Race picks

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"Picks" is shorthand for Racial Ability And Characteristic Points, the foundation of Master of Orion II custom race development. You have 10 picks that you can use to develop your race. To the right of every option is that option's Pick Modifier. If you choose that option for your race, you lose (if the modifier is positive) or gain (if it's negative) that many picks. Note that you can not choose disadvantageous options to gain more than 10 extra picks, and you are also not allowed to start a game with a negative pick total.

"Score" is short for Score Multiplier As Determined By Picks. This is the percentage of your earned game score that will be awarded as your total score. Your picks total directly affects this. For example, if you have zero picks, your score is 100%; in this case, your earned score and your awarded score would be the same. If you choose not to use five of your picks, your score would be 150%; this would make your final awarded score 1.5 times your earned score.

Picks by category


Name Pick cost Evaluation and effects
-50% growth -4 Halves population growth. Crippling in the long term, as the fewer citizens you have, the slower you'll research, build, and expand.
+50% growth 3 Increased population growth. Well worth it, as it synergizes with racial benefits and colonial improvements, which usually act on a per-colonist bases. The more people, the faster you'll develop as well.
+100% growth 6 The doubled growth is neat, but too expensive in terms of picks.


Name Pick cost Evaluation and effects
-1/2 food -5 Halves food production. Paradoxically, it's not particularly bad as a disadvantage, as you'll rapidly compensate for it as you develop your empire, though it will provide short-term problems.
+1 food 4 Increases farmer production by one unit per farmer. Too expensive.
+2 food 7 Same as above, except double the bonus. Even less recommended, as despite the initial bonus, subsequent research will render it meaningless.


Name Pick cost Evaluation and effects
-1 production -3 Every worker produces -1 unit. Extremely bad, since production is critical for your empire. It essentially hamstrings you early on.
+1 production 3 Cheap and pretty good, as every point of production counts - and unlike farming, it stays relevant throughout the game.
+2 production 6 Too expensive.


Name Pick cost Evaluation and effects
-1 research -3 All scientists produce one less research point. Do not take under any circumstances.
+1 research 3 Excellent pick for its value. Technological superiority is the easiest way to build a lasting empire.
+2 research 6 The only colonial production benefit worth attention - however, it's easily outshined by Democracy, which costs 7 picks and provides a multiplicative bonus rather than an absolute value one. Not recommended - pick Democracy instead, unless you prefer to be an enemy of freedom.


Name Pick cost Evaluation and effects
-0.5 BC -4 Effectively halves you income on taxation and exports, deducting half a billion credits from every billion that comes into your treasury. Unlike colonial production, income can be negative. However, the penalty can be safely negated with Democracy or through careful planning - trade agreements with all races help, as does maximizing production in your colonies.
+0.5 BC 5 Adds 0.5 BC to every billion credits of income, as long as it's above zero. The advantage is not particularly useful, as a spaceport (400 RP) confers a 50% bonus to a colony's income and doesn't require spending valuable picks.
+1 BC 8 Adds 1 BC to every billion of credits. Even less useful than the above, as it's expensive in terms of picks. The doubled income is easily offset by a stock exchange.

Ship Defense

Name Pick cost Evaluation and effects
-20 defense -2 Reduces defense for missile and beam attacks by a flat -20 modifier. The crew's experience level, ship equipment, and the Warlord benefit all counteract it, making it a pretty much hassle-free penalty to take.
+20 defense 3 The opposite of the -20 penalty. Not that useful, as just one experience level confers bigger benefits, while Warlord, which costs one pick more, is much more effective as it automatically makes ships start with an experienced crew.
+40 defense 7 Double the above bonus, rendered useless by the Warlord pick and a space academy.

Ship Attack

Name Pick cost Evaluation and effects
-20 attack -2 Reduces chance to hit and attack rating by a flat -20 modifier. The crew's experience level, ship equipment, and the Warlord benefit all counteract it, making it a pretty much hassle-free penalty to take. If forced to pick, favor attack over defense.
+20 attack 3 The opposite of the -20 penalty. Not that useful, as just one experience level confers bigger benefits, while Warlord, which costs one pick more, is much more effective as it automatically makes ships start with an experienced crew.
+40 attack 7 Double the above bonus, rendered useless by the Warlord pick and a space academy.

Ground Combat

Name Pick cost Evaluation and effects
-10 ground combat -2 Reduces chance to hit of ground troops by -10. Effectively nullified by fusion rifles (150 RP) or local leaders with the Commando ability. Good penalty to take.
+10 ground combat 2 Increases ground troops' chance to hit by 10. Not worth it, as the Subterranean pick or fusion rifles confer the same benefits.
+20 ground combat 4 Double the bonus, double the price, double the uselessness. Pick High-G World if you want the bonus and other benefits.


Name Pick cost Evaluation and effects
-10 spying -3 Reduces global spy effectiveness by 10%. Automatically offset by the default, Dictatorship government. Good penalty to take, since it's effectively negated by technologies and other picks.
+10 spying 3 +10% to global spy effectiveness. Unless your race is not Creative, this is a decent boost, although early technologies and picks like Telepathic provide the same benefit.
+20 spying 6 Pointless due to the pick cost. Telepathic and neural scanner provide the same bonus.


