Imperator - Menander Reveal 20/04/27

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As promised, today’s dev diary will give you the broad strokes on what you might expect from the Menander update.

As you know, the Menander update makes up the ‘culture’ portion of the season of religion and culture. The portrayal of these two things were not chosen as my focus for the season lightly; I feel that they are key to unlocking some of the potential of I:R as an experience.

Something many of you have mentioned and that we have long wished to change, is the way that cultures are dealt with on an internal level. Rather than relying solely on cultural assimilation, the Menander update will bring you:

Cultural Integration

This feature will overhaul the way that you interact with the pops within your empire. Every culture represented within your borders will be shown in a cultural overview, and will possess several values unique to pops of that culture.

You’ll be able to limit the maximum poptype of a culture, preventing them from attaining citizenship, for example. This will of course affect the base cultural happiness of pops belonging to this culture, increasing their likelihood of rising up in revolt. Legislating for the granting of citizenship to an entire culture will take time, of course, during which all manner of upset may be encountered. Of most importance, cultures will begin to act as the ‘voice’ for your pops.

Citizenship is not all fun and games, though. Pops with citizenship rights will count as primary culture for all mechanical purposes, yet the number of cultures with citizenship status within your empire will affect the overall happiness of all integrated cultures. Just as Caesar went too far in bringing gauls into the senate, so too may you.

Of course, the struggle for citizenship that so often caused instability in Rome could not be faithfully represented without:

Reworked Rebellions

The need for cultural diversity also brought up the need for reworking rebellions. Rebellions have never quite satisfied me as a player - they rarely occur due to high thresholds, and were almost solely related to conquest, rather than domestic dissatisfaction.

It was our aim when we produced this to prevent ‘whackamole’ rebels similar to some of our older titles. In retrospect, I believe we went too far. History is filled with doomed provincial rebellions, and we aim to strike a balance between cause, effect, and frequency of revolts under the new system.

Rebellions will no longer have a national threshold in order to begin. Instead, the provincial loyalty bar will be responsible for dictating whether a rebellion spawns. Combined with cultural happiness, this should result in much more focused revolts, that occur as a direct result of your action or inaction.

Rebellions will be able to ‘snowball’, with other provinces joining in if province loyalty reaches a similar level.

We’ve a few additional parts coming here, which I’ll leave until a future week to discuss in detail.

Senate and Factions Rework

We've decided to take the time to reimagine the faction and senate system that our titular nation (and many others) experience in republican playthroughs.

Firstly, I’d like to talk about something we’re removing, though. Senate ‘impact’ (otherwise known as the small hand that tells you if you can or cannot perform an action in republics, has been a thorn in our side for some time. The individual weighting on a per-issue basis for each political faction has proven to be exceptionally unwieldy, and makes it hard to get an overview of where your parties stand. (shown below)

img2.png



Instead, we’ll be replacing this with an overall faction approval rating, which will not be weighted on a per-issue basis, and which acts more as a vote of confidence in your rulership as a whole. From a design perspective, this gives us a lot more creative control when using events and systems; and should mean that factions can play a much more integral part in your gameplay experience, rather than having seemingly arbitrary opinions on certain things. As a related note, it will be much more feasible to add unique factions to nations, government types, and even special interest groups that might appear or disappear at certain times.

Your actions will have direct consequences to your approval rating with various factions - sacking the holy site of Mars might cause outrage amongst the traditionalist optimates.

We’ll also be reducing the number of parties somewhat, for most countries. The 5 current factions aren’t very representative of ancient roman politics, and we feel that representing three main power blocs makes for a political landscape ripe for treachery and intrigue.

Additionally, we’ll be making some changes to how votes are calculated. Senate votes will be tied to characters (no, not one vote per character!), to represent the political clout of individuals. It should be possible therefore, for a particularly unruly senator to hold up bills entirely of their own volition.

We'll also be taking a look at adding senatorial objectives: faction generated demands that give factions both a sense of identity and a method of interacting with your gameplay directly. More on those in a future diary!

