Victoria 3 - Dev Diary #6 - Interest Groups

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Hello once again and welcome back to yet another Victoria 3 dev diary. Where previous dev diaries have been focusing on the economy, we’re now going to switch gears to another core pillar of the Victoria series - internal politics! More specifically, we’re going to be talking about Interest Groups, which form the nucleus of Victoria 3’s political gameplay.

What then, are Interest Groups? Fundamentally, an Interest Group is a collection of pops that espouse certain political views and want to change the country to be more in line with those views. Interest Groups are drawn from a number of different templates, but will vary in their exact views from country to country, based on factors such as the local religion, which social movements have appeared in the country or the personal views of their leader.

The Landowners is an Interest Group dominated by the Aristocracy and tends to be firmly in the conservative side of politics
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As mentioned, Interest Groups are fundamentally made up of Pops - all individuals in all Pops are either members of an Interest Group or Politically Inactive, with the ratio in each based on factors such as Profession, Wealth, Literacy etc. Individuals inside Pops contribute Political Strength to their Interest Group of choice, with the amount they contribute again dependent on multiple factors, the main ones being their material Wealth and the status (and/or votes!) they are offered under the nation’s power structure.

For example, a single wealthy Aristocrat in an Oligarchy will provide hundreds or even thousands times the political strength of a poor laborer. The total Political Strength of all Pops in an Interest Group is what gives it its level of Clout - the amount of political weight it can assert on the country and the government. It’s important to note though that Pops are not unified in which Interest Groups they support - individuals within Pops are the ones who decide their Interest Group, and a single Pop can potentially have individuals supporting every Interest Group in the game (in different numbers).

Some Pops have no political strength at all, usually due to being disenfranchised under the nation’s laws (such as people of a religion or culture that is discriminated against, or women in countries that haven’t instituted women’s suffrage). These Pops are ‘outside the system’ so to speak, unable to demand reform through the regular political system of Interest Groups, and instead having to rely on other methods to put pressure on the government, but we won’t focus on those today.

Individual members of a Pop can support different Interest Groups - or stay out of politics altogether!
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As mentioned above, Interest Groups have a number of ideologies which determine their views on which laws the country should or should not enact. Different Interest Groups will have different ideologies (the Landowners are significantly more conservative than the Trade Unions, for example - shocking, I know!) but these are not entirely set in stone - they can change over the course of the game and will also vary based on the current leader of the Interest Group, who comes with his or her own personal ideology and view of the world. Additionally, some Interest Groups in certain countries have unique ideologies colored by their religion and culture, such as the Confucian Scholars Interest Group in Qing China who (unsurprisingly) espouse a Confucian ideology.

Interest Groups will generally favor laws that benefit them in some way
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I mentioned previously that Interest Groups have a level of Clout based on the total Political Strength of their constituent Pops. Clout is calculated by comparing their Political Strength to that of the other Interest Groups in the country - if all the Interest Groups in Belgium put together have 100k Political Strength and the Landowners have 30k, they correspondingly get 30% of the Clout in Belgium. The Interest Group’s Clout will determine their classification - Powerful, Influential or Marginalized.

Interest Groups also have a level of Approval, which is based on factors such as how much they approve of the country’s laws, whether they are in government or in opposition, and how many of their individual members are Loyalists or Radicals (more on those in a later dev diary). There are numerous other factors that can affect Approval as well, such as how you react to certain events or decisions that you take.

Together, the classification and Approval of an Interest Group determines which Traits are active for an Interest Group at any given time, and how impactful they are. There are different traits, positive and negative, with positive traits being activated when an Interest Group is happy and negative ones when they are… not so happy. If an Interest Group is Powerful, the effects of any traits they have active (good or bad) are stronger, while an Interest Group that is Marginalized cannot activate traits at all, as they are too weak to exert an effect on the whole country.

Traits are, of course, not the only way that Interest Groups can affect a country, and it’s even possible for one (or several!) angry Interest Groups to start a civil war, potentially bringing in foreign countries to support them.

Keep the aristocracy happy, and they’ll be more willing to reinvest their ‘hard-earned’ money into the country
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Now, something that’s been a hotly debated topic in the community in regards to Interest Groups is Political Parties and whether they will be a part of Victoria 3 so I want to briefly touch on this. What I can tell you for now is that we are currently looking into a solution where parties can form in certain countries as constellations of Interest Groups holding a shared political platform. This is something that’s by no means fully nailed down at this point though, so don’t take this as a 100% firm commitment to how they would function. What I can tell you for sure is that we will come back to this particular topic later!

That’s all for today, though we’ll certainly be coming back to the subject of Interest Groups and looking at the different types you will encounter in later dev diaries. With July and summer vacations coming up, we’re going to take a short break from Development Diaries, but we’ll be back on July 22nd as Mikael returns to continue talking about politics in Victoria 3, on the subject of Laws.
 
