Imperator Dev Diary 07/12/20

Imperator Dev Diary 07/12/20

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Arheo

Game Director, Imperator: Rome
Feb 13, 2018
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Greetings all,

Today, we’ll be covering some additional mechanics coming in the Marius update, before we take a look at further mission trees coming as part of the Heirs of Alexander DLC.

Ports

As the astute amongst you have noticed, we’ve made several references to ‘upgrading’ port infrastructure in recent dev diaries and streams.

Prior to Marius, ports were seeded in numerous historical locations, but could never be altered, removed, or added during gameplay. As Imperator is a game where the ability to build your own civilization is paramount, it seemed natural that this behaviour should be reconsidered.

As part of Marius, shipyards will be a constructible building-type, which along with various local effects, will increase the port level of the territory in which they are built.

pasted image 0.png


Shipyards can be constructed in any coastally adjacent territory, which will have the graphical effect of creating a culturally appropriate port model in the coastal territory. For technical and design reasons, we’ve chosen not to allow the construction of shipyards in river provinces, unless there was a pre-seeded port already present (Pataliputra or Sais, for example).

The level of port in a territory will primarily dictate which ships it is able to construct; low level ports may only build and repair Light ships, for example.

Mega-polyremes will require a port level of 5, but are still gated behind the corresponding military tradition, though due to the tradition tree rework, this unlock can now be attained by any nation willing to invest into the traditions of the Greek Kingdoms.

You’ll be able to distinguish between port levels by map icon; two such examples at the beginning of the game are the port in Alexandria which begins at a higher level than surrounding territories:

pasted image 0 (1).png


Lastly, but not least - ports can now be removed or destroyed by removing shipyard buildings in the associated territory.This will evict any mercenary navies currently present, and destroy the port model.

Technology Feedback

Your response to the technology trees coming in 2.0 was overwhelming, and I feel we’re on an good course with these. This said, there was some excellent critique on the system, some of which we’ve had a chance to iterate on.

pasted image 0 (2).png


One of the most common opinions we saw, was that the tech tree background appeared bland. To address this, our talented artists have added a diagrammatic background (replete with authentic wine stains) to give some identity to the game view.

One additional and enduring piece of feedback we’ve had during testing, was the lack of contextual identification for inventions in the new system - how does the player know what each invention represents, and how can they easily locate what they’re aiming for in our larger tree structures?

We’ve added two ways to mitigate this concern.

Firstly, inventions now display their foremost modifier icon inside the UI element. This gives an at-a-glance indication of what you’re likely to receive once an invention is purchased. As our regular players will know, however, there are a significant number of modifiers and modifier types in Imperator - it can be tricky to mentally map all of these. Which leads us to the second improvement.

The search bar in the top right corner will highlight inventions that correspond to your search terms. This will parse both names and modifier strings:

pasted image 0 (3).png


(It goes without saying hopefully, that this highlight is WIP!)

In addition to these UI changes, some incidental balance changes have been made to the inventions system. Notably, while we do not wish for it to be possible to unlock all inventions in a single playthrough, the number available vs the number of innovations available were simply too far removed.

To mitigate this, we’ve decreased the expected years per technology from 20 years to 15 years - this reduces the ahead of time penalty accordingly, and should result in more frequent tech advances as time goes on.

Several modifiers previously tied to nation rank (particularly diplomatic relations) have been moved out of their associated rank modifier, and into the tech trees. I’ve never been entirely happy with the number of alliances and relations that were available from the beginning of the game - this addresses that concern, yet retains the ability to focus on this as a valid playstyle for players and AI, should their situation demand it.

pasted image 0 (4).png


As the above screenshot suggests, we have also added more keystone inventions, particularly those which might alter the playstyle of a nation. The wargoal referred to here is the one mentioned in our previous developer diary. Whilst powerful, it sits relatively far down the Oratory tree, as many of our more game-changing inventions tend to.

Before I hand over to @Bratyn, I'm aware that I promised unit model screenshots a week or two ago - due to some final polish on these, I can't show them off just yet - watch this space!

---------------
 
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Bratyn

Imperator: Rome Content Design Lead
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Hello, everyone!

I am Drikus, the Content Design Lead on Imperator. Some of you may already know me, as for some years I worked on Hearts of Iron IV, until I moved to Imperator: Rome earlier this year. For the upcoming Heirs of Alexander DLC I shifted my focus from the Focus Trees I worked on in the past to Imperator’s Mission Tree system, creating a trio of missions for Lysimachus’ Thrace.

