Imperator: Rome Developer Diary - 15th of June 2020

Imperator: Rome Developer Diary - 15th of June 2020

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Hello and welcome to another Development Diary for Imperator: Rome, Menander Update!

Today’s diary will not be about any single big feature, but rather cover some of the small to medium-sized things we have done in the Menander update. Some of this is additional iteration done on already described systems, while others are things we wanted to do to address older things in the game that we weren’t happy with.

Diadochi Wars

wargoalinfo.png
First up is a change to everyone’s favorite successor kings.
When our game starts the conflict over Alexander the Great’s empire was still very much alive, with the Antigonids facing off against all the other Diadochi, seemingly on their way to defeating them all single-handedly.

Last update saw the introduction of a scripted ramp up to the continuation of the Diadochi Wars. In the Menander update we have further built on those changes, and introduced some other tweaks to this dynamic:

1. Legacy of Alexander War Goal

legacywargoal.png

First of all, there is a new War Goal available to all the successors from the point they get their claims on the other parties and up until they trigger the “Epigoni” event when their initial kings die (or in the case of the Antigonids, when the king after Antigonus dies). This superiority war goal is only viable against other Diadochi, and allows you to cheaply demand large amounts of land from them if you win.

2. Phrygia is no more.

antigonidname.png
The kingdom of Antigonus is now referred to as the “Antigonid Kingdom” instead of Phrygia :) Back in the day we wanted a geographic name for this country, so Phrygia was chosen after Antigonus' Satrapy. At the end of the day though, the state is much more well known as the Antigonid Kingdom so we are now reverting to that.

3. Cappadocian Revolt

cappadocia.png
The event chain for accepting Ariarathes back into Cappadocia has been changed to be less deterministic in when it triggers. This means it is more likely to happen before or during the war between the Antigonids and the other Diadochi. Cappadocia will now also become a tributary of Armenia if they should accept, pulling them out of the Diadochi wars even if they have already joined the fighting. The Antigonids will be able to choose if they will let Cappadocia go, or if they want to add Cappadocia and Armenia to their enemies and declare war.

4. Thracian War Entry

thraceevent.png
Thrace now has its own separate event for joining or staying out of the war, instead of being passively pulled in by Macedon.

Last but not least, the scripted wars will now always call any relevant subjects into them. Modders will likely be happy to know that you can now scope to a war in script and add participants :)
Egypt can now more efficiently opt out of the whole war if they so desire (this is still not really possible for the Antigonids however, who were deeply involved in the conflict long before the game starts and were in no position to withdraw without surrendering).

Slave Happiness

slave.png

With the revisions to pop happiness in Menander we have also revisited slave happiness. Up until now they have been your happiest pop type, unaffected by most things that would upset others.
In the Menander update slave happiness will generally be abysmal, but slaves only contribute a third of what a free pop would to unrest, and will always produce full output regardless of happiness.

Additionally, Settlements no longer have a desired ratio of 100% slaves. Instead Slaves and Freemen will coexist in these locations unless buildings change the desired pop type ratios.

Changes to Integration: Nobles vs Citizens

noblerights.png

As described in previous diaries in Menander any culture which has at least citizen rights is considered integrated. Integrated cultures will use the same happiness modifiers as your primary country culture and be immune to assimilation.
Each additional integrated culture also reduces the happiness of all other integrated cultures, as well as your primary culture by 5%.

To further differentiate Nobles and Citizens, which are both civic right statuses that count as giving integrated, there is now an additional penalty of 5% for each culture that is given noble rights. Meaning that every culture granted noble rights will dilute the happiness of all cultures even further than those given Citizen rights. Think carefully about who you ennoble!

All countries that start with integrated cultures now have these at citizen rights, with only their primary culture granted rights of Nobility.

Last but not least, there are now things that affect how long it takes to integrate cultures, beyond how many pops they have.
Each cultural right you have granted a culture will make it quicker to integrate, thereby reducing the stability you will lose in the process.

It also now takes 50% longer to integrate a culture from another culture group, making it costlier to integrate cultures that are more distant from yours.

Stability, Tyranny, & Aggressive Expansion


The Menander update has in general taken a long, deep look at how happiness and province loyalty works in the game, and such a revision could not be done without also looking at what these attributes do, and how they've changed.

