The best Stellaris DLC – a complete guide

The Stellaris DLC library continues to develop as Paradox’s improves their tackle an area 4X game. Whereas it’s not fairly but the scale of the studio’s different grand strategy games like Europa Universalis IV and Crusader Kings II, after 5 years it’s catching up. Regardless, there’s nonetheless sufficient of it that frugal avid gamers may have some assist choosing via the choices.

We’ve despatched our science ships to scan every add-on for worth, and the way a lot they really add to the sport, and return with their outcomes. So, come try our breakdown of all the add-ons and expansions launched to this point, what they’re good for, and whether or not they’re price choosing up.

There’s a good few higher-priced expansions the place the associated fee vs what you get can really feel somewhat steep contemplating the function units might be fairly lean. Since most main expansions are launched alongside a free replace, there’s an argument to be made that you just’re subsidising all the work that’s gone into the free patch. So far as worth for cash goes, although, you is likely to be higher off ready till these are on sale – it’s your name.


Here’s a record of all Stellaris DLC launched to this point:

  • Plantoids Species Pack
  • Leviathans
  • Utopia
  • Artificial Daybreak
  • Humanoids Species Pack
  • Apocalypse
  • Distant Stars
  • Megacorps
  • Historic Relics
  • Lithoids Species Pack
  • Federations
  • Necroids Species Pack
  • Nemesis
  • Aquatics Species Pack



  • Provides fifteen new species portraits representing bushes, bushes, flowers, and even weirder stuff that has in some way developed to sapience
  • New ship fashions, area stations, and metropolis backdrops that match a botanical theme
  • Buy here

Is it price it?

Species packs don’t have any impact on gameplay, so your reply goes to be completely primarily based on how badly you need extra visible choices to select from in customising your empire. The artwork is nicely accomplished – a few the plantoids are amongst my favorite portraits in Stellaris, and the brand new ships and area stations look fairly cool with their natural, leafy aesthetic.

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$8 is maybe a bit a lot for a visible solely DLC. You would positively save this one for later in case your price range is proscribed, but it surely’s price noting that as of the 3.1 Lem update, previous DLCs like this might be getting new content material to make make the packs a bit meatier.




  • Populates the galaxy with Leviathans, a handful of very highly effective creatures, historic area stations, and different bizarre anomalies that current main challenges in your empire to beat… with important rewards for those who overcome them.
  • Enclaves are non-planet-bound civilizations that may be interacted with to seek out out extra concerning the Leviathans, commerce for assets, or beef up your tradition.
  • The Warfare in Heaven: A possible endgame occasion chain by which two Fallen Empires would possibly “awaken” and go to conflict, dragging the entire galaxy onto one facet or one other. (It’s principally Babylon 5)

Is it price it?

The Leviathans are positively cool (at the very least till you’ve defeated each a number of instances), as are the distinctive and doubtlessly game-changing rewards you may get from a few of them. Enclaves additionally add one other layer to the galaxy and assist it really feel extra populated and numerous.

However the Warfare in Heaven is the true flagship function right here, and has led to among the most fun endgame situations I’ve seen in Stellaris. For that function alone, I may simply place this on the “should personal” record. Learn our Leviathans review for extra, or you possibly can buy here.




  • Ascension Perks give highly effective bonuses to your empire, together with the choice to comply with a Organic (gene manipulation), Artificial (flip everybody into robots), or Psionic (harness the ability of an alternate dimension along with your thoughts) Ascension Paths, which radically transforms your species within the mid and late recreation
  • Permits the development of Megastructures like Ring Worlds or the Dyson Spheres, which harness the vitality of a complete solar
  • Play as a Hive Thoughts, a radical departure from a typical empire the place your entire society acts as one unit, not having to fret about factions or happiness
  • Buy here

Is it price it?

