Capacities - Replacement for Mana

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aono

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So, I dislike mana.
First of all, by "mana" I understand not some existencial thing. Mana is a system of power points in EU4 and Imperator: Rome; it's not exactly matter what constitute it philosophically. I have opinion, but, in my experience, every discussion about it always came to discussion about "deepest natures" and "everything is a mana, therefore there is nothing bad in mana in EU4". This systems exists, we can observe them as they are, in dynamic.
Secondly, I'm trying to refrain from thesises like "it's not fun", "it's not strategic", something like that. Even if I believe it's not fun, it's means I don't have fun playing with it, nothing more.
No. The most daring problem with mana system is it's not working. Not in a sense that game is awful and "literally unplayable". Not in a sense it's a bad game (I do believe Imperator isn't good game, but EU4 I love enough). Just this particular system isn't working.

Every mechanic in game should be for a purpose. Why does mana mechanic even exist? It was answered long ago, when it was firstly announced, in 2012.
1. It should place a player into a situation where he should chose how to spend limited resource he has.
2. It should remove "snowballing effect", where rich get richer to the extent where nothing is impossible.
3. It should make your rulers memorizable, and put your country performance into dependency of your ruler capabilities.
Again - I'm not discussing are this goals good or bad. It's goals why we have mana,

Ok, it was seven years ago, with ferocious tweaking system around, here and there. So, what was achieved?
1. Players options are limited, but it looks arbitraty and easily defeatable - because mana can be stored. This only reason defeating a goal of setting up limitation for a player - with ability to hoard, you can hoard a lot of mana when you're in luck, and then spend it in a chucks. Essentially, for this proporse mana became not better then gold.
2. "Snowballing effect" isn't defeated. I mean, we can argue why, is it mana or not, but snowballing is here. It is in EU4, it is in Imperator.
3. Rulers aren't memorizable. Even with traits, they're not so important, they're just numbers. Low-level ruler can cause frustration from players indeed, but wouldn't play game if you can't do anything, and that's why, I think, mana system "eroded" - with new expansions new methods of generating mana were added to EU4, some mana sinks were removed (like mana cost on buildings).
In the end, in Imperator: Rome you can just buy mana. Considering gold never was a problem for Paradox games, and "snowballing effect" for gold is the very reason (second one) of creating such a system, I believe it's confession - mana doesn't work.


So, I believe my proposition would work better.

Let player entity (country, for example) to have capacities for something, like (EU4 style) administration, diplomacy, military. Contributors for such capacity would be monarch skills, traits, offices of the realm, tech, agents put into improving capacity, ideas, focuses, whatever you want as a developer. And a lot of things that are operated through mana or limits (like state limit in EU4, or troop limit) would take a piece of said capacity. Capacity is a modificable static. You can't "store" and "spend" it. It's a question of occupancy.

You want to make this conquered provinces your cores? Sure. It's a process, taking N capacity (depending from its size) and time. Until this process is finished, capacity is occupied (part of your administration creating power structure in said provinces), and if you stop it, well, you stop. Capacity is freed, but process should be started anew. You want to make it a state? Sure (no limit on states), but every state has capacity upkeep (depending from distance to capital and development size).

For diplomacy, your capacity is taken by vassals, alliances, improving relations... I think you got an idea.

Things like stability and tech would be done through filling the bar per time, with ability to toggle bonus speed by spending more capacity. Same with ideas (unfilled idea group takes some capacity and filling with the time, player can use toggle to increase cost, but improve speed; or, maybe, it's where sliders would be better to return?).

If you going beyond capacity, game would penaltized you, harsher and harsher as you go out, with "tresholds", and actions for this capacity is slowing (and eventually stopping); something like vassal tax from CK2. Administrative overcapacity can came into inflation, lower production and taxation, stability cost, adm tech costs, building cost. Diplomatic will influence relations, relation changing, trade efficiency, liberty desire. Military would reduce discipline, morale, increase cost and upkeep for military, professionalism. The disaster system, which is, I believe, underdeveloped, can be linked here.


