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HoI 4 Dev Diary - Border Wars: The Last Warlord

Hello from the frozen wasteland wrapped in eternal darkness that is Sweden in December!


In the base game, the Chinese Warlords lead a rather silly existence. They exist at game start, work was clearly done to make them playable (at least as playable as any country with a generic focus tree), and when the war with Japan starts and things could get interesting - they are swallowed up by Nationalist China.


That means there is little use for the Nationalist player to really interact with them, since they are going to be absorbed anyway when the war starts. This made the Nationalists' situation quite a bit easier than it was historically. So in order to really represent the problems the Nationalists faced, we had to make the Warlords a bit more dynamic - and while doing that, we also made them a bit more interesting to play.


It’ll still be possible for the Nationalist player to unite the country and take over the warlords - it will just take effort and resources that the Nationalist player may or may not be able to spare.

warlords_tree.JPG


We still knew that the Warlords tree would be a bit of a sideshow, so we decided that all 5 warlords (Shanxi, Xibei San Ma, Sinkiang, Yunnan, Guanxi Clique) would get the same focus tree, and that it would be somewhat smaller than what we would do for a normal country (instead of a splinter region).

However, we also wanted the player to be able to make a difference and not be stuck with the rather small and restricted warlords focus tree forever. The core idea behind the focus tree is therefore to give the warlords a way to win the struggle for supremacy in China, take over national leadership, and ultimately gain access to the full Nationalist or Communist Focus Trees. This turns them into more fully-fledged contenders in the Chinese Civil War.

Capture_warlord_leader.JPG


To do this, you have three basic options: you cooperate with the Nationalists, side with the Communists, or you strike out on your own (with an option to approach Japan later).

If you decide to ally with the Nationalists (as most warlords are scripted to do in historical mode), you get to build up your realm a little and fix some of the problems in the administration. Once your powerbase is secure, you can decide to join the political struggle and make a play for the leadership of China in the political sphere.

Capture_warlords_political_struggle.JPG


This uses the same mechanics we have outlined in the Dev Diary about Communist China, and if a political power struggle between Nationalists and Communists is already ongoing, a warlord will simply join into the struggle. If you win the struggle, and claim national leadership, your focus tree will then switch to the Nationalist Chinese focus tree.

Capture_warlords_takeover.JPG


Siding with the Communists starts out very similar, but the end game is different: instead of joining the political struggle directly, you appeal to the bigger Communist: Stalin. Getting the support of the Soviet Union won’t come cheap, though, and there is no guarantee that whoever leads the Communist party of China is willing to just accept you taking over. Should you succeed, you will be able to annex Communist China, giving you their troops as well as their focus tree. But beware: Stalin will come to collect his due.

Capture_warlord_stalin.JPG


Lastly, the option to strike out on your own is clearly the most difficult of all, making an enemy out of both sides - but it offers you the chance to claim China as your own, without having to make compromises. While you can try to make a deal with the Japanese, there is no guarantee that they will accept, and in any event you would only be trading one overlord for another. This approach also blocks off any chance of joining the political struggle inside China, meaning that you will have to fight for it.


However, since facing the nationalist armies in the field may be a bit too much despite all their many weaknesses, we have decided to expand on Border Wars a bit, giving independent-minded warlords a way to expand some territory while keeping the risk manageable.


Border conflicts start with someone staging an incident between two states (yes... they have to border each other). This costs some PP and fires an event notifying them that they need to position troops or risk losing control of the state.

hoi4_2.png


After a bit of time has passed, whoever staged the incident gets a decision to escalate the situation further. If this decision is left alone for too long the incident is forgotten and nothing more happens.

hoi4_4.png


To escalate the incident to a border conflict the instigator needs to place troops on the border and select the decision. Divisions from the two states start fighting in a limited form of combat with special rules such as terrain giving less bonus, lower combat width and so on. The country that first initiated the incident is considered the attacker.

hoi4_2 (1).png


The fighting will continue for a good amount of time, and if no one has emerged victorious by the time it runs out the conflict is considered to be a stalemate. This awards both sides with a bit of army experience and the defender with some PP for having successfully defended the territory. This is sort of a soft loss for the attacker, but does not come at a major cost other than the PP wasted on initiating the entire incident.


If the attacker wins the conflict, they seize control of the state and are awarded PP for their success. If the defender wins they gain a lot of PP, army experience and research bonus to land doctrine. All of the outcome effects are scriptable and there is a good chance we will add, tweak, or change them after more play testing.

hoi4_8.png


Both attacker and defender can choose to escalate the conflict further at the cost of addition PP. Doing so gives a combat bonus, allow more troops to join the fighting and pushes the conflict to the brink of all out war. Both sides can back down at this point, but this results in losing the border conflict. It might however be worth taking a loss over an all-out war you cannot hope to win.

If any of the sides chooses to escalate the conflict further, the other side will be notified and not long after, war breaks out.

Next week is going to be a Christmas special with some cool stuff for modders.

Due to an important company-wide conference that is not in any way connected to the release of a new movie from a well-known sci-fi franchise, the stream will be at 14:00 CET today. Tune in at https://www.twitch.tv/paradoxinteractive and watch the Kaiser restore order in Germany!
 
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Thandros

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Wait so what happens if a opposition Minded Warlord takes over all of China. Do they pick up a Nationalist China Focus tree or do they not get a focus tree of their own or their is their another unique focus tree for such states?
 

JerkyJerry

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The added colors and graphics look great on the focus tree
 

--Yigito123--

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Yay, we finally get a working border conflict mechanic! Will the existing border clashes (for example between Japan and the Soviets) be replaced by this mechanic triggering instead?
 

Stenen Jan

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This looks like an excellent mechanic that will open up a lot of options for modders. It's good to see Paradox modelling the smaller conflicts or 'incidents' in a much more dynamic and fun way than just taking a national focus or decision. I'm really looking forward to this expansion - a definite day 1 buy for me.

Also, enjoy the latest incarnation of a notable sci-fi franchise guys! Just no spoilers please ;)
 

Lordban

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Next week, we will answer the critical question of what exactly the airspeed velocity of an unladen tiger is.
A European tiger or an African tiger?
 

ChairmanMeow

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Sweet!:) But still a red zone too large.:(

EDIT: Just take a second thought, how could Xi'an Incident happen, if Xi'an was literally controlled by communists, in the game that the whole province is in the color of red?
 

CrazyZombie

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Well, border conflict mechanic looks really useful for either historical scenarios with Soviet-Japanese clashes on the Far East, or different alt-historical scenarios.
 

Fulmen

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