Victoria 3 - Dev Diary #7 - Laws

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After a couple weeks vacation, we’ve now returned to our usual weekly dev diary schedule! Today we will be diving deeper into Victoria’s politics to talk about Laws. Legal reform in your country creates different political, economic, and social conditions for your Pops, which over time changes the fabric of your society. This change can be slow and incremental, or fast and revolutionary - sometimes literally.

There are three major categories of Laws with seven sub-categories in each, which themselves contain up to half a dozen specific Law options. As always everything here is being heavily iterated upon, including these sub-categories, so the laws you see at release will not exactly match what we’re telling you here!

Power Structure
These Laws determine who is in control of different aspects of your country. It includes fundamental Governance Principles such as Monarchy and Parliamentary Republic, which determine who your Head of State is and what kind of powers they wield. Distribution of Power ranges from Autocracy and Oligarchy through various extensions of the voting franchise all the way to Universal Suffrage. Citizenship and Church and State Laws govern which Pops suffer legal discrimination in your country due to their culture or religion. The principles on which your Bureaucracy is run - such as hereditary or elected positions for bureaucrats - determine how expensive it is to keep track of each citizen and how much Institutions cost to run, but also directly benefit some groups over others. Conscription lets you raise a part of your civilian workforce as soldiers in times of war, and Internal Security governs how the Home Affairs anti-insurgent Institution works.

The Power Structure Laws of a typical European nation after having made a few strides towards liberalization. The numbers in green refers to the number of alternative Laws currently available to be enacted. This indicator is used throughout the UI to reveal how many options a sub-menu has without having to open it.
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Economy
This set of Laws define where your treasury’s money comes from and how it can be spent. Your Economic System is crucial - this governs whether your country operates on principles of Mercantilism, Isolationism, or Free Trade, among others. Income Tax determines which Pops should be taxed and what range of tax burden is appropriate. No Income Tax at all is of course an option, and legislation to such effect will make some Pops both rich and happy! Poll Taxation, or levying a fixed tax per head, is another option primarily used in less industrialized societies. (There are other avenues of taxation as well, but these are the ones driven by legislation.) Finally, you can choose what form the Institutions of Colonization, Policing, Education System, and Health System will take in your country. For example, you can keep government spending under control by instituting Charity Hospitals, which have limited effect and boost the power of the clergy, or you could pass a Public Health Insurance Law which is costlier but can have a greater impact on the health of the masses.

Payroll Taxes require reasonable lower-class wages and a centralized population to pay off, but if so can form the economic basis for a budding welfare system as seen here. A tax system based on Levying might be more lucrative in countries with huge Peasant populations.
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Human Rights
Enshrining the rights of the individual was a hallmark of the era. These Laws define how your Pops are treated and what manner of control you can enforce over their lives. Free Speech determines the degree of control you can enforce over your Interest Groups but restrictive rights throttle the spread of innovation. The Labor Rights Laws include outlawing serfdom, but extends all the way to establishing a Workplace Safety Institution to reduce the number of people literally crushed in the jaws of industry. Children’s Rights and the Rights of Women have a number of effects such as shifting the Workforce/Dependent demographics, affecting Dependent income, and extending the franchise. Welfare ensures the poor and disabled in your society are taken care of. Migration Laws can be used to influence Pop migration. Slavery Laws determine the legal status of owning people in your country. More details on that subject in a future dev diary.

Not a lot of concessions have been made here, but at least children may congregate freely after the factory whistle signals the end of their grueling workday.
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Laws are almost always completely independent from one another. You can create a Constitutional Monarchy with hereditary succession but Universal Suffrage, or an Autocratic Presidential Republic with a strongman leader at the top of the food chain. You can have a Secret Police and still permit fully Protected Speech.

Our aim is to set all countries up with the best fitting Laws compared to what they actually had in 1836. This will vary wildly between countries, and will greatly influence what sorts of conditions and strategies are available to you at the start of the game. For example, the USA starts with Total Separation of Church and State, ensuring no Pops suffer legal discrimination on account of their religion, while Sardinia-Piedmont doesn’t take kindly to non-Catholic Pops. This will affect Pops who live in the country currently, but will also limit which Pops might migrate there - few Pops would make it their preference to move to a country where they’re mistreated by law.

