Victoria 3 - Dev Diary #24 - Navies and Admirals


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Happy Thursday and welcome back to our series of development diaries on warfare in Victoria 3! Today we talk about navies, and how we intend to make them as strategically important to winning wars as they were in history. This diary builds on the warfare vision presented in The Concept of War and many of the core mechanics presented in Fronts and Generals, so ensure those are fresh in your mind before reading on!

Your ability to sustain an empire depends, to a large extent, on how well you can compete on the high seas. This is the era of truly global trade, which also meant countries were highly susceptible to disruption of that trade - and the higher they climb, the harder they may fall. In Victoria 3, maintaining a powerful blue-water navy is a large but necessary expense if you wish to ensure the integrity of your markets, overseas colonies, and trade routes during war. And even while at peace, a magnificent fleet can provide your nation with substantial Prestige!

Our design intent for naval gameplay in Victoria 3 is that it should serve as a strategic precision instrument in conflicts between seafaring nations. The sea is not another “front” in a war. The province-based moving Front system works well to represent conflicts over territory but would be nonsensical at sea, where no nation can be said to meaningfully “control” an enormous stretch of ocean. Instead, Admirals and their Flotillas are deployed to meet specific strategic objectives to disrupt the enemy’s military operations or economy, or defend against such attempts by the enemy. A powerful navy can never win you the war on its own, but if deployed correctly under the right circumstances it can be the “ace in the hole” that lets you outsmart even a foe that’s superior on paper.

A clipper departing Luanda in the Portuguese colonial state of North Angola, representing the colony’s connection to the Market Capital in Lisbon.
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As with land warfare and Generals, you control your navy through your Admirals. Generals and Admirals share many similarities. Both are provided with military resources originating from buildings in the Strategic Region they call home. The amount of resources they get depend on their Rank, which you can grant via promotions to reward your favorite commanders. Their Rank also lends Political Strength / Clout to the character’s favored Interest Group. Furthermore, both Generals and Admirals get Traits that affect both themselves and those Officers and Servicemen serving underneath them.

Most importantly, just like Generals are your interface to command your armies, Admirals are the interface to your navies. Admirals are given Orders, which they attempt to carry out to the best of their ability using the Flotillas they have been assigned. These Orders consist of:

Intercept any hostile navies around a certain Strategic Region’s friendly coastlines while keeping your fleets stationed close to shore
Patrol any shipping lanes between the Admiral’s home region and a remote region, intercepting any hostile navies encountered
Convoy Raid at a particular point at sea to damage enemy shipping lanes
Naval Invasion to establish a beachhead and a frontline on enemy soil, by escorting and protecting a General’s land forces in a joint operation

While it has not yet made its way into the game, we also want to add a fifth Order - Blockade - to disable enemy ports and prevent hostile forces from crossing straits.

An artistic mockup of an Admiral in the Navy panel. Admiral Ruiz and his 10 Flotillas are currently on Interception duty in the Iberia HQ, ensuring no Naval Invasions or Blockades endanger the Spanish home front.
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Convoy Raid and Naval Invasion are aggressive orders intended to hurt the enemy in different ways, while Intercept and Patrol are defensive orders that counter the other two. But to really understand how these work we have to start by talking about Shipping Lanes and the Supply Network.

Shipping Lanes are facilitated by vessels called Convoys, which are an output of Port buildings. These are created automatically whenever it’s necessary to move goods and/or people overseas. The three main reasons this happens are due to naval Trade Routes between non-adjacent markets, remote States connecting to their Market through a Port, and Battalions sent to frontlines that can only be supplied by ship. When a player is about to take an action that establishes such a shipping lane they are warned of how many new Convoys would be required for this action, which is based on the size of the route or the army supplied.

Shipping Lanes are always established via the shortest possible path, as defined by the number of nodes in the naval network it passes through.

