A ship is a spaceborne vessel controlled by an empire. They are the primary way of interacting with objects and entities in the galaxy via specific ship orders. Ships are classified into civilian and military vessels, the former being controlled individually while the latter form fleets. All ships must be constructed and repaired at Starbases where there is a Shipyard module. Each Shipyard module can construct one ship at a time.
Civilian ships represent all unarmed vessels of an empire and are controlled individually. They are equipped with shields, armor and core components automatically once the next tier component tech is unlocked at a free cost and do not have to return to a Starbase to receive component upgrades. Each civilian ship, excluding transports and construction ships, has a monthly maintenance cost of 1 Energy, and each construction ship has a maintenance cost of 0.75 Energy. Construction and Science ships cost 100 Alloys, affected by Ship Cost reductions.
Civilian ships have the evasive fleet stance by default meaning that they will attempt to escape the system whenever a hostile fleet enters it.
Construction ships are used to build every space structure. They are not used up during construction meaning that they can go on to do other tasks after they have finished their building project. Fleet Orders allow the construction ship to build the following:
- See also: Surveying
Science Ships are the primary method of exploring the galaxy and the stars and systems within it. They require a scientist to operate.
Once crewed, the Science ship can conduct a survey of individual objects within a system. During these surveys, it can discover resources present on a celestial body (i.e.: planets, stars, asteroids, etc.). A survey may also result in the discovery of an anomaly. Furthermore, an object needs to be surveyed only once and any future hidden resources (such as strategic resources) will be automatically revealed once the requisite technology is researched. The Science ship can also survey debris left after a space battle which may yield research points or possibly even unlock unique technology options.
Science ships can also assist the research of a planet. Upon activation, the science ship will orbit the planet and boost its research output depending on the skill level of the scientist on board.
- See also: Colonization
The large colony ships allow an empire to settle habitable planets. When ordering the construction of a colony ship, the player is given the option of choosing the species of the pop that is to be sent to the new colony, inheriting all of its traits and ethics. Pops are not consumed nor transported in this process. Once finished, the colony ship may be sent to any habitable world within range to start a colony. Colony ships take one year to build and their upkeep cost is maintained throughout the whole colonization process. Alternatively, colony ships can also be built through the interface of the planet to be colonized.
The cost of a colony ship in an organic empire depends on the government and the empire's dominant species class.
- See also: Land warfare
Transport ships are where assault armies are kept. After an army has been recruited it is automatically embarked in a transport ship which will be orbiting the planet where they were created. Therefore, they cannot be built manually. While armies have an upkeep cost, transport ships cost no additional energy to maintain. After a battle, transport ships will heal the embarked armies.
During war transport ships must be carefully escorted by a military fleet since they are unarmed. Their only purpose is to carry assault armies into enemy planets so that they can occupy them. Additionally, some special projects require a transport ship to be completed.
See also: Space warfare
Military ships represent all armed vessels of an empire and unlike civilian ships they can be grouped together into fleets and led by an Admiral. Military ships require both Energy and Alloys as monthly maintenance. They are designed via the ship designer.
Military ships are classified by their hull size, which influences their combat stats, cost, available sections and components and Command Point cost. Each ship takes twice as much time to be built compared to the previous one in the category. There are four hull sizes available: Corvette, Destroyer, Cruiser, and Battleship, plus the Titan and Colossus with the Apocalypse expansion, and the Juggernaut with the Federations expansion. Each ship size has two technologies that increase its hull points and (up to battleships) one technology that decreases its build cost and increases its build speed.
Military ships must be upgraded manually when an upgraded design is created. The cost for upgrading each ship is simply the difference in construction cost between the new design and the old one. Each ship upgrades individually, with multiple ships being upgraded simultaneously if the starbase contains multiple shipyards.
When upgrading a ship, the system will attempt to use the most recent version of the same class name. If no design of the same class name is available, then the upgrade process will retrofit them to the most-recently saved design of the same size instead.
If a ship obtained via an event contains components not yet researched the ship should not be allowed to upgrade. Upgrading it will replace the components with the latest researched ones, even if those are inferior.
Naval capacity represents the number of military ships that an empire can manage. Going beyond this limit will increase ship maintenance costs by a percentage equal to the overcame value. For example, if an empire exceeded its naval capacity by 50% it will increase the maintenance cost of each ship by 50%. Each empire can build a Titan for each 200 Naval Capacity, up to a maximum of 20 Titans at 3800 naval capacity. An empire's base naval capacity is 20, and is modified by:
- Galactic Force Projection ascension perk adds +80
- Each Soldier Job adds +4 or +6 with Ground Defense Planning tech
- Each Warrior Drone Job adds +4 or +6 with Ground Defense Planning tech
- Each Duelist Job adds +2
- Each Starbase Anchorage module adds +4, or +6 with the Naval Logistics Office building
- Each naval doctrine technology adds +30 (Total: +120)
- Each Fleet Management Procedures repeatable technology adds +20 (can only be researched 5 times)
- Each Pirate Free Haven corporate building adds +10
- Each Mercenary Liaison Office corporate building adds +10
- Each Strategic Coordination Center level adds +50 (Total: +150)
- Diplomatic Stance Belligerent increases Naval Capacity by +10%
- Citizen Service civic increases Naval Capacity by +15%
- Subspace Ephapse civic increases Naval Capacity by +15%
- Naval Contractors civic increases Naval Capacity by +15%
- Genocidal civics increase Naval Capacity by +33%
- Fleet Logistics Corps / Automated Underway Replenishment supremacy tradition increases Naval Capacity by +20%
- Master's Teachings: Warring States edict increases Naval Capacity by +10%
- Grand Fleet unity ambition increases Naval Capacity by +20%
- Fleet Organizer ruler trait increases Naval Capacity by +15%
- Brain Slug Host ruler trait increases Naval Capacity by +10%
- Covenant: End of the Cycle increases Naval Capacity by +100%
- Federation member empires can have reduced Naval Capacity by -10%/-20%/-30% to be set aside for use by the Federation fleet, depending on Fleet Contribution law.