I will begin by stating that everything shown here is still work-in-progress and liable to change, so do not be surprised if certain details are different upon release from what is shown here.

Lysimachus.png


After Alexander’s death in 323 BCE Lysimachus, one of Alexander’s Bodyguards, was assigned governor of the satrapy of Thrace. This would prove to be a poisoned gift, as Thrace was only notionally a satrapy - much of the ‘theoretical extent’ of this satrapy was ruled by disloyal Greek colonies, Getian tribes, and the nation of Odrysia which had been unified under the king Seuthes III.

Thrace map.png


Over the course of the next 20 years, until the game’s start date, Lysimachus showed his unparalleled military and diplomatic genius by fending off all threats posed to his tenuous hold over the satrapy. Getic raids, repeated Odrysian revolts and even a united uprising by the Greek colonies on the western shore of the Pontus Euxinus (Black Sea) were defeated. Even the combination of an Odrysian and this Greek revolt happening concurrently in 313-312 BCE, timed to coincide with an invasion across the Hellespont by Antigonus, were not able to bring Lysimachus down. The sheer speed with which Lysimachus defeated the Odrysi and Greeks in detail before the Antigonid crossing had even been made resulted in the invasion being cancelled altogether.

The issues facing a Thracian player in 304 BCE can thus be summed up in the following points:
  • Unification of the Thracian satrapy (later: Kingdom). This is in turn is comprised of:
    • Maintaining loyalty of Seuthes III and the Odrysian Kingdom
    • Achieving submission from the remaining tribes south of the Danube
    • Securing Thrace from raids and incursions from the Getae in the north
  • Obtaining the support of the Greeks, via a change in diplomacy. This is comprised of:
    • Maintaining loyalty of the Greek colonies that previous rebelled in 313-312 BCE
    • Gaining the favor of the Greeks by the judicious application of wealth, in a display of generosity and “euergetism”
    • Dismantling the influence of other Diadochs over the Greek mainland
    • The establishment of a league in the Greek mainland that is friendly to Thrace
  • The invasion of Asia. This is comprised of:
    • Obtaining a fleet sufficiently large to effect a crossing of the Hellespont
    • Dismantling Antigonid control over the coastal Greek states in Asia minor
    • Establishing Thrace’s own subject nations in these parts
    • Protecting these new Asian holdings from aggression from further south and east.

The three Thracian missions can be taken in any order, depending on what the player initially wishes to focus on. So, in no particular order, these are the new Thracian missions:


We will begin with the ”The Paper Kingdom” mission. The aim for this mission is to unify the nominal extent of Thrace under your rule, and secure it from threats both from the north and from the south.

The Paper Kingdom tree.png


The mission has three main parts. The left deals with Odrysia. The right deals with the Getae. The center features tasks focusing on cultural unity and the expansion of the capital city of Lysimacheia both as an economic center and a military bulwark situated on the Hellespont.

Seuthes III, Odrysia’s king, unified the Odrysi tribes under his rule, and attempted to prove the Odrysi’s ability to match the Macedonians in their culture. Odrysia is an ever-disloyal thorn in the side of Thrace. Go to war with another diadoch, and they are liable to stab you in the back for their own gains. However, drive them back, and they will sue for peace and accept a return to the status quo. You may of course continue your onslaught and wipe them off the map quickly, but accepting this early peace would free your troops to continue your undoubtedly more pressing wars.

Odrysia peace.png


Once Odrysia has been put in its place at least once, negotiations can be begun. Offering concessions or gold will make the Odrysi less likely to rebel in future wars. Offering still more, in the Unsavory Compromise and Loyalty Earned tasks, will erode popular Odrysi support for Seuthes’ wars, and prevent him from rallying the people in any further revolts.

Loyalty Earned.png


On the other hand, if you lack such patience, or if you have a particular penchant for vengeance, once Odrysia has revolted at least twice, you may prepare a punitive expedition. “Plucking the Thorn” will cancel Odrysia’s vassalage to Thrace, and bring you into a state of war with them. Again, Odrysia may sue for peace, but this time you will hopefully have no other wars to distract you. Seuthopolis, Odrysia’s capital, was created as a symbol of Odrysi culture and sovereignty. Controlling it enables the task “Breaking the Symbol” - completely destroying the city and burning it to the ground. Its people will be put to the sword, its riches looted, and the city will be reduced to a settlement, with only a handful of survivors (with others fleeing to random Odrysian provinces). This will ensure that the Odrysi will nevermore consider rising up against Thracian might.

