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gregoryk64 Nov 12, 2018 @ 3:35pm
Tributary or vassal?
When subjugating neighboring empires, is there any advantage to one form of subjugation over the other?
Originally posted by Belhedler:
There is absolutely no perfect answer. It all depends about your empire (ethics for the most part) and strategy.

Tributaries: you cannot attack them for a hefty 25% of their economy income going to you (37% with one domination perk). The effect on economy for them is the same than when you surrender to an awakened empire if you want a comparison. So it's quite serious and the AI is usually heavily crippled when in a tributary pact. OK for a large and economicaly powerful empire but rather weak with small empires. They are not militarily submitted to you, can colonize, do diplomacy and stuff and so they may attack you (but with the heavy economy penalty that occurs it's unlikely). Do not count towards naval capacity either.

Protectorate: usually a small empire asks you to protect them if you have superior tech power, and very often after being targeted by previous war(s) they lost. They give you +0,25 influence if you accept and then gets -80% to research cost. Once they have 50% of your researched techs they become a vassal. You have to defend them if attacked (triggers ally war but never seen it apply in my games ever). it becomes a complete dependency of your empire until released or vassalized. Xenophilic empire can make good use of this. It's also a smooth way for materialist research focused empire to get vassals later in the game while getting economical power in the early-mid. For reference, I had a game where I had +12 influence just from factions and protectorates. See my topic saying Xenophilic is somewhat OP currently. Beware, if you're really too strong tech-wise it may take some time for them to reach the vassal state, if ever.

Vassal: this goes along with an assimilation or external growth strategy. They stop expanding and do diplomacy. However they go to war like you do, usually in the form of reinforcement fleets joining yours (but far weaker than a federation fleet would be). They aren't quite good at dealing with wars themselves. They count partially towards your navy capacity which makes them good for that (expect about +100 navy cap from vassals as a general rule). If you plan for a massive assimilation of the vassals later, I strongly recommend the Ascension perk called Shared Destiny. Vassal also works well for xenophile as this enlarges the species your empire will receive (migrations between master and vassals) and you can then make the most of each individual pop. Vassals can be lawful or the opposite in which case they will rebel if given the opportunity. Their trust increases overtime and when they become lawful you don't have to be anxious about it any more.

Vassal and tributaries have very strong synergy with the Domination/Purity tradition tree. They are all extremely strong perks with them. Vassals/tributaries/protectorate all suit well a tall or semi-tall strategy.

Now about the reason why not just claim and take over other empires:
a) you keep your research penalty low while increasing your economy. This goes extremely well with tall/semi-tall strategy
b) possibly toping unity thanks to Vassal Acculturation (+5% unity per vassal - up to +30%). Absolutely nothing can beat the max bonus in the game and it's not that hard to do early
c) saving huge amounts of influence by not claiming every single system.
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Showing 1-11 of 11 comments
Daynen Drakeson Nov 12, 2018 @ 3:46pm 
I think tributaries just give you resources and ignore the vassalization effects, particularly the ones in the tradition tree. A vassal actually gets bonuses for serving under you in exchange for being subject to your diplomatic choices, i.e. war, peace, etc. Whereas a tributary simply cannot be attacked by you and pays you protection money. Depending on your tradition choices, you may want one over the other I suppose. I've never really bothered with either but that's my best understanding.
Army Pea Nov 12, 2018 @ 4:09pm 
Tributary = 25% of there money was given to you but are otherwise a free nation.

Vassal = You control many of there freedoms. Like the ability to expand or colonize. They will goto war with you like it or not. They cannot engage in diplomacy.
Additionally under the domination tree you get significant bonuses by having vassals
LuNi Nov 12, 2018 @ 5:48pm 
I would say neither. You benefit less from having subjects than having direct control over their territory.
Bdeslaurs Nov 12, 2018 @ 6:51pm 
Protectorate can be useful on one planet small empire, gives you influence and bonus to unity with the tradition perk.
Last edited by Bdeslaurs; Nov 12, 2018 @ 6:52pm
Kirus Nov 12, 2018 @ 7:00pm 
Personally, I prefer Tributaries to Vassals since it gives you a small amount of resources before you integrate them into your empire and divide their area into sectors which gives you even more resources(in contrast to tributaries).

It gives you an easy war to conquer an empire without the inconveniences of being a Fanatic Purifier or a Determined Exterminator. The integration period is pretty long though so you have to be patient.
The author of this thread has indicated that this post answers the original topic.
Belhedler Nov 12, 2018 @ 10:45pm 
There is absolutely no perfect answer. It all depends about your empire (ethics for the most part) and strategy.