A zoomed-out view of the North Angolan shoreline above, showing the main route ships travel off the coast of southwest Africa. The yellow pin indicates this path is part of Portugal’s Supply Network.
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The sum total of a country’s Shipping Lanes determine the extent of its Supply Network, and the total cost in Convoys of that network compared to the Convoy output by Ports determine the overall strength of that network. That is to say, if the total Shipping Lane cost is 500 Convoys but Ports provide only 400, the Supply Network as a whole will operate at only 80% efficiency. This impacts all Shipping Lanes, causing less trade to flow between the markets than would be optimal and impacting the supply and morale of overseas troops.

Admirals assigned to Convoy Raid a given sea node will surreptitiously try to sink any enemy transports that pass through. In effect this will do damage over time to the affected Shipping Lanes, causing both an overall drop in efficiency of the affected countries’ Supply Networks but also a larger, local drop in efficiency of the damaged Shipping Lanes. As a result, by parking your fleet in a highly trafficked part of the ocean you could do a lot of damage to your enemy’s trade or even directly impact the amount of military supplies they’re able to send to their frontlines.

A very visually un-polished view of part of Portugal’s supply network, stretching from the Azores around the African continent all the way to Portuguese Bombay. In the lower-right corner we see an additional tendril going east, which is a trade route importing Porcelain from China.
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Admirals assigned to Patrol a certain stretch of their Supply Network will eventually be able to detect and engage the raiding navy, causing a naval battle to ensue which will not only sink ships but also send the losing side back to base for repairs for some time. Admirals assigned to Intercept all nodes along a coastline are able to do the same to any raiders along the coast. Convoy Raiding right outside a major entry/exit port, such as in the English Channel, therefore has the chance to seriously disrupt a large number of shipping lanes but also put you at greater risk of detection and interception than if you’re raiding transatlantic shipping lanes on the deep seas. The composition of your navy can also greatly impact how this plays out: a fleet with an accompaniment of Submarines can deal more damage before being intercepted, while a fleet of Monitors has an easier time intercepting raiders but may be more easily sunk if faced down by a more powerful navy.

Because the distance Admirals must patrol plays a difference, there is an inherent asymmetry to Convoy Raiding and Patrol orders. Since a chain is only as strong as its weakest link the damage done to a shipping lane by raiders is the same whether it stretches across 1 node or 10, whereas 10x as many Flotillas are needed to protect the longer route as effectively as the shorter.

Extremely unfinished breakdown of what is currently happening in the Macaronesian Sea. Look at all those juicy raiding targets!
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Naval Invasion is an Order you give to provide naval support for a General’s landing on an enemy coastline. The size of the fleet determines two things: one, how great is the chance that you’ll be able to defeat an opponent’s intercepting fleet, and two, how many Battalions will you be able to successfully land. Even if the enemy has no defensive fleet at all, a naval invasion with a very small fleet might land too weak of an initial force to withstand the enemy’s counter-offense before the rest of the army can arrive. Since Naval Invasion is a one-time Order, once it has been completed it automatically turns into a Patrol Order to protect the shipping lane supplying the new Front.

Concept art of early Ship-of-the-Line and late-game Dreadnought class vessels
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Navies are made up of Flotillas, which are constructed and maintained by Naval Bases. Naturally these can only be built on coastlines, where they consume military vessels such as Man-o-Wars or Ironclads constructed in Shipyards. Like Barracks they also employ Servicemen and Officers Pop, and depending on your navy configuration may need to consume other military goods as well (such as Ammunition and Radios) in order to keep in fighting condition. Flotillas differ from Battalions in how long it takes to create and upgrade them; constructing a competitive navy is not something you can begin considering when your rival has already started saber-rattling.

Another difference between Battalions and Flotillas is that your country’s navy is always considered to be in fully active service. In peacetime Generals can keep their troops on low alert, limiting their consumption and expenses. Once war breaks out, Generals can be selectively mobilized to only deploy the troops necessary. Admirals on the other hand have exorbitant needs and expenses even while at peace, so sizing and tech’ing your navy appropriately is an important consideration for imperialists on a tight budget.

On the other hand, navies provide you with considerable Power Projection which confers substantial Prestige onto your country. Having a world-class navy is not strictly a requirement to be a Great Power, particularly if you’re a large self-sustaining terrestrial empire, but it definitely helps you both gain and hold onto the title.