Stability

stability.png

As before, Stability represents how safe and stable your country is: at low stability life is chaotic and the state weak, while at high stability your country is in a Golden age of internal peace and prosperity.

With the focus being on pops, and having removed the Rebellion threshold for a more local rebellion system as described in previous diaries, we have decided to redesign the effects of stability to focus more on the people of your nation, the pops themselves.
Stability has lost most of its direct effects and will now have influence on Population happiness, decreasing it by as much as 50% when at its lowest point.
Likewise positive stability will now have a beneficial effect for population happiness in your entire empire, in addition to increased population growth and research.

Since cultural decisions and integration have introduced a number of new ways to lose stability (either over time, when integrating a new culture, or immediately when granting cultural rights) each such decision will have to weight the long term happiness gain for the specific culture against the overall happiness of your empire.

Tyranny

tyranny.png

Tyranny represents how authoritarian your rule is, how prone to exercise power through violence and arbitrary decrees from the ruler rather than through tradition and laws.
As before Tyranny is not all bad. It will still decrease the cost of decisions such as Imprisonment and Execution, and it will also still increase the output of slaves. Additionally tyranny now increases the pace at which Aggressive Expansion is reduced in your country.

On the negative side, Tyranny will decrease the loyalty of all characters in your entire country, while also increasing the chance that cohorts become loyal to their commanders rather than the state. Tyranny will also decrease the threshold for how much power base disloyal characters need to start a civil war, the effect that was dropped from Stability.

Aggressive Expansion

AE.png

Aggressive expansion represents the reactions towards your country’s foreign policy. The main source Aggressive Expansion remains declarations of war and annexations.

With Stability now being the main influence on Population Happiness, Aggressive Expansion will primarily affect your foreign relations, and how loyal your subject states are.
Its effect on happiness is not gone however: the more aggressive expansion you acquire the harder it will now be to keep Stability at or above the 50% mark, leading to a slow rise in dissent the more aggressively you act.
At above 50 Aggressive expansion more severe effects on things such as integrated culture happiness and political influence gain also start to kick in.

Republics and Senate Support

tyrannyburningfromsenate.png

As described in a previous diary we have reworked Republics to use a senate system where votes are tied to characters and the Senate will approve of your actions based on how approving its parties are of your governance.
We have since played more with the system and decided that we would like to vest some more authority with the Consuls, but also tie how well you handle the demands of the senate to the well being of the state.

Rather than being completely hindered to act at less than 50% Senate support, you can now still take action as long as you do not have 70% of the Senate against you. Taking any decision with less than the support of 60% of the Senate will however result in gaining scaled tyranny, making all such actions very costly.

senatetyrrany.png

Additionally Senate Support, ie the number of seats that would vote in your favor, is no longer only useful for approving your actions. Any Republic with a total Senate Support of over 50% will now benefit from a passive reduction of tyranny per month, relative to how big a majority they wield.

On the other hand, if your government finds itself weak and lacking the support of the Senate, your pops will now see you for the lame duck that you are. Republics with a Senate Support of below 50% will now see a scaling stability decrease over time, slowly reducing the happiness of the people all over your country.

Last but not least the members of a party will now receive or lose loyalty based on how much their party approves of your governance.

Unrest & Forts

forts.png

Overall there is a lot more to keeping pops happy in Menander, from importing goods to enacting cultural decisions or integrating foreign elites. Unhappiness also has a more immediate risk associated with it since it increases unrest which can spark local rebellions.

Sometimes it will still be more efficient however to fight the symptoms rather than the causes of unhappiness. In the Menander update you will likely still want to assign troops to your Governors to reduce the unrest in their entire Governorship.

New in Menander in the same vein is that you can now decrease the unrest of all territories in a province by constructing forts there. This reflects the second use of stationary fortifications throughout history, beyond their usefulness in direct warfare. Their cost has also been increased to reflect their new wider utility in maintaining civil order.