Why it's better? Well.
1. It's give player agenda. He can fine-tune a government he is playing through meaniningful decisions, limited by situation and capacities he have. He can go over the capacity, if he is ready to fight consequences. It would limit player options meaningfully, with his ability to play better to fight it.
2. I'm not hope it would remove snowballing effect, but it can reduce it. With administrative capacity as a limit, in some moment player would achieve a situation where taking this province as a state would burden his capacity too harsh, so it's better to make vassal (burdening diplomatic capacity instead), or, maybe, even forget this province at all. I think it would work better then current implementation.
 
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Denkt

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The issue is that it is just the same thing with a different name and probably more annoying as well.
 

aono

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The issue is that it is just the same thing with a different name and probably more annoying as well.
Can you please describe why do you believe it's the same thing?
 

aono

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Because what you talk about is basically the same thing as nonstorable Power.
It's:
1. Nonstorable.
2. Not gone when you use it.
3. Depends on lot of variables.
4. Static.
What do you believe it's share with power so much as it's the same thing? Is, for example, HoI 4 tech slots being "basically nonstorable research Power"?
 

Bodi

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Accrue 5 mana during 10 turns and spend 50 is quite similar to allocate 5 mana capacity for 10 turns.
 

aono

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Accrue 5 mana during 10 turns and spend 50 is quite similar to allocate 5 mana capacity for 10 turns.
Similar, that's true, but not the same.
1. Allocated mana capacity, well, allocated, meaning you can't use it on different options you can need.
2. Allocated mana work; mana you're storing isn't.
 

BeauNiddle

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It's:
1. Nonstorable.
2. Not gone when you use it.
3. Depends on lot of variables.
4. Static.
What do you believe it's share with power so much as it's the same thing? Is, for example, HoI 4 tech slots being "basically nonstorable research Power"?

The only one of those that applies is point 1.

If you use capacity for X then it is not available for Y - therefore it is gone when you use it.
Mana & capacity can both depend on a lot of variables so no difference there.
Static - what does this mean? You can never change your countries capacity? Then where's the growth in the game? And if you want a static mana system you can it's not capacity unique.


Throughput models are best because they are instantly understandable and they feel like reality. They are bad because you can lock yourself into a bad choice and waste your effort.

Store & Spend models are best for player agency and responsiveness (I need 10000 units, I can now afford special unit K). They are bad because they feel gamey.


Total Annihilation was a throughput model (you get X metal a tick, Y energy) StarCraft was a Store & spend model (200 minerals + 25 Vespene gets you unit Z)


I'm not arguing for or against capacity, I'm just saying it's more important to tell Paradox that a system doesn't feel right than it is to try and force your pet solution as the only one true way. I was once told in my coding career that if the client tells you something is wrong there is a 90% chance they are correct, if they tell what's wrong there is a 90% chance they are incorrect.


[for Paradox titles the issue is usually the AI fails to make the system challenging rather than the system itself is at fault]
 
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it should be replace by a remake version of focus system
each regime get a certain number of diplomat focus that can be use to maintain alliance and vassal or improve relationship
and maybe administration focus religious focus and military focus
 

Pile_O_Gunz

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Im not convinced it’s better than mana. Replacing mana with essentially several production queues is probably going to annoy people just as much if not more.

Warhammer Gladius used the same for building production that’s fine in an rts or 4x with unit production but I’m not sure it’l work so well when it’s more abstract.
 
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Ratgar

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A better solution is to balance games less around the quantity of actions, and more around the quality of them. Diplomacy for example IMO should never be limited by some number of action points or diplomats, forcing you to wait on a diplomatic action, it should always be the case that you are instead choosing between different forking branches, and no choice better in all circumstances. The system this thread describes is like EUIV, where you sometimes can't conclude a peace because you are waiting for a diplomat to return. That is just bad all around for gameplay, and doesn't make sense historically, they could always send another person to settle peace. What would make sense is that by choosing peace instead of war, or to favor one nation in a way that will slight another, you have to make tough choices. But those tough choices can happen at any point, they aren't time limited by some arbitrary counter.
 