Ascension Perks are positively a function that has turn out to be such a core a part of Stellaris in my thoughts, I might have a tough time enjoying with out it. Finishing an Ascension Path appears like taking a Status Class in an RPG, and significantly the Artificial and Psionic paths create some actually fascinating conditions.

Hive Minds are fascinating conceptually, however I usually discover them much less thrilling to play than a traditional empire since factions and managing pop happiness are among the solely issues to do in Stellaris’ already missing inner politics layer.

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Nonetheless, I’m glad they’re in there for once I simply wish to roleplay an all-consuming swarm. It’s a should personal, however I’d suggest grabbing it on sale.




  • Play as a Machine Empire, a hive thoughts of interconnected robots who overthrew their natural creators
  • Natural empires that oppress their cybernetic servants might set off a brand new AI rebellion that divides their empire in a civil conflict between organics and machines – and also you get to decide on which facet to play!
  • New portraits for artificial empires
  • New advisor voices for every of the primary ethics, in addition to one for machines and one for hive minds
  • Buy here

Is it price it?

Artificial Daybreak might be the perfect worth in your cash of all of the Stellaris DLC launched to this point. Machine Empires run into among the similar points as Hive Minds (no factions or happiness, thereby eradicating inner politics as a complete layer of the sport) with the added hitch that each one their pops are constructed manually, which provides a whole lot of micromanagement. Robots are additionally largely immortal, which severely modifications the move of the sport in relation to chief’s expertise and its bonuses.

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That stated, they could be a lot of enjoyable to play, and an amazing quantity of labor has gone into making them really feel immersive (together with rewriting all the flavour textual content for your entire tech tree and a ridiculous variety of occasions).

The brand new AI rebellion, whereas I’ve had bother getting it to set off even once I need it to, is an fascinating and difficult mid-game shake-up with numerous narrative flourish. And the brand new advisor voices are good, although they’re not all even in high quality – the Militarist voice particularly sort of appears half-baked. It’s a simple purchase for those who’re into enjoying a machine race, however not strictly mandatory in any other case.




  • Ten new humanoid portraits together with area dwarves, area orcs, and extra
  • A brand new humanoid ship set and cityscapes impressed by the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek
  • Three new adviser voice units
  • Buy here

Is it price it?:

I echo my recommendation for the Plantoids pack right here – it’s completely primarily based on how a lot you just like the look of the brand new ships and portraits. There are fewer new portraits on this one, however as a substitute you get three new adviser voice units, so it sort of evens out.

I actually just like the look of the Humanoid ships, myself, however among the portraits are a bit goofy in context. As a part of the upcoming 3.1 patch, this pack may even be getting a brand new origin that permits you to play as a race of cast-off clone troopers.




  • Titans are super-huge capital ships that may take down even a battleship with little effort
  • The Colossus permits you to take away total planets from the galaxy (or clear them of all increased lifeforms)
  • Marauder empires can now spawn, raiding close by methods whereas promoting their providers as mercenaries and employed generals to these with the assets. However beware – if a sure occasion triggers, they will unify beneath a Nice Khan and got down to conquer all that stands earlier than them
  • Unity ambitions offer you one thing to spend Unity on when you’ve completed all of the Custom bushes
  • Three new Ascension Perks that permit you to construct planet-destroying Colossi, forestall your tech from being reverse-engineered by your enemies, and abduct pops from besieged worlds throughout wartime
  • Three new particular civics that allow you to play as a life-seeded race that begins on a Gaia world, a post-apocalyptic civilisation that may inhabit Tomb worlds, or as slaving barbarians that may abduct pops
  • Buy here

Is it price it?

We’ve had restricted time to play with Apocalypse and haven’t delved deep into all of its options, like Titans and Colossi, simply but. It additionally got here together with a large free patch that reworked big components of the sport, so it’s simple for the paid stuff to get misplaced. The most important issue that makes me wish to suggest it’s the Marauders. Like fallen empires, area nomads, enclaves, and leviathans earlier than them, they additional flesh out Stellaris’ rising patchwork of asymmetrical space-faring entities that assist the galaxy really feel numerous and alive in a manner most 4X video games simply by no means will.