Artistic mockup of the Navy panel with Flotillas expanded. Admiral Alvarez de Toledo commands 20 Flotillas of Man-o-Wars on a Patrol mission to secure an important Spanish shipping lane.
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Before we wrap up for this week, I want to say a few words about the lack of an order to just “seek out and destroy enemy forces”. In Victoria 3, your commanders - Generals as well as Admirals - are given strategic objectives which they use their manpower and resources to carry out as best they can. If in the process they get into conflict with the enemy’s forces (as they almost certainly will at some point) a battle will ensue. The outcome of that battle determines which direction the war proceeds in. The intent of this is to remove the need to babysit your commanders.

To illustrate this, assume we did have an order to seek and destroy. The optimal choice would then be to assign this order only to the strongest commander, fight the eventual battle, then revoke this order and give it to another commander while the first one recuperates, and so on.

With an order like “advance front” instead, the General’s intention is simply to capture territory as efficiently as possible, ideally while avoiding enemy interference. If it’s impossible to avoid the enemy, the imperative is to try to be intercepted by as weak of an enemy force as possible. Meanwhile the intent behind “defend front” is the opposite: prevent enemy incursions by defending it in the places where the enemy might advance, bringing to bear as powerful a force as possible. Similarly at sea, “convoy raiding” is about maximizing shipping lane damage while avoiding detection, while “patrol” is about minimizing damage to convoys by seeking out and destroying those enemy ships attacking them - not to sink ships for its own sake.

Depending on how the war is developing your priorities or overall strategy might certainly shift, causing you to change the orders you’ve assigned or make changes in your ranks to distribute resources differently. But our design intent is that this should only be necessary because your strategy is evolving, not to counter enemy movements or try to minmax your way to victory.

This is an especially important consideration for the naval part of the warfare mechanics. Naval (and aerial) warfare in strategy games commonly face the design challenge of extreme mobility options due to the lack of obstacles to movement. Usually some form of Fog of War and interception-radius mechanics is employed to counteract turtling behavior. The AI also often has to be forced to make mistakes to not become too good at dodging or intercepting the player in this environment. Even with Victoria 3’s more strategic-level decision making, the freedom of “movement” the sea provides would make a system where being in/avoiding being in the same location as the enemy so as to start/not start a battle extremely micro-heavy, annoying, and highly unfair to either human or AI players depending on implementation.

So instead, in Victoria 3, you tell your Admirals what their overall priorities should be for the war and then they try to do that, using the resources they’ve been allocated, only coming into conflict when they become aware of an enemy Admiral with an order that clashes with their own.

I hope that gives you a good idea of what to expect from the naval mechanics in Victoria 3. Next week we will wrap up this first batch of diaries on the military system by going through the many economic impacts of warfare in Victoria 3. Until then!
 
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This sounds very interesting.
I hope that we will be able to trade with naval units as well.
On discord Wiz confirmed that we could sell convoy units if we have a huge ship building industry.
But it would be great if I could sell my outdated ironclads to other, minor, nations after I've build enough Dreadnaughts to replace the old ironclads.

Sounds like a great way for lesser powers to supplement their fleets without having to invest in their shipbuilding capacity and technology at the expense of more pertinent needs.
Realistically, no nation would want to purchase a ironclad or even a predreadnought once dreadnoughts are around. They would simply be obsolete compared to dreadnoughts and incredibly vulnerable to mines and torpedoes. Even more, a used ship would be even less desirable due to reduced perfomance due to wear and tear.

Historically, what minor powers did was order the lastest ships designs from shipyards in major powers. For instance before Japan developed it's naval industries it would order ships from UK's shipyards.
 
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Axe99

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I would contend that saying breaking the communication lines is not the correct assessment of the situation. The Russian Far East fleet was trapped in Port Arthur and had to be rescued. If the Far East fleet wasn't trapped, the Baltic fleet would never have been sent. The big overall goal was communications to hamper Japan's ability to wage a land war, of course, but Tsushima only happened because of the need to rescue the trapped fleet. You're absolutely correct that refusing battle is important, and I wasn't trying to imply that it wasn't, it should for sure be a mechanic. If Japan refused battle that day then the Russian fleet wouldn't have just sailed around looking for trouble for the sake of it.

