While our poor programmers have been slaving away at Fuel, we Content Designers have been busy working on the new focus trees (as well as some other cool stuff you’ll see in the future!). As the theme of the DLC is naval (and today is Independence Day) it really shouldn’t be a surprise that we’ll be starting with... the United Kingdom.
As per usual, we asked QA for feedback on the base tree, and combined this with the general feeling about the tree that existed among fans and colleagues. It seems that most complaints boiled down to two things:
1. Being too restricted by World Tension - various focuses are locked behind WT limits
2. No alternate history
As a result, we felt the actual structure itself of the base tree was not that bad, and that we didn’t need to do an extensive rework as we did with the Japanese tree. Much like with the German focus tree rework, this means we’ve left the base tree largely intact, and instead are adding/changing minor things to it, while putting the main emphasis on adding alternate history paths. Also as with the German and Japanese trees, adjustments to the ‘base’ tree will be free, while alt-history options will be paid.
The end result looks like this:
*Note that this is still relatively early implementation-wise, and the tree is likely to undergo further changes. Any numbers may be prone to change, etc etc.
First off, in the rearmament branch we felt there were a few things we could change or add. For instance, a major complaint was that the British needed to take the focus “A Motorized Army” to even get a motorized template. Now, we’ve made the UK start with that template, and the focus instead gives a 50% technology boost towards motorized, as is more common in our focus trees.
Furthermore, two new focuses in the “General Rearmament” branch expand upon some aspects of the war the British were well-known for; the Special Air Service and the Chiefs of Staff Committee. The former allows for more special forces to be recruited, and unlocks David Stirling as an advisor, who has the “Commando - Genius” trait. The latter gives army, naval, and air XP, as well as a spirit that gives bonuses to max command power, command power generation speed, and planning speed.
Finally, we intend to add more focuses to the naval path in particular, but this requires finishing up some other features first. Don’t be surprised if the end result looks a bit more fleshed-out than this, though
Next, the Empire branch of the British focus tree has gone through the fewest changes. I felt the “Service Overseas” focus was a bit lackluster, and so I added a national spirit that gives an extra 10% hot acclimatization factor. In addition, the Secure Iraq/Iran and War with USSR branch was moved to an entirely different branch that I will get to a bit later…
In addition, “Reinforce the Empire” now is part of a mutually exclusive choice, the other side of which consists of revisiting the colonial policy. This branch represents the ‘what-if’ of the British government being much more amenable to total decolonization than they historically were. Some of the steps taken to achieve this goal will be quite controversial, however, and so the branch tends to reduce stability quite some, while also slightly increasing communist support.
One branch focuses on guiding the dominions to total independence, giving the option to also split India in its religion-based constituent parts. Not doing so will speed up your decolonization process, but will also result in a series of civil wars on the subcontinent that will likely prove devastating to the nation you released. If you want a powerful India in the post-colonial era, this is not an option. TFV focus tree interaction is a tough nut to crack here, but we have some ideas that we’ll be working on later in development.
The other branch involves returning all foreign territory that Britain holds (think Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Falklands). All these focuses (self-government and ‘towards independence’) give a certain amount of political power and manpower, representing placating the colonial governments and sparking immigration as certain people think they would have a better future in Britain than in their native country after decolonization has been achieved.
To differentiate between the Democratic paths (yes, plural) and the other ideologies, a new and shorter pair of mutually-exclusive focuses have been added with nautically-inspired names. From “Steady as She Goes” the player now has a choice between going down the historical path involving a focus on home defense and appeasement, trying desperately to obtain that elusive “Peace for Our Time”, and… Not doing so.
The former path has not seen too many changes. The previously-mentioned Secure Iraq/Iran and War with USSR branch that was detached from the Empire path has been moved to this branch instead, and we have added a single new focus to give players a bit more incentive to select this democratic option; “Prepare for the Inevitable”, which attempts to somewhat illustrate that Appeasement was at least partially intended to give the British time to build up their forces. This focus gives a permanent 10% military factory construction speed, and a 5% factory output. However, going down this path still means you will be locked behind World Tension limits for all focuses that currently have these limits in place.
