Stellaris – Best Species Traits Overall to Choose

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Creating a new species to play with is a daunting task in Stellaris. There is so much to think about; one of the hardest parts is knowing what the best species traits are overall.

Some traits are amazing, while others, you would be better off burning them with a cleansing fire. If you are new to the game or creating builds isn’t your strong point, this guide will help you get over this difficulty curve.

Recommended Read: How to Get Into the Galactic Market in Stellaris

There will be sections for both robots and biological pops. There will be some brief explanations of fundamental game mechanics throughout this guide, and where possible, there will be links to full guides on these game features.

The best traits for overall performance in Stellaris are rapid breeders, natural engineers, natural physicists, fleeting, intelligent, traditional, thrifty, and unruly. For robots, it is efficient processors, logic engines, mass-produced, high bandwidth, propaganda machines, and superconductive.

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The Best Overall Traits to Choose in Stellaris

Picking traits is where you make your empire come to life. These are the traits your alien species has that make them unique.

They could be scrawny science types or bulky with a talent for leadership. It is very common for players to recreate their favorite races from science fiction to play, choosing traits that match them.

You can, of course, create your own alien race. Then, there is the third strategy: selecting the most powerful traits that make your species as strong as they can be.

Strongest Traits for Biological Empires

These are the best traits for biological empires. They are in no particular order.

Rapid Breeders

An empire lives and dies by its pops. They are the lifeblood of your economy, and without them, your empire will wither away and die.

So, for the low price of only two trait points, you can increase your pop growth speed by 10%. This is an amazing trait in the early game, as it speeds up your empire’s development in so many ways.

More pops mean more job postions can get filled. This equals more resource production, more research, and more opportunities for your empire to expand into the stars.

There is seldom a reason not to want more pops in your empire, and this trait is a favorite of beginners and veterans alike.

Natural Engineers

The first of three research-based traits is natural engineers. This trait is so cheap for the benefits it provides.

For only one trait point, your species will produce an extra 15% research from any jobs. You can use this trait in conjunction with other research traits available as well.

You could make a very valid argument for engineering being the most important research discipline.

It provides new ships, megastructures, stronger star bases, stronger weaponry, access to robot pops, improved armor, improved mining, mining of exotic resources, and access to the L gates.

If you are serious about pursuing a meta-build, you need to take some form of research-based trait for your starting species.

The obvious downside, of course, is that you are neglecting the other disciplines by selecting this trait. Something you should think hard about, as the twin sibling of this trait is just as strong.

Natural Physicists

There are no prizes for guessing what this trait provides for your species. Once again, it only costs one trait point for an increase in physics research of 15%.

The reasons for this trait being so strong are exactly the same as in engineering. Physics research unlocks some powerful boons for your empire.

Rushing physics will give your empire better research potential, superior energy production, shield upgrades, jump drives, the best galactic wonders, laser-based weaponry, code-breaking, and too many more to list here.

Observant readers may have noticed that the natural sociologists trait isn’t here. While society research is good and unlocks some powerful upgrades, engineering, and physics are stronger disciplines.

The most exotic technology in the game comes from the physics discipline, and rushing it will lift your species above those who neglect this discipline.


The first negative trait on this list is the fleeting trait. You may be asking yourself, How can a trait that makes my species worse be one of the strongest in the game?

Well, that is because of the trait-point system. You only have two trait points to spend when you begin designing your species. Taking negative traits rewards you with more trait points to spend.

The trick is to pick negative traits that don’t have a lot of impact so that you can purchase more of the stronger traits in the game.

That is exactly what you get with the fleeting trait. Taking it will decrease your leader’s lifespan by around 10 years, or 25 if you are a Lithoid empire. For accepting this penalty, you receive an extra trait point to spend.

Leaders dying a little bit sooner will never have a major impact on moment-to-moment game play. Having to pay for new leaders a little sooner is a pain-free penalty.

As you play the game and unlock technology that improves lifespan, the trait’s negative effects are further counteracted.

Almost to the point where you may forget you have the trait at all, now that is the definition of low impact.

It is a fine addition to any build and a vital component if you want to take advantage of some of the more expensive traits in the game.


The list is in no particular order, but this is my favorite trait. This is also what I would consider the strongest trait you can have in the game.

For two trait points, your species will produce an extra 10% research from jobs, and that is across all three research disciplines as well.

Research is the big daddy in Stellaris, and that has not changed since the game was released back in 2016. All the coolest and strongest features are behind a metaphorical research paywall.

If you want to build planet-destroying weapons like the Death Star, you have to research them first. This is why the tech rush meta exists and will continue to thrive.

This trait’s synergy potential is mind-boggling. It harmonizes well with the materialist ethic, other traits, and some civics to amplify its power before a day passes.

There’s no secret cheat code to winning Stellaris, but there is a formula for making the game easier, and this trait is a cornerstone of that formula.