@mikhail321 's got you mostly covered here. By the time the Russian fleet was off Japan they knew well that they weren't going to Port Arthur, but Vladivostok. To quote part of Rozhestvenski's orders prior to sailing into the Straits (not in any way taken in context):

Each Divisional Admiral should act in accordance with the idea that the primary objective of the fleet is to reach Vladivostok (as translated in Corbett's Maritime Operations in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905

The Battle of Tsushima was a Japanese fleet finding a Russian fleet that was attempting to slip past to Vladivostok, not a Russian fleet that had entered the Straits looking to bring the Japanese fleet to action (although, given the situation, they very much expected action, although they hoped weather might help them avoid it).

Maybe this is getting into semantics, so I apologize, but a main job and an ultimate goal are two different things. The navy can't accomplish its ultimate goal if it can't do the job it was designed for: winning battles or intimidating the enemy to the point that they refuse to send out their battle fleet.

I think we're on the same page here - I was more talking about the people arguing for ships to be sent to sea purely to seek battle - despite comments from some, neither Jutland nor Tsushima meet this criterion - there was at least almost always some strategic purpose relating to sea lines of communication or land installations that motivated one of the fleets' behaviour, and then the desire to counter it that lead to the other fleet's behaviour. In Tsushima, the Japanese were keen to bring the Russian's to battle before they could establish themselves in Vladivostok, and for Jutland a raid by the High Seas Fleet on Sunderland (more on that below).

By making the most aggressive option raiding you are making the player use large, slow capital ships in ways they weren't meant to be used. Main capital ships spend most of the war at port; they almost always only come out to do battle or to threaten battle. It doesn't make much sense to risk the ship that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and years to build in a convoy raiding capacity: that's why navies have purpose built raiders.

I'd argue the most aggressive options available are blockade (if included) and intercept. I make the case in my posts for a "raid" option as well, given it was an important element of the North Sea battles in WW1, and other actions during the period. The counter to raid would also be "intercept".

What I'm curious about is what would happen in the North Sea if there was a blockading force, with the Grand Fleet (British) on an intercept order - would the Grand Fleet sortie if the High Seas Fleet (German) set an "intercept" order against the blockading force? I'd argue it should, but we don't know enough about how it'll work to know that at this case.

The most important thing a navy can do is control the shipping lanes, the only way it can do this is by force or threat of force.

As per my sig, you'll get absolutely no disagreement from me :)

2. Is there anything new since Vic 2 being added to the game that makes wooden navies useful in the early game? With budgets being so tight at game start, the usual tactic is to start disbanding wooden navies on day one, as otherwise their upkeep drains your economy whilst all they do is remain in port, rotting away as there's little use for them.

A British player that disbanded their fleet on day one could find themselves in an awful lot of trouble if another nation wanted to take advantage of it. Hopefully ship build times (and the DD suggests strongly this will be the case) will be such that players need to build a navy before war breaks out, rather than hoping they can knock one together quickly after it does.

Same with Jutland really, neither the British nor German fleets were there to protect or raid convoys, they were there fight each other.

To add some more detail to the brief comment above (info sourced from Campbell's Jutland: An Analysis of the Fighting, which also goes into some detail for the preliminaries) the original plan for what lead to Jutland was for the High Seas Fleet (German) battlecruiser squadron to sortie for a raid on Sunderland, with the rest of the fleet supported by the German submarine force in dispositions expected to cover the Grand Fleet (British) approach. However, due to the weather, it wasn't possible for scouting airships to provide reconnaissance (to spot the Grand Fleet - the High Seas Fleet didn't want to engage the entire British fleet, just the battlecruisers), and so Admiral Scheer (commander of the High Seas Fleet) decided instead for a sortie to the Skagerrak (for which airship reconnaissance was less important) and for the battlecruisers to raid commerce to draw out the British battlecruisers fleet. British intelligence initially expected that this was a small operation in support of returning airships, but due to a later intercept realised it was a larger operation, and sortied the entire Grand Fleet*.

