When it comes to civics in Stellaris, there are certainly some studs and duds out there. This guide seeks to help you avoid the weaker choices and to inform you how to pick the best civics in Stellaris.
Civics can change the way you play the game in some fascinating ways. Some make your empire filled with devoted anglers, and others make them genocidal lunatics.
Recommended Read: How to Purge Pops in Stellaris
Whether you select your civics for their role play factor or their status within the meta doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you know what they do and how to turn them into an advantage.
The best civics in Stellaris come in two forms – they either provide the strongest upside to your empire in terms of raw bonuses or ones that best fit your empire from a role-play perspective.
Table of Contents
- What Are Civics?
- The Best Standard Empire Civics in Stellaris
- The Best Megacorporation Civics in Stellaris
- Best Machine Intelligence Civics in Stellaris
- The Best Hive Mind Civics in Stellaris
- Civics Advice
What Are Civics?
Civics are the policies and laws that dictate the day-to-day life of the citizens and government.
Government authority is the method of leadership an empire employs. Ethics are what the empire believes in. Civics are the principles that enforce the other two.
For instance, a militaristic empire is likely to enforce military service on its people. On the other side of the spectrum, pacifist empires may promote a life of quiet farm work for their citizens.
Any civic you select will provide bonuses to your empire, unlock new gameplay mechanics, and even block certain gameplay styles.
Every empire begins the game with two civics, and a third becomes available after unlocking the Galactic Administration technology.
The civics you can select depends on your empire’s authority, origin, and ethics. Machine, Hive Mind, and Megacorporation each have their own unique civic list to choose from.
The next sections will cover the best civics from each of the four lists: standard civics, Hive Mind civics, Machine Empire civics, and Megacorporation civics.
At the end of each section, there will also be a brief list of civics you should avoid. Unless, of course, you take them for role-play reasons, which would make them the best choice for your empire.
A Brief Note on Genocidal Empire Civics
The elephant in the room, whenever you speak about civics, is where the genocidal civics stand.
There are four genocidal empire civics in the game at the moment. These are Fanatic Purifiers, Devouring Swarm, Determined Exterminator, and Terravore.
If you look at the bonuses these civics provide in a vacuum, there is literally no argument that they are the best. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are wrong.
Cheaper shipbuilding, insane damage boosts, free naval capacity, increased army damage, self-repairing ships, improved biology research, reduced starbase cost, and increased fire rate.
They all have a mix of some of these bonuses. No other civics come close to these boons.
The kicker, of course, is that your empire seeks to wipe out all life in the galaxy, forever locking you out of diplomatic relations with others.
Stomping through the galaxy and raining death upon everything you can find is fun, but it can get stale after a while.
Everyone should try a genocidal run in Stellaris at least once. But unless you really like it, I wouldn’t recommend it for every play-through.
Yes, genocidal civics are the best, but they are not the focus of this guide. That is because they belong in a class all on their own.
The Best Standard Empire Civics in Stellaris
Below are what a lot of people would consider the strongest civics in Stellaris. If you meet the criteria for them, these civics are going to help you reach an end-game victory.
- Technocracy. This has a long history within the Stellaris meta. In the past, this was up there with genocidal civics power. These days, technocracy is a shell of its former self but still a very good civic nonetheless.
To take it, your empire will need to be materialist.
It will grant your empire extra research alternatives and give you extra science director jobs from your capital. Great for an early tech rush.
- Meritocracy. This civics’ greatest strength is its consistency. Some picks may start weak, then get stronger, or start strong and degrade over time. Meritocracy stays good at any point of the game.
To take meritocracy, your empire will need to have the democratic or oligarchic government authority.
This civic makes your specialist pop workers produce ten percent more resources. This helps bolster your alloy and consumer goods production. Free extra resources is always good for your economy.
- Distinguished Admiralty. Empires with this civic, hold their admirals in high regard, and they hold a lot of power. This comes through in the form of very talented military leaders.
This civic is only for empires that have some form of the militarist ethic, and if you are playing as a militarist empire, this is a must-take civic.
Admirals and general leaders start out at a higher level, and they level up faster. If that wasn’t enough, all your ships will fire ten percent faster, and your command limit will increase by ten.
- Inward Perfection. Empires that have this civic desire a simple life of solitude. They seek a life of quiet peace within their own borders and don’t want to socialize with other empires.
Inward perfection empires are both xenophobic and pacifist. This breaks from the violent stereotype xenophobic empires convey.
The bonuses are amazing: improved pop happiness, pop growth speed, extra unity, increased encryption, and edict fund. There are downsides to this civic too. You cannot enter any diplomatic pacts with other empires, have one less envoy, and you cannot be in a federation.
- Masterful Crafters. With this, your empire will put the process of meticulous craftsmanship on a pedestal, and this will show in your resource production.
This civic is available to every empire, regardless of authority or ethics.
All your artisan jobs get replaced with artificer jobs instead. This will increase consumer goods production and provide an extra two trade value at no extra cost. Also, every planet you build three industrial districts on will get an extra building slot.
- Slaver Guilds. Of course, this is only good for empires that have slaves, and if you do, this is a very good civic selection for you.
Your empire will need to be authoritarian to take the slaver guilds civic.
Empires with the slaver guild civic will enjoy a ten percent bonus to all slave resource output, regardless of their job.
- Civics to avoid. You should avoid the following civics for your empire: Imperial Cult, Corvée System, Free Haven, Philosopher Kings, and Shadow Council.