As a result of these starting Laws Sardinia-Piedmont might have to look towards colonization or conquest if they start to run out of their native workforce, while North America is likely to get regular migration waves to help expand the frontier. By connecting these effects to starting Laws, many historically appropriate and recognizable aspects and behaviors of Victorian-era nations - such as their attractiveness to immigrants - are connected to a tangible property (e.g. poor or oppressed Pops emigrating to the USA both because of its demand for workforce and also its liberal Laws) rather than being arbitrarily encoded into the very fabric of the nation itself, the approach previous Victoria games took to encourage history in the a familiar direction.

However, these starting Laws are far from set in stone! You might want to reform your Laws to better suit the direction your society is going - for example, you might want to transition your Bureaucracy from a system of Appointees to Elected Bureaucrats in order to more effectively provide services from Government Institutions to all your incorporated territories (or maybe just because you want to disempower the otherwise powerful Intelligentsia.) Or your country’s Agrarian economy has plateaued on account of increased reliance on imports of manufactured goods, and you want to change course to the exciting opportunities provided by a Free Trade policy.

A common effect of Laws is to modify some parameter about your country, like give you more Authority or reduce certain Pops’ Mortality. But Laws can also permit or disallow the use of certain actions, such as Public Schools which permit the Compulsory Primary School Law; permit the Decree to Promote Social Mobility in a certain state; and even alter the effects of other parts of your society, like boost the efficacy of your Education System Institution. Without some degree of separation between Church and State, this form of secular school system is not possible.
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Another reason to change Laws is because your people demand it. As we touched on in the previous dev diary, Interest Groups have Ideologies that lead them to favor some Laws over others - for example, the Industrialists have the Individualist Ideology that cause them to favor privately operated Education and Healthcare systems over publicly funded ones, to ensure best access is given to those of merit and morals (or in other words, Wealth). Reforming your current Laws to work more in accordance with your powerful Interest Groups’ Ideologies is a quick way to win their Approval, permitting you more leeway to go against their wishes in the future or as a quick pick-me-up in case their Standard of Living has recently taken a hit.

The inverse is also true. Introduce a bill to abolish the Monarchy in Great Britain and see how the Landed Gentry feel about that.

Even Trade Unionists have a hard time saying no to zero income taxes, but even that won’t make up for restricting the vote!
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Enacting a Law is far from an instantaneous, one-click affair. First off, any reform must be supported by at least one Interest Group in your government who can champion the change. Once the reform has begun it can be a smooth process that’s over in a matter of months, or it can take years of gruelling debate in parliament or horsetrading between Interest Groups in order to pass. The amount of time it takes depends both on your government’s Legitimacy in the eyes of the people, and also on the Clout of the Interest Groups in your government that supports and opposes the new Law relative to the one it’s replacing. While broader coalitions of Interest Groups in government give you more options of Laws to enact, it also complicates getting them passed.

Changing your laws isn’t an entirely straightforward process in Victoria 3! In this case it’s just a matter of time before the Law is enacted, but if dissenting Interest Groups had also been part of this government there would be plenty of room for Debate and Stalling tactics that could cause this reform to take more effort than it’s worth.
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Let me close out here by tying all this back to the Pops. As we have touched on in past dev diaries, Pops have a Profession, collect an income, and consume goods depending on the economic preconditions you have created in your country. These material concerns in combination with a few others, such as Literacy, determine which Interest Groups they support. Other aspects, such as your country’s Laws, influence how much Political Strength the Pops provide to those Interest Groups. The Interest Groups have an Approval score and favor certain Laws over others. As a result, different groups of Pops approve more or less of the society you have built depending on their economic well-being, and their demands for change is more or less intimidating depending on how many and strong they are. You may choose to placate an angry group, or further benefit an already content group for extra benefits. But in doing so, some other group will become displeased. Have you built your society resilient enough to navigate these ebbs and flows? And most importantly, which of the many, many routes will you take to move forward?

