This week I thought we'd sit back and enjoy the little things, because that is the secret to lifelong satisfaction and contentment (also, I cannot reveal a major feature while the interface still looks like the demented scrawlings of Abdul Alhazred!) So, let us kick off with the removal of the Permanent Terra Incognita. We thought that those mysterious regions forever hidden under a lovely shade of blinding white might as well be explorable: Here be Dragons, but to be honest, nothing else of interest. That is why most of the former PTI areas are still considered "wasteland". Wasteland provinces can be discovered, but are impassable and cannot be settled. This is, in short, mostly a visual improvement. However, a few strips of land here and there could actually be salvaged and turned into normal provinces. In the process, I found myself annoyed with Russia, so I grabbed my musket and my tricorne and prepared to march on Moscow, but then I remembered which century it was (see what happens you spend too much time on our forums?) So, instead, I gratuitously changed the Russian geography so it was more to my liking.
Speaking of geography; as the astute among you have already noticed, other areas of Europe also look a bit different. However, in this case the motivation was not only to correct map errors but also to stop the ungodly Blue Blob before we all choke on snails and Crème brûlée. Yes my friends, it is time to say non to the menace that is France. Or, at least, a timid S'il vous plaît ne me tuez pas! Jesting aside, we hope France is now better balanced, with more initial trouble annexing its vassals and smashing Burgundy.
But enough with the minor map changes. A proper new feature in Heir to the Throne is the concept of Legitimacy, which represents how... well, legitimate, your dynasty is perceived to be. The value is shown in the top bar for monarchies and slowly increases or decreases with positive or negative prestige, number of royal marriages, etc. Many other events also have an impact, like a dynasty or government change, losing wars of aggression and failing to achieve war goals. Much like prestige, legitimacy has a plethora of effects on the state of your kingdom, like revolt risk, pretender rebel chance and Infamy reduction. Legitimacy is intimately tied to the strength of claim of your legal heir: an heir with a weak claim will lower the legitimacy of your dynasty on succession. On the other hand, having a high legitimacy is likelier to produce heirs with a strong claim.
Before we get to the screenshots, which speak louder than my paltry words anyway, I think I will round off by revealing what 'Magistrates' are for. In our early brainstorming sessions, we thought that some type of "focus points" would be a great way to ensure a proper progression of government forms, from primitive to almost modern (like the "Constitutional Republic".) After some shape shifting, this idea eventually coalesced into the form of the Magistrate; an all-purpose official whose chief purpose is to execute decisions, especially at the province level (this is not a hardcoded requirement, but simply a scripted effect of the decisions.) Magistrates are gained much faster for later government types, allowing quicker decision making. Magistrates should also be welcomed by our esteemed modding community, since they can be used in all kinds of clever scripts.
And, as promised, some fresh screenies!