HOI4 Dev Diary - Reflections and Romania

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podcat

Game Director <unannounced>
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Hi everyone! After a few weeks break we are finally back with weekly dev diaries covering the 1.4 “Oak” update and accompanying DLC (you are going to need to wait a bit for the full announcement on that, but hey in paradox tradition we will still be talking about stuff that will appear in it).

Why have dev diary breaks?
Many people have asked why we take breaks in dev diaries at all, and there are a few different reasons.
  • People don’t like filler diaries, so if we don't have anything exciting to talk about it just means people not getting to read stuff they want and taking up the team's development time actually making stuff. I prefer not to make them if that is the alternative.
  • Being in a situation where you basically finish coding on the thing you talk about the day before is really stressful and can lead to showing things you have no idea if they work which leads to further issues, so we don't do that anymore. With 1.3.3 we were working into the last minute to add improvements and thus had no real chance to build up a buffer of content to talk about for a diary.
  • Several of the things we are working on are also very large things that take some weeks to complete, and it ties into the above. Two of these things are AI related and one is changes to air system as we said before the break we have been working on larger stuff for the Oak Update. Showing partial bits before all is in place is not very useful or easy for us.
Hopefully that makes things a little clearer. When we are quiet it's not because we don't love you, it's because we are working extra hard on stuff.

Lessons Learned
When we released Together for Victory, the feedback we got for the focus trees was somewhat mixed. On the one hand, a lot of people liked them because of their size and the ability to take a country down entirely new story lines. On the other hand, a lot of people felt that that the new trees wasn't adding much to the way they played. That was somewhat disappointing for us, because we had spent so much time on the hundreds of events and focuses that went into TfV, and we were wondering why exactly that was.

We started digging into telemetry data on what countries people actually played after TFV, and things got a lot clearer: About 40% of players play Germany, with other major nations following behind at quite a distance. The expansion gave the commonwealth minors a healthy bump, but still - the only content we really added for 40% of our players only happened extremely rarely in singleplayer games. Only when historical focuses were switched off, and the AI decided to go down the fascist path, did the German player get to see any new content (news events aside). And even then, the content was usually little more than an alliance request.

So that was the first big lesson: new content needs to tie back to major countries, particularly Germany. Thankfully, we had already decided that our next DLC should focus more on the Axis, so we wouldn’t have to try too hard to come up with reasons why Germany should be involved.

The other issue we noted ourselves was that the Commonwealth nations had very little interaction with each other. They each sat in their own little part of the world, mostly doing their own thing with their AI neighbours. That meant that even if you were playing one of the countries that got a new focus tree, you were surrounded by countries that still used the generic trees. All the interesting developments in your region were caused by you. We wanted to change that as well, and force you to pay attention to the world around you.

Which brings us to our first new DLC focus tree:

The Kingdom of Romania
Romania is a very curious country in the context of WWII, since they were - technically - on all three sides of the war at some point (and had the war gone on long enough, I have little doubt that they would have somehow ended up in the Chinese United Front). During the interwar years, Romania had made an alliance with Poland, and had historically been closely aligned to France. In the event, the Poles decided not to activate their alliance with Romania, in order to use the neutral state on their borders to ship in Allied troops and supplies.

This strategy did not fully work to Poland’s advantage.

Afterwards, Romania had to come to terms with German supremacy on the continent. This grew even more pronounced when France, a nation the Romanians had always considered as a model for their own country, fell to the Wehrmacht in just 6 weeks (claims that the French AI was broken have not been confirmed by historians). King Carol II approached the Germans for an alliance, bringing Romania into the Axis - but not after the Soviet Union, Hungary and Bulgaria had forced their territorial demands on Romania.

The Romanians supplied a large portion of the Axis’ oil supplies, nominally in return for German aid in modernizing their military. They also participated in the invasion of the Soviet Union, famously failing to hold the flanks of the German 6th Army during the battle of Stalingrad (in their defense, they had told the Germans it was a bad idea).

