Commanding a Starbase doesn’t end once you have upgraded from a Trading Outpost. Failure to keep the worker population supplied with Food and Water will cause them to leave.

The Pardus Manual explains that:

If the population ever drops below 500 workers, the Starbase downgrades back to a Trade Outpost, losing all structures and stored commodities in the process.

The loss of a Starbase can equate to a significant amount of credits – not to mention all the APs that you spent building it up in the first place!

It takes about 26 days to nurse a starbase to 50,000 workers… yet it takes only 11 days for it to revert back to a Trading Outpost if no upkeep is met!

Starbase Population Milestones

A newly constructed Starbase begins at Stage 1 with 1,000 workers, and as the population increases, various milestones are triggered:

  • 5,000 – Stage 2 (second pylon added)
  • 15,000 – Stage 3 (third pylon added)
  • 30,000 – Stage 4 (final pylon added)
  • 30,000 – Black Market opens up
  • 50,000 – the lowest population a Commander can set

As the population decreases, these same milestones are removed. First the Black Market disappears along with the fourth pylon (and all it’s buildings) as it goes from Stage 4 to Stage 3.

The Starbase continues top drop stages and loses pylons (and buildings) as the population drops. Once your population drops to under 500, it is downgraded completely a Trading Outpost – and nothing but memories (and a mention in the Galactic News Network) remain.

Increasing a Starbase population

The Pardus Manual gives us some information about how quickly a planet or starbase population increases if all of it’s upkeep requirements are met (a random value between 1.2% and 2.4%). In practice this turns out at to be roughly 1.85% per tick.

The following table shows the number of days from construction until each of the milestones – with the worst case (1.2% gain every tick), best case (2.4% gain) and the expected case (1.85% gain).

1.2% 2.4% 1.85%
5,000 17 days 9 days 11 days
15,000 29 days 14 days 18 days
30,000 36 days 18 days 23 days
50,000 41 days 20 days 26 days

To go from construction to 50,000 population could take as many as 41 days if you have really bad luck, or as few as 20 days if you have amazing good fortune. Don’t forget that this assumes you don’t miss a single tick of upkeep!

In practice it takes about 26 days to build up to the 50,000 population mark.

Reducing Starbase population

The Pardus Manual doesn’t provide us with any numbers on how quickly a Starbase population drops. But to reduce the Starbase population below 50,000 (without the assistance of TSS bombing missions) requires that you not meet it’s regular upkeep requirements (Food and Water).

Failure to supply Food (but supplying adequate Water) will cause the worker population to drop at 3% per tick. Likewise, if you fail to supply Water (but meet the Food requirements), the population will drop 3% per tick. Failure to supply both Food and Water will lead to a 6% population drop per tick.

The following table shows how long it takes to drop the population from 50,000 to the point at which it reverts back to a mere Trading Outpost at less than 500 population.

No Food No Water Neither
30,000 57 hours 57 hours 30 hours
15,000 6 days 6 days 3.5 days
5,000 10.5 days 10.5 days 6 days
500 20.5 days 20.5 days 11 days

It takes only 11 days of no upkeep for a Starbase population to plummet from 50,000 workers until it downgrades to a Trading Outpost!

Look out for your Starbase worker population – they quickly vote with their feet.