Last but not least in this diary about the many little new things, I will leave you with some screenshots of the work that has been done on diversifying the starting populations in the world. Making pops more diverse where broad cultural groups meet, and adding cultural minorities has been an ongoing process for many updates but its effect on gameplay has perhaps never been as pronounced as in Menander.

italydominant.png

(Dominant Cultures in Italy)

etruscans.png

(Etruscan presence, including minorities)

ligurians.png

(Ligurians in Italy, including minorities)

africamajorities.png

(Dominant Cultures in Africa)

Massylians.png

(Massylians including minorities)
We hope you will enjoy 1.5 Menander!
 

MohawkWolfo98

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Nice changes!! It’s really great to see Legacy of Alexander CB being added, now we can gobble up more territory. Does it involve the Diadochi successors too? War score costs was a frustration for me, because it would be reasonable at game start but extremely unwieldy and too large by the end. Hopefully it will be balanced in 1.5 :)

Would there be some UI/UX changes as well, such as moving slaves etc?
 

Álvaro Núñez de Lara

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Amazing to see that the many issues discussed in the forums this past few days have been read and adressed for the future update such as the ridiculous amount of land you could gain in the diadochi wars, whcich of course was completely ahistorical (I would still do something about it generally since you can annex way less than what any country could these days), or the 100% slave settlements (you still need to adress the arbitrary and nonsensical pop ratio system which is also based on being able to spam endless buildings to get ridiculous pop ratios, but one step at a time). You guys are great. I love all these changes.

Last but not least the members of a party will now receive or lose loyalty based on how much their party approves of your governance.
This is fantastic and makes a lot of sense. Another tiny change to further tie pops to the senate.

Im really looking forward to such rework to monarchies and tribes now though to make them as deep.

Really looking forward to what you come up with in future updates and reworks! Listening to the community is the way to go.
 

Samitte

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3. Cappadocian Revolt
The event chain for accepting Ariarathes back into Cappadocia has been changed to be less deterministic in when it triggers. This means it is more likely to happen before or during the war between the Antigonids and the other Diadochi. Cappadocia will now also become a tributary of Armenia if they should accept, pulling them out of the Diadochi wars even if they have already joined the fighting. The Antigonids will be able to choose if they will let Cappadocia go, or if they want to add Cappadocia and Armenia to their enemies and declare war.
Does the Cappadocian tag still keep its Macedonian culture? It was a continuation of the Achaemenid Cappadocian satrapy, and Cappadocian culture would make much more sense then a foreign one.

Beyond that, this looks like it can finally move the region along a bit, looking forward to it!


Slave Happiness
With the revisions to pop happiness in Menander we have also revisited slave happiness. Up until now they have been your happiest pop type, unaffected by most things that would upset others.
In the Menander update slave happiness will generally be abysmal, but slaves only contribute a third of what a free pop would to unrest, and will always produce full output regardless of happiness.

Additionally, Settlements no longer have a desired ratio of 100% slaves. Instead Slaves and Freemen will coexist in these locations unless buildings change the desired pop type ratios.
Very nice changes overal. Will Tribesmen still remain at 80% base happiness?
Unrest & Forts
Overall there is a lot more to keeping pops happy in Menander, from importing goods to enacting cultural decisions or integrating foreign elites. Unhappiness also has a more immediate risk associated with it since it increases unrest which can spark local rebellions.

Sometimes it will still be more efficient however to fight the symptoms rather than the causes of unhappiness. In the Menander update you will likely still want to assign troops to your Governors to reduce the unrest in their entire Governorship.

New in Menander in the same vein is that you can now decrease the unrest of all territories in a province by constructing forts there. This reflects the second use of stationary fortifications throughout history, beyond their usefulness in direct warfare. Their cost has also been increased to reflect their new wider utility in maintaining civil order.
I think this is a very good change, however does the AI understand this as well, and do they keep more forts around internally now, instead of just on the borders?

Last but not least in this diary about the many little new things, I will leave you with some screenshots of the work that has been done on diversifying the starting populations in the world. Making pops more diverse where broad cultural groups meet, and adding cultural minorities has been an ongoing process for many updates but its effect on gameplay has perhaps never been as pronounced as in Menander.
Very nice! This is sorely lacking in the game right now, with most areas seeing hard borders between cultures. Which other regions has/is this being done to?
We hope you will enjoy 1.5 Menander!
I'm sure I will. When is it being released?
 