When the war threatened to move onto Romanian soil, the country switched sides again and joined the war on the side of the Soviet Union, expelling the Germans and carrying the war into Hungary.

In the game, Romania starts out in a fairly strong position, surrounded on three sides by countries that are either weaker or allied, and with the Soviet Union about to be concerned with itself for a while. However, her Army is fairly outdated, her industry is weak and those surrounding countries all have designs on her territory.

Romania’s tree is therefore centered around trying to maintain that territory. Historically, Romania followed a very flexible policy, negotiating with the Germans and the Allies in parallel, trying to get the best deal. This is represented in game by not locking you into an alliance branch too early. As long as you aren’t part of a faction, you can negotiate freely to get new technologies and equipment from the major powers (how you get that equipment will be revealed in the next dev diary).

Alternatively, you can be proactive and try to become the strongest power in the Balkans, surrounding yourself with a string of buffer states. That will require you to break with old alliances, but they were never going to help you anyway, right?

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Romania also has several directions for how to develop its army, air force and navy:

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Internally, Romania also had a number of issues, first and foremost King Carol’s attempts at steering the country. A devoted hedonist and a less-than-devoted husband, Carol was a constant source of scandals, while also considering himself the only person fit to run the state. You will have to learn how to handle him, which requires time and resources, both of which are in short supply. On the other hand, Carol has a unique new ability allowing him to recruit ministers at a lower cost. Whether or not you want to keep him around is up to you.
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For people who like big pictures here is a link with the whole focus tree as one.

Increasing Immersion
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Immersion from playing a nation is not just from events and focus trees, art and sound also play a role to create the right feeling and thus Romania gets new general and leader portraits as well as unique voice overs for Romanian soldiers and 3d models of famous planes and tanks
HoI4_Render_Romania.jpg


See you all next week for another diary! That one will not reveal another country, but showcase some other things....
 
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So you can switch sides in wars now? How will that work?
 
Welcome Back
 
Amazing diary! Informative on a lot of levels, thanks!
 
Nice update on Romania, but......Wow.

Not one word on what fixes you are working on to solve the issues players have reported since 1.3.3? Not even a list of issues you recognize need work on? You have got to realize this was not going to make some people happy.
 
Looks good, and I suppose this means that the other axis powers are going to get some attention as well. More portraits are always good for flavor.
Nice update on Romania, but......Wow.

Not one word on what fixes you are working on to solve the issues players have reported since 1.3.3? Not even a list of issues you recognize need work on? You have got to realize this was not going to make some people happy.
It makes more sense to do the bug fix dev diary at the end, or just in the change log, because there is not much to be said about bug fixes, and they will only have a complete list of all the bugs they have fixed when the update is finished.
 
Is there going to be something extra about Litte Entente, now that the focus is on Romania (and presumably other states in the region - fingers crossed for Czechoslovakia)?
 
PS: I do not get it - ppl were upset after last DLC. To improve, the same which was done for Brits, was done for Axis. Yet the most pressing issues are not even mentioned...?

I mean errr seriously?
Its probably too early to pass judgement on the DLC given that next week they are revealing non-focus tree features.
 
This is a little underwhelming in my opinion. My biggest fear was that the development team would focus on focus trees and events, something that modders can easily do. To reignite people's interest in HOI4, you need to add new mechanics especially in terms of diplomacy, espionnage, economy, politics & trade, not custom focus trees which can be easily looked up in the workshop.

I hope that the next dlc will cover MUCH more than this. I'm just not interested in buying a dlc that mainly adds some custom focus trees.
 
Looks good, and I suppose this means that the other axis powers are going to get some attention as well. More portraits are always good for flavor.

It makes more sense to do the bug fix dev diary at the end, or just in the change log, because there is not much to be said about bug fixes, and they will only have a complete list of all the bugs they have fixed when the update is finished.

Sorry, that "excuse" no longer holds much weight, not when the glaring issues are literally game breaking to the vanilla single player game unless you play Germany. I was really expecting more than a focus tree and marketing lesson.