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Victoria 3 - Dev Diary #52 - Player Objectives

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Hello everyone, and welcome to Victoria 3’s 52nd Dev Diary. My name is Nik or Paradoxical Nikname and I am here to tell you about Player Objectives in the game.


Objectives screen
You might have already seen this screen from the last Dev Diary, but I will go through it again quickly. Here we give you the player a choice on what you would like to do in your game. You have the tutorial, three different objectives and the Sandbox. If you missed the last Dev Diary and would like to know more about the Tutorial (click here). Then you have the three Objectives to choose from, we’ll go into those in a bit. Finally, we have a sandbox for those of you who want a completely unguided campaign.

What are Objectives
There are multiple goals we are trying to achieve with objectives. First and foremost we wanted to present the player with some suggested accomplishments to try and achieve before the end of the game. How the player chooses to complete the tasks in the end is up to them.

Another one of our goals is to make an extra challenge for players who have dipped their toes into the tutorial and now want to try and take that knowledge and see if they can carry themselves without the extra help from the tutorial.

Also we see it as a way of giving the player an idea of what to play. Say that you are in that, “I wanna play (insert Paradox Title)” mood, but you don't know what you want to do or who to play as. Now we have a mission for you to complete either as a specific nation or a random one.

One thing I would like to make clear to you is, these are not an extra set of tutorials. These are their own challenges available as an additional option. There are no “How” and “Why” tutorial lessons that guide you towards completing the tasks. It is entirely up to you to solve and complete the task at hand.

Player Agency and Direction
Much like the Journal system walks a tightrope between historical accuracy and the player's ability to create their own alt-history, the Objectives system has to balance agency and direction. Too much direction and you feel railroaded or puppeteered, too little direction and the goal just becomes noise competing for your attention instead of something to strive towards.

In early playtests we found that many players were intrigued by all the systems and how they fit together but didn't know why to perform certain actions in the game, because nobody was pushing them in a particular direction. This was particularly true for strategy players new to Victoria, while those with prior experience could more easily formulate goals for their campaigns before they started: "I want to liberalize Tsarist Russia" or "I want to form Poland as Krakow" or "I want to make Qing the globally dominant economic force".

The Objectives system helps with this in two ways:
  1. By having the player tell the game what kind of game they want to play, the game can suggest suitable countries and provide relevant challenges
  2. By having the player decide on a campaign goal ahead of time, they have at least an initial direction for their first steps

Objective pacing and modding
As mentioned briefly in the Tutorial dev diary, the Objective system includes a pacing mechanism that hands out appropriate Journal Entries to players at the appropriate time. This system is invisible during play, but can be utilized by modders to make their own Objectives - or even more tightly scripted long-term event chains or campaigns, if desired.

Each Objective has a series of subgoals, with trigger conditions that can include previous subgoals and effects that happen when they trigger. This means subgoals can become eligible to fire only when a certain subgoal is marked complete, or for as long as a different subgoal isn't complete, or when any of a named set of subgoals are complete. The typical effect when a subgoal triggers is to grant a Journal Entry, but it can also perform any number of other things - setting up preconditions, firing notifications, changing AI parameters, and so on.

Combined with the capabilities of Journal Entries, this technically lets an enterprising modder make entire branching narratives that can change based on the conditions of the player and the rest of the world when the subgoal was triggered. In practice we're much more open-ended in how we use it for the Objectives that will be in the game at launch, since we only use it to provide some player-selected direction for their campaign.

Recommended starts
Each Objective will have its own recommended nations to play as that can be easier or more difficult to complete the Objective as. It is also entirely up to the player if you wish to play as one of these recommended nations or if you instead wish to select your own nation to play with objectives on. These countries are selected because they are interesting nations to pursue the stated objective with, and may have their own unique quirks to overcome or leverage as they progress through the challenges.


Starting a game with an objective enabled
At game start, similar to tutorial, you will get a notification letting you know that you are playing a certain objective. After letting the game tick for a few days you will get your first task, simply complete the task and move on to the next one.




Progressing through the objective
As stated earlier above, Objectives work like a chain of Journal Entries. Unlike the Tutorial however, there aren’t special triggers that are needed for them to fire after completing the previous entry. Most will appear immediately after you complete the previous Journal Entry.

These tasks are meant as a helping hand, you will need to complete them to get to the final Objective, but you will be free to complete the objectives any way you want. One of these objectives can be as simple as making sure that a good in your home market is not too expensive. Another could simply be a requirement to pass a certain law.