Thus - in terms of the initial German plan - the German battlecruiser force was on a "coastal raid" order (an order which currently isn't planned), the main german battleship force was on an intercept order, and the Grand Fleet was on an intercept order.

In terms of what actually happened, the German battlecruiser force was "convoy raid" order, the main german force could probably be covered by an "interecept" order (or potentially included in the "convoy raid"), while the British force was on an intercept order.

If there is a "send the fleet to sea and find the enemy" order, and it had been given to both forces, then it leads to a whole-of-fleet battle between the British and the Germans, which was what Scheer (and any sensible player in their situation) hoped to avoid. Generally speaking, the weaker side isn't going to seek a fleet action for no strategic gain, because it's very high risk and with a very high cost if the risk doesn't come off. Thus "intercept", "patrol" and "blockade" (as long as "intercept" and "patrol" can engage enemy fleets also set to "intercept", "patrol" and "blockade") should cover this off, and do it in a way that doesn't involve the German player/AI being near-suicidal in their orders.

The tricky thing will be working out the balance between the Germans pulling of a successful commerce raid and getting away, versus a clash just between the two battlecruiser forces, versus a successful British interception and a severe mauling of the High Seas Fleet. The "under the hood" calculations need to be carefully calibrated to provide plausible and interesting results, and players need to have enough agency over their fleet orders so that they don't get a notification they've lost the war due to the AI being silly and getting its fleet destroyed.


* All the ships that were operational at the time - most fleets didn't have every ship available all the time.

I don’t see anything there that couldn’t be modeled with the tools the devs describe.

As per the above, it's not clear that an fleet "in transit" can be intercepted. The model also doesn't allow for coastal raids, which were an important element of the North Sea actions in WW1. In general, though, the approach is very sound, and if fleets can be intercepted, it's just a blockade and coastal raid order away from being able to (as best I can think right now) cope with the key drivers of the key battles (and near-battles) that took place. I could be wrong as well - please don't hesitate to pull me up if I am :)

I don't really know what situation I can imagine that isn't encompassed by this. People talk about Tsushima or Jutland being impossible but the former is two intercept orders in the same area and the latter is a blockade order* vs an intercept order. I don't see how these are impossible.

Tsushima wasn't an intercept order - they didn't want to see action until after they'd made Vladivostok. Jutland would have been a bit more complex, as per the description above (but is possible :) ).

On discord Wiz confirmed that we could sell convoy units if we have a huge ship building industry.

This is good news :) I hope the info on Discord makes its way to the forums in dev posts (so that people don't need to search through every post of every thread to find it) and of course that the info from the forums makes its way to Discord.
 
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Realistically, no nation would want to purchase a ironclad or even a predreadnought once dreadnoughts are around. They would simply be obsolete compared to dreadnoughts and incredibly vulnerable to mines and torpedoes. Even more, a used ship would be even less desirable due to reduced perfomance due to wear and tear.

Historically, what minor powers did was order the lastest ships designs from shipyards in major powers. For instance before Japan developed it's naval industries it would order ships from UK's shipyards.

This is mostly true, but doesn't account for Greece and its purchase of two US pre-dreadnoughts :) In some cases, purchasing older ships may make sense when the main threat (in this case the Ottoman Empire) also doesn't have such a modern navy.
 
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This is mostly true, but doesn't account for Greece and its purchase of two US pre-dreadnoughts :) In some cases, purchasing older ships may make sense when the main threat (in this case the Ottoman Empire) also doesn't have such a modern navy.
I didn't know about them! But according to wiki
They were only as a stopgap measure until ordered dreadnoughts were delivered. Unfortunately, WWI meant that they never got the dreadnoughts...
 
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I'm not very interested in military history even though military wargaming is the origin of most strategy games, but this seems fine, both on water and on land. It's easy to forget that previous implementations were "minmax, pause, click the pixel, pause, repeat". A bunch of pausing. A faithful implementation of a turn-based wargamey game, but not much of a video game.
 