Kristaliorn

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Looking forward to Menander.


A quick Idea -
I Hope some of the costs for char interaction are re balanced / reduced to allow for more incentives to use them.

For example - 20 Aggressive expansion just means i never use assassinate.
A scaled amount in relation to the importance of the char targeted and less AE for a failed attempt and if caught could all be factors.

Thank you!
 

Trin Tragula

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Does the Cappadocian tag still keep its Macedonian culture? It was a continuation of the Achaemenid Cappadocian satrapy, and Cappadocian culture would make much more sense then a foreign one.
Cappadocia changes, religion, primary culture and military Traditions if they embrace thier returning king, but this is also true in the version you are currently playing :)

Very nice changes overal. Will Tribesmen still remain at 80% base happiness?
In 1.4 Tribesmen are at base 80% but their happiness is reduced for every point of civilization value in the location they live. Whereas other types had higher base but increased from civilization value.
In 1.5 however as described in previous diaries the base for all pop types have changed significantly with the introduction of cultural happiness and with a general re-balance of happiness, so not much about what you are used to will be true when it comes to population happiness.
Nobles are base -50%
Citizens are base -34%
Freemen are base -20%
Tribesmen are base +16% (but civilization value still reduces their happiness)
Slaves have a base of -30% Happiness.

I think this is a very good change, however does the AI understand this as well, and do they keep more forts around internally now, instead of just on the borders?
It will do its best to make use of it.:)

Very nice! This is sorely lacking in the game right now, with most areas seeing hard borders between cultures. Which other regions has/is this being done to?
This is something we have added more of in the past, and will continue doing with each patch. Another area that had some work done in this regard in 1.5 is Anatolia and Persia (together with a revamp of majority culture in parts in Persia's case, but I believe I already showed this in an earlier diary).
 

Biegeltoren

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I'm hoping these forts won't now make it trivially easy to keep unrest low. Though I do like this addition. It makes sense and adds an extra cost to maintaining a large empire.
 

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I love the new interplay between Stability, Stabbility and Just A Number! But I'm especially happy that acting against the Senate will have tangible consequences. I was a bit worried after the republic changes diary that the new system would make Senate disapproval too easily bypassable, but seeing the whole picture now has alleviated those concerns. I can't wait to try it!

Oh, but by the by, with Populists no longer being a thing, how does declaring Dictatorship work now? Are Populares the new Populists for that purpose, or have the conditions changed completely?
 
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Álvaro Núñez de Lara

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In 1.4 Tribesmen are at base 80% but their happiness is reduced for every point of civilization value in the location they live. Whereas other types had higher base but increased from civilization value.
In 1.5 however as described in previous diaries the base for all pop types have changed significantly with the introduction of cultural happiness and with a general re-balance of happiness, so not much about what you are used to will be true when it comes to population happiness.
Nobles are base -50%
Citizens are base -34%
Freemen are base -20%
Tribesmen are base +16% (but civilization value still reduces their happiness)
Slaves have a base of -30% Happiness.
you should think about introducing some scaling unhappiness for nobles citizens and freemen that scales with civiliation and not having access to goods. I dont think those pop types would be very happy about living in very civilized territory that doesn't even have access to WINE, let alone luxury stuff like dyes or spices or marble. Never understood why civilization in itself increases thier happiness. Yes, they do like living in a civilizied city, but as long as the city has the trade goods to be civilized.
 

Andrei Untaru

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The additions in the following update look pretty good so far.

I have one main concern tough, will the Ai be "taught " how to use the new features and mechanics ?

I think this is area you never discuss in your DDR s, and am very curious about how much love the Ai in Imperator gets.
 
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Álvaro Núñez de Lara

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You mentioned in the dev diary about trade something about rebalancing AE penalties with AI willingness to tradegoods.

Any news on that? Has anything been done? With trade goods now being more important, you dont want a global commercial blockade on you because you have 30 AE, unable to import any goods at all. Let alone with the current trade system in which you cannot get friend nations and allies to give you exclusive access to their goods over other nations to keep you supply of all you need, but instead selling it to whomever arrives firts.