Stellaris – How to Explore a Wormhole

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Stargate SG1 fans rejoice, as your favorite plot device is present in your favorite space 4X. Wormholes allow your ships to travel across the galaxy in an instant, independent of the hyper-lane network.

Finding a wormhole is only the first part. Knowing how to explore a wormhole in Stellaris involves researching technology and sending your science ships out to investigate them.

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If you are lucky enough to have a few wormholes in and around your empire, you have a free instant transport resource. Unlike other travel systems, wormholes are natural, and after paying the research costs, they are free to use.

To explore a wormhole in Stellaris, you first need to unlock the wormhole stabilization technology. After unlocking it, a science ship can be sent to a wormhole to unlock it for use. 

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How to Explore a Wormhole in Stellaris

Back in the early days of Stellaris, wormholes were a lot more common. When creating your empire, you had to select a propulsion system that your empire would use to traverse the hyperlane network.

There were three different propulsion systems, and one of them was wormhole travel. That feature has since been removed, and wormholes have been relegated to their current state.

While much weaker than they used to be, wormholes are far from useless. As for what a wormhole is, that is a bit more complicated.

Complicated theoretical physics aside, the most simple way to describe it is as a shortcut through space. In reality, it is far more complicated than that, but for the purposes of this guide, that explanation is enough.

In Stellaris, wormholes are natural phenomena that appear at random in space. They appear as a pair, and ships can travel through them between the two points in an instant.

This is like the gateway megastructure, except you can only ever travel to a specific point through a wormhole. As opposed to a gateway, which can travel to any other gateway.

Traveling through these strange portals is dangerous, which is why you must complete a few steps before your ships can make use of them.

Researching Wormhole Exploration

Before your empire can make use of wormholes, you first need to research how to travel through them safely.

In Stellaris, that is done with a rare technology called wormhole stabilization. This is a mid-game technology, so it will take some time to unlock, independent of its rare status.

If you have not encountered a wormhole yet, you will never receive this technology as an option. Unless you meet an empire that already has it unlocked. 

A second prerequisite is the need for hyperlane breach point technology. Again, this can take a while to unlock but is not rare.

As a rare technology, there is a much lower chance of you unlocking wormhole stabilization as a research option compared to other technologies of an equal tier. You will have to get lucky and be patient; it will show up one day.

To increase your odds of getting rare tech, you can:

  • Be a member of a Tier 3 research cooperative federation.
  • Unlock the technological ascendancy ascension perk.
  • Be neighbors with an empire that has the rare technology you want unlocked.

When the technology appears, select it, and your scientists will get to work on the project. When it is complete, pretty much all the handwork is done.

Sending Science Ships to Explore Wormholes

With the boring research part out of the way, it is time to start exploring the wormholes of the galaxy.

Before sending vast flotillas of military ships through the event horizon, you need to send a science ship to scout out the wormhole first.

Doing this unlocks the wormhole for permanent use by any other ship in the empire. It also unlocks the wormhole partner, wherever that may be in the galaxy.

Beginning this scout mission is easy. First, select one of your science ships. If you don’t have one, first, why not? Second, go and build one now.

With the ship selected, you navigate to the wormhole, right-click it, and select the explore wormhole option.

A second option is to right-click the system that contains the wormhole in the galaxy map. The explore wormhole option will appear, and you can click it to begin the work.

The science ship will move to the system and, after a short time, unlock it. Congratulations! You now know how to explore a wormhole in Stellaris.

From this point on, your ships will make use of any wormholes they have access to. The pathfinding in Stellaris is very clever, and whenever possible, ships will use these shortcuts to shave years off of their travel time.

While not as versatile as gateway travel, wormholes have the advantage of being very cheap. Gateways and hyper relays cost a lot of resources in comparison.

Be wary of having wormholes within your own borders. You should make these systems bastions of defense to deter would be invaders away.

This is everything you need to know about how to explore a wormhole in Stellaris.

If you have any questions or suggestions for this guide, please let us know in the comments section below. As always, have fun exploring wormholes in Stellaris.

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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