The Final Objective
After completing the secondary objectives, you will receive your Final Objective. This objective, which is named after the full Objective, will take much more time and effort to complete. The tasks before were meant to help you along the way and prepare you for the final task. Upon completion of the Final Objective, you will receive an associated Achievement.

Economic Dominance Objective


For those of you who love pie charts or want to put your economics degree to the test, we have the Economic Dominance Objective. For this Objective we want to present the player with a host of tasks that relate to improving your economic power base, with the overall goal being to control a large part of the Global GDP within your market.

Hegemony Objective
These flags are not all correct (yet)! The technical reason for this is that the game hasn't actually started yet, the dynamic flag system can't kick in and alter the flags appropriately for the start conditions, so it falls back on a default flag. We're looking into it :)


For all you map painters out there we have the Hegemony objective. In this objective you will aim to have a large portion of the global population within your, or your Subjects', borders. Subjugations and aggressive expansion may both be part of your strategy, but ensuring your population growth is on par with the rest of the world is also crucial.

Egalitarian Society Objective


If you aren't particularly into the big number go up or expansionist game, we have a Nation builder objective for you as well. In Egalitarian Society your task will be to make the most equal society you can. You will need to expand your institutions as well as passing more progressive laws to achieve your goal. Once you have established this equality of (legal) opportunity, the final challenge will be to also develop a very high average Standard of Living and education rate among all your Pops.

That's all from me today. As many of you know most of Paradox goes on vacation next month so there will be no Dev Diaries in July, but we will be back in August with more!
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This comment is reserved by the Community Team for gathering Dev Responses in, for ease of reading.

$ilent_$trider said:

These objectives are just guides, right? They don't provide any benefits (besides the ones aimed for), correct?
Completing the objectives that are in the game on release will confer no benefits other than earning the related Achievement. Similarly, the sub-objectives along the way confer no benefits other than the ability to progress towards completing the final objective. There's nothing in the system that prevents it though, it could also be used to build a kind of "RPG questline" campaign where the player gets rewards for every challenge they complete or even an invisible HOI-style Focus Tree system where rewards are provided at each node. We haven't used it like that because we wanted the player to pursue the Objectives challenges for guidance, not for extrinsic rewards.

Jorlem said:

Is it possible to invert this, as an additional option? That is, would it be possible to select a country, and then the game could show me what could be interesting challenges for that country?
Good idea, but unfortunately no. Of course we could invert the flow and have you pick from the Objectives' Recommended Countries first and then see which they're associated with, but at least at launch that would only be a list of a dozen or so countries each with a single Objective. Clicking through the objectives is just as easy at that point. Perhaps it would make sense to add this kind of selection flow in the future as more Objectives and Recommended Countries are added, though!

Dimo87 said:

I really like this system. Helps you focus on your goals for your campaign and can still do sandbox if you want.

You mentioned that countries in the game are recommended for interesting reasons, whether there are extra challenges or opportunities for that. However, I would love to know what those are in a blurb besides just what it normally states when choosing a nation. Some nations I get, but others I would love to know why so I can see exactly what will be exciting about playing that country for the objective.
Good point! We intend to update the descriptions accordingly for each country/objective pair, the text in these screenshots is a more generic sitrep blurb at the moment.

Bearjuden said:

Will new objectives be written and updated on a regular basis or does Paradox consider this to be the three that the game needs and that's it?

I remember at the tail end of CK2 the team released an "interesting character" every few weeks and it was totally optional but it was a nice touch that this kind of could fit into. A bit of "this month's idea is do X". Like you say, sometimes you aren't sure what you want to do, but with only three ideas those will eventually run out.
Hard to say at this point how frequently we will update or add more objectives post-release, but we definitely intended it to be infinitely expandable with e.g. expansions. Whether we'll ever turn it into more of a "monthly challenge" type thing I can't comment on now but the possibility exists!

Enska said:

Some of the recommended country picks seem rather weird though. Wouldn't Qing and Russia better fit as potential hegemons than as your first pick for egalitarian society? Similarly, Spain, Egypt and Japan do not seem like the most obvious picks for hegemons, even if they might be well positioned for easy pickings.
Weird, perhaps - but certainly interesting, which is our measuring stick. Qing and Russia are easier and more obvious candidates for Hegemony than Egalitarianism, but that also means players will likely gravitate towards that combination anyway without suggestions. Turning those countries Egalitarian however is a greater challenge and more likely to provide a unique and dynamic playthrough. Taking an isolationist country with a lot of early-game domestic concerns like Japan and turning them outward into a hegemonic superpower is similarly the kind of thing that can really shake a game up. Keep in mind you can always play any objective with any country if you like!

