Stellaris – How to Increase Starbase Capacity

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A lot of new players want to know how to increase Starbase capacity in Stellaris. Starbases determine borders and are your system’s last line of defense against invaders.

While Starbase capacity is a soft cap, going over it can have some severe economic repercussions for your empire.

Recommended Read: How to Build a Colossus in Stellaris

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about increasing star base capacity, how Starbase capacity works, and some Starbase mechanics.

There are a wide variety of ways to increase your Starbase capacity. These include research projects, Megastructures, traditions, a civic, an ascension perk, one edict, and it increases by one for every ten systems owned.

Table of Contents

How to Increase Starbase Capacity in Stellaris

At the beginning of the game, all empires start with a base Starbase capacity of three. What follows is a list of all the ways you need to know how to increase Starbase capacity:

  • Owning more star systems. Expanding your empire’s reach will increase your Starbase capacity. For every ten star systems you own, your Starbase capacity will increase by one.

Not a great technique for tall empires, but wide empires can take full advantage of this.

  • The Strategic Coordination Center. This megastructure empowers your militaries logistics. This allows your command potential to reach new heights.

On top of providing some fantastic bonuses to your fleets, this structure will also increase your Starbase capacity. It increases by two for stage one, four for stage two, and six for stage three.

  • The Trading Posts Civic. One civic in the game can help you get more Starbases, and it is exclusive to megacorp empires. That means you will need to own the Megacorp DLC to be able to use it.

You can pick this civic either during empire creation or when you unlock your third civic slot during the game. It will provide your empire with plus four Starbase Capacity.

  • Fortify the border edict. Edicts provide your empire with bonuses, but unlucky for us, they always come with a cost. One of these edicts sole use is to improve Starbase capacity, and its name is, fortify the border.

This is available right at the beginning of the game, is available to all empire types, and also improves your starbase upgrade speed by 50 percent. Adopting the edict increases your Starbase capacity by two.

  • The Unyielding Tradition Tree. This tradition is all about improving your empire’s defenses, and improving your chances of surviving invasion. On top of that, there are two ways it can improve Starbase Capacity.

First off, by adopting the Unyielding tradition tree, your empire receives a 50 percent increase to starbase upgrade speed, and a plus two increase to starbase capacity.

You may have noticed this is the exact same bonus as the fortify the border edict, making them synergize well with each other.

Second is the fortress doctrine segment of the tradition tree. This will make upgrading Starbases cheaper and increases starbase capacity by two again.

  • The Grasp the Void ascension perk. At the moment, there is only one ascension perk that will increase your Starbase capacity. It is called Grasp the Void, and will increase your capacity by five.

I would like to advise against taking this perk. Ascension perks have the power to change the game, and provide some powerful bonuses to your empire.

Five extra Starbases is not worth an entire ascension perk. Plus, it is a rather boring perk pick if you ask me.

  • Research starbase capacity technologies. As with most things in Stellaris, there is a way to throw science at the problem, and Starbase capacity is no different. There are three different named techs that do this, and they are all linked together.

After having first contact with another empire, your empire will get the chance to research a technology called Stellar Expansion. After completing the research project, starbase capacity will increase by two.

You won’t get another opportunity again until late in the mid-game. A new technology will present itself called Manifest Destiny. Again, this technology will improve starbase capacity by two.

The last tech that appears in the end game is called Interstellar Expansion.

Unlike the others, it will only increase your starbase capacity by one. The upside is that this technology is repeatable, up to a maximum of five times.

Due to the random nature of research projects, this is not a reliable way to improve starbase capacity. Think of it as a nice surprise when it arrives, not something to aspire to.

Starbase Capacity Mechanics Explained

Starbase capacity is a soft cap. What that means is you are free to build as many Starbases as you like, but once you go over the cap, your empire will receive penalties.

In the grand scheme of things, Starbase capacity doesn’t play a huge role in most games. With some sensible expansion discipline, the soft cap can be easily avoided, and ergo no penalties incurred.

A starbase does not count towards the starbase capacity limit unless upgraded past the first stage, which is called an outpost.

Every level of a starbase has an energy upkeep cost equal to its level.

The buildings and modules installed on the base also have an energy upkeep cost. This is important to know because this upkeep cost is what starbase capacity is all about.

The moment you go over the soft cap, all of your Starbases, regardless of level, have their upkeep costs increased by 25 percent.

Not only that, this upkeep cost applies to all building and modules built on Starbases too.

This penalty can be catastrophic if you are not careful, allow me to demonstrate.

If an empire has an empire capacity of ten and currently has ten Starbases running at 299 energy upkeep. If that empire then upgrades an outpost, it would bring their upkeep cost to 300.

The problem comes from them now being over their starbase capacity limit.

The extra 25 percent upkeep cost will increase maintenance costs to 375 energy. In the early or mid-game, where most empires are living on the breadline, this could bankrupt them.

This penalty scales with game stage. So in the late game, when maintenance costs are much higher, the penalties become more severe too.

If you do go over your cap and you realize you are not able to sustain the increased costs, do not panic.

You can downgrade level two Starbases back to level one, so they no longer contribute to starbase capacity.

Also, now you know how to increase your starbase capacity, you could use one of the methods mentioned earlier to increase your capacity and remove the penalties.

This is everything you need to know about how to increase your starbase capacity 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 building as many Starbases as you can 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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