That is all for me this week! In this dev diary I mentioned Institutions a number of times, and next Thursday I will be back with more details on this powerful society-shaping tool. Until then!
 
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lachek

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This comment is reserved by the Community Team for gathering Dev Responses in, for ease of reading.

Muhu said:
It sounds like every law change will have to be initiated by the player. Wouldn't this lead to bizarre situations like being able to play the whole game with the liberals in the government without passing a single liberal law?
You initiate passing laws, but that doesn't mean IGs/pops won't demand certain laws and get angry if you do nothing. More on this system later.


Somberg said:
Since the process of enacting laws has been drawn out, do you know beforehand roughly how long it would take to get it passed? Other than knowing how much support or opposition there is for it does the game also tell you an estimated date for when it should be fully enacted and in force? Want to know if it's just a guessing game for the player or if we have a more precise idea of how long the process might take.
While the two parameters "Time to next check" and "Success chance" should gives you a pretty reasonable idea how long the process might take if nothing changes, events arising from the "Advance", "Debate", and "Stall" outcomes could very well upset this. This feature is being worked on at the moment, but our intention is that if the law doesn't pass, there should be an opportunity for a trade-off or consequence. Perhaps a neutral Interest Group would be willing to support this law in exchange for a promise to pass their pet law next, for example. So since the parameters will change relatively drastically, a prediction of what would happen if nothing changed would be misleading information.


YoMomma123456 said:
Here's a few questions I've gathered while reading the DD:
1. After the the reform has passed for say, the public schools - what happens next? Do private/religious schools momentarily get nationalized or is there an adaptation period?
2. In DD it is stated that one of the reasons for enacting bureaucracy reforms is to disempower the intelligentsia. How does that happen?
Once the new law has passed, the change to the Institution happens instantly. The time to enact the law is waiting time enough, if we had an additional "implementation" delay before you could reap the fruits of your labor wouldn't feel great. With respect to Institutions though, there is often a period right after it's been created where you have to expand it for full effect, which does take time. I'll get into more details on that next week.

A side effect of the Bureaucracy laws is to empower one group over another as members of that group are given the responsibility to run the country's day-to-day operations. Appointed Bureaucrats disproportionately empower the Intelligentsia, so enacting another kind of Bureaucracy would remove their bonus (and maybe apply it to another group instead.)


ImperatorLJ said:
How flexible will laws be for modding? I'm assuming very, but i figured it would be best to ask!
Extremely. Laws can unlock or modify a great number of things in the game, much like Production Methods and Technology.


Al-Khalidi said:
You say that process of passing laws depends on what interest groups you have in government, and how many. But in the diary about interest groups there was no info about what determines, which interest groups are part of government. Can player control it or influence it? To what extent?
We'll talk about government composition more in the future, but the player basically decides - within considerable constraints - which Interest Groups are permitted to run the country and which are left on the outside as pressure groups. At game start there will be a certain set of Interest Groups in government, but as the game progresses the player might want to include or exclude different groups depending on how powerful they are and how well they align with their own ideas of governance. If the people are given the vote the player's ability to choose freely who should govern will be greatly reduced.


IceTytanFang said:
Now here's a question I really need answered: In Victoria II, Liberals were interested in changing political laws but not economic laws, while Socialists were interested in changing economic laws but not political laws, which led to weird situations like Socialists being a-okay with Slavery and letting rich people vote, but not poor people. Has this been changed to at least make more sense? Will Socialists be pushing for universal vote and the abolition of slavery?
Every Interest Group start with 2-3 "core" Ideologies and can gain 1-2 more, sometimes temporarily depending on which politician / faction are currently leading them. For example, the Intelligentsia will care about somewhat different things if there's a socialist revolutionary leading them than if the academies are dominated by a conservative aristocratic mindset. Each Ideology has stances on 1-4 different law groups. Moralists, for example, have ideas about Governance Principles, Free Speech, Citizenship, and the Health System, and as such cross all three categories of Laws.


epicjii said:
Would certain laws be locked behind techs making it so time needs to progress to pass some reforms?
Yes, the Society tech tree unlocks many of the Laws in the game. Unless you're playing a country that's very far behind in that tree they'll all be pretty much unlocked by mid-game though.