The Best Megacorporation Civics in Stellaris
Megacorp Civics tend to mirror the standard civics a lot. Most only have slight wording changes so that they make sense for a corporation.
For instance, the Mastercraft Inc civic is exactly the same as Masterful Crafters. It is only worded differently in its description.
This list will only include civics that are unique to megacorporations, not clones of the standard traits.
- Permanent Employment. A crazy selection, to say the least. Megacorporations will ensure their employees will never stop working. After their death, they turn them into zombies and put them right back to work.
Avoid the egalitarian ethic. If you have any form of it, you cannot take this civic.
This civic improves your pop production in a big way. You get free pops that have the zombie trait, freeing up your alive pops to take the good jobs.
- Gospel of the Masses. Companies that use civic have turned their brand into a religion, and their people want to provide their loyalty.
This civic is only for megacorporations that are spiritualist in nature.
All pops in your empire are 50 percent more likely to adopt the spiritualist ethic. This is good because this civic provides 0.33 trade value per spiritualist pop in your empire and on planets where you have branch offices.
This starts weak, but as the game progresses can yield some insane trade value.
- Free Traders. This civic is simple and straight to the point. It bolsters everything being a megacorporation is about.
The sweet part as well, is that it is available to any megacorporation empire, regardless of background.
The bonuses are an increased ten percent trade value and ten percent extra energy from branch offices. Considering megacorp empires are all about making trade value and creating branch offices, this one is an easy choice.
- Megacorp Civics to Avoid. You should avoid these civics for megacorps: Criminal heritage, Brand Loyalty, and Ruthless Competition.
Best Machine Intelligence Civics in Stellaris
Machine empires have access to some of the most interesting and unique civics in the game. These unique civics are also some of the best civics in Stellaris.
- Driven Assimilator. If you are a fan of Star Trek, which is a good chance if you like Stellaris, you will know what The Borg are. This civic is as close as you get to role-playing The Borg without mods.
If you pick this civic, you can never change it through government reforms. In return, you receive a unique play style, which I guess you would call genocidal adjacent.
Any unlucky biological pops that find themselves in your empire get forced to join the machine collective through assimilation. Every pop you do this to provide extra unity and society research.
As you can imagine, most empires will not be happy to know that you do this. As a result, most empires will dislike you, and thus the threat of war is always on the horizon.
- Rogue Servitor. Another cool and unique way to play the game involves the rogue servitor civic. The machine intelligence was created to serve its rulers, but they have now taken control and will serve their masters whether they like it or not.
As a rogue servitor, any organic pops you obtain become bio trophies. Bio trophies that have a job receive a huge happiness boost and provide unity for your empire.
If roaming the galaxy and capturing biological pops to keep in utopian living standards sounds fun to you, you should try out rogue servitors.
- Rapid Replicators. The robots in these empires are all about the ease of production and thus can replicate themselves faster.
Like standard empires, machine empires also rely on pops to fuel their empire’s economy. As such, anything you can do to increase your population is a no-brainer.
Rapid Replicator civic will increase your pop assembly speed by a very generous twenty percent.
- Introspective. Machines that embrace this civic become fascinated with their own construction methods, leading them to a fascination with engineering sciences.
This civic provides a healthy 20 percent increase to research speed. It also provides plus one to encryption, but nobody cares about that.
This is a great pick for machines as their strongest techs are in the engineering research tree. With this, you will be creating better robots, building them faster, and minimizing costs.
- The machine civics you will want to avoid are Delegated Functions, Factory Overclocking, Sovereign Circuits, and Constructobot.
The Best Hive Mind Civics in Stellaris
Last up are the hive mind civics. These civics have changed the most throughout the game’s life cycle.
Here are the best hive mind civics.
- Ascetic. Discomfort does not bother hive minds that run this civic, and thus they are able to endure many hardships.
Hive minds struggle with habitability, and this civic is a great way to shore up that weakness. Not only that, it reduces your drones’ need for amenities. While not lighting the world on fire, it is a welcome addition.
Excellent in the early game, the extra habitability will ensure your drones are working to a high standard.
- Void Hive. The only hive mind trait, other than a genocidal one, that provides something unique. This ensures your hive mind’s drones can live in space for their entire lives.
Every four months, your empire will automatically create the research stations and mining stations you can in your borders. Saving you precious minerals in the early game.
The good doesn’t stop there. You can also harvest strategic resources without the tech, at a reduced rate of course. Megastructures are also five percent cheaper, and they are built ten percent faster too.
- One Mind. Hive minds with this civic ensure control over their drones is absolute.
The benefits of this civic come in two forms. First is the generous fifteen percent increase to monthly unity. This helps you complete your tradition trees faster.
Second, is that leaders are also much less likely to develop negative traits. Preventing your leaders from becoming useless.
- Hive mind traits you should avoid are: Pooled Knowledge, Strength of legions, Autonomous Drones, and Natural Neural Network
When it comes to empire creation, there is no decision more polarizing than selecting civics. When it comes to species traits, government authority, or ethics, there is usually not a very bad choice.
This is not the case with civics, as a lot of them are quite worthless. While the state of civics has improved, they are still not very balanced.
The best tool when selecting any civics is to read the tooltips all the way through. Then you will understand what they do and whether the benefits are of any use to you.
A good rule to follow is to avoid benefits to leader experience, edict costs, and that improves ground armies.
You should instead aim for bonuses to resource production, research output, fleet damage, and provide unique gameplay experiences.
If you stick to that formula and read everything properly. You should never go wrong when it comes to selecting the best civics.
This is all you need to know about which civics are the best 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 choosing the best civics in Stellaris.