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I didn't know about them! But according to wiki
They were only as a stopgap measure until ordered dreadnoughts were delivered. Unfortunately, WWI meant that they never got the dreadnoughts...

Absolutely - I did say mostly true :) Was just pointing out it wasn't unheard of for less-advanced vessels to be purchased as well depending on the circumstances. I agree that if the AI can't be taught to be sensible, that new stuff all the time is a far better approach than an AI buying ships unlikely to help their strategic situation. Outside of the time period, Britain more-or-less purchased 50 obsolete destroyers from the US, and the US investigated purchasing an old (but well-maintained) BB from Chile :)
 
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As per the above, it's not clear that an fleet "in transit" can be intercepted. The model also doesn't allow for coastal raids, which were an important element of the North Sea actions in WW1. In general, though, the approach is very sound, and if fleets can be intercepted, it's just a blockade and coastal raid order away from being able to (as best I can think right now) cope with the key drivers of the key battles (and near-battles) that took place.
I personally don’t see coastal raid order as essential. In themselves the coastal raids didn’t have any strategic goal other than a ruse to get the British out and a demonstration of some offensive activity by German capital units. So they could be easily replaced by convoy raid or patrol order (and as you say in the case of Jutland Germans did replace a coastal raid by convoy raid). As for tactical situation of the battle, I doubt the game will get to the details of modeling interplay of different squadrons with different speeds. I am far from sure we even get battlecruiser as a distinct ship type (and the pre-dreadnought picture used as a concept art for dreadnoughts in the DD kind of prove the point). However, given the evolution of naval warfare in HoI4, I’m sure the devs will avoid making individual engagements being too decisive in terms of ships lost, to avoid “RNG said you loose” situations. So we are likely to get more Jutlands than Tsushimas.
 
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I personally don’t see coastal raid order as essential. In themselves the coastal raids didn’t have any strategic goal other than a ruse to get the British out and a demonstration of some offensive activity by German capital units. So they could be easily replaced by convoy raid or patrol order (and as you say in the case of Jutland Germans did replace a coastal raid by convoy raid). As for tactical situation of the battle, I doubt the game will get to the details of modeling interplay of different squadrons with different speeds. I am far from sure we even get battlecruiser as a distinct ship type (and the pre-dreadnought picture used as a concept art for dreadnoughts in the DD kind of prove the point). However, given the evolution of naval warfare in HoI4, I’m sure the devs will avoid making individual engagements being too decisive in terms of ships lost, to avoid “RNG said you loose” situations. So we are likely to get more Jutlands than Tsushimas.

I wouldn't say it's essential (we don't really need anything beyond giving admirals general area orders and rules of engagement - but while that could cover the essentials, the more choice we strip out, the more Vicky 3 plays itself rather than we play Vicky 3), but coastal raids on core territories, for example, could do things that the convoy raiding order (noting we know very little about this as well) doesn't. In particular, they could arguably be a way of a "one-off" attack a bit like a naval invasion where a fleet in being sorties, and then returns to base once.

This is in contrast to the "always on" nature of the other orders, which runs the risk of players or AI losing large amounts of their fleet, potentially (depending on the UX, but HoI4 and CK3 are patchy here) without players even knowing about it. This is particularly useful for fleets that are inferior to the enemy - if, as per WW1, the German and British fleets are largely facing each other across the North Sea, a German player issuing an order, unless it's convoy raiding where they remember to turn it off again quickly afterwards, could basically be clicking "I lose the naval war" and see their ships attrited over time. This would remove a substantial amount of the interest of the naval game for me playing as either Britain or Germany (ie, I want an interesting, to-and-fro naval game, not "fire and forget win" or "fire and forget lose".)

An alternative, though, could be to not have another "coastal raid" option, but instead have two types of "convoy raids" - constant and sortie - with either potentially raiding the coast if the area they're assigned to has a friendly coast to raid?

Either way, it adds flavour, player choice, strategic depth and historical plausibility for what, I expect, wouldn't require an awful lot of re-tooling of mechanics. Not essential, but I think it would add interest to the game. It does it in an "optional" way as well - it's a choice for players and AI if they want to try something different - but a defending player can set their fleet to intercept or patrol and there's no extra work required.

