Crusader Kings 3 Dev Diary #53 - Northern Lords Content Rundown

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King Anund

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We actually had a fair amount of help from someone who was both very interested in this and rather qualified. Whilst I'm sure we'd love to make similar improvements elsewhere in future, like you say, it's really intensive work, and we typically don't have the time to invest in such personally.
Wow, nice to know that. If you consider to do something similar for a "Spanish" Flavor Pack I will be more than glad to provide you with Medieval (mostly 15th century) spelling of Basque names that I have found while researching for my PhD the Books of Revenues that the Hospitaller Priory of Navarra kept.
 
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Awesome rundown of the features, and it's always good to get more backstory and rationale for how things came to be. I love getting that peak behind the curtain.
 
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Thank you for the diary. It is really interesting to hear about your design decisions and the thought you put into each new features. I think a lot of it is also really clever, like the way you fixed swedish expansion while adding a cool new adventure feature.

I cannot wait to see how you continue to expand and improve the game. One thing I would really like to know is how satisfied you are with the balance of the game. I think that the one thing that I would most like to see improved in CK3 is the difficulty. More precisely, it seems that it is not too difficult to reach the rank of emperor, and once you do, I have the impression that most of the challenge disappears from the game and it mostly becomes about painting the map, which is fun, but not really where this game shines. I think the game is at its best when managing difficult vassals and their opinions while also worrying about external threats, or scheming to get what you want, but I feel that there is maybe not enough of that. For example, it is usually very easy to keep vassals in line, and over time they usually all have excellent opinions of me, which also mean that they never try to assassinate me or otherwise throw a wrench in my plan.

Based on this diary, you seem to really take into account the issues of the game into the design of the expansions, and you have great ideas to fix them. I would thus really like to know if those balancing aspects that I mentioned are issues that you would like to improve on over time, or if the game is balanced according to your vision. Of course, I understand that you probably cannot give me a specific answer at this time, but it would be nice to know if this is on your radar or not.
 
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It's a little weird for my character to go around beating up random adulterers in neighboring realms, but I do enjoy the trials-by-combat. I hope the shirtless portraits are going to be fixed, it's hard to take the fights seriously when the fighters look so scrawny.
 
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^^' 'fraid it's a little outside my remit, but I'll raise your post internally and see if there's anything we've not got plans for yet.
That's great since some of these confirmed bugs are quite forgotten from previous versions and we don't have any clue if they'll be fixed at some point.
I really appreciate your help and I hope the raising of this post will make it easier for you and the other Devs to pinpoint previous unresloved issues and inform us about the new ones that came with 1.3 and the flavor pack. I'm sure you already know that new content is always great and we'll happily support it but bug fixing is a heart winner ;)

Have a nice day and thanks again!
 
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I haven't played the new DLC enough to have a say about the changes but these diaries are appreciated. I just wanted to say that as a min-max player myself (i have this illness even in CK2 or cities skylines, withouth mentioning eu4 or stellaris) this game is steering me towards the role-playing as anything else before was able to. And boy i love it! I expect a Netflix series coming out of one of our adventures on CK3 one day...
 
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It's a little weird for my character to go around beating up random adulterers in neighboring realms, but I do enjoy the trials-by-combat. I hope the shirtless portraits are going to be fixed, it's hard to take the fights seriously when the fighters look so scrawny.
The characters are looking scrawny because there is a bug that makes most of them if not all, extremely thin.
Look here if you like.
 
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Good dev diary :)
In your retroperspective you pointed out some points that you are not quite happy with design wise. Is there a chance that you will get to changing them or is the focus now on 1.4 with the next big DLC?
 
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I personally find it really interesting to learn more about the reasoning behind design decisions, so I appreciate dev diaries like this one.

I also have a question about the reasoning behind one design decision that I didn't like as much: Why are the special norse legacies no longer available after the culture split? I know that adventuring and raiding will stop after a while, but the split cultures could also be argued to share the legacy of the norse, and having this time limit on unlocking the first perks of these legacies feels kind of artificial and bad.
 
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Can the North Sea Empire get a more appropriate flag? We know Cnut used the Raven banner in life and the lions and hearts were a later innovation. Also frankly it feels really lame compared to the other great CoA we get in the pack. And it doesn't even change based on faith for that matter.
 
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Can the North Sea Empire get a more appropriate flag? We know Cnut used the Raven banner in life and the lions were a later innovation. Also frankly it feels really lame compared to the other great CoA we get in the pack. And it doesn't even change based on faith for that matter.
It actually has three already - it takes after your primary kingdom, defaulting to Denmark if it's not England or Norway.
 
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Could this be adjusted through the localization system? People should really not refer to themselves as "petty king".
Preach! I'd certainly like to see this changed (love me some petty kings/queens, do not like to see them putting themselves down all the time), but I'm afraid I'm unsure quite where we landed on this.
Will efforts be made to update the database Norse and Norwegian characters to reflect the culture name list changes?
Potentially at some point, but I'm afraid it's quite low on the priority list, sad to say.
Thank you for the diary. It is really interesting to hear about your design decisions and the thought you put into each new features. I think a lot of it is also really clever, like the way you fixed swedish expansion while adding a cool new adventure feature.

