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Victoria 3 - Dev Diary #64 - Post-Release Plans

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Hello and welcome to the first of many post-release Victoria 3 dev diaries! The game may now be out at last (weird, isn’t it?) but for us that just means a different phase of work has begun, the work of post-release support. We’ve been quite busy collecting feedback, fixing bugs and making balance changes, and are now working on the free patches that will be following the release, the first of which is a hotfix that should already be with you at the time you read this.

Our plans are naturally not limited to just hotfixes though, and so the topic of this dev diary is to outline what you can expect us to be focusing on in the first few larger free patches. We will not be focusing on our long-term ambitions for the game today; we certainly have no shortage of cool ideas for where we could take Victoria 3 in the years to come, but right now our focus is post-release support and patches, not expansion plans.

However, before I start, I want to share my own personal thoughts on the release. Overall, I consider the release a great success, and have been blown away by the sheer amount of people that have bought and are now playing Victoria 3. I’ve had a hand in this project since its earliest design inception, and have been Game Director of Victoria 3 since I left Stellaris in late 2018, and while it certainly hasn’t been the easiest game to work on at times, it is by far the most interesting and fulfilling project I’ve ever directed. The overarching vision of the game - a ‘society builder’ that puts internal development, economy and politics in the driving seat - may not have changed much since then, but the mechanics and systems have gone through innumerable iterations (a prominent internal joke in the team is ‘just one more Market Rework, please?’) to arrive where we are today, at what I consider to be a great game, one that lives up to our vision - but one that could do with improvement in a few key areas.

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The first of these areas is military: The military system, being very different from the military systems of previous Grand Strategy Games, is one of those systems that has gone through a lot of iterations. While I believe that we have landed on a very solid core of how we want military gameplay in Victoria 3 to function and we have no intention of moving back towards a more tactical system, it is a system that suffers from some interface woes and which could do with selective deepening and increasing player control in specific areas. A few of the things we’re looking into improving and expanding on for the military system follow here, in no particular order:
  • Addressing some of the rough edges in how generals function at the moment, such as improving unit selection for battles and balancing the overall progression along fronts
  • Adding the ability for countries to set strategic objectives for their generals
  • Increasing the visibility of navies and making admirals easier to work with
  • Improving the ability of players to get an overview of their military situation and exposing more data, like the underlying numbers behind battle sizes
  • Finding solutions for the issue where theaters can split into multiple (sometimes even dozens) of tiny fronts as pockets are created
  • Experimenting with controlled front-splitting for longer fronts

The second area is historical immersion: While we have always been upfront with the fact that Victoria 3 is a historical sandbox rather than a strictly historical game, we still want players to feel as though the events unfolding forms a plausible alt-history, and right now there are some expected historical outcomes that are either not happening often enough, or happening in such a way that they become immersion-breaking. Again, in no particular order, some areas targeted for improvement in the short term:
  • Ensuring the American Civil War has a decent chance to happen, happens in a way that makes sense (slave states rising up to defend slavery, etc), and isn’t easily avoidable by the player.
  • Tweaking content such as the Meiji Restoration, Alaska purchase and so on in a way that they can more frequently be successfully performed by the AI, through a mix of AI improvements and content tweaks
  • Working to expose and improve content such as expeditions and journal entries that is currently too difficult for players to find or complete
  • Ensuring unifications such as Italy, Germany and Canada doesn’t constantly happen decades ahead of the historical schedule, and increasing the challenge of unifying Italy and Germany in particular
  • General AI tweaks to have AI countries play in a more believable, immersive way

We're balancing cultural/religious tolerance laws by having more restrictive laws increase the loyalty of accepted pops, so there is an actual trade-off involved.
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The third area is diplomacy. While I think what we do have here is quite good and not in need of any significant redesign, this is an area that could do with even more deepening and there’s some options we want to add to diplomacy and diplomatic plays:
  • ‘Reverse-swaying’, that is the ability to offer to join a side in a play in exchange for something
  • The ability to expand your primary demands in a diplomatic play beyond just one wargoal (though this has to be done in such a way that there’s still a reason for countries to actually back down)
  • More things to offer in diplomatic plays, like giving away your own land
  • Trading (or at least giving away) states
  • Foreign investment and some form of construction in other countries, at least if they’re part of your market
  • Improving and expanding on interactions with and from subjects, such as being able to grant and ask for more autonomy through a diplomatic action

While those are the major areas targeted for improvement, there are other things that fall outside the scope of either warfare, historical immersion and diplomacy where we’ve also heard your feedback and want to make improvements, a few examples being:
  • Making it easier to get an overview of your Pops and Pop factors such as Needs, Standard of Living and Radicals/Loyalists
  • Experimenting with autonomous private-sector construction and increasing the differences in gameplay between different economic systems (though as I’ve said many times, we are never going to take construction entirely out of the hands of the player)
  • Ironing out some of the kinks with the late-game economy and the AI’s ability to develop key resources such as oil and rubber
  • Making it more interesting and ‘competitive’ but also more challenging to play in a more conservative and autocratic style

One of the first mechanics we're tweaking is Legitimacy, increasing its impact and making it so the share of votes in government matters far more, especially with more democratic laws.
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The above is of course not even close to being an exhaustive list of everything we want to do, and I can’t promise that everything on the list is going to make it into the first few patches, or that our priorities won’t change as we continue to read and take in your feedback, only that as it stands these are our plans for the near future. I will also remind once again that everything mentioned above is something we want for our free post-release patches. At some point we will start talking about our plans for expansions, but that is definitely not anytime soon!

What I can promise you though, is that we’re going to strive to keep you informed and do our best to give you insight into the post-release development process with dev diaries, videos and streams, just like we did before the game was released. I’ll return next week as we start covering the details of the work we’re doing for our first post-release patch. See you then!
 

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BrianJF said:


I would like to see a slowing down of the research/tech progress. Playing a Prussia then North German Confederation I was getting Dreadnoughts and Machin Guns in the 1880's on top of the production tech's that were far too advanced for the period. The tech tree moves way too quickly for the time period being played imo.
Yeah I've got a few outstanding notes to myself to see what I can do to address that but not make it a painful process as a result. Don't want to just nerf tech spread into the ground though, need to find that middleground. But I am keeping eyes on it, and if you don't see it in the next few patches thats because I'm working on a few other things first.


priamossz said:


one solution could be to add additional filler techs between some of the most outstanding techs no? It could even build into new trade goods or other fun stuff to fix this issue. Bare in mind I havent bought the game yet (my PC too old), its just a suggestion.
I want to refrain from filler techs for the sake of filler techs, we will have enough techs as the years come and this game continues. Right now its just to slow things down a bit so tech feels more of a goal you achieve instead of something thrown your way.
 
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Interesting - going to hold off on getting the game till I see how these improvements pan out, but its looking like its trending in the right direction.

Can we please at least visualise armies even if we stick with the more autonomous front system? You could do so much with units actually fighting each other visually, especially later as devastation and trench warfare comes into play. Would be amazing to see the transition from the heraldry and intricate, colorful, gold braided uniforms of the early 19th century to the mud n' blood, soiled, muted colors of WW1.
 
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Very nice!

But your post-release plans infographic reminds me: why aren't more of the loading screens/event pictures not available as wallpapers/screensavers? I've only been able to use the Turkish coffeeship one due to the fact that the other ones contain a distracting logo.
 
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Victoria 3 has become my second favorite paradox game (Stellaris is an untouchable beast) so I am looking forward to seeing how the game develops in the years to come.

These changes look good, and I look forward to their implementation, but I am looking forward to the big updates that are undoubtedly coming at some point in the future.
 
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Are there any plans to reintroduce stockpiles? I think that would make the economy gameplay much more realistic and add more depth to the military aspect.
 
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To all those people saying that the lack of micromanagement in warfare is bad, be quiet and go back to hoi4. V2 wasn't a tactical anything.
The issue with war right now isn't the lack of micro, it's the inability to figure out what's going on.
 
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Promised changes are amazing, but what really caught my attention is the decision of placing expansions in the back burner.
This shows how confident you are in this product of yours. Keep it up!
 
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Are there any plans to reintroduce stockpiles? I think that would make the economy gameplay much more realistic and add more depth to the military aspect.
I think I had enough hours in factorio to want something other to play in Victoria 3. But I wouldnt mind a dynamic war supplies mechanics, something abstracted like gold reserves and budget but more intervened into military aspects of the nations, not just a simple chest-like stockpile with numerical stuff in it.
 
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Are there plans to patch up the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom?
Currently, it's completely controlled by a weird event chain that randomly creates 10% Protestant population in each province, and will detonate as soon as there is more than 30% unrest, regardless of the cause of the unrest.
There is already a political system in the game to simulate the emergence of a revolution, and there is no reason to simulate a revolution with a chain of events that players have difficulty understanding the internal logic of.
 
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Historical Immersion, Visibility of Naval Mechanics and Reverse-swaying are top of the list of what I'd like to see after a week (it's been that long!?) of playing.
Really glad to see them feature in your post release plans!
 
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Re: Diplomacy— will there be some balancing of subject types? Going through all the hoops needed to make a country my protectorate (very low infamy, having a much larger gdp+military, friendly relations, in custom union, and an obligation) I didn’t find much if any benefit to it. Whereas puppeting a country is extremely strong and also gives you income.
 
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All good stuff! I hope that, in addition to exposing and improving journal entries, there will also be plainly more of them and other sorts of flavor. The more flavor added and ways for different countries to feel different to play, the better. Besides, there are some historical things that are close to impossible to happen in the base game right now, like the coup of Napoleon III, for instance, that could be solved with the addition of the right journal entries.
 
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This reads like a post-Early Access launch roadmap. Not that I don't want all of these improvements, but it's baffling that we got to a full price, 1.0 release with none of this in the game. Please consider actual early access in the future, or at least a vastly expanded beta program than the one you have now.
 
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