On decisive naval engagements, it would be a shame to lose too much in this respect. Many naval engagements were decisive - at the Yalu River, the Falklands, Coronel and Tsushima, amongst others, a significant proportion of the losing force was sunk. Indeed, there's no small argument that Yalu River and Tsushima were the key factors in Japan's victory in both of the wars in question.

If there's no such thing as a decisive naval battle in Vicky 3, it removes a significant amount of the historical concerns that the strategic naval planners of the day had to contend with - ie, it cuts back on strategy gameplay and historical plausibility. If it did that, it would be good if those losses were compensated by something at the very least. I appreciate we don't want too much "RNG you win" or "RNG you lose", but I'm not sure that's a worse "player engagement" outcome than "bland naval game were it's boringly grindy". Of course, both of those extremes are on the extreme, and a lot depends on the oodles about the naval system we don't know, and I don't want to get carried away second-guessing details.
 
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Realistically, no nation would want to purchase a ironclad or even a predreadnought once dreadnoughts are around. They would simply be obsolete compared to dreadnoughts and incredibly vulnerable to mines and torpedoes. Even more, a used ship would be even less desirable due to reduced perfomance due to wear and tear.

Historically, what minor powers did was order the lastest ships designs from shipyards in major powers. For instance before Japan developed it's naval industries it would order ships from UK's shipyards.
Ahh, that makes sense. Either way, some way to buy and sell ships makes a lot of sense to me.
 
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I am really happy with this Dev Diary. Sticking to the strategic nature of naval war is a great choice here. It would have been weird if it they didn't give the choices with Land war.

I am curious If Admirals can join together to fight battles. Can this only done under blockades and intercepts or can it be done on patrols as well? Maybe it cannot be done at all.
 
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I'm not very interested in military history even though military wargaming is the origin of most strategy games, but this seems fine, both on water and on land. It's easy to forget that previous implementations were "minmax, pause, click the pixel, pause, repeat". A bunch of pausing. A faithful implementation of a turn-based wargamey game, but not much of a video game.
I agree that the old system had to be replaced, in one way or another, and the new system has potential. However, in my opinion, the naval and most definitely the land warfare systems need more granularity and more room for player input in order for them to be both fun to play and historically plausible.
 
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One little improvement that would help a lot: an aggression level, in addition to your orders. That way, if your fleet gets reduced or damaged, or if the enemy commits more forces than you were expecting, it will avoid a suicidal engagement. Without that order, you would have to babysit your fleets and notice when they no longer outnumber the enemy.
 
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One little improvement that would help a lot: an aggression level, in addition to your orders.
I think the intention is that this is a property of the Admiral you send. So if you want someone aggression you send an aggressive commander, if you want a more reasoned approach, you send someone else.

The goal (as I understand it) is that you should sometimes be in a situation where you have a general/admiral who is an ideal fit militarily but is politically something of a setback, or vice versa. That would be greatly diminished if generals/admirals are too much alike.

An alternative, though, could be to not have another "coastal raid" option, but instead have two types of "convoy raids" - constant and sortie - with either potentially raiding the coast if the area they're assigned to has a friendly coast to raid?
Personally, rather than have two separate orders, I would simply have it as the default that fleets return to port after any significant encounter (with a notification to the player, of course), only resuming their original orders once repaired. If the player wants to manually send them out in the interim, that's their business.

But that does depend on how different types of battles are implemented, and whether there's a distinction between a major engagement and a simple skirmish between individual patrolling/raiding vessels. You don't want the fleet panicking and returning to base over nothing but you also don't want them staying in one place when they're clearly overmatched. It's a tough algorithm to nail down.
 
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Personally, rather than have two separate orders, I would simply have it as the default that fleets return to port after any significant encounter (with a notification to the player, of course), only resuming their original orders once repaired. If the player wants to manually send them out in the interim, that's their business.

But that does depend on how different types of battles are implemented, and whether there's a distinction between a major engagement and a simple skirmish between individual patrolling/raiding vessels. You don't want the fleet panicking and returning to base over nothing but you also don't want them staying in one place when they're clearly overmatched. It's a tough algorithm to nail down.