- Satrapy empires have reduced Naval Capacity by -30%
Maximum Naval Capacity may never exceed 9999. This is not a hard cap on the number of ships an empire can support; it is fully possible to exceed this limit as long as an empire can afford the increased maintenance fees for all of its ships. In fact, the AI will frequently build over its naval capacity if it has the resources to maintain its fleets. Because of this, it may likewise be necessary for a player to build over naval capacity, especially when preparing to go to war against an AI with equivalent or better fleet power.
Command Limit is a limit on how large any one individual fleet in an empire can be. An empire's base command limit is 20, increased by the following (the hardcoded maximum is 500 but cannot be reached without mods):
- +10 per hull type technology (Total: +40 or +30 without Apocalypse DLC)
- +20 per fleet doctrine technology (Total: +100)
- +10 per Admiralty Support Staff technology (repeatable, but only 5 times)
- +10 Distinguished Admiralty civic
- +20 War Games \ Three-Dimensional Awareness \ Combat Variable Mitigation supremacy tradition
- +20 Galactic Force Projection ascension perk
Outliner format: <current command usage>/<fleet command limit> (<template's planned usage>)
As ships partake in battle they will increase their rank. Ships, when built, start off with zero experience. Ships get +1 experience every day they are in combat and +0.1 experience every day they are suppressing piracy.
Ranks are classified as follows:
|Rank||Exp Points||Damage||Hull Points||Evasion|
Ship starting experience can be increased by the following factors.
|Fleet Supremacy edict||+100|
|Martial Alliance federation||+100|
|Built from a Starbase with a Fleet Academy building||+100|
|Built from a Mega Shipyard||+100|
Colossal ships are the largest ships that can be built. There are three classes of colossal ships, the Colossus, the Juggernaut and the Star-Eater. Each require the starbase to have the Colossal Assembly Yards building before they can be constructed, and aside from the Star-Eater, each can only be constructed once. They can be reconstructed when they are destroyed. Colossal ships cannot be merged with regular fleets.
|Available only with the Federations DLC enabled.|
The Juggernaut is a colossal ship which can construct, repair and upgrade ships the same way a Starbase can. It has 10 times the hull points of a Titan and feature six Hangar slots and two turreted Extra Large slots. It also has its own set of aura components, which are significantly more powerful than the Titan's own.
Juggernauts have two shipyards and can build, repair or upgrade up to two ships at a time. It cannot build Titans or Colossi but it can upgrade or repair them. The Juggernaut can also upgrade itself and will automatically start repairing itself after a battle. It cannot be repaired or upgraded at a starbase. Juggernauts can retreat and go Missing in Action to reappear at the nearest friendly starbase like all regular fleets. Fleets can set a Juggernaut as their homebase.
Fallen Empires cannot build Juggernauts.
Federations, Galactic Defense Force and Imperial Armada can all have a juggernaut as well.
|Available only with the Apocalypse DLC enabled.|
The Colossus is a colossal ship that has a single weapon slot which can be equipped with a weapon of mass destruction capable of affecting an entire planet. The technology required to build them can be accessed by taking the Colossus Project ascension perk. Each Fallen Empire has a 10% chance to start the game with a Colossus and are able to build more if they have awakened into an Awakened Empire.
Colossi are unable to attack enemy fleets, as they lack the weaponry to do so. During space battles a Colossus will follow direct orders and will maneuver straight to its designated target. This means that the Colossus will do things such as going straight through an ongoing space battle to fire upon an enemy planet, unless its stance is set to Evasive.
An Empire that owns a Colossus gains the ability to declare Total Wars on other Empires. Similarly, any Empire can declare Total Wars on the Colossus owner. During a Total War, any systems captured by either side will be immediately annexed and the war can only end in the total destruction of either side or a status quo.
- If a Colossus is destroyed during a Total War, nothing happens. The war is still a Total War.
- If a Colossus is built during a regular war, nothing happens and the Colossus can be used as normal. If one side is totally destroyed by the Colossus, the war ends and the war goal is not enforced. The same is true if an Empire that owns a Colossus is dragged into a regular war, usually because of Federation or Defensive Pact.
Using a Colossus causes large amounts of War Exhaustion on the targeted empire, and gives it +50% Ethics Attraction towards Militarist and Xenophobe, which can cause the diplomatic and political climate in the region to grow even more hostile over time.
The Colossus Project ascension perk does not directly unlock the Colossus hull or its weapons; rather, the perk grants access to an associated special project which, once finished, will unlock both the ship and its weapon. After the special project is halfway completed the empire will be prompted to choose a starting Colossus weapon. The empire can later research other types of Colossus weapons and retrofit it into their Colossus via the ship designer.
A Colossus can carry the following weapons, which can only target planets, ringworlds and habitats:
|Available only with the Nemesis DLC enabled.|
The star-eater is a colossal ship equipped with a Star Cracker, a weapon that can destroy stars. Constructing Star-Eaters requires the Become the Crisis ascension perk as well as reaching the final crisis level. When the star-eater is finished firing the star will become a black hole and all planets and megastructures are permanently destroyed. All fleets present except the star-eater will go MIA. When the star is destroyed the empire owning the star-eater will gain the following amounts of dark matter based on galaxy size:
|Galaxy size||Dark matter|