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This comment is reserved by the Community Team for gathering Dev Responses in, for ease of reading.

ajokitty said:
In the image of the Landowners Interest Group, does the blue Ideology indicate the personal Ideology of the Interest Group leader?
Yes, exactly.

Jef Wauters said:
1. It seems like IGs are not considered the same as ideology, that's pretty cool. Is it possible for my armed forces to become partially communist?
The Armed Forces' typical Ideologies favor laws that help sustain a strong national defense and keep the populace loyal, but it's entirely possible for the Armed Forces to gain a Leader that has a different ideological bent. In that case you can indeed end up with an Armed Forces that is strongly pro-Communist, which may be beneficial or problematic for you.

Make Victoria 3 said:
How do the views of an IG change? Is this mostly dependent on the (hopefully then not fully) RNG based leader?
Outside of major events, yes. Leaders are randomly generated but this is strongly influenced by the Interest Group in question and the state of your country. You might end up with an Abolitionist as the country's religious leader, and this might be much more likely depending on what your state religion is, while you're not going to get an Anarchist Leader of the Armed Forces.

YoMomma123456 said:
Can different interest groups potentially overlap on certain ideologies?
Definitely, there are many cases where Interest Groups both share ideologies (the Armed Forces and Petit-Bourgeoisie are both Patriotic, for example) and where the Interest Groups' ideologies make them ideological allies for the purpose of changing a certain Law but not another. For example, the Intelligentsia would rather have Religious Schools than No Schools, and so would the Devout - but once enacted, the Intelligentsia would usually prefer a more secular school system while the Devout would loathe dismantling Religious Schools in favor of some other flavor, and would rather get rid of organized education altogether.

paulivor7321 said:
I would like to ask whether elections will be in the game and if so, how will they be implemented?
Elections will be in the game for sure! We will cover the mechanics of those in a separate dev diary, but for now I can say that while non-democratic systems tend to experience political shifts gradually as Pops change and update their preferences in response to (mostly) economic forces, elections will have the possibility to be major turning points for a country as mass political strength is redistributed all at once. They also tend to (but don't have to) grant relatively more political strength to the lower classes, which shifts the political balance of power.

Naga Niome said:
So what happens when women's suffrage occurs? Is it simply a Dependence decrease, and an increase in that affected Pops social consciousness?
More Dependents get to cast a vote, which makes the piece of the Political Strength pie made up of Votes even larger. This in turn tends to grant more political strength to the common folk.

Samitte said:
I hope these are fully moddable from the ground up
They definitely, certainly, 100% are.

CrackingShow said:
Are you able to confirm whether you are able to remain as conservative/religious country throughout the game? Or is it inevitable that you shift away from Piety and Conservatism towards liberalism.
You definitely can! One of the design pillars of Victoria 3 was to not treat liberalism as an inevitable progression but rather something that emerges organically from your actions and which you could try to hold back, or encourage, or revert. There are certainly forces (mostly economic) in the world that encourages the trend towards liberalism but you can try to build a perfect pious agrarian society if you so wish.

To try to address a couple of other questions all at once: Interest Groups only represents the "conventional" political forces in your country, those who could at least be marginally heard in the halls of power. While they can rebel against the government if they dislike where the country is going, not all rebellious forces in your country are represented by Interest Groups. So in the case of cultural nationalists / secessionists, minority religious groups, colonial subjects, and other Pops who are systemically disenfranchised in the country, there are other (usually more direct) ways in which they can influence you.

Make Victoria 3 said:
Aristocrats have wifes as well though, so womans sufferage should really not change the influence of the common folk or what am i missing?
Even under democratic systems Aristocrats gain most of their political strength from Wealth. So while women Aristocrats will gain as many votes as the same number of women Laborers (under universal suffrage at least) proportionally the resulting Clout of the Interest Groups they support will be quite different.

Clophiroth said:
Can laws affect the power and attraction of IGs? So if you have Trade Unions banned (or just a single, State-controlled Trade Union) would they have less influence in your politics?
Yes, for example Religious Schools increases Devout pop attraction :)


joe9594 said:
Also on this subject is it possible, with a sufficiently homogenous and pious population to get just as much benefit out of religious schools as out of publics schools or will public schools be more expensive but ultimately superior to religious schools in every instance (at least in terms of education provided)
Public Schools will provide more literacy/be more expensive but there are more side effects (like Devout attraction, IG approval, etc) :)

8816boo said:
1. How different will the desires of different IGs be from country to country? For example historically Southern aristocrats in the USA supported slavery, whereas British aristocrats generally did not (and vice versa with having a monarch). Can these change over time, for example would a monarchist USA eventually be able to create pro monarchist aristocrats?
2. Will we have the same interest groups regardless of government? For example will we still have the landowner IG in a communist country?
While Interest Groups in all countries follow the same broad templates, there can be local variations. From your example, the US variant of the Landowners (Southern Planters) do support slavery, while in other countries where slavery has already been abolished the Landowners tend to be ambivalent to it. In some countries they might even oppose it as uncouth and barbaric.