The Nice Khan occasions are an thrilling and much-needed additional shake-up within the mid-game, and having someplace to dump Unity within the late recreation supplies a cause to not simply demolish your entire temples and monuments when you’ve completed your Custom bushes.




  • Provides in much more anomalies so that you can encounter whereas exploring
  • Provides the ‘L-Cluster’ as a mid-game quest that may set off diversified outcomes
  • Provides much more character to methods, with a number of ‘distinctive’ system varieties to discover and exploit
  • The strategic benefit provided by the L-Gates themselves can be fairly helpful
  • Buy here

Is it price it?

This pack does a very good job at buffing the exploration facet of the sport, which frequently peters out earlier than the rest fascinating steps as much as fill the void. The L-Cluster itself supplies an entertaining mid-game problem supplied you’re employed for it (and relying on which occasion triggers), however in any other case it is a pretty low-frills pack. Your recreation will certainly be higher off having it in your library, but it surely’s not recreation altering and also you don’t essentially must rush into shopping for it.




  • New ‘Company’ tradition permits you to play as business-themed empires with distinctive civics and mechanics targeted on making a living
  • Now you can flip a planet into Coruscant
  • There may be now Galactic Slave market
  • NPC Caravaneer Fleets will roam the galaxy and attempt to drain you of cash for shiny issues
  • New Ascension Perks, Megastructures and different ins and outs to spherical issues out
  • Buy here

Is it price it?

The large $20 expansions have to this point been a bit hit or miss almost about how a lot worth you get for the worth, however MegaCorps is well well worth the worth of the admission. The accompanying free patch rewrites components of the sport fully (as did the two.0 replace), and the premium options of this growth are a pleasant add-on on prime of that. The ‘Company’ tradition alone affords a wholly distinctive, new strategy to play the sport, assuming you want the concept of making a living.




  • Further science occasions and mechanics themed round Archaeology
  • Elegantly carried out new side-quests that construct on current mechanics
  • Worthwhile new ‘loot’ and new planet varieties
  • Wonderful new music
  • Buy here

Is it price it?

We have been positively pleasantly shocked by Historic Relics. The smaller ‘Story Packs’ can typically really feel a bit superfluous, or lack the burden wanted to actually refresh the expertise, however this DLC is a wonderful addition for Science-loving gamers. The brand new Archaeology methods are refreshingly mild on micro-management, and might web you something from assets, ships, to distinctive relics that present highly effective bonuses. We’d really helpful getting this and Distant Stars collectively to actually improve the science & exploration areas of the sport.




  • Now you can play as sentient rocks, with 15 totally different portraits so as to add flavour
  • For the primary time in a species pack, Lithoids include their very own distinctive mechanics – they eat minerals for meals, and might reside in virtually any atmosphere
  • New ship fashions for Lithoids, in addition to different visible niceties to flesh out the species
  • Rock bois
  • Buy here

Is it price it?

As we’ve stated above, species packs are virtually all the time down to private style. Do you wish to be a rock boi? If sure, then you realize what to do. The inclusion of distinctive mechanics for Lithoids does make this pack barely extra interesting than, say, the Humanoid or Plantoid packs nonetheless. With lithoids having totally different mechanics for sustenance (like Synthetics) and totally different colonisation necessities, they positively open up totally different play-styles primarily based round mass-colonisation.

Once more, it’s right down to you if that sounds interesting or not, but it surely’s one thing new, at the very least.




  • Further Federation varieties on prime of what comes with the free patch
  • The Galactic Group interface, the place you possibly can compete within the Senate
  • New ‘Origins’ for altering up the beginning situations of your customized species
  • New mega buildings to construct
  • Buy here

Is it price it?