Twiggly_the_Gnome said:

I wonder how hard it would be to create multiplayer objectives as a more direct alternative to PvP.
Objectives are sadly not supported in multiplayer, at least not at launch. This is less about a technical restriction than a matter of the choices you make when you start a game though, so we may enable this in the future if the idea becomes popular / a requested feature.

GeneralUrist said:

Seems pretty good. Will objectives be moddable so that major overhaul mods can create their own tutorials?
Yes, 100%, nothing prevents you from using this system to make anything from tutorials to full campaign modes.

LucasG21 said:

Can you reveal what the next DD topic will be, or is that still a secret for now?
It's not a secret, just not nailed down yet with a lot of us on vacation at the moment. It'll be a surprise to all of us :)

king of AR said:

will we be able to continue past the end date?
Yes! Of course you're going to start running out of content eventually, like technological innovation stopping with early 20th century tech, so the longer you play the stranger things will undoubtedly start to feel. But you're free to keep going for as long as you're having fun!

Idle America said:

Will there be an option to select a specific achievement as your goal?
Each Objective has a linked Achievement, so by picking an Objective you're also picking one of those Achievements to pursue. Of course not all Achievements have Objectives though, and you can gain other Achievements in the process of pursuing an Objective too.
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To make sure, we can just not use any of these objectives, switch it all off, right?

EDIT: my bad, on one screenshot there is option to play without objective visible
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Kind of cool TBH. It is unlikely that I will use it, but it provides a slightly more structured gameplay style for people that are still getting into PDS games (or just want that style). Also the possibilities for modders are cool.
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These objectives are just guides, right? They don't provide any benefits (besides the ones aimed for), correct?
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I hope the game is fun to play without following objectives, achievements or missions.

In other games is nice to have those as a guide but I will always come back for the thrill of the gameplay.

Will we have a DD on a gameplay study? What is the average time the player is clicking, moving through the map, etc…? Which menus are the most used? Etc…

In the times of meta, amazon and other big data firms, I am sure PDS has this information from playtesting.

EDIT: like this telemetry DD from HOIV https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/developer-diary/hoi4-dev-diary-telemetry-and-data.1511747/
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It's a nice way, without being a tutorial, to guide with certain goes players when they want to achieve certain outcomes but dont have the experience or economic/historical knowledge to know how to achieve it. I still take it as a kind of guide as all three of them can be achieved at the same time or one leads to achiving another.

As a side note, please tell you you are not going to release the game without giving the player an option at the start of the game to play with the Carlist as Spain and change the regime, please...
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If completing Objectives provide no in-game bonuses then they have zero value.
If you mean something like: When completing sub-objective A towards Economic Hegemony, let's say, become the supplier of more than 50% of the world's teas, you want to gain an extra bonus on tea production, then I wholeheartedly disagree here. If these objectives are there only to provide guidance, I say, finally.
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Tutorial - Economic victory - Military victory - shooting yourself in the foot. Very nice objectives.
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Educational value. But I also prefer to just jump in and bash myself repeatably into the game till i get it.
Yeah. They said it's not an extra set of tutorials, but I still can't quite help thinking them as some sort of follow-up for tutorials. "Now that you have grasped the basics, it's time to learn building up economy, and then aggressive play." Also, sub objectives are obvious mile stones that allows eating the elephant piece-by-piece.
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Yeah. They said it's not an extra set of tutorials, but I still can't quite help thinking them as some sort of follow-up for tutorials. "Now that you have grasped the basics, it's time to learn building up economy, and then aggressive play." Also, sub objectives are obvious mile stones that allows eating the elephant piece-by-piece.
Yea, it's way to encourage and teach players how to decide what to do when they aren't used to games with such open play style. For players who aren't used to this style of game it can be incredibly daunting to start with so many options but nothing to tell them which way they should go even once they understand the basics.
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This is sweet. Any chance this system will come to other existing Paradox games? When trying to get someone into them I’ve been able to teach them enough of the mechanics, but its often harder explaining “why” they should play, and this seems like it could remedy that.

Also will these be added over time? Especially as expansions release this seems like a cool way to encourage people to experiment with new features, empires etc.
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