With the research-based traits covered, what resource plays second fiddle to research? Another easy question. The answer is unity.

Unity is an abstract resource and represents your empire and its people, generating a shared vision for the future. The reason you want a lot of unity is because of traditions.

Traditions are like power-ups for your empire. The is no time to cover that mechanic here, but they are a vital component of creating an empire that has the power to overcome the threats the galaxy has in store for them.

The traditional trait increases unity production by 10% from jobs. It is also cheap at only one trait point.

A favorite trait for spiritualist empires, it pairs well with their already high unity production. This allows for a tradition tree rush and will provide you access to the best ascension perks faster.


While the name of this trait doesn’t make much sense, the economic benefits are still a welcome addition.

Thrifty increases trade value from jobs by 25% and costs two trait points to adopt. A point to note is that hive-mind empires cannot take this trait.

If you don’t know what trade value is, it is a numerical representation of your empire’s internal economy. The higher the number, the richer the populace and the business owners in the empire are.

By default, trade value is exchanged for energy credits on a one-to-one basis.

As you progress through the game, you will unlock new trade policy options that allow you to sacrifice some energy production to produce other resources too.

This is what makes trade value a very powerful income source: its versatility. Having a strong economy is, of course, a great boon for your empire. The thrifty trait makes creating that thriving economy a little bit easier.

This is a great trait for megacorp empires or ones that focus on energy credit production.


The final trait is the second negative one to appear on this list. Unruly is the strongest negative trait in the game, but it is one that can get out of hand as the game goes on.

For an extra two trait points to spend, your pops will produce an extra 10% empire size. Empire size is a complicated mechanic, but I will do my best to keep the explanation brief.

The larger your empire gets, the more empire size it produces. When your empire size becomes large enough, your empire takes on penalties to advancement.

Both traditions and research become slower the larger your empire becomes.

That sounds bad, but unruly isn’t as bad as it seems at first glance. At the beginning of the game, you don’t have a lot of pops, so the penalty applied by this trait isn’t zero but isn’t large, either.

You can unlock technology later in the game, which allows you to remove this trait before it gets out of hand. This trait is what enables some of the best builds in the game.

Strongest Traits for Robotic Empires

Robotic traits mirror a lot of biological ones. This means they are the same, with the values tweaked a bit. Again, in no particular order, here are the best robotic traits.

Efficient Processors

The first trait has no biological equivalent but is very high on the power scale. The power is reflected in its cost, which is an eye-watering three trait points.

This makes it impossible to take it at the beginning of the game without taking a negative trait.

In return, all your robot pops produce an extra 5% resources at whatever job they do. The jack-of-all-trades trait will increase unity, research mineral output, energy, and everything else made by jobs.

If you are willing to take on the cost, this bonus will make your empire a little bit better at everything.

Logic Engines

This trait is a direct clone of the intelligent trait mentioned in the biological section of this guide. Once again, for two points, you get an increase of 10% in research jobs.

Robots need research just as much as biological pops do. Due to a robot’s inability to specialize in a specific discipline of research, this is the only research-specific trait they have access to.


This trait is similar but not identical to the biological trait of rapid breeders. It is, in fact, a little bit stronger and cheaper than its biological counterpart.

For only one trait point, you will build robots with this trait 15% quicker than those that do not have this trait.

A great trait for rushing pop growth for your burgeoning robot empire.

High Bandwidth

An exact clone of the unruly trait found in the biological portion of this guide. If anything, this one is a little bit stronger.

Editing robot pops is cheaper and faster than editing biological pops. This makes removing this trait later in the game an easy process.

The trait gives you two extra trait points to spend in exchange for pops producing an extra 10% empire size.

Propaganda Machines

This trait is a tuned-up version of the traditional trait mentioned earlier in the guide. Instead of getting 10% extra unity for one trait point, you instead get 15% for one point.

Robots tend to have fewer sources of unity, so this is a strong trait to shore up that weakness.


The final trait is superconductive. Robot empires do not require food, which is a great boon as that is one less resource to manage for your empire.

The problem is that instead of requiring food for upkeep, your robot pops need energy credits to stay running. This makes your energy consumption much higher than a biological empire.

While one solution could be to make more energy, another is to adopt the superconductive trait.

All energy credits made by robots with this trait will be increased by 15%. This helps make up for the weakness brought on by the increased energy costs.

It will cost you a rather high two trait points to install on your robots, but it is well worth it.

This is everything you need to know about the best overall traits in Stellaris.

If you have any questions or suggestions for this guide, please let us know in the comments sections below. Thank you very much for reading.

Simon Neve

Simon lives in Northern Ireland with his wife and two children. When not caring for his family, Simon enjoys video games, board games, and tabletop roleplaying games. When playing isn't an option he writes about them instead.

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