Hello. I've been meaning for a long time to turn what has become a large essay on technological growth back into a usable Tier scale. Initially, I set out to solve some of the problems that previous versions of the tier scale faced. But in the end, my simple ranking system now relates heavily to solutions in the Fermi Paradox, theoretical physics and knowledge growth. You may read this project if you wish, but you do not require to know it at any great length to understand the new (and hopefully finalised tier scale). I would also like to stress that while the tier scale has changed, none of the placements for any of your fictions have unless you wish to modify them.
Changes of most consequence
- Tier U (standing for Unknown) no longer exists. The Tier U was a "catch all" category for all knowledge advancing societies which do not follow the same linear or parochial path we might expect ourselves or an alien race like ourselves to advance. For extreme examples, there are the "Callisto bugs" in the Xeelee Sequence which were bacteria confined to a low energy environment of Callisto's ices. Despite this they developed complexity orthogonal to their environment by manipulating quantum mechanical effects on a reality warping scale. In Dragon's Egg, life develops from nuclear chemistry on a neutron star and became the Cheela, who develop technology far faster on the power scale, soon becoming what the Kardeshev Scale would consider Type II. The old tier scale assumed too much about linear progression, it could not easily account for so-called "Hider" civilisations, or swarm races.
- The older versions of the Tier Scale struggled to come to terms with Tier 2. By Tier 3, a civilisation already possessed the ability to built giant megastructures and harness the stars. A Tier 1 civilisation however is approaching Elder level technology. What distinctive feature did Tier 2 have? The solution was a merger between my tier scale and Ghelae's class scale. As a result, the finalised Tier scale has revolutions (based on physics applied technology limited by the environment, available energy sources and most importantly knowledge). Tier 2 has become the hyperspatial revolution, where Type II energy sources unlock spacetime warps and hypermatter power-sources (and alternatives) that gradually replace the megastructural revolution. A fully fledged Tier 2 civilisation would be easily Type II.V on the Kardashev scale having the ability to transport (at STL or FTL) energy sources otherwise limited.
- The Class Scale grants the ability to have different types of progression through each tier and revolution. For a classic space empire (most fictions here) the "median" line advances like this: Early industrial period is marked by the use of steam until internal combustion engines were invented. From the study of steam we discovered atomic science. Early industrial shifts into Modern Mechanics (Tier 6, our era) with the study of atoms: materials science, chemistry, quasiparticles and plasma. This led to subatomic physics and information physics after applying computation. A classic space empire might therefore follow a linear path upwards the Kardashev scale. But other positions are possible, one might imagine non-terrestrial life as having developed an understanding of fluid mechanics before geometry, or a society of "runaway" bio or techships understanding Special Relativity and Electromagnetism in a different order. But there are easier examples, one might once again imagine a Hider society developing very slowly up the scale, creating perhaps one big Dyson Bubble.
Categories per tier
And so, each Tier can cater for previously "Tier U" species. They usually fall into dominant categories like "Tech collapsed", "Median", "Tech-gifted", "Swarm", "Non-Expansive" or "Tech limited". A "Non-Expansive" empire might represent one that simply doesn't choose or need to colonise large swathes of territory, they may include truly alien species, low energy civilisations and hiders. "Tech-collapsed" and "size collapsed" may represent a society regressing or becoming static, although size collapsed empires can include migratory nations which leave oversight colonies behind. "Tech limited" societies are limited by physics, such as a universe which does not permit FTL (but would allow relativistic travel and certain kinds of colonisation). "Tech gifted" and "Swarm" empires can get lucky, though Swarms are more proficient at assimilating anything useful.
Interestingly, Tier 4 has a varied myriad of these, either due to environmental limits or author imagination. Tier 1 becomes as varied again, but with the only limits being universal laws of physics. Most Elder races can be categorised by their specialisms: Spacetime, Quantum Gravity/Hyperspace, Thermodynamics and Absolute Zero or combinations of these.
So here is the scale. This time I will keep out civilisations from other universes to reduce clutter, although the list with science fiction races included is kept in all its glory here. A detailed explanation for the scale here which you may want to read if you are new to the scale. Additionally here is a description of sci-fi technologies and speculative applied physics.