Aye, a lot depends on the details - all of what follows is speculation, given how little we know about the implementation of the system.

For example, given players don't control 'fleets' per se, it would make sense for damaged ships to go back to repair without the whole fleet going "off mission", if they were still in a strategically sensible position - for example, after Jutland, the British Fleet shouldn't turn off its intercept order, but the German fleet should stop convoy raiding (even though there were undamaged German ships) - in both cases with damaged ships returning to wherever damaged ships go (hopefully a port building with the capability to repair them).

Unlike HoI4, where we can control individual ships being repaired/damaged, I expect (and would hope, given the general level of player oversight) ship repair in Vicky 3) it will be automated, and an entire fleet returning to base because one flotilla had received minor damage would lead to some fairly unhelpful things for a player (for example, creating a gameplay incentive to micro flotillas in fleets to remove the damaged ones after an engagement, to prevent fleets auto-returning - and creating the opportunity to take advantage of the AI being forced back to base by ship repairs).

Also - for the keen-minded, my memory tripped me up on Jutland - it was triggered by the German fleet going commerce raiding, not a coastal raid (that was the original plan but it changed due to bad weather preventing zeppelin reconnaissance) - I've edited my original post where I said this, sorry for the wonkiness.
 
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For example, given players don't control 'fleets' per se, it would make sense for damaged ships to go back to repair without the whole fleet going "off mission", if they were still in a strategically sensible position - for example, after Jutland, the British Fleet shouldn't turn off its intercept order, but the German fleet should stop convoy raiding (even though there were undamaged German ships) - in both cases with damaged ships returning to wherever damaged ships go (hopefully a port building with the capability to repair them).

Sorry to repeat myself, but: If there’s an aggression setting, the fleet checks whether it’s still strong enough to sally out on its mission after detaching damaged ships, and if not, steams to port to repair and reinforce.
 
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Sorry to repeat myself, but: If there’s an aggression setting, the fleet checks whether it’s still strong enough to sally out on its mission after detaching damaged ships, and if not, steams to port to repair and reinforce.

All good - I was replying to Jamaican Castle specifically in the context of a discussion about having separate orders for "continuous" or "one-off" operations. I agree that (depending on a bunch of things we don't know yet, so it has to be a guess) rules of engagement similar to HoI4 would be a very good idea, particularly given what's like to be the hands-off nature of the mechanics :)

That being said - one off vs continuous ops isn't the same thing as rules of engagement. I might want to do a one-off risky operation, but I might not want my fleet to be risky continuously (and not want to micro turning it on and off, particularly if I'm distracted by gameplay elsewhere).
 

Lorehead

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That being said - one off vs continuous ops isn't the same thing as rules of engagement. I might want to do a one-off risky operation, but I might not want my fleet to be risky continuously (and not want to micro turning it on and off, particularly if I'm distracted by gameplay elsewhere).
Very true. I wonder if we’ll be able to order those. (Dolittle raid?)
 

TurtleShroom

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Disconcerting. While the absolute disaster that is the removal of all units and fine player control from the automated warfare system continues to kick my hype in the balls, this part seems more interesting but no less automated. It's good to see navies become more relevant and I still like the officer system, but this idea that players cannot be allowed to actually issue battle orders or do anything to micro-manage or actually control the warfare mechanics is a toxic one.

Micro-management is part of a Paradox game for a reason. I don't want a machine manning my wars for me. This system removes strategy and, at worst, could just be a numbers game without strategy. I want the ability to do it myself if I so choose. Which I do.

Call me old-fashioned, but removing the actual player control of warfare takes out the strategy in a strategy game.

Fortunately, my hype for the economics, diplomacy, and political systems keep me electric enough to eagerly anticipate this game.

I pray that I will be proven wrong.
 
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grommile

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Call me old-fashioned, but removing the actual player control of warfare takes out the strategy in a strategy game.
I'm not going to call you old-fashioned, because I'm old-fashioned in several ways and I still violently disagree with the notion that the military affairs changes are "toxic".
 
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