Lapoleon said:
Are all the laws (more or less) a sliding scale? Or is it possible to still have serfs, whilst still having accident protection (both under labor laws)?
It varies, but we've tried to minimize the number of law groups where the laws just move the needle from one side of a spectrum to another in favor of ones where each has some unique tradeoff. In the case of Serfdom it's in the Labor Rights group within the Human Rights category, so while the effects between the different laws are very different gameplay-wise it pretty much requires that laborers have the basic human right of free movement and free employment if you intend to also grant them the luxury of government oversight of how their employers are treating them.


Constantijn2 said:
I love the dev diary.
There's only one thing that's been bugging me in a lot of the dev diaries. A lot of the screens seem to be really really big and can be more compact, with the same information on them. There's people who already did that for some tooltips.
For example, at the moment, the law screens seem to be one screen each. Not sure if they actually will be, but they don't have to be. And they can be more compact. Excuse my use of paint, I'm not a graphic designer. But here's an idea about how they can be changed to show the same information, all on one screen, or at least a smaller screen if they already were on a single one.
(snipped out the actual graphics)

These are actually three columns on the same screen, I just hacked it to pieces for the dev diary. :)
In many cases we've tried to stay away from full-screen interfaces though, since we want to ensure the map is also visible and to relate as much as possible in the panels to the map. In the case of laws, there's no map information to display and players will often want to consider all their laws side by side rather than one category at a time, so there we've used a full-screen interface.


Ketchup & friends said:
Dear @lachek thank you for the awesome DD. Can you please answer these questions:

1. How much do Internal Security (Power Structure) and Policing (Economy) overlap?

2. if a country has 100% literacy, would there be any practical difference between census suffrage and universal suffrage??

3. If proposed laws fails, how soon would a second try be possible?
1. Internal Security is mainly about preventing revolutions and other uprisings, while Policing is about keeping unrest down and minimizing its effects on your economy and living standards. The two are somewhat interrelated but help in two different contexts: your National Guard isn't going to help with petty theft, and your police force isn't going to be useful in preventing a coup.

2. In that case, there'd be no difference between the two laws in practice.

3. If the law doesn't get passed a new enactment cycle will start immediately, hopefully with a bonus to your next attempt. It's up to you when you decide it's too hard to pass it and stop trying.


Druplesnubb said:
Why do you lose legitimacy for including more interest groups in your government? This literally makes no sense, if anything having more interest groups in your government should increase your legitimacy since you're representing a larger part of your country. There already is a drawback for having too many interest groups in your country from making it harder to pass laws.
It's meant to represent the difficulties of ruling with too broad a coalition - constant squabbling between all the different interests undermine the government's legitimacy.


vyshan said:
Something I am wondering is how you will have persecution that isn't strictly in law. For example the US has separation between church and state, but there was also at the same time a strong current of anti-Catholic sentiment in the country. So I am curious how this will be repersented.
We mainly simulate legal discrimination right now, though of course there's a whole grey zone beyond legal discrimination that we intend to at least represent through content, possibly some mechanics but we don't currently have anything nailed down for release there (informal discrimination is a thing that varies massively depending on time and place so it's not so straightforward to make good mechanics for).


orko2020 said:
Would we be able, then, to peacefully transition from a republic to a monarchy if we get the right IGs on our side?
Yes, though changing government principles is generally more difficult than many other laws in terms of time, danger etc
 
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Is racism/segregation modelled by a law or something else? For example American Jim Crow. Do discriminatory laws target specific groups (e.g. in America prejudice towards black and Chinese people) or all non-accepted minorities?
 
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Will there be federalism and different electoral systems? I mean something like majority voting. Differences between presidential and parliamentary republics?
 
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For example, the USA starts with Total Separation of Church and State, ensuring no Pops suffer legal discrimination on account of their religion,
This makes me wonder if this is restricted to the religious family of Christianity or not. Because while the law itself stated that there was freedom of religion, what was really meant is that there was no discrimination against all the various strains of protestantism that existed. It took decades, if not centuries of work from various other people with different religious backgrounds for it to also include them. Jews, who were in the US from the beginning were the first to fight for this change in perception.
 