Tributaries: you cannot attack them for a hefty 25% of their economy income going to you (37% with one domination perk). The effect on economy for them is the same than when you surrender to an awakened empire if you want a comparison. So it's quite serious and the AI is usually heavily crippled when in a tributary pact. OK for a large and economicaly powerful empire but rather weak with small empires. They are not militarily submitted to you, can colonize, do diplomacy and stuff and so they may attack you (but with the heavy economy penalty that occurs it's unlikely). Do not count towards naval capacity either.

Protectorate: usually a small empire asks you to protect them if you have superior tech power, and very often after being targeted by previous war(s) they lost. They give you +0,25 influence if you accept and then gets -80% to research cost. Once they have 50% of your researched techs they become a vassal. You have to defend them if attacked (triggers ally war but never seen it apply in my games ever). it becomes a complete dependency of your empire until released or vassalized. Xenophilic empire can make good use of this. It's also a smooth way for materialist research focused empire to get vassals later in the game while getting economical power in the early-mid. For reference, I had a game where I had +12 influence just from factions and protectorates. See my topic saying Xenophilic is somewhat OP currently. Beware, if you're really too strong tech-wise it may take some time for them to reach the vassal state, if ever.

Vassal: this goes along with an assimilation or external growth strategy. They stop expanding and do diplomacy. However they go to war like you do, usually in the form of reinforcement fleets joining yours (but far weaker than a federation fleet would be). They aren't quite good at dealing with wars themselves. They count partially towards your navy capacity which makes them good for that (expect about +100 navy cap from vassals as a general rule). If you plan for a massive assimilation of the vassals later, I strongly recommend the Ascension perk called Shared Destiny. Vassal also works well for xenophile as this enlarges the species your empire will receive (migrations between master and vassals) and you can then make the most of each individual pop. Vassals can be lawful or the opposite in which case they will rebel if given the opportunity. Their trust increases overtime and when they become lawful you don't have to be anxious about it any more.

Vassal and tributaries have very strong synergy with the Domination/Purity tradition tree. They are all extremely strong perks with them. Vassals/tributaries/protectorate all suit well a tall or semi-tall strategy.

Now about the reason why not just claim and take over other empires:
a) you keep your research penalty low while increasing your economy. This goes extremely well with tall/semi-tall strategy
b) possibly toping unity thanks to Vassal Acculturation (+5% unity per vassal - up to +30%). Absolutely nothing can beat the max bonus in the game and it's not that hard to do early
c) saving huge amounts of influence by not claiming every single system.
Last edited by Belhedler; Nov 12, 2018 @ 11:09pm
Meewec Nov 12, 2018 @ 11:03pm 
Originally posted by Kirus:
Personally, I prefer Tributaries to Vassals since it gives you a small amount of resources before you integrate them into your empire and divide their area into sectors which gives you even more resources(in contrast to tributaries).
you can't integrate tributaries
Belhedler Nov 12, 2018 @ 11:05pm 
Originally posted by Meewec:
you can't integrate tributaries
You can! When then reach 50% of your tech level and becomes your vassal :)
Meewec Nov 12, 2018 @ 11:05pm 
Originally posted by Belhedler:
Originally posted by Meewec:
you can't integrate tributaries
You can! When then reach 50% of your tech level and becomes your vassal :)
that's protectorates
Belhedler Nov 12, 2018 @ 11:07pm 
oups correct :p
gregoryk64 Nov 13, 2018 @ 6:24am 
Thanks for the answers. It defnitely helps clear things up for strategy. In my current game (fanatic miltarist/authoritarian) I'm thinking tributaries might be the way to go, with the larger empires at least. It seems that planets of tributary empires still count toward the victory conditions, and I'm not really interested in integrating them into my empire unless they are very small, like one planet.

My strategy is to keep species and ethics diversity to a minimum, and those alien species that are part of my empire already have rights set to caste system residence, so they are mostly slave labor. Currently I have vassalized four empires, and two of those were subjects of empires I vassalized through war. The other I made a tributary. I have no intention of integrating the two larger vassal empires, and I do not have migration treaties with them so I can keep them out of my empire.

Since my territory is pretty wide, I'm working on terraforming planets I control so I can build them up properly and not have to worry about restructuring existing alien planets I conquer. The AI is really bad about building up effective colonies.

So it looks like the next two neighboring empires I have targeted will be tributes.
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Date Posted: Nov 12, 2018 @ 3:35pm
Posts: 11