Subjects

Subjects will be receiving an overhaul in Menander, with the aim of making them more manageable, more potentially rewarding, yet less immediately powerful.

Subject relationships will now have a linear subject-type track from tributary to feudatory/integration. Every subject relationship will have a trust value which will grow at a rate influenced by opinion, inventions, and obligations. Trust itself can be spent to enact obligations, change tithes, perform actions, or upgrade subject type to a higher level on the track.

Warning, Game Director art/ui should be considered highly WIP:
img1.png


Many of the current benefits of the numerous subject types in the game, will be converted to obligations; actions or toggles that can be performed on your subjects and which will cost trust or trust growth.

We’ll be looking at adding a few ways for subjects to interact with their overlord, too, but it is too early to tell quite how this will take shape.

---

There will be a host of minor changes, tweaks and additions, alongside these flagship features, and I’ll aim to cover those in a diary later on in the process.I hope you like what you see here; we’ll flesh out further details for each feature in upcoming diaries, but I hope this will be enough to keep you going until then!


/Peter
 
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This update seems really promising. Please remember to properly tweak the cultural assimilation rate to be similar to the historical one, compared to the actual one with large parts of the map that are completely assimilated to the ruling nation culture in less than a century.
 
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Basileus2

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This looks really good! Exciting stuff, guys! A great menu for internal empire management, vassal relations and republics governance models.

For those who will whine about characters below (I know its going to happen), just wait; characters will get their re-work and / or additional content at some point.
 

tradetem

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The planned changes sound really nice!

But I have a question:

We’ll also be reducing the number of parties somewhat, for most countries. The 5 current factions aren’t very representative of ancient roman politics, and we feel that representing three main power blocs makes for a political landscape ripe for treachery and intrigue.

why not simply have Families become factions in the senate?
 
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Basileus2

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The planned changes sound really nice!

But I have a question:

why not simply have Families become factions in the senate?
what would happen if you have an outsider become a power and form a faction around themselves in the Senate then? The Julii were on the down and outs until Caesar came along. Same with Sulla and the Cornelii.

Caesar certainly didn't join and represent a patrician cause, which is what the Great Families represent.
 

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Caesar certainly didn't join and represent a patrician cause, which is what the Great Families represent.

that sounds like a perfect place to merge the Dictatorship mechanic with Characters and Senate. Also Arheo mentioned special interest groups might come and go, this could also be a place for Ceaser and his crew.
 

Trin Tragula

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why not simply have Families become factions in the senate?

First of all because factions means we can do neat things (like having the aforementioned Populares and Optimates enter the scene for Rome).
Second: In Republics Minor characters also matter, and can even be consuls. :)
Third: It also means we can tie their approval to actions that make sense (like a party approving of doing something like confiscating land from great families and wanting certain political goals as objectives).
Fourth: Most of all though, since we are now tying faction votes to the characters that are members of the party we now open up for things like characters swapping party, mattering. Which would not be the case for families. That said, in the new system it may well be the case that some characters (especially weak willed or impressionable ones) will have a tendency to side with their head of family.

Another nice side effect of tying voting to characters is that murder and sending people away, etc will have an impact on how the senate votes :)
 
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that sounds like a perfect place to merge the Dictatorship mechanic with Characters and Senate. Also Arheo mentioned special interest groups might come and go, this could also be a place for Ceaser and his crew.
I interpreted Arheo's comment about special interest groups being something that might be added later, not in Menander, but if not then your thoughts on this could be one possible route to go regarding 'new powers' in the Senate. Still though, you wouldn't have the Populares at all, who were definitely a faction.
 

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I would like to provide some meaningful feedback right now, but I'm just floored, this is a list of amazing broad strokes for a major update..! I very much look forward to details to come in the weeks ahead!
 

