Stellaris Must-Have Mods
Stellaris has launched, allowing all the map-staring experts from Europa Universalis IV and Crusader Kings 2 to take to the stars and inflict their spreadsheet dominance on the unsuspecting natives of the galaxy. Of course, like many Paradox games, Stellaris is glorious, huge, a little buggy, and awkwardly balanced -- luckily for you, it's also easy to mod. Here are some of the best mods around for fixing broken gameplay elements, adding needed options, and balancing the imbalanced.
This is a really terrific mod that does a lot of different things. Not only does it add some graphical and UI improvements to make battles prettier, but it includes some balance changes to make them a little bit more fair. It doesn't entirely fix the Corvette-spam issue, but it helps, and it's one of the more stable mods out there. Be aware that in addition to making battles prettier, it also makes them last longer, which can be a plus or a minus depending on your point of view.
Better Sector Mod
This is a small but extremely useful mod that removes the influence cost of fiddling with your sectors, makes their borders a little less visually obnoxious, and stops them from wasting money on certain frivolous pursuits. It doesn't do much to fix the more egregious problems of sector AI, but if you need to frequently adjust the planets in your sectors (like if you're playing a slave- or robot-heavy empire), then this makes it a lot easier to do so.
Do you hate scrolling? If you didn't before, you probably do now, and this deceptively simple mod will take away some of your pain. All it does is resize the windows of certain UI elements -- like the species/contact list -- so you don't have to constantly be spinning your mouse wheel to find what you want. It's a small change, but a welcome one.
This is another simple but very useful fix that will make your games a lot more interesting. It makes the AI a little bit better at responding to threats, more likely to team up, and a bit more reasonable when it comes to trades and wargoals. If you've ever had your federation vote to go to war right after the Unbidden spawned in the middle of your core sector, this mod is for you. Be aware that Paradox is also working on some fixes for AI silliness, so you might not need this for long.
Expanded War Demands
Who doesn't love more options? This is a great mod that gives you a lot more to work with when demanding things from other empires after you've crushed them. Whether it's an AI ban or an ethics change or a simple humiliation, you can now do more than just take planets and swap vassals. The creator is working on adding a lot more options, so this is a mod to keep an eye on for sure.
Stellaris Cheat Menu
Based on similar mods for EUIV and CK2, this mod does exactly what it says it does -- adds a cheat menu. Not only is this great for helping you get used to the game or mitigate random BS, but it can also be really useful if you want to test certain things out without fully committing to a strategy or if you're just trying to get used to the game. The current build includes a whole slew of buffs, options to make terraforming easier, free XP for leaders, and other nifty cheats to help you survive the dark and terrible galaxy.
Have a mod you like that we didn't mention or thoughts on Stellaris in general? Let us know in the comments, and good luck!