choose in that case is the United Nations of Earth.
Set Up Your First Game
With your starting empire sorted, you will then be taken to a screen where you can select your option for your game. There are too many options to cover here, but the only ones you’ll need to worry about for your first time are the Galaxy Size and Difficulty settings. A bigger galaxy means more planets and zones to manage, so it’s probably best to keep things smaller and simple until you’re a Stellaris pro. Difficulty settings should be obvious, and you’ll want to keep that on the lower end as well until you have your bearings. There’s no point in mankind the game overly difficult for no reason until you’ve mastered all of its mechanics.
With all of your parameters set, you’ll finally be able to start the game. You’ll see many different types of resources and side menus, but those will become clearer as you play. For now, just know that you’ll start with a Science Ship, a small military fleet, a Construction Ship, and your Capital Planet. To get started, you’ll want to get your Science Ship started on scouting out new systems.
To do this, you can right-click a system that is connected to your starting system and select “Survey System”. Your Science Ship will begin its journey there to map out the new systems, planets, and resources. Then, you can set your Construction Ship to start building a mining station so you can start adding to your resources. The planets suitable for a mining station will be highlighted. Lastly, you can begin research on new technologies while the other processes complete. Any type of research that helps in gaining resources is helpful.
Once your Science Ship has made it to the new system and mapped it, you can send your Construction ship to the new system and have it begin building a starbase and any other helpful constructions. While that is going, you can send your Science Ship to another new system and have it survey that as well. This is going to be the gameplay loop for many of the beginning hours of Stellaris. You’re really just expanding your influence and gaining whatever resources you can from the surrounding star systems. Soon enough, you will have hundreds of planets under your control, with all of them producing and manufacturing for you. This is where the real game begins.
Prepare for War
As you conquer systems and extend your reach, you will either bump into another empire’s system which you may want for yourself, or another empire might come across one of your systems and try to claim it. There are other reasons war might break out, but this is the most common. You’ll want to build out your military for this inevitable occurrence, which will take no time once you have plenty of resources coming in. Just make sure you’re always able to defend yourself and your interests, and you’ll be ok.