I cannot wait to see how you continue to expand and improve the game. One thing I would really like to know is how satisfied you are with the balance of the game. I think that the one thing that I would most like to see improved in CK3 is the difficulty. More precisely, it seems that it is not too difficult to reach the rank of emperor, and once you do, I have the impression that most of the challenge disappears from the game and it mostly becomes about painting the map, which is fun, but not really where this game shines. I think the game is at its best when managing difficult vassals and their opinions while also worrying about external threats, or scheming to get what you want, but I feel that there is maybe not enough of that. For example, it is usually very easy to keep vassals in line, and over time they usually all have excellent opinions of me, which also mean that they never try to assassinate me or otherwise throw a wrench in my plan.

Based on this diary, you seem to really take into account the issues of the game into the design of the expansions, and you have great ideas to fix them. I would thus really like to know if those balancing aspects that I mentioned are issues that you would like to improve on over time, or if the game is balanced according to your vision. Of course, I understand that you probably cannot give me a specific answer at this time, but it would be nice to know if this is on your radar or not.
It's tough for me to give you much of a concrete answer here, because we have quite a few people on the team and everyone has their own likes, dislikes, and general preferences. Personally, I'd love to see more in the way of instability and inherent difficulty in running larger empires, but we do have to keep in mind that there are lots of different valid playstyles for CK3 and what's pure gravy to one person can be pure poison to the next. Especially with sweeping balance changes, that's always gotta be in the back of our minds.

That said, I suspect it'll always be somewhat easy to game some of the more egregious systems in CK, even if we got the balance otherwise perfect for most players. It's as much a roleplaying game as anything else, and that means that so much of it only really opens up when you let yourself play sub-optimally for the fun of it to stay in character (which, in my opinion, the stress system has done so much towards gamifying in a meaningful way). That doesn't mean there aren't improvements we can make to make it more fun to stay IC, gods know I think everyone has a long list of things they'd love to add/adjust, but I don't think we're ever likely to stop it being possible to powergame your way to map painting with a little work.
It's a little weird for my character to go around beating up random adulterers in neighboring realms, but I do enjoy the trials-by-combat. I hope the shirtless portraits are going to be fixed, it's hard to take the fights seriously when the fighters look so scrawny.
:) I believe we're looking into this.
Good dev diary :)
In your retroperspective you pointed out some points that you are not quite happy with design wise. Is there a chance that you will get to changing them or is the focus now on 1.4 with the next big DLC?
I can't comment fully on patching/DLC strategy, but I will say that one of the things I love about working on Paradox projects is that we have such an insanely long tail. Many things are never-say-never, and just because we weren't able to get to something this version, it doesn't mean we won't get a chance to look at in the next, or the one after that, or the one after that. :D I know I've still got stuff I wanted to get in pre-release that I hope may yet see the light of day.
I personally find it really interesting to learn more about the reasoning behind design decisions, so I appreciate dev diaries like this one.

I also have a question about the reasoning behind one design decision that I didn't like as much: Why are the special norse legacies no longer available after the culture split? I know that adventuring and raiding will stop after a while, but the split cultures could also be argued to share the legacy of the norse, and having this time limit on unlocking the first perks of these legacies feels kind of artificial and bad.
Hmmmm, that just sounds like a bug, I'm afraid. The legacies are accessed by either following a Germanic religion or possessing the longboats innovation: not only should Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish retain access, I'm pretty sure Estonian should have 'em too.
Can the North Sea Empire get a more appropriate flag? We know Cnut used the Raven banner in life and the lions were a later innovation. Also frankly it feels really lame compared to the other great CoA we get in the pack. And it doesn't even change based on faith for that matter.
I've seen a few people bring this up, so I can say that it's on our radar, though I'm afraid I can make no promises.. The simple explanation here is we got the Norse-faith CoAs after we got the North Sea CoAs, so we didn't leave the North Sea out on purpose. More just an accident of production.
 
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Trials-by-Combat​

TbCs! These took the absolute _longest_ time to set up. Not because of the actual interaction, but because we first had to script and localise the single combat system to get a decent implementation. If I recall correctly, localisation for duelling alone wound up at somewhere around 28k words, including dozens of variant ways to die or be injured.

Our intent with Trials-by-Combat was to present something that worked orthogonally to the usual prison system without replacing it. Serious matters should, predominantly, continue to work via the use of imprisonment or factions, but where these two avenues are unavailable, aggrieved parties can agree on a settlement then settle their dispute in a fair fight.

This makes them a little tricky to grok at first, but slots them neatly into an unused gameplay groove once you do. I’ve seen more than a few high-prowess players financing entire civil works programs via TbC cash settlements and, really, who doesn’t like beating someone in a fight so hard they start compulsively telling the truth?
Man, this description of trial by combat makes no sense to me. The only thing I've been able to do with trials by combat is go duel random adulterers in far away realms. How am I an "aggrieved party" there? Why is this person paying me money? The idea that players are going around Scandinavia beating up strangers and earning more money than they would from years of taxes strikes me as a glaring design failure, not a feature.
 