Destruction of Seuthopolis.png


But beware, for the eyes of the northern tribes are upon you. Moesia, Triballia, and Serdia will be watching how you deal with the Odrysians. Once Seuthes has been dealt with, “The Tribes of the North” task sends ultimatums to these northern tribes. Each one will be offered to submit peacefully to Thrace, and their likelihood to accept depends partly on whether you chose to handle the Odrysian issue peacefully or with force…

Periodically, Getic raids may occur. Raiders will enter the territory of one of the Greek city-states on the coast of the Pontus Euxinus, and steal pops, food, or gold. Each time this happens their opinion of you for failing to defend them will suffer, and unhappy Greek states do not embody the concept of loyalty…

Getian Raid.png


Again, a peaceful or a military solution may be sought to this problem. “Fortify the Crossings” begins the peaceful branch. The goal is to use the breadth of the Istros (Danube) river as a natural barrier against future raids. Fortifying all possible crossings through the missions will achieve this (though this requires first actually controlling the crossings, some of which are owned by the tribes just south of the Istros), stop all future Getic raids, and unlock the “Bridge between Peoples” task, which greatly improves opinion with the states north of the river, as well as stimulating trade and immigration.

A Bridge Between Peoples.png


The right-hand path starts with “Ending the Raids”, and declares war on the Getae. Win (even if the Getae still exist), and the frequency of their raids will be drastically reduced. Remove them from the map altogether, and they will stop completely. From there on, you may invade the rest of the lands north of the Istros river, or even go into Scythia, hopefully with more luck than the ill-fated Zopyrion.

Finally, the central branch involves integrating Odrysian culture into Thrace, improving the economic status of Lysimacheia, improving its forts, and finally, citing the ferocity of Thracian fighters, providing (temporary) combat bonuses to the traditional Thracian troop types: archers, light cavalry, and light infantry.

Sons of Ares.png



We will next look at the “A New Philhellenic Policy” mission. This mission deals with the Greeks in Greece proper, but also more directly with the Greek colonies on the shore of the Pontus Euxinus.

As you may have noticed from the pictures above, where only Istros used to exist as an independent Greek state on this coastline, now all Greek cities here have been made independent, and turned into vassals of Thrace. This is to better represent the political reality of the area, as well as provide increased replayability by adding a new swath of minor powers to try out.

A New Philhellenic Policy tree.png


In the previous mission I mentioned that a lower opinion from your Greek colonial subjects will make them more likely to be disloyal. When at war with another diadoch, they may choose to send their wealth to attempt to spark an uprising among these Greek states. Opinion is one of the factors that governs whether these states will rise up or not.

Pontic Revolt.png


The right-most branch of this tree deals with this problem. Two paths exist.

On the left, “Condone the Local Mints” kicks off the ‘autonomy’ branch. You give the Greek Poleis further autonomy and rights, and invest in their economic development, first reducing the chance they will rise up against you, and finally removing the chance altogether.

On the right, “Enforce Royal Coinage” instead strips them of their rights and establishes strengthened garrisons. This will initially reduce the chance of their rising up, and eventually, by dint of them no longer existing, remove this chance altogether when “Solidify Control” annexes these cities directly.

Formalize Autonomy.png


The rest of the mission tree focuses on the Greek mainland. “Philhellenic Euergetism” spreads your wealth around the Greek city-states, in exchange for a healthy opinion boost. The various tasks to its left grant further ‘gifts’ to Athens, Sparta, and Boeotia, ‘encouraging’ them to break free from the vassalage of other Diadochs, and possibly even accept an alliance with Thrace as their new protectors. This branch wouldn’t be complete without having the quintessential “league” task - allowing for the creation of your very own Greek subject league, since I’ve heard this is all the latest rage among Diadochs, and you wouldn’t want to be looked down upon for not having one.

Philhellenic Euergetism.png


Finally, everyone knows that every self-respecting Diadoch considers themselves a god, so as a final bit of ego-pandering you can establish a personality cult and even worship Lysimachus as the god-on-Earth he was. For who, other than a god, could have taken over Thrace and achieved what he achieved, beset by enemies from every direction?


The third, and final mission we will look at is “Crossing the Hellespont”. This is the mission that deals with Thrace’s neighboring fellow Diadochs: the Antigonid Kingdom and Macedon.