The alternative path explores what a democratic United Kingdom could have looked like if the British had not continued with Appeasement for as long as they did. An initial focus on maintaining their imperial position rather than defending the homeland then leads into a “Motion of No Confidence”. This requires Neville Chamberlain to be the country leader, but then replaces him with Churchill, who now has a much longer time to whip the Britons in shape for what is coming. “No Further Appeasement” then provides the United Kingdom with altered game rules: being able to justifying a war on other democratic nations, being able to puppet countries, being able to send volunteer forces, and reducing World Tension limits on things like generating war goals, joining factions, and so on. It also allows the player to ignore all World Tension limits on other focuses, enabling a much faster build-up. All of this sounds nice, but is accompanied by massive hits to stability (as the people are still not fond of the prospect of another war), no increases in war support (resulting in you likely having virtually no war support when finally getting into a war), and the couple of free factories you get being generally much less powerful than the permanent construction and production speed bonus the Home Defense branch gets.
Afterwards, they are presented with a choice to either pre-emptively intervene with naval powers that flagrantly defied the 5:5:3:1.75:1.75 strength ratio stipulated in the Washington Naval Treaty or otherwise threaten British naval dominance, or pre-emptively strike at any threatening and rapidly-growing powers on the European continent. Side branches allow for some military factories, securing the oil imports from the Middle East and Venezuela, as well as tying in to the “War with the USSR” branch that is shared with the Home Defense path.
“A Change in Course” leads to the trio of alternative ideologies that can be explored. The first of these, “The King’s Party”, only becomes available after the player goes through an event chain that fires around the middle of 1936. The then-King Edward VIII was enamored by the American Wallis Simpson, and intended to marry her. Unfortunately, she was not just divorced once, but actually in the process of pursuing her second divorce. This did not sit well with the British government and church, as the Church of England did not then allow the remarrying of individuals while their spouses were still alive (not to mention Edward was, as King, also Head of the Church of England…). This led to a constitutional crisis that historically resulted in the abdication of the King on December 10, 1936. The first event therefore describes the situation and offers the player a choice of which path to pursue.
Choosing abdication changes nothing compared to how the event played out before Man the Guns (where it was more of a notification event). However, choosing either to force through a royal marriage (making Wallis Simpson Queen) or a morganatic marriage (making her a consort and removing all children resulting from the marriage from the line of succession) will kick off a 200-day long event chain (and accompanying mission, for the player’s convenience).
Random events about individuals, parts of the population, and media either supporting or opposing the marriage will fire, resulting in random stability hits, boosts, political power penalties and bonuses, and Unaligned ideology increases and decreases. In addition, a ‘main’ event in the chain will fire every 50 days. This describes the growing support and opposition to the King’s intention to marry. As things get worse, this results in the cabinet resigning, leaving the United Kingdom without a government until the crisis is resolved. Eventually, even the Dominions, appalled at the King’s blatant disregard for the wishes and concerns of his subjects spread throughout the Commonwealth, see no alternative but to use this temporary political weakness to break with the Crown.
Once the marriage is out of the way, the crisis ends. With no cabinet and political turmoil, the King can direct his most potent supporters during this crisis, David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, and Oswald Mosley, to then form a political party that is far more… amenable… to the King’s wishes… Much of the remainder of the tree then focuses on improving relations with Germany, taking out Italy to secure the Mediterranean, and reconquering the Empire with the aid of those Imperial loyalists that still remain in the old Dominions. Finally, it becomes possible to seek to unite the entire Anglosphere under one banner, and to pre-emptively strike at the USSR or Japan. Extra goodies involve increased non-core manpower and a unique National Spirit improving the speed and range of the Royal Navy, as well as a couple “become our puppet or die!” events for Iran and Afghanistan, facilitating reaching the Soviet Union from India.
Fascism in Britain is a bit of a ‘historical curiosity’, and Mosley’s name has obtained a notion of notoriety. What is certain, at least, is that the Blackshirts had some moderate successes with marching all over the country, and the British Union of Fascists peaked at around 50,000 members. Unfortunately for them, their increasing focus on pro-German and anti-semite rhetoric caused membership to drop, and opposition to these marches caused them to become increasingly violent until the infamous Battle of Cable Street sparked the government to take action. It passed the Public Order Act which outlawed the use of political uniforms and made it more difficult to hold marches.
