Elemental specific chemical complexity is known to play a critical role in microstructure development in single-phase concentrated solid-solution alloys (SP-CSAs), including both He bubble formation and irradiation-induced void swelling. While cavity formation and evolution under ion irradiation at elevated temperature are complex nonequilibrium processes, chemical effects are revealed at the level of electrons and atoms herein in a simplified picture, using Ni and a special set of Ni-based SP-CSAs composed of 3d transition metals as model alloys. Based on Ni and the model alloys with minimized variables (e.g., atomic mass, size, and lattice structure), we discuss the effects of chemically-biased energy dissipation, defect energetics, sluggish diffusion, and atomic transport on cavity formation and evolution under both self-ion Ni irradiation and He implantation. The observed difference in microstructure evolution is attributed to the effects of d electron interactions in their integrated ability to dissipate radiation energy. The demonstrated impact of alloying 3d transition metals with larger differences in the outermost electron counts suggests a simple design strategy for tuning defect properties to improve radiation tolerance in structural alloys.