Note: An easy way to think about this scale is like this: an advancing Tier 4 civilisation (following "median" development) will be undergoing a megastructural revolution to advance technology up the Kardashev Scale. It will arrive at being an Established Interstellar nation. If it continues to advance down the median root, it will enter a hyperspatial revolution. However, if its size collapses, or the culture has very alien goals, or is gifted (or steals) more advanced technology, it may end up in a different category. A tier may be either a revolution or an establishment.
Archaic and Demographic revolution (Class 0 and 1, Tier's 10-9)
Communal (Class 2, Tier 8) to Industrial Revolution (Tier's 7-6)
- Tier's 7-6 - Goes roughly from the level of early human societies and eventually may experience Enlightement periods advancing science from natural philosophy to mechanics, thermodynamics and applied steam power.
- Ioketa (SporeWikiverse) - Before being members of the UNO.
- Koldenwelt (SporeWiki Fantasyverse) - Several cities and empires have steam power, battleships and so on.
- Tier 6 (Median Interplanetary) - A society with global communications and a global footprint on the landscape. Advancing quantum field theory and similar areas of physics. Capable of interplanetary spaceflight or even generational interstellar travel. It may be developing nuclear fusion, advanced electronics, condensed matter systems, early AI, nanotechnology and biotechnology.
- Tech Collapsed
Interplanetary to Transtellar Revolution (Tier 5-4)
- Tier 5 (Median Transtellar revolution) - Undergoing a transition to an interstellar society, usually have only Slower Than Light capabilities. Possibly Type 1 on the Kardashev scale and capable of terraforming and geoneningeering. Gravity is simulated by rotation, power source is usually nuclear fusion and solar power.
- Yotunian Ideom (SporeWiki) - Cold-adapted technologies, STL travel.
- Alphan civilization, Menzezium, Elucaphon, TAE (Asgord) (SporeWiki) - Weakest SporeWiki races perhaps.
- Tier 5 (Tech gifted) - A Tier 5 gifted (or discovering) Faster Than light technologies.
- Naxridon (when they started) and Arnodian Command (SporeWiki)
Early Interstellar to Megastructural revolution (Tier 4-3)
- Tier 4 (Median) - An early interstellar civilisation. Usually has FTL travel and communications gained from exploring negative energy. In most cases, FTL travel would also permit time travel.
- Tier 4 (Tech Collapsed)
- Low Energy Civilisations/Hiders
- Wild bio/techships and space-based biospheres
- Tier 4 (Swarm)
- Von-Nuemann colonisers/berserkers (e.g. early Nanohorde)
- Mantisorac Swarm
- Tier 4 (Non-expansive)
- WDC'ians (SporeWiki) - Life on a white dwarf star which learned how to colonise nearby stellar degenerate
- High end Tier 4 / Non-expansive Tier 3 - Industry might include mass/energy conversion, matter/antimatter power sources. Teleportation and replication for advanced material sciences might be possible. Large scale use of quantum computers.
- Some of the Katar Sector races, the Four Races of the Kraw Galaxy and the KGGC, the Terditlians, Gablinus-Avis, BNSC, Defensive System's Block, Trucinex Imperium, Loron (Pre-UNO), Solonese Union; Natrian Empire (Pre-SporeWikiverse)
- Ectobiomality - They have the ability to symbiotically grow their technology from life on their planet, which evolved from run-away nanotechnology on their planets prehistory. Their technology is sufficient enough to send them around the galaxy, and even enter the atmospheres of gas giants.
- Tier 3 (Median) - Tier 3 civilisations generally are on a much larger scale than Tier 4 civilisations. They may using simpler structures such as dyson bubbles to start harnessing stellar energy, achieving Kardashev II, such a civilisation generates 80 times the energy of Humanity's biggest bomb, the Tsar Bomba, a second if connected up to stars like our Sun (G-type, 1 solar mass). The energy released should be enough to power very advanced technology and synthesize materials impossible before, such as superheavy elements. Negative mass may also be achieved without limit, allowing for technologies beyond understanding or foreseeable engineering for less advanced civilisations.
- Grox Empire (Spore) - If we speculate they use the Galactic core as a source of power. They seem to have FTL propulsion unaffected by gravity wells, hinting of some unknown science.
- Tier 3 (Non-expansive)
- Hogomoth Refuge - Tier 3 hiders.
