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Arheo

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Feb 13, 2018
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Welcome back to another Dev Diary for Imperator: Rome!

Once again, we’ll be covering some information that those of you using the open beta branch will already have been playing with.


Monarch Power

Before we dive in to the mechanics and solutions behind the monarch power rework, I’d like to explain a little bit about the impetus behind the changes, and the varying factors at play.

One of the more controversial aspects of the game at release, was the implementation of Monarch Power. After reading reams of feedback on the subject, and considering the available options, we elected to look at reworking the entire concept of Monarch Power in the Cicero update.

The community issues with the 1.0 monarch power system could broadly be boiled down into two main categories:

  • The lack of control over the stats that your monarch or ruler has.
  • The inconsistency of the varying purposes power was intended to be used for.

In essence, we needed a system that acted as an anti-snowballing mechanic, felt like something a player had control over, and which avoided any unnecessary abstraction both conceptually and in terms of practical use.

Enter Political Influence. PI is intended to represent exactly what it describes: the influence that a government or nation has over their own political establishment.

The way in which it is produced is also related directly to the political establishment. Each primary Office holder in your nation will contribute to the PI gain of your nation, based on their loyalty to your cause. The more loyal your cabinet, the more practical power you will have to perform the various actions associated with PI.

Which leads me comfortably to the next topic we covered as part of the power rework, and point two of the community issues surrounding Monarch Power. A huge variety of actions that previously had a token power cost, have been redesigned to use one of our newer, more dynamic resources. Tyranny, Stability, Political Influence, Corruption and even Aggressive Expansion have a more clear-cut purpose; the logical solution was to use these to represent the consequences of your actions, rather than attach an abstract cost:value ratio to things such as Bribery, selection of National Ideas, inviting investment, and more.




Of course, there are still actions that demand the use of more conventional currency. Gold still plays a large part in a functional government of Antiquity, perhaps even more so in the Cicero update. The power cost for inventions, for example, has been replaced with a scaling gold cost, representing the direct cost of investment into research and development:




In addition to reworks to the cost of many actions and abilities, it became quickly apparent that many actions needed no cost at all, and functioned as their own opportunity cost, or had a consequential cost. An example of this would be the Assault ability for armies; the manpower lost during an assault vastly outweighed any token power cost, and as such, has no action cost in Cicero. Citing an example of opportunity cost, Omens will no longer have an up-front price; the opportunity cost comes of being tied to your chosen omen for the entire duration, unable to switch or cancel the ongoing omen.

The one instance that we felt was not covered by any of our new or old systems, was the Military Tradition mechanic. This needed something unique, and as such, we needed a unique method by which to unlock and acquire traditions.

It felt appropriate to treat Traditions as a self-contained system, and the Cicero update will include a Military Experience resource. This will be generated over time at a modest base rate, but is modified by the average combat experience level of your national cohorts.

Military Drill is introduced alongside this, as a way for armies to maintain a certain level of experience during peacetime. The employment of Mercenary forces will detract from a nation’s Military Experience gain, but have been made vastly cheaper to maintain, to compensate for this.





Rulers will not be entirely without merit in the Cicero update, with each of the four statistics granting you bonuses to certain stats, scaled by the value of the stat itself:
  • Martial: Manpower Recovery and Land Morale Recovery
  • Finesse: Commerce Modifier and Build Cost
  • Charisma: Monthly Tyranny Decay and Claim Fabrication speed
  • Zeal: Monthly Stability Increase and War Exhaustion Decay

A skilled ruler will therefore still be important to a state, and a weak one will be noticeably less potent.

To conclude, we realised early on in the testing cycle for these changes, that it felt more organic, dynamic, and most importantly fun, to utilise resources in this way. That said, if you wish to be the judges of this yourselves, the open beta for the Cicero update is still underway, we invite you to try it out!

/Arheo
 

Lord Lambert

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D: nothing new again

Feed me information! I require news sustenance!
 

Furuderikas

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Seeing the precise reasoning behind the replacements is very interesting!
I enjoy the fact gold is very relevant to tall & economic play (through inventions, etc). Spend money to make money.
 

Nattack

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D: nothing new again

Feed me information! I require news sustenance!
I don't think there will be any new features for a while. 1.2 Cicero already seems to be feature complete (might be wrong, who knows), so all that's left is to do balance/fix bugs/AI/whatever else.
 

natevandrake

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I'm glad the influence (or lack of) of a totally garbage leader hasn't been removed. Historically speaking there were plenty of morons who ruined their countries. Having to deal with that is something that has been a rewarding challenge since EU4, although the 0/0/0 rulers still enrage me.

It would be interesting however if a particularly low stat results in a penalty. So like a stat of 3 or 4 could be no buff or penalty and anything less than that would for example increase tyanny or reduce stability
 
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Lord Lambert

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I don't think there will be any new features for a while. 1.2 Cicero already seems to be feature complete (might be wrong, who knows), so all that's left is to do balance/fix bugs/AI/whatever else.
We thought that before food became a thing too, remember.
 

Askorti

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From what I read about what people who play the beta say, it seems like you've fallen into the same pitfall again, with Political Influence being used for too many different things, the same way the 4 mana types were previously.
 

