Stellaris: Top 10 Best Beginner Traits, Ranked

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Getting started in Stellaris was one of the most daunting tasks of my gaming career.

There I was, staring at the vastness of space, wondering what a Science Ship even was… and the game was asking me to manage the factions in my government, keep track of my demographics, and a hundred other things with a ton of new game settings.

While it’s always a good idea to start with one of the beginner-friendly preset empires, I know many of you can’t wait to get into the custom empire creator.

That’s what I did, anyway, and it led me to some very uphill playthroughs. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Let me give you some pointers on which traits you need for a successful playthrough as a newbie.


10. Traditional

Traditional Trait Description / Stellaris

Unity is a measure of your people’s cohesion as a unified nation.

The more you have, the more you can get your population to cooperate on large projects – such as passing edicts and establishing new traditions.

This resource is one of the hardest to get, especially for newbie players. You can buy Food, but you can’t buy Unity.

Traditional pops are more likely to remain unified in their costumes, helping your empire produce 10% more Unity from jobs at the cost of one trait point.

This should give you a boost to explore traditions, try out edicts, and even get yourself some ascension perks in your first few runs.


9. Adaptive

Adaptive Trait Description / Stellaris

There are many ways to dance around low-habitability planets, such as inviting different species into your empire or terraforming.

That said, newbies are unlikely to have learned about these things – and if they decided to play a Xenophobic empire, their options are even more limited.

One solution is to get the Adaptive trait, which gives you 10% more habitability on all planets at the cost of two trait points.

By picking this trait, you’re making early expansion easier for you.

One caveat is the cost, so we’re not including Extremely Adaptive. Two points are one thing, but four would force a very niche playstyle that newbies should avoid.


8. Wasteful

Wasteful Trait Description / Stellaris

If you want good positive traits, you need to get some negative traits as well.

Some of them will be easier to manage than others for someone with no experience.

Wasteful is an obvious choice because of how straightforward it is to procure extra Consumer Goods to make up for the 10% higher upkeep.

Even if you can’t produce them, you can always buy them at the market.

Perhaps because it is so easy, it’ll only give you one trait point to spend.

Something else I find good about this trait for newbies is that IRL humans are pretty Wasteful. This means new players will feel more connected to their empire, which is always a good predictor of whether someone finishes a playthrough or not.


7. Conformists

Conformists Trait Description / Stellaris

Few things are more inconvenient than unforeseen ethics shifts in your empire.

Not only do you have to rethink your strategy, but restructure your entire economy, assuming you were exploiting some of the positive aspects of your previous philosophy.

Conformists is an excellent trait for politically-inexperienced newbies who won’t know how to keep the parties within the government in line.

It gives you a whopping 30% extra governing ethics attraction at the cost of two trait points.


6. Unruly

Unruly Trait Description / Stellaris

I might get a bit of flak for this, but I think Unruly is a great trait for newbies.

Unruly pops are more prone to causing a ruckus, meaning they need more strict policing if you wish to keep the gears of civilization turning. This manifests as an extra 10% Empire Size from pops.

Excessive Empire Size can have various detrimental effects on your empire, chief among them increasing the Unity cost of traditions and the Research cost of technology.

The thing is… you’ll never get this under control as a newbie.

Your best bet is to completely forget about it and focus on producing more resources, including Unity and Research.

You won’t even notice the 10% increase, and you’ll get two precious points to spend on positive traits.


5. Communal

Communal Trait Description / Stellaris

Many Stellaris updates have made housing less of a concern. But it’s still one of the main things we have to watch when managing planets and planning our expansion.

As we’ve seen many times across history, a housing crisis can be catastrophic, and newbie players wouldn’t necessarily know the best way to deal with it. You can build districts and buildings to house pops, but it takes up space that could go to resource production, so it’s a slippery slope.

With the Communal trait – which costs just one point – you’ll get 10% less Housing Usage per pop, easing your housing pressure and letting you focus more on creating jobs.

Who doesn’t want an empire of compact hippies living together in capsules?


4. Industrious

Industrious Trait Description / Stellaris

You need Minerals for everything in Stellaris – from constructing buildings to generating Alloys for your space armada.

For a newbie, it can be hard to balance the production of every resource.

Personally, I always balanced them too much, which made me accumulate tons of Food and Energy while constantly running low on Minerals.

The Industrious trait will at least guarantee you 15% more Minerals per job, which is a very sizable boost – even at the cost of two trait points.


3. Natural Engineers

Natural Engineers Trait Description / Stellaris

Natural Engineers is always touted as one of the best, if not the best, species trait for militaristic empires and otherwise. Can you guess the reason?

It’s Minerals.

This trait gives your pops 15% more efficient Engineering Research production, and that’s precisely the technology branch leading to improved mineral production buildings. It also costs a single point instead of two like Industrious.

In addition, it helps you get more powerful ships and better starbase upgrades. It’s key to keeping your people safe and expanding your power far beyond your borders.


2. Intelligent

Intelligent Trait Description / Stellaris

Intelligence is one of the most respected and sought-after characteristics in the galaxy.

Without intelligent people, you’d never have reached outer space!

An Intelligent population will give you 10% extra Research production toward every type of technology, including Physics, Society, and Engineering. It’s a lot less niche than Natural Engineers, making it easier for newbies to benefit from it.

It’s not necessarily better than the Natural X traits, mainly because of the two-point cost, but it’s definitely the easier choice for new players.


1. Rapid Breeders

Rapid Breeders Trait Description / Stellaris

There are few things more important in Stellaris (and real life) than a healthy demographic growth curve – so Rapid Breeders is a must-have for beginners.

This trait makes your pops breed like rabbits, so your growth speed is increased by 10%.

This can lead to housing or job crises if you’re terrible at the game, but it’s still better than not having enough pops to develop your colonies at a reasonable speed.

Just keep expanding as much as possible, and you’ll make it very far.

I’ll explain it with a simple formula:

More pops = More power.


The two-point cost might be a turn-off, but you should be fine if you take one of the least problematic negative traits like Wasteful or Unruly.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.