"A new pop appears after 100 + (0.5 * total empire population) growth points have been accumulated." - r/Stellaris (2024)

I feel that this may come from a lack of understanding of what it is actually like to run an empire. Though I feel like HoI IV is an incredibly bad example of this, because HoI 4 is not a game where you're playing as an empire. It is a war simulator masquerading as a grand strategy title. Civilization is much more apt.

Honestly, if you want one of the absolute best games to allow you to feel like you're running an empire, look no further than Crusader Kings 2. There's a very simple reason for this. Those who rule countries do not interact with their people. Kings, Dictators, Despots, Autocrats, Prime Ministers, or Presidents. None of these rules interact with their people. By that I mean, a president will not worry that Joe is currently a miner harvesting minerals. That has absolutely zero impact on how a president will lead his country. If Joe lives or dies. If Joe is promoted or demoted. It has absolutely zero impact on his leadership. Nor does Jane, Joe's co-worker. Or Jeff, his other co-worker. Or any of the other people in their country. While he may be working for them, or they're people he should be concerned about, it's only in the grand scheme of things.

A leader only ever interacts with other leaders. When there is a crisis and a wildfire is tearing through your neighborhood, the leader of your country doesn't go in there and work directly with you. He gets into contact with the leader of your area, who then gets into contact with the leader of your specific sector of that area, who then gets into contact with emergency services.

I am not going to say that you're wrong for enjoying interacting with pops. However, if you want to experience what it feels like to lead an empire, then interacting directly with pops is at odds with that. That simply doesn't happen. That's something more along the lines of Banished, which is far smaller in scope and more personal.

In a game like Stellaris, pops should always have been abstracted out to a simple number. We should have always focused 100% of our interactions with our leaders, because that's what someone who leads an empire would do. They would only ever interact with their support staff, who would in-turn interact with their support staff. And they'd eventually go down the chain of command.

I want to play as Emperor Palpatine. I do not want to play as a Stormtrooper Sergeant who is pretending to be Emperor Palpatine. As Emperor Palpatine, I would interact primarily with Grand Moffs like Grand Moff Tarkin. Grand Moff Tarkin would be the one who has a bunch of Sector Governors under his control, who in-turn have a bunch of Planetary Governors under their control, who are the ones that deal with the people. I don't care if Planetary Governor 14359 is enslaving their citizens and executing them whenever they please. I just want their factories to produce Tie Fighters for my war machine so I can spread my influence. To me, my pops are just a statistic that I don't care about.

To look at it from a more "good guy" example. Starfleet Command. They do not care about Ensign Geoffrey, the Red Shirt who is going to die in today's episode. They've never met him. They will never meet him. Even if he survived, he was never going to be promoted beyond Ensign. However, Captain Picard? Captain Riker? Captain Kirk? They'd meet with those people, because they're the leaders. They're the ones that they've chosen to delegate over a crew of hundreds of people. Further, Starfleet Command would only ever interact with a leader of a colony, not the actual colonists themselves. There's no reason to interact with colonists. That takes up a massive amount of time and resources that would be better spent just talking to their representative. Hell, why would they even talk to them personally? Just have Picard or even Data handle interacting with them. Data can tell those colonists to GTFO or the aliens will kill them all. All Starfleet Command has to do is tell Picard that it has to be done, and he'll give Data the job. Chain of command.

At the end of the day, my point is: Leaders of governments only interact with other leaders. If you want to interact with pops directly, that contradicts your desire to play as the leader of a government.

"A new pop appears after 100 + (0.5 * total empire population) growth points have been accumulated." - r/Stellaris (2024)


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