Outside Context in Stellaris is probably the single most annoying achievement to get. It relies heavily on RNG and is almost impossible to come up in normal play and so you have to play game after game specifically aimed at getting it. But with a bit of knowledge, it’s possible to cut down the time spent doing that dramatically.
And that is where this guide comes in.
Outside Context Achievement
Introduction and Basic Information
The first issue is the Sol system itself. Presuming that none of the empires in the game has Sol as the home system, the game has a 50% chance to not spawn Sol, a 40% chance to spawn Sol with a primitive civilization, and a 10% chance to spawn it as a tomb world.
So to begin with we already have only 40% chance that there will be a Sol with a primitive civilization on it in any given galaxy. But there are three possibilities here. Humans can spawn as a medieval, machine age, or early space age civilization and you can only get the achievement if they spawned in the machine age. If they’re in the early space age it’s clearly already too late, but it is less obvious that medieval humans that eventually progress to the machine age do NOT count. You specifically have to invade an Earth that already spawned with machine age humans.
So that’s a 1 in 3 chance that the 40% of galaxies with a Sol with humans will have humans spawn in the proper age. To put it a bit differently only 13.3% of all galaxies will allow you to even have a chance of getting this achievement. But then the next condition is that you have to invade them before they progress to the atomic age.
Primitives in the machine age take on average 100 years to progress to the atomic age. Normally the minimum time required is 60 years, but those that spawned in the machine age have no minimum time before they progress and the first time I came across a Sol system that spawned in WW2 they had already progressed and it was perhaps 15 years into the game. So speed will be important.
Okay, now let’s say you find machine age Sol III in time. In order to invade you will have to first own the system and that means building an outpost. The distance to your home system may be significant, but the maximum possible influence cost of an outpost is 1000. So if you save up 1000 influence you’ll be able to build an outpost anywhere in the galaxy. But only if nobody else claimed it first.
So to sum up:
1) There is a 13.3% chance your galaxy has a suitable Sol. This also means that 86.7% of all galaxies you get will have no chance of giving you the achievement.
2) You have to invade Sol III before it progresses to the atomic age.
3) You could need up to 1000 influence to claim the system.
4) You can’t allow anyone else to get to it first.The game settingsTo make things easier use the following settings:
1) Galaxy Size: Tiny (200 Stars)
2) Galaxy Shape: Ring
3) AI Empires: 0
4) Fallen Empires: 0
5) Marauder Empires: 0
6) Tech/Tradition Cost: 0.25
7) Difficulty: Cadet
8) Hyperlane Density: Full
9) Ironman Mode: On
You want a tiny ring galaxy because those are the easiest to quickly explore. You will in fact only require two science ships to scout the entire galaxy in 5 years.
No AI empires means nobody can claim Sol before you. And the reason you don’t want FEs and marauders is so they don’t block off your access to Sol.
Cheap traditions means you can finish Domination sooner and start getting the +1 Influence bonus for finishing it sooner too. This will allow you to save up 1000 Influence faster.
Cadet difficulty will make space creatures weaker, so they’ll be less likely to destroy your science ships. Speaking of which, you might wish to temporarily disable Leviathans and Distant Stars DLCs if you have them.
Full hyperlane density serves two purposes. One is to make sure you can move around any systems occupied by hostile creatures. The other is to make it easier to spot Sol. As a special system spawned after the rest of the galaxy has been generated it will always have only 1 hyperlane connection.
Finally you need to play in ironman mode in order to be eligible for achievements. But you already knew that.
Your empire is largely irrelevant in most aspects, but there is one thing that does make a difference. Namely how quickly you can generate the Influence required to claim Sol. (Fanatic) Authoritarian, (Fanatic) Egalitarian, and Gestalt ethics all help here, but it’ll be a decade before you get any factions so I’d take the flat +1 bonus of either Fanatic Authoritarian or Gestalt ethic.
Another thing that helps is Unity generation. The faster you generate Unity, the faster you can complete the Domination tradition tree and start generating even more Influence. To that end I settled on Fanatic Authoritarian and Spiritualist ethics with Dictatorial authority and the Exalted Priesthood civic. Perhaps a rogue Servitor might be able to compete, but this particular setup worked well for me.
For the species you can take more or less anything you want, but it helps to be Traditional for more Unity.
The empire I went with looked like this:
The plan is fairly simple:
1) Build a second science ship.
2) Have your two science ships explore in different directions.
3) Make sure to EXPLORE instead of SURVEY. Exploring is much faster and consists out of the science ship just moving to the system. You don’t care about any of the systems that aren’t Sol. So just move in to see if it’s Sol and if it isn’t move on.
4) Keep an eye out for systems with 1 hyperlane connection. Sol will ALWAYS be one of these. So if a system has 2 or more hyperlanes leading to it, that is not Sol and you can ignore it.
Pardon for the bold text and all caps, but the above is the single most important piece of information in the entire guide. It helped me cut down the time required to explore a galaxy and find out whether it has a proper Sol to about 15 minutes. If you memorize 1 thing from the guide, memorize this.
It’s also more likely to spawn somewhere in the middle than on the edges. You should still scout the edges because it can spawn there. But prioritize the ones in the middle.
5) Beware, sometimes Sol can ‘hide’ next to another star. Rotate the map by holding down the right mouse button to get a better view.
6) Don’t survey nearby systems and don’t expand your borders. Save up your Influence. Build a Temple on your planet.
7) Go for Domination tradition first for more Influence. Pick Interstellar Dominion as your perk and then start on Expansion traditions and the reduced starbase cost in particular. It may end up saving you enough influence to build the outpost sooner than normal.
8) For reference this is what the proper Sol will look like when you find it:
9) Build a second construction ship after you’re done building mining stations in your home system. Send one construction ship after each science ship in order to be able to build the outpost as soon as you have the required Influence.
10) Build some assault armies on time and sent them after the construction ships.
- Stellaris (Federations) – How to Create Empire and Use Food (for Pop Growth)
- Stellaris – How to Get a Fleet to Follow Juggernaut
- Stellaris: Federations – Machine Guide (How to Survive)
- Stellaris – How to Set up an Origin (for 2.6)