The latest Stellaris development diary is a lesson in politics; specifically, how the construction of your space government will change once Update 1.5 (‘Banks’) is released. It has a few cross-over details about the upcoming Utopia DLC too, as a couple of those government features are specific to that expansion.
Basically, you’ll no longer pick a defined government from a list. Paradox think those old choices “were a bit lackluster, not very well balanced and I rarely felt that the government I picked truly corresponded to my own idea of what my empire’s society was like.” Instead, from 1.5 onwards, your government type will be defined by a combination of Authority and Civics.
Authority in Stellaris determines whether you’ll be having elections and, if so, how frequently. The Authority types on offer will be Democratic (election every 10 years), Oligarchic (election every 40-50 years), Dictatorial (ruler is elected, but rules for life), and Imperial (ruler rules for life, and is replaced by an heir).
In any electoral system, leaders will be selected from the Factions within your empire. What’s important to note here is that “electing a ruler of a particular Faction will significantly strengthen the political clout of that faction and the attraction of their related ethics.”
That dovetails nearly into Civics. Upon creating your empire, you’ll choose two Civics, with a third able to be unlocked at a later date. Civics are “the political and social traditions of your government” and are, for example, things like ‘Citizen Service’, which will tie citizenship (and thus voting rights) to military service.
Neither Authority nor Civics are necessarily permanent (there are limited exceptions), and it will be possible to reform your government: “By using the ‘Reform Government’ button in the government screen, you can add and remove Civics and change Authority from among the picks available to your ethics.” It’s said that this will be a broadly equivalent cost to the prior toll of 250 Influence. Reform will be necessary at times, as your empire’s changing ethics may make previous Civics choices invalid or far less useful.
Stellaris will dynamically generate a government name based on the combination of Authority, Civics, and Ethics at play within your empire. The Utopia expansion will include a special ‘Hive Mind’ Authority with a unique play-style, and the following Advanced Civics. Neither Update 1.5 or Utopia have a release date.
- Syncretic Evolution: Your species evolved along with another, subservient species. A second species is randomly generated on your homeworld replacing some of your primary species’ Pops. They always have the Proles (rebalanced in Banks) and Strong traits, making them excellent soldiers and workers but less ideal for intellectual pursuits. This Civic provides no additional benefits and cannot be removed once picked.
- Mechanist: Your species is obsessed with the pursuit of robotics. This Civic requires you to be Materialist and has you start with the Robotic Workers and Powered Exoskeletons technologies and a population of worker robots to do the farming and mining for you, replacing some of your primary species’ Pops. This Civic provides no additional benefits and cannot be removed once picked.
- Fanatic Purifiers: Your empire will not tolerate the existance of any other sentient life. This Civic requires you to be Fanatic Xenophobe/Militarist and gives very large boosts to the effectiveness of your military and gives you Unity from purging Xeno Pops, but disables all diplomacy with other species and forces all Xeno Pops in your empire to be purged (though you get to choose the method of extermination). All other regular empires will also have a massive relations malus with you, the one and only exception being Fanatic Purifiers from the same species.