However, while it's possible for Interest Group types to differ from country to country and for Interest Group Ideologies to change in response to events or temporarily along with their Leaders, the extent by which this happen is fairly limited. For the political system to be interesting to engage with the Ideologies of each group have to be balanced such that by default any given Law will please some groups and anger others. If the groups stray too far from their molds then a subset of the Laws would become uninteresting to try to pass, and if the Interest Groups were to change their ideologies too frequently it'd be hard to get a handle on what they stand for and what role they play.

Government form, or rather the legal implications of the government form, can have a huge impact on Interest Groups' power. To use your example, in a communist country private ownership is abolished, which alters the Ownership Production Method of buildings. This in turn effectively abolishes both capitalism and the aristocracy, which devastates the power base of the Industrialists and Landowners respectively. So after a communist government form has been instituted there may still be some holdouts who support the old ways, but it's likely these Interest Group will become Marginalized in favor of more powerful Trade Unions, Intelligentsia, and Rural Folk. So while the vestige of the Interest Group will remain and will re-emerge if conditions changes, it will be rendered irrelevant without a power base.

Lithaeus said:
Well, I guess the follow up question would be, could you create a religious conservative society, which is industrialized? I would hate that choosing a conservative/religious pathway would lock you into an agrarian economy (since that historically was not always true).
Yes, but it's harder. A more industrialized economy requires a more educated workforce, and a more literate population is both more likely to get involved with politics and also more likely to support Interest Groups that demand liberal reforms like voting rights and free speech. One way to try to play this is to try to max out on Authority so you can try to keep these sentiments under control. If one of these movements should boil over, you can put it back down with a powerful military. Another strategy if you have a lot of workforce at your disposal is to not modernize your factories, instead relying on large quantities of poorly educated Laborers rather than Machinists and Engineers. The former tend to be less politically engaged in the first place and also have less political strength on account of their low incomes.

Benjamintf1 said:
The idea of a direct election, where you count pops votes, rather then use clout to calculate the more devious and beurocratic ways groups can influence elections, but also the ruling coalitions those develop seems...shortsighted.
It's both. While the precise mechanics around how votes are counted and what role parties will play (if any) is something we're not quite yet ready to talk about, one thing that is not under discussion is that both political strength derived from Pop Wealth as well as votes cast in democratic elections will definitely count towards the effective political influence each power bloc will have. In addition, political strength can be affected by Laws (e.g. Monarchy giving more power to the Landowners) and even things like geography (Pops in the capital do get a bonus to their political strength compared to Pops who live elsewhere, while Pops in unincorporated states like colonies get much less.)

So no, we're definitely not presenting an idealized version of how democracy magically creates perfectly equitable distribution of power due to 1 man, 1 vote. But we also want elections to act as important events where it's entirely possible that the balance of power suddenly shifts overnight due to powerful popular movements, public sentiment, or voter manipulation.


nikkythegreat said:
Crap now I want a voting system that factors in literacy. Say pops with 42% literacy would only give 1/2 the votes as as pops of the same size but with 84% literacy.
Little teaser for you:
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Under Census Suffrage, only literate Pops are given the vote. The Intelligentsia thinks this is actually just as good as Universal Suffrage, something the Populist Trade Unions disagrees with.


SignedName said:
Based on a Discord comment I saw that most lower-class pops will be politically inactive- this was not really the case for the United States at the start date, however, as 58% of the voting-eligible population voted in the 1836 election, 80% in the 1840 election, and that number rarely fell below 70% until after the turn of the century. Will historical voter turnout numbers be used to assign pops to Interest Groups where applicable?
Lower class political participation depends heavily on literacy.


Ojodeaguila said:
A little question about literacy rate and jobs, how will work the literacy cap for the jobs?

For example is you control Spain and your workers have a literacy rate of 30%, and for a mechanist job the requisite are 40%, No one will take the job?, or Will someone take the jobs and create a mechanist por with 40% literacy and the literacy rate of the workers will become lower.

If the actual solution, is that no one will take the open job of machinist, there will be a big problem with the simulation beacuse for some jobs you will pass form 1 million of peoples uncapable of taking best jobs and the next day when the 1 million pop reach de 40% literacy rate, you will get 1 million or capable pops for the new jobs.
This is something we'll explain in a future dev diary about Qualifications.


SignedName said:
I think it would make sense for Dixie clergy to identify with the Planter IG over the Devout/Pious IG in that case, as the church at the time served mainly to advance the interests of the slaveholding class. The issue however is how to ensure that happens instead of Dixie clergy being ahistorically abolitionist. The same can be said of lower-class rural Dixie pops identifying with the Planters rather than Rural Folk.
This could be done by adding an increased weight for certain pops (such as Clergy) in slave states to support the Southern Planters.


