Stellaris: The Best Negative Species Traits, Ranked

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To get the best positive traits for your Stellaris species, you’ll have to balance them with some negative ones.

While nothing can be done about this regrettable fact of life, some creative thinking can help you overcome these setbacks with technology, policy, and a good strategy.

Knowing which negative traits to pick will give you a massive edge over your galactic competitors.

It’s weird to talk about the “best” negative traits – so here are the least-damaging debuffs you can pick for your species in Stellaris.


10. Slow Learners/Repurposed Hardware

Repurposed Hardware Trait Description / Stellaris

In my empire, we value everyone’s contributions to society, even those who are “slower” than others.

Slow Learner species have a 25% slower Leader experience gain, so it takes longer for them to level up and develop new skills.

Quick Learners – the positive counterpart to this trait – is considered one of the best species characteristics, making this feel even worse at a glance.

Still, this debuff can be easily improved with traits and technologies extending your leaders’ lifespans or making them immortal.

Nobody wants their people to lag behind intellectually, but it’s worth it for that extra trait point.


9. Wasteful

Wasteful Trait Description / Stellaris

Our society’s wasteful practices are one of our biggest issues in the 21st Century, but it’s not nearly as troublesome in the spacefaring future of Stellaris.

Instead of causing ecological collapse and making everyone less happy, a Wasteful population in Stellaris just needs an extra 10% Consumer Goods. You get one trait point to spend on whatever you want in exchange.

Personally, I always have a surplus of Consumer Goods.

I even hand them out for free to keep my populace happy!

Just set your economic policy to favor Civilian enterprises, and you’re set.

This is especially good for science powerhouses that will develop more efficient buildings and technology to make producing Consumer Goods even easier.


8. Fleeting

Fleeting Trait Description / Stellaris

According to many philosophers and self-help authors, life is precious precisely because of how short it is – so you shouldn’t have a problem with making your species Fleeting for an extra trait point.

Fleeting species get 10 years shaved off the average lifespan of 70 years. In the case of Lithoids, who usually live twice as long, it’s 20 years.

I wouldn’t sacrifice ten years of my life to be smarter or stronger – but in the grand scheme of things, the negative impact that could have on humanity is minuscule. The same goes for your Stellaris species.

There are countless ways to extend your populace’s lifespan through technology and ascension perks, making this a free point further down the line.


7. Decadent

Decadent Trait Description / Stellaris

In real life, keeping the populace happy is one of the most important things a government needs to do to keep society stable and avoid an armed uprising.

In Stellaris, it’s pretty much the same.

There are many ways to keep people happy in Stellaris, such as handing out luxury goods and providing adequate entertainment for your population.

Like the Roman poet Juvenal said: “Panem et Circenses”.

Since you already need to do all of these things in any Stellaris empire, the -10% happiness deficit introduced by the Decadent trait becomes relatively inconsequential. Free trait point!


6. Sedentary

Sedentary Trait Description / Stellaris

A sedentary lifestyle can easily shave decades off your lifespan and cause a terrible quality of life if you’re a human.

But in Stellaris, being Sedentary just means you prefer your home planet.

Sedentary pops get 25% extra resettlement cost, and planets dominated by that species will have 15% less immigration pull, meaning you’ll get fewer pops from other planets.

This shouldn’t be a significant problem unless your population breeds exceptionally slowly. In fact, these characteristics could be leveraged in your favor to keep your species dominant on your planets or avoid excessive growth on planets you can’t afford to develop yet.

The Sedentary trait is basically a free trait point for Pacifists who like to play tall.


5. Weak

Weak Trait Description / Stellaris

Nobody wants to feel weak in the face of danger.

But with a big-enough brain and some smart administrative choices, you can easily compensate for a lack of muscular tone.

Armies with the Weak trait deal 20% less damage to opposing forces. This effect is easily countered by developing Clone Armies, thoroughly bombarding planets, or playing as a Pacifist empire and building plenty of forts.

The most damaging effect might be the 2.5% reduction in resource output from workers.

Still, I think this is pretty mild compared to the benefits an extra trait point can bring.


4. Custom-Made

Custom-Made Trait Description / Stellaris

Custom-Made is a machine-specific negative trait that reduces your pop assembly speed by 15%. This can cripple your empire if you choose it as a starting trait for your machine empire.

This extremely negative trait is so high on the list because you can use it on already-built pops.

A great strategy is to claim an extra trait point by applying this when modifying your species, but only on some specific pops. That way, you can let a planet grow normally, then alter them with whatever powerful positive trait you need after all the pops you need have been assembled.


3. Deviants

Deviants Trait Description / Stellaris

Much like humans, Deviant species have a hard time making up their minds about managing their society.

This manifests as a 15% reduction in governing ethics attraction, meaning foreign ideas will spread more easily. They’ll give their support to factions with different ethics, making your rule more unstable and reducing your Unity.

The thing is… Governing ethics attraction is a non-issue for most Stellaris players. It might require some concessions to conflicting factions in your government, but overall, it’s easy to keep the politicians happy.

Plus, an eventual change in governing ethics might be beneficial under the right circumstances.


2. Luxurious

Luxurious Trait Description / Stellaris

Now we’re getting to the really good stuff.

Luxurious is a robot-only trait that means your robotic pops are made of the finest materials and decorated in lavish ways. This manifests as a 20% extra assembly cost, which can feel pretty expensive.

The thing is, this trait gives you two whole trait points to spend on potent stuff like Logic Engines for 15% higher research output or Efficient Processors for 5% extra resource production. These can easily make up for the 20% excess Minerals spent on pops.


1. Unruly/High Bandwidth

High Bandwidth Trait Description / Stellaris

The top spot goes to the organic and robotic versions of a negative trait so inconsequential that I can believe it hasn’t been patched out.

Unruly and High Bandwith pops have a 10% heavier impact on your Empire Sprawl. With these traits, it’ll go up by one extra point for every 10 pops in your empire.

In exchange, you get two delicious points for positive traits.

It becomes the obvious negative trait choice when you consider the ridiculous amount of things that increase your Administrative Capacity, including Pacifist ethics, traditions, ascension perks, and planet modifiers.

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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.