While Divine Wine comes closer to completion we have been working hard on polishing and balancing the game. To this end we have started an office multiplayer game to give the game some serious in house testing. We identified a whole number of minor tweaks from the first session and these little things will add some nice polish to the game.
What makes multiplayer so much fun is the additional diplomacy you can have between players that the AI simply can’t do. This leads neatly onto the subject of today’s developer diary; the additional diplomatic options we have added between you and the AI.
First up - by popular demand - the call allies button. No longer do you have to call in your allies into pointless wars that have nothing to do with them. Instead, you can save them for wars that really matter. Allies will be automatically called when you are the defender, and you also have a check box you can click when you are the attacker to call allies. Otherwise, you can pick who joins your war and when they will do it. You can also bring new allies into a war once it has begun, but only if you are the war leader.
Leaving the Empire is no longer a series of province decisions. Now, you tell the Emperor upfront that you are leaving. All your non-core territory inside the Empire is handed over to the Emperor or released as vassals, and the remainder you keep in your new life free of Imperial interference.
The final diplomatic option we have added is the ability to integrate countries that you are in a personal union with. This functions like a diplomatic annexation requiring high relations, but instead of 10 years you need to be a personal Union for 50 years. Like annexation, the junior partner is free to refuse your just and wise offer to integrate their country into yours.
Now, perhaps these diplomatic changes are not quite on the level of the sort of metagame you can get from a good multiplayer game, especially down the pub afterwards. However, they deepen, what is in my opinion, one of the best diplomatic systems you will find in a strategy game to give yet more strategic choices to the player.
To finish with here is a screenshot from the multiplayer game. Do I call in Kallocain into my little war and would she actually say yes if I did? Well I’ll leave you in suspense on that one, because even I don’t know the answers to those questions.