These “Blackshirt Marches” are the key to turning Britain fascist in HOI4. After selecting the “Organize the Blackshirts” focus, a series of decisions will become available (implementation is WIP pending code support) allowing for the player to ‘secure’ Britain state-by-state. Each march will increase fascist support by a set amount depending on the state's population, while also reducing stability by a variable amount (depending on whether it was a particularly peaceful or violent march, but again depending on the state's population). Should stability go beneath 50% a civil war will start, with all ‘secured’ states on your side. This makes it possible to give yourself an advantageous position before intentionally kicking off the civil war. However, by expending extra political power to hold public speeches in which Mosley distances himself from Germany and Hitler’s rhetoric, you can soothe tensions and make fascism more palatable to the British people. These speeches increase stability, allowing you to remain above 50%. If you manage to remain above 50% stability and also obtain over 50% fascism support, you can then march on Downing Street and demand a referendum, peacefully switching to fascism. Once there, you can take your anti-German rhetoric even further, and seek an alliance with Italy to ‘take care’ of the continental menace.
Finally, for the communist path we decided to explore to what lengths a government might be willing to go to kick-start their rearmament. By opening negotiations with the Trade Unions, the player can unlock powerful temporary bonuses (or permanent ones, such as ‘free’ factories), but will then also be expected to give in to certain demands the Trade Unions have. These can range from appointing specific (rather less competent than usual) advisors, to paying a lump sum of political power, or to eating a temporary penalty to construction or production speed. Each ‘demand’ increases communist support by 6%, and once it gets high enough, they will demand a referendum, allowing the communists to take control of the government. Be careful though, for if you haven’t decolonized within 2 years of becoming Communist, your supporters may call you out as a fraud, and launch a civil war...
From there, you get rid of the upper classes and the royal family, before choosing between either creating your own Communist alliance, or going with the Soviets. Doing the former allows you to either go on a world-wide anti-colonialist crusade, or reach out across the channel (the reason why you can’t do both is that all of the countries across the channel -are- colonial powers…). Then, you can either negotiate a strike against Germany with the Soviets, or attack the Soviets yourself to determine once and for all whose version of communism is the most ‘pure’. Going with Moscow, on the other hand, allows you to focus either against fascism (once again coming down on Germany and Italy from two directions), or focus on capitalism and utterly crush the American Dream.
Finally, both the fascist and communist paths will result in the Dominions leaving you if you do not take quick and decisive action. “Move to Secure the Dominions” allows for installing Martial Law, but requires at least a number of divisions equalling 9600 manpower to be deployed in each of the dominion’s states (as well as 5 times this number in their capital). Martial Law prevents the Dominion in question from becoming independent and leaving your faction for 180 days, giving you time to seize control. From there, you can begin bombarding the population with propaganda, and, once ideological support is high enough, finally flip the government to match your own, thereby securing them for your alliance. If you do this as Communist Britain, any Dominions you have ‘secured’ in this manner will also NOT be released as an independent state once you decolonize. As fascist Britain you could also simply let them leave and reconquer them using the same focuses the Unaligned path provides for that purpose...
Small bonus portrait pic, and basically what it looks like in the office right now.
Next week I’ll be on vacation in Norway, but I’ll be setting aside some time so we can take a bit of a closer look at just what was involved in making decolonization possible...
Stay calm and keep marrying Americans
Swedes are out of the office, content designers in charge, chaos reigns
Exterminating the upper class is not cricket
Britain now with 200% more Churchill
I believe it is war for our time
Royal Dating Simulator 2018
Taking back that Sausage Factory in Tanzania
An Exercise in Far-Fetchedness
Britain alt history options, or how to hate British stoicism
1.5 imperial gallons of tea were consumed during the writing of this dev diary
Semi-independent subjects are a nightmare, whoever thought the Statute of Westminster was a good idea should be shot
God Save The King, no one else will
Happy De-Independence Day