YoMomma123456 said:
Hi, I have a question since yesterday:
I came to wonder why marginalized groups don't have their interest groups. We did after all have abolitionists and suffragettes (I understand that we didn't necessarily have abolitionist pressure groups comprised of slaves haha, but suffragettes are (?) the same as any interest group). So as far as I understand interest groups are not 1:1 with pressure groups?
I like that other interest groups can have anti-slavery ideology though (which is true to history)!
We have a different way of handling single issue pressure groups that we'll get into later.


Emp_Palpatine said:
Well... That's not how censitary suffrage works.

1840's France had 2/3 litteracy according to military statistics but only around 300 000/400 000 active electors. There should definitely be some wealth threshold there.
France would have Wealth Voting under our systems (which requires Wealth 20 or higher to vote), though we could also add a lower wealth voting threshold to Census Suffrage.


mikhail321 said:
Great idea, but with some caveats. Historically this approach was often just a disguise for racial discrimination. As in game discrimination in schooling can lead to the same effect, it would be surprising for supposedly "progressive" Intelligentsia to be fond of such laws.
Well-to-do liberals have frequently supported a whole lot of not so progressive things throughout history (and still do to this day).


Alfred Dreyfus said:
I'm not sure about this "high literacy = demand liberal reforms" and "low literacy = don't demand liberal reforms".

There were countries with a very literate population that supported non-liberal regimes (Prussia/Germany, for example).

Literate population should demand reforms, but not necessarily liberal reforms: they should demand right-wing reforms too.

Also, I think public schools could be used by the government to promote the government's ideology (no matter if its left or right wing).
Yeah, that's not what I meant. High Literacy = more political participation. High Literacy + poor Laborer frustrated they have no voice in government and police beat them when they try to organize = more political participation by people who want more liberal reforms.

Public Schools causing increased attraction for government Interest Group is a neat idea, thanks!
 
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Now, something that’s been a hotly debated topic in the community in regards to Interest Groups is Political Parties and whether they will be a part of Victoria 3 so I want to briefly touch on this. What I can tell you for now is that we are currently looking into a solution where parties can form in certain countries as constellations of Interest Groups holding a shared political platform. This is something that’s by no means fully nailed down at this point though, so don’t take this as a 100% firm commitment to how they would function. What I can tell you for sure is that we will come back to this particular topic later!
This looks a really nice way of getting political parties to work with the interest group system, thanks for listening to us!
 
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Avernite

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Hmm. An intriguing-looking mix of EU4 estates and Stellaris Factions. I like it!
 
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With July and summer vacations coming up, we’re going to take a short break from Development Diaries, but we’ll be back on July 22nd as Mikael returns to continue talking about politics in Victoria 3, on the subject of Laws.

Radicalization increased by 1.
 
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How will interest groups be handled in the colonies? I can see a big interest group of, per example, Indian farmers, but how will they affect the politics back at home?
 
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Now, something that’s been a hotly debated topic in the community in regards to Interest Groups is Political Parties and whether they will be a part of Victoria 3 so I want to briefly touch on this. What I can tell you for now is that we are currently looking into a solution where parties can form in certain countries as constellations of Interest Groups holding a shared political platform. This is something that’s by no means fully nailed down at this point though, so don’t take this as a 100% firm commitment to how they would function. What I can tell you for sure is that we will come back to this particular topic later!
Oh hell yeah, this is exactly what I wanted (a common theme so far)
 
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I like the idea of political parties forming over time and being more dynamic than in Vicky 2 (if this is indeed the direction you guys go). The party system in the United States was key in sectional tensions. In the second party system, both the Democrats and the Whigs had Northern and Southern wings. Those parties fracturing (The Whigs in the early ‘50s, the Democrats in 1860) was key to the development of the Civil War.
 
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Neingoyim1945

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Having political parties form under certain conditions makes sense as they had varying influences in different countries. It didn’t make sense in Victoria 2 to have political parties in some random uncivilized nation. I commend Victoria 3 for taking a different approach that I really like.
 
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A. Blackthorn

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Nice to have a confirmation about the inclusion of Political Parties under certain conditions. Thank you for bringing us this insight on the sistem, Sir Wizzington!
 
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Jef Wauters

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IGs definitely are looking interesting! Just wish there was more said about them. I have two notes and questions:

1. It seems like IGs are not considered the same as ideology, that's pretty cool. Is it possible for my armed forces to become partially communist?

2. It seems like IGs are a zero sum game, unless I'm mistaken. That seems a bit odd to me, in a sense. Surely a landowner can also be a member of the Anglican church and provide his sizeable political clout to both causes?
 
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