Galactic Civilizations 3 has plenty of pre-generated empires to choose from. If you're tired of the same old species or just want to flex your creative muscles, it also allows you to design your own faction to unleash upon the galaxy. The most important part of any empire, custom or standard, is its Abilities.
Each species has only two Abilities, so it's important to make the right choice for your intended playstyle. We've combed through every Ability from every DLC in the game to find the most powerful - read on to see our picks for the best Abilities Galactic Civilizations 3 has to offer.
If the thought of leaving your planets undefended leaves you aghast, pick the Paranoid Ability. It grants all of your planets, Starbases, and shipyards a small fleet of drones to defend them. These free fleets won't stand up to a proper attack force, but they can hold off a planetary invasion for a turn or two while you respond.
Paranoid also gives you access to Molecular Fabrication technology which allows you to build a powerful construction improvement on your planets. If you're especially worried about your planets being conquered, pair Paranoid with Heroic to give your planets additional Resistance if they become occupied.
If you want to start your campaign off on the right foot, Wealthy is a great Ability for getting a head start economically. You'll start with an extra 1000bc in the bank, allowing you to rush production on more early buildings and ships.
Additionally, all your planets will have a +1 bonus to Raw Production, allowing newly-settled worlds to get up and running faster. Wealthy becomes less useful in the mid-to-late game, but its all-around usefulness in getting your empire started makes it a solid pick for any empire.
Sooner or later, you're going to have to engage in ship-to-ship combat. The Warriors Ability gives your fleets an edge by increasing the range of all weapons by ten percent. Your ships will also take ten percent less damage in combat.
If you're expecting to be doing a lot of fighting, consider pairing Warriors with Ravenous, which will give your planets Food every time you win a battle. Just... don't think too hard about where the feast came from.
Vigilant is the perfect choice for a defensive playstyle. It grants all of your Starbases an expanded area of effect, allowing them to mine more resources and study more relics. That's a decent bonus on its own, but Vigilant really shines when enemy fleets enter your territory.
While within the range of your Starbases, enemy fleets suffer reduced movements and your fleets get an attack bonus. Strategically place your Starbases and your foes will have to fight for every parsec if they decide to come after you. If you're fighting Synthetic species like the Yor, pairing Vigilant with Unshackled will give your ships an even greater bonus.
Galactic Civilizations 3 is the kind of game where you have to work hard to get what you want. It's rare to get anything for free, making Chaotic a particularly valuable Ability.
Every time your civilization advances to a new Age in the tech tree, you'll receive two randomly-selected technologies for free. If you take Adaptable as your other Ability, you can get even more free tech by powering up the Precursor Archive that starts on your homeworld.
5 Divine Guardian
Only available in the Heroes of Star Control DLC, the Divine Guardian ability will make your neighbors think twice about messing with you in the early game. Divine Guardians start with a powerful Medium-sized warship called Jeff.
They can also drastically improve the Morale and Influence of their planets by constructing Temples To Jeff. Taking Warriors as your second Ability makes Jeff all the mightier.
The galaxy is old, and you've seen most of its history. While you don't start with any extra technology, if you have the Ancient Ability you'll gain ten Research every time you survey an Anomaly. This will jump-start your tech progression in the early game. In the mid-to-late game, Ancient continues to keep your progress moving by granting you access to the Xeno Mysticism technology.
This unlocks the Social Matrix, an extremely useful building that increases both Production and Research. It costs Arnor Spice to build, so be sure you have a supply of that resource either domestically or through trade. Don't forget to check the Market if nobody is selling their Spice. If you want to give your planets truly absurd levels of Production and Research, pair Ancient with Xenophobic.
Going out and conquering a planet is a significant investment. If you're planning to play an aggressive militarist, Conquerors is a must. It doubles your empire's Soldiering stat, making your ground troops a force to be reckoned with throughout the campaign.
Additionally, you'll receive a whopping 2500bc every time you successfully conquer a planet. That money can be invested in rebuilding your newly-conquered world, or put towards rushing out more ships, Starbases, bribes... you name it! To supercharge your military-industrial complex, pair Conquerors with Unrelenting. This will remove the credit cost of ground invasion tactics, making all your conquests purely profitable.
2 War Profiteers
The factions of Galactic Civilizations 3 don't tend to play nice with each other. Access to resources, ideological conflicts, and simple greed will lead to war somewhere in the galaxy. If it's going to happen eventually, you may as well make some money from it. With the War Profiteers Ability, you will earn triple the trade income from empires that are at war.
It doesn't matter who they're at war with - as long as they're fighting, your freighters will bring home three times the money. Just be careful to play both sides and grease some palms when you have to - trading with another empire's sworn enemy is a surefire way to get a visit from their war fleets. To really rake in the profits, pair War Profiteers with Starfaring to ensure your freighters can get to far-flung combat zones quickly.
Xenophobic has some drawbacks, but its massively powerful advantages make it arguably the strongest Ability in the game. This misanthropic mindset triples your empire's Social Construction and Research from the start of the campaign to the finish. If you're the kind of player who builds gleaming utopias while the rest of the galaxy burns, this is the Ability for you. The main drawback to Xenophobic is that your ships are produced at half speed.
Xenophobic doesn't hamper your diplomacy at all, so find a nice strong neighbor to ally with and hire a few mercenaries from the Bazaar, then rush down the tech tree for a Science victory. Once you've built the Xenophobic-only Dream Conclave you'll have plenty of Morale and Research - especially if you also selected Ancient and have built Social Matrices on all your worlds.
Zoom vandalism has reached an unsurprising new low.