Crossing the Hellespont tree.png


On the right, tasks allow the seizure of the Byzantine fleet to bolster your numbers and secure a crossing over the Hellespont, as well as offering other military bonuses, integrating cultures, extorting your subjects for money to maintain the war effort, and finally beginning a grand ship-building program to contest the Aegean.

Contesting the Aegean.png


On the left, “Crush Asian Greek Resistance” and “Sway Asian Greek Loyalty” offer a choice between two approaches to your initial assault on the Antigonids: brute-force your way through with temporary combat bonuses, or bribe some of the Greek minor subjects of the Antigonids to switch sides.

From here, you may honor the legacy of Troy, to the approval of the Greeks, as well as use diplomatic means to bring Heraclea Pontica, ruled by Basilissa Amastris, into the fold. Further tasks allow for the creation of Pergamon as a subject state, as well as the creation of forts in the Taurus mountains, and claims for future conquest in Cappadocia. The mission is finished by ensuring no other Diadoch or their subjects owns any province on the coast of the Pontus Euxinus.

The Matter of Troy.png


A final branch, tucked away between the others, deals with Macedon. Historically, Lysimachus and Cassander were close allies, but with Cassander’s death Pyrrhus and Lysimachus eventually divided Macedon among each other. In the mission tree, you can reach out to the Epirotes and prepare for war on Macedon from both sides. Once Cassander is dead, “The Matter of Macedon” brings both powers into war with Macedon, for you to divide as you see fit. A final task allows for exacting vengeance on Demetrios in a most appropriate manner, as retribution for the insults he leveled at Lysimachus…

Poetic Justice.png


Lysimachus is, in my opinion, the most overlooked of all the Diadochs, in part because so little information about him is available. Delving into what historical evidence does exist has been an absolute pleasure, and my personal regard for his accomplishments has grown tremendously. I hope you will enjoy playing Thrace with these missions as much as I enjoyed researching and working on them. Playing Thrace is intended to be a challenge, but succeed and you’ll have experienced a hint of what it was to be Lysimachus!

See you next week for a new dev diary! :)
 
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Bratyn

Imperator: Rome Content Design Lead
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3) Is there an Epirote mission to reach out to Lysamachius to help invade Macedon, since now we can reach out to the Epirotes to help invade Macedon?

There is an Epirote mission to ally Thrace, though it doesn't fully duplicate the effects of this two-pronged war on Macedon. That is a unique thing for Thrace.
 
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Bratyn

Imperator: Rome Content Design Lead
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This looks cool. Question for @Bratyn will there be missions for dealing with the rest of Alexander's empire after you secure Greece and Asia Minor? For example will there be stuff for dealing with the Ptolemies and Selekuids and going after the rest of Alexander's empire?

There is no dedicated mission tree for this, but all Diadochs have access to a new Diadoch wargoal against one another, meaning you don't really need any 'guidance' or help to get to war with them. A mission dedicated to this was therefore not deemed necessary - though if you stay tuned you may well get a more in-depth answer on your question in coming weeks ;)
 
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Bratyn

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@Bratyn If you are Getae will you get stuff for doing the raids on Thrace, so you can play as the raiders?

You do not have control over the raids, but you do get their rewards. The idea being that many raids are conducted by fringe tribes you do not necessarily have tremendous control over (a flavour explanation covering over the fact that Getia really shouldn't be able to control them, because otherwise you simply never would do them when playing as Getia, to block Thrace's mission progress).

I keep getting indications that the content devs have an interest in the classical period on a personal level. At some point can we hear from @Bratyn , @AreysAK , @Snow Crystal about their classicist tendencies? Maybe a list of their favorite primary sources? And if there are any workplace exchanges in Latin or Greek?

I've always loved the classical period as a child, and in high school I had a trimester of Ancient Greek and two years of Latin. However, due to the vicissitudes of fate I wasn't able to continue studying these, and so that is a long time ago and my ability in these languages is virtually non-existent now. My personal interest in the period remains, though!

Since the 4th War event chain fires early, would the player have time for the Thracian or Greek missions before it's time for fight Antigonos. Similarly, what happens to the navy-building in the Asian mission if the 4th war has already been resolved and Lysimachos has occupied Asia Minor?

If you enter the 4th war when it happens then yes, you will either not be benefiting from the Hellespont mission while in this war, or you will have to delay your Paper Kingdom or Hellenic Policy missions until after. However, you can delay this war yourself. You do not have to join it when the event appears, if you do not want to.
 
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