CK3 Dev Diary #58 - Stre(ss)tching the traits

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Paradox Staff
Nov 2, 2020
Hello everyone!

Nice to meet you all! I recently joined the Crusader Kings III game design team and am honored to inaugurate my PDX account with this Dev Diary. Today we will cover two improvements planned for the upcoming patch: additional content and AI warfare improvements.

Trait changes

One of the many pleasures of Crusader Kings is to personify a plethora of characters. Every one of them offers a good opportunity to roleplay, thanks to the various combinations of traits they offer. The Azure patch will expand upon existing content by updating and adding some trait-specific interactions and consequences. With this update, we want to connect the stress system even closer to personality traits.

One of the notable changes is for Shy: it will no longer generate Stress when launching a Personal Scheme. Shy characters can still receive Stress via some of the scheme event options however, and they will be less efficient at performing personal schemes (it will take them longer), but they will be able to do it without ending up having a mental breakdown.

We also added a few new interactions and decisions. For instance, Forgiving characters can abandon one of their hooks to lose Stress. You can either decide to be a truly forgiving character, abandoning a hook you obtained unwittingly, or you can actively look for hooks and then choose to be merciful. We have also added new options for Diligent characters; they can dedicate themselves to improving the Development of their Capital, but doing so will generate a lot of Stress. Finally, if Impatient characters are Stressed, they can speed up the progress of their current Personal Scheme, without affecting their current Stress levels.


[Image of the Develop Capital decision available for Diligent characters]

Some traits have also gained access to interactions that are not related to the stress system but still improve upon the expression of their personality. For instance, Arbitrary characters can now dismiss a Hook a vassal holds on them by spending a lot of Prestige and gaining Tyranny.


[Image of the Dismiss Hook interaction available for Arbitrary characters]

We would love to hear your feedback, and also suggestions for improving other traits!

AI and Warfare

There is also a number of AI improvements, mostly about how the AI moves its units while at war. Pathfinding has been revised, and AI armies should now take more optimal routes to reach their targets, whether they be close but surrounded by treacherous terrain, or far away across the sea (which was most visible during Crusades; there will be no more island hopping for Christian armies, and Vikings should also be more swift and direct in their raids). The new pathfinding logic now factors in time, attrition and threat when selecting and routing to a destination.

Getting close to the enemy is only the first step in warfare though, and the AI should behave more sensibly in other areas too. After winning crucial battles, AI armies should use their full might to more efficiently besiege enemy fortresses - you should see less mangonels and bombards chasing peasants while there is a perfectly good castle waiting to be ruined. We also adjusted the AI behaviors depending on their Casus Bellis, making sure that they not only prioritize territorial conquest but also capturing hostages when relevant. While there’s likely to be some odd behaviors in the military AI still, we believe this will be a noticeable change in the right direction.

Lastly, an important organizational change: the version number of the patch will be 1.4 instead of 1.3.X as announced previously. This is to make the scope of the patch a bit clearer. While it is still a relatively small patch, it is also larger than a hotfix or a pure bugfix patch we've released in the past. Some mods will need to be updated. And while we always strive to keep save games compatible, with the nature of the game you might still run into edge cases with your old saves that we did not catch.

And that’s it for today! Thanks again for your precious feedback, and please keep providing more! I hope you enjoyed it, and see you next week for more information about the Azure patch!
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EDIT: Question for the Arbitrary trait: Does it only allow you to dismiss weak hooks, does it consume strong hooks for five years too, or can you also dismiss strong hooks entirely?
You can also entirely dismiss a strong hook but for a much higher price!

This sounds brilliant! More ways to interact with traits are always nice. Will you be adding something special for every trait? Many of them sound like they have the potential for fun mechanics or events, such as brave, craven, lustful or vengeful.
We will not cover all the traits in the upcoming patch. If you have fun ideas, please post them on the forum! We are hoping to add more trait-specific content in the future :)

And about impatient characters advancing schemes, shouldn't the impatience of the schemer also make a scheme more easy to discover by the intended victim?
That's a good point! For now, it doesn't affect the secrecy - it seems that being stressed is costly enough - but I'll keep an eye on that!