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First of all because factions means we can do neat things (like having the aforementioned Populares and Optimates enter the scene for Rome).
Second: In Republics Minor characters also matter, and can even be consuls. :)
Third: It also means we can tie their approval to actions that make sense (like a party approving of doing something like confiscating land from great families and wanting certain political goals as objectives).
Fourth: Most of all though, since we are now tying faction votes to the characters that are members of the party we now open up for things like characters swapping party, mattering. Which would not be the case for families. That said, in the new system it may well be the case that some characters (especially weak willed or impressionable ones) will have a tendency to side with their head of family.

Another nice side effect of tying voting to characters is that murder and sending people away, etc will have an impact on how the senate votes :)

Now this...I love this.
 
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Not absolutely sure about the advantages created by the changes.

On the surface they seem great, but the revisions of the Senate to less factions and Individual thinking on issues seem like a step back. Character Interactions were how Ancient states were built more or less they were all "cults of personality" even the politics was personal.

The same can be said about rebellion revisions they seem to make the rebellions more contained to one or two mismanaged provinces instead of the Empire wide Rebellion/Civil Wars that are now created, but it seems like an adaptation and reversion of the old "whack-a-mole" system of the past.

Vassal interactions: A linear system is just wrong. The variety of relationships should be equal with the player having to pick the right one and only some leading to integration. Especially in the Republican Empires. Maybe Monarchial Empires could have other Vassal types that more often lead to Integration. Like maybe as a Roman Player you can get a Dictator and then have him with some risk have a decision to change government to a monarchy during an event chain the player could then change the status of vassal states based on relations and trust in the ruling character.

Just a few thoughts I hope that this update will be great and that my misgivings are wrong.
 
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Razmorg

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Of most importance, cultures will begin to act as the ‘voice’ for your pops.

All in all sounds good. Could you elaborate on what this means? So if you enable citizenship for a culture they might start to demand things and other dominant cultures might get angry or how will the voice be? I do really like this focus combined with the easier rebellions as I could see it lead to more interesting gameplay if integrating a culture is a big struggle you can either engage with or maybe say delay as you sort out other things or just straight up oppose if you just conquered a smaller irrelevant land.

Also will there be something like consciousness from Vic2? Might be a way to balance out citizen spam if they are more unwieldly. Like I could see that maybe this could be a way to discourage mega city spam if the conciousness gets worse the more concentrated the citizen pop is.

As a related note, it will be much more feasible to add unique factions to nations, government types, and even special interest groups that might appear or disappear at certain times.

This sounds great! I'd love to have like a league of empowered merchants or noble men start rise up and make a fuss. Big thing I just wish if these were also connected to families. Really curious to see how far this is taken. Doesn't sound like we are getting a lot of this now (as you mostly talk about the possibility) but just saying the possibility sounds really nice.
 

Valentin the II

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Amazing!
Everything in this update sounds potentially great, one question:

Additionally, we’ll be making some changes to how votes are calculated. Senate votes will be tied to characters (no, not one vote per character!), to represent the political clout of individuals. It should be possible therefore, for a particularly unruly senator to hold up bills entirely of their own volition.

So some actions will still be limited by senate votes? Or is this tied to the new faction favour system?
 

Quimera

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OMG, thank you, but one question, by interaction with subjects and unhappiness cultures means that we can/might support revolts in subjects against our enemies/its overlord or the subject's interactions just work within overlords and his subjects??
 

Basileus2

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The same can be said about rebellion revisions they seem to make the rebellions more contained to one or two mismanaged provinces instead of the Empire wide Rebellion/Civil Wars that are now created, but it seems like an adaptation and reversion of the old "whack-a-mole" system of the past.

Just a few thoughts I hope that this update will be great and that my misgivings are wrong.

My understanding of this is that they're not getting rid of character / civil war type rebellions, but adding in new type in addition to that.
 

EricMN93

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Will there be social classes? I think it would add a lot to the game and culture could have an important role in this.
 

Kristaliorn

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Looking forward to this!

I see you have also went full crazy on the date ha ha . Lambert will be unpleased.
 
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