Federations itself is one other ‘lean’ growth, particularly when in comparison with the free 2.6 ‘Verne’ patch that got here with it, however between them they’ve rather a lot to supply. Quite a lot of the diplomacy re-work content is free, however the premium Galactic Group stuff is definitely fairly participating and worthwhile. The more you put into it, the more you can out of it.

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The origins stuff as nicely is a superb addition for these wanting to boost their customized species. These all add distinctive gameplay guidelines or situations to boost each the early recreation and the general ‘flavour’ of your empire, and makes for a extra wealthy story-telling atmosphere. At full worth its nonetheless a little bit of an ask given you don’t get a lot, however the work that’s gone into the free patch positively deserves some recognition and reward.


Necroids Species Pack


  • A brand new origin – Necrophage
  • Three new Civis: Dying Cult, Reanimated Armies & Memorialists
  • Beauty additions themed across the Necroids, so new ship units, title lists, constructing sprites and many others.
  • New portraits
  • Buy here


That is solely the fourth ‘Species’ DLC launched for the sport to this point. These packs are all the time about simply including toys with which to construct a customized species with. The Necrophage origin affords gamers a strong main species which consumes different pops.

So far as the brand new civics go: Dying cults allow highly effective edicts by way of sacrificing pops, reanimated armies permits the deployment of undead armies and memorialists will erect monuments to the galaxy’s previous.

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Should you just like the sound of the theme, you then’ll like discover this pack a worthy addition to your toolbox however since there aren’t some other generalist options included on this DLC then it’s one other all-or-nothing query. You both need it, otherwise you don’t.

A star being destroyed in Stellaris: Nemesis



  • A revamped endgame the place you possibly can turn out to be the disaster and destroy the galaxy your self
  • Alternatively, get voted in as guardian of the galaxy to avoid wasting creation…
  • … earlier than going all Emperor Palpatine and declaring a galaxy-spanning Empire as a substitute
  • Espionage operations that tie-in with the free intel rework
  • New ship units and music
  • Buy here

Is it price it?

Regardless of being one other lean pack when it comes to options, that is in all probability probably the most worthy DLCs to this point. After 4 years, Stellaris lastly has an endgame worthy of the title, and the duality between destroying the galaxy, or saving it (to then rule it) makes enjoying via to the top that rather more satisfying.

It’s price noting that the brand new headline function usually solely goal the endgame – for those who don’t assume you’ll get that far, this pack in all probability isn’t for you. The brand new espionage operations – we construct on prime of the brand new intel system launched in the free patch – are neat however you possibly can reside with out them. The brand new visible content material is cool, however not defining.


Acquatics Species Pack

Introduced late October 2021, this new species pack will lastly add Dolphinoids to the sport for the primary time, in addition to some thematic traits, origins, and civics to make ocean-dwelling species distinct.

As revealed in the course of the developer diary that went live that same week, this pack will embody:

  • 15 new aquatic portraits
  • One aquatic-themed robotic portrait
  • Water-themed ship set
  • Two new origins – Right here Be Dragons and Ocean Paradise
  • Anglers Civic
  • Hydrocentric ascension perk
  • Aquatic species trait
  • Aquatic advisor, impressed by excessive seas journey fiction
  • 4 aquatic title lists

There’s at present no recognized launch window for this pack. New Stellaris patches are due in November 2021, and February 2022, so it’s potential this pack may launch alongside both of these.


The Nova Version is just actually price it for those who have been going to purchase the soundtrack anyway – $10 is a good worth only for that, and Andreas Waldetoft’s wonderful rating is certainly price chipping in for. The one factor it provides to the sport itself is an additional insectoid portrait. It occurs to be my favorite of the insectoid portraits, however I wouldn’t say it’s price $10 by itself.

The Galaxy Version is only a bunch of collectables and visual bragging rights, which I don’t discover all that compelling. I’d solely take into account going for it if you wish to throw some additional money in Paradox’s basic course.

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