I like that you reworked some traits, but personally I think "Chaste" trait should be reworked as well. She's in this weird -fertility status since CK 2 (or maybe even the og CK idk). It's not really accurate depiction tbh.
Besides that great work, can't wait for new expansion ^^
We thought about it but in the end, we think that keeping a trait which lowers fertility is important. How could you limit your offspring's offspring otherwise?! :D

And thank you all for the warm welcome <3
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Very nice, loving the trait changes, and welcome Meedoc!

Does that mean that the first expansion will be 1.5, or that the former 1.3.X patch (and its modding tools) will only be released with the expansion?

EDIT: Question for the Arbitrary trait: Does it only allow you to dismiss weak hooks, does it consume strong hooks for five years too, or can you also dismiss strong hooks entirely?
1.3.X no longer exists; it's been renamed to 1.4.

Interesting. I'm actually quite keen on seeing how the new patch plays out, and how the AI decision-making affects gameplay. Any ETA yet?
As mentioned earlier, our hope is to get it out before our July summer vacation, but we can't quite guarantee that yet.

What's happening to the plan to deprecate GetDummyMale and GetDummyFemale in 1.3.X and then removing them in 1.4? While I'd be extremely excited if the modding features promised in 1.4 are coming early, the most pessimistic reading of this announcement suggests that it's not giving modders the transition window suggested by the modding features dev blog :/

Not to be too demanding on the info, but this announcement has quite a few people on the modding coop concerned about what it means for the mod compatibility changes that were planned to be distributed between 1.3.X and 1.4, so it would *really* help us if you could clarify what's coming when.
That's what I was referencing, yes. That dev blog listed out a plan to stagger things between 1.3.X and 1.4, and I'm curious whether the 1.4 that we're actually getting will correspond specifically to the improvement that were previously scheduled for 1.3.X or if it'll include the features (and feature removals) previously scheduled for 1.4.
The numbering doesn't change the schedule, so you should have nothing to worry about.
Before: Deprecated in 1.3.X (Azure), removed in 1.4.0.
Now: Deprecated in 1.4.0 (Azure), removed in 1.5.0.
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What kind of real-world action does "dismiss hook in exchange for tyranny" represent?
Personally, I see it as a: "you did me a favour and I guess I owe you one in return, but I do not care," and that the tyranny represents the ruler's unwillingness to fulfill some of their obligations as the liege and doing what they want regardless of circumstances. I suppose one can see it in many ways :)
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Cheers for confirming before my imagination ran away with me :)

Can I ask one more thing (totally fine if you're not be able to answer it)?

1.3.X was said to be coming "before the vacation season (the summer vacation usually starts late June and ends by the end of July) - but depending on how our plans work out, it might release during late summer". I took that to me sometime between June and August (or maybe September, technically).

Does the patch becoming "1.4" alter that rough timescale and, if so, does that mean we shouldn't expect the first expansion this side of August?
No, the timescale has not changed (much), it is just a "name change" to reflect the size/impact of the patch.
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Makes sense for favour hooks. But for a blackmail hook because you murdered someone? It should either not work for blackmail hooks or reveal the secret.
Conceptually I agree! :) That being said, I cannot give any further comments on it because I'm not working on the Azure patch.
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It's nice to see all the confusion I have personally caused by asking to change the version number for Azure to 1.4 and shifting all future version numbers ^^'

As was mentioned by others before, all we're doing is "renaming" the versions, there are no changes to the original schedules, or what we plan to include in them.

To add some context: We had already been working on something else for a while when we decided that we'd make the Azure patch, but at that point we had already assigned 1.4 to that future thing and avoided re-assinging the versions numbers. Which is why we kept calling Azure "1.3.X". We didn't even know what X was going to be...
And then I had qualms about it and asked to change it after the fact. I wanted us to be clearer about mod compatibility, first and foremost.

Our producers probably hate me a little for it, but are too busy updating version numbers everywhere to complain ;)
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Hey! Thank you all for your warm welcome and the numerous feedback! I now have a 3-pages document of suggestions and improvements! I won't go over to all of them here but I want to let you know that they will all be reviewed and potentially implemented in the future if they are approved internally.

@Pdx_Meedoc Welcome! I recognise the name … aren’t you an Amplitude Studios alumnus? Hopping from my one favourite game series to my other favourite; I can only approve. I’d love to work on an Auriga/Endless CK3 mod, maybe I can find the time someday.
Indeed, I used to work on the Endless games and Humankind before joining the Crusader Kings team. I'm glad you like them!

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