As a large portion of Stellaris revolves around naval superiority and being able to conquer your enemies, being able to travel across the galaxy quickly is of the utmost importance, right? To help you with this, your scientists can discover a new type of drive for your ships, allowing your ships near-instantaneous travel within a specific range, but this comes at a cost…
Stellaris What are jump drives?
Well in Stellaris, the way you move around the galaxy is by using FTL (Faster than light travel) or jump drives, and here’s your guide on what they are, how to get them, and how they’re used.
What Is FTL?
Before we move onto jump drives we must understand how we move around the galaxy and how our ships function. Every ship you have in your intergalactic navy has five core components, these components make the ship function properly and are able to fight and move as you need them to.
These five components are:
Reactors – They power your ship and supply the power to all your other components. You need to have a strong enough reactor to power all of your components and keep the ship running properly. A ship design that does not have a strong enough reactor is not allowed to leave the design phase of creation. You can check if your reactor is strong enough by looking at the power section of your ships statistic on the fleet designer tab (f9)
Drive– The drive of your ship is what allows it to move around the galaxy quickly (FTL), they are used to navigate through hyperlanes (the connections between systems) They can be upgraded to allow your ships to move faster.
Thrusters – Thrusters increase your ship’s evasion when within a system, meaning they can dodge incoming projectiles more easily and prevent themselves from being damaged as a result.
Sensors – These provide your ships with better accuracy, as well as detection range, meaning they can tell where enemy ships are from further away.
Computer Systems – Computer systems decide how your fleets attack, will they fire from a medium-range in a large formation? Or swarm around their opponents and fire from every direction? Well, this computer chip is what decides. To start with you can get 4/5 different types of ship computer systems. Each one of these provides improved evasion and fire rate, the higher levels also provide a boost to your ship speed. However, Sapient AI and Autonomous AI give the same bonuses.
Earlier in this article, I mentioned Psi drives, just what exactly are they and what do they do? A psi drive is in essence a direct upgrade from the jump drive, they both allow you to jump distances, but the Psi drive allows you to travel 50% further than the jump drive. However, to access this technology you must take the mind over matter ascension perk, forcing you down the psionic ascension path. If you enjoy playing a psionic empire in comparison to a synthetic or genetically modified one, then you should definitely use this technology as it is far better than the regular jump drive.
Researching jump drives
In order to research and use the jump drive technology, you must first research the zero-point power reactor for your ships. This is a tier 4 physics research that begins its research cost at 20000 physics research. Jump drives on the other hand are tier 5 physics research that starts at a cost of 32000 physics research cost.
How to use jump drives?
Having a jump drive within a ship is great, but how exactly do you use them?
When you select a fleet that’s outfitted with a jump drive on the galaxy map, you should see a dotted circle around it. This circle shows your jump radius. To use the jump drive, click on the initiate jump button (default key is J), this button is at the top of the fleet outliner, near the return to home base button, you then left-click on a system within this circular range to order your fleet to engage their jump drives and move there.
Why would/wouldn’t you want a jump drive
As jump drives determine how fast you travel across the galaxy, you always want to be the fastest possible right? Well, this might not always be the case, and here’s why.
Fast speed – You can move almost instantly within a short-range, great for surprise attacks or reinforcing desperate fleets.
Can bring the crisis forward – This is both a pro and a con as if you want more challenge an early crisis provides just that. But if you are not ready for it, it could end your entire save.
Cooldown/debuffs – After using a jump drive, you cannot use it again for 200 days, this is to give your fleet the time to regenerate the amount of power that the jump drive uses. Whilst it is cooling down you also get penalties applied to your fleet, these penalties include a -50% weapons damage and sublight speed modifier.
Specific range – You can only use the jump drive to jump a short amount of systems away, which is not always useful as you may need to move further than the range.
The Unbidden –
The Unbidden are an endgame crisis faction. This means they are the “final boss” of the game and most likely the biggest threat you will face all game. The Unbidden are also known as Extra dimensional invaders, so from now on, we will call them EDI.
The EDI will arrive in the galaxy with absolutely zero warning. The trigger event for this crisis is a “galactic power surge”, once this event happens, a portal will immediately spawn somewhere in the galaxy, and a portal starbase and EDI fleet will then emerge. Means that your final foe has arrived for a fight to the death…
EDI fleets will take systems from empires as if they were at war using the total war casus belli. Meaning there is now a peace deal needed for them to take your empire. They will take systems and permanently keep them until you (or another empire) can reclaim them.
To destroy this threat, first, you must destroy all of the portal’s dimensional anchors, which will be highlighted on the galaxy map. You then must go destroy the original portal (which is now guarded by the main EDI fleet).
Which Jump Drive is the best?
Now we have covered the 3 ways of moving your ships around the galaxy, which is best?
Simply put, the Psi drive is the best jump drive you can use in Stellaris, as much as it possesses the same penalties and negatives as jump drives the psi drive also has the largest range and so it allows you to move to systems that are further away.
However, if you do not play as a psionic empire you cannot use it, meaning you cannot play as a synthetic or genetically modified species. After this is the jump drive, as it allows you to move further and faster than normal FTL using hyperlanes.
Lastly, FTL is the least effective way of traveling in Stellaris, but it ultimately has no drawbacks other than being slower than using a jump or psi drive.
Really what you use comes down to what risks you’re willing to take, if you want to play it completely safe keep using normal FTL travel rather than a drive. However, if you do not care about the consequences of using these technologies then use whichever one you have access to, be it a Psi or jump drive.