Denkt

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Having more like the policy system in Imperator: Rome in which you can set a diplomatic policy (could be used in other places such as war and economy) and this policy can not often be changed (maybe only with ruler Changes or something similar) would make it important to plan long term such as if you want to build relations or focus around expansion rather than having things change very quickly without any need for long term planing.
 

Ratgar

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That is a good example of exactly what I mean. I think it would help if the policies branched a little more, they are pretty surface level right now, but the idea of having to choose one over the other and the effects are longer term is just good gameplay. The fact that the policies cost anything to enact isn't really important, its more that you have to choose one or the other, and they contribute to shaping the characteristics of different nations too.

Another example would be HOIV, how design companies were supposed to be in theory. Ultimately, they didn't include enough of them to make many meaningful choices, but the idea behind them as these slight pushes for your war materials to go in slightly different directions, and all the knock-on effects arising from those slight differences was a good one.
 

PedroLuiz

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Accrue 5 mana during 10 turns and spend 50 is quite similar to allocate 5 mana capacity for 10 turns.
There's a difference:
If you stored 45 mana and change priorities your stored mana would have immediate effect, but if you had spent those mana you'd not be able to use those towards another thing, you planned bad and is being punished so
 

hkrommel

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I have a few thoughts:
1. This sounds like colonial points from Vicky 2, which did prevent certain nations from singlehandedly colonizing the globe
2. This sounds like diplomat/merchant etc. slots from EU4, which are fine but don’t fix the arbitrariness issue
3. I think this is mostly a good idea (and certainly an improvement over current mana), though I would add the following:

1. Make characters central, particularly in this time period, to how much capacity you have
2. Make the success of your action dependent on:
2a. External factors. Trying to core territory that is a core of an existing nation should be very difficult and tie up a lot of capacity. Trying to core a province from a powerful nation should be cost-prohibitive unless you’re of similar power.
2b. Chance. I know there are some on these forums who would rather the game be an interactive equation, where as long as you gather the variables and use a calculator you can win the game. I disagree. One of the best blockers for snowballing in CK2 is that your chancellor only has a chance of fabricating a claim, not a guarantee. This is a good design decision.
 

Denkt

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1. Make characters central, particularly in this time period, to how much capacity you have
Unrealistic as even ancient countries was not simply based around rulers. All countries had far more complicated systems for government than paradox games make them have.
 

hkrommel

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Unrealistic as even ancient countries was not simply based around rulers.

Characters are not just rulers and “central” is not exclusive. Please try reading what you’re responding to before disagreeing.
 

Denkt

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Characters are not just rulers and “central” is not exclusive. Please try reading what you’re responding to before disagreeing.
But why are you supporing a system that will only add micromanagement without any strategy behind it. If you tie something directly to characters that is going to change over time you add micromanagement without adding actual strategy beyond that of current monarch Power.

In that way even the current monarch Power system is better because it don't require constant management and CK2 system is not built around capacity either.

The only time capacity have been done correct is when it only change based on permanent stuff such as national foucs in Victoria 2.

Randomness is great but you should not use character based capacity because that is going to be awful. We don't need to make the game worse in order to get rid of Power when there already exist such solutions such as CK2 which do not need capacity like suggested here.
 
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hkrommel

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But why are you supporing a system that will only add micromanagement without any strategy behind it. If you tie something directly to characters that is going to change over time you add micromanagement without adding actual strategy beyond that of current monarch Power.

In that way even the current monarch Power system is better because it don't require constant management and CK2 system is not built around capacity either.

The only time capacity have been done correct is when it only change based on permanent stuff such as national foucs in Victoria 2.

Randomness is great but you should not use character based capacity because that is going to be awful. We don't need to make the game worse in order to get rid of Power when there already exist such solutions such as CK2 which do not need capacity like suggested here.

You seem hell-bent on misrepresenting and disliking any proposal on this thread so I doubt this will get through to you, but a major complaint is that characters don't matter enough. Not just leaders, the various officers too. Making actions dependent in part on their various skills would not increase micromanagement because you already appoint characters. It would add meaning and make some rational connection between the success of your actions and your current capabilities, a major measure of which is how competent the people in your government are. Imperator should be its own game, not CK2-lite like you seem to want.
 
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