Established Interstellar (Class 3, Tier 2) to Hyperspatial revolution (Tier 2-1)
- Tier 3-1 (Tech gifted)
- End-gameplay in Spore - Large-scale antimatter production (presumably enough to create "planet busters"), wormhole keys/return ticket, Staff of Life (replication or bionanotech?), interstellar drives which can cross the galaxy in minutes, one ship that can destroy entire empires in a single sitting, the ability to terraform planets quickly. A size that can reach class 7, Class 5 in scale. Also capable of using gravitational weapons.
- Dominatus Tyranny (Sporewiki) - Dominatus technology is defined by it's bipolarity. In some places, like the LEZIAPETSSHIT of the Tiamat, it is borderline tier 1/0, as it gives mathematics solid form in reality. Similarly advanced is it's megastructural engineering and it's materials engineering. However, at the other end of the spectrum, it has aspects of being low tier 4 or high tier 5 in terms of the majority of it's industry, of which the majority involves geoengineering. Similarly, they have no knowledge of wormholes in practical application, something that is a tier 3 trait. Therefore, the Dominatus are on aggregate, a tier 2, although they are making heavy transitions in most areas.
- Tier 2-1 (Hyperspatial revolution Median) - A Median Tier 2 empire has the capabilities of a Tier 3 civilisation, though 'amped up', learning how to bridge Type II power-sources over interstellar distances, often by use of wormholes or krasnikov tubes. The highest Tier 2 civilisations have perfected this, but lower down the scale, the difficulties of relativistic effects (in certain fictional universes) or creating two-way connections are not fully overcome. Other technologies would include advanced megastructures and stellar husbandry. Tier 2 civilisations probably push the conceptual bounds of knowledge describable by Tier 6-4 civilistions, they are also no longer limited by nature (time, energy, information). Alien intelligences may go on from this point to converge on universal truths, or diverge, exploring more alien goals.
- Average SporeWiki civilisations - Most SporeWiki civilisations crowd between Tier 3 and Tier 1, most maxing out at late Tier 2, such as Humanity at current.
- Tech-Limited (or collapsed) - For example, advancement to Tier 2 without FTL travel.
Established Hyperspatial and Elder race (Class 4-5, Tier 1)
- Median (only just Tier 1) - Approaching Type III on the Kardashev scale, an established hyperspatial empire has advanced spacetime engineering (such as wormholes), quantum scale pico- and possibly even femtotechnologies. They may use hypermatter or the angular momentum of black holes as a power source. The capabilities of a Tier 1 civilisation are possibly going beyond what lower tiers can imagine.
- Grox Meta-Empire, Delpha Coalition of Planets, Milky Way Cooperative, Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth, Dacean Ecumene - The six seem to share similar-level technology: degenerate matter mined from stellar remnants, quantum replicators, micro-gridfire, hyperspatial weaponry and technology, permanent wormholes, stellar lifting/husbandry, matter/antimatter conversion, ghost-phasing, intergalactic presence, interuniversal travel through natural wormholes, and more.
- Apalos - Spacetime shielding, access to high tier 1 computation, shapeshifting spacecraft, creation of quantum replicators (although based on Elder technology).
- Non-expansive (usually truly alien) or Size Collapsed
- Thermodynamics and Absolute Zero (high Tier 1) - Manipulation of statistical mechanics, chaos and complexity. Unusual states of matter.
- Quantum Gravity, hyperspace (high Tier 1) - "Clarketech, usually working on hyperspatial or equivalent principles. Seeming to defy physical constants or laws, but not really doing so. Possible basement universe technology.
- Metric (High Tier 1) - Possible colonisation of whole superclusters. Advanced spacetime technologies.
Godrace (Tier 0)
- Truly Limited (like Tech-collapsed) - Expanded to the size of the universe but limited by the laws of physics, including the speed of light. However, a truly limited civilisation may still be immortal if it harnesses the universe's expansion or collapse to drive hypercomputation, in order to live forever within a virtual reality of infinite steps while not actually stopping the universe's fate. This is only if physics allows it.
- Unlimited - Capable of engineering the universe and were possibly born in an early era, possible creation of complex new universes, possibly capable of changing physical constants. Likely have capabilities beyond present imagination.