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Hmmmm, that just sounds like a bug, I'm afraid. The legacies are accessed by either following a Germanic religion or possessing the longboats innovation: not only should Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish retain access, I'm pretty sure Estonian should have 'em too.

Thank you for clarifying this. Tying it to religion or longboats would make much more sense. :)

Currently, it is just norse though:

Code:
fp1_adventure_legacy_track = {
    is_shown = {
        has_fp1_dlc_trigger = yes
        dynasty = {
            OR = {
                dynast = {
                    has_culture = culture:norse
                }
                has_dynasty_perk = fp1_adventure_legacy_1
            }
        }
    }
}

fp1_pillage_legacy_track = {
    is_shown = {
        has_fp1_dlc_trigger = yes
        dynasty = {
            OR = {
                dynast = {
                    has_culture = culture:norse
                }
                has_dynasty_perk = fp1_pillage_legacy_1
            }
        }
    }
}
 
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InsidiousMage

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I don't think we're ever likely to stop it being possible to powergame your way to map painting with a little work.
The problem is right now is that it barely takes any work once you get to a certain size. Vassals wanting to put a rival claimant on your throne are a bigger challenge that trying to maintain a large empire. I love big empires but it would be nice if more friction was added in the larger you get. I'll usually get quit a game if I get large enough because there is no challenge and not enough to do other than conquer more.
 
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Tiax

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It's tough for me to give you much of a concrete answer here, because we have quite a few people on the team and everyone has their own likes, dislikes, and general preferences. Personally, I'd love to see more in the way of instability and inherent difficulty in running larger empires, but we do have to keep in mind that there are lots of different valid playstyles for CK3 and what's pure gravy to one person can be pure poison to the next. Especially with sweeping balance changes, that's always gotta be in the back of our minds.

That said, I suspect it'll always be somewhat easy to game some of the more egregious systems in CK, even if we got the balance otherwise perfect for most players. It's as much a roleplaying game as anything else, and that means that so much of it only really opens up when you let yourself play sub-optimally for the fun of it to stay in character (which, in my opinion, the stress system has done so much towards gamifying in a meaningful way). That doesn't mean there aren't improvements we can make to make it more fun to stay IC, gods know I think everyone has a long list of things they'd love to add/adjust, but I don't think we're ever likely to stop it being possible to powergame your way to map painting with a little work.
I think the balance issues are not so much that you can find clever exploits, but that it's basically impossible to not feel like you're exploiting things in the normal course of play. Dread is a common example - it's very easy to, without even thinking about gaining dread, execute a few troublesome prisoners, and find that your entire realm is cowering in fear and you never have to worry about a revolt again. This isn't fun - you have to actively avoid gaining dread if you want to experience the gameplay of managing realm stability.

More on topic for this dev diary, consider the Great Blot mechanic. If you sacrifice gold and people, and pick the option at the end that gives you a bonus to vassal relations, you get a net +50 opinion modifier with every single vassal. That's enough that it basically doesn't matter what else you've done to please or offend your vassals. Maybe you'll have one or two that's incredibly disgruntled because you killed their father or something, but +50 with everyone is again enough to ensure you simply don't have to worry about realm stability. It basically turns off an entire section of the game, and it happens if you just play the new content at face value. There's no clever exploit here, or metagame strategizing. You just click the button the event gives you and oops you don't get to play realm management anymore!
 
Last edited:
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Niall9

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Remember when I said at the start of the diary that we generally wanted to stay historically plausible? Well, that’s very true, and everywhere else we’ve tried to stick quite hard to, at the least, a valid interpretation of historical evidence.

Elevating Mann is the one major exception we allowed (and a big shout out to everyone who’s already found the other, more-hidden major exception and are readying their corrective posts right now, but shhhhhh, let people find it by themselves). It’s dumb, it’s fun, it’s for bringing out your inner pirate-monarch and stealing the wealth of the world away.

Okay now I am extremely curious
 
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Slow Bathroom

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The characters are looking scrawny because there is a bug that makes most of them if not all, extremely thin.
Look here if you like.
I'm guessing it's less of a bug and more of a work in progress. Clothed characters intentionally use a skinny body so they don't clip through their clothes, and they made sleeveless and shirtless outfits use this body even though it looks bad.
 
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tribnia

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What about having the varangian adventurers mechanic applied to all tribes? It reminds me of the Migration Age, Slavs migrating into Balkan during Heraclian dynasty, Such tradition survives among nomads until as late as 1771, when Ubashi Khan led his Torghuts back to Dzungaria.
 
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G.Strategos

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I'm guessing it's less of a bug and more of a work in progress. Clothed characters intentionally use a skinny body so they don't clip through their clothes, and they made sleeveless and shirtless outfits use this body even though it looks bad.
Yeah probably. It's not working as intended atm, that's for sure.