Name Pick cost Evaluation and effects
Feudalism -4 See article for more details.
Dictatorship 0 (default) See article for details.
Democracy 7 See article for details.
Unification 6 See article for details

Special Abilities

Name Pick cost Evaluation and effects
Low-G world -5 Your race evolved on a low gravity world and isn't well adapted to worlds with normal and high gravity. Extremely poor choice, as low gravity worlds are extremely rare and the flat -25% modifier to farming, industry, and science is crippling. The -10% to ground troops is just the icing on the cake. Just, don't.
High-G world 6 Your race hails from a high gravity world, resulting in the following benefits: +1 hit points for ground troops and no penalty for colonizing high gravity worlds. Too expensive for too little benefit. By the time you colonize these worlds, the gravity generator and powered armor should be available (1150 RP and 400 RP respectively).
Aquatic 5 Your race is semi-aquatic and can thrive in corresponding environments. All tundra and swamp planets are considered Terran (2 food units produced per farmer rather than 1), while ocean and terran environments are equivalent to Gaia planets (3 food units per farmer instead of 2). Planetary population limits are also increased, which is always a boon.

Only use if your universe is set to Organic Rich or Average, as otherwise there will be too few aquatic planets available).

Subterranean 6 +10% to ground troop performance and doubles planetary population capacity. It's an excellent choice, as there are very few options that increase the population capacity of planets (two, actually: biospheres increase capacity by 2 units, while advanced city planning is a tech that provides a flat +5 bonus across your empire), and the more population you have, the more troops, more farmers, more laborers, and more scientists you can make work for your empire.
Large homeworld 1 Doubles your homeworld's size. Easy choice if you have one pick remaining, but you can always just leave it be and get a +10% modifier to your score.
Rich homeworld 2 Your homeworld will be rich in minerals, greatly improving productions. However, it's easy to reroll a rich planet in the starting system to get the same benefit and quickly colonize it with a colony base.
Poor homeworld -1 A poor class homeworld isn't a big penalty if you roll a mineral-rich planet in your start system. Mineral class doesn't impact farming and research, so just spec your homeworld that way.
Artifacts homeworld 3 Your homeworld was once the colony of an advanced empire and retains artifacts of that age. Adds +2 to the research output of every scientist on your homeworld. Good in the early game, though the +1 Research pick costs the same, affects your entire empire, and is much better in the long term - especially once you start building research labs, gaining the equivalent of artifacts on every world in your empire.
Cybernetic 4 Half-artificial, half-organic, cybernetic races consume half a food unit and half a production unit, fully repair ships after combat and 10% per turn while in combat (armor and structure only, systems are repaired at 5% per turn). Mutually exclusive with lithovore races.

Overall an excellent choice, halving food needs (reducing the need for farmers), while consuming a small amount of production, easily offset by an automated factory (which supports up to 10 colonists), while the auto-repair coupled with the heavy armor subsystem make maintaining large fleets easy. The pick retains usefulness across the game, as in order to recreate this pick, you would need to research advanced damage control and automated damage control both and dedicate valuable ship space to their installation.

Lithovore 10 Lithovores have no food requirements, but cannot be Cybernetic. Too expensive to be considered valuable.
Repulsive -6 Everyone hates you, you can only declare war or surrender in diplomacy, while assimilation times are increased by half, while leaders and officers are less likely to join and will ask for higher salaries. A very, very difficult game is the result, as you can't negotiate treaties, pacts, alliances, and are generally going to be the target of every race in the galaxy. Strike first - or die.
Charismatic 3 +50% to diplomacy, halves assimilation times, increases the likelihood of leaders and officers joining and reduces their rates. Average pick, as it's fairly easy to recreate the benefits with xeno psychology and alien management center.
Uncreative -4 Can only research a single item, not a field. Basically decapitates your research efforts and reduces their effectiveness to approximately one third of normal. Extremely problematic early on, impact reduced if you manage to close the gap and get to the point where technologies no longer are discovered as entire fields, but singular items.
Creative 8 Doubles the effectiveness of research, as you discover every technology in a given field. Creative races will snowball into the most powerful empires, as in the late game they continue to get multiple technologies per advancement, rather than just single ones as uncreative or normal races do. Also makes spying on other races redundant.
Tolerant 10 Environmentally-tolerant races eliminate pollution as a concern, meaning industry efficiency is maximized (roughly +50% to production) and have a 25% bonus to total population. A good pick overall, though expensive.
Fantastic traders 4 +25% trade treaty profits, +1 BC for surplus food (100% increase), and a +50% bonus for trade goods production. A good pick if you want lots of money - and if you couple it with Democracy, be ready for spending sprees.
Telepathic 6 +25% diplomacy, option to mind control planets (conquering them instantly), +10% to spy efectiveness, immediate use of ships in combat, and any planet you conquer is immediately assimilated regardless of government type. A decent, though expensive pick, perfect for aggressive players who don't want to waste money on transport ships, conquer planets instantly, and make your victims like you for conquering them. If combined with Unification, eliminates that government's slow assimilation weakness.
Lucky 3 More beneficial random events, lower chance of Antaran attack. Pretty useless for its costs, as random events play out every 50-100 turns. If Antarans and random events are disabled, it does precisely squat.
Omniscient 3 Omniscience is not omnipotence, but it does reveal all systems to you at the beginning of the game and tracks all enemy ships in real time. Decent pick and relatively inexpensive.
Stealthy ships 4 Ships are invisible to other players unless they're in the same system or they're Omniscient. Useless against AI, too expensive against human players.
Trans-dimensional 5 Allows for hyperspace travel without FTL (2 parsecs per turn) and increases effectiveness of FTL drives, +4 to combat speed, immune to hyperspace fluxes. Still requires fuel to travel. Rather useless for its cost.
Warlord 4 All produced ships automatically level up, unlock the ultra-elite experience level (+1 max for ships), ground defenders are trained twice as fast, mercenary leaders gain one free level, while each colony adds two command points. Excellent and inexpensive pick, particularly if you're a warlike race and want to expand as quickly as possible.