Stellaris 3.0 Guide

Stellaris’ 3.0 “Dick” update brought a lot of changes and this Stellaris 3.0 Guide is here to explain and delve deep into all those changes. We will also be looking at some features from the Nemesis DLC and some of the best Stellaris 3.0 builds!

Fog of War

Before 3.0, every new empire you meet would have its entire territory revealed, along with planets, starbases and more. The 3.0 update changed this by adding fog of war. Mostly, you will only see the empire’s borders unless you build a spy network to gain Intel on the enemy empire.

Not only that, but you’ll be missing important information that was previously available, such as Relative Power, population and diplomacy pacts.


You can build a spy network on an empire by sending an Envoy. The Envoy will periodically gather Intel on that empire and gradually reveal territory and information on that empire. As your Envoy gathers Intel, your Infiltration Level value will increase. Infiltration Value increases the maximum amount of Intel you can have on an empire and can be used to perform Covert Operations. Usually, if your Codebreaking value is lower than the target empire’s Encryption value, your Infiltration Level will decrease. You can increase this by making a diplomacy pact with the empire amongst other things. You can read about this and more in our Espionage Guide.

Stellaris Espionage Screen

These operations can help you gather more Intel, or acquire Assets. Assets can be used during operations to increase the likelihood of success. Once you’ve reached a comfortable level of Intel on that empire, you can perform a “Prepare Sleeper Cells” operation. This allows you to pull your Envoy from the spy network without Infiltration Level decay.

Industrial Districts

Alloys and Consumers Goods are now produced in a new type of district called Industrial District. You can still build alloy foundries and civilian industries, but only one per planet and it’s one or the other. These districts can be specialised by changing the “colony designation to Forge World or Industrial World. This will turn Industrial District into Alloys or Consumer Goods-only, depending on what you choose. This applies to Ecumenopolis as well.

Industrial Districts also work as City Districts, meaning that the only limit is the maximum number of districts. You can find and strike a balance between housing and industrial districts to your benefit.

Transit Hubs

Transit Hubs are a thing now, which means auto-resettlement is now a thing. Of course, it was a thing before thanks to the ‘Greater than Ourselves’ resolution, but that one simply increases the chance of a pop auto-resettling now. Transit Hubs work the same way. It will double the chance of unemployed pops in that system to resettle. Transit Hubs are starbase modules, which means you’ll have to build a starbase there, but the bright side is that it works for all planets in the system.

Become the Crisis

The Nemesis DLC offers the chance to replace the endgame crisis. You’ll have to reach level 5 in a series of requirements where you gain a value called Menace by destroying ships, empires, conquering worlds and more. We go deep into all the requirements in our How to Become the Crisis Guide.

Pop Growth Changes in Stellaris 3.0

So, another big change 3.0 brought is that pops now have a growth limit and some bonuses to pop growth. First of all, pop growth now gets a bonus based on a value called Planet Capacity, which is basically the number of housing and cleared blockers in your planet. The higher the planet capacity, the higher the pop growth bonus. But you also need to have at least 10 pops for this to take effect, but 20 is when you can get the maximum bonus.

There’s also a global nerf to pop growth. Grow your empire big enough and pops will simply just not grow anymore. It will take them 10 years to grow a single pop. This is based on the total number of pops in your empire. This has the nice little side effect of improving game performance, but it also means you can’t just throw everything at pop growth anymore. We go in-depth on this topic in our How to Grow Pops Faster in 3.0 guide.

Stellaris 3.0 Builds

Okay, so what are the best builds in Stellaris 3.0? There have been significant changes to impact the meta, so first, let’s look at some things that are now more useful/powerful.

Note that the following are features that are more powerful than before, not necessarily the new meta options.

Barbaric Despoilers/Nihilistic Acquisitions

What do you do if you need more pops in the late game? You’re screwed; unless you conquer worlds or outright raid them, which is what the Barbaric Despoilers Civic and Nihilistic Acquisition Ascension Perk that much better in 3.0.

Life-Seeded Origin

Because of the new pop growth bonuses, Life-Seeded empires start with the maximum bonus. Meaning you will outgrow other empires at the beginning of the game. You can go for a war-rush with this one and snowball after your first war. It’s easy to hit the maximum pop growth bonus with the Life-Seeded Origin because every district adds 6 to your total Planet Capacity, as opposed to the regular 4. This means your pops will be growing faster than any other empire.

Life-Seeded Devouring Swarm Build

AuthorityHive Mind
EthicsGestalt Consciousness
CivicsDevouring Swarm, Subspace Ephapse
TraitsIndustrious, Intelligent, Rapid Breeders, Unruly

We talked about the Life-Seeded Origin and how you can use it to rush early wars. Well, a Hive Mind and Devouring Swarm makes perfect sense if you want to rush wars. You’ll be able to boost Pop Growth even further with the Hive Mind bonus and with all the military bonuses you get as a Devouring Swarm, you’ll be able to rush any empire. You can also add Subspace Ephapse for the early bonus to Naval Capacity. As for Traits, you can add Industrious, Intelligent or both. Hell, you can add in Rapid Breeders and get pops even faster.

Barbaric Despoilers Death Cults

AuthorityDemocratic or Imperial
EthicsSpiritualist, Militarist, Xenophobe
CivicsBarbaric Despoilers, Death Cult
TraitsIndustrious, Ingenious and Unruly or Unruly and Extremely Adaptive
OriginDoomsday or Scion

Since stealing pops is now good regardless of the game stage, adding the Death Cult Civic makes sense. You’re able to steal pops and then sacrifice them for some nice boons. Add the Doomsday origin to get lots of Alloys early game and it will allow you to rush to war. The Scion origin is an alternative since you will receive ships from the Fallen Empire early on.

Let me know in the comments if you know of any other builds or anything you think is worth adding!

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