In Stellaris, your empire’s core is a set of ethics, and beliefs which impact the way your country functions and the way your populace behaves. Now, as these beliefs form the foundation of your empire you want to stick with them all game… right?

Well, within Stellaris, there are many choices of ethics, leading to different playstyles and civics which help form the foundation of your empire.


Ethics can be chosen when creating an empire by using the wheel on the left-hand side of the ethics interface located here.

stellaris ethics

When you are creating a civilization, you get three ethics points to spend, and you can spend these on either the blue or orange ethics. The blue ethics cost 1 point each except for the middle ethic (gestalt consciousness), whilst the orange ones cost 2, meaning you cannot have more than one orange ethic.

Because of the limited amount of ethic points, you have to think about how you want to play with your empire, as there’s no point taking a pacifist ethic if you want to conquer the galaxy. As you’re limited on points, it can make every playthrough feel like a different experience to a certain extent, as you have a lot of possible combos you can use to change your playstyle.

What is the difference between the orange and blue ethics? 

The blue ethics are normal ethics, while the orange are fanatical ethics, meaning that they almost completely dominate your society and are the primary belief of your people

From the top of the wheel going right, you have: Militarist, xenophile, egalitarian, materialist, pacifist, xenophobe, authoritarian, spiritualist and finally gestalt consciousness in the middle.

Do all ethics combo together?

No, not all ethics combo together, typically those ethics that are on the opposite side of the wheel to one another clash/replace each other when creating an empire. Meaning you unfortunately cannot play a spiritualist machine empire. 


stellaris civics

On the other side of this interface, you also have your civics, these are also a crucial part in your empire and provide a boatload of benefits depending on your ethics and which civics you pick, each one promotes a different playstyle and provides its own unique bonuses.

How to change ethics

stellaris change ethics

Anyways, back to the main focus of today: how to change ethics…

In order to change your ethics once you’ve started a game, you must utilize an often overlooked feature within your empire, factions. 

What exactly are factions? Well, factions are groups within your empire that either share your ethics or hold different views to your government. They hold an amount of power within your empire, and for every pop that joins a faction, you get a 0.5 monthly unity bonus. Factions can be monitored in your outliner on the right-hand side or via the factions tab on your left-hand menu. Here you can find a breakdown of the faction’s views, popularity, and power. 

There are 10 factions that can be spawned within your empire, one for each ethic other than xenophobic and egalitarian, which each has two possible faction spawns. Every faction has a list of “issues” which are agendas they wish for oyu to fufill, these can range from abolition of the slave trade to fleet reduction depending on the factions spawned within your empire.

Faction Actions

When dealing with the factions within your empire, you have a few options, you can ignore them and forget about them for the rets of the game, only using them for the unity bonus they provide.

However, if you wish to switch your ethics mid-game, you must embrace these factions and use them to the fullest extent. This is done by via interaction with the factions, and these interactions come in “actions,” which can be accessed from the outliner or the faction tab.

These actions each have a different effect on the faction, either embracing their ethics and the changes they want, promoting them in order to help them grow, or suppressing them and attempting to stop the culture shift from happening within your empire.

In order to shift ethics within your empire, you must embrace the faction (pictured above). This has a negative effect on all other factions but allows you to immediately begin the process of changing your empire’s ethics to align with the factions.

Overall, factions can be an integral part of your game and role-playing experience within a save. But on the flip side, they can be completely ignored for the majority of the game and be used for additional unity. In my opinion, changing ethics via factions is one of the most underrated playstyles. Being able to quickly adapt and change your empire’s built-in bonuses can give you a massive boost if done at the right time, or can have adverse effects if not….

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