Lord Lambert

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From what I read about what people who play the beta say, it seems like you've fallen into the same pitfall again, with Political Influence being used for too many different things, the same way the 4 mana types were previously.
Not everyone feels that way. I'd go so far as to say it's actually a small minority that do. The threads I can think of from the top of my head that make this claim are the ones that say governor policies shouldnt be PI (they should, he's wrong) and changing your nations stance (again, it should, and he is wrong)

That thread has 3 agrees, 3 disagrees and 1 helpful. Not exactly worth discussing.

Is there another thread I have missed that makes similar claims?
 

Denkt

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The main issue with political influence which also was an issue with monarch Power Before was that most actions was not Worth the cost, moving a pop for 20 Civic Power was a complete waste since an invention only cost 100 Civic Power. Now we see the same issue such as a claim cost only 20 Power and is much better than paying 80 Power for provincial development. Calling something like moving a pop a "token" cost is really wrong.

Omens will no longer have an up-front price; the opportunity cost comes of being tied to your chosen omen for the entire duration, unable to switch or cancel the ongoing omen.
Omens don't feel like omens at all, I hope you consider to redesign the system completely and not be press a button every 5 years to gain a bonus.
 

Tyson_48

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Omens don't feel like omens at all, I hope you consider to redesign the system completely and not be press a button every 5 years to gain a bonus.
+1

I would prefer a system, where omens lead to dynamical event chains. And we can only choose which raw direction (to which god) this event chain will go.
No instant or permanent bonus but dynamic events which can not only give bonus but also malus ;)

f.e.
if you call for an omen to your factions "commerce god" an if you improve your commerce efforts in the "omen duration" there could be events like "a merchand has found a dog fucking a bird, which is clear message from god XYZ and has told this story all about your country.
All merchants are encouraged by this sign of the god (you gain 15% commerce eff.)

...but if you act against the commercial path (f.e. declare war on trade partners), you could suffer a mighty revenge from this god...like the bird fucking the dog (-35% commerce eff.)
 
Last edited:

grandad1982

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So I have an issue with scaling costs.

If the cost of an action scales in a to linear fashion compared to the things that generate the resource being spent then you get a really unsatisfying feeling as you grow because you are still basically restricted to the same amount of actions as you were before you grew. This feels like the case in I:R currently with many of the scaling costs. Ideally the cost should scale at a slower rate to your power growth giving the player a sense of real advancement.
 

Seleukos.I.Nikator

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I have no problem with the political influence. The way you acquire it and spend it seems very reasonable to me. The only negative observation I've had was that for the bigger empires like the Seleucids there was constantly insufficient amount of influence to actually do things. I think that scaling the acqusition of the political influence by your rank should be increased even further with higher amount of influence allowed for the biggest states, though I'm not entirely sure how that will affect the game balance in the long run.

Regarding the omens, I do agree that something should be done with them as of now they are just free, simple positive modifiers. Perhaps a system where there is always a chance for the omen to go wrong?
 

Ancillary

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I don't think there will be any new features for a while. 1.2 Cicero already seems to be feature complete (might be wrong, who knows), so all that's left is to do balance/fix bugs/AI/whatever else.
Gosh, I sure hope so. Even if there are no unannounced game features left, it's going to be a tall order just to teach the AI how to play the new game before the end of September.
 

Samitte

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Omens don't feel like omens at all, I hope you consider to redesign the system completely and not be press a button every 5 years to gain a bonus.
Aye, currently it just means press a button - get reward for a short time, with the only minor interaction you have with it is converting pop so its not too useless.

What I think might be a good idea is to have the option to attempt to gain a bonus at the cost of some money and PI, with a random outcome. A positive one will grant you an omen for a period of time, depending on the outcome. A negative one grants you a malus. And sometimes its neutral.

Ask the Gods for something > Gods grant a bonus/malus/stay quiet > Omen power affects chance of positive, negative or neutral, duration, and strength (weak/medium/strong). Bonuses could be what they are now, varying per religion. An perhaps even make ruler stats play a role. Maluses could be the same, varying. Things like increased Unrest, reduced Pop Growth, Specific pop type happyness reduction, increased AE, reduced moreale, a stab hit, etc.

This would make Omens more interesting and have you play around them more. Perhaps even bringing back the old EU:Rome system where if you don't interact with it the High Priest on occasion will do one himself.
 
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Todie

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So I have an issue with scaling costs.

If the cost of an action scales in a to linear fashion compared to the things that generate the resource being spent then you get a really unsatisfying feeling as you grow because you are still basically restricted to the same amount of actions as you were before you grew. This feels like the case in I:R currently with many of the scaling costs. Ideally the cost should scale at a slower rate to your power growth giving the player a sense of real advancement.
Yes, this had been discussed a lot a few weeks back. Though, at this point, the scaling that occurs have been tied strictly to number of pops. This means, every step we take to make our pops more productive makes us more gold without increasing the cost.

As for the state of balance, i think many will agree inventions are a little but too expensive in bp5, while they were too cheap in bp3. Also worth noting is that some of the means to scale up gold income are bugged at the moment. (Markets do nothing)...
 
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hannibal_barca

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The new system is great. I feel like Political Influence is an organic medium that does not feel too artificial like the previous monarch points. I was a very vociferous hater on the 1.0 release but now after reading about Cicero I went ahead and purchased the game and am giving great accolades.