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So by the looks of it, the law passing mechanics are using EU4 sieging mechanics which got later transplanted into Stellaris for archaeology and first contact. What exactly are the "Stall" and "Debate" outcomes? I assume "Success" means that the law passes and "Advance" means that it gets higher chances for positive outcomes.
 
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Kliwarrior

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I understand that a law may takes years (in a parliamentary system) to be approved, with a periodic check and a percentage of advancement.
Two questions:
- may you have two (or more) debates at the same time, eventually with a malus in the speed (because the member of parliaments are busy with two matters) ?
- What about a state with no parliament ( absolute monarchy, presidential dictatorship etc.. ) . Same mechanism or more flexibility ?
 
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MrMineHeads

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Glad to see the dev diaries are back.

My question is what are constitutional laws? I remember seeing them in a previous dev diary and am wondering if they are different from anything you've specified here. Are they more difficult to enact/change?
 

MTGian

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Wow, this was a good DD. The UI looks gorgeous to me. Every icon looked better than the last. And the system itself looks like it has a ton of flexibility and depth. You guys are killing it! Well done!
 
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Voigt

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How does Stall&Debate work for Absolute Monarchies like Japan or Papal States. Will there still be debate, or the law just passed with just the interest groups disgrunteled?
 
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Fallofthepurple

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All of this looks very promising, im especially happy about Serfdom not only making an apparence but also being distinct from Slavery. Very cool!

Now this:
Enacting a Law is far from an instantaneous, one-click affair. First off, any reform must be supported by at least one Interest Group in your government who can champion the change. Once the reform has begun it can be a smooth process that’s over in a matter of months, or it can take years of gruelling debate in parliament or horsetrading between Interest Groups in order to pass. The amount of time it takes depends both on your government’s Legitimacy in the eyes of the people, and also on the Clout of the Interest Groups in your government that supports and opposes the new Law relative to the one it’s replacing. While broader coalitions of Interest Groups in government give you more options of Laws to enact, it also complicates getting them passed.

Changing your laws isn’t an entirely straightforward process in Victoria 3! In this case it’s just a matter of time before the Law is enacted, but if dissenting Interest Groups had also been part of this government there would be plenty of room for Debate and Stalling tactics that could cause this reform to take more effort than it’s worth.
View attachment 742133
Absolute *chefs kiss*. I did not expect that the act of passing a law would actually be anymore involved than clicking a button and having it happen instantenously. At least for release.
Needless to say im pleasently surprised, delighted even!
 
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Arbus

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Is racism/segregation modelled by a law or something else? For example American Jim Crow. Do discriminatory laws target specific groups (e.g. in America prejudice towards black and Chinese people) or all non-accepted minorities?

My guess, that would be under citizenship laws, with African Americans being considered a "non-accepted" culture.
 

LucasG21

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Changing your laws isn’t an entirely straightforward process in Victoria 3! In this case it’s just a matter of time before the Law is enacted, but if dissenting Interest Groups had also been part of this government there would be plenty of room for Debate and Stalling tactics that could cause this reform to take more effort than it’s worth.
View attachment 742133
I can't wait to see how all of the cogs in the political machine will whir and spin!

How granular are the Citizenship/Church and State Laws? I'm planning to try a theocratic-academic regime, and I'd like to know whether or not I can put in place a scaling system of benefits per religion, or if I'll have to rely on something like EU4's incredibly broadly applied Tolerance of Heretics/Heathens.

Also, is there some way to guarantee religious/academic representation in the legislature/main political body (cf. the Lords Spiritual/University seats in the UK)?

P.S. The image quality of the law changing speed image is very poor. Perhaps you could put a slightly better image in its place?
 
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Make Victoria 3

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Looks amazing overall. Though how will restricted free speech exactly slow down innovation? Will it only slow down innovations/ideas like socialism if your government is oppossed to that idea or also technology even though you built plenty of universities, have an excellent public education system etc and are absolutely in favor of technological progress, but still would rather keep your absolute monarchy and the ability to shut